AlphaJax

AlphaJax is an award-winning FREE word game you can play with your friends on your shiny Windows Phone.

AlphaJax is also on Xbox LIVE so you can enjoy achievements, leaderboards, avatar integration and more!

All you need is a love of words and some interwebs.


Download AlphaJax



Background

We got fired up at the Microsoft Mix conference in April 2010 during which the Windows Phone platform was launched. AlphaJax was conceived shortly after and developed during the rest of the year as a launch application for Windows Phone. The concept was fairly simple. Take a classic board game experience we all enjoyed playing onto Windows Phone and allow users to play each other online with their new Windows Phones.

Strategy

A lot of the focus was set on creating a really polished and smooth user experience. Executing technically on a simple enough concept was one thing, but it had to feel and work just right for the user. Intuitive, uncomplicated design was coupled with a strong adherence to the Metro user experience, and this provided a really solid foundation on which to build.

Alongside this, it was important to focus on a strong set of most wanted or expected features. It was easy to get carried away planning a lot of extravagant and cool seeming features and settings, but when it came down to it, we decided to focus on delivering a top notch experience for a strong set of initial features and build on this over time through updates, rather than trying to do too much in a single release.

Feature wise, AlphaJax is at heart a turn based, online multiplayer game. Players use their turn to place a word on the board for a score, and their opponent gets notified instantly via a push notification. This allows for an engaging, fast-paced mobile gaming experience that is easy to pick up and put down at any time.

Successes

AlphaJax quickly established itself as the premier word game on Windows Phone. AlphaJax won an award for best mobile application at the Onya Awards in Wellington, New Zealand in February 2011. AlphaJax was also a finalist in the Microsoft New Zealand Partner Awards in November 2011.

AlphaJax continues to be one of the most successful games on the Windows Phone platform. The title was sold to Microsoft Game Studios in 2012 and is available on Xbox LIVE for Windows Phone.

Challenges

Much of the work on AlphaJax was carried out during pre-release versions of the Windows Phone Development SDKs. One of the challenges was to design the application so it could withstand architectural changes along the way as a result of changes in the software as it progressed. It was also challenging to not have a physical device until late in the development cycle, but we coped!

Another major aspect was performance turning. Developing AlphaJax with pre-release software on pre-release developer hardware gave us all a real appreciation of the importantance of wrestling every last bit of performance out of a mobile application. We left no stone unturned to provide an experience that was as fast, fluid and delightful as possible for the end user, and we’ve taken our leanings from AlphaJax and applied them incrementally through all our other Windows Phone applications.

Most recently we’re proud to have worked through the rigourous testing and quality processes involved in taking a game onto the Xbox LIVE platform. We’re proud of the results and hope you enjoy playing the game as much as we do

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