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    Learn how to use Unity for Windows 8 and Phone

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    Attend the Microsoft Virtual Academy session, or check out the Dojo session to learn how you can take your existing Unity game and bring it to Windows Phone or Windows 8.

    Whether you are using Unity Pro or Unity Free, the add-ons for Windows Phone 8 and Windows Store are available free of charge. So why not give your app or game the maximum possible reach, by bringing it to the Windows store. If you are a student you can even get your store account for free through DreamSpark!

    There are two great sessions to help you learn the ins and outs of taking a Unity game to the Windows store:

    • Live on Microsoft Virtual Academy
    • On Demand at Developer Movement

    Live on Microsoft Virtual Academy

    Join Canada’s own Mickey MacDonald and Bryan Griffiths and learn how to bring your Unity games to the Windows and Windows Phone platforms. You’ll see how easy it is to customize your app to take advantage of the built-in Windows 8.1 features; for example, increase user interaction by using Share and bring users back to your game by updating Live Tiles with the latest high scores or gamer info. If you already have a Unity game in another store and you want to increase downloads/revenue by adding it to the Windows stores, this is where you’ll learn how to do it.

    You will learn

    • Porting Considerations
    • A Dual Run-time Environment
    • Supporting Window 8.1
    • Supporting Windows Phones
    • Using Splash Images
    • Live Tiles

    Watch the event live today December 6, 2013 9AM – 5 PM Pacific. If you miss it, you can watch it later on demand at Microsoft Virtual Academy website afterwards. Don’t forget, if you are a Canadian, you could earn rewards and prizes in the Developer Movement program just by watching a course on Microsoft Virtual Academy!

    On Demand at Developer Movement

    CodeKwondoSquare As part of Canada’s Developer Movement, the code sensei is helping you earn your black belt in coding by providing you with great presentations. You can see all the sessions at the Developer Dojo page on Channel 9. Check out the Developer Dojo session on Unity and Gaming.

    There are two sessions of interest to Unity developers.

    Fun trivia fact: Unity fans might be interested to know that the dojo background used to display the presentation was actually built by the presenter using Unity.

    Introduction to Code Kwondo/A Close look at Unity for Windows 8 and Windows Phone

    In part 1 of this developer dojo, Sensei Jonathan Rozenblit introduces Code Kwondo, the Developer Movement program launching November 2013. Code Sensei Mickey MacDonald then takes you on a close look at Unity and how you can bring in your Unity assets into Visual Studio 2013 to create Windows 8 and Windows Phone versions of your games/apps.

    Unity to Visual Studio to Windows and Windows Phone store

    In part 2 of this developer dojo, Code Sensei Mickey MacDonald baffles Sensei Jonathan Rozenblit when he shows him and the viewers just how easy it is to go from Unity to Visual Studio to the Windows and Windows Phone Stores. Watch this session to get Sensei Mickey's checklist of things to check and do before submitting your game/app for certification and his recap checklist of things to consider before getting deep down into design and code.

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    Getting started with DirectX/C++ Gaming

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    Getting started with DirectX can be daunting, but there are a couple of new resources out that can help you!

    You won’t master DirectX/C++ game development in a day, but if you want some good resources to help you get rolling, there are two great resources you should check out:

    • Introduction to C++/DirectX Game Development on Microsoft Virtual Academy
    • DirectX/C++ Game Project Template and Getting Started Kit
    • If you do watch or build…you could get rewards!

    Introduction to C++/DirectX Game Development on Microsoft Virtual Academy

    Microsoft Virtual Academy offers a variety of live and recorded sessions on a variety of technologies. Tomorrow, Thursday December 5th, 2013. The session will be available on demand after the event, so if you miss the live date, you don’t have to miss out! Mickey Macdonald and Bryan Griffiths will be doing an introduction to C++/DirectX Game development.

    Mickey & Bryan are well equipped to help you learn about building games from the ground up. They’ll cover topics such as game loops, input detection, basic shaders, and state management.

    Mickey is an indie game developer and also a technical evangelist at Microsoft. Bryan is a video game design instructor at triOS college and has also worked on AAA title as well as smaller indie and web based games.

    Find out more about their session and register here

    DirectX/C++ Game Project Template and Getting Started Kit

    If you are interested in building a DirectX game for the Windows Store, check out the DirectX game learning template. You will find links to download, information about the template and the Getting Started Guide here.

    The learning template extends the basic DirectX app template and adds additional components such as

    • InputManager: Consolidated input from touch, mouse, keyboard, and Xbox controllers. 
    • Virtual analog controls: A basic virtual controller with tracked-touch analog control and digital buttons. 
    • OverlayManager: Add and manage multiple Direct2D overlays for a Direct3D scene.
    • SoundPlayer: Add rudimentary sound effects and play music as background audio. Updates to Direct3D resource management.

    Thanks to Jim Galasyn for the blog post with the information on this great resource!

    If you do watch or build…you could get rewards!

    CodeKwondoSquareIf you are in Canada, register for Developer Movement and you could get rewarded just for watching the session on Microsoft Virtual Academy!

    Publish a game to the Windows 8 or Windows Phone store and earn even bigger rewards!

    Developer Movement is a loyalty program that can get you anything from a t-shirt to an Xbox One or Surface 2! This year’s theme is Code Kwon-do and we want you to earn your belt promotion through coding (in my opinion anyone who is building a DirectX/C++ is obviously going for their black belt!)

    Get all the details and Register today to start earning your rewards! The program expires June 1, 2014.

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    Visual Studio Tips and Tricks – Easier debugging with “Just My Code”

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    VisualStudioLogoThe Just My Code feature in Visual Studio 2013 makes it easier for you to debug your code in Visual Studio.

    Find more Visual Studio tips and tricks here

    Why do I want this feature?

    Does this story sound familiar? You set a breakpoint in your code. You get to the breakpoint and you hit Step Into (or the <F11> key) to walk through your code and then suddenly you reach a line of code like this one:

     

     picker.pickSingleFileAsync().done(function (file) {

    Next thing you know, you’ve stepped into the code for the FilePicker asynchronous method call. What you probably wanted to do was step to the next line of your code to check the format of the URL returned so you could make sure you were setting the source property correctly for your image control. Now that you’ve stepped into the system call, you have to either step through all that system code or hit Step Out, and be careful not to hit Step Out too often or you exit the debugger and return to your application and have to start all over.

    This is where the Visual Studio 2013 feature “Just My Code” fits in. When enabled it basically tells the debugger, not to step into system calls. So as you step through your code it really is stepping through *your* code.

    How to Enable/Disable Just My Code

    1. From the menu select Tools | Options
    2. Go to the Debugging node, choose General
    3. Select or clear Enable Just My Code.

    image

    This feature is enabled by default in Visual Studio 2013 and is available in all the editions of Visual Studio 2013 (including the Express editions.)

    If you are using programmatic break statements such as Visual Basic Stop statements, the debugger will always break on these statements, even if Just My Code is enabled.

    You can find the MSDN Documentation of this feature here.

    Where do I get Visual Studio 2013?

    Students can download Visual Studio 2013 Professional at DreamSpark

    MSDN subscribers can download it from MSDN

    Anyone can get express versions of Visual Studio for free or 90 day trials of Visual Studio Professional, Premium, or Ultimate at the Visual Studio downloads center.

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    Build apps get rewards – Developer Movement is back!

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     CodeKwondoSquare Once again Canadian developers can get cool rewards for publishing apps through the Developer Movement program.

    We want you to explore app development on Windows 8 and Windows Phone and we want you to discover the power of Azure. That’s why the Developer Movement program is back! Earn points, then cash in those points for cool rewards!

    This year’s theme is Code Kwondo. Enter the dojo and begin your training!

    You could take home a Surface 2, An Xbox One, or even an ASUS Zenbook!

    Surface 2 with dual-position kickstand fully reclined. Xbox One view 1 Asus ZENBOOK UX32A-DB31 13.3" LED Notebook - Intel Core i3 1.40 GHz - Silver Aluminum - 4 GB RAM - 320 GB HDD - 24 GB SSD - Intel HD 3000 Graphics - Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit - 1366 x 768 Display - Bluetooth

    Register and get 1,000 points. Earn an extra 200 points for referring a friend.

    • 1,000 points can get you a t-shirt or mug

    Complete a Microsoft Virtual Academy course and earn an additional 5,000 points.

    • Add that to your 1,000 points you earned for registering and you have enough points to choose from a 16GB USB flash drive, a 12 month Xbox Gold Membership, Grand Theft Auto, or an Xbox One Wireless controller (for Xbox 360 or Xbox One)

    Publish a Windows Phone or Windows 8 app and earn 5,000 points (+bonus 5,000 points for your first app)

    Publish additional apps, use Azure, or if your app reaches 100 downloads you can get 10,000 instead of 5,000 points for your app!

    The Code Kwondo Developer Movement runs from November 18, 2013 to June 1, 2014.

    What are you waiting for? Register today and start earning your black belt in Code Kwondo!

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    Imagine Cup – I liked it so much I came back as a mentor

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    “In a nutshell, the kind of people who work in a team on something like an Imagine Cup project are the kind of people that companies want and these skills will put you ahead of the other people with technical skills just as good as yours who applied for the same job.” – Calum Cawley, Imagine Cup alumni

    Calum Cawley was a member of Team Hermes in Ireland in 2010, in this guest post he shares his experience with Imagine Cup and how it changed his career path. Take it away Calum!

    I first heard about the Imagine Cup back in 2010 when I was starting a project for the 3rd year of my Bachelors in Mechatronic Engineering. During a brainstorming session, a friend said to me “You should enter the Imagine Cup next year.” To which I replied “Yeah, ok. What is it?” At that time and for quite a while afterwards, I don’t think I fully grasped what I had signed myself up for.

    That Conversation took place here, at the Institute of Technology, Sligo, Ireland:

    clip_image002After that passing comment from a friend, I went on to get a team, Team Hermes, and competed in the Irish Imagine Cup finals. And everything kind of snowballed from there! To say that the Imagine Cup has brought me on a journey is a massive understatement. After months of hard work on our project, my team went on to win our national finals in Dublin. From there, we travelled to the 2011 world finals in New York City.

    Imagine Cup events tend to make students, who are mentally exhausted after months of hard work on their projects, feel like celebrities. Even at the Irish finals that year, the competition was held in Microsoft’s European Development Centre and we had a party in a corporate box of a huge soccer stadium. Getting a chance to see behind the scenes of a technology giant like Microsoft is a huge treat for any techie. I remember there was a whole floor of a building with blacked out windows because they were doing work on the Kinect for Xbox which was top secret at the time. To me, that was cool to see and I remember feeling, even before we were announced as winners, like all the hard work gone into our project had been worth it. Just for that experience. It kind of goes without saying, but New York just blew that out of the water!

    clip_image004An Imagine Cup world finals event is something that can’t really be put into words. The energy, the ideas, the people. It’s simply inspiring. This competition attracts people from all around the world who all believe they can change the world with technology, people who are determined to make their mark on the world, and the Imagine Cup gives them an excuse to do it. This might make it sound like the Imagine Cup is just a load of delusional students thinking they can save the world and become millionaires with a few hundred lines of code. But is that really such a bad thing? A lot of today’s tech giants were founded by students, including Microsoft, so really the Imagine Cup just gives you that little bit of credibility that lets you call yourself a tech start-up founder rather than a mad scientist!

    So, my team went on to win 1st place in New York. From the moment I first heard about the Imagine Cup to then, my life had been frantic. Every spare moment of each team member had been poured into our project. Obviously we had done something right during that time, we won, but it was only after then that the madness really started…

    clip_image005

    Over the next few months it was just like surfing a wave of press, publicity and conferences; presenting to thousands of people at conferences, talking to press from all around the world and even appearing on Irish TV. At that stage, the only thing that seemed reasonable to do was to start a company to commercialise our project. So we did! In Febuary 2012, Clevermiles was founded. The Hermes project, in the space of less than 18 months, had gone from a college in the west of Ireland, half way around the world and back again to land in Dublin at Startup Bootcamp, a start-up accelerator.

    If I had to describe myself concisely, I’d have to say I was a petrolheaded geek. My passions are cars, technology and ideally, I love working on some intersection of the two. I started with the Hermes project as an excuse to play with cars as part of my degree, I pursued that passion and it had landed me as co-founder of a company before I had even graduated. However, I took it one step further. I realised pretty quickly that having my own company wasn’t for me. My passion is the technology, but when you are one of three people in the company you aren’t just an engineer; you are the salesman, the accountant and the graphic designer. Some people love that, I didn’t. So, by the time I had graduated, I had won awards for my project, presented it to an audience of 15,000, started a company and left it! That experience made looking for a job pretty easy, but I managed to find one that fit me like a glove.

    clip_image006

    I currently work for MIRA Ltd, in England. We are an independent vehicle engineering consultancy, with over 100km of test tracks on site we work with companies from all over the world to shape the future of transport. Just a year before I took a job here, I didn’t even know places like this existed. Now I work on research projects around the next generation of vehicles, including self-driving cars. Having the experience of the Imagine Cup behind me allowed me to punch above my weight when it came to looking for jobs, my degree alone definitely wouldn’t have even got me an interview with the places I really wanted to work for. The fact I had won did raise a few eyebrows, but the thing that interviewers were always interested in was the soft skills that working on a project for this competition brings you. In a nutshell, the kind of people who work in a team on something like an Imagine Cup project are the kind of people that companies want and these skills will put you ahead of the other people with technical skills just as good as yours who applied for the same job.

    clip_image007

    I liked it so much I came back as a mentor. If you haven’t guessed by now, this competition left quite an impression on me, I actually do love it. In April 2013, I went down to London to the UK finals and I met some guys who had developed a phone app called SoundSynk. They won that day and they would be going to St. Petersbug, Russia in July for the 2013 world finals. A few weeks later I got a message from Ed, one of the guys on the team, asking if I’d be able to mentor them. After a few months of working with the team, we were sitting in the glamorous Alexandrinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg nervously sitting through the awards ceremony to find out if they’d won anything. They had. They had come 1st! It was slightly surreal to see them up on stage, collecting their giant cheque and going through the same emotional rollercoaster I had been on, on the other side of the world, two years ago. I was like a proud parent! (Of three people barely younger than me and one person older than me). It was like everything had come full circle and yet it seemed like no time at all since I hadn’t even heard of the Imagine Cup.

    I said that this competition had brought me on a journey, and it has, both figuratively and literally. I’ve ended up getting paid to do the things I would want to do as a hobby anyway, something which I only dreamed of before I started on this amazing journey. All it takes to get started on a journey like this is a “why not?” attitude. If you have an idea you believe will change the world, then go out and get a team and with enough perseverance, you’ll end up with something awesome.

    Related Links

    CleverMiles

    SoundSynk

    MIRA

    Calum Cawley on LinkedIn

    Canada Imagine Cup Details

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