The goal of this site is to put relevant and applicable tools and information at the fingertips
With this blog we want to inform you on our latest initiatives.
Enjoy reading and stay tuned!
One of the questions I have had this week, is from Mobile development course leaders, how they can teach, Windows Phone, iOS and Android in the same lab?
For the first time ever, you can write native iOS apps in Visual Studio using C#.
So I know a number of academics love Resharper, Team Foundation Server, and the entire Visual Studio ecosystem, so hopefully the following information will make your life is now complete.
Another key aspect of mobile development is code portability simply put the Sharing code between iOS, Android and Windows and with the Xamarin iOS plug this has just got a whole lot easier.
Xamarin iOS for Visual Studio allows iOS applications to be written and tested on Windows computers, with a networked Mac providing the build and deployment service.
This article covers the steps to install and configure the Xamarin iOS tools on each computer, in order to build iOS applications using Visual Studio.
Developing for iOS inside Visual Studio provides a number of benefits:
Xamarin.iOS for Visual Studio supports configurations where Visual Studio is running inside a Windows virtual machine on a Mac (eg. using Parallels or VMWare).
Watch the following video for more information
There are three great plugin and Unity3d Asset available today
Check the release notes page for up to the minute information about each release.
Microsoft Store Plugin
The Microsoft Store Plugin lets you offer your app as a free trial and sell in app purchases. Get full access to the available license information for your app and all of your products. Includes Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 support. This plugin requires Unity 4.5+.Download Now
Metro Essentials Plugin
There is something here for everyone. The Metro Essentials Plugin exposes RoamingSettings (similar to Apples iCloud), live tiles, toasts, the settings charm, the share charm and snap events. All the goodies you need to metro-ize your game are here! This plugin requires Unity 4.5+.Download Now
Social Networking Plugin (Twitter and Facebook) $75
Let word of mouth sell your game for you with this plugin! Post high score updates and achievements to the biggest social networking sites out there with just a couple lines of code. It's all here. For those who want to dig deeper into the Graph API with it's wealth of information, we support that too. Twitter integration includes all the usual suspects including posting updates, getting a users followers and full access to the entire Twitter API! This plugin requires Unity 4.5+.Buy Now
Microsoft Ads Plugin
Access the Microsoft Advertising SDK to display ad banners and monetize your app. With over 15 banner variants to choose from you are guaranteed to find one that fits your game without ruining the experience for your users. This plugin requires Unity 4.5+.Download Now
Microsoft Azure Plugin
The Azure web services are a powerful way to store data. Accessing them from a Unity game has never been easier. One line of code is all it takes to store any object remotely and securely on Azure. Retriving and deleting objects is just as easy.Download Now
Flurry Analytics Plugin
Use Flurry to learn the habits of your users! Collect valuable data like which devices they're using, if your game levels have appropriate difficulty and if anyone's bothering to read your tutorial. Sprinkle calls to log events throughout your code and watch the statistics roll in! This plugin requires Unity 4.5+.
Check the release notes page for up to the minute information about each release.
The Microsoft Store Plugin lets you offer your app as a free trial and sell in app purchases. Get full access to the available license information for your app and all of your products.Download Now
Let word of mouth sell your game for you with this plugin! Post high score updates and achievements to the biggest social networking sites out there with just a couple lines of code. It's all here. For those who want to dig deeper into Facebook's Graph API with it's wealth of information, we support that too. Twitter integration includes all the usual suspects including posting updates, getting a users followers and full access to the entire Twitter API! Buy Now
AdMob Plugin $40
AdMob has finally made its way to Windows Phone 8! Create and display a banner with one line of code. Full interstitial support is also included for ultra high CPM adverts. This plugin requires Unity 4.5+. Buy Now
Access the Microsoft Advertising SDK to display ad banners and monetize your app. Monetize your free apps with Microsofts high CPM ad banner solution today! This plugin requires Unity 4.5+. Download Now
Windows Phone Essentials Plugin
There is something here for everyone. The Windows Phone Essentials Plugin exposes live tiles and push notifications to Unity. A host of Windows Phone sharing tasks are also exposed including the SMS composer, email composer, web browser, link sharing, status update sharing, rate this app, photo chooser and more! All the goodies you need to metro-ize your game are here! Download Now
Flurry Analytics Plugin $45
Use Flurry to learn the habits of your users! Collect valuable data like which devices they're using, if your game levels have appropriate difficulty and if anyone's bothering to read your tutorial. Sprinkle calls to log events throughout your code and watch the statistics roll in! Buy Now
Bit Rave have extensive experience working with the Windows 8 platform capabilities, and as part of that we decided to build a library for Unity to make Windows 8 integration easier for everyone.
Azure plugins are now separate. Information can be found here: http://www.bitrave.com/azure-mobile-services-for-unity-3d/
Azure plugins are now separate. Information can be found here: http://www.bitrave.com/azure-mobile-services-for-unity-3d/
Find out just how easy it is for each of the Windows 8 capabilities.
The Azure Mobile Services plugin for Unity 3D is available open source at github. That’s the place to go if you want to contribute or look at the source. It’s on github here: https://github.com/bitrave/azure-mobile-services-for-unity3d . However, if you don’t care about the source, and just use it, head to github as there is an example project with built binaries in it so you can just grab it and use it.
The WinBridge is a plugin for Unity that enables easier command of native controls and features of WinRT (the underlying library behind Windows Store, Windows Phone and Xbox One apps). Currently implemented are: - Windows store (In-app-purchases, trial upgrade, receipt management, Windows store debugging) - Native message dialogs - Native and hardware-accelerated video playback This plugin is an open-source project by Microsoft developer evangelists, aiming to make porting to and development for Windows, Windows Phone and Xbox platforms easier. This plugin ships with compiled DLLs, but the full source is available at https://github.com/ProtossEngineering/WinBridge.
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.
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..
The Windows engineering and Windows Store teams are blogging regularly at the following sites
· Windows 8 app developer blog: Get coding and design best practices and tips, and updates on events and offers for developers.
· Windows Store for developers blog: Get all the latest news on doing business in the Windows Store.
Typically, you develop an application for Windows Phone 7 by using Microsoft Silverlight and one of the managed programming languages—usually C# or XNA.
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.
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..
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.
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 (email@example.com) with your Windows Live ID (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
One of the questions I get from game developers is around debugging of a App/Game after they see reported crashes
Here is a quick guide to how to debug the crash logs from the WP8 dev center
Firstly you need to download and analysis the crash logs
Login to https://dev.windowsphone.com Click Dashboard Click Reports Select Crash Count Click Export Strack Traces This will download a .cab
If you then look up specific error numbers at https://dev.windowsphone.com/ and http://msdn.microsoft.com a specific link to Debugging on Windows Phone http://dev.windowsphone.com/en-US/OEM/docs/Debugging/Debugging_Windows_Phone
To Analyse the log
You need to save the .cab then right click and extract it.
Then double click on the mini dump file and open into VS.
They will see something similar to below.
This gives limited info because the debug symbols are missing.
The symbols are located in two places. To install all available symbols, do the following two steps:
Run the provided symbols installers from the WDK download on the Windows Connect site http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/hardware/ff557573(v=vs.85).aspx.
Run setup.exe from the Windows Phone download on the Connect site. Check the desired boxes for Debugger Symbols, and click the Next button.
Add the paths of the symbols to the symbol path. For example, you can use .sympath inside the debugger to add folder locations. For more information, see Symbol path.
For a large workgroup, consider creating a symbol server. For more information, see Symbol stores and symbol servers.
You can then load them in using the links on the right.
If you don't install the symbols “Debugging with native only “ gives the limited call stack:
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 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.
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!
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.
· 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
Guest blog by Simon Grey Lecturer in Games Development Studies at the University of Hull
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.
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