Free games for your Windows Mobile PDA or Smartphone

It has been a long time since my last blog posting. I am trying to get back into the habit of regular posting, so I thought I would start off again with a beta release of a project that I have been working upon recently.

Introduction

As I mentioned previously Simon Tatham’s Portable Puzzle Collection is a high addictive collection of 27 logic puzzles that can be used on Windows, Mac OS , Unix and PalmOS powered devices. I have picked up the existing Windows Mobile PDA support found within the SVN repository and improved the port, making it more functional and compatible with a wider range of Windows Mobile devices.

I am at the stage where I am getting ready to make an initial release. As such I have decided to make a beta release, in the hope that it generates some feedback which will allow me to further improve device compatibility and iron out any kinks.

Installation Process

[Download puzzles.zip - 741KB]

Download the attached ZIP file and extract the CAB file called Puzzles.ARMV4.CAB located within it. Once you transfer this CAB file to your device, you can install the games as you would with any other CAB file.

Once installed, you should see a Puzzles folder underneath the Games section of your device’s Start Menu which contains 27 new games to occupy your time with.

The single CAB file should be usable on any Windows Mobile 2003 or above device – Smartphone or Pocket PC, QVGA or VGA, Landscape, Portrait or Square screen. It would probably even work on the OFone if one actually existed! The user interface dynamically adapts at run time to its current situation. For instance it uses a slightly different menu layout on Pocket PC 2003 devices, and hides a toolbar if it finds itself running on a smartphone with a numeric keypad.

On the device compatibility front, if anyone has a Windows Mobile Standard (smartphone) device with a QWERTY keyboard such as a Moto Q or Samsung BlackJack which I could borrow for a short time, I would love to hear from them… especially something running WM6.

Further details

From anyone who downloads this beta release I would be interested in hearing feedback on:

  1. Any bugs and/or device compatibility issues
  2. If there is interest in a localised version (i.e. having the UI in French, German or Japanese etc)?
  3. If there is interest in support for “raw” Windows CE based devices?

As with all beta releases there are a couple of known issues which you will need to be aware of. Many will hopefully be resolved before I make a final release. These issues include:

  1. The lack of proper start menu icons.
  2. Usability issues with many of the games on non touch-screen enabled devices.
  3. Some Cosmetic issues within the custom game configuration dialog.
  4. The game “filling” has some corrupt pixels on the edges of the game board.
  5. The game “inertia” is currently unplayable via keyboard, due to not being able to move on diagonals.

My next steps

Within the next day or so I will clean up my patch to Simon Tatham’s original source code and post it to this blog along with compilation instructions (for Visual Studio 2005) etc. Then I will start producing a plan for the additional work required to make a proper v1.0 release.

In developing this port I have also came up with some ideas for future blog topics. These blog topics will be of interest to native (C and C++) developers, instead of Compact Framework developers, and will focus on topics such as SIP handling, Smartphone and Pocket PC UI differences, and cross platform development tips.

I also have a couple of blog postings about popup notification balloons to follow on from my previous entry on the subject. So hopefully I’ll get back into the swing of things over the next few days.

8 Responses to “Free games for your Windows Mobile PDA or Smartphone”

  1. Awsome dude says:

    Okay, I’ve only played Net so far, but it is really addictive.

  2. Kirk Jackson says:

    Hi,

    Should they work with the phone keypad? None of the games seemed to be playable on my Vodafone 1210 — the games start, but since there’s no touchscreen on the phone I can’t make anything move…

    Kirk

  3. Hi Kirk,

    I am testing on exactly the same device (Vodafone 1210).

    At the moment many of the games won’t work on a smartphone device for the reason you comment on, i.e. lack of keyboard support.

    The puzzle collection is written in a “multiple tier” approach, i.e. there are game backends, a “midend” for common logic such as game board resizing etc and a presentation front end which is rewritten for each platform the games run on. Since the games have traditionally been used on desktop PCs (i.e. a mouse is always present), many of the game backends do not have keyboard support written into them.

    For a game which does have keyboard support try net, or flip, you should be able to play these games with the DPAD on a smartphone device.

    My current intentions is to use this beta to verify that the core of the port is working correctly (i.e. it is dealing properly with scenarios such as different screen resolutions or orientations etc).

    There are a couple more known bugs in this area, but once I have sorted those out, I am going to concentrate on adding the missing keyboard support to those games which are currently lacking it. This should make them all playable on non touchscreen devices.

    Hopefully I will have cleaned up my existing patch by Sunday evening. At that stage I’ll be posting compilation instructions etc to this blog, in case anyone is interested in lending a hand.

    Thanks for comment,
    Christopher

  4. Wahoo says:

    Thank you for sharing!

  5. Mike says:

    This is great. It will be nice to have Simon’s puzzles on my HTC Mogul.

    Is there any documentation about the controls for the puzzles? I do have a sliding keyboard on the Mogul, but normally I am using a stylus. For example, in Loopy, touching the stylus creates a line. How do I create an X to indicate that a line should not be there? Holding the stylus down and double tapping the stylus do not work. I also don’t seem to be able to hold a button down while tapping.

  6. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for dropping by.

    There isn’t any documentation as of yet on how to play the games. The standard release of Simon’s puzzles has a large help file and one of the things I need to have a think about is how to convert this and “condense” it into a form suitable for use on the PDA.

    I have been busy on a couple of other projects recently, the main one being helping to organise a .NET User Group event being ran this weekend. As such I haven’t had a chance to outline which games are currently playable and/or have usability issues on the Windows Mobile platform.

    If you’re keen to lend a helping hand you could help out with this. in a later blog entry about this puzzle collection I outlined how to obtain the source code and where to submit bug reports etc.

    I would appreciate it if you would submit a bug report whenever you come across a game which appears to have playability issues such as the one you describe with Loopy. This way I’ll have an ideal way to keep track of progress on fixing these playability issues.

  7. M says:

    Hi, I installed your games on my WM6 Standard smartphone HTC Ozone, but unfortunately, the majority of them don’t work (Black box, Bridges, Dominosa, Fifteen, Filling, Galaxies, Guess, Loopy, Map, Mines, Netslide, Pattern, Pegs, Rectangles, Sixteen, Slant, Tents, Twiddle). I noticed that the ones that don’t work are the ones that are controlled with a mouse. The ones that are controlled with a keyboard seem to be fine… I really, really enjoyed these games, is anybody still working on them to make them compatible with other systems, like mine? Thank you very much, the puzzles are really interesting and quite hard!

  8. Hi M,

    Yes you are correct most games don’t work on smartphone (non touch screen) devices and as you correctly theorised, this is mostly due to being designed for control with the mouse rather than a keyboard.

    I’m personally waiting to see how much compatibility Windows Mobile 7 has with previous releases before committing too much time to this project again. It will also be of interest to see what happens to the non touch screen variant of the OS in this time frame, as you will notice little has changed with the WM6.5 release when compared to the touch screen devices…

    If anyone is interested in taking the lead, I don’t mind lending a hand from time to time, but this project isn’t high on my priorities list at this point in time. Especially since I couldn’t establish contact with the original developer to eventually get my changes committed into his repository.

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