It is a rare opportunity that you get to mix business and fun; actually, I had the rare opportunity to do such a thing. As an evangelist for Windows 8, I want to get app builders and designers building great Windows 8 apps. So I began thinking "if I saw someone with a Surface, what would be on the screen that would get me excited about Windows 8?" I realized that I would want to see some kind of interactive experience that was fun and decided that would be a game. Eureka! I began thinking about ways to get app builders building great games but there was one problem... I wasn't a hardcore gamer and and never built a game.
So what did I do? I began speaking to indie game builders and hanging out where they hung out. I also had the great fortune to meet someone at Microsoft that is super-passionate about game builders and is amazing, Jesse Freeman. What did he do? He really helped me understand the gaming space and then he made an introduction to the person who would help me to bring to life the Platformer Game Starter Kit for Windows 8 apps! I would get to know him as McFunkyPants (aka Christer Kaitila).
I spoke on the phone with Christer at length about how I wanted to make it easier to help app builders create great games on Windows 8 as one of the challenges I saw at a lot of our events, hackathons, and customer meetings is that a lot of folks didn't know where to start or the games were so simplistic that they weren't very fun. We then embarked on a project we called Project Ludus (not an official name, just a name we came up with -- if you are wondering why we picked Ludus, go look it up in Latin). I asked Christer to build what an indie game developer such as himself would build (instead of some Microsoft dude acting like he knows everything -- which I am prone to do).
Today, Project Ludus is the Platformer Game Starter Kit and is available today!
It consists of a Visual Studio example project of two games with the same engine. You can download it, tear it down, tear it apart, mix it up, and create your own games with it for free! For those who haven't ever built a game before, this is a great way to see how a real game is built and works. Again, you can do whatever you like with it and submit it to the Windows Store (but don't just compile and submit to the Store or you will be lame and everyone will laugh at you!)
Also, if you want the latest bleeding edge bits or want to fork it, feel free to grab it from Github.
First up is Gwendolynn the Lionhearted. If you want to just play the game, you can get it for free at the Windows Store. GTL is a fun dungeon platformer that comes with three levels where you explore a darkened castle and you need to find the exit while avoiding spikes and bats and picking up treasure.
Second is Rubba Rabbit. This rabbit has to eat his fruit and vegetables before time runs out. The game is different from GTL but has the same mechanics.
We realized that not everyone is a game artist and that you may need something to get you going. So we have also included some free art packs (thanks to PlexiPixel!):
We are also fortunate that Jesse Freeman has also made all of his game art available too. We will also be surprising you with an additional art pack and maybe even more, just maybe.
Simple enough, just follow these steps: