Silverlight News

Here is the latest articles and external news from the world of Silverlight. Please feel free to submit your own relevant news stories and links using the comments below.

Big Guns Tower Defense on Windows Phone 7

Coming soon to Windows Phone 7 is an XNA port of the popular Vectorlight tower defense game Super Tower Defense.  Whilst retaining many of the graphical and gameplay features of the original Silverlight game, the WP7 version opts for a smaller and simpler level structure.

Like Wakacube, Big Guns Tower Defense has made the switch from Silverlight to XNA due to performance issues with Silverlight on WP7.  In fact, for good game performance on WP7 with smooth framerates XNA is a must.

You can get it for your Windows Phone 7 here:

Big Guns Tower Defense is completely free.  Here's a couple of screenshots of the game.

Big Guns Tower Defense

Big Guns Tower Defense Level

May 06, 2011 -

Wakacube WP7 Update

Released to the Windows Phone 7 marketplace today is Version 1.1 of Wakacube the 3D physics game of skill.  Included in the update are more levels (30 in total) and new mode "Wakatime" which generates random crate structures to keep players entertained long after the levels have been completed.

Also present is a new Preview mode allowing you to move the camera before taking a shot making it easier to aim.  The scoring has been improved, points scored for distance, rotation and accuracy are now split up and appear clearly at the end of each shot.

Under the bonnet the physics engine has been greatly improved and now uses standard XNA Vector3 and Matrix types which will benefit performance greatly from the upcoming Mango update which accelerates operations on these data types.

The update is available in the marketplace, the Zune link is as follows:

Apr 26, 2011 -

Wakacube (Cubemania) Game Coming to Windows Phone

Available now for Windows Phone 7 is a port of the Vectorlight game Cubemania.  Wakacube has been developed specifically for the WP7 and features most of the levels from the original plus a few more.  I have moved away from Silverlight for this version and have instead used XNA, this was necessary due to performance issues with Silverlight on WP7 and, as we are now using true 3D, it also allows for a wider range of shapes.

You can get it for your Windows Phone 7 here:

Wakacube is completely free.  Here's a couple of screenshots of the game.

Wakacube Start Screen

Wakacube Level

Wakacube on the WP7

For those who haven't played Cubemania, the gameplay is simple: Each level has a different task, such as knocking crates off stacks and onto markers on the floor.  Different powered balls are available to throw and on some levels these may be collected in the form of powerups.

The original game employs a realistic 3D physics engine (a first for Silverlight) and due to the common use of C# and .NET this was ported over to the XNA WP7 version with no code changes.  The 3D rendering originally done in Silverlight using the MatrixProjection method had to be re-written for XNA due to unacceptable performance on WP7.

Apr 09, 2011 -

Announcing Silverlight 5

Announced today at the Silverlight Firestarter was Silverlight 5.  Coming a month after the PDC debacle where we were left wondering if Silverlight even had a future, there were high expectations for what Scott Gu and co. would be announcing, and, I'm glad to say they havn't disappointed.

You want vector printing?  You got it!

You want an accelerated 3D API?  You got it!

You want better text rendering and layout support?  You got it!

Silverlight Firestarter

There's a whole host more, so rather than go through it all, here is the main additions to Silverlight 5:

Video additions:

  • Hardware video decode: Silverlight 5 now supports GPU accelerated video decode, which significantly reduces CPU load for HD video.  Using Silverlight 5, even low powered Netbooks will be able to play back 1080p HD content
  • Trickplay: Silverlight 5 now enables variable speed playback of media content on the client with automatic audio pitch correction. This is great for training videos where you want to speed up the trainer while still understanding what he’s saying
  • Improved power awareness will prevent screensavers from kicking in while you’re watching movies while allowing the computer to sleep when video is not playing.
  • Remote-control support is now built-into Silverlight 5 - allowing users to control media playback with remote control devices.

Application additions:

  • Databinding and MVVM: Silverlight 5 delivers significant data-binding improvements that improve developer productivity and provide better Silverlight/WPF feature convergence.  Developers can now debug data-binding expressions, set breakpoints on bindings, and more easily determine errors.  Implicit DataTemplates now allow templates to be created across an application to support a particular type by default.  Ancestor RelativeSource bindings makes it easier for a DataTemplate to bind to a property on a container control. Binding in style setters allows bindings to be used within styles to reference other properties.  And a new DataContextChanged event is being introduced to make handling changes easier. Markup extensions are also now support and allow code to be run at XAML parse time for both properties and event handlers, enabling cutting-edge MVVM support.
  • WCF and RIA Services: Silverlight 5 now includes WS-Trust support.  WCF RIA Services improvements include complex type support, better MVVM support, and improved customization of code generation.  Silverlight 5’s networking stack also now supports low-latency network scenarios that enable more responsive application scenarios.
  • Text and Printing: Silverlight 5 delivers improved text clarity that enables crisper and cleaner text rendering, multi-column text flow and linked text containers, character and leading support, and full OpenType font support.  Silverlight 5 also includes a new Postscript Vector Printing API that provides programmatic control over what you print, and enables printing richer reports and documents.  Pivot functionality – which enables developers to build amazing information visualization experiences – will also be provided built-into the Silverlight 5 SDK.
  • Graphics: Silverlight 5 includes immediate mode graphics support that enables developers to take full advantage of the GPU (graphics processing unit) and enables accelerated 3-D graphics support.  This new support facilitates much richer data visualization scenarios (make sure to watch the keynote to see some really eye-popping ones).
  • Out of Browser: Silverlight 5 builds on the out-of-browser capabilities we introduced with Silverlight 5.  Out of browser applications can now create and manage child windows.  Trusted out of browser applications can now also use P/Invoke capabilities to call unmanaged libraries and Win32 APIs.  Enhanced group policy support enables enterprises to both lock down and open up security sandbox capabilities of Silverlight 5 applications.
  • Testing Tools: We are adding automated UI testing support for Silverlight applications with Visual Studio 2010.  This makes it easy to test Silverlight applications, and automate the functionality of them.
  • Performance: Silverlight 5 support faster application startup, and provides 64-bit browser support.  Silverlight 5 also integrates with the new Hardware Acceleration capabilities of IE9, and enables hardware acceleration in windowsless mode.

Dec 02, 2010 -

Silverlight 4 Controls V5.3.3 Released

This release contains several more fixes raised in the forums, including:

  • File Uploader class was not releasing memory when uploading, this is fixed.
  • When setting the node icon to an image that doesn't exist a new NodeImageFailed event will be raised.
  • MainMenu now contains a new method CloseChildren() to collapse any open child.
  • MainMenu not showing child menus in certain scenarios is fixed.
  • TreeView, when ApplyCheckChangesToChildren is set, child IsChecked state was not being applied.  This is fixed.
  • PopupBase now contains a Dispose() method that you can call when removing a popup.
  • RichTextBox, GetMetadata() method made public.
  • RichTextBox, when clicking Undo after initially applying a formatting command on a blank document would cause an exception.  This is now fixed.
  • RichTextBox, when applying indent to a line that causes it to overflow doesn't throw an exception anymore.
  • RichTextBox, when calling Clear() before setting the HTML property sometimes would fail.  This is fixed.

The updated binaries and source code is available from the downloads page.

Dec 01, 2010 -

Cubemania - 3D Physics Silverlight Game

Released today is the new 3D physics driven puzzle/strategy game Cubemania.  The aim of the game is to throw balls of varying strengths at the stacks of crates in order to knock them off for points.

The game combines a full 3D playing area with a realistic 3D physics engine to provide a unique gameplay experience.  Features bullet-time slow motion and full screen mode.


Nov 27, 2010 -

New Silverlight Games Added

After looking at some of the great Silverlight games available from outside of Vectorlight we have added some of the best out there.

Most of these games have been around for a while.  The cool physics driven Diver 2 and the retro coolness of Vector Space Armada.

We will be adding more over the coming months.

Diver 2

Oct 15, 2010 -

Sand Effect Control

For those familiar with the game Sandmania and due to popular request here is a re-usable control that allows the effect to be used in your own applications. We've created a simple hourglass example which can be downloaded and modified by registered users.

Sep 17, 2010 -

Jewel Pursuit Game

Completed today is the new puzzle game Jewel Pursuit in the games section.  Form patterns of Three artifacts in a row by swapping adjacent items and try to complete the picture.  Uncover the whole location to win the level.

Jewel Pursuit

Sep 15, 2010 -

Super Tower Defense 2 Game

New to the games section is Super Tower Defense 2.  Featuring more maps, new units and bigger explosions, login to have your highscores saved.

Super Tower Defense 2

Sep 03, 2010 -

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