Traffic: Solution to Orange Lot 8

Since a few people have asked, here is a guide to solving Orange Lot 8 in the minimum number of moves.

The game design looks a bit different because I’ve made a few changes to it. I should have a major update ready in the next week with more levels!

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Traffic 1.3 released! :) (and some talk about privacy)

I hope you enjoy the latest update to Traffic, I added support for basic themes. The Smile theme was something I coded a while ago as a joke but I finally decided to put it in the game :).

I get the occasional user concerned about why my games require owner identity, data connection and web browser. The web browser is so I can link to this blog, the owner identity and data connection are used by the advertisement. How do you know that I’m not taking your data and selling it? Well one reason is because I have no motivation to (I’m making plenty off ads), the other is because it’s all anonymous data.

Apps get the “Owner Identity” requirement (ID_CAP_IDENTITY_USER) when they use the UserExtendedProperties Class. The only supported property available from this class is “ANID” (see MSDN).  This property is for getting your “Anonymous Windows Live ID” so that you can be identified uniquely by the app. It’s quite possible that Microsoft’s advertising recognizes your phone from other apps you’ve used but it doesn’t actually have any personal information. If any of this information is incorrect please let me know :).

Microsoft’s advertising also has the ability to use your GPS coordinates to target advertising based on where you live, but only if the app has “Location Services” enabled and shares this information. This is what my games used to do but I removed it when some users complained, I can understand why it’s a privacy issue.

Thanks for giving me your feedback!

-James

Traffic 1.1 released (and download stats)

I finally released an update to Traffic. I addressed some of the complaints about the stars being too small and changed some of the levels that were very similar. I didn’t realize that GTLevel (the level generator I used) will actually repeat levels once the move counts get too high. I think this is because there is a much smaller number of original levels with total move count over 35 so repeats happen more frequently.

I updated the UI slightly to follow the WP7 guidelines better (24 pixels from the left, etc). I considered putting in more time to improve graphics and maybe add sound effects but I’m not sure how much this will actually improve the game. So let me know, would you enjoy playing these games more if there was better graphics and sound? Would you rather I work on new games or on improving my existing games?

I’ll share some of my data to give others an idea of how often my apps gets downloaded:

In total Traffic had 78569 total downloads at the end of February, 20667 in January and 57902 in February. About 68% of the downloads are in the US market.

In the US market Traffic reached the top 10 on February 2, peaked at #6 and is currently at #7 . Slideout broke the top 100 in late February and has been around #90 for a week now.

Like many independent WP7 developers I reached the conclusion that free games with advertisements are the best option. The ad revenue from Microsoft’s ad control has been great so I don’t think there is a good reason to make a paid version of my games. I know some people are willing to pay 99 cents not to see ads and I’m sorry that this isn’t possible. I don’t want to release a separate paid version since any user switching from free to paid would lose all their progress. I could use the trial API instead but I want my games to stay in the free section of the marketplace since this is where most people look for games. Hopefully the trial API will change in the future so it becomes a better option.

I made some changes to the ads in version 1.1 to test more categories and change the ad frequency. The data is starting to come in, I’ll make a blog post about it in a few weeks when I have more to report.

Again, thank you for supporting my apps and leaving positive reviews! I do read your reviews and appreciate your feedback.

-James