Developers

While everyone here has played a game or used an app that offers some kind of in-app-purchase (IAP), most of us probably don’t give the mobile payment systems that work behind the scenes much thought. And yet developers certainly have to consider mobile payment systems if they’re going to accept payments from users.

At GDC last week, we had the opportunity to speak with Rain Rannu, the Co-Founder of Fortumo Ltd.  Fortumo provides mobile payment services for Windows Phone 7.5 and 8, Windows 8 and RT, and several other mobile platforms. They’ve recently teamed up with Microsoft to offer an exciting deal for developers who sign up to use Fortumo with their Windows products by the end of May.

Head past the break for more details and our video interview!

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Galactic Reign was quite the revelation when it appeared on Windows 8 and then Windows Phone 7 and 8 last month. Here was an exclusive strategy game for Windows platforms with cross-platform asynchronous multiplayer, and Microsoft basically forgot to tell anybody about it before release. But it’s definitely worth playing if you enjoy competitive strategy games. Check out our review to learn just how the game works.

One of Galactic Reign’s most unique aspects has to be its large-scale space battles. See, the fleets of ships that clash against each other in the game can number in the thousands. Instead of rendering these battles in-engine, the details about each side’s armada are sent to the cloud. From there, a cinematic video gets constructed and sent back to the game for players to watch.

The technology for those cloud space battles comes from Canadian developer Slant Six games. Last week at GDC 2013, we chatted with Paul Martin, Director of Technology and James Ricker, Cinematics Director about Galactic Reign’s videos and Slant Six Games’ experience working with Microsoft. Head past the break for the full video interview!

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Microsoft and Nokia are preparing to hold a Windows Phone Developer Camp in London. May 11th this year will mark the day when the two companies will provide an introduction to the Windows Phone platform for developers who haven't quite looked into hopping on to the train just yet. Numerous sessions will be held with some hands-on labs. It's set to be a worthwhile day for anyone looking to develop apps for Windows Phone.

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A handful of weeks ago Unity opened up early beta access for apps on the Windows store, enabling developers to try out the tools available. We were all wondering just when the company would open up the beta program and cover Windows Phone 8 development. That time has arrived, folks. It has been announced on the Unity blog that version 4 of the engine now covers Windows Phone 8.

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The Windows Phone Central staff covers all the big mobile events, such as Mobile World Congress and CES. But our gaming readers are probably most excited by gaming event coverage, such as last year’s Electronic Extertainment Expo and Casual Connect visits. Of course we’ll return to those shows again this year, but we’ve got a new one on the table too.

The Game Developers Conference - aka GDC 2013 - runs next week from March 25-29 in San Francisco, California. Your friendly neighborhood Gaming Editor and a handful of Mobile Nations staff will be there scouring for all the best Windows Phone and mobile gaming news.

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There's nothing worse for developers than updating their Windows Phone apps to address bugs and for the release to get lost wondering around the vast plains of the Microsoft Dev Center. Our own Jay Bennett has experienced an issue with the latest version of the Windows Phone Central app finding itself stuck in limbo (or rather "Certification Passed" and "Not Submitted" stages of approval).

Microsoft has since acknowledged the issue and has stated engineers are looking into reports.

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If you’re a developer on Windows Phone, there’s probably a good chance you’ve heard of Richard Kerris, the Global Head of Developer Relations at Nokia. He’s the guy that oversaw some of those great outreach programs to help woo devs to Windows Phones and if it’s one thing we can agree on, Nokia has been largely successful here.

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Canada based Health Pack Games, the team behind titles such as Chicken Story 2 and Monster Stack 2, has been interviewed by Nokia about the company's switch to the Nokia Ad Exchange (NAX) programme. Nokia launched the developer programme late last year, which enables developers to monetise apps and games using Nokia's partnership with inneractive.

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Recently we took a look at Nokia’s coverage of some developer events in Barcelona and now we have a one on one video with Rudy Huyn, one of the most popular devs on our platform. Rudy won a Windows Phone Geek Lumia Challenge award recently for his popular app TVShow and Nokia was on hand to showcase his talents in this two minute video.

In the video, we catch a glimpse of Rudy working on his apps, learn why he loves Windows Phone (and Nokia support) and how he helps the developers in France through his meet-up group. We even see his famous Bi(n)g Maps (errr, HERE Maps)  which involved linking 28 Windows Phones together for one big map. He’s quite the impressive guy and luckily Jay Bennett and I were able to finally meet him in person during Mobile World Congress.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Huyn’s work, you’re encouraged to try out his various apps including TVShow (keeps track of what you’re watching), Wikipedia (the de-facto Wiki app for Windows Phone), GContacts (Gmail contact syncing), Fuse (RSS news reader) and more.  

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The Unity team (behind the Unity video game engine that powers a number of popular titles) has announced on the official blog that the Windows Store apps early access programme is kicking off. With Unity 4.2, developers will be able to create games for computers and tablets running Windows 8 and RT, publishing them on the Windows Store.

This opens up the floodgates for both developers and consumers to connect with Unity-powered content, but what about Windows Phone?

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Windows Phone Central's app support inbox has been flooded recently, by users complaining that news does not load correctly in the app. We've been kind of stumped on this one frankly because it's only been affecting certain users, so we've been digging.

It turns out that other apps were also running into problems (WeatherFlow is one example), and as we dug further we identified that most of the affected users were Italian, and that the issue had started on March 1st. Now, thanks to twitter user @SergioPedri and others in our forums, we've finally been able to replicate the problem. The good news is there's a workaround.

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If you were following along with our coverage of MWC last week, you'll know that for Windows Phone it was pretty much the Nokia show. That's not to say that other manufacturers weren't present, simply that Nokia were without a doubt the most proactive in getting the most out of the annual mobile conference.

Now Nokia Developer have posted a very well produced video over on YouTube which gives you a great chance to see everything that Nokia were doing last week (primarily on the Monday). That includes the Nokia Apps Developer Conference (ADC) which we sorely wanted to cover, but were kept somewhat busy with everything else Nokia had to show.

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This morning we reported that NotifyMe! was in the works as an independent notification system for Windows Phone 8 and how this will be competing with Liquid Daffodil’s proposed Unification system, which is already in early beta testing.

We now have more info including some new screenshots of what that Unification system will look like, including some features that users can expect when it is finally released. What makes this interesting of course is this is not just conceptual but already being done by Liquid Daffodil, moving beyond the numerous proposed models we’ve seen in the past from the Windows Phone community.

This is real, this is happening, folks.

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We broke the news last week that Liquid Daffodil will be releasing a notification center system called Unification for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 sometime in the near future (it's officially in Beta testing as we speak).. The system is opt-in meaning devs can just add a line of code to their app to hook into it. Now it looks like a competing system is starting to take form from Alex White, called NotifyMe!

The app is still vaporware at this time and like LD’s, it uses an opt-in system for developers to use the notification system. The concept is interesting as it evidently uses the dynamic Lock Screen ability in Windows Phone 8 to generate new wallpaper (we’re assuming) when there’s a new notification.

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One of the neat features we like with Local Scout, the Bing service that shows you things to do around your location, is the tie in with apps. For instance, when you go under eat + drink and pull up a restaurant you can scroll over to Apps to open up the listing in a third party app like Foodspotting.

The ability to do that is quite useful as it saves you time in having to go to your favorite app and look up the same information. One change that came with Windows Phone 8 though has us scratching our head, and it’s affecting third party apps, including Liquid Daffodil’s popular Add to Contacts app.

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Whilst at MWC, Windows Phone Central had the chance to sit down with Marco Argenti, Senior Vice President of the Developer and Marketplace division at Nokia. We had just been checking out the new partner apps being shown off in Nokia’s sizeable booth and were keen to hear more about the relationships Nokia are continuing to build with developers both commercial and indie, especially following the news of Nokia’s new imaging and HERE API features.

You can find the full write up of that discussion after the break.

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Dev Center is a Windows Phone app from Microsoft designed to give Windows Phone developers a better handle on their app's performances.

While all the performance data is available through Microsoft's Windows Phone Dev Center website, Dev Center app puts all that information on your Windows Phone, allowing developers to track the real world performance of their apps while on the go.

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Liquid Daffodil has unveiled to Windows Phone Central a new notification system that will provide developers on all Microsoft platforms the ability to tap into services offered by the team. What we're looking at here is an encrypted, cross-platform notification service for Windows and Windows Phone, hosted on the Azure cloud. So what could this mean for consumers should developers hop on and implement the system into apps?

Think unified Notification Center and you've got the idea.

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