Adventures in Building Windows Phone Multi-Player Games

My previous dabblings in Windows Phone development have been miserable failures. I admit and accept that. I have decided building apps for personal utility (Per Diem, Loyalty) or convenience of data provider (Ohio Roads) just doesn’t work. It gave me some practical exercise and experience building apps but the financial returns were uninspiring.

So, I’ve decided to get serious about game development. My first project is to build a Multi-Player version of Euchre to Windows Phone.

I selected Euchre mainly because it fits the model of game I am targetting, it is simple and I know the rules. There are already two versions of Euchre out on the marketplace, but I feel they are woefully inadequate and lack multi-player. I plan on offering the game as free but ad-driven to test the waters of profitability.

Each of my games I want to have the following characteristics from an end user experience:

1. Users can login with any username / password they choose (Google, Windows Live, Yahoo, etc.)

2. Users can player with 1 or more human players. If not enough human players are present, the game session owner can start the game and a computer player will play in place of the absent humans.

3. Users can receive notifications when its there turn or their action is required

 

Some of the technical hurdles I am going to tackle are:

1. Provide infrastructure for multiple games with a single re-usable service + client SDK

2. Leverage Windows Azure to provide server-side infrastructure (multi-player connectivity, game state storage and leader boards) that is secure and performs well at scale.

3. Create Windows Azure based AI that can learn from previous games to improve its future performance.

Over the coming months, I will use this blog to expand on the pitfalls and achievements in this objective.

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