October, 2012


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Porting of a existing XNA Windows Phone Game to Windows 8


    Windows Phone Win8_logo

    Basic considerations

    Typically, you develop an application for Windows Phone 7 by using Microsoft Silverlight  and one of the managed programming languages—usually C# or XNA.

    There are two main Windows Store app development approaches that you can use when migrating your Windows Phone 7 app: XAML, and JavaScript with HTML5. You develop Windows Store apps using C++, C#, or Visual Basic by using one of those languages with XAML, whereas you develop Windows Store apps using JavaScript with JavaScript, CSS, and HTML5 along with the Windows Library for JavaScript.

    Porting to a Windows Store app using XAML

    A Windows Store app using C++, C#, or Visual Basic, using XAML, is the preferred model for ports from Windows Phone 7. If you are familiar with Silverlight, you can port to a Windows Store app using XAML by using familiar languages like C# or Visual Basic, and a similar set of UI elements and APIs.

    For more detail about porting a Windows Phone 7 application to XAML, read Migrating a Windows Phone 7 app to XAML.

    Porting to a Windows Store app using JavaScript

    A Windows Store app using JavaScript is another model for Windows Phone 7 ports, and may be better suited for simple UI-based apps or to full-screen web apps or clients.

    However if your a game developer then you can move your existing Windows Phone XNA using Monogame.

    Porting to Windows Store app using MonoGame

    For some background you can read these posts:

    During the ThreeThing Game event, Dean Ellis @InfSpaceStudios  talked through the porting of a one of the teams Windows Phone game, Shear Carnage to Windows 8, the initial port took 7mins 47seconds, which is pretty impressive stuff!


    Some of the key features, the team now need to work on now to get the app store ready is..

    • In app advertisement
    • Windows 8 Store app contracts and charms settings to allow the tweeting and sharing of results
    • Development of a online leader board
    • A ensuring the app functions is both landscape and portrait modes.

    Overall this is pretty stunning for existing Windows Phone developers taking existing or new phone apps to both the Windows Phone Marketplace and Windows 8 Store.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Hyper-V: List of SLAT-Capable CPUs for Hosts



    With the announcement that you can run Hyper-V on the Windows 8 client. I have had a lot of  questions regarding this? I did do a post back in August explaining the process of checking your PC estate for SLAT Support see http://blogs.msdn.com/b/uk_faculty_connection/archive/2012/08/31/if-your-thinking-of-installing-windows-8-are-your-labs-machine-capable.aspx

    A number of people have reported simple having problems running Hyper-V on  a Windows 8 client as it requires SLAT to run Hyper-V.

    Running Hyper-V on Windows Server 2012 does *not* require SLAT but most institutions don't want to install a server OS as a desktop operating system.  SLAT is a feature of the CPU. It is called “Rapid Virtualization Indexing (RVI)”, and has been called Extended Page Tables (EPT) by Intel and Nested Page Tables (NPT) by AMD.

    You can use Wikipedia to  look up Intel Nehalem and AMD NPT:



    Processors that support SLAT

    • Intel processors whose names start with 'i', e.g. i3, i5, i7, i9. (There may be exceptions, but I'm not aware of any.)
    • Any Intel CPUs based on Nehalem, Westmere, or Sandybridge micro-architectures. (There may be exceptions, but I'm not aware of any.)

    For AMD machines you can look up the supported models at http://support.amd.com/us/kbarticles/Pages/GPU120AMDRVICPUsHyperVWin8.aspx

    Tools for testing for SLAT

    Microsoft’s Mark Russinovich has also created a really nice utility coreinfo.exe  You can simply run coreinfo.ext and it will  detect EPT and NPT (SLAT) support on your CPU. 

    To test your machine, simply download coreinfo.exe from Microsoft Sysinternals http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/cc835722  and use the coreinfo -v switch to list the features. An asterisk * next to a feature indicates that it is supported. A minus sign - indicates no support for that feature.

    Note: Coreinfo must be executed on a system without a hypervisor running for accurate results and under a administrator account on Windows 8.

    For example here is a screenshot from my Lenovo X200 series tablet


    “*” means the feature is present   

    “-“ means it is missing

    Alternatively, you can use Windows PowerShell to capture your specific CPU model this could be scripted to report the state of your entire PC labs or cluster estate the PowerShell command is gwmi win32_processor




    NOTE: Be sure to include the specific family/model/stepping since different processor revisions may have different feature sets.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Surface Windows RT device Now available to pre order



    Pre Order your Surface with Windows RT


    Surface with Windows RT    SurfaceRt Surface_Win_RT_side



    Who says that pretty can’t be practical?

    It’s time for a tablet that’s more than meets the eye. Powerful processing and beautiful design unite on Surface. Whether you’re working hard or hardly working, Surface’s integrated Kickstand and revolutionary Touch Cover let you work, play, and connect with others like never before. Plug into external displays like projectors and HDTV, and share your world1. Pre-loaded with Windows RT, Microsoft Office 2013 RT2, Xbox apps, and other essentials.


    64 GB with Black Touch Cover £559.00 incl. VAT

    32 GB with Black Touch Cover £479.00 incl. VAT

    32 GB without Black Touch Cover  £399.00 incl. VAT

    Your order will ship by October 26 and arrive by October 30.

    For more details and to order see http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msuk/en_GB/pdp/productID.257929400?WT.mc_id=FY13WinHH

    Check out the Surface Your tube Channel http://www.youtube.com/user/surface 

    Follow Surface on Twitter @surface

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Want to create a HTML5 game for Windows 8? And publish it to the new Windows Store?



    HTML5 Game Starter Kit for Windows 8


    This is a great starter kit developed by one of my colleague Petri Tapio Wilhelmsen who is a member of the Microsoft Western Europe team.

    As you can see from my previous posts were aware many of the apps that are submitted to the Windows Store are failing certification because they didn’t know that a Privacy Policy was needed, or that the game/app had to implement a snap view and so on. This kit will help you with the most important things.

    Petri has created an excellent HTML5 Game starter kit that will help you set up a new Windows 8 game project in short time, this is ideal for schools, colleges and University who teach game development with HTML5.

    By using this starter kit you can get most of this functionality ready, for more details see http://digitalerr0r.wordpress.com/2012/10/08/html5-game-starter-kit-for-windows-8/ or look at the following quick guides below.

    Here is a quick video to using the HTML5 Starter kit

    5 Step Guide to Bulding HTML5 games with the HTML5 Starter Kit

    Step 1a. You need to have Visual Studio 2012 installed on a Windows 8 device to use this. If you are a student and have access to Dreamspark.com (MSDNAA) or a MSDN Subscription you can download both products from there.

    You can use the free version of Visual Studio 2012 (express) and can be downloaded here:

    The Release Preview can be downloaded for free here:

    Step 1b. Download HTML5 Game Starter Kit for Windows 8

    Step 2. Start Visual Studio 2012 and create a “Blank App” Windows 8 JavaScript project:

    Click on File->New->Project…


    Choose JavaScript as the language and the template “Blank App”:

    Give your project a name (here: Mitt Spill) and press OK.

    A new project is generated and the structure will look like this:

    Step 3. What we will do now is to add the HTML5 Game Starter Kit files to the newly created project. We just copy the content of the HTML5 Game Starter Kit folder to the project folder.

    So, copy thse files from the HTML5 Game Starter Kit:

    Navigate to your new game soludtion and open the project folder. Paste the files here, and replace if asked:


    The project folder will look somewhat like this:

    Step 4. Go back to your Visual Studio 2012 project and update if needed:


    Step 5. Include the new files in your project.
    The last thing you need to do is to include the new files in your project structure from Visual Studio 2012.

    Click on the button highlighted in the red circle below. It will show the files that exist in the filestructure but not in the project structure(dark gray).


    Select the following files (hold control and click them):

    Right click one of the files and select “Include in project”:

    6. Test if it works.
    Congratulations, you are now having a working game project! Run the app and test that it works.

    Whats in the starter kit?



    Full screen mode

    Snap view mode

    Full screen with other app in snap view.

    About page

    Privacy Policy

    Remember!   The example game is using CreateJS. It’s located under js/CreateJS. You can remove this folder if it’s not needed in your project. But if you do so, the example game will not compile.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    What are the key things I should check before submitting my app to store? Follow this 7 step guide.



    1. Build a single, flexible app vs. many replicated apps. - For example, a book publisher should not publish 100s of apps, one for each book. Rather, the publisher should deliver a single app that allows the user to browse their full book catalogue.

    2. Check privacy requirement (Certification Requirement 4.1).  This is by far the most common reason for failure – well over half of submissions fail on this requirement.  The good news is that in the vast majority of cases, this is simply a documentation issue that does not require code changes, i.e., providing a link to the apps privacy policy on the Description page. 

    3. Another very common reason for failure that is simple to fix is inappropriate Age Rating.

    4. Ensure all app builders run the WACK before app submission.

    5. Take advantage of App Fast Track (AFT) review where appropriate.

    6. Familiarize yourself and app builders you engage with App Certification Tips on the Dev Center:  Common Certification Failures and Guidance for Resolving Certification Failures.

    7.  Review apps locally before app submission with Store certification requirements in mind.


    Further Resources

    Windows 8 App Store Requirements – http://aka.ms/storereq

    Resolving certification errors – http://aka.ms/storefix

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Learning to build a HTML5 Windows 8 game in 15 lessons


    So you want to build a game for Windows 8?

    Well we want to make it as easy as possible for you to do so. That’s why we thought it would be a good idea to compile all the resources you could use to develop a short course for your school, college or University students using Scirra Construct 2 and HTML5.

    Example Course Schedule

    Class No.

    Tasks to undertake

    Topic to be discussed



    Developing Games for Windows 8

    • What is expected
    • Build your first Windows 8 Application
    • Build your first game using a tutorial
    • The Windows 8 Store App Design Solution



    Start your Portfolio:

    · Start your design portfolio

    Build a game:

    · Create a Powerpoint based Storyboard for your game

    · Build a simple game using a Construct2 tutorial and post it to a hosting site

    · Beginner's guide to Construct 2

    · http://www.scirra.com/arcade

    · Modify the game using art, sounds you discovered online

    Create online presence

    · Create a Blog (documenting your learning experience, and application creation, ideas reasons why your doing this)

    · Generate a “professional” Facebook Page for your App

    · Generate a LinkedIn account (to promote your employability)

    · Create a YouTube Channel (for demonstrating your game/app)

    Design Processes, you are required to meet with your assigned teams and discuss the following:

    · Review what you should put in a blog with respect to game design

    · What is a design portfolio?

    · What are the available tools to make a video

    · Review simple games


    · User Experience Design Fundamentals


    Before class make sure to read:

    o The Windows 8 Store App Design Solution

    o User Experience Design Fundamentals

    o Applying User Experience Process to Windows 8 Store  Applications

    Turn in:

    • Links to your :
    • Blog, YouTube Station, Professional Facebook and LinkedIn
    • Game on Arcade

    At the end of class session turn in:

    · Turn in your Facebook baseline report

    · Turn in your baseline Blog analytics

    · Quiz

    Discuss Design Principles in first three reading modules

    Game Design for Slats:

    · Snap

    · Fill

    · Full

    Adding another level to your game:

    Review of Treasure Map example


    · Read:
    Introduction To Windows 8 Store App Design Principle: Do More with Less

    Turn In

    • Add a level to your the beginner game
    • Create a Platformer game using the tutorial at: http://aka.ms/csudh495platformer2
    • Design thoughts on your blog, Link only, about how you will use a platformer for a Holiday theme game
    • Video on how to you created the beginning game
    • Facebook postings

    In Class:

    · Turn in Documentation

    · Quiz

    Discussion about doing more with less, demonstration of design and implementation

    Student demos of design considerations

    In class lab:

    · Students will gather design documentation from other students and then begin to break down the scenario implementation

    · Introduction of HTML5/JavaScript code for Windows 8



    Making a great app

    Turn In:

    • Using the Platformer you created using the tutorial at http://aka.ms/csudh495platformer2, modify the game to a theme and upload it to the Arcade, turn in the link
    • Post your design thoughts on your design issues and implementation
    • Video on why people should play your game
    • Facebook postings

    In Class:

    • At the end of class turn in scenario experiments
    • Quiz

    · Discuss and experiment with scenarios

    · Students will demonstrate and discuss their “platformer” games

    · Feedback on games




    Turn In:

    • Add a level to your game
    • Develop a marketing plan for your game
    • Post upgrade to the Scirra.Com arcade
    • Demonstrate how you will implement this game in Windows 8 using drawings, scenarios etc.

    In Class:

    • Check-in Modified lab component to Team Foundation Services
    • Quiz

    · Discuss Windows 8 Store App Design Principle and Pride in Craftsmanship

    · Discuss Game design using HTML5/JavaScript Hello World App

    · Quality software and how to create quality software

    · Team Foundation Services

    In Class Lab:

    · Check-out lab component, modify and check-in modified component



    Turn In:

    · Modifications to assigned HTML5/JavaScript code

    · Addition of Scoring and simulated Leaderboard to your Themed game

    · Marketing plan for your Game

    · YouTube Video about your game

    In Class:

    • Quiz

    · Discuss what it means to be Authentically Digital

    · Examine MS Project report of status of the HTML5/JavaScript Hello World App

    · Discuss Agile Design

    · Selected Students Demo their Holiday game

    · Review of selected YouTube Videos




    Turn In:

    • Report on Blog Traffic and YouTube Video

    In Class:

    · Quiz

    · Discuss what a contract is and how to implement in it your code

    · Selected students will demo their Holiday game

    · Discuss “Promise” and “Then”

    · Discuss Scrum approach to design



    Turn In:

    · Update your “Hello World” Game to incorporate the Search Charm

    · Update your “Hello World” Project to Incorporate Settings Charm

    · Expand use of “Promise” and “Then”

    In Class:

    • Code Profiling Lab Outcome
    • Quiz

    · Discuss Live Tiles and Notifications

    · Selected students will demo their “Hello World” Use of Charms and how they implemented their code

    · Code Profiling

    · UML and Game Design



    Turn In:

    • Update to Themed Project to include Live Tiles and Notification
    • Update to “Hello World” Project to demo use of dynamic CSS

    In Class:

    • Quiz

    · Discuss Snap, Fill and Full Screens in Windows 8

    · Selected Students demonstrates Promise and Then

    · Designing for the Windows 8 Phone

    · Selected Students demonstrate their Holiday Themed Projects



    Turn In:

    • Addition of Windows 8 Snap and Fill solution for your Holiday Game
    • Addition of Dynamic CSS to “Hello World” project to handle Snap, Fill and Full

    In Class:

    • Results from the WACK test

    · Discuss the Submission Process

    · Students run WACK test on their Projects

    · Students are assisted in determining how to fix their WACK test failures


    Get Windows Store account for FREE via DreamSpark


    Turn In:

    • Design Portfolio for online evaluation by other students
    • Submit game to Windows Store evaluation
    • Begin Design process for a game based on seasons

    In Class:

    • Submit Hello World consuming the WinRT Project

    · Review of design process

    · WinRT and what it is

    · Selected Students will demonstrate their submitting games

    In Class Lab:

    · Students will consume an existing C# based WinRT project in their Hello World Project



    · Introduction to C++

    Turn In:

    • Design Portfolio improvements from Online Evaluations
    • Implement Seasonal Game Design

    In Class:

    • Submit simple C++ Hello World app

    · Demonstration of how to create and write a C++

    · Students will explore and implement a simple Module and then consume it in their “Hello World” program



    · Creating an online leaderboards 

    Turn In:

    • Addition of WinRT to your Seasonal Game

    In Class:

    • Quiz

    · Discussion of Leaderboards and how to implement them using existing tools

    · Selected students will demonstrate their games

    · Class Evaluations



    • Blog Analytics
    • Facebook Analytics
    • YouTube Analytics
    • Design Portfolio (online material only)

    · All students will play the other student’s games and give feedback

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Three Thing Game Saturday 27th October


    ThreeThingGame LogoT

    Three Thing Game has now started 40 teams with 160 students in attendance across two computer labs at the University of Hull

    here is a quick update of the day so far..

    WP_000621 WP_000620

    Saturday 27th October  

    1.00 pm XNA Rob Miles XNA session


    Here is selection of Demos from Rob's presentation: http://www.robmiles.com/demos

    You can find all the demos here.

    Here are links to the some of the code we developed in the session, plus a bonus “coloured cloud” version.

    You can find a video of the presentation here, from Mix 11 in Las Vega where is was first presented. You can get a free XNA book from here.

    2:00 pm Mono Game Development on Windows 8 Presented in Lecture Theatre A by the MonoGame team and Microsoft. 


    Here is a copy of the presentation and I will make available Dean Windows 8 Store App demo of the 3D XNA tank via an Appx Package later today. 

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Three things game and Monogame Windows 8 fun


    MonogameLogo100x100 Win8_logo Hull_Logo

    Registration for the October incarnation of Three Thing Game are now open at the University of Hull.  The week long event It starts on Monday 22nd of October with the "Amazing Thing Auction" with real fake money. Then on Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th The students face the infamous 24 hour overnighter, this time with added Mono Game and Windows 8 fun.

    The team from Mono Games and Microsoft will be on hand to help you port your game to Windows 8. The University of Hull we will have some Windows 8 systems set up for testing. There are some great prizes up for grabs and win even bigger, by getting your game into the Windows 8 Store before anyone else via a FREE Windows 8 store accounts via Microsoft DreamSpark.

    Today MonoGame announced 3.0 BETA available for download.

    What is MonoGame?

    MonoGame is an Open Source implementation of the Microsoft XNA 4 Framework. The goal of Monogame is to allow XNA developers on Xbox 360, Windows & Windows Phone to port their games to the iOS, Android, Mac OS X, Linux and Windows 8 Store apps. 

    We have over a 100 first, second and third year students attending and University of Hull, lecture Rob Miles will be running a special XNA sampler in the week before the competition where students will get to grips with  "skeleton code and get a understanding of Microsoft XNA” 

    Hull Students can find the registration form here. Simply compete it and return it to Rob Miles, with your registration fee.

    Watch out for an update during the weekend of the 27th/28th and announcement of the winners and their games on the 28th.


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows Phone 8 hardware unveiled



    Windows Phone

    Recently our device maker partners held events where they showcased their amazing Windows Phone 8 hardware for the first time. In case you missed the events, check them out below, or see the full line-up on windowsphone.com.

    ativs_main  HTCHomepageHerolumia820_main lumia920_main

    Nokia Event

    HTC Event

    Samsung event

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Which Windows 8 PC is Right for You?


    Microsoft OEM (for "original equipment manufacturer") hardware partners are about to unleash a wave of new Windows 8 devices in all shapes and sizes. For consumers and businesses, that breadth offers you the chance to find just the right PC no matter what your needs.

    DellXPS SonyViao AsusVivoTab

    With the launch of Windows 8 rapidly approaching, a new wave of tablets, convertibles, hybrids, notebooks, Ultrabooks, and all-in-one PCs are set to hit the shelves later this month here is a quick run down of what Windows 8 devices will be available in the UK.

    Windows 8, breadth of technology bounty boils down to one thing for students and educators: choice.

    On Oct 26th Microsoft will be releasing Windows 8 and our OEM Partners will be releasing a number of new devices from small and slim tablets to big and beautiful all-in-ones, the new capabilities in Windows 8 have opened the door for a huge array of new and reimagined devices.


    So what types of devices will there be?

    The tablet

    For anyone on the go and far from a desk, tablet PCs provide a comfortable, versatile, and convenient computing experience. Support for multitouch is already giving Windows 8-based tablets a big boost. While consumers are looking for the convenience and flexibility of tablets such as the ASUS Vivo Tab RT, major OEMs are also designing tablet PCs with specific features to suit enterprise scenarios for example, the Dell's Latitude 10 tablet, which features fingerprint capabilities and a smart card reader for heightened security requirements.

    Convertibles and hybrids

    Touch is a convenient way to interact with a PC, and there are also times when people want the speed of a keyboard and the precision of a mouse. With new convertible PCs such as the Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro and hybrids such as the HP Envy X2, users don't need to make an either/or decision. Both feature a traditional clamshell laptop design plus a touch screen that separates from the keyboard and transforms into a tablet.


    All-in-ones such as the Acer Aspire 7600U feature large, touch-sensitive displays that can either detach from the desktop station or rotate to lie flat.The Sony VAIO L Series that feature the X-Reality proceeding engine found inside BRAVIA TVs. Select models offer latest-generation "glasses-free" 3-D technology, turning your office PC into cutting-edge entertainment device.

    Notebooks and Ultrabooks

    For anyone who needs to combine portability with power to compose and create using traditional keyboard and mouse input, today's notebooks and super-slim Ultrabook computers still offer a premium PC experience. Those who want a big display for movies or design work may want a full-size notebook such as the Toshiba Satellite U845W, with its true HD wide screen that is perfect for getting a great view of the action. Ultrabook form factor, such as the sleek new HP Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 or the razor-thin ASUS Zenbook PRIME UX21A Touch.

    Want to learn more?

    Do you want to learn more about all these new PCs? Check out the  Microsoft OEM newsroom highlights the latest hardware innovations, product news, reviews, events and other press materials for Microsoft products across a variety of devices.See http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/news/presskits/oem/

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