Category Archives: Xbox

Why Microsoft?

To celebrate my 2-year anniversary at Microsoft as a Sr. Technical Evangelist, I wanted to put my thoughts down in a blog post and discuss it in a video. This post also answers the question “Why Did I Choose Microsoft?” In today’s open-source, cross-platform world, Microsoft is becoming more and more relevant, from cloud services (hosting Windows and Linux servers) to mobile app services (supporting iOS and Android) and everything in between.

Wake Up And Code!

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mslogo Why Microsoft?

Sometimes, people ask me “Hey, you are promoting Microsoft products just because you work for Microsoft?” I usually respond “Actually no, I joined Microsoft because I enjoy using and promoting Microsoft products.” You see, today’s Microsoft supports many operating systems, programing languages and platforms that crosses overs in way that turns competition into collaboration”

As a consumer, I started using DOS and Windows 3.1 when I first learned how to use a computer. I jumped onto Windows 95 along with the rest of the world. I picked up productivity apps like WordPerfect and Quattro Pro, but was introduced to Office products such as Word and Excel. Today, I have multiple devices running Windows 10, including my Xbox One! :)

As an enterprise developer, I have been using Microsoft software development tools and business applications for almost 2 decades now. My first real job was in the Summer of 1997 when I used Active Server Pages to develop database-driven web applications. Today, I’m using Visual Studio 2015 to work on everything from ASP .NET Core 1.0 web applications to Windows 10 apps/games, and even games developed in Unity. Having tried out other dev tools, I would happily admit that Visual Studio is arguably the best IDE out there. For a lighter code editor, there’s Visual Studio Code for PC, Mac and Linux users.

Screenshot of photo and caption from IGC :-)

Screenshot of photo and caption from IGC :-)

As an indie developer, I started making silly little games for Xbox 360 using XNA and C# within Visual Studio for Xbox Live Indie Games. I even got slayed by Indie Gamer Chick, but survived to write 2 articles for her blog (Earning Your Keep and Redefining Indie Success). I followed up my indie games with free dev tools for XBLIG developers around the world, which really got me involved in the dev community. Long before my colleague Dave Voyles and I joined Microsoft, he wrote up a couple of reviews on my dev tools (XBLIG Sales Data Analyzer and XNA Basic Starter Kit) before we had even known each other.

As a community leader, I created Facebook groups for Construct 2, Unity, and Xbox One. I wasn’t sure which would take off, but all three of them are very active today. I recently launched a new group for HoloLens, and also run a real-life Meetup group for DC/MD/VA developers using Microsoft tools, technologies and platforms. It’s great to see continued interest from my audience in everything form cloud services to game development tools.

I was even fortunate enough to get mentioned in the Official Xbox Magazine, in the same month that I was selected for the Microsoft MVP program and offered a job at Microsoft as a Technical Evangelist!

Source: Official Xbox Magazine, March 2014, Page 65

Source: Official Xbox Magazine, March 2014, Page 65

As a technical evangelist, I have been working with students, startups and developers all over DC/MD/VA, coast to coast across the US and around the world via in-person events and online videos. Looking for one of my videos? Head on over to MSDN Channel 9, where you’ll find plenty of videos for all things Microsoft and more!

My colleague James Quick and I also have 2 sets of videos on Microsoft Virtual Academy, with the 3rd set coming soon!

  1. Construct 2:
  2. Advanced Construct 2:
  3. Windows 10 Games with Construct 2: (Coming Soon!)

So, why did I choose Microsoft? I followed my passions, and this is where it led me. 😎

To wrap things up, check out this video of me talking with my friend Frank La Vigne, a Technology Evangelist at Microsoft, on his YouTube Channel Frank’s World TV.

YouTube Video on FWTV:


In my latest Channel 9 video, check out my other video with Frank where we discuss how to get started with game development!


Getting Started with Game Development

Getting started with game development? Where should you start?

Watch me talk about game development with Microsoft Technical Evangelist Frank La Vigne! We’ll cover recommendations for both 2D and 3D tools, and various platforms including mobile and consoles.



Frank’s World TV

For more frank talk with Frank La Vigne, check out our discussion on FWTV:


Team2Bit Q&A

In this Q&A, we have Matt Kain Lewandowski of Team2Bit, developer of Fist Puncher and the all-new Reagan Gorbachev.

profile pic

1. How many people were on your team to make Reagan Gorbachev?

A majority of the heavy lifting during the development of REAGAN GORBACHEV was done by myself and my brother Jake – we’re the two founding and primary members of our studio Team2Bit.  We like wearing many hats and getting our hands dirty, and most importantly, handling a bulk of the workload ensures that our creative vision really comes across in our games.


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Strange Beat Q & A

In this Q&A, we have Alessandro Montoli of Strange Beat, developer of Days After the Storm.

ale_sb   daysafterstormtitle

1. How many people were on your team to make Days After the Storm?

From the very beginning “Day After The Storm” has been developed only by one person except for the graphics which have been created by a girl working only on this aspect of the game. For the more technical and curious we can say that we have used “GameMaker Studio” as framework to develop the game with the aid of GML for scripting purposes.

Being our first game it has been very challenging for us to create a story, thinking of how to develop the gameplay and all documentations that comes with it!

2. Do you contract out any of the work to part-time or temp workers?

Indeed, as mentioned above we have a very valid girl working part-time on the game who has a great portfolio and 5 years of experience in computer graphic which.

3. Have many games has Strange Beat published?

We are like the 2016… at the beginning of our journey, as individual we all had experience and published games and app for iOS and back in the days in flash however this is our first title as Strange Beat.

4. What other games have each of your team members worked on?

We have worked on a total of 4 games for iOS using “Corona” as framework; furthermore we all have created small Flash game for big brands such as Ferrero and Aprilia to mention two.


5. What advice do you have for your other indie developers at ID@Xbox?

Passion! Passion is what pushes us to create videogames, we love this medium. We have always been insiders in the gaming industry since the time we worked in game stores through the time when we had the opportunity to write review on some important magazine (ZZap! and The Games Machine italian version) and online ( until now when we have finally decide to step on the stage and be part of the show.

If you have the passion for something and you believe in your idea, don’t give up and give your 100% even if you do not know how to use Unity, Unreal, Game Maker or any coding tool, what matter the most is believe in your capacity and be excited about your idea and the game you are making and be willing to learn and discover!

The ID@Xbox team is very selective, if you do not succeed it means that your game does not match the standard of the market and what people expect from an indi game nowadays. As mentioned is fundmental not to give up but to try to understand how to improve your game, graphic, gameplay etc… Keep in mind that ID@Xbox is a huge opportunity for us developers and it needs to have high standards to meet in order to be credible and make sure that the games released are what players want to play.

To conclude if we can give a suggestion, maybe because it is the first programming language we used, Turbo Pascal 3.0, read the code, try to improve it, maybe rewrite it and at the end your skills will improve.

6. Will you be bringing your products to Windows 10?

Indeed, after the initial release on Xbox One the game will be released also for Windows 10. It is a market we cannot ignore.

7. Any future projects you can discuss?

We are currently working on a second project called “Phollia” which is being developed in Unity 3D, the gameplay is much faster than “Days After The Storm”, at this stage we cannot say much but to give you a hint think of a game created by “Jeff Minter”!

8. Anything else you’d like to add?

We are extremely happy and proud of the trust given to us by ID@Xbox, this is a great opportunity that allows development teams without a “name behind” but with capacities and aspiration to see their own games released on a top platform such as Xbox One, what more could we ask? Thank you ID@Xbox!

Battle High Q&A


In this Q&A, we have Matthew DeLucas of Mattrified Games, who recently released Battle High 2 A+ on Xbox One via ID@Xbox.

Matt DeLucas  MATTRIFIED_logo_square  Battle High 2 A+

1. How many people were on your team to make Battle High 2 A+?

This is always a tricky question to answer.  To create Battle High 2 A+, I worked by myself; however, the work I did involved mostly programming and designing and porting the game from XNA to Unity3D as well as Xbox One specific work.

The actual Battle High team, however, really involved about 7 people, including me at one time, all working remotely in our spare time.  That team, as of now, has disbanded and went separate ways, but the lead artist, Vanni Del Moral and creator of Point5Projects, has allowed me to continue to develop and work with the IP.


2. Do you contract out any of the work to part-time or temp workers?

Yes! I worked with a lot of talented individuals on Battle High 2 A+.  If you visit the credits page for the game – – you’ll see I’ve worked with a variety of individuals from graphic designers, 3D artists, audio designers, and voice actors to bring this game to life.

3. Have many games has Mattrified Games published?

Technically Battle High 2 A+ is Mattrified Games’ second release, the first being the OUYA version of Battle High 2. I’ve also released other games on the Xbox Live Indie Games platform, but I didn’t release them as Mattrified Games.  Those games were Convextrix, Battle High:  San Bruno, and Battle High 2.

So if you count when I started Mattrified Games, LLC, 2; otherwise, it’s more like 5.  I’m hoping 2016 is the year I can release a new game outside of the Battle High 2 series – while doing updates for the game as well.

BH2A+ Title Hero Art 1920 x 1080

4. What other games have each of your team members worked on?

Sadly, I haven’t stayed in touch with the other Battle High 2 A+ members that closely.  I know Vanni has worked on some platformers such as The Hive and Bad Bots, which are discussed a bit on the Point5Projects forums –

Also, an artist, Matteo Carlino, who did a lot of great work for Battle High 2, is working on a personal project called PaperBlade –

5. What advice do you have for your other indie developers at ID@xbox?

  • Firstly, be organized. There are a lot of acronyms and emails and documents to keep track of, so the better you are organized, the easier the process will be.
  • Another is don’t assume anything or always test your game and if you can afford QA, you should as it’ll help save you time in the long run.  I didn’t have a huge issue with this, but there were a few things in cert that had I tested more carefully, it would have made that process go more smoothly.
  • Also, I made a fighting game and discovered there is an issue with some fightsticks – an issue I’m still waiting to be addressed unfortunately.
  • Finally, don’t be afraid to email the ID@xbox team. Obviously, don’t abuse this and send 1,000 emails everyday, but ultimately, they really want developers in the program to succeed, and you shouldn’t feel anxious about sending an email with questions if you have them.  I say this from the perspective of a solo developer, who was hesitant to even apply as I felt I was too unimportant or small for them to bother with.

6. Will you be bringing your products to Windows 10?

I’m not 100% sure.  I probably won’t bring Battle High 2 A+ to Windows 10, but I’d like to at least look into bringing future projects to the Windows 10 platform.  I just got a new PC with Windows 10, so it’s definitely something I can investigate.

My only hesitation is that I often design games that would be best on console – or with a controller rather – so I feel it’d be easier to just focus on Xbox One, but I know – or have heard – that developing for Windows 10 can make bringing a game to Xbox One as well as Windows 10 computers rather easy.

7. Any future projects you can discuss?

Sure! I have a plethora of ideas; however, most of my independent work is on the side so I can’t dedicate as much time to it as I would like.  Saying this, I have a few game ideas.

  • The first is a tactics RPG involving fighting game mechanics and merfolk.  My idea is that it’d be released in small chunks instead of one epic release.
  • The other is a mobile fighting game, but it’s asynchronous, involving building a branching attack pattern and seeing how it works against your opponent similar to Frozen Synapse.
  • The third project is a small mobile title based off my latest Ludum Dare release, Grominows: .  It’s a simple snake-like game involving dominoes.  I could see the previously two mentioned games on the Windows 10 platform for sure.
  • Finally, there is a 3D fighting game I’ve been wanting to do involving dessert-based fighters called CupKick; however, due to Cuphead, I may change this idea.

8. Anything else you’d like to add?

Now is a great time to be an independent game developer as more and more platforms are becoming accessible and engine are more affordable, but because of this accessibility, it’s also becoming harder and harder to get noticed, so I appreciate it when someone takes the time to give exposure to smaller developers and would like to thank you, so thanks!