c4 – Connect Four Hits the Store!

7 June 2015

It has been a week since my game called c4 – Connect Four, with AI hit the Windows Store. Because the process of converting the current webapp to Windows Store app was so simple, I decided to write about it.

How did I do it? I think it has three main parts:

  1. Convert current webapp into Windows Store app
  2. Add icons and images
  3. Submit & publish and finally wait.

Since c4 is a single-page web application based on static HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, the conversion into Windows Store app was very simple: just use the JavaScript Windows Store app and voila, your webapp can run perfectly in Windows Store environment. Some tweaks are required, but it is very easy. You need to specify what to do at the main function at the main JavaScript file: what I did was to initialize my game, just one simple function call and then I’m done. Another thing is that the styling slightly changed since, by default, JavaScript Windows Store app uses JS+CSS library called WinJS which defines lots of stuffs like default font, default background color, etc. By default, it uses the dark theme and provided light theme; so by me changing the option to light theme, my game experience on Windows Store app was already very similar to the browser experience.

Now to publish into Windows Store, you needed a license; but Microsoft is giving its store license to students for free, via Dreamspark program which NTU participates. There are some requirements needed: you need to add some icons and images for display at the Live Tile of different sizes. This part is tedious, I spent some time doing this part, testing whether it looked nice on my start screen or not.

Finally, publishing my app at Windows Store. The process took some time as I ran the app validation checker locally firs before submitting to the store. After submission, it requires me to add some nice descriptions, screenshots, privacy policy, license, contact, etc. After that, my part is done! I’ve submitted my first app to Microsoft, waiting them for approval “which may take up to 5 days”.

Forty-one minutes. Yes, it took only 41 minutes for my app from sending to Microsoft for approval to hit the store. 26 minutes after my submission, I received an e-mail stating that my app has passed certification and then 15 minutes later, I received another e-mail stating that my app has hit the store. I’m excited! I shared this information at Facebook and Twitter; and some downloads has been observed on the next day.

A week has passed, there are two 5-star rating and 28 downloads. That’s 4 downloads per day. Considering that I do not publicize it anymore since my post to Facebook and Twitter, it is not bad for starter huh?

Initially I also intended to hit Windows Phone Store (since Microsoft also give this license free for students via Dreamspark) but due to <canvas> being not adaptive to different screen sizes, I decided not to publish to WP Store; and maybe this is what can be done in the future.

So, if you are using Windows 8, support me by downloading and playing it. It is free, open source, and has no ads.

Update 9 July 2015 I noticed that it hit 100 downloads on 4 July 2015, 41 days after its release on 24 May 2015 (at the Windows Store).

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