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With this blog we want to inform you on our latest initiatives.
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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.
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
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.
To book attendance at a devcamp, UX workshop or App clinic
To book a App Lab visit
Windows Phone 8
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
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
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.
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:
Processors that support SLAT
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
“*” 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
NOTE: Be sure to include the specific family/model/stepping since different processor revisions may have different feature sets.
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.
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.
Windows 8 App Store Requirements – http://aka.ms/storereq
Resolving certification errors – http://aka.ms/storefix
Here are the system requirements for the Windows Phone 8 SDK
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.
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
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.
Check out the following videos from Build 2012 on Windows Phone 8 Development
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.
Announcing in cocos2d-x community website: http://www.cocos2d-x.org/news/76
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
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:
Example grid page displaying item previews arranged in groups.
Example page displaying details for a single group with previews for each item in the group.
Example page displaying one item in detail.
Example page displaying a list of items and the details for the selected item.
Example of a Metro app in snapped view state.
Example of an app in fill view state.
Collection of common UI controls (part 1): button, text box, list box, check box, radio button, toggle switch, etc.
Collection of common UI controls (part 2): search box, date/time picker, slider, progress bar, scrollbar, etc.
Grid view (with groups).
List view and charms bar.
App header, app bar, and toast.
240 app icons (part 1).
240 app icons (part 2).
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:
All elements, including the icons, are properly named and tagged, making them easily searchable.
I hope you enjoy the set!
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
Apps Search Screen
Files Search Screen
Split to the right
Split to the left
Scroll Start Screen
Apps Options/App bar
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: