• Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    C++ & Direct X on Windows 8

    • 3 Comments

    Windows 8’s new Metro platform offers developers the possibility to build not only apps, but also new, immersive NUI (natural user interface) gaming experiences.
     

    In the UK we have over 217 gaming courses, Microsoft is working to make sure that gaming devs have the necessary resources to start creating Metro games tailored to the next version of Windows and allow students to start developing some real portfolio and experience of gaming industry by allowing them to easily and simply upload their completed games to the Windows Store.

    We have a selection of material available to help educators and students get started on the Windows 8 Metro Style Game development with resources such as ‘Building your first Metro style game with C++’ which is available via the Windows Dev Center. The Windows Dev Center offers developers the guidance they need to start coding.   Additionally we have resources at the dev center for XAML/C#, HTML5/JS and it’s important to understand that leveraging C++ implies that the games built will be much more than simple Metro apps or existing XNA windows phone or XNA creator apps.

    Again in terms of curricula change and enhancement, it is important to understand that A Metro style game with C++ is a game developed using native C++ APIs, such as DirectX, that have been made available to the Windows Runtime. This model is more complex than the usual Metro style app, but it provides greater flexibility and greater access to system resources, especially graphics devices. So, it is a good model for the experienced developer.

    Essentially, a Windows 8 Metro DirectX game built with C++ implies delivering a graphics- or multimedia-intensive experience to end users, taking advantage of the graphics hardware.

    Games 

    The following Channel9 Video http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Windows-Camp/Developing-Windows-8-Metro-style-apps-in-Cpp/Cpp-and-DirectX-for-Metro-Style-Games goes into more detail and there is a whole set of resources for Developing  Windows 8 Metro Style Apps in C++ http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Windows-Camp/Developing-Windows-8-Metro-style-apps-in-Cpp

    In terms of gaming technologies and development skills, I like to break them down into the following categories

    • HTML/JS casual game developer.
    • XNA/.NET developer.
    • C++/DirectX developer.

    In terms of  academic module constructs you ideally need to break them down as follows

    1) Windows 8 Developer Overview – From the UX-to-the-Store see Windows 8 Curricula and resources now at Faculty Connection.

    2) What does a game developer need to think about doing with their game for Windows 8 (e.g. input mechanisms, screen sizes and resolutions, settings, WinRT APIs for storage and settings, suspend/resume APIs). see Windows 8 Metro Style Gaming  


        
    Resources and Curricula

    Your source for curriculum resources and tools to help with your teaching needs. Visit the Microsoft Faculty Connection Resource Center.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Register now for FREE Windows 8, Windows Phone and Windows Azure Events

    • 3 Comments

    Windows 8

    image

    To book attendance at a devcamp, UX workshop or App clinic

    http://www.microsoft.com/uk/msdn/windows8/appclinic.aspx

    To book a App Lab visit

    https://applabs.msregistration.com/Default.aspx

     

    Windows Phone 8

    image

    Register here for 14th https://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/EventDetail.aspx?EventID=1032536241&Culture=en-GB

    Register here for 15th https://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/EventDetail.aspx?EventID=1032536242&culture=en-gb 

    http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/techdays/events.aspx

     

    Windows Azure

    image

    Register here for six steps of Azure http://www.microsoft.com/uk/msdn/azure/default.aspx

    For more other sessions see http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/techdays/events.aspx

    IT Pro Events

    Covering Windows 8, Windows Server, SQL Server

    Register Here http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/techdays/events.aspx

    For all other UK Technical events and road shows and Webinar sessions

    Register click here

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Want to create a HTML5 game for Windows 8? And publish it to the new Windows Store?

    • 3 Comments

     

    HTML5 Game Starter Kit for Windows 8

    image

    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.

    As you can see from my previous posts were aware many of the apps that are submitted to the Windows Store are failing certification because they didn’t know that a Privacy Policy was needed, or that the game/app had to implement a snap view and so on. This kit will help you with the most important things.

    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

    Step 2. Start Visual Studio 2012 and create a “Blank App” Windows 8 JavaScript project:

    Click on File->New->Project…

    image

    Choose JavaScript as the language and the template “Blank App”:
    image

    Give your project a name (here: Mitt Spill) and press OK.

    A new project is generated and the structure will look like this:
    image

    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:
    image

    Navigate to your new game soludtion and open the project folder. Paste the files here, and replace if asked:

    image

    The project folder will look somewhat like this:
    image

    Step 4. Go back to your Visual Studio 2012 project and update if needed:

    image

    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).

    image

    Select the following files (hold control and click them):
    image

    Right click one of the files and select “Include in project”:
    image

    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?

    smalllogostorelogologowidelogo

    Tiles

    image
    Full screen mode

    image
    Snap view mode

    image
    Full screen with other app in snap view.

    image
    About page

    image
    Privacy Policy

    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.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Hyper-V: List of SLAT-Capable CPUs for Hosts

    • 3 Comments

    HyperV

    With the announcement that you can run Hyper-V on the Windows 8 client. I have had a lot of  questions regarding this? I did do a post back in August explaining the process of checking your PC estate for SLAT Support see http://blogs.msdn.com/b/uk_faculty_connection/archive/2012/08/31/if-your-thinking-of-installing-windows-8-are-your-labs-machine-capable.aspx

    A number of people have reported simple having problems running Hyper-V on  a Windows 8 client as it requires SLAT to run Hyper-V.

    Running Hyper-V on Windows Server 2012 does *not* require SLAT but most institutions don't want to install a server OS as a desktop operating system.  SLAT is a feature of the CPU. It is called “Rapid Virtualization Indexing (RVI)”, and has been called Extended Page Tables (EPT) by Intel and Nested Page Tables (NPT) by AMD.

    You can use Wikipedia to  look up Intel Nehalem and AMD NPT:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_Nehalem

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AMD-V_Nested_Paging

    Processors that support SLAT

    • Intel processors whose names start with 'i', e.g. i3, i5, i7, i9. (There may be exceptions, but I'm not aware of any.)
    • Any Intel CPUs based on Nehalem, Westmere, or Sandybridge micro-architectures. (There may be exceptions, but I'm not aware of any.)

    For AMD machines you can look up the supported models at http://support.amd.com/us/kbarticles/Pages/GPU120AMDRVICPUsHyperVWin8.aspx

    Tools for testing for SLAT

    Microsoft’s Mark Russinovich has also created a really nice utility coreinfo.exe  You can simply run coreinfo.ext and it will  detect EPT and NPT (SLAT) support on your CPU. 

    To test your machine, simply download coreinfo.exe from Microsoft Sysinternals http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/cc835722  and use the coreinfo -v switch to list the features. An asterisk * next to a feature indicates that it is supported. A minus sign - indicates no support for that feature.

    Note: Coreinfo must be executed on a system without a hypervisor running for accurate results and under a administrator account on Windows 8.


    For example here is a screenshot from my Lenovo X200 series tablet

    coreinfo

    “*” means the feature is present   

    “-“ means it is missing

    Alternatively, you can use Windows PowerShell to capture your specific CPU model this could be scripted to report the state of your entire PC labs or cluster estate the PowerShell command is gwmi win32_processor

     

    Powershell

     

    NOTE: Be sure to include the specific family/model/stepping since different processor revisions may have different feature sets.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    What are the key things I should check before submitting my app to store? Follow this 7 step guide.

    • 3 Comments

      Win8_logo

    1. Build a single, flexible app vs. many replicated apps. - For example, a book publisher should not publish 100s of apps, one for each book. Rather, the publisher should deliver a single app that allows the user to browse their full book catalogue.

    2. Check privacy requirement (Certification Requirement 4.1).  This is by far the most common reason for failure – well over half of submissions fail on this requirement.  The good news is that in the vast majority of cases, this is simply a documentation issue that does not require code changes, i.e., providing a link to the apps privacy policy on the Description page. 

    3. Another very common reason for failure that is simple to fix is inappropriate Age Rating.

    4. Ensure all app builders run the WACK before app submission.

    5. Take advantage of App Fast Track (AFT) review where appropriate.

    6. Familiarize yourself and app builders you engage with App Certification Tips on the Dev Center:  Common Certification Failures and Guidance for Resolving Certification Failures.

    7.  Review apps locally before app submission with Store certification requirements in mind.

     

    Further Resources

    Windows 8 App Store Requirements – http://aka.ms/storereq

    Resolving certification errors – http://aka.ms/storefix

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows Phone 8 SDK requirements

    • 3 Comments

    920-responsive3-png

    What are the system requirements for the SDK?

    Here are the system requirements for the Windows Phone 8 SDK

    • Supported operating systems: Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro, Windows 8 64-bit (x64) client versions
    • Hardware: 4 GB of free hard disk space, 4 GB RAM, 64-bit (x64) CPU
    • Windows Phone 8 Emulator: Windows 8 Pro edition or greater, a processor that supports Second Level Address Translation (SLAT)

    If you have already been developing for Windows Phone 7 note the new requirements

    1. You need to be running a 64 bit Windows 8 OS to install the Windows Phone 8 SDK.

    2. If you don’t meet the requirements for the Windows Phone 8 Emulator, the Windows Phone SDK 8.0 will install and run but the Windows Phone 8 Emulator will not function and you will not be able to deploy or test apps on the Emulator. see http://blogs.msdn.com/b/uk_faculty_connection/archive/2012/10/24/hyper-v-list-of-slat-capable-cpus-for-hosts.aspx for details on SLAT

    The emulator uses Hyper-V under SLAT so if you try to run a project in the emulator and Hyper-V is not enabled, you will be prompted to turn on Hyper-V. Turning on Hyper-V will require you to restart your computer.

    What new APIs and features can I leverage?

    If you visit the Windows Phone Dev Center you’ll find all documentation and samples for the Windows Phone 8 SDK.

    Here are a couple of new features here just to whet your appetite

    If your teaching or building app/games with the Windows Phone 7 SDK do I have to restart it?

    No. Apps built for Windows Phone 7.5 still run on Windows Phone 8, so finish and publish the apps using your free developer account from http://create.msdn.com via http://www.DreamSpark.com

    If you want to leverage some of the new Windows 8 features, you can do that in your next release.

    Additional Resources

    Check out the following videos from Build 2012 on Windows Phone 8 Development

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Cocos2D-X Support for Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8

    • 3 Comments

    Cocos2d clip_image003

    We pleased to confirm that  cocos2d-x for Windows Phone 8 is also now available.

     

    Coco2d-x is one of the most popular and open source 2D game engine worldwide, and used by 570+ game apps crossing iOS/Android/Windows8. A

    With cocos2d-x for Windows Phone 8, game developers can quickly develop new game apps, and easily migrate the existing game apps from iOS/Android and Windows 8 to Windows Phone 8. You can download the latest version at here, and please share its broadly to your game partners.

    Announcing in Build keynotes: see http://www.buildwindows.com the keynote http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2012/1-001 includes some lovely demos of the frameworks if your interested in this is 1hour 30 mins in.

    GamingMiddleware

    Announcing in cocos2d-x community website: http://www.cocos2d-x.org/news/76

    clip_image005

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Developing a Windows 8 Application prototype

    • 3 Comments

     

    I have a had a number of questions last week, from some of the UK’s University Gaming Students and Academics re Windows 8.

    Over the past few weeks as part of my UK  tour with Aardvark Swift recruitment, I have been highlighting the opportunity of students building portfolio’s and publishing apps on Windows 8 Store to demonstrate their abilities to help them gain employment see the PowerPoint deck below.

     

    For more resources on Windows 8 development see http://www.ubelly.com/gaming

    If your interested in attending a free Windows 8 developer camp see http://www.microsoft.com/uk/msdn/windows8

    Game/App prototyping

    One of the questions, I was asked last week was how can student use tools to develop prototypes and proof of concepts for academic activities, I wanted to share with you the following templates for PowerPoint. Using these templates, you can quickly put together a Windows 8 app layout and iterate on it. All elements in the set are based upon regular PowerPoint vector shapes, and are fully editable and customizable.

    As anyone who has seen one of my presentations, PowerPoint is a really great rapid prototyping tool its slide-by-slide approach allows you to present a flow and tell a story with your designs. You can even create basic clickable prototypes by adding hyperlinks between slides. Furthermore, PowerPoint is available on almost every computer, including the new Windows Surface devices that run Windows RT, and is fairly simple to get started with.

    Download the Templates For Free!

    The wireframing set is available as a .pptx file (for PowerPoint 2007 or newer) that you can download using the link below:

    It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.  You can therefore use it any way you want, private or commercial, just as long as you distribute the resulting work under the same license and give proper credit to the original creators:

    What’s Included?

    Example grid page
    Example grid page displaying item previews arranged in groups.

    Example page displaying details
    Example page displaying details for a single group with previews for each item in the group.

    Example page displaying
    Example page displaying one item in detail.

    Example page displaying a list
    Example page displaying a list of items and the details for the selected item.

    Example of a Metro app
    Example of a Metro app in snapped view state.

    Example of an app
    Example of an app in fill view state.

    Collection of common UI controls
    Collection of common UI controls (part 1): button, text box, list box, check box, radio button, toggle switch, etc.

    Collection of common UI controls
    Collection of common UI controls (part 2): search box, date/time picker, slider, progress bar, scrollbar, etc.

    Grid view
    Grid view (with groups).

    List view
    List view and charms bar.

    App header
    App header, app bar, and toast.

    Message dialog
    Message dialog.

    Text styles
    Text styles.

    240 app icons
    240 app icons (part 1).

    240 app icons
    240 app icons (part 2).

    Touch gestures
    Touch gestures.

    What about using tools such as PowerMockup

    While you can build great prototypes with FREE tools and PowerPoint, you may find yourself wanting the templates to be in a format that is easier to search through.

    In this case, I can highly recommend taking a look at PowerMockup, an add-on for PowerPoint.

    PowerMockup provides a searchable library of wireframe elements that can easily be dragged and dropped onto a slide. Best of all, the tool allows you to add your own creations to the library and share them with others.

    Andreas Wulf, www.powermockup.com has created these FREE additions

    After downloading the files, switch to the “PowerMockup” tab in the PowerPoint Ribbon bar, click on “Import Files”, and select the downloaded .pmst files. Here is a screenshot of how it will look like after you have imported the templates:

    PowerMockup

    All elements, including the icons, are properly named and tagged, making them easily searchable.

    PowerMockup

    I hope you enjoy the set!

    Source: http://designmodo.com/windows-8-wireframe/#ixzz2DGKTR0dv

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows 8 Shortcuts

    • 3 Comments

    Last week I was travelling the country talking to academics and students about the opportunity of building apps for Windows 8.

    During the week I had a number of  really interesting discussions, however on Friday I had a comment from one student, who simply believed Windows 8, was for touch devices only.

    We got onto the topic of keyboard and mouse as I was presenting using a Lenovo thinkpad which supports both touch and keyboard and mouse. I was simply demonstrating Windows navigation via touch and then via keyboard and mouse during the presentation demos and the student in question seemed to be blown away by this and when we discussed this it more detail after the event he wasn't aware of the number of Windows Shortcut keys available.

     

    So here a quick list of some of my favourites

     

    Charms and menus

    image Charms

    image Share

    image Settings

    image Devices

    image Second Screen

      image Admin Menu

     

    Search

    image Apps Search Screen

    image Files Search Screen

    image Settings Screen

     

    Layout

    image Lockscreen Orientation

       image Split to the right

      image Split to the left

     

    Start Screen

    image image Scroll Start Screen

    image Apps Options/App bar

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    MATLAB and R on Windows Azure via Techila

    • 3 Comments

    Techila is a middleware solution for High Performance Computing that enables existing applications to utilize more computing capacity. I believe that the key problem in business and operational computing is the lack of application performance. There are enormous amounts of computing capacity available using Windows Azure cloud service.

    Techila allows applications to utilise all available computing capacity. To try demonstrate this a great example of the benefits of Techila and the Windows Azure with Techila integration is a case study, which Techila did with a leading cancer researcher. The researchers in question had a project, which would have taken 15 years. He had developed his research application in MATLAB. He used the Windows Azure with Techila integration to boost the performance of his application with the combined power of 1200 Windows Azure instances. This allowed him to complete the project in 4,5 days! Being able to do something in 4,5 days, which usually takes 15 years gives a real competitive advantage.

    Techila develop the solution in close co-operation with end-users and system administrators from the very beginning.

    Techila has selected Pharma, Economics/ Financial, and Universities/ Academia as the key markets because of the fact that they are strong on Techila's home market, Finland. But I want to emphasize that unlike many other distributed computing solutions, Techila is a fully horizontal middleware, which can be used in any segment and which can increase the performance of any application: The code can be a MATLAB application, or it can be R (or C/C++, Java, Perl, Python, Fortran,...) They also offer an open API, which can be used to connect any ISV application (3DSMax, SAS, COMSOL, Sungard,...) to the Windows Azure capacity.

    Also please find below a demo of run a 2-day long computation in a couple of minutes using 500 Azure instances using MATLAB:

     

    Techila with R language can be found here:

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