Construct 2 Windows 8 Object- Intro
As I mentioned in my previous post, I will be learning and sharing more content for Construct 2 over the holidays. No better way to spend your down time than building games in the Christmas spirit obviously. Well, at least it makes sense in my mind :) Anyways, Construct 2 is one of the tools I have used most over the past year, and I want to begin to dive deeper into its functionality. I want to expand my knowledge and help you to create next level games. That said, I am going to start a series here on the Windows 8 Object in Construct 2, which will allow you to take advantage of Windows 8 specific features.
The first thing you probably want to be aware of is the documentation for the Windows 8 Object, which you can find here. I will not cover every single piece of functionality for this object, so it is a good idea to have the documentation as a reference. So, what kinds of things will I be looking at? Well, if you took a look at the documentation there is lot to cover, so I will be focusing on the following: customizing the Charms Bar, setting text for Live Tile, opening the Windows Store, and In App Purchases. Let’s take a quick look at what these features are.
First off the Charms Bar. If you have used a Windows 8.X computer, you are probably familiar with the Charms Bar, which gives users additional functionality in their apps (shown below along the right hand side). It gives your buttons for Search, Share, Start, Devices, and Settings, but we will be looking exclusively at the Share and Settings buttons.
You can find my updated and detailed posts on Charms Bar here.
According to Microsoft, the Share Charm is a “quick way, to share files, photos, and info…without leaving the app you’re in”. You probably already had a general idea of what the Share Charm but what does it look like in a game? What kinds of things might you want to share about your game? Two immediate things come to mind. First, a link to your app, developer page, etc. and second a high score! That said, the Share Charm is especially useful when the user is logged into Social Media apps such as Facebook and Twitter. The user is able to share via these apps as shown below. Giving the user a way to advertise for you in terms of social media is very helpful. If they have a good experience with your game and/or get a new high score, this gives them a reason to share and you free marketing.
For the second Charms Bar option we will take a look at is Settings. Again, pretty self explanatory. However, what the Windows 8 Object is useful for is adding About, Privacy, and Support pages. In Construct 2, you simply need to choose “Yes” or “No” for whether or not you want to add each of these pages. Then, in Visual Studio, you can open them up and edit them just as any other web page (they are HTML pages). Typically, these pages will be fairly simply, so not much editing is necessary. For instance, About needs a simple description of your app, Privacy needs a privacy statement, and Support needs an email address for support questions.
Live Tile Text
Live Tiles are one of the differentiating features for Windows. Windows fan or not, Live Tiles are pretty cool. They have the ability to provide the user information without even opening the apps. For instance, I can take a look at my calendar Live Tile, and it will show me what my upcoming appointment is. Just take a look at all of the information I can take in from just a glance at my Windows 8 start screen. Next appointment in Calendar (just happens to be Christmas Eve…HAPPY HOLIDAYS!), my newest email, sports article, fitness article, etc. Tons of information all at a glance! With the Windows 8 Object, you can take advantage of this as well. Maybe show the player’s high score, his rank, etc. There are any number of things that you could show.
You can find my updated and detailed posts on setting Live Tile Text here.
Opening the Windows Store
The Windows 8 Object (I should have an abbreviation for this by now!) provides the ability to open the Windows Store with a couple of different options, opening to the Publisher’s page, the page of the current app, or the review page for the current app. All are useful, but adding a Rate and Review button to your game is very important! Ratings and Reviews are hard to come by, and most of the time if people take the time to rate your game, it is because of something negative. Simply put, people are more willing to speak out about a negative experience. So, you have to make it as easy as possible for users to rate your app with good experience or and encourage them to contact you with negative ones (hint hint…the Support page from above). Although it takes only a couple of minutes to include a rate button, it can be very valuable!
You can find my updated and detailed posts on Opening the Windows Store here.
In App Purchases (IAP)
Typically there are three ways to make money with apps and games, selling it, including Advertisements, and IAP. Posts coming on the first two,but for now we are talking about IAP. One of my favorite success stories is Candy Crush. If you have never played before, it is similar to Bejewled, which has been around for a lot longer. Basically, you are trying to get three of the same item in a row. Candy Crush is a very well designed game, and over the past couple of years, my friends and family have been obsessed. It is free to download and play, but if you lose your allotted 5 lives, you have to wait a certain amount of time for them to regenerate, something really inconvenient if you are getting into it. However, Candy Crush gives you the option to pay for more lives and not wait. I mean, it’s only $1, right? Although it is only a dollar for you, there are millions of people playing and if each person only spends a couple of dollars a month, that’s still millions of dollars coming in. Point is, you have to have something worth paying for in your game for IAP to work, but as far as I have seen, this approach has been the most successful. With the Win8 Object you can incorporate IAP with your game fairly easily. Again, it’s up to you to make it compelling enough for the user to spend the money, but the functionality is there!
Obviously, lots of good Construct 2 content coming soon around the Windows 8 Object so stay tuned!