Its great to be able to announce the release of the Windows Azure Toolkit for Social Games (PREVIEW)! The toolkit allows you to quickly get started building new social games in Windows Azure. It includes accelerators, libraries, developer tools, and samples; it also has specific services and code to handle capabilities unique to games, such as storing user profiles, maintaining leader boards, in-app purchasing, and so forth.
To learn more about the toolkit, take a look at the following resources:
Windows Azure Team Blog: Build Your Next Game with the Windows Azure Toolkit for Social Games
WA.com: Social Gaming on Windows Azure
Channel 9: Social Gaming on Windows Azure
Venture Beat: Microsoft Tailors [Windows] Azure Cloud Services to Social Game Developers
Mary Jo: Microsoft delivers early build of Windows Azure toolkit for social-game developers
CodePlex: Windows Azure Toolkit for Social Gaming
"Imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems."
Limited by your imagination? The 400 students who made it to the worldwide finals in New York last week weren’t. Now in its ninth year, The Imagine Cup challenges students to solve the worlds toughest problems. We created the Imagine Cup nine years ago with the idea that students can and will change the world.
The competition encourages students from around the world to let their creativity flow for the good of the planet and brings the winners from around the world together to compete in the finals which took place last week – you can find the winners for all categories here.
Our UK teams, Project OVE – University of Manchester (representing Software Design) Samuel Van Lieshout (www.twitter.com/samlieshout); JP Lacerda (www.twitter.com/jpaflacerda); Damo Walsh (www.twitter.com/themainframe) and Cycling Into Trees – University of York (representing Embedded Development) Kevin Pfister (www.twitter.com/MrPfister) didn’t win, but the experience of participating in the Imagine Cup was something they’ll never forget. Damien, one of the UK Software Design Finalists wrote a fantastic blog post on his experiences.
If you’re a student and fancy your chances in 2012, register here.
The UK academic team is keen to get one UK team winning in 2012 and one last incentive, there is an all expenses trip paid to Sydney next year for the worldwide finals.
You guys are awesome. I mean, when we threw open the doors to the Windows Phone competition just six weeks ago, we had no idea of the quality, quantity, and generally brilliant entries that we’d have.
The whole team here at Microsoft Student HQ agrees that it’s been a really tough one, as we’ve wanted to reward almost all of the apps and games that we’ve seen – however, to be fair, we drew the winners of each round – and the overall winner – using a random number robot.
And so there can only be one overall winner – so please join us in congratulating Stephen Muir from Hull University, studying Computer Science. You can check out all he does or follow him here www.bottledgames.co.uk and www.twitter.com/bottledgames. His Windows Phone game, Vampire Labyrinth, won round 4 of the competition. Screenshots and info (in his own words) follow…
Welcome Brian, a typical young student who enjoys lazing around, drinking beer, and watching cheesy and disturbing vampire shows. One night the evil host of the show, Vampire Labyrinth, reveals himself to the human realm and sucks Brian into the game show itself! You escape the blood thirsty vampires, avoid the brutal bolts of lightning, push the blocks, find the keys and unlock the doors to find your way out of this twisted real life game show. Tilt the phone to navigate Brian around the mazes of the vampire world, solve an array of puzzles and help Brian escape the hell that is the Vampire Labyrinth.
Stephen tells us that an extended version of the game is coming soon – and we can’t wait!
Who won each round?
We wanted to showcase the apps that won the other rounds of the competition too – so check them out below, and get in touch to tell us what you think!
Jamie’s entry was My Study Life which is quite self explanatory so if you have a Windows Phone 7 you can download it from MarketPlace. Search by publisher name virblue. Congratulations Jamie and I am looking forward to your next entry
Rob, a student at Sunderland university, entered his Math Trainer applications and is already working on his next app but might not complete it in time to enter again! Searching for Rob Sammons will find the app quickly
Round 2 was interesting – we had some great submissions… but none of them came from students! Alas, as this is a student competition, we do actually check credentials when people enter.
Stephen’s entry was Name That Animal which helps you teach children how to name simple animals in an entertaining, educational game. If you have a Windows Phone 7, download it from MarketPlace. Search by publisher name Bottled Games or Name That Animal. Let us know any feedback via our Facebook page. Congratulations Stephen and he promises us more entries from www.bottledgames.co.uk and you can follow him on www.twitter.com/bottledgames
Round 4 was the overall winning entry
James’s app uses GPS to track your journey anywhere in the world and lets you relax, enjoy the journey and sets off an alarm when you are approaching your destination. I know a few people who would benefit from this…. Search for Travelnapp or Mendzapp in Marketplace and you’ll find it.
Josh’s entry is a remake of the classic Block Buster game. It makes use of the phones sensors to move the paddle and deflect the ball. I feel some down time coming on. Search for Rusty Spoons (yes, we get the reference, and we’re having nightmares) and you’ll find his 2 apps in Marketplace
Michael's Breakout game is a modern approach to the classic brick breaking game, with 30 levels, an integrated level editor, two weapons, an array of power-ups, high scores table, in game achievements, 5 game modes, and more apparently! I think I’ll have to try this one - maybe I will even review it myself here. It’s on MarketPlace under Clayton Industries. Well done Michael and good luck with any more apps you write
Joe’s DND Companion 3.5 app, published under the name of Tishlub Laboratories and is, apparently, the only app a DND player will ever need. It contains a dice roller, an imaginative character generator and an immensely useful spell book, containing over 600 spells. If you are a DND player I am sure it will be valuable to you! It has got 5* reviews…..
Thanks again to everyone that entered!
You guys do the most amazing things and sometimes don’t get the recognition you deserve – so let’s try and fix that! We are looking to showcase the stuff you do in the next academic year so do tell us about anything awesome that you’re up to or creating. No game too great and no fart app too small.
If you really think you’ve done something awesome, write us a guest blog post and we’ll give you even more coverage. Now’s your time to shine!
The last round of the Windows Phone 7 competition saw Michael Clayton win with his update on the classic Breakout game with bricks! Average 4* reviews so good job Micheal.
Runner up this time is Joe Appleyard with DND Companion 3.5. It never ceases to amaze me how long this “epic” can go for – well done Joe and good luck with the sales!
Ben Nunney and are are speaking this morning to do the random draws of all the Round Winners so we can chose the overall winner of the competition who will walk away with the HTC 7 Trophy. I have been really impressed with the entries, though no quality criteria were part of the decision process – all random draws . Good luck to all our Round 1-6 winners.
Congratulations to both and let us know what your experience of developing for Windows Phone was like and we’ll share it here.
The competition is now closed but that doesn’t stop you from writing your first,second, third etc apps….We have a lot of resources available so please check them out here if you want to get started
Download the Windows Phone Developer Tools
Understanding the Windows Phone 7 Development Tools
Windows Phone 7 Application Certification Requirements
The Young Britain Works team here asked me if I would write a post for them on my personal perspective on recruiting or managing young people and it really got me thinking. So I thought I’d post it here and would welcome any feedback
There are 3 main areas I explore when looking at new employees – personal, professional and experience. Let me explain.
Personal covers the actual “body” in front of me. Are they smart, do they look interested in me, the job and the company and can they talk about themselves with passion and enthusiasm? Let’s face it - if you can’t talk about yourself with passion it might be more difficult doing it for a project, product or service you are working on. By the way smart does not mean a suit. Lots of roles now can be carried out in jeans and t-shirt and that’s great as long as they are clean . However, one thing I have learned over the years, you never know when you will be asked to meet an important customer or partner so bear this in mind. First impressions count.
A professional attitude is important for everyone. Deal with everyone with integrity and an honest and open mind. It’s always good to remind younger employees that they will get paid to turn up and deliver – you’d be amazed at some people’s attitudes to a working day. I like to understand the flexible working ability you would like and what I expect. Make sure your manager knows what you would like to do and vice versa. I don’t really care what hours you work as long as the job gets done, you are excelling and are available for IM, on and offline meetings or calls as required. Not all managers or roles can be this flexible though. It’s also incredibly important to understand the roles and responsibilities of you and the team. Make sure you are on top of project deliverables and milestones so you know what needs to be delivered when. Keeping people informed throughout the project and asking for help early if you are struggling also shows maturity. Lastly in this space remember that bragging about the terrific hangover you have or party you had last night is not professional if you have an important meeting or deadline to hit that day.
With regards to experience then I always look for examples where you can demonstrate your experience. Different roles require different skills but I always look for people who can give me Situations, Initiative and Results (SIR). That is, define the situation; what did you do and what happened as a result. If people can articulate this clearly then they have the characteristics I am looking for in an employee. Experience on a cv only gets you through the door.
Lastly, but not least, I look for people who can have fun, smile and enjoy work but also have a fulfilling life outside the working environment. Its important people have an outlet from work to ensure we can all keep our lives in balance.
Hope this helps….
Last week we launched the tech.days site, and one of the major tasks with an event of this size is producing and editing all of the 115 Videos and getting them online. To help us, 6 students from Warrington Collegiate were recruited by Steve Bradbury from Comworks to produce and edit the videos. It worked really well for everyone - it helped us deliver a great deal of video quickly and gave the students an opportunity to gain real world experience.
I’d personally like to thank all of the students from the bottom of my heart for enabling us to turn around the content so quickly, it was a mammoth job and the end result is fantastic. I, Phil Cross, recorded an interview with the team that you can watch below.
Huge thanks to Steve Bradbury who managed the whole activity and the students themselves - Sam Kristiansen, Michael Odgear, Sean Fullerton, Richard O’Hara, Thomas O’Hara, Liam Roberts and of course the whole team at Microsoft UK Students
We had a fantastic morning and lunch with 80 Academics, researchers and students at a special event our team ran on the Kinect for Windows SDK. Our speakers were:-
Introductions - Geoff Hughes, Developer Platform Evangelism, Microsoft Ltd
The Science of Kinect - Andrew Fitzgibbon, PhD, Microsoft Research Cambridge
Overview of Kinect for Windows SDK - Dave Brown, PhD, Microsoft Technology Centre
Microsoft External Research Connections - Kenji Takada, PhD, Microsoft Research Cambridge
It was a great morning with lots of stimulating thoughts and definitely got us thinking about how we could more of this type of activity and on what topics? Once we get the slides in one place I’ll point you to them but would welcome any ideas you might have on Academic topics we could cover.
To wet your appetite for what you can do with the SDK here’s a sample of one of the solutions that was built in 24 hours at a CodeCamp the day before we launched the SDK on June 16th
Read Steve Clayton through the official Microsoft blog on the Kinect for Windows SDK. Its amazing what ideas people have come up with for the Kinect for Windows SDK – let us know what you can do with it and good luck with your research!
The link to the blog also has a video of what some people did at a codecamp yesterday with the beta – isn’t technology cool sometimes!
Download and START!!!!!
Lee has written a good article on a live event for Academia on Channel 9 tonight. I know it will interest you as students and when I say live – they are broadcasting live – if you want to go straight to the Channel 9 page then click here.
If you do watch then let us know what you think on email@example.com, comment here, connect on Facebook or Twitter