I gathered with a couple of my friends last night to play test the latest version of a game I'm working with others to develop for the Windows Phone 7 platform. One is a professional grade software tester while the other is a voracious consumer of video games across various platforms. Collaborating with people to collect feedback on the fruits of your own creativity is always a humbling experience. It also reminds you who you're going through all that trouble for.
In designing the user interface for combat I read a lot of what other people had to say on the subject. You'd be surprised how few people blog about such things. Also, I went through and played dozens mobile games (paid and free) using my iPad and my iPod Touch. It became clear to me that certain games required an almost invisible interface while others needed carefully placed "buttonry". I was nervous about putting something I'd spent so much time perfecting in front of a real audience.
In the end, the interface got the thumbs up and it's starting to feel like the game is finally on the downward slope toward a finished product. The visuals themselves deserve a little polish, but the premise turned out to be sound. Marvelous is that feeling you've given a machine the ability to relate to people for a common goal, even if it was beating the tar out of bad guys composed of code and pixels.
It'll be hard to relinquish my old Motorola dumb-phone and even harder to begin the journey that is finding myself a Windows Phone 7. I've read lots of reviews of various models and they all seem to have their advantages and fatal flaws like any mobile product. No one device really stands out to me as "the one". It'll require going to every place I can find that has product and laying hands on as many WP7 devices as I can. I do love watching the salesperson squirm when I make the plastic squeak.
Pictured above is the testing station I set up for running the WP7 emulator.
If anyone ends up purchasing a WP7 device and has something to report, I'd like to hear about it. Drop me an email or post it to the comments.