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July 5, 2011

Angry Monsters – appy families

GLOBAL – As a skilled Symbian and Qt developer, Tero Paananen, Mobile Qt team Team Manager at Digia, decided to use his Symbian C++ and Qt development knowledge and skills to create a Windows Phone 7 app. In fact he created two – XNASolitaire and Angry Monsters – in his spare time, with the help of his two young sons. Here’s how he made Angry Monsters.

At the end of a long day developing apps, I would imagine that Tero Paananen would come home and unplug from the world and take it easy. However, that’s not what happens. He’s often found coding at home and when you have two sons wanting some quality time with their dad, what better way to use that time, then building apps, together.

Luukas and Matias know their dad develops app for a living and as they often spend their time playing Angry Birds, they wanted to create their own version. This is when Angry Monsters was born.

The team at Nokia Developer spent some time talking with Tero about the app creating process, and Tero starts to explain:

Angry Monsters is the result of long-running challenge from my two boys: 6-year old Luukas and 10-year old Matias. They know I code for a living, and many evenings I code at home. They keep asking me “Why don’t we make our own game?” What Dad could resist? I found the open source Box2D physics engine for XNA and I decided to give it a try.

As the title of their game suggests, it’s inspired by the infamous Angry Birds we’ve all grown to love. However Tero’s sons wanted a similar game, but with monsters. As would any young boy. Tero chose the Box2D physics engine as it’s the same engine Angry Birds uses and it’s available for both Qt and XNA framework. This means that the APIs on both XNA and Qt versions are very similar, making it fast and easy to start working with.

Much like Angry Birds, the object of the game is to destroy the monsters by launching a stone out of a catapult, but you get to use the stone as many times as you like until the job is done.

This is a real family-affair. Luukas and Matias create the graphics, the themes and came up with the idea of a level editor and the ability to re-use the stone over and over again. Once these ideas and images are collated, Tero codes them all together.

It’s at night, while his family sleeps, that Tero spends his time in his mobile home at the bottom of the garden creating the code for the game. This often involves having to pace up the garden path when it’s time to send some code to Nokia Developer repository, as the family’s WiFi doesn’t quite reach his mobile office.

The game isn’t completely finished yet, as there’s still more work that needs to be done:

The game still needs sounds, exploding enemies, better game play, game over… I have also been asked to implement a QML version of it. It would also be nice to share self-made levels to friends.

For anybody interested in knowing more about the Angry Monsters project, you can find out more details at Nokia Developer. The other game created by Tero is Solitaire XNA.

Have you developed for, or are you thinking of developing for Windows Phone? Let us know, in the comments below.