• Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Xbox360 for education announced at BETT2014

    • 6 Comments

    X360Edu White

    There has never been a better time to learn how to program. Modern programming languages, coupled with powerful and widely available development environments, provide an excellent place to work.

    A wide range of operating environments, including mobile devices, cloud computing, robotics, embedded devices, and games, means that you can apply your programming-acquired skills in a huge range of different areas.

    Programming lets you bring your ideas to life, and with the launch of Xbox for Education, Microsoft is trying to making programming more exciting and interesting for students of all ages. With Xbox for Education and Microsoft DreamSpark we’re getting students coding in C# and XNA and we hope to aspire tomorrow’s games developer and help students learn a lot about how games work and even create totally new ones of their own.

    As part of its effort to further increase computational thinking and games development in young people, Microsoft is also introducing a discounted Xbox 360 programme to schools which includes a 3-Year DreamSpark subscription.

    DreamSpark http://www.dreamspark.com provides the tools to help student’s designs and create applications and games for Microsoft Xbox, Windows Phone and Windows 8. DreamSpark equips students with professional developer software and resources to explore the world of computing and to develop their passions and skills – at home as well as at school. It also equips and supports teachers through the provision of software and lessons plans.

    The Xbox for Education offer includes a 3-Year DreamSpark Standard subscription for the institution. To take advantage of this offer from Monday 27th January, schools and colleges should visit: www.Xboxforeducation.co.uk

    Xbox for Education and the associated resources available at DreamSpark http://www.dreamspark.com and Microsoft Faculty Connection Resources http://www.microsoft.com/faculty provides teachers with resources from first principles to advanced techniques.

    These resources will shows you how to use the C# language to solve problems and how C# is used within the Microsoft XNA Framework to create games. The games that you write using the resources available can run on a Microsoft Windows, an Xbox 360, or a Windows Phone.

    C# is a popular programming language used by many software developers all over the world. The C# skills that you pick up from the Xbox in Education can also be used as the basis of a career in programming should you find that you really enjoy writing programs. Additionally the design of the C# language is very similar to C, C++, and Java you will find that your skills can be used with them too.

    XNA is a framework which allows games to be written in C#. It provides all the “heavy lifting” concerned with creating a game framework. It drives the display, manages content, and provides an easy to use way of interacting with gamepads and other controllers. It also provides a common platform so that XNA games can run on a variety of different devices, games can also be distributed to Xbox users around the world using the Xbox Live service.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Channel 9 Windows 8 Application

    • 6 Comments

    Channel 9 is home base online for technical know how, how to’s and tips and tricks.

    Channel 9 is used by millions of Developers worldwide each month through videos, how to articles and events.

    We are excited to announce that the team has just released a Channel 9 application in the Windows 8 App Store. 

    So Install the application today on the Windows 8 Consumer Preview and easily browse the latest content on Channel 9, share content with your friends and view content on any of your Play To Enabled devices. 

    To find the app, Search the Windows 8 App store for Channel 9.

    clip_image002

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows 8 RTM is available for developers

    • 6 Comments

    Windows 8 RTM is available for developers and new developer content based upon RTM is now available in the Windows Dev Center: http://dev.windows.com.

    The Windows 8 RTM is available for developers blog details how to get a 90 day evaluation version of Windows 8 RTM if you’re not part of TechNet, MSDN or DreamSpark Premium for institutional administrators.

    The Windows Dev Center, now contains brand new overviews and migration guides for apps built on RP as well as..

    • Developer downloads – This single page gives access to all of the downloads you need to build apps, including Windows 8 RTM, Visual Studio Express 2012, design assets, code samples, and additional SDKs and tools.
    • Design resources – All Windows 8 design resources are located at design.windows.com. See case studies, category guidance, and get a new downloadable version of the UX guidelines for Windows 8 apps.
    • Developer content – The ‘Docs’ section of the Windows Dev Center is updated for RTM including more detailed API docs, new How-to articles, a new section for developing apps with C++ and DirectX, and many more samples.
    • Selling content – Find the Windows Store markets, how to price apps, and the latest versions of the Windows Store Agreements including the App Certification Requirements.
    • Community content – Access to developer forums, blogs, Dev Camps, and local event listings

    The Windows engineering and Windows Store teams are blogging regularly at the following sites

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Porting of a existing XNA Windows Phone Game to Windows 8

    • 6 Comments

    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!

    ShearC 

    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

    DreamSpark and Apphub account creation simplified

    • 5 Comments

    DreamSpark-2_bL_tapphub_logo

    New Updates - What’s new

    AppHub Integration: Linking your DreamSpark Account with a Microsoft Live ID

    I’m very excited to inform you that we’ve completed our “AppHub Integration: Linking DreamSpark Account with Live ID” 

    This will now dramatically improve the experience of those students that were having difficulties with App Hub registration.

    With the update to DreamSpark students and educators create a new DreamSpark account that is not a Windows Live ID. However for students who wish to produce application for Xbox or Windows Phone require a Windows Live ID, to create apphub accounts via http://create.msdn.com.

    We have now enabled the system, to enable educators or students to map their DreamSpark account to new or existing Windows Live ID. 

    Here is the workflow:

    - Student/Educator visits the page https://www.dreamspark.com/Product/Product.aspx?ProductId=26 and sees [Map your Live ID] button enabled and [Register on AppHub] button disabled.

    - Student/Educator Clicks on [Map your Live ID] button.

    - Student/Educator Sign in on DreamSpark site with their Verified account (or get the account verified).

    - Student/Educator then logs in using Windows Live ID account.

    - Student/Educator is shown the message “Are you sure you want your map your DreamSpark login (name@university.com) with your Windows Live ID (myname@hotmail.com) with [Ok] and [Cancel] buttons.

    - Student/Educator clicks on [Ok] button a Accounts will be mapped a User automatically signed out from Live ID account à User will be redirected to the page https://www.dreamspark.com/Product/Product.aspx?ProductId=26 with [Map your Live ID] button disabled and [Register on AppHub] button enabled.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows 8

    • 5 Comments

    Steven Sinofsky, President of the Windows Division at Microsoft presented at  the ‘All Things Digital;’ Conference #D9 yesterday. Steven announced  a few details about what we can expect from the next version of the Windows operating system.

    Windows 8 will feature a new UI similar to the tile-based interface of Windows Phone 7 and this will all be touch enabled (see the video below).

    Windows 8 will focus on two types of apps:

    · Classic Windows desktop apps- they will run and look similar to Win 7 today. They will open from the Start screen into familiar Win 7.

    · HTML5/Javascript apps – they will look more like mobile apps and will run in a different experience than classic Windows apps. This includes IE10. This new style of app will be able to access everything new in Windows 8.

    The concept of HTML 5 application is these be like mobile apps and will run in a different experience than classic Windows applications additionally HTML 5 applications will have access to a number of new features in Windows 8 and both type native windows and HTML 5 applications can run side by side.

    Apps using “new Windows” programming are built in HTML and Javascript. Windows 8 will run both those apps and ones written in traditional Windows code. Now, it’s wait and see to the Professional Developer Conference. Also, if you’re interested in building applications for Windows 8, you should keep September 13-16 free and book a flight to California for this: http://www.buildwindows.com/.

    Windows 8 start screen will appear with a a lock screen similar to Windows Phone 7 and be displayed with s a clock, upcoming calendar item and notification and customisation of this screen will be possible.

    Windows 8 UI

    Windows 8 will not require any specific enhancement to hardware in terms of memory, disk space, CPU than Windows 7 and exciting for the UK Academic space is Windows 8 will run on Intel, AMD and ARM based chips.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Inspiring the next generation of programmers - developer tools from Microsoft

    • 5 Comments

    At Microsoft we have an amazing set of tools to inspire future developers

    Here a list of developer tools to help inspire tomorrow developers (Figures in bracket are guidelines for ages that it is appropriate) For FREE additional curricula materials see http://www.microsoft.com/faculty

    ·         Kodu (5-11)

    Kodu is a new visual programming language made specifically for creating games. It is designed to be accessible for children and enjoyable for anyone. The programming environment runs on the Xbox, allowing rapid design iteration using only a game controller for input. The core of the Kodu project is the programming user interface. The language is simple and entirely icon-based. Programs are composed of pages, which are broken down into rules, which are further divided into conditions and actions. Conditions are evaluated simultaneously. The Kodu language is designed specifically for game development and provides specialized primitives derived from gaming scenarios. Programs are expressed in physical terms, using concepts like vision, hearing, and time to control character behaviour. While not as general-purpose as classical programming languages, Kodu can express advanced game design concepts in a simple, direct, and intuitive manner. See http://www.kodugamelab.com/about

    ·         The Kodu Cup (7-14)

    The Kodu Kup is a game creation competition for UK school-children aged between 7 and 14. The Kodu Kup is open to any child enrolled as attending a UK school and who is aged between seven to fourteen years of age at the date of entry. Children are entered by their appropriate school teacher as a team of three. For more information the flyer can be downloaded from here: http://bit.ly/KoduKupFlyer

    ·         Small Basic (5-11)

    Small Basic is a project that is focused at making programming accessible and easy for beginners. The Language draws its inspiration from an early variant of BASIC but is based on the modern .Net Framework Platform. The Environment is simple but rich in features, offering beginners several of the benefits that professional programmers have come to expect of a worthy IDE. A rich set of Libraries help beginners learn by writing compelling and interesting programs. Small Basic is intended for beginners that want to learn programming. In our internal trials we've had success with kids between the ages of 10 and 16. However, it's not limited to just kids; even adults that had an inclination to programming have found Small Basic very helpful in taking that first step. See http://www.smallbasic.com

    ·        .NET Gadgeteer (6-24)

    Are you ready to create something awesome? Microsoft .NET Gadgeteer is an open-source toolkit for building small electronic devices using the .NET Micro Framework and Visual Studio/Visual C# Express. Build all manner of electronic gadgets quickly and easily with .NET Gadgeteer! LEARN HOW TO GET STARTED

    ·         TouchDevlop (8-24)

    TouchDevelop makes learning programming exciting! You can write code directly on any device and you can directly use sensors and media via high-level APIs. It's easy to create games and apps, publish them or tweak those published by others. You write code in our touch-friendly editor where you compose programs by tapping on your screen, yet concepts you learn transfer to traditional languages such as Java or C#. TouchDevelop embraces the "Bring Your Own Device" revolution by providing a unified programming environment everywhere. http://www.touchdevelop.com

    ·         Project Spark (8-24)

    Project Spark is a digital canvas which can be used to make games, movies and other experiences. A player can download other user-generated content, remix that content or create content of their own. A player can use the Xbox controller, keyboard and mouse, touch-devices and Kinect to build experiences. Kinect can be used to animate models and record audio. The created environments can contain mountains, rivers, and towns. http://www.projectspark.com

    ·         Web Application Template (11+)

    The Web Application Template is an Open Source Visual Studio 2013 template that lets developers create Windows 8.1 apps based on existing web content. Used in the right way, Web Application Template can facilitate the creation of compelling extensions to your web content for Windows users.

    ·         Windows Phone AppStudio (8-24)

    Windows Phone App Studio lets you swiftly build apps for immediate publishing, testing, and sharing with clients, co-workers, and focus groups. Windows Phone App Studio generates your source code - a feature no other app-builder tool provides so you can learn the basic and make enhancements with Visual Studio. http://apps.windowsstore.com/

    ·         Project Siena (8-24)

    Microsoft Project Siena (code name) is the beta release of a new technology for those interested in building an app without any programming experience, you can create powerful apps for the device-first and cloud-connected world, with the potential to transform today’s business processes.

    Here are some examples of what people have already been building:

    • Apps to explore media-rich product catalogs and create ensembles that together serve a customer’s needs
    • Apps used on the spot to resolve customer service bottlenecks and logistics exceptions, with the custom intelligence to help the user make local tradeoffs

    Apps for auditing and inspecting a manufacturing facility through photos, videos, and pen and voice notes, all tied to an asset database see http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/projectsiena/default.aspx

    ·         DreamSpark (6+)

    DreamSpark is a Microsoft Program that supports technical education by providing access to Microsoft software for learning, teaching and research purposes.

    DreamSpark is simple: it's all about giving students Microsoft professional-level developer and designer tools at no cost so that students can chase their dreams and create the next big breakthrough in technology - or just get a head start on their career.

    DreamSpark helps educators teach the latest technologies and experiment in research. Microsoft knows that to make learning more motivating, relevant, and engaging for today's students requires a diverse set of resources. DreamSpark gives educators the resources to ensure their classrooms always have the latest technologies to challenges, motivate, and keep students engaged in new ways.

    DreamSpark is also a subscription for Academic Institutions: it provides a cost-effective way to put Microsoft developer tools, platforms and servers in labs and classrooms, and on their students’ and faculty’s computers for learning and research purposes. It reduces lab costs and teaching budgets.

    How do I get DreamSpark Software?

    As a Student: simply create an account, verify your student status and download software through this website at no cost. If your school/university has a subscription, you can also get access to more software titles.

    Learn more clip_image002

    As an Educator: you can get access through your institution’s subscription. Talk to your school administration to get a DreamSpark subscription and order today!

    Learn more clip_image004

    As an Academic Institution: order the subscription type that is right for you. DreamSpark Standard is for all types of institutions from primary to tertiary educations. DreamSpark Premium has a wider software catalog of over 500 products and is for qualifying technical departments only.

    Learn more clip_image004[1]

    ·         DreamSpark FREE Store Developer Account for Windows 8 and Windows Phone (16+)

    Develop applications for Microsoft software that showcase your talent, your skill and your development creativity. If you can imagine it, you can create it, and you may even just change the world with it. https://www.dreamspark.com/Student/App-Development.aspx

    ·         Xbox For Education (6+)

    The Xbox for Education offer includes a 3-Year DreamSpark Standard subscription for the institution. To take advantage of this offer from Monday 27th January, schools and colleges should visit: www.Xboxforeducation.co.uk

    Xbox for Education and the associated resources available at DreamSpark http://www.dreamspark.com and Microsoft Faculty Connection Resources http://www.microsoft.com/faculty provides teachers with resources from first principles to advanced techniques.

    These resources will shows you how to use the C# language to solve problems and how C# is used within the Microsoft XNA Framework to create games. The games that you write using the resources available can run on a Microsoft Windows, an Xbox 360, or a Windows Phone.

    Or simply use packages such as Kinect Sports and Adventures, Mind Craft, Kodu and Project Spark in the classroom.

    ·         The Imagine Cup (16+)

    There are lots of ways to participate in Imagine Cup. Find the competition that's right for you and your team. Fans of gaming? Check out the Games Competition. Want to change the world? Take a look at the World Citizenship Competition. Click on any competition's name to learn more about it, read up on the rules, and learn how to sign your team up. http://www.imaginecup.com

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Installing XNA on Windows 8 with Visual Studio 2012

    • 4 Comments

    Guest blog by Simon Grey Lecturer in Games Development Studies at the University of Hull

    xna_logo

    XNA is a great framework for creating games, and we use it as a tool to motivate students to learn how to program whilst creating great games at extra-curricular events such as the three thing game. For us, a tools like XNA is an invaluable intrinsic motivator – inspiring students to want to learn to code, as opposed to being motivated because we said so, or because they will get better grades.

    According to the official documentation XNA requires Visual Studio 2010. Now, clearly it’s possible to install both Visual Studio 2010 and Visual Studio 2012 on the same machine, but that would have a big impact on the size of the image.

    To get around the limitation of our managed desktop Hard Drive capacity we would d rather not install both if we don’t have to, but if you try to install XNA on a machine that doesn’t include Visual Studio 2010 the installation will fail.

    However after some monitoring of the install process here is a nice walkthrough produced by the University of Hull of how to install XNA onto a machine with Visual Studio 2012. The University of Hull we are keen to provide students with as seamless an experience as possible when moving from working at home to working in university, with this in mind I Simon has developed the following blog post, so that students can use XNA at home with Visual Studio 2012 to allow them an easy transition to and from the machines at the University

    You’ll need to download this zip file which contains the entire XNA setup and the folders that you’ll need to copy yourself.

    1. Download the zip file and unzip it somewhere. You should see an executable called XNAGS40_setup.exe and a folder called XNA Game Studio 4.0
    2. Open a command line and navigate to the folder that contains XNAGS40_setup.exe – then run XNAGS40_setup.exe /x . You’ll be asked to enter a folder. It’s probably easiest if you create a new empty folder. This folder is temporary and can be deleted after you are done.
    3. Go to the temporary folder and run redists.msi
    4. Run the MSI at %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft XNA\XNA Game Studio\v4.0\Setup\XLiveRedist.msi
    5. Run the MSI at %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft XNA\XNA Game Studio\v4.0\Redist\XNA FX Redist\xnafx40_redist.msi
    6. Run the MSI at %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft XNA\XNA Game Studio\v4.0\Setup\xnaliveproxy.msi
    7. Run the MSI at %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft XNA\XNA Game Studio\v4.0\Setup\xnags_platform_tools.msi
    8. Run the MSI at %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft XNA\XNA Game Studio\v4.0\Setup\xnags_shared.msi
    9. Copy folder XNA Game Studio 4.0 provided in the zip file you downloaded at the start to C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 11.0\Common7\IDE\Extensions\Microsoft
    10. Go to the temporary folder you extracted to in step 2 and run the MSI named arpentry.msi
    11. Open a cmd window and run “C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 11.0\Common7\IDE\devenv.exe” /setup
    12. Delete the temporary folder you created, as well as the zip file and the folder you extracted that to. You don’t need those any more.
    13. Create some awesome games using XNA!

    Additional resources

    Visual Studio Professional 2013 https://www.dreamspark.com/Product/Product.aspx?productid=72

    Visual Studio Professional 2012 https://www.dreamspark.com/Product/Product.aspx?productid=44

    Visual Studio Professional 2010 https://www.dreamspark.com/Product/Product.aspx?productid=4

    MonoGame for taking existing XNA Games and Apps to Windows 8 – http://www.monogame.net

    XNA Game Studio - https://www.dreamspark.com/Product/Product.aspx?productid=3

    Getting Started creating Xbox Indie XNA Games - http://www.slideshare.net/lee_stott/xbox-indie-account-via-xna-creators-club-for-all-students

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Academic Search

    • 4 Comments

    The Academic Search beta is a free search engine, developed by Microsoft Research, that helps users quickly find information about academic researchers and their activities. It is also a test-bed for our object-level vertical search research.

    With Academic Search, you can easily find top researchers and their papers, conferences, and journals. You can also find relationships between researchers who co-authored papers. Academic Search will be changing its name with the upcoming release of new and improved features. In the meantime, try Academic Search and explore more than 15 million publications.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Cloud Services SDK for Windows Phone 7 Beta

    • 4 Comments
    Wp7

    Project Hawaii Releases Cloud Services SDK for Windows Phone 7 Beta

    The MRC Engineering team, in collaboration with the newly formed Microsoft Mobile Computing Research Center (MCRC), has released the fourth and final cloud service for Windows Phone 7 development: Optical Character Recognition (OCR).

    This OCR service is the next step in the evolution of
    Project Hawaii, the Microsoft Research project that is exploring how to take full advantage of the cloud to enhance the use of smartphones.

    With Hawaii OCR, you can use your smartphone's camera to take a picture of an object that contains text (in Roman characters), send the image to the cloud, and in return receive a Unicode string of the text. This text string can be used in a number of interesting scenarios, such as translation of street signs or restaurant menus.

    Download the SDK and start building Windows Phone 7 apps today. For more details, read the Aloha: Text from the Cloud blog.

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