There are 4 key areas that need to change when porting Word Monaco Solitaire from Palm to Pocket PC / Windows Mobile devices. These areas are critical as the audience is used to navigating and interfacing differently than the Palm.
Menus – Window Mobile OS displays a universal menu at the top of the screen for global navigation and a menu at the bottom of the screen which is controlled by the launched application. Many games take over these areas to gain back precious screen real estate. Microsoft provides links to third party developers who have published code to take control of these areas. Plus a developer can create their own code. I saw two risks in taking over the menus. The first is as new devices are released there is no guarantee that the application will be compatible once you stray from Microsoft official code structure and second, many Pocket PC owners are professionals and we wanted to make sure the could quickly navigate away from our games and back to work without anyone noticing. 🙂 Thus, all of our games leave the global navigation at top alone and create an appropriate and helpful menu on the bottom of the screen.
Help – Windows Mobile OS supports a reduced version of HTML. Which I think is fantastic. This means the WM users can easily and quickly navigate my long and thorough help. Plus I can then post the same help file on my web site.
Different Orientation – With the exception of a few square Pocket PC’s most of the devices running Windows Mobile are rectangle while most Palms are square. This new ratio results in additional real estate for our players and I think Pocket PC players expect gamers to take advantage of the space. On Word Monaco Solitaire we will allow users to make longer words and my tips can be slightly longer, if necessary.
Fonts – Windows Mobile has a greater variety of fonts and sizes than the Palm. Pocket PC players are use to this variety and expect information to be presented clearly. In Word Monaco we were able to fit more information into a smaller area because of this. For example, the tips that pop up use a smaller font than on the Palm, this resulted in a smaller dialog box, which means more of the game can be viewed when the tip is being read.
These four areas were the ones the rose to the top for Word Monaco Solitaire. Other games will have different concerns. If you have a question or comment, please feel free to contact me.