Susan IbachTechnical Evangelist
Woot Studio , MC Funkypants and Plexi Pixel have just released a Platformer Game Starter Kit for Windows 8
You can find more templates and starter kits here.
Platformer games are always popular. Most of us remember the first time we made Mario hop over a mushroom or got Sonic to roll along bouncing off springs and into the air!
Woot Studio, MC Funkypants have just released a platformer game starter kit to help game developers build a platformer game without having to start from scratch. Run, jump, launch into the air! The starter kit gives you three levels you can use as a base to explore the code you would use to create your own game. Change up the levels. Change up the artwork and have fun creating your own world to explore.
If, like me, you lack artistic ability, you will appreciate the fact that PlexiPixel has created some royalty free art assets to go with it including characters, weapons, ships, effects, and accessories which you can download at the starter kit website!
The starter game kit include two games: Rubba Rabbit
and Gwendolyn the Lionhearted
The starter kit contains a Visual Studio example project of the two games that are built with the same engine. You can download the app and try it on Windows 8, it is a working game.
Want to learn more?
Have some fun creating your own world and take advantage of the fact someone else has done some of the heavy lifting for you! Don’t forget that Canadian developers who publish apps before mid June 2013 can get rewards through the Developer Movement!
Games are some of the most popular downloaded apps on mobile platforms and they are just plain fun to build! Get a jump start on building a cool game in person, or with some great online resources.
Finally, we can get serious about games! Join us at the Windows 8 Gaming Development Clinics, we’re visiting three cities: Edmonton, Ottawa, and Vancouver. We’ll cover core Windows 8 features, development best practices, and cross-platform guidance for deploying your games.
If you can’t be there in person, check out some of the great resources out there to help you get going with game development and have a little fun!
DreamSpark gives students access to free software, free Azure cloud services, and free store accounts for publishing apps, but how do you get it?
DreamSpark (https://www.dreamspark.com/) is a program that provides students with free Microsoft software, the ability to try Azure cloud services without entering a credit card, and a store account. Chances are your school is already signed up for DreamSpark and all you need to do is create your own account to start reaping the benefits. But even if your school isn't signed up, if you are a student you can still get it. Here's how!
To create your DreamSpark account go here and select Create Account
You will be prompted to sign in with a Microsoft account (hotmail.com, live.com, outlook.com) if you don't have a Microsoft account you can create one here. You can use an existing email address (even gmail) for your Microsoft account.
You will now see a screen where you specify your name, date of birth, preferred email, most of this is pre-populated based on the settings in your Microsoft account. Consider selecting the checkbox so Microsoft can let you know about programs and offers in your area. After you have completed all the required fields select continue to verify.
Now, DreamSpark wants to verify that you are in fact a student. There are three ways to do this
1. Get verified through my school email – If your school has a DreamSpark subscription, you can just provide your school email address to get verified
2. Get verified through my school account– If your school has a DreamSpark subscription, but validates DreamSpark through school accounts rather than email addresses you can select this option. Most schools in Canada do not use this authentication method, so if you don't see your school listed it doesn't necessarily mean your school does not offer DreamSpark to its students! It just means they have chosen another method for authentication, you may want to try the email address option instead. If you choose the school account you have to search for your school in the list.
3. I have an International Student Identity Card – This is not your university or college student ID card. this is the international student card (you can apply for one here) if you pick this option you can type in your ISIC serial number or the ISIC/CIP number or your ISIC/NUS card number to prove you are a student.
4. I have a verification code – this option requires you to enter a verification code. But where do you get a verification code? You need to reach out to a Microsoft representative or possibly a school administrator. Attending a Microsoft hackathon or workshop is a great place to meet someone and find out how you can get a verification code. Entering a code will give you access to DreamSpark resources for one year.
5. I can supply documentation – if none of the above options works, choose this option. You can provide a scanned copy of your school ID card, a current report card, or acceptance letter to a university or college as proof that you are a student to get validated.
Once you have created and verified your account, you can now download software, get a code that allows you to publish apps to the Windows store for free and get free cloud services on Azure including website hosting!
What are you waiting for get your DreamSpark account today!
IdeaPress claims you can create a Windows 8 app from your WordPress.com or WordPress.org site without any coding! They are right!
As Windows 8 matures, more tools and templates are appearing to help developers and non-developers create Windows 8 apps. Today I decided to test one of those tools: IdeaPress. I’ll be testing it by creating an app from my personal WordPress.com site. If I get a chance I’ll try to do another blog with a self hosted WordPress.org site to see how that works.
The tool: IdeaPress
Note: For a limited time in Canada one of Microsoft’s partners, IdeaNotion, is offering 200 people a $50 Visa Gift card as a reimbursement for your Windows Store Developer Account when you publish an app using the IdeaPress tool. Email email@example.com with your blog URL to secure your Visa gift card.
You can choose
Note: IdeaPress tells you what image sizes are required for each logo or page. I used Paint to resize my images, you can also use free tools such as Paint.NET to resize images.
Note: Even though I uploaded the images for my tile and splash screen I got an error saying I hadn’t uploaded any images. As soon as I uploaded a Default Article Image (under Layout and Theme) the error message went away, so I think Default Article image is mandatory and you just get a misleading error message when you don’t provide all the mandatory images.
8. When you have a look and feel that you like, go to the App Generation tab.
On the App Generation tab you get to choose whether to Generate a Visual Studio Solution or an App Package.
Regardless which option you choose you will require a Privacy link.
Finally you can check the box that says you have read and agreed to the terms and conditions and choose Submit. IdeaPress will email you a link to your solution or package and you can start the process of submitting it to the store! No coding required!
So there you have it, if you have a WordPress.com blog site you can build and publish a Windows 8 app without writing any code!
NOTE: My first two attempts to publish to the store failed certification, thought I would share with you why I failed certification and how I fixed it. The first time it was rejected because they did not feel I had selected a suitable category. So i changed the category to Lifestyle since my personal blog covers a fairly broad range of topics. The second time I failed because to post a comment on a post you need to log in with a WordPress account. I did not mention that in my app description, and I failed to provide an account the store certification team could use to test that feature in the Notes to testers section. Once I made those corrections my app passed certification and is now published to the store.
Developer Movement is offering Double points for every Windows 8 app you publish until May 10th and you could win a $500 gift card!
The Developer Movement program which gives Canadian developers points for publishing cool apps to the store has a new challenge!
Until May 10th, for every Windows 8 app you publish
Let’s do some quick math:
So that works out to 16000 points when you publish your first app, so with one app you could get a
Publish a 2nd app and you would get another 10000 points. With 26000 points you can get
If you were on the fence about whether to build that app idea that’s been buzzing around your head, or finishing up and publishing that app sitting unfinished on your laptop, this is a pretty nice motivation to get coding.
Don’t forget students can publish for free, and there is a great Windows 8 Getting Started Guide at DreamSpark.com