Wordament for Windows 8.1

Today we shipped an update to Wordament for Windows 8.0 and 8.1 (both RT and x86) that has been in the works for many months. This update brings to Windows all of the great features you’ve come to know and love on Windows Phone, including Facebook sign-in, Guest mode and Tap to share scores. In addition to these great features we’ve also added fluid layout support. So, if you are running on Windows 8.1 you can now size Wordament to any size you like and we will layout in a way that best takes advantage of the space. This was no small feat. It’s hard enough to design great software, but to do it seamlessly at arbitrary sizes, took some careful planning. We are really happy with how this release has turned out. The coolest thing about the new Wordament on Windows 8.x, though? It’s an engineering feature–and it’s really nerdy. Historically, though, many readers have appreciated engineering tales, so we’ll share:

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Wordament grew up very fast. It seemed like it went from an indie game with a handful of players to a full on Microsoft title with millions of users, on lots of platforms, almost overnight. In that transition we ended up writing lots of code. For instance, in the course of a year we had ports of the Wordament client written in JavaScript, Objective C, C++ and C#. Each one of these ports has its own special issues, build processes and maintenance challenges. At the time, we were still a two person team and Jason and I were struggling to continue to innovate on Wordament, while supporting the “in-market” code bases we had shipped. So we started looking for a solution that would allow us to share more code between all of the platforms we were targeting. Funnily enough, the answer was sitting in our own backyard: C#.

As we looked around at the state of “cross platform development” on Windows, Windows Phone, iOS and Android we started to realize that C# was an excellent choice to target all modern mobile devices. So we did just that. With the help of Visual Studio for Windows and Xamarin for iOS and Android, we started a project to build a single version of Wordament’s source code that could target all the platforms we ship on. This release on Windows 8 marks the end of that journey. All of our clients are now proudly built out of one source tree and in one language. Even our service, which runs on Windows Azure, is built in C#. This is a huge efficiency win for our team of four.

Sure, as a player, it’s hard to articulate how this really benefits you, but it does: By having one set of source code, and not ports, we are able to offer a highly consistent experience no matter what device you are playing on. It also means we are able to quickly fix any issues across all our devices at once, and most importantly we are able to add new features to all platforms at once.

We really hope you enjoy this update to Wordament and as always we love hearing your thoughts on Facebook and in email.

Thanks,

John and Jason