Saturday, 19 November 2011

Omnia 7 vs Lumia 800

It's just over one year on from my day-one adoption of Windows Phone on the Samsung Omnia 7. After much deliberation, I decided to grab a Nokia Lumia 800 to see what all the fuss is about, and get a taste of what so many newcomers to the OS are going to experience.

Nokia has done a fantastic job of advertising the Lumia, and the campaign is a great shot in the arm to Windows Phone after a year of little to no pushing of the platform by Microsoft itself. In the UK, at least, everywhere I look I'm being bombarded with adverts for the flagship device. I don't need to be sold on the platform - I'm developing games for it. I'm sold, I'm locked in. But it's great to see how interest has grown over the last month or so. Having Windows in your phone is becoming cool again, and rightfully so.

But this post isn't for me to extol the virtues of Windows Phone, it's to compare the wonderful phone I've been using for the last year to the new star of the show. Hopefully it'll be of use to other Omnia 7 owners that are wondering if they should make the switch or not. So let's dig in.

To me, the Omnia with its 4" screen never felt like a huge phone. But the first thing that struck me about the Lumia is how small it seems next to it. And yet the Lumia feels weightier, and definitely looks a lot better. That's fairly subjective, but the Lumia has the lovely curved gorilla-glass screen and the equally curvy rear. The Omnia looks fairly plain and businesslike in comparison.

A few reviews had mentioned a slight rattle in the buttons, and although it's present it's not as much of a problem as I had imagined. You have to shake the phone fairly hard to hear it, and the buttons are not loose in any way when you run your finger over them. All in all, the chassis feels solid.

I have a slight concern with the USB socket cover. It's really flimsy, and kind of a pain to operate. You push down on one end of it to open it, and the hinge and cover feel pathetically weak and plasticy. Any amount of force while the cover is open and it will definitely break off. However, once it's closed there's no looseness to speak of. Something to consider if you're constantly recharging, syncing or deploying over USB.

The Lumia has all-capacitive operating system buttons. I do miss the hardware Windows key of the Omnia. I had got used to using the Windows key to wake up the Omnia, and now that's not an option with the Lumia.

Many Lumia reviews have mentioned how close the capacitive buttons are to the screen. This was an issue for me with the Omnia when I was gaming on the phone. I find it less so now, probably because I'm used to avoiding accidental swipes, but that search button still catches me out sometimes. I haven't used the Lumia enough yet to tell if the closer proximity of buttons to screen is going to be an issue, but I will be sure to update if I find it is.

On the audio side I find the Lumia's loudspeaker a little quieter than the Omnia's, but it doesn't distort as much at high volume. It also seems that the lowest volume setting is quieter than the Omnia's, which is great. There's also more control over the volume at low settings. However, the included headphones are dreadful. The Omnia's have a volume rocker, answer button and mic in the remote control unit. The Lumia's is without a volume rocker. The audio quality of the Omnia's pack-in headphones wasn't great, but the Lumia's are somehow worse.

I'm no expert in photography, so all I'll say about the cameras is that I found the Lumia generally produces better quality pictures, with a higher colour saturation. The Lumia's lens has a much wider angle on it, which is very nice.

Omnia 7 Camera Image

Lumia 800 Camera Image

The Screen
The 3.7" Lumia screen is smaller than the 4" Omnia. And I was surprised how much smaller. When you line the phones up side-by-side and look at the home screen, you can really appreciate how nice the Omnia's screen is. Surprisingly, I haven't yet found the smaller screen is hindering my typing in either portrait or landscape orientations. And I have sausage-fingers.

Quality-wise, the screens look about the same. I noticed that the Lumia has a slightly higher colour saturation, and that it had a slightly redder hue to the Omnia's when the phones were both displaying at medium brightness. At high brightness, the colour levels look about the same.

I mention the brightness because the Omnia's light sensor seems to switch to a higher brightness at much lower ambient light levels than the Lumia. I had to shine my desk lamp directly at the Lumia's screen to get it to automatically switch to high brightness. You can always turn off the auto brightness (at the expense of battery life) if you prefer a brighter screen. To be honest, I hadn't noticed that the Omnia's probably been running at high brightness most of the time, and the Lumia screen on medium is very dim in comparison.

A video is all that's required to illustrate how much faster the Lumia is. Here, I run a side-by side comparison of the opening sequence of Survivalcraft, the first Windows Phone Minecraft clone. I've set the resolution to Full on both phones. This blew me away, watch for yourself:

This slickness filters down to the rest of the system. App load times, browsing and task switching are all smoother and faster on the Lumia. This for me is probably the biggest selling point.

I also noticed that my signal strength has gone from showing the "3G" icon on the Omnia to showing "H" (HSDPA) on the Lumia. This is on Three UK. I'm not entirely sure why this is, as I'm not a phone junkie. The browsing speed OTA is marginally faster, so I'm guessing the Lumia is capable of faster HSDPA than the Omnia. I swapped the SIM back to the Omnia to make sure (I had to use an adaptor as the Lumia is micro-SIM), and couldn't get the Omnia to show the "H" icon. So that was an unexpected bonus.

Included Apps
After a year of using the Omnia, I'm now a Zune user as far as music is concerned. I have a Zune Pass, all my purchased albums come from the Zune marketplace. Therefore, the Nokia Music app is redundant. I had a quick flick through it and it seems that all your sideloaded tracks are present and correct should you decide to use it, but it wasn't for me so I uninstalled it.

Nokia Maps didn't fare much better. Once updated, I had a quick play. It mimics the Local Scout behaviour and pinpoints local points of interest, but it doesn't seem to offer anything above and beyond the standard WP7 maps app. The interface is also a little clunky. Bye-bye!

Nokia Drive is the real winner here. When I moved away from Symbian to come to Windows Phone, losing Ovi Maps was a big deal. While functions seem a little limited at the moment (no favourite addresses for instance, just an address history), Drive does what it says on the tin. It's real voice-guided turn-by-turn 3D satnav with downloadable offline maps. And it's really slick. Considering the next best option on Windows Phone - Navigon - costs $99, this is a really great addition.

One other thing to note is that the Lumia did not ship with the internet sharing capability enabled. The Omnia was recently updated to make this new Mango feature available, but Nokia had to ship without it. I believe it'll be coming in a future Lumia update.

A Handy Table to Help You Decide
Omnia 7Lumia 800
Larger ScreenNicer Chassis
Better OS ButtonsMore Storage
Louder LoudspeakerBetter Quality Loudspeaker
Internet Sharing (with latest update)Faster Processor/Graphics

Slightly Better Camera
Faster Data Speed (HSDPA)(?)
Nokia Drive
I hope that helped out at least one person with an Omnia 7 wondering about upgrading.

Update: 4 Weeks Later
After four weeks with the Lumia, I can happily say that I made the right choice in upgrading. I have not missed the larger screen of the Omnia. I'm not experiencing the reported battery life issues (the Lumia lasts as long as the Omnia for me given the same daily usage and overnight recharge). I don't seem to accidentally brush the search button as much, which is a surprise. Maybe I'm just used to avoiding it now.

I still wish the loudspeaker was louder, I can't hear it too well in the shower or whilst cooking like I could with the Omnia. The update that will include the Wifi access point option has been pushed back to next year, but I've already had one update from Nokia so I'm confident that any further issue will be ironed out.

As a footnote, I'd like to plug my two current Windows Phone games - Asteroid Armageddon and Bunny Massacres Episode 1. Both games run wonderfully on both the Omnia and the Lumia! Also, keep an eye-out for my forthcoming Windows Phone action/RPG Dreamland.

Friday, 29 July 2011

New Team Mango Website

It's been a long time coming, but I finally updated the Team Mango site to bring it up-to-date with information on all of our releases. The home page contains relevant content from my personal blog, so I don't have to update in two places.

I've been a little lax in blog updates, but suffice to say that Dreamland was indeed submitted to this year's Dream Build Play just in time! With that done and the website update out of the way, there's three currently ongoing projects in the Team Mango camp:
I'll leave you with the latest Dreamland trailer (Dream Build Play edition):

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Crunching for Dream Build Play: 3 days to go

More great progress as I begin what will hopefully be the last day of work on the Dreamland codebase for Dream Build Play. So what's been added to the game since Friday's update?

Merlin intro - he greets the player at the start of the game and gives a few hints and tips

New Figement (spell) screen. Gives info on new figments, powers and major quest items.

More NPC conversations. Added placeholder text for some characters that don't have quests in the DBP preview build

5 completable quests for DBP.
Today is all about sounds and music. I'll be adding as many placeholder sound effects as I can in the time remaining, and choosing a couple of music tracks that will appear in the final game. That leaves tomorrow evening for final polish and recording a DBP trailer video. Then Tuesday evening for final submission.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Crunching for Dream Build Play: 4 days to go

Progress! Had a few very productive evenings of work on the Dream Build Play build of Dreamland. First of all, three things that were crossed off of my to-do list:

Directional spell casting. A half-second delay with a direction indicator makes hitting the desired target much easier.

Town portal. Teleports between dungeons and the town square.

Quest progress text. Displays when a quest phase is completed, with a hint  for the next phase.

Levelling text. Merlin has a new "Figment" (spell) every few levels. Also, new quests may be unlocked.

And something that wasn't on my to-do, but needed doing anyway:

Game Over! Will have more options in the finished game, but this will do for now.
Text is made up of animated particles (a similar effect is used on the title screen).

Very pleased with how things are going, but things take a less fun turn tonight as I start work on a short tutorial, which involves having the Merlin character walk onto the screen and strike up a conversation.

Will update again tomorrow!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Crunching for Dream Build Play: 7 days to go

I wasn't going to enter Dream Build Play this year. When the registration period began in March, I was maybe 15% done on my current work-in-progress, Dreamland. And most of that progress had been made on the Windows Phone version of the game. Team Mango artist Leon didn't have to do a great deal to persuade me that we should get the game ready to enter regardless.

I've entered DBP for the last two years. Gravsheep in 2009 and Dysnomia last year. Dysnomia finished in the final 20. While I'm not expecting Dreamland to be a finalist, it would be a shame to sit it out this time around. So here I am, with seven days to go. As the game stands, it's fully up and running on the 360 with the majority of the game mechanics in place. Content-wise, I'm looking to have the first 20% of the game in there, including the first dungeon and first boss and a number of completable quests. I'm aiming to be code-complete by Sunday night so that I can spend Monday recording a video and have Tuesday evening ironing out any last issues.

Dreamland has been in development since October last year, and while there's not been an official release announcement about the game, I can tell you a few things about it. It's an RPG. A pretty light RPG with real-time combat. It's cartoony, but the visuals betray the adult nature of the game. There's plenty of dry humour in the dialogue, a fair amount of blood (though nothing that sticks) and some adult themes. I'm aiming to get the game out in September on Windows Phone and Xbox Live Indie Games, and complete a Windows version by the holidays.

As of tonight, and after a month of real crunching on the codebase, my to-do list for the Dream Build Play release stands as follows:

  • Spell Direction indicator
    • Spellcasting in Dreamland is directional. On the phone, a flick gesture is used to cast spells in the direction of the flick, and is pretty accurate. On the 360, the right stick is used to cast spells. Because It's kind of hard to precisely gauge the direction with a flick of the thumbstick, I'm adding an on-screen direction indicator, with a slight delay so that you can line up the spell before casting it.
  • Quest updates/levelling text
    • I need some nice text for when the player gains a level or moves a quest along. Just to provide a bit of extra feedback.
  • Intro/mini-tutorial
    • There's nothing there at the moment. You're dumped right into the game after the title screen. Plan is to have an introduction by one of the games characters, along with a short tutorial explaining melee and magical combat.
  • Portal
    • In the full game, the character will have a Diablo-style portal item allowing them to easily move between their current location and the town square. For the DBP demo, I'll just be placing a fixed portal at the end of the first dungeon.
  • More Quests
    • Currently there's two completable quests, I'm hoping to get that up to five. That includes all the NPC conversations that go with the quests.
  • Sounds and Music
    • Currently none. Nada. Nil. Argh. Why do I do this to myself. I have my eye on some stock music already, but sound effects are another story entirely. Maybe I'll just use BFXR for some extremely placeholder sounds.
And that's it. Seven items on the list. Seven days to go. Realistically (and given no other distractions), I have around 30 hours free time between now and Sunday.

I shall update again on Friday evening.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Asteroid Armageddon Updated

Asteroid Armageddon for Windows Phone 7 has been updated to version 1.4. The update should be available through the usual Marketplace update service right now. We've added a few new features:
  • Weekly High Scores (reset every Sunday at 2100 GMT)
  • End-of-wave score bonuses
  • One new level of laser
  • Two new backgrounds (randomly chosen each new game)
  • ...and a number of small bugfixes.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Gaming for Japan

Now that Asteroid Armageddon has been released for free in all Windows Phone 7 marketplace regions, we're going to use our first mobile game to do some good.

From April 2nd to April 22nd, Team Mango will donate all advertising revenue from Asteroid Armageddon to the American Red Cross, who are helping the people of Japan recover from the earthquake and tsunami. We chose Red Cross as they are one of a few charities who have a direct fund for Japan.

The more you play, the more we can donate. So go grab Asteroid Armageddon either via Zune or by searching the marketplace for "Asteroid Armageddon Free".

Total Raised: $109.08

Thanks to everyone that played Asteroid Armageddon over the last few weeks!

Monday, 28 February 2011

Asteroid Armageddon released

Just a quick one to say that Asteroid Armageddon is now available on a Windows Phone 7 near you! It's available worldwide as a trial/paid version for $1 (79p), and in the US as an ad-supported free version.

The free version will come to other markets as soon as Microsoft expand the pubCenter program into other territories. Here's a couple of one-line reviews by Marketplace users:

"Awesome game, graphics, and difficulty." - Josh51191

"Very cool and beautifully polished game. I'm going to buy it!" - Megatron63

"WP7 Games are being developed with much more skill, this being a great example." - victorj589

"Actually very good! With leaderboards and challenging gameplay." - GrungiestGorgon

Right now, the ads aren't showing up on the Free version, so if you're in the US you're getting a completely free game with no nagging! We're working on fixing that in the first update, which will also add a main menu option to view the local and top ten online scores.

And some Zune deep links for each version of the game:

Worldwide paid version:
Free version (US only):

Monday, 7 February 2011

Run! released, and Asteroid Armageddon on its way

I never thought I'd say this, but Run! has finally been released to Xbox Live Indie Games. Now it's out, I can tell the story of this Team Mango release, and how it almost never happened. It's not that interesting, but here it is all the same...

Development of Run! began in February 2010, whilst I was getting Dysnomia ready for release on XBLIG. I used it as a creative output whilst I wrapped up all the necessary but boring bits that make up the last 10% of getting a game to market, especially one with the scope of Dysnomia.

The original idea for Run! was to create a simple Skyroads clone. I'd already written a clone using OpenGL way back in 2001, called Rollminator. I had a basic engine for Run! working in just a couple of days, but the idea of using Avatars wasn't there right from the start. I guess that came out of the frustration that a lot of XBLIG creators were feeling back then, that fully-fledged games were being ignored in favour of "shovelware" that used Avatars as a gimmick. I was also glad that I had the idea when I saw Dr. Mistry's rather excellent Blazin' Balls, which is pretty much precisely the direction that Run! was headed in that first week or so.

So, I was using Run! as my one-dollar-avatar-game experiment. Being part of the problem, I guess. Except I completely missed the boat, as usual. Though the game was 90% complete around the time that Dysnomia became a finalist in Dream Build Play, I was simply too busy to wrap it up. Last summer, there was the whole house-buying thing which dragged on, then there was distraction in the form of Windows Phone 7 and the work I was doing there. Run! became the "difficult third" game that was swept firmly under the rug.

Then just before the holidays, Microsoft announced they were turning off XNA 3.1 publishing as of, well today actually. This means that Run! was on a deadline. Now, I'm a bit of a completionist, and it was starting to really bug me that Run! was still unfinished and sitting there taunting me in my projects folder. I decided to push to get it out before the deadline, saving me the pain of upgrading to XNA 4.0.

I used the Christmas break to finish the majority of the work, and got the game into Peer Review mid-January. I completely skipped Playtest, which I hated doing but there was just no time, and I thought that upgrading to 4.0 would be far too painful.

Run! made it through peer review on the second try (after a rare but game-breaking bug was found and fixed) and was released to the world. I was ready to put this one behind me and work on other things. Fate, it seems, had other ideas.

A couple of days after release, Leon (resident Team mango artist) pointed out that I had used the wrong boxart for the game. When we were putting together concepts for the boxart, we were using an avatar taken from MatthewM's Avatar Dash boxart, as it was exactly the kind of pose we needed for ours. I later wrote a quick app to animate random avatars so that Leon could pick his own for the final Run! boxart (above). But somewhere in those six months of downtime, I completely forgot to update the boxart and title screen images in the game project. Uh oh.

It was a genuine mistake. I didn't set out to plagiarise Matthew's boxart, I would never dream of doing so. I had to get it fixed. And so I updated the entire project to XNA 4.0 so that I could resubmit a new version with the correct boxart. As of writing, I'm still waiting for the 7-day submission "purgatory" to end. MatthewM - if you read this - I apologise profusely for the screw up, and a fix is on its way. Drop a comment so I can get in touch.

And so ends the sorry saga of the third Team mango game. Lessons have been learnt.

What's all this about then? Why, it's Team Mango's first Windows Phone 7 game, of course! Here's a trailer!

Asteroid Armageddon was suggested, designed, and bought to life by Leon after looking about on the WP7 marketplace for action/shooting games. It's a simple but addictive game that uses the tilt sensor to rotate the player's viewpoint, the the touchscreen to fire lasers at oncoming asteroids. Between each wave of asteroids, the player can upgrade his turret with more shields, more weapon coolant and so on. I wrote an online high scores service especially for this game, but that can also be used for future Team Mango WP7 and Windows games.

I'm really happy with this bitesized game, perfect for those 5-minute breaks in your day when you might break open a game on the phone. It took just under two weeks to put together all the code and assets for it. It's something I'd like to do more of, maybe a game of this size and simplicity for the phone every couple of months. We're still working on the next "big" Team Mango game, our as-yet-unnamed RPG, and it was nice to have a quick break from that to work on something else. Looking forward to getting back on the RPG this week though, I have to say.

I think that's enough rambling for this week. Next week, I'll go into detail about that high score service I created for Asteroid Armageddon.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Team Mango Dev Diary

It's been ten months since the release of Dysnomia, and I had hoped to have at least one more game out on the Xbox Live Indie Games service by now. 2010 proved to be a busy year outside of games development (which is only a hobby for me, after all) and time has been short. Now I'm back to a regular schedule, I have a list of projects that I intend to finish this year:

  • Run! to be released on XBLIG shortly
  • Game 4 (still untitled!) on Phone 7, and XBLIG shortly after
  • Game 4 on Windows
  • Dysnomia on Windows
  • and lastly, Dysnomia on Phone 7 (still tentative)
So that's six releases of three games on three platforms. The only real tall order is getting Dysnomia working well on the phone. There's currently some framerate hitches that I'm assuming are garbage collections, so more optimization to do on that front.

I'm wrapping up Run! this week, there's less than a month to go before XNA 3.1 games are no longer valid for submission on XBLIG, and I'd rather not spend the time to port to XNA 4. The game's been the best part of ready for several months, with just a couple of levels to finish and some pre-submission tests to run through. I'll be glad to get this one out the door!

Things are progressing well on Game 4, the first RPG game I've attempted. Basic melee combat is in and generally feels nice to play. As Game 4 is being developed simultaneously for all three XNA hardware platforms, I'm taking the time to ensure a solid user experience no matter what the control method. For instance - while nothing is set in stone as yet - the movement and basic attack controls are mapped as follows:

Movement - Xbox: Left stick Phone 7: Single-tap Windows: Left click
Attack - Xbox: A button Phone 7: Double-tap Windows: Right click or double click

For what will be the equivalent of "magic" attacks, the Xbox version will make use of the other three main buttons, which will be player-assignable in a method similar to Deathspank. On the phone and Windows, the UI will make use of tapable/clickable icons for quick access to three user-definable "spells". The Xbox version will use auto-targeting for ranged attacks, whilst on the phone and windows the player will be able to click an enemy to fling a "spell".

We're still developing the storyline and game mechanics, so I can't yet explain the reason for the quotes when talking baout "magic". Suffice to say, the game doesn't make use of regular fantasy-RPG magic. Whilst some attacks will be familiar, others will be completely ridiculous. Hopefully in a funny way!

I've started work on a WPF application to help with editing the conversations that occur between the main character and the NPCs in-game. I love the rapid development environment offered by VS 2010/C#/.NET. Just being able to slap a new application into your game solution, quickly knock out an interface, write some codebehind and bam! a functional tool that will save so much time compared to writing out the XML content by hand.

At the moment, it simply serializes a list of conversation steps to an XNA content XML file that is read in and deserialized in the game. It will become more complex as the quest system gets added, with specially marked steps to control the flow of conversation according to the completion status of associated quests.

And, just to wrap up, a quick video of the first iteration of the conversation screen:

Monday, 3 January 2011

WP7 Games and the Dreaded Search Button

Happy twenty-elephants! I hate to start the new year with a rant, but I figure why not get it out of the way now, so I can concentrate on some more constructive posts for the rest of the year. Besides, I've only really found how awfully annoying the subject of this rant is over the holidays, as I spent quite a bit of time gaming on my Samsung Omnia 7.

You see, the Omnia 7 has a capacitive search button. The WP7 search button is one of the three hardware face buttons required by Microsoft's hardware specifications for the Phone 7 OS. The Omnia 7 isn't the only phone with capacitive back and search buttons. It's the capacitive nature that means they can be accidentally swiped fairly easily, especially during more frantic gaming moments.

Unfortunately, the default behaviour of the search button is to open up Bing search, even if you're right in the middle of a game. In itself, this wouldn't be so bad if you could simply hit the back button to get back to where you were in game. But due to the application lifecycle on Phone 7, the game you were playing is quickly closed down in the background. The Phone 7 SDK provides ample tools for developers to deal with such situations, but unfortunately - as I wrote about in a previous post - not all developers take the time to make their games behave. As a user as well as a developer, this is extremely frustrating.

So I thought I'd take the time to name and shame some of the games that don't do enough to get the user back in the game as quickly as possible after accidentally hitting search, answering a call, or dropping out to the home screen. And, because I like to be positive as often as possible, I'll also highlight the games that do tombstone correctly.

All of the games I've tested here are full purchased versions of Xbox Live enabled games. This means they are published either by Microsoft or a third-party partner. I test by getting into the game, hitting search, waiting a few seconds, then hitting back.

Puzzle Quest 2
Quite frankly, this is the most disappointing game on the list. I love Puzzle Quest, I've got the game on XBLA as well. The game runs like a dog on Phone 7, with a framerate that looks to be barely in double-digits. The complete lack of tombstoning is the straw the breaks the camel's back. You could be almost at the end of a 5 minute battle and have to put the phone away - and you're completely screwed. Attempt to resume the game, and not only do you have to sit through the splash screens again, you've also got to navigate the menus. The game does save your position in the overworld, but you lose all progress on the battle you were fighting and that, my friends, is highly annoying.

Rocket Riot
A great game that almost gets the tombstoning right. The game resumes with a single loading screen, and gets you right back into the level you were playing. Unfortunately, you have to start the level again and that can be a little frustrating especially in the latter levels where you are required to kill 40+ enemies in a match that could last a few minutes. Close, but no cigar. Just save out the current score, Codeglue guys, and you'll have a winner.

The Harvest
One of the original line-up of games that got some tech sites noticing the tombstoning problems early. I really like The Harvest, but as I went to test it again for this post I'm having serious problems with it. It no longer wants to load or continue games, either from resuming after tombstoning, or from a fresh boot. I even turned the phone off and back on again to clear it out and still no dice. This means I can no longer load or continue my saved game. It never used to be like this, but even when it did all work there were major issues with coming back from tombstoning including multiple splash screens and excruciating load times. Seriously in need of a patch.

Fruit Ninja

Well done to Halfbrick for nailing it. I guess all the time spent developing XBLIGs and adhering to the Evil Checklist rubbed off, as they actually seem to care about the end user experience. Either that or they got fed up of accidentally swiping the search button in playtest! Fruit Ninja resumes perfectly, getting the user quickly back into the game with all the fruit on-screen where they were left. The game's even paused for good measure. If I had to nitpick, I'd say the MGS splash screen is unnecessary - but I have a feeling it's required by Microsoft. If that's the case then they should have an "except in the case of resuming from tombstoning" clause.

Flight Control
Another one that gets it right, save for a couple of unnecessary splash screens. Seriously, if you're coming back from tombstoning, you don't need to let the user know who you are again. Chances are I've already seen your company logo once today. That aside, Flight Control gets you right back into the game with all the planes onscreen where they were left, and your score intact. As with Fruit Ninja, the game comes back to the pause screen, which is perfect.

So there you have it. Two out of five of the games I've purchased behave satisfactorily after I accidentally mash the search button. In time, I expect all the Xbox Live enabled games will pay attention to this vital part of the user experience. Until then, please patch PQ2!

I promise that's the last I will post about tombstoning for oooooh, at least a month. Next monday will be a Team Mango games status update, with a couple of videos of Game 4. Maybe we'll even have a title for it by then!