Faculty Connection is an online set of real-world resources and shared peer knowledge, the goal of the Faculty Connection site is to put relevant and applicable tools and information at the fingertips of technology educators.
The UK Academic Team is responsible for offering IT students and faculty members free access to software, for enhancing knowledge and skills by providing curriculum materials and other learning opportunities, for helping students achieve their dreams by organizing an international competition, and finally for assisting last year students through career resources and job opportunities at our customers and partners.
With this blog we want to inform you on our latest initiatives.
Enjoy reading and stay tuned!
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.
Visual Studio 2013, .NET 4.5.1, and Team Foundation Server 2013 are now available for download! DreamSpark subscribers can download Visual Studio FREE of Charge from either their Institutional DreamSpark ELMS store or direct from DreamSpark.com.
Visual Studio 2013 is the best tool for developers and teams to build and deliver modern, connected applications on all of Microsoft’s platforms. From Windows Azure and SQL Server to Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8, Visual Studio 2013 supports the breadth of Microsoft’s developer platforms.
As part of the Cloud OS vision, Visual Studio 2013 enables developers to build modern business applications that take advantage of the cloud and target a variety of devices and end-user experiences, all delivered within today’s rapid and dynamic application lifecycles.
Accessing Visual Studio 2013 via DreamSpark.com
When student download and install Visual Studio 2013 from DreamSpark.com, they will receive a static key to complete the installation. The key simply means the students do not have register or reregister the product every 90 days are per the RTM version..
For administrators and IT technicians the DreamSpark institutional ELMS Store contains a copy of Visual Studio 2013 with a Pre-Keyed serial number this version can be used to install on institution teaching and learning lab machines either manually or via a managed desktop image.
Visual Studio and Cloud services
When the student/institutions have installed Visual Studio 2013 on premise, they will get prompted to go an connect online to use online features of Visual Studio a Windows Live ID or Microsoft Account is required. If a student signs in with their WLID this will save there solutions to the cloud.
What are the new features
There are great new features and capabilities in Visual Studio 2013 for every developer, including innovative editor enhancements such as Peek and CodeLens, diagnostics tools for UI responsiveness and energy consumption, major updates for ASP.NET web development, expanded ALM capabilities with Git support and agile portfolio management, and much, much more. Check out what’s new with Visual Studio 2013 for details.
Want to know more about Visual Studio 2013
Visual Studio 2013 launch on November 13th. at the launch event the Visual Studio team will be highlighting the array of new features and capabilities in the Visual Studio 2013 release.
Visual Studio 2013 supports development of great Windows Store applications for Windows 8.1, which is also available for download today FREE of charge for all DreamSpark Premium subscribers.
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.
Next week I will be at the Develop Conference, attending some of the 103 sessions, 5 keynotes, and on the Microsoft stand at the Expo. I’m looking forward to networking with the 1500 developers and 450 companies during the event and discussing the opportunity of developing Windows 8 Metro Style games.
On http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/apps/hh452780.aspx we list options for developing Windows 8 games.
At present there are over 50 games available in the store using the above technologies, here are some good links to get started
· Metro style app using C++, C#, or Visual Basic and XAML. You can use managed code languages like C# and Visual Basic to develop 2D (and lightweight 3D) games. If you have developed in Silverlight for Internet Explorer or Windows Phone 7, this model will feel very familiar.
· Metro style C++ with DirectX. You can develop both 2D and 3D games that effectively use the graphics processing horsepower on a range of Windows desktops and 3D-enabled Windows devices, from high powered gaming rigs to low power slates. It requires a strong working knowledge of Windows programming and native C/C++.
There are a number of online tutorial around Marble Maze which is a DirectX game written in C++. This leads you to the more basic “Hello World” example over here although while the results of that example are “Hello World” in nature.
There’s another, more realistic sample over here with a walk-through to build up a Metro style shooting game. It takes the form of a completed code sample and a walk through of what’s going on in that sample.
It runs to around 40 source files.
The key learning outcome for starting to build games for Metro are as follows as these would make excellent starting points for curricula development for Developing Metro Style Games.
1) Understanding how a Metro style app gets on the screen – i.e. the infrastructure around IFrameworkViewSource and IFrameworkView.
2) Understanding C++/CX which is a bunch of C++ extensions relatively familiar to people like me who’ve come from the C++/CLI world but a bit odd to a regular C++ developer.
3) Understanding some of the technologies used like the Parallel Patterns Library (PPL) which our default templates throw at you.
4) Understanding some of the C++ 11 techniques like lambdas which our default templates also throw at you.
5) Understanding how a Metro style app is meant to work from the point of view of lifecycle management (i.e. suspend/resume/terminate).
6) Understanding the WinRT APIs available and their main usage and purpose.
Steps 5 & 6 are common to any Windows 8 Metro style app developer.
As we are all aware, there are many game engines /frameworks (middleware) available. Some of these are already supporting development for Win 8 metro games whilst others are planning to support it within the coming months. I have listed the ones which are or have short terms plans to support W8 metro apps. I am sure that there will be more to come…
A full games development tool/suite – physics, rendering, scripting, AI etc.
Windows 8 Metro support: coming soon (for GA)
An Open Source, OpenGL implementation of the Microsoft XNA 4 Framework
Windows 8 Metro support: coming soon (‘later this year’)
Dev languages: C#/XNA
SharpDX is an open-source project delivering the full DirectX API under the .Net platform, allowing the development of high performance game, 2D and 3D graphics rendering as well as realtime sound application.
Windows 8 Metro support: Now
Dev languages: C#
Well this week marked another important milestone for Microsoft with the release of Windows Server 2012, on Tuesday 4th of September, Microsoft made the official announcement of Windows Server 2012 you watch all the content at http://www.windows-server-launch.com
What’s new in Server 2012
Microsoft has positioned this as a very cloud-friendly OS. So its more important then ever to start ensuring your teaching cloud fundamentals to your students to help with this we have dedicated curriculum at http://www.microsoft.com/faculty
Here are some of the new features.
So, what are the press and analyst saying about Windows Server 2012?
Windows Server 2012 offers a major step in function capabilities aligned with several major strategic trends for both Microsoft and the rest of the industry.
The team at Forrester posted a blog titled, “Microsoft Announces Windows Server 2012,” Here are just a few quotes.
On the release of Windows Server 2012 as a whole:
“Make no mistake, this is a really major restructuring of the OS, and a major step in function capabilities aligned with several major strategic trends for both Microsoft and the rest of the industry. While Microsoft’s high level message is centered on the cloud, and on the Windows Server 2012 features that make it a productive platform upon which both enterprises and service providers can build a cost-effective cloud, its features will be immensely valuable to a wide range of businesses.”
“There is no doubt that this is the most significant jump in OS capabilities since Microsoft first introduced Windows as a server OS.”
Forrester Says Evaluate Windows Server 2012 NOW:
“But, and this is critical, you must begin to evaluate and pilot it even if you are still completing your rollout of Windows Server 2008, as many Forrester clients still are. My guess is that WS2012 is the future of Windows OS, and will probably serve as the core of Microsoft’s strategy for the next decade. I doubt their ability to produce a radical upgrade to this in the next four or five years, and even the next version of the OS is likely to look like WS2012. This implies that you need to understand how this new OS will change and enable your strategic IT road map, particularly since the new OS has features and capabilities that, if properly exploited by you (or by your competitors), could generate real competitive differentiation such as the ability to deploy applications more rapidly, manage them more efficiently, etc.”
What does this mean For IT Students and curricula?
Firstly if your teaching infrastructure, administration, storage, cloud or virtualisation its critical, that you begin to evaluate and become familiar with Windows Server 2012. As academics you have a number of ways of doing this.
1. Download a trial version from http://www.windows-server-launch.com
2. Download and install a full version for FREE for teaching, learning and research in your labs and computer clusters from DreamSpark Premium – http://www.dreamspark.com
3. Point your students at www.dreamspark.com and get them to install windows server 2012 and get familiar. For further details and FAQ click here
The key thing is that understand how this new OS will change and enable your strategic curricula roadmap, particularly since the new OS has features and capabilities that, could generate real competitive differentiation for your student employability giving them experience of skills such as the ability to deploy applications more rapidly, manage them more efficiently have experience of the Windows Azure IaaS, PaaS and SaaS options and virtualisation using HyperV.
1. You should evaluate this new release.
2. Make use of FREE training resources for your IT Services and support teams at https://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/
3. Attend one of our FREE IT Camps to get deeper understanding of Windows Server 2012 http://uktechdays.cloudapp.net/it-camps.aspx
4. Make use of the curricula and teaching resources at http://www.microsoft.com/faculty
5. Consider running older OS and software stacks within a VM, particularly given the improvements to the overall Hyper-V environment.
6. If your contemplating a major new cloud or virtualization project or initiative, Windows Server 2012 should be the platform of choice, simply because of the FREE licensing options for teaching, learning and research as part of DreamSpark premium.
Pre Order your Surface with Windows RT
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
Guest blog by Andrew Wilson, Course Director, BSc (Hons) Computer Games Technology, Birmingham City University
Introducing students to the processes of game development that is designing, prototyping, play testing and refining the original idea has to be fun and engaging. Many students joining game development courses such as ours at Birmingham City University have little exposure to programming and can be frustrated by not being able to develop their game ideas as quickly as they hoped.
Therefore to complement the teaching of software development tools such as Microsoft XNA Game Studio, MonoGame or Unity3D we need tools where our students can quickly produce fun playable games and which they can learn very quickly.
As an experiment in 2012 a group of first year students were asked to develop a mobile game based on a brief set by a local independent games studio Distorted Poetry. The students were allowed to use a tool of their choice as long as it was free and that they were comfortable with teaching it to themselves. Teaching other people is one of the best ways of learning and an approach we encourage and cultivate on the BSc Computer Games Technology course a skill that has rewarded several of our students with employment in local games studios.
The 2012 teams predominately chose Scirra’s Construct2 as developing games in HTML5 was high on their agenda. Construct2 is a very nice tool to learn game development without the overhead of learning complex coding practises. Once the students mastered the environment they quickly developed game ideas within a few hours.
Construct2 game Soul survivor developed by first year BCU Computer Games Technology students (2102)
This year’s first years were given the challenge of developing a Construct2 game for Microsoft’s Imagine Cup 2013. They have just completed their prototypes and are in the process of play-testing their games.
Their ideas are clever and innovative and demonstrates how easy Construct2 is to learn and what is achievable with it
First year Computer Games Technology (2013) prototypes for this year’s Microsoft Imagine Cup
Deploying to different platforms has also been made incredible easy with the export function and can be published onto the Windows 8 App store which is available to students via dreamspark. A great addition that helps students develop their portfolio of published games which is very important for a career as a games developer.
Usman Mohammad, a second year Computer Games Technology student, is working on a Birmingham City University Student Academic Partner Programme.
This scheme is a unique partnership involving the Students' Union and Birmingham City University. The scheme topped the 2010 Times Higher Education (THE) Awards in the ‘Outstanding Support for Students’ category. Usman is working on developing a workshop using Construct2 which can be used in our University’s outreach and master class programmes, where school and college students can have an introduction to games development and experience studying in our University.
So well done to Scirra and we hope you keep producing such an excellent teaching tool.
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.
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: http://www.microsoft.com/visualstudio/eng/downloads
The Release Preview can be downloaded for free here: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/release-preview
Step 1b. Download HTML5 Game Starter Kit for Windows 8
Click on File->New->Project…
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.
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.