Dev stories #0 - How can Microsoft help me with porting my game ?

Hey, Alex here.
Welcome to the new column on our blog dedicated to coding, techie stuff, etc...
My goal is not to try and teach you something new but rather to share some quick tips and experiences I gained on our journey.

In this issue I'll write something that all indies who wish to port their game to the Windows phone store will appreciate. No coding, something much more interesting.

No Money And Still Porting To Windows.
How Can Microsoft Help Me With Porting My Game ?

For porting in general you have to spend money for couple of things.
Windows, Visual Studio, some devices for development and testing, Windows Phone developer account and if you are doing it for the first time maybe some know-how and marketing advices it will be helpful too. If you are just like us, you probably don’t have any of these.
Well, until now.

Did you know Microsoft gives you all of the things above for free?

Yes, thats true. Just register your company ( you have to meet some conditions, but nothing special ) Bellow you can find all the relevant links worth to explore:

My advice is also to find some person behind this program in your country. I'm sure they will be helpful like the people in Microsoft Czech republic.

PS: If you think this article is sponsored by Microsoft you’re wrong. I’m writing about it just because I really like their approach, I find helpful to share this fact with indies out there and because I think Microsoft is not promoting it in the right way and lot of people don't know about this.

If you want to talk about it more, please feel free to use comments bellow.

Happy coding :)

News #6 - Busy week

Last week we were super busy. We attended the great conference The Kids Want Mobile in Berlin and just couple of hours ago we all together clicked the mouse button and submited our new game to the app store for review. Fingers crossed!!

What's the time Mr.Fox ?

Mr.Fox hits app store in a while!

Mr.Fox hits app store in a while!

Little Mr.Fox is waiting in the line in the app store - for us it's time to do some marketing stuff.
Sure, regarding some articles you can find all around the internet it is probably too late. Yes, we know the theory very well and it sounds so easy and clear. But it was really not possible for us to do it next to creative process and development so hopefully it will be not that late. Greetings to all 1 - 2 people development teams, parents, doing their hard job with love and patience and with vision to deliver the best app possible for the little ones. 

 Anyway, if you want to share our story and games with your blog readers, FB friends or twitter followers just let us know and we can send you promo codes. We would appreciate that!

For parents section.

For parents section.

For parents section - design process

For parents section - design process

Cross promo page

Cross promo page

Teasers

Yes and meanwhile we did small teasers as well. Enjoy !!

The Kids Want Mobile

Berlin...

Berlin...

We are preparing separate blog post about the conference in next few days so to be short we attach only few pictures...

News #5 - Photo Story And Interview - Mothers Around Me Project

Photo story and interview 

Here is a delightful photo story by photographer Katta Tubio - part of her 'MAM - Mothers Around Me' project - showcasing our Indie Family App Development team, especially one third of it, illustrator, mum Edita Sliacka.

Photo: Katta Tubbio

What's the time Mr.Fox?

Beta test is done and seems like we are prepared to upload it for review on app store this week. We are also working on short game teaser, making of blog post, marketing stuff and much much more.

Gameplay screenshot

Gameplay screenshot

This week we are attedning TheKidsWantMobile Europe's Kids Mobile Conference in Berlin and we will try to bring you the atmosphere. Check our twitter @mrfoxforkids for pics and more news. 

News #4 - Mr.Fox And Shapes Got Another App Store Feature

Mr.Fox and shapes got another app store feature

Another week, another great news. Apple chose our game to another app store featured section Shapes and colors. Thank you Apple.

Mr.Fox and shapes featured in Shapes and colors !

Mr.Fox and shapes featured in Shapes and colors !

What's the time Mr.Fox? - beta test

We are almost there. Dubbing is done, sounds are being polished, last bugs are being fixed. We are filling our iOS beta test team with new names so if you want to be part of it, please let us know. We are looking mainly for parents with 2-3 years old kids. Also you have to own at least one of the Apple devices (iPhone 3gs, 4, 4s, 5, 5s, 5c, iPad 1, 2, 3, 4, minis, iPods).

Interested? Let us know: games@mrfoxandfriends.com

News #3 - Mr.Fox and Shapes home page feature (US)

Mr.Fox and Shapes home page feature (US)

Mr.Fox and Shapes featured in Playtime with your toddler 

Mr.Fox and Shapes featured in Playtime with your toddler 

We celebrate today! Our Mr.Fox and Shapes game got first home page(US) feature. It's really a big honor for us to share pixels in this category with big players like TocaBoca, SagoSago, Wee society,  and other great kids apps devs out there. Thanks Apple!

What's the time Mr.Fox?

Yesterday we received dubbing of our little fox. It will take some time to implement all sounds, but we can tell you they are really nice. Listen to sample bellow. Isn't he cute?

Next week we are going to fix some small bugs, to refine old and add new animations and also to do small changes in gameplay due to our closed beta test.

The biggest issue for now are music and sounds effects - we are still not happy with them. Hopefuly next week..

News #2 - What's The Time Mr.Fox?

What's the time Mr.Fox ?

Amazing voice actor Lani Minela will be the voice of our little fox, main character of our upcoming game What's the time Mr.Fox?. Definitely this was the biggest highlight of recent week. We're looking forward to cooperate with her. 20 min. long skype call with this very nice and charming person left us feeling great.

Behid the scenes

Behid the scenes

The first 90 percent of the code accounts for the first 90 percent of the development time. The remaining 10 percent of the code accounts for the other 90 percent of the development time.
— Tom Cargill, Bell Labs

Well, all devs know this, right? Yes, we're stuck in that phase now. We thought the app will be out till KidsWantMobile conference but it seems like we hit the app store a little bit later. Keep your fingers crossed :)

App icons

We did also big facelift of our icons so it will be much easier to identify our games across the app store and on the touchscreens too. New icons will appear in the next app updates...

App icons redesign

App icons redesign

We play - iPad games #1

Adam loves to play iPad games. A lot. Usually we play all together and just for limited time only.  We always let him choose the game and these are his top 5 games of these days. 

1. Nighty Night! 

Well everyone knows this one, right? The most beautiful and most adorable game. Also very simple to play but most entertaining at the same time. Turning lights on and off. Best game for little toddlers ever. The ones in the living room as well :D

2. Sago mini Pet Cafe

Adam loves to feed cute little dog, cat and birdie. He even knows what sound they make when eating and when he plays with his toys sometimes he pretends to be little cat throwing the pancake onto her head. That's so funny!

3. Wee Alphas

He plays with letters all days long. Magnets, made from paper, foam letters, alphabet books again and again and again..all day long. Even when I give him pencils to draw, he draws letters :D We wanted to find him nice app about letters, that is smart but still entertaining. What he likes most about this is the sketchpad to practice drawing letters. So now he knows how to draw some letters already on his own. I also remember how he started to laugh a lot when he saw owl shaking her head and that funny eyes movement.

4. Mr.Fox and shapes

When he is not playing with letters he plays with shapes. So we wanted to create something special about shapes for him. He loves all of the games and characters, especially the ones from the circus scene, boy and house. When house appears during game, he gives kisses to it:)) He has also posters with characters from this game above his bed and last time we were painting he painted cat with circus bear, both from this game. Can tell you that it was really special feeling for us and he really surprised us :D

5. Dr.Panda's Restaurant

One of the first iPad games we downloaded and still very popular in our family. I mean among all of us because some of the tasks are little bit difficult for Adam's little fingers so he use to ask for little assistance to cook scrambled eggs or pour milk into mixer. But his most favourite part is to create fruit fondue. He even like to pretend he is creating some when playing together with his wooden play kitchen. Then he gives it to me and says: "And now give it to panda bear" :D 

We are back

You've probably noticed the date of our latest post. Yes it's been almost a year since we did our last one. But not because we are lazy, or that we don't know what to write about. On the contrary, we were too busy with creating our second game and its promotion, to find some little spare time for blogging. But we decided to change it now. 

We are preparing some posts about iPad and iPhone games that we play together with our son Adam or about books we read together and of course about news from our little studio, how we work from home, how we manage time to have creative working days and still spend lot of time playing with Adam. 

Stay tuned.

Our story

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Awesome news!!! Our first free little app for kids is out! We are so excited! This is almost the best Christmas gift ever! :)
I said almost…because it was last year when we got the best one - our Adam;) It was the best Christmas ever but also the most stressful one in our life. Little Adam was one month old and we wanted to be the most perfect mom/housewife and dad. 

We wanted everything to be perfect. But the problem was that it wasn’t…

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As freelancer I had lot of work before I got pregnant and was not able to finish some of them before delivery so also during Christmas time I had to work. I had to sit every spare minute at computer also during nights between breastfeeding, while Alex was shopping baby stuff, food and everything I needed and was taking care of baby when I was sleeping after whole night of drawing…we felt exhausted…when we finally sat at table on Christmas Eve it was 10pm, we had chicken instead of fish, Christmas tree was half-decorated and our home was reaaally messy:D But you know what? We really enjoyed it. Baby was peacefully sleeping next to us and it was for a first time in 8 years we were together that we spent Christmas as a family...

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And then our story began:) As a christmas gift, we ordered him Blabla Socks the fox and started to call him Mr.Fox. He loves it from a very first moment and since then he falls asleep with him every night. When Adam was around 9 months old he loved lions and his “peek-a-boo” book so we decided to create a peek-a-boo game for iPad with lion for him. It was very easy to play. There was a lion hiding behind the branch a he could move with it so the lion’s face was visible…and he loved it so much:)) It was awesome to see him laughing. And this is what we really want. Make children happy:)

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Now it’s Christmas time again and I feel like that this year flew so fast. Adam is now 1yo doing his first steps and saying first words and we are launching our Mr.Fox and friends project - apps for toddlers and preschoolers. We really hope you will like our apps, illustrations and ideas and that your kids will have lot of fun and will learn something new with our Mr.Fox. Also we would love to hear from you, so please don’t hesitate to send us email or just say hello on our Facebook page ;) 

Merry Christmas!
Alex&Edit&Adam