Nico's digital footprint

I grew up in the nineties, that makes me awesome by default

XNA Lunch game update

by Nico

So I’ve already missed my first blog appointment about the Windows Phone game that I’m developing during my lunch brakes. Not a good start, but I’m taking two weeks off work so I do have a valid excuse Glimlach

Last week I worked 3 hours on the game in total, my vacation started on Thursday with the app-a-thon. In those three hours I reworked the control scheme. Previously the character was moved using a virtual, on-screen thumbstick. That worked great but on a device with such small screen estate and my huge thumbs there wasn’t much left to see. So I reworked that into a point and click system, tap on the screen and the character will move to the position of the tap. A side effect of this new system is that some enemy movement bug got fixed automagically, that was a rather nice surprise.

Next to the control scheme I made some progress on the collision detection system, since my level engine is a tile based layered engine it was quite easy to do. I’ll probably dedicate a separate post on the collision detection system.

All in all good progress with little time. The project will now be shelved until the end of June, the day my vacation ends is the day I’ll pick the game back up. So that’ll be two weeks without updates.

Keep an eye on Twitter for upcoming updates and see you in two weeks!



.Net | WP7 | XNA | Metro | Devices

Windows 8 Summer app-a-thon

by Nico

Last week, on June 12, Microsoft Belgium organised a Windows 8 App-a-thon. Place to be this time was the casino in Blankenberge, a city at the Belgian coast. The concept: two app-a-thons, one during the day and one during the night. Gather a team, build an app in a few hours and show it off to the rest.

As usual I arrived a few hours early, always prefer arriving early then arriving late and have an entire room stare at you as you enter. The room was quite big, there were about 50 registrations for the event, a small and entertaining group. Once everyone of the day group arrived and got setup the introduction of the day began. Katrien De Graeve, a Microsoft Belgium Evangelist, gave the intro with me giving a small demo of Trello, the online board system that the app-a-thon community is using to divide the groups and brainstorm about different ideas.


After all the introductions were done, it was time to grab the first Red Bull of the day and started coding. My team would arrive for the night so during the day I mostly worked on my ComicDB app. This was also my first public appearance as a MEET member. This meant I would be a helper on people getting stuck. I did help some people with small issues and it felt good, being part of a community means helping people out and getting help from others. And you get fancy t-shirts Glimlach.


There were no demos after the day event because most teams stayed to continue working on their app during the night. Between both events it was time to get out and get some ice cream and seeing the beach. Yes that’s right, a bunch of developers went out to the beach instead of staying in a room behind a computer.


Then it was time for the night event, while eagerly awaiting the pizza me and my newly arrived team started working. We were working on a XBMC remote for Windows 8. We’ve spent some time before the event getting to know the API (which is a JSON-RPC API) and started working an a .NET wrapper for it. Our team proved to be pretty efficient and new functionality got spit out constantly. Never the less we couldn’t get all functionality working, playing a movie from within the app proved to be a big challenge, something we’re currently still working on.

After some pretty darn good slices of pizza and some hours of coding it was demo time. Some impressive apps got shown off, an app to check the type of beer based on its color, an app that provides you with color schemes that you can use, a MovieDB app and a random funny sentence generator (that one was pretty hilarious).

After that we got one more cocktail at the beach and then it was time to get to the parking lot in the rain and start heading home. It was a very fun day, met some nice people, met some people in real life that I know from Twitter and had a great time working with friends on an app.

I can’t wait for the next app-a-thon in August! And the one in September that the community is currently begging for Glimlach


PS: About our XBMC remote app, we are currently still working on it and we do plan to get it in the store. At that time it will also get open-sourced. The name is currently MetroRemote but that can still change.

All my pictures can be found here, should you be on one and wish for me to remove it please send me an email or contact me through Twitter


.Net | MVVM Light | Metro | Windows 8 | XAML | Community

Lunch development

by Nico

For the last couple of weeks I’ve been developing a game during my lunch break at work. Why? Mainly because I had this project in my mind for a while and I wanted something fun to do while eating lunch. Since I’ve started working on it I made a habit of tweeting my progress after the break, around 1PM GMT+1. Since I’ve started doing so a lot of people have shown interest in the project, providing tips and some even wanted to see the source code or wanted to help on the project.

I never expected to get this much feedback from something like this so I’ve decided to try and write weekly blog posts about the project, I will still tweet daily about the progress and then make a weekly summary post with findings, problems and fixes.

Now, about the game. The game is a stealth, sneak around the level, isometric 2D XNA game build for Windows Phone 7.5. If I finish it and I’m happy enough with the result to submit it to the marketplace then I’ll port it to Monogame and release it on some other platforms (no, not you iOS).

What I have so far: I have a map, created with a free, open source program called Tiled. I use Tiled because it’s pretty easy to use and it provides libraries for Windows Phone to read the maps in an XNA project. Next to the map I have a player that can run around on the map, the player always stays in the center of the screen so I basically move the map around. I have an enemy, with a triangular field of view, who moves up and down between two points. The player gets spotted when he enters the field of view of the enemy.

What I’m working on now: I’m currently building a level editor with winforms. This will make it easier for me to create lots of levels with enemies and objects in them. I currently have the form, I can open a map and read out the size date from the .tmx file (.tmx get’s created with Tiled). I want to finish the editor now so I can complete a first level. Once I have a complete level I can finetune the gameplay.

Will I open source this? Currently not, there are a few people that I know personally who have access to the source code but the repository will remain private for now. Why? because I’m thinking about making this my first paid app (with a free, ad containing version) on the WP7 marketplace. If I get completely stuck I might get some other developers involved, but for the time being I will remain the only developer.

Can I give more information about the story or setting? I probably could Glimlach but I won’t for now, I’m going to build up the hype meter for this project so that everyone will want to get it and I will get rich. Once I’m rich I can start up my own game developer studio, create Version 2 of this, get even richer, buy EA and finally get them to make decent games again. Then I’ll probably wake up and realize this was all a dream.

Should you be interested in following my project, please follow me on Twitter (@NicoVermeir) for daily updates or stay tuned for weekly updates on my blog.

PS: I’m going on holiday from June 12th until August 1st so there will probably be little to no updates in that timeframe.


.Net | WP7 | WP8 | Windows programming | XNA | Game development

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About the author


My name is Nico, I’m an MVP Windows Platform Development living in Belgium.
I’m currently employed as a .NET consultant at RealDolmen, one of Belgium’s leading IT single source providers.

I'm also founding member and board member of the Belgian Metro App Developer Network, a user group focussed on Windows 8 and Windows Phone development. If you're in Belgium feel free to drop by if we're doing an event.

Since June 2012 I'm a proud member of Microsoft's Extended Experts Team Belgium. And in February 2013 I became a member of DZone's Most Valuable Bloggers family.

In 2013 I became a book author and wrote "Windows 8 app projects, XAML & C# edition".

In 2014 I received the MVP award for the very first time.

I hope to get feedback from my readers either through comments, mail (, twitter, facebook, …












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