Windows Phone Programme for Unity developers


A few months ago, I applied to Microsoft and Unity's Windows Phone Incentive Offer programme. I only had one game to show, and to be fair, it's not a very good one (The Sculptor). Honestly, it still boggles my mind that 20.000 people have played that thing, but hey, I'm not complaining!If - I - were 20.000 people, I'd be spending my time pillaging a local village or attacking foreign soil. Not playing a game where all you do is tap your screen!

But anyway, so Microsoft accepted me to their Incentive Offer programme and promptly sent me a free Windows 8 Pro license. Woo!


Look, so pretty!

I wiped my SSD completely clean, and stuck Windows 8 in there. Now getting that thing to work actually took 4 nights and several curses and offerings to some demon of the underworld what's name I now forget (sorry!). I guess that's what Microsoft has to deal with when it doesn't dirty its hands with hardware like Apple does.

Well, I eventually installed the Windows 8.1 Phone SDK with my fancy new free developer license, and opened Animal Drivers in Unity. I had to strip it off some iOS specific scripts, but I was completely flabbergasted that the thing actually compiled a Windows Phone version of the game in just 20 minutes of plugin removals and SDK setup. Man, Unity is pretty amazing! Or maybe I overdid it on the demon offerings... I don't know, but I got the game out, and sent it to Microsoft. They said it was a-OK, and they told me they'd be sending me a free device for testing!


So this thing arrived in the mail with DHL's Ultra Express Delivery Mode, a shiny new Nokia Lumia 925 phone. I plugged it in, tried to get it to be a developer phone via my PC, but that was completely impossible. Spent a whole night trying to figure that shit out, but in the end I installed the SDK at my machine at work and got it to accept the phone as a dev phone. MS should learn from Apple on this point too, I've never had that kind of trouble with iOS devices, or even Android for that matter.

Once it was a dev. device, I could throw my game in there with ease. Suddenly I had Animal Drivers running on a Windows Phone! Awesome! Even my Unibill-driven in-app purchases were working! Now the only problem was the performance... I could only get it to run at something around 30 or less FPS. The Snapdragon S4 chip inside of that phone should be giving my game a lot more juice, but it didn't. I started reading on the forums about this, and apparently I'm not alone. Hopefully Unity 4.5 has made some progress on this issue.

Well, all in all, it's been a great experience to be part of Microsoft's Unity incentive programme, I got a free Windows 8 Pro license, a free phone for testing and I am now 100% sure that I am able (and willing) to be releasing Animal Drivers for Windows Phone!