2-page Partner Case Study - Posted 11/4/2013
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Greenheart Games

Development Platform Propels Indie-game Pioneers from Zero to Hero

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* Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 is by far the most effective development environment I have ever worked with. *
Patrick Klug,
Director,
Greenheart Games
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When Microsoft opened the Windows Store to developers, Brisbane-based software-development manager Patrick Klug and his Austrian-based brother Daniel spotted an opportunity. As passionate gamers, they wanted to build their own game-development company, and be the first to launch on the forthcoming Windows Store.

“Being one of the first games on Windows 8 would kick-start our company,” says Patrick. “We wanted to pioneer simulation games for Windows 8 touch-screen devices and the Windows Store promised a worldwide audience.”

In July 2012, the Klug brothers set up Greenheart Games. Together, they created a concept for a simulation game, where players start their own game-development studios.

“We faced some major challenges,” says Patrick. “We were experienced C# programmers, but neither of us had built games before, nor worked with HTML/JavaScript—nor had we any experience with Windows 8.”

Solution

To manage development, Klug chose the Microsoft integrated programming environment, Visual Studio 2012. “Visual Studio was an easy choice, giving us features like IntelliSense and remote debugging with full support for HTML/JavaScript apps,” says Patrick.

During development, the Klug brothers reached out to Windows 8 evangelists. “The support was outstanding. Evangelists were very helpful and made it a joy to develop for Windows 8,” says Patrick.

“Microsoft also gave us help when we needed it,” he adds. “They connected us to experts in Australia and the US who created the tools,” says Klug. “This helped us solve challenges more efficiently and helped us make the most of Windows 8 capabilities.”

Their finished product, Game Dev Tycoon, was completed within 12 months, and became the first simulation game on the Windows Store. The game attracted over 140,000 downloads, and the paid version has a trial-to-full game conversion rate exceeding 30 percent.

Benefits

Building for the Windows 8 platform has helped propel the Klug brothers from indie to internationally-recognised game developers.

Freedom of choice over programing languages: According to Patrick, Visual Studio 2012 was a key factor in their success. “Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 is by far the most effective development environment I have ever worked with,” he says. “It enabled us to develop Game Dev Tycoon quickly, as if we were working on a business app—even though we were using HTML5 and JavaScript.

“We could step-through the game as we were building it so that we got the game experience then and there,” he adds.

Exceptional debugging and testing features: One tool that proved critical to rapid development was the debugging feature. “The debugging features available in Visual Studio have greatly helped us during development,” says Patrick. “You can also use the remote debugger in Visual Studio to run and debug an app that's running on a tablet direct from your main machine.”

“Also, it has a really good memory-profiling suite,” he adds. “This helps you remove bottlenecks in the application. In terms of debugging HTML and JavaScript apps, Visual Studio must be one of the best platforms in the industry.”

Rapid development for multiple devices: Using Visual Studio, the Klugs also configured Game Dev Tycoon for multiple platforms. After launching the Windows 8 version, they released a version for the Windows RT operating system that is used on tablets, and ported the game for use on desktops as well.

Today, Greenheart Games is an established games-development company, and the Klug brothers are busy with new projects. “The Windows Store is an easy first choice for developers, but it doesn’t have to be the only choice,” Patrick says. “Visual Studio and the Windows Store is a great springboard for creating apps in a familiar environment and HTML/JavaScript makes it easy to support other platforms later on.”

For more information about Microsoft Visual Studio, go to:
www.microsoft.com/visualstudio
Solution Overview



Organization Size: 2 employees

Software and Services
  • Windows 8
  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2012

Vertical Industries
Amusement/Gambling/Recreation/ Perf Arts/ Spectator Sports

Country/Region
Australia

IT Issue
Development

Languages
English

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