November, 2012 - Microsoft UK Faculty Connection - Site Home - MSDN Blogs

November, 2012


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    XNA inside UNITY3D for Ludum Dare Student/Institutional Entries



    Unity_logi XNA

    I was having a chat with a number student early this morning at the Inter Uni Game Jam 2012 re Gameathons and Hacks they have attended. Ludum Dare seems to a great and popular online competition for rapid prototyped games. However it was clear from the discussions students building XNA were severely hindered due to the nature of Lumun Dare and its 1000s of competitors, the reason being, is that the majority of the competitors will only play games Online that don't have to be complied so Flash and Unity web player games are really popular.

    As I discussed in a previous blog  Flash .SWF games can be ported to Unity using UniSwf see

    So we got onto discussing XNA to Unity or as its called UnityXNA which is simply a straightforward way of getting XNA games running in Unity3D. This was a rather interesting discussion with Ph.D student Luke Shares a member of the DevSoc team had actually already been experimenting with this and built a solution for the DevSoc 1st years for Lumun Dare entrys and we compared his work from Barnaby Smith, MVI Networks who has released a solution on GitHub at

    What's rather interesting is that MVI Networks solution, make Zero code changes to the original XNA game code. Barnaby has used a mixture of new code and some code from MonoXNA to implement XNA emulation by having a game object with a script attached run an XNA game performing updates and drawing.

    A great walkthrough and analysis of UnityXNA can be found here

    Also if your interested in seeing the XNA Platform sample running in Unity you can see the game in your web browser here and download the source here.

    Implemented so far:

    1. Basic game loop and GameTime calculation.
    2. ContentManager loads Texture2Ds, SoundEffects and Songs, each wrapping the relevant Unity3D object.
    3. SpriteBatch Draw implemented using a draw queue, specifically created for the purpose. Currently supports colour tinting, source rectangles, and sprite effect flip modes.
    4. SpriteBatch DrawString has limited support, rendering the text in the correct position and with the correct colour.
    5. Support for playing Songs through MediaPlayer and playing SoundEffects
    6. KeyboardStates emulated for a limited set of keys which are mapped from their XNA values to Unity3D KeyCodes.
    7. Zero code changes to the game needed to run Platformer sample

    Known issues, immediate areas for improvement:

    1. SpriteFont is not supported, all DrawStrings render with the default GUI Label font.
    2. Frame rate is currently vsync’d at 60 frames per second. When vsync is disabled GameTime is not calculated correctly.
    3. Windows Media Audio (.wma) is not supported by Unity3D, so I’ve converted the sample audio files to Ogg Vorbis (.ogg).
    4. Keyboard input is currently limited to a small set of keys, more mappings between XNA Keys and Unity3D KeyCodes need creating.
    5. Mouse, gamepad and touch input are not currently implemented.

    So this is yet another way of getting your XNA Assets running as an Awesome Windows 8 or WindowsPhone 8 store application.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows Phone 8 JumpStart Training November 28-29, 2012 - Register Now



    Microsoft Learning is thrilled to announce a new Jump Start for developers focused on building apps for Windows Phone 8.

    This special live online course is scheduled for two full days of fast-paced, demo-rich sessions led by my colleague and fellow Microsoft Technical Evangelist, Andy Wigley, and Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Strategist, Rob Tiffany. Andy and Rob are two of the most respected experts in mobile app development and are excited to help C#/XAML developers get the most out of the Windows 8 platform.



    What: Building Apps for Windows Phone 8 Jump Start
    Date: November 28-29, 2012
    Time: 7:00am – 5:00pm PST
    Cost: FREE!
    Target audience: Application Developers who want a fast-paced, real-world understanding of how to leverage C# and XAML to build apps for Windows Phone 8

    ** REGISTER NOW **

    Help us spread the word with a blog post or a tweet like this one:
    Building Apps for #WindowsPhone 8 #MSJumpStart w/ @andy_wigley & @robtiffany 11/28! #wpdev @MSLearning

    What’s a “Jump Start” Course?
    Training specifically designed for experienced technologists whose jobs demand they know how to best leverage new, emerging Microsoft technologies. These advanced courses assume a certain level of expertise and domain knowledge, so they move quickly and cover topics in a fashion that enables teams to effectively map new skills to real-world situations.

    Cannot spare the two day on the 28th and 28th

    The first UK in person -  Windows Phone 8 DevCamps will be help in London on Friday 14th December and Saturday 15th December.

    Booking details here:

    14th December, Modern Jago
    Event ID: 1032536241


    Phone: 0870 166 6670 ref – 6241

    15th December, Modern Jago
    Event ID: 1032536242


    Phone: 0870 166 6670 ref – 6242

    The Windows Phone 8 Camps have been designed to show you how to build a Windows Phone 8 app. You can tailor the day to make it as personally productive and rewarding as possible. You can work on your own projects with assistance from Windows Phone 8 experts, network with others and also have the option of attending short tutorial sessions on Windows Phone 8 related topics.

    The Windows Phone 8 Camps will cover an introductory overview session as well as a range of short tutorial sessions. Short tutorial sessions will include topics such as the Windows Phone 8 application lifecycle, new Windows Phone 8 controls such as the LongListPicker, a high level view of the platform – i.e. how .NET and the Windows Phone Runtime APIs work together and the choice around implementation technology, new Windows Phone 8 features such as the Speech API, app to app communication with file and protocol associations, lock screen notifications and in-app purchase, how to make the most of the new Tile templates, and how to make best use of the tooling – the role of Visual Studio and Expression Blend. We’ll also cover how to share code between a Windows Phone 8 app and a Windows 8 app.

    In addition, you will learn how you can publish your Windows Phone 8 app into the Windows Phone Store.

    The Windows Phone 8 Camp will kick off at 9am and officially finish at 6pm or 9pm for the hardcore attendees.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Building Windows 8 Store games with Unity



    Microsoft is currently planning a number of events for Building Windows Store games using 3rd Party game frameworks

    Microsoft has a planned Unity Event which will be Live Streamed so you watch the live stream at details of the event will be posted at

    You do not have to register for the live stream, just point your browser to Channel 9

    Join Unity and Microsoft for this free, all-day training designed to jumpstart your Windows Store game app development with the Unity engine.

    You will learn from Unity and Microsoft experts in a low-key, interactive way and then get hands-on time to apply what you’ve learned.

    Proposed Agenda 


    · Overview and Introduction to the Windows 8 platform and the Windows Store

    · Introduction to the Unity engine

    · Unity + Windows 8 global business opportunities

    · End-to-end walkthrough of building a Windows Store game with Unity 4 

    · Learn how to tweak an existing Unity game to target the Windows Store

    · Learn to optimize and deploy your Unity project for Windows 8, Windows RT, and Windows Phone 8.

    · Learn about features to differentiate your games with Windows 8 integration, such as tiles and contracts

    · Tips & tricks for designing, reusing, and sharing code between Windows Phone and Windows 8

    · Case studies and Shared examples from Unity, Microsoft, and expert 3rd party developers

    · Discussions and Q&A from Microsoft and Unity engineering and product specialists

    Day 2

    · Bring your hardware and software and immerse yourself and your team into a full day of Windows Store game development using Unity platforms in a casual environment.

    · Meet other Unity Windows 8 developers, share experiences, and grow your development capabilities.

    · Meet members of the Unity and Windows evangelism team and get great advice on developing great Windows Store games.

    Live Stream

    If you can’t attend in person, watch the live stream of the event at You do not have to register for the live stream; just point your browser to Channel 9 or to our registration site on the day of the event.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    How do you become an Xbox Live Publisher on Windows Phone, Windows 8, XBLA, Xbox360/Kinect and Web



    This week at LaunchConference I had a number of questions form student interested in become Xbox Live publishers on Windows Phone and Windows 8 and develop games with the Xbox Live functionality.

    • Title groups
    • Title-managed storage
    • Near real-time, cross-screen multiplayer, and matchmaking
    • Leaderboards
    • Achievements

    Well here is the answer from the Session Building Cross-Device Xbox Games 


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    C++ and Physics/Game engines



    There are a number of physics/games engines being used within academia and with the release of Windows 8 the following video  discusses how to consume a non-WinRT C++ Code set see: Building Windows Runtime Components with C++.


    Box2D is open source physics engine, and it is used in number of solutions including Physics Helper, coco2dx and Construct2 by


    For the Unreal Engine article see:, available for Windows RT at


    Autodesk Scaleform 4.1 now supports Windows 8

    The Autodesk Scaleform 4.1 states that it does support Windows 8 Metro in the 4.1 version,, you can download the tool for non-commercial use.

    Other really useful tools


    UniSwf simply publish assets from Flash and they seamlessly appear in the Unity editor. see

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    FREE Online training at with Pluralsight


    All student now get Pluralsight, simply go to and then go to download software.  At the bottom of the screen, all by itself is Pluralsight, with a bunch of training modules. 

    There are modules available on C++ programming. HTML5 ,XAML and many more .


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Why build games on Windows 8 at the Inter Uni Game Jam 2012



    This weekend 17th – 18th Nov.  I will be at supporting and judging at the UK’s Uni Game Jam 2012, #UJ2012 hosted at the Nottingham Trent University.


    A number of teams from across the UK will hopefully using the event to have a great time but also start developing and refining their personal portfolios and CVs. There will be lots of ideas following over the 24 hours and hopefully a good number will become entries into this years gaming category for the 


    Student game jams are great fun and a great way of getting experience, CV and portfolio materials development and may be even a amazing game into a store or marketplace.  So I am looking forward to a few hours of sleep and no doubt a NERF shoot out or two and seeing what can be achieved.

    So keep an eye out on the blog and at for updates throughout the weekend.

    clip_image001 clip_image002 clip_image003

    For teams entering the Windows 8 and Windows Phone category don't forget lots of great resources at and  and all the SDK Can be downloaded from DreamSpark 

    Windows 8 is great gaming across all hardware and you can use lots of 3rd party frameworks and middleware so you could enter multiple categories.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    YoYo GameMaker perfect for your first Windows 8 Application/Game




    With the launch of GameMaker: Studio Windows 8 




    GameMaker allows school and college students to become part of the App Generation with Windows 8 and GameMaker: Studio.

    By creating Windows Store ready applications, GameMaker: Studio allows you to integrate with the new fast and fluid Start screen, with access to Live Tiles, Snap View and Charms as well as allowing you to target multiple Windows 8 devices, from tablets to laptops to all-in-one devices.

    Windows is still by far the largest platform in the world. There are over a billion Windows PCs in current use, including 500m Windows 7 devices as of last December and with the majority of Windows Licenses sold with a new PC, Windows 8 offers developers a huge opportunity.

    From Tablets to Laptops to desktops and All-in-Ones, Windows 8 users get a unified experience across all devices and

    GameMaker offers developers a complete game development solution including support of Windows 8 features;  Live Tiles, Snap View and the Share Charm. 

    Several popular games in the Windows Store have been developed using GameMaker these include: Mr.Karoshi, Pulloshot, Froad, Reflexions, SimplySolitairePro.

    So Get Started with GameMaker

    Or visit GameMaker site and dedicated Windows 8 resources

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    So what's new in Windows Phone 8



    Over the past few days I have been at a number of events and had a lot of questions of what’s new in Windows Phone 8.

    htc-8x-1 lumia820_main lumia920_main

      So here a quick video of what’s new.


    Here a quick video on Windows Phone speech integration



    For more details of Windows Phone see don't forget you can get the SDK from and we have specific Windows Phone competition in the

    For detail technical content see the following WindowsPhone content from

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Open technologies support for Windows Phone 8



    At /build a number of open source communities announced their support for Windows Phone 8 SDK availability, along with other partners.

    There are several open source frameworks to choose from today.

    The Windows Phone team and Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc. engaged early in the process with open source communities to enable Windows Phone 8 in these popular open source and cross platform frameworks.

    Its is important that developers have choices and can reuse their skills and code to build Windows Phone 8 applications and this is extremely important within academia as we don't want you having to make drastic changes to your approved curricula.

    This added support for Windows Phone 8 in diverse open source and cross platform frameworks was made possible thanks to new features in Windows Phone 8: native C++ programming and Internet Explorer 10 expanded HTML5 support.

    Developers who have applications based on these frameworks can publish them to the Windows Phone Store in record time. And this applies to various domains, like gaming with

    • C++ or C#
    • Using frameworks such as Cocos 2D, Ogre 3D and SharpDX,
    • Cross platform development with HTML5 and JavaScript leveraging Apache Cordova,, Sencha Touch or jQuery Mobile.
    • Developers using popular open source tools and frameworks such as SQLite or GalaSoft MVVM toolkit will also be able to reuse their code and skills.

    What the industry is saying?

    “Nearly 50% of Sencha customers have expressed interest in building apps for Windows Phone 8 in the next 6-12 months. Supporting Windows Phone 8 is a natural choice for Sencha to enable our customers to build universal apps for mobile devices.” - Abraham Elias, CTO Sencha Inc.

    Jay Garcia, CTO at Modus Create, and his team are developing a mobile companion application for the game Diablo III:
    Using Blizzard’s Diablo III web APIs in combination with PhoneGap and Sencha Touch, we were able to hugely increase the game’s fan base because we could build and publish our application to both iOS and Android with the same HTML5 and JavaScript code base. It literally took us a few days to get the same code to run on Windows Phone 8 thanks to this newly added support.” You can read more about Modus Create work to migrate their application to Windows Phone 8 on their blog post.

    Craig Walker, CTO at Xero commented on the new support for Windows Phone 8 in Sencha Touch:
    Using web standards-based technologies such as Sencha Touch and Apache Cordova for our mobile accounting software application Xero Touch helped us target a wide range of platforms so our customers could focus on their business, not the underlying technology. Support for these technologies in Windows Phone 8 tools made it an easy Xero Touch build for our dev team, and a smart addition for our customers who need flexibility managing their business on the go.”

    Brett Nagy, Technical Director at Microgroove, and his team got a chance to try the Windows Phone 8 tools and the early Sencha Touch support for Windows Phone 8:
    Our apps have been making companies more productive for well over a decade. Sencha Touch support for Windows Phone 8 has made our engineer team more productive by allowing us to easily re-use code from one mobile platform to another.
    Within a couple of hours, we had the basic Windows Phone 8 themed version of an existing app without requiring any changes to its JavaScript codebase. Now that producing builds that run on Windows Phone 8 is part of our regular workflow, the next step is to build out functionality that really takes advantage of that platform. Knowing that we can do that in HTML + JS allows us to extend our reach beyond iOS and Android with minimal change to our projects timelines.

    For developers using jQuery Mobile, Sergey Grebnov from Akvelon, who previously published a jQuery Mobile theme for Windows Phone 7.5 is releasing a new jQuery Mobile theme for Windows phone 8.

    So what’s NEW?

    This is the first time so many open source and cross platform frameworks are on board with Windows Phone on the first day of a new SDK version release. It is great to see how much communities are eager to work with Windows Phone.

    And today is just the beginning. We want to continue this effort to help open source developers enable their frameworks on Windows Phone 8. It’s important for developers to reuse their skills, expand the market opportunity to make money on our devices, and build the next generation of apps. Imagine the possibilities.

    Go check out the various frameworks and more details at the Windows Phone Team Blog

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