Update to Wordament available soon in the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace

We pride ourselves on listening to the community and addressing the concerns of our players. Over the past 6 weeks we have launched a number of new puzzle languages, while simultaneously building a new Windows 8 Xbox LIVE-enabled version as well as working on updates for Phone. Many of you have shared feature ideas and issues you have encountered with the Phone app and we are taking an opportunity to address them. Today we are excited to announce that a new build of Wordament for Windows Phone 7 will be appearing in the marketplace shortly. Wordament 2.1 addresses many of the top comments we have received since launching and we can’t wait to hear what you think. So here is what you are going to get:

The systray is back

systrayThe systray is that little bar at the top of the screen that tells you what time it is, your signal strength and how much battery you have. We took it out in Xbox LIVE version of Wordament because we honestly didn’t know you could have a “full bleed app” and still show this. Once we removed to it, we thought it was a cleaner look and we wanted the pixel space on certain screens. What we didn’t take into account was how many of you really like to know what time it is when you’re playing Wordament. We’ve even heard stories from people about missing classes and even their train because they got so immersed! So we’ve brought the systray back during the game board, main menu and individual results. It’s still hidden on the real time leaderboards and screens where we need the headroom. Now you never need to wonder if you are going to be late if you play one more game. Simply swipe from the top of the phone, onto the screen and the tray will appear.

Monochrome background

We have heard from a group of individuals who don’t like the color orange yet love the accent color blue. In fact some players downright detest orange with a passion. We actually got some boarder line scary mails and manifestos from some players who apparently don’t get along with red and yellow mixed together. Like it or not the orange color is part of the Wordament brand these days and we aren’t going to pull a “New Coke” at this time swap it. But, we decided there is a worthwhile feature we could do and that is to allow the game board to be played on a muted, neutral background. In Wordament 1.1 we’ve added a new setting to help and options, “Game background”. This settings lets you choose if you want to play on a colorful, saturated background or on a neutral, monochrome background. The choice is yours. Playing with a monochrome background will not change the background in the main menus, that remains tied to your accent color but it will change the in-game background to a much more subtle background. For those of you that really disliked the look, please come back and give us another try. I think you will find it much easier on your eyes.

saturated-setting            monochrome-setting

saturated            monochrome

Improved connectivity

Right after launching Wordament we started getting a new class of email showing up in our inbox: the user that can’t connect. We quickly figured out all the tricks to making a phone connect to Xbox LIVE and to Wordament and we documented them all in a FAQ to help folks out. That’s nice, if you can find the FAQ. In this new build we are much smarter about explaining why the game can’t connect, whose fault it is and in many cases we can provide advice on how to fix it. This should significantly help new users facing connection problems.

Along with better error logic, we also reduced the number of calls we make on startup as well as the amount of data we transmit between our service and phone client. This results in better connectivity, particularly on slower 2G networks that still exist in many parts of the world. We would love to hear from you if this new build works for you where the old one didn’t.

There is nothing worse than playing the game of your life and then being forced out to the main menu to see you lost connection. Rest assured we are doing everything we can to try to prevent that and in Wordament 2.1 you should see the “Can’t connect to Wordament.net” error less during game play. We improved our network retry logic such that it is more resilient to temporal network glitches.

Better touch experience on Bigger screens (i.e. Nokia Lumia 900s)

For about a year, the device that the Wordament dev staff carried around as our daily phone was a Samsung Focus. As a result, we played lots of Wordament on the Focus and basically spent hundreds of hours tuning the code on that device. For the first gen of phones that approach proved fine and we saw pretty consistent touch performance across a wide range of hardware. Then we got some Lumia 900s right around the time we shipped v1 and we started to notice that several of us didn’t score as high on the Lumia 900 as we did on the Focus. At first we wrote this off to user error: “it’s a bigger screen”, “the glass feels different”, or “we’ve played thousands of games on the focus” etc. After all, the differences in scores we were talking about were pretty minor. But that was starting to feel like a poor excuse as we started to hear other player agree with us. So I sat down one evening and debugged it. Some of our code that tuned Wordament to work so well on the Focus actually made the Lumia a bit less responsive to word swipes on the game board. I’m happy to announce that we have solved this in the update you are about to get. Touch performance on the Lumia 900 is as good as any other device now.

Updates roll out around the world and to different phones in a staged manor so it could take a day or two before you see it on your phone. At some point in the near future we will ask all players to upgrade to Wordament 2.1 in large part due to the connectivity improvements.

Enjoy,

John / Manthor10

About these ads

About Wordament

Wordament is a fun and addictive word game from You vs. the Internet, a Microsoft Studio.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Update to Wordament available soon in the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace

  1. Wayne says:

    The systray is a subtle, but very useful update. Time flies by when you’re playing Wordament!

  2. Thanks. I didn’t know about the SystemTray.IsVisible option either. Just added it to my app. Keep up the good work!

  3. Phillip says:

    Awesome! I’ve wondered, would it be possible to add a skin feature, where we could choose different skin colors? The monochrome is awesome, but I would like to see other colors! Thanks for a great game!

    • Wordament says:

      On WP7 you can change your accent color to get different skin colors in Wordament. The monochrome feature is really there to remove color, not choose it. ;)

  4. Flippy says:

    Just a bit confused…. Why does the UK Marketplace show Wordament as v2.0.0.0?

    Good news about the systemtray though and the improved connectivity, far too often I’ve had poor cell reception but have been connected to WiFi and told that Wordament can’t connect…..

  5. Eurig says:

    The systray swipe was so useful, glad to see it back!!

  6. Bus says:

    Looks good. Status on the 8 app update?

  7. Luis says:

    Great work guys. I’m not sure how many people have commented on this but In the current build I get unresponsive UI whenever its trying to update the displayed ad and it takes a bit longer than it should. feels strange that the user input on the screen is less important than updating the ad. this is my main issue with the game, other than some of the stuff already mentioned in your post.

    • Wordament says:

      We are aware of this issue and we have reported it to the team that makes the ad control. The ad control appears to lock the UI thread when it rolls to a new ad. It is most noticable on ads that have bitmaped graphics.

  8. Great work, guys. Whatever it is you’re doing to listen to your fans is working well. And my Nokia 900 thanks you as well :).

  9. Thimbro says:

    YES YES YES YES YES YES YES

  10. Gurlygurl says:

    Is there a glitch for frenimies? I accidentally added a couple, when I say to remove it never does….i have tried uninstall, power off and on and still can’t get rid of them. Any suggestions?

    • Wordament says:

      If you have Frenemies that you can’t remove… they are real Xbox LIVE Friends, and are indicated by an Xbox logo next to their names on the Unfollow screen.

  11. Mike C says:

    I noticed the strange delay on the Nokia 900, too. It seemed that I had to slow down a little for it to register the screen taps. Thanks for all of your work!

  12. Keith says:

    Really awesome game but I’m disappointed that you changed your nice blue tile to a boring, theme-coloured one. Can we have an option for that? Why are so many developers choosing to go with those damn bland, theme-coloured tiles anyway? Can you imagine how boring our phones would look if everyone did that.

    • Wordament says:

      We have always followed the Phone’s theme. Moving to Xbox LIVE with version 2.0.0.0 broke that and it was one of our top requests. We returned it by popular demand.

      Jason / Black Snapper

  13. llxheart04ll says:

    Awesome! Thanks for your hard work guys!

  14. Sasha Leigh says:

    Waiting for an Android version so I can stop stealing my boyfriend’s phone!! ;)

  15. Musquito says:

    I love the systray. After work I only have time from 16:53 until 17:08 and then the train departs losing my internet connection. So I like to see the time to know if there is time enough for another game. So far the positive news about the update.
    Since the update I have many difficulties to connect as before the update I never experienced connection troubles.

  16. jader3rd says:

    I noticed that the Icon when pinned to the Start Screen follows the accent color again. I was missing that.

Comments are closed.