1. XML Configuration
The XML configuration allows me some conveniences of changing which environment I am playing on. This means I will be able to have several Game Fabric environments in order to conduct testing, staging and switch over.
For game developers, this will be where you can configure aspects of your game. The big one right now being the Help page or “how to play”
2. Help Page
I added the capability of creating custom help pages for your app. As a game developer all you need to do is specify the DataTemplate names within the XML configuration for each of the help pages. You are free to add whatever content you want to each page.
My approach for Euchre was to define a UserControl for each page and then just have an empty DataTemplate with nothing but that UserControl. That way I have the easy of editing and managing that content within a UserControl instead of a DataTemplate.
3. Version Checking & About Page
As I look to the future of managing this product going forward and ensuring the highest quality of user experience for my customers I need to make sure that I handle system and client upgrades.
Since multi-player requires all players to have the same version of the game, it opens new problems of notifying users to scheduled down time and new release availability.
This also adds the ability to take down the game while I perform upgrades or bug fixes on my servers. I am using Windows Azure so this should be very short periods of time but still, user experience is very important. I’d rather display a simple notification than let the game bomb out.
4. Extra Navigation Goodies
On the game page, I found that as a player I wanted to get back to the lobby or check the game instructions. There was no easy way of doing this from the game session page. So I added some extra menu items to make it an easy task.