Online High Scores in Hypership for WP7
Hypership Out of Control is a very arcade-like game and getting the highest score is a huge draw. I put considerable time and effort on the XBLIG version to setup a quality online leader board. While this got a ton of use the first 30 or so days, after that simply not enough people play the game to make the peer to peer sharing worth anything. Sadly that's really the only option we have on XBLIG.
When it came time to work on a WP7 version of Hypership, setting up a meaningful online high scoring system was at the top of my list (well, second on my list after adding more space bees to the game). Because WP7 isn't such a walled garden as XBLIG is, I can use a true database driven approach.
I have designed an MSSQL database that lives on my web host, thus it is available over the Internet to anyone (all hail the tubes!). When you first play Hypership, a lookup is done on your ANID (this is a unique ID to you on WP7) to see if you already exist in our database. If you do, the game will load up your existing user information. If you don't, you will be asked to enter a new username (which has to be unique), after which a record containing your ANID (so we can tie this back to you) will be created. At this point you are a user in the Hypership score system.
I've added various tables for tracking high scores (view the web page version of the online scores here). I intentionally kept this generic so that it will be easy to add in other games (and other systems) in the future. This will allow you to use the same username for any game in our system and could eventually open up the high scores system to include such XBLA-like features as Achievements and Gamerpoints. While this isn't in scope of the Hypership WP7 release, it is something that may be added with a future update.
Linking the database and WP7 game together is a web service that lives on FunInfused.com. Whenever the game needs to access the database for either a lookup or a save, a call is made to the web service and it performs the action on the database or returns the required information.
I believe this to be one of the more robust online score systems on WP7 (or on WP7 soonish at least) and something that will be a big selling point for the Hypership WP7 version. I cannot wait to see how many people play the game and how competitive a true online scoring system becomes. Let me know your thoughts, ideas, and suggestions in the comments below.
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