Making a splash with Mortar Melon

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We're big fans of games which do something differerent which is why we were so excited to get the chance to speak to Henry Hoffman, one of the creative minds behind Mortar Melon.

1) Why did you make the decision to develop Mortar Melon for Windows 8?

We love using Windows 8 as an operating system, and the market potential is absolutely massive. We've got experience working with HTML5/JS and Microsoft supporting that technology was really exciting for us. We also like the design challenge that comes with creating a game that plays just as well on a touch device as it does on a standard mouse and keyboard input.

Having worked on a Windows Phone game with over 100,000 downloads I'm extremely confident that Windows 8, with its larger user base, is going to be extremely lucrative for games developers.

2) What were some of the features you used from Windows 8 and why?

We've got a whole bunch of Windows 8 functionality built into Mortar Melon. The players progress uses roaming data, so they can switch seamlessly between their Windows 8 tablet and PC, keeping their current in game progress. Live tiles tell the player how far they are in the game. When you beat a level you can share your score with your friends through email, Facebook, Twitter and more!

Overall we've found the Windows 8 functionality makes the game much more dynamic, and in some cases speeds up development! For example, having an options menu that uses the Windows 8 charms saved us having to create our own options UI, whilst creating a nice integrated experience.

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3) What was the experience like of using Construct2 and would you recommend it for Windows 8 game development?

Using Construct 2 has been a fantastic experience. We were initially put off by the 'no programming required' ethos, thinking that we'd end up with spaghetti logic or not be able to properly extend to meet our requirements. However there's a great JavaScript SDK that's allowed us to make a number of plugins, many which we've released for free and shared with the great Construct 2 community. The visual scripting is very much like standard coding, but much more tailored to games development. We've found through properly grouping and commenting logic, it's often even more readable than vanilla JavaScript.

Previously we've worked with XNA, which takes a serious time investment. Construct 2 has all the main functionality in place, so you can just focus on building a great game. We had our prototype up and running in one day, with most of the gameplay elements that made it into the final build! I find that the best tools get you from A to B the quickest, and Construct 2 is like greased lightning in that regard.

4) How did you work with the Microsoft team in helping you successfully submit the game to the Store?

The Microsoft team have been super supportive the whole way through development. They put pressure on us to deliver interim builds which really helped us to stop stagnating and get the game out before Christmas. There's also a great initiative called the Windows Store App Lab, where we've had access to hardware for testing, which was vital for us ironing out any performance issues. Overall the support from Microsoft has been outstanding, and we're really indebted to them for helping us make Mortar Melon the game that it is!

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