Silverlight Tips provides simple and useful tutorials and tips with real life examples, live demos and sample codes to download.
About authors:
Damon Serji
Damon Serji,
Silverlight developer working at Metia in London.
Gavin Wignall
Gavin Wignall,
Interactive Design Lead, working in design for over 10 years, the last 3 being in Silverlight.
Allan Muller
Allan Muller,
Developer, working on various types of Silverlight and WCF projects.

MassEffect2-Screenshot - Expanded viewExpanded view of Mass Effect 2 Silverlight banner

Today I am very excited to say we at Metia are at the very final stage of launching the world’s first interactive and expandable banner ad developed using Microsoft Silverlight 3.0 technology.

This Silverlight banner, which is going to be published on Tech and Gadgets page of MSN UK this afternoon (28th Jan 2010) and then published and remain on MSN UK homepage for a few weeks from tomorrow, has been developed to launch Electronic Art’s new game: Mass Effect 2.

MassEffect2-Screenshot - Minimized viewMinimized view of Mass Effect 2 Silverlight banner on MSN's homepage

As the developer of this project, I am particularly excited about launching this because apart from the fact that this is the first Silverlight banner in the world, it also uses cool Silverlight features such as Deep Zoom and Smooth Streaming. The banner has been designed to give the same exciting and lively feeling as the game by using some graphics from the game, and most importantly the creativity of our interactive designers as well as everybody else involved in this project at Metia, to add the essential touches to the user experience.

So some rather technical facts:

At first glance you might think how did Microsoft allow a banner with HD quality video and high resolution images, 1280×720 and 1920×1200 to be precise,  to be displayed on their MSN homepage, surly this is going to slow down the loading time for their homepage? Well it could slow the loading time down because the content of the banner all together is about 600MB! Yet, the answer is NO, and the reason is because the size of initial download banner is only about 40kb!

Basically, there are two .xap files for this banner: footprint and content. The footprint is the preloader .xap file that gets downloaded when loading the page and is 40kb, and the content .xap file, which is about 600kb, is the one that contains UI elements and dlls. All other contents including videos and images are streamed or downloaded seperatly in the background when needed. Seriously, the banner is supper fast.

So the banner is quite smart enough to not throw all content including Mass Effect 2 screenshots and many high-resolution images for your desktop wallpaper to your computer when you don’t actually want them. Instead, it starts downloading content at different stages according to the user’s behaviour, i.e. it guesses what content is the user going to see next and starts downloading it in the background, so when the user opens the content he/she is more likely to see the actual content instead of the loading bar. The amazing Smooth Streaming has also made it possible to download HD quality videos including Mass Effect 2 trailer without leaving the user waiting for hours!

I am very pleased to have experienced working on this exciting project, with exciting people, for an exciting client, and for an exciting event! The banner is going live this afternoon, so make sure you visit Tech and Gadgets page of MSN UK and download Mass Effect 2 wallpapers!

Mass Effect 2 screenshot

Mass Effect 2 screenshot

 

Mass Effect 2 screenshot

Mass Effect 2 screenshot

 

Posted by Damon Serji on 28. January 2010 06:16 under: Silverlight News
 with 4 Comments