March, 2013


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Getting started with Windows Phone 8 development




    Here a quick guide to the best resources for Windows Phone 8


    Design & Developer Resources

    Windows Phone Design Guidelines and Tutorials

    Windows Phone Developer Resources

    Design Boot Camp

    Windows Phone Design Bootcamp covers the philosophy, inspiration and visuals that are Windows Phone Design Language. Starting with the basic terminology of design, this boot camp will take you from its early origins to the Design Principles each screen in Windows Phone was measured against. From there, we will show you the design process that guided its creation. Lastly, we will discuss the larger Microsoft Design ecosystem including Windows 8.

    Samples and Tutorials

    Download Windows Phone code samples and demo apps. New samples are added frequently in JavaScript, C++, C#, and VB.NET.You can also download code samples for other products like Windows 8, Windows Azure, Office, SharePoint, Silverlight, or explore the Official Visual Studio 2010 C#, VB.NET, and 101 LINQ samples.

    General Web Resources

    Windows Phone Developer Portal

    Windows Phone Developer Blog

    Windows Phone Channel 9 Video Resources

    Windows Phone Development Twitter http:/

    Training Resources

    Absolute Beginners Guide

    Jump Start Video Training Resources and Content

    Windows Phone 8 Training Kit, virtual labs and resources

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Getting to grips with UNITY and Windows 8



    If your institution has access to UNITY you need to join us for a Two day event, which will be  LIVE STREAMED on the 9th and 10th of  April 2013

    This two day event Includes:

    Comprehensive introduction to Unity 3D

    Intro to Windows Store,

    Advanced tips and tricks on development techniques for UNITY and Windows 8

    A review of case study’s and evidence from partners who have successfully used UNITY to build and publish Windows 8 games.

    More Details on the event are at -

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Unity 4 open beta program for Windows Store apps and Windows Phone 8


    Unity_logi Win8_logo WinPhone8logo

    You can now enrol on the UNITY Windows Store apps Beta here.

    You can now enrol on the UNITY  Windows Phone Beta here.

    If you enrol in both the Unity 4 Windows Store apps and Windows Phone 8 apps beta programs, you can develop games for the entire Windows ecosystem. People around the world can play your games on computers running Windows XP/7/8, Windows RT tablets and Windows Phone 8 mobiles.

    This is a BETA Programme?

    Unity 4 Windows 8 and Phone 8 support has not yet reached maturity: UNITY are still working on performance optimizations.  There are also bugs and some features missing. However, UNITY feel experienced developers can take advantage of this early technology and already ship games on Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8.

    How can I publish my games to Windows Phone Store ?

    You will be able to port your existing games to the Windows 8 and  Windows Phone 8 apps platform using the Unity alpha/beta builds. 

    Please note that any project deployed with a trial license will be watermarked and not for commercial release. Developers who wish to publish their games on Windows 8 and Windows Phone Store using UNITY alpha/beta builds should contact the Unity Sales Department.

    For more details on the UNITY Beta programme see

    How do I add specific Windows 8 features?

    UNITY Windows 8 Plug-ins

    Bitrave plugin beta:  contact them for beta access

    Prime31 plugins: contact them for beta access

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    ZERO260 is a virtual training session on Construct2


    ZERO260 is a virtual training session, that will get you up to speed FAST with Windows 8 game creation. In just 2 hours, participants will learn everything needed to create, upload and distribute a new game.


    As you know I think  Construct2 by Scirra, is an superb game framework that allows students to build their first game, and allows even the most experienced developers to build games quickly and easily and export them to multiple platforms a great example of the power of Construct 2 is Mortar Melon by Mudvark


    We have lots of resources and academic curriculum for Construct2 at

    Sign up for an event, by viewing the EVENT SCHEDULE at Zero260 site

    Event Agenda include:

    • Developer Account and Tools Set-up

    • Graphics Generation Overview

    • Actual Game Dev Scenarios

    • Exporting to Windows 8

    • Certification Submission

    Please ensure you follow the preparation steps before you join the event.

    Date Topic Instructor Registration
    Tue, Feb 26 Physics Game Arun Recording
    Thu, Feb 28 Side Scroller - Angry Turds Chrissy Recording
    Tue, Mar 5 Little Pond Jeremy Recording
    Tue, Mar 5 Little Pond Jeremy Recording
    Thu, Mar 7 Platformer Sam Recording
    Tue, Mar 12

    Catch a Clown

    Jeremy Recording
    Thu, Mar 14 TBD Jeremy Register Here
    Tue, Mar 19 Scrolling shooter Sam Register Here
    Thu, Mar 21 Race Car Jeremy Register Here
    Tue, Mar 26 Top Down Shooter Jeremy Recording
    Thu, Mar 28 Treasure Map Sam Register Here

    For future events see

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Cocos2d-x for Windows Phone 8.


    Cocos2d WinPhone8MonogameLogo100x100

    Today the Cocos2d-x community released  the v2.0 version of Cocos2d-x for Windows Phone 8.

    Note that it is the first version for wp8 which has v2.x API set migrated, this has been a cooperation between the Open Source community Microsoft and Nokia

    Download link:
    Github repo:

    This branch of Cocos2d-x uses Direct X 11 for rendering while still uses C++ to program, with the same API as Cocos2d-x v2.1.

    There are already many games in the pipeline and scheduled to be available soon in Windows Phone Store, using Cocos2d-x WP8 2.0.

    Work is also well under way for a Cocos2D layer on top of MonoGame see

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Focus on C++ and DirectX



    For the most high-fidelity and rich experiences in 3D games, you’ll want to use the Windows 8 DirectX APIs. This is the easiest version of DirectX to develop with. It supports a wide range of graphics feature levels, from DirectX 9.1 to all the latest hardware features exposed in DirectX 11.1. It allows you to tailor your game to every PC, from power-efficient ARM-based portable Windows 8 tablets, to over-clocked multi-GPU gamer rigs.

    With C++, you have a direct line to the GPU, CPU and low-level services of the Windows 8 platform. You can write high-performance code. With the new C++/CX language extensions, the syntax approaches the simplicity of C#. You get transparent object management via reference counting, and yet there’s no runtime layer, garbage collection or just-in-time compilation behaviour that could compromise the smooth performance of your game.

    DirectX is easier with Windows 8 because graphics stack is better integrated. This makes Direct2D, Direct3D, DirectVideo and DirectCompute components easier to use together and requiring fewer duplicated resources than before.


    There is built-in support for the Xbox controllers with the XInput library. To learn more, see Working with input and controls in your DirectX game. The improved APIs for audio and sound mixing with XAudio2 are covered in the Working with audio in your DirectX game section, and simplified math functions and types are covered in the DirectXMath Programming Guide.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Developing Games on Windows 8

    So if you’re a Student or an Academic why should you learn and teach game development for the Windows Store?

    Perhaps your an academic coming a different platform, iOS, Android or you have previously developed and curriculum for game development on an earlier version of DirectX on Windows XP or Windows 7.

    As a Student you may simply want to explore whether developing your game for the Windows Store is an attractive proposition for you in terms of developing a real portfolio or even developing an Indie Career or getting some sales to pay for your University fees.

    Here are some reasons to invest in the Windows Store:

    • Reuse your code and leverage your game development experience: One of the greatest advantages of the DirectX/C++ development approach is that you can reuse significant amounts of your Windows Desktop game code to create a Windows Store game, a Windows Phone game. Use this porting guidance to leverage your existing code and game idea:
    • Port from DirectX 9 to Windows Store
    • Port from OpenGL ES 2.0 to DirectX 11.1
    • Great development tools: Great games are made with great tools. Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 provides a sophisticated environment for game development, debugging and profiling that eases your entry into game development, such as the Graphics Diagnostics tools. Prepare your Windows Store DirectX game programming environment, and download the GDC 2013 game templates to start creating game projects.
    • New horizons for your game: Windows 8 has changed the PC landscape with innovative form factors, new chip architectures, and exciting commerce models that present new opportunities.
    • Rich entertainment experiences: Windows 8 is designed and engineered specifically for the enjoyment of entertainment experiences. The Windows 8 User Experience (UX) guidelines promote full screen imagery, as well as fast and fluid interactions with no borders. It is more convenient than ever to support touch, pen (ink) and mouse with the same code so you don’t have to design special mechanics for different form factors.
    • Broad range of devices: To enable the highest possible performance, C++ with DirectX is the language of choice for Windows 8 apps. Since performance is linked to device efficiency, C++ provides a route to the lowest possible power consumption rate, thereby enabling your game to run on the broadest range of devices.
  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Wondering where the best place to start when considering building Windows 8 games?




    The following blog is a great basis to start from when considering developing for Windows 8:

    Another great link is:

    This includes an excellent post on moving from DX9 to DX 11.1

    So if you presently studying or teaching DX9, DX10 it will cover the how’s and why’s of moving from DX9 to DX11.1:

    As well as moving to DX 11.1 a few more things to consider are below. Further links/info on all of these can be found in the top two links above.

    1. Design of the game UI to fit with Windows 8 design guidelines. Try and keep the canvas clear and use settings charm and app bars for game UI elements if appropriate.
    2. Windows 8 games can be designed for touch but must also support keyboard/mouse at a minimum - to cater for devices that do not have touch
    3. If you choose to use sensors such as accelerometers then you must also provide fallback/alternative methods since not all devices will have this functionality.
    4. You must deal gracefully with snap/fill mode
    5. You must deal gracefully with orientation (landscape/portrait) - you can fix to one if preferred - usually landscape.
    6. Consider adding live tiles
    7. Consider using contracts such as share, devices (support output to DNLA devices).
    8. Ensure that your games options/settings reside in the settings charm.
    9. Your app must provide privacy policy in the settings charm if internet connection capability declared.
    10. Your app must supply app support info/contact and version info in the settings pane/contract
    11. Consider adding support for in app purchase, trials (feature and time)
    12. Consider adding support for Azure Mobile Cloud Services so that you can easily synchronise iOS, Android, Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 game state, leaderboards, authentication etc.
    13. Consider saving game state and UI settings etc. in the Windows 8 romaing data storage - this provides free, automatic synchronisation across all devices with the game installed on that the user owns under his user account.
    14. Consider game analytics. Two 3rd party ones that may be worth looking at:



  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Help uncover the next great app by voting in the Windows Phone Next App Star contest.


    WP Next App Star PNG Banner

    Windows Phone Next App Star is a 21-day tournament style challenge between March 19th and April 8th

    Windows Phone Next App Star is a contest designed to get developers more visibility with more customers by allowing them to compete for the chance to have their app featured in a Windows Phone prime-time TV ad in the U.S. For three weeks 64 apps will compete daily in head-to-head match ups, with the winner chosen by popular vote. The last app standing will be crowned Windows Phone Next App Star.

    What we need you to do is vote for your favourite

    Windows Phone Store offers more than 130,000 certified apps and games designed to help people personalize their Windows Phone through unique features like Live Tiles and Kids Corner. We work hard to inspire developers to deliver hundreds of new titles every day across the categories that matter most to our customers; things like music, gaming, social, entertainment and kids & family.

    We need you to  vote on head-to-head app matchups via a beautiful Facebook page, sending the winner to the next round and registering each voter for a chance to win a Nokia Lumia 920 every day of the contest. This campaign is designed to impact both developers and consumers by highlighting the Windows Phone developer opportunity and showcasing a new wave of great apps on the platform. Windows Phone will be promoting matchups and announcing winners throughout the contest. So head to


    The UK Developers selected are below so VOTE for your favourite

    Name Country Hometown Category
    didlr United Kingdom Bromsgrove, UK Social
    Gimme Five United Kingdom Sheffield, United Kingdom Games / Puzzle And Trivia
    WPCentral United Kingdom London, United Kingdom News And Weather / International
    Cocktail Flow United Kingdom London, United Kingdom Lifestyle / Food And Dining

    The following FAQ outlines why this competition is being undertaken

    Q: What is Windows Phone Next App Star?

    Windows Phone Next App Star is a tournament-style challenge to give one developer the chance to see their app featured in a Windows Phone TV ad campaign in the US. 64 apps and games will compete head-to-head over a 3-week period. The 64 apps will be divided into two categories – free and paid – and organized into a single-elimination head-to-head matchup bracket, with winners determined by public voting until one grand prize App Star winner is left standing.

    Contest voters can vote on every match-up once per round, while also receiving one entry per vote for a chance to win a new Windows Phone 8 device. If the voter selects “share” at the end of each round, and at least one friend follows the link, the voter’s number of entries toward a new device will be automatically doubled for that and future rounds of voting.

    All 64 developer challengers will receive a new Nokia Windows Phone 8, a 1-year free Dev Center subscription and featured promotion in the Windows Phone Store. Developers will continue to win prizes for each round they win. The final App Star winner will receive all previously mentioned prizes and the app will be included in a Windows Phone television campaign in the U.S.

    Q: Why you we hosting this contest? Are you simply trying to spur development of more Windows Phone apps?
    Microsoft has featured 152 apps and games in TV commercials since the launch of Windows Phone 8. This contest gives our developers a chance to have their apps featured and puts the power to decide into the voting public. Next App Star gives developers what they want most – a shot at the big time. The contest will give great exposure to 64 new apps, while giving one lucky winner a primetime TV ad placement. Windows Phone Store is all about giving developers the most ways to be successful.

    Q: Won’t existing popular apps have an unfair advantage?

    Windows Phone Next App Star is about helping new and rising developers get the credit and support they need to reach the next level. Any app already featured in a TV ad is ineligible as are any apps published by Microsoft, Microsoft employees, and our hardware and mobile operator partners.

    Q: How were apps selected to be entered into the contest (developers)?
    The Windows Phone Store team reviewed apps that developers opted-in and submitted, making a determination based on ratings and app quality. The assessment was based 50% on customer ratings from March 6, 2013 to March 12, 2013, and 50% on our evaluation of the app’s quality, based on published criteria. More developer guidance is available at

    Q: How will the winning App Star be selected (consumers)?

    The Windows Phone App Star is determined by public Internet voting at starting March 19, 2013. Voting guidelines are available at

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft want to show you how Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 are the perfect platform for you to build your next app!


    App Development with Microsoft

    Through this one day event we will have keynote speakers from Microsoft and Nokia. Hear first-hand from developers who have built apps for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8.

    Thursday, 18 April 2013 from 08:30 to 17:00 (BST)

    Portsmouth, United Kingdom

    There is a chance to build your own app during our Hackathon where you can win Microsoft prizes!

    With Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 Store’s you have a choice of control schemes, a variety of devices tablets, notebooks, all in ones to a stunning array of phones from manufactures such as Nokia, HTC and Samsung.

    With Windows 8 features such as live tiles, snapped view, sharing charms and more you’re application comes alive. Your beautiful apps are delivered through the Windows Store available in over 200 markets, as an app developers can make money the way you want.



    9.00 - 9.10 Keynote Welcome and to Windows - Andrew McCartney, Microsoft

    9.10 - 10.00
    The opportunity of Windows 8 - Lee Stott, Microsoft

    10.00 - 11.00 Introduction to Windows Phone 8 - Adam Giles, Nokia

    11.00 - 11.15 Break

    11.15 - 13.00 Design Beautiful Apps - Rich Holdsworth,

    13.00 - 14.00 Lunch

    14.00 - 15.00 Building a Windows 8 Apps - Martin Beeby, Microsoft

    15.00 - 16.00 Building a Windows Phone 8 App - Andy Wigley, Microsoft

    16.00 -16.10 Break

    16.10 - 17.00 Developing Windows 8 Apps - Martin Beeby, Microsoft,

    17.00 End

    Optional Evening Event:

    17:00 - 19:00 Windows 8 Hackathon using

    Prizes up for grabs from Microsoft for best app developed in 2 hours! (Bring your own laptop).



    Register Here

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