Interesting interview with the developer of SurvivalCraft, the Minecraft clone for WP7

SC11 has a fascinating interview with the developer of SurvivalCraft, the Minecraft clone that burst on the scene a few weeks ago.

The interview gives an interesting insight into the trails and tribulations on developing on Windows Phone 7 for game developers, with the paragraph below being a good example:

I don’t remember when I found out that there isn’t a Minecraft clone for Windows Phone. It must have been quite early in the development. I recall googling it and finding only the „recipe” apps. Suddenly I had a goal. At that time I was quite sure that it will not work – slow CPU, managed code (Microsoft does not let developers run native code on the phone), abysmal GPU. I was sure other people must have tried it before me and failed. And I was certain that I will get a couple of frames per second, maximum.

Then I learned that Windows Phone does not support shaders. This was the low point. I almost abandoned it. I didn’t have the actual device to test it on back then. Without shaders the code had to be even slower and more memory consuming than it already was. Indeed, some weeks later, when I tried it on the phone Survivalcraft was humming at a steady 4.5 FPS :-)

I spent a lot of time optimizing the hell out of it, and somehow got it to playable framerates. Lack of shaders is a pain. I think this is one single area where Microsoft needs to improve.

Why not the other platforms? There are Minecraft clones for these already, even official Minecraft apps. Plus I had a lot of pre-existing C#/XNA code from my old project. A lucky coincidence I guess.

surivalcraftqrRead the rest of the interview, that’s available in both English and Polish, here.

Survivalcraft is $1.99 with a free trial.  In the interview the developer warns that as features are added the price will be increased, so it may be a good idea to get in early on the ground floor, so to speak.

SurvivalCraft can be downloaded here.

See a video of the game play after the break.

Survivalcraft Gameplay #1 Alpha1.3 on the HTC Titan (for android and windows phone)