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Divide By Zero Postmortem
Date 4/1/2011    Tags WP7    (0)


Divide By Zero is my first submitted app to the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace. The premise of DBZ is that it divides by zero and then crashes. You can download the full source and associated assets here. Do with them as you please. If you make money off this app, please share with me (my family needs to eat!).

Motivation for this app came from a love of impossible divisions, pushing envelopes, and a need to kick off a validation process with GeoTrust so that when I have a worthwhile app or game, I don't have to wait weeks for it to happen. The practice of submitting an app that will absolutely not pass review is common on WP7 as there is no other way to start this validation process without submitting an app.

What went right

  1. Quick development time
    Literally I've spent five to ten times more time and effort writing this postmortem than writing the app itself. The app is two lines long. C# will not let you directly divide by zero so you have to make a variable, set it to zero, and divide by that. That was easily the most challenging aspect of this program.

  2. No performance optimizations required
    Game runs at 30 fps without any need for optimizations. This is because of low graphic overhead and the WP7 device's ability to quickly divide numbers and crash.

  3. No scope creep
    When I started working on the app, I wanted to make an app that divided by zero and crashed. While some other ideas were thrown around (divide by three, help you locate your car, include a 'Bee Attack' mini-game) I managed to brush these aside and stick with the initial vision.

What went wrong

  1. Twitter
    If I hadn't been pumping up this release and subsequent postmortem so much on Twitter, I could have finished in half the time and be making a meaningful game right now. That game would have been sweet.

  2. Price
    I priced the app at $49.99. In hindsight, this may have been too much. Sales of the app probably won't be very good.

  3. Exception Handling
    Had I implemented any type of exception handling, the app probably would not crash when it experiences the divide by zero runtime error. For future versions I may handle this more gracefully.

  4. Art Assets
    I thought I was done and ready to submit but then I discovered I needed to create various WP7 icons and a screen shot. This forced me to open Adobe Photoshop (thankfully already loaded and sitting idle on my Task Bar) and create four new images. Luckily I am very good at selecting File -> New. If I had this to do over again though, I would have just pressed Ctrl + N and saved myself a few mouse clicks.

  5. Testing
    We did not do any extensive testing on Divide By Zero. Hopefully it doesn't fail review!


This is far and away the quickest app or game I have ever created. The practice of having to submit a bogus app to start the GeoTrust validation for WP7 can only be described as stupid. It wastes my time writing a bogus app and someone at Microsoft's time reviewing it. Hit up the link at the top of this article and save yourself the trouble of writing your own. And perhaps if enough people use this, Microsoft reviewers will recognize the app name and won't waste their time reviewing it either.

Also you should buy our real games. Check out for the full skinny. Don't ask me what "full skinny" means because I couldn't tell you. Stop thinking about it already and just click the link.

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