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Forza Horizon + SmartGlass

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

So I finally picked up a few new games after quite some time (been SO busy working, but that’s a story for another post).

I got Halo 4 of course, then Assassin’s Creed 3 and.. Forza Horizon!
I love Forza, I’ve enjoyed every chapter of it so I couldn’t miss Horizon. I like the new print they gave to the game, can you imagine the freedom of Test Drive Unlimited mixed with Forza physics and graphics, and a little bit of the Need for Speed atmosphere? That’s Forza Horizon to me.

One of the features I was looking forward to the most was SmartGlass integration. I gave it a try both on my Windows RT tablet and a notebook, and that was an equally impressive and entertaining experience – so I decided to also make a short video of it for your viewing pleasure. That’s mostly to show off SmartGlass integration and its capabilities… I can’t even imagine what’s to come if more developers decide to go for it!

Enjoy. :)

MVP again!

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

It was a special day yesterday, definitely one of a kind.

12 months after I was awarded the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award, I was greeted by a Windows 8 (my platform of choice ever since Developer Preview) email notification that I was renewed for year 2012.

 

I am speachless.

 

It’s a very special feeling, because it really comes out of the blue in a way: it really AMAZES me to learn how much Microsoft cares about its communities worldwide, and clearly wants to see ME smile for one more year!

There’s so much going on in my life at the moment, and you can tell by the slowdown in blog posting… but that will actually be a good reason for another story in the very near future.

THANK YOU Microsoft, and congrats to all new and renewed MVPs!

Newsworthy: xbox + windows phone

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

If your’re a gamer on Xbox and own a Windows Phone 7 device (and if you don’t have it, get one asap) here’s some really good news for you. 4 good news actually.

#1 – PES 2012 is now available for Windows Phone 7 and it looks in pretty good shape. Go get it soccer fans!

#2 and #3 – every Wednesday (more or less) is Deal of the Week day on Windows Phone, which means that 1 or more games will get a price drop for a week. The good news is you have a choice of two games this time around: Tentacles, and Glow Artisan. As for every Xbox Live game, they have a free trial so there’s no reason for you not to give it a try.

#4- last week’s Deal of the Week is still active, so that makes for 3 WP7 games on SALE! Check out IonBallEX too, and get it before it’s too late ;)

 

Top 10 Xbox Live games on Windows Phone 7

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

While I’m still amazed by the fact that I can unlock Xbox Live achievements on the go on my phone, a lot of new games have been released in the last year, and it’s about time for me to talk about the ones I love the most. Hopefully this list will be useful to those of you who just picked up a Windows Phone 7 device for the first time, and love its gaming soul. ;)

If you are a gamer on WP7, feel free to let me know your thoughts on this list… ‘nough talking!

 

  1. Angry Birds
    My personal number 1 for how many hours I spent on it
  2. Bejeweled LIVE
    I always loved this game, and the WP7 porting is pretty good
  3. Fruit Ninja
    Frenetic gameplay, very addictive, nicely implemented
  4. Kinectimals
    Gorgeous graphics, you MUST try this one at least once
  5. Hexic Rush
    Hexic on a phone is almost as good as Bejeweled
  6. Full House Poker
    Online play would make this pretty much perfect if you’re into pocker games
  7. Fable: Coin Golf
    Looking great, challenging, and inspired by one of the best Xbox games ever
  8. Implode
    Original gameplay, pretty fun. Don’t miss it while it’s on sale!
  9. Flowerz
    Very nice game, easy to learn, hard to master
  10. Fight Game: Rivals
    This one’s got many critics and bad reviews – honestly I don’t mind the original gameplay and the nice graphics. Pretty fun

 

Oh and while I’m at it.. be sure you don’t miss the newly released “Bug Village“, available for free with its 200 GP!

 

Back home. Had FUN.

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

The only negative thing about the last two days was the car trip (I pretty much hate driving and 7 hours in two days isn’t exactly my kind of thing).

It was AMAZING to meet so many MVPs in person. The technical level was unbelievable, and they were also extremely nice person able to make me feel at home even if I was the n00b there ;)

The event was hosted at the brand new Microsoft building in Milan, and we had the chance to take a quick tour of it: it really looks like a nice place to work at (or even have fun!).

I also got to meet one of my all time heroes: despite apparences, he was nice with me too. He’s a cool dude, I can tell you.

Farewell PHP, all hail C#

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

I started getting serious with programming with Visual Basic 5, so ASP (3.0) was the perfect candidate when I decided to do some web development.
Soon ASP exposed some of its limits and for reasons that I couldn’t really tell right now, PHP became my language of choice, instead of VB.net. Truth is, I’ve been coding 99% percent of my recent web projects in PHP, with MySQL as the backend database.

Well I’m not sure if it’s me doing something sneaky behind the scenes but I’ve been totally unsatisfied with performance and reliability of my websites lately. I even switched several VPS and dedicated servers without actually finding out the root of some pretty serious issues, so now it’s time for me to give up. Or better yet.. evolve! I finally decided to drop PHP in favor of ASP.NET and started rewriting my projects modules one at a time (some actually being windows applications for the several schedules tasks I have in place).

Today I decided to put the first huge batch of modules in production, hence this posts. If you’re using my Xbox Live gamercards, know that they are now powered by some brand new ASP.NET coding. The good news is that they seem to perform much faster so far, and they also render slightly better (this is pretty easy to notice in the ‘Big Sig’ template).

While I’m in this process, I also have plans to move most of my projects to a new domnain called Luvisoft. Why Luvisoft? Well, that’s a very long story that I’ll probably cover in another blog post. :)

So¬†this is it for now: as 90% of the core functions and modules have been rewritten and never tested in production, I’d be very grateful if you could report any issues or bugs you may find, as well as general impressions or comments about the new gamercards. Thank you!

Xbox.com to get massive Metro overhaul

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

Xbox.com is about to get a HUGE update “in the coming days”, expecially in regards to the My Xbox section – that will be replaced by “Social”. A preview of the new homepage follows.

As the name implies, the point is to push the social aspects of the website, so that it will be easier to keep in touch with your friends and arrange gaming parties. We will also get the chance to try a new feature (coming soon in the upcoming dashboard update) called Beacons, which “lets you mark games you want to play with others, making it easier to find friends who want to play the same games“. Windows Phone will be able to display Beacons right away, while consoles will have to wait for the update (or the preview, if you were lucky enough to get in ;) )

Meanwhile, Xbox.com will get a brand new Metro style facelift, and I don’t need to re-iterate how much I love Metro UI and how glad I am that it’s spreading across all Microsoft’s websites. The udpate will also add a Video section, that will let us browse the Zune catalog, purchase and rent movies.

I love changes, and this looks absolutely awesome. I literally can’t wait to put my hands on the new features, and so should you.

via Xbox.com Blog

How does it feel to be MVP?

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

It’s been almost a month since I got the awesome email from Microsoft, which was awarding me as MVP for Xbox – I just wanted to share how I feel and what’s changed since then.

First off.. well, I’m the same old dude lol. And in case you’re wondering I live in the same house, drive the same car, and live with the same awesome person who – surprisingly enough – can still stand me every day.

But I do feel GREAT and yes, I’m pretty proud of myself because of the award.
Xbox and its Community have been my main passion in life for years, if not ages. I did a handful of things, founded and developed a lot of websites, building up communities from the ground up, I’ve spent countless hours developing services for Xbox fans, helping out people as an Xbox Live Ambassador, and moderating the Xbox.com forums as well.
And, at the end of the day, the only thing that matters to me is seeing people’s gratitude. I hope that does sound good: you know this thing about me being Italian.. well I’m not sure if my English it’s up to the task sometimes! :) what I meant to say is that all I need to keep going is a single person who says: “thanks, you did something that’s useful to me”. That makes me feel good, and that’s also the main factor when I have to choose to support or drop a project of mine.

The MVP award has already offered me some new, exciting opportunities, expecially in reagards to networking with other MVPs and Microsoft’s employees. I feel so lucky that I’ve got this chance: so far almost every day has been a surprise and I’m really excited to see what’s to come. It will definitely be a GREAT ride.

And looking back, I know I probably wouldn’t have done all of this if it wasn’t for a few, very special persons. So here’s a personal thanks, whether we worked together, they inspired me, helped me out, or they gave me the opportunity to do new exiting things.. just know that you are responsible for my passion and commitment to the Xbox Community.
So, thanks to my buddy Squidpunch, to THE velvet voice Deaconblade, to Trapper Markelz – co-founder of 360voice, to the allmighty Trixie.. and A LOT more persons who aren’t friend with me anymore.. because I forgot to include them in this post! Sorry, you know that Zaam loves you either way.

 

Xbox LIVE Public Preview Program

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

Yeah yeah everybody knows by now.. right?
If you don’t click here before reading further, and sign up.

Oh you want the details, too?

In brief, the new Xbox 360 dashboard update is almost ready to hit our consoles, and the Xbox team – as usual – wants to test it on a pretty large scale. Yes, they’re looking for your help, and you may get to see the update before anyone else. Looks like a win-win situation to me!

Want even more details? Head on here for the official news:
http://majornelson.com/2011/10/12/xbox-live-public-preview-program/

xbox+windows phone awesomesouce

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

Word on the streets (and on official Microsoft’s blogs as well) is that a brand new xbox companion app is almost ready to hit the Windows Phone Marketplace, and – from the look of it – xbox and wp7 lovers are gonna LOVE it.

…an amazing little tool that will let you Find, Learn more about and Control content from Xbox LIVE Marketplace on your Xbox 360

Not only it will let us browse the Xbox Marketplace for games, movies and music, but it also includes the so-called “controller mode”, in which we will be able to fully navigate the Xbox 360′s menus, control video playback etc..

The price? FREE!

Keep an eye on WP7applist’s RSS feed for new free apps to spot it as soon as it’s available.