Posts Tagged ‘XAML’

I’ve talked often about hurdles in the development of Textfyre as a business. We’ve had to work through procedural issues, development issues, content issues, game engine issues, artwork issues, investor issues, and user interface issues. We still have marketing, sales, partnership, and other issues on the horizon.

In late 2007 I was finally able to hire Jesse McGrew for the game engine, but I still couldn’t find anyone to fit into the development of the user interface. This is obviously one of the most critical components of Textfyre since the vision is to present something that is easy, attractive, and yet retains the simple beauty of interactive fiction.

After trying to get a local Flash developer involved, then trying to hire a consulting firm, I finally contacted Peter Mattsson, the creator of Flaxo, a Flash-based z-machine interpreter. Peter is going to help finish the Windows version of the user interface. Peter also has offered to help build a Flash version of uor games for Linux and Mac environments, but we’re still trying to figure out the technical details.

On the investor front, we’re getting ready for a presentation on February 20th with a Chicago-based angel investor.┬áThis Saturday, Mike Gentry and I are having dinner with Janny Wurts, a noted fantasy author who I’m trying to entice into helping with content or to become an advisor. I’d also ask that if anyone knows of a potential angel investor to talk to them about Textfyre and get us together.

On the marketing front, I’ve been developing the advertisement plan for our launch and this going very well.

The development of Textfyre has been exciting and every time we fine ourselves facing a challenge, we have always managed to define it, plan a course of action, and meet that challenge head on.

Since Jesse McGrew has successfully created our virtual machine, the next hurdle in Texfyre’s path to market is completing the visual and interactive aspects of the user interface (also known as an intepreter or “terp” to IFers).

As mentioned before, we’re using Microsoft’s WPF and XAML to do this work and it’s been very difficult finding anyone with experience with the design tools for these technologies. I’ve tried craig’s list, elance, various online forums and have come up empty until this week. I went to a Visual Studio. .NET 2008 Load Fest at Microsoft here in Chicago and asked one of the evangelists if he knew anyone with the skills I’m looking for and sure enough, he did and even better, he was at the meeting too.

I asked Anthony Handley from Magenic Consulting to stop by my laptop for a review of what we’re trying to do and give him the 10,000 foot view. He was excited and confident that he could do the work and that we just needed to talk to his boss about availability, cost, and functional requirements. After seeing Anthony’s demo of WPF, I’m extremely confident that he can manage the work and even though this will entail consulting-level fees, I feel strongly that it’s critical to put the extra effort and cash into this portion of the business.

So another hurdle seems to be overcome and the final two hurdles include partnerships and investors as well as marketing and sales. Basically we’re getting close to launch and those are the final steps in the plan.

In game news, we’re making great progress on the second Miradania game and Klockwerk’s first game is more than half complete (design and writing). Our third and fourth series’ are going slower, but I expect those to pick up steam in Q1.

In other news, I’m talking with one of my favorite authors, Janny Wurts, about helping Textfyre with content and/or editorial advise. I’ve got my fingers crossed that she might find Textfyre interesting and completely compatible with her novel writing. I plan to contact other authors once we’re in production about using existing books or new works in Textfyre games.

2007 has been a fantastic building year for Textfyre. 2008 is going to be the big launch. Happy Holidays everyone and have a great new year!