• Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Six Steps to Windows Azure - Registration open for 8th and 9th November

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    Six Steps to Windows Azure – Starts on 8th and 9th November:

    Six Steps to Windows Azure programme which offers a series of free technical events and online sessions on the Windows Azure Platform. The programme aims to guide developers and IT professionals currently building apps or considering the cloud on how to take full advantage of Windows Azure.

    Our upcoming events will cover both the technical and commercial aspects of adopting Windows Azure.

    We will be launching a brand new web site with the full list of details and registration. Register now for the following events.

    Windows Azure in the Real World - 8th November 2012

    Get started with Windows Azure by seeing how companies have implemented real world solutions for different types of Azure workload. Join us if you currently building applications, considering moving to the Cloud and want to understand how to take full advantage of the Windows Azure Platform.

    Register

    Advanced Topics in Windows Azure - 9th November 2012:

    Join us to tour the latest features of Windows Azure from Media and Mobile services to Windows Azure Active Directory. The day will explore the opportunities Windows Azure offers with Windows 8 and the latest Phone Toolkits (iOS, Android and Windows Phone).

    Register

    What’s next? Here are the upcoming themes. Registration will open shortly.

    Windows Azure - Architecture and Design (13 November)

    Integration with Mobile and the New World of Apps (4 December)

    Open Source Development (15 January)

    HPC (4 February)

    Big Data (24 February)

    For more details of Azure in education including FREE Curricula see http://www.windowsazure.com/education

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    2013 Faculty Fellowship Program

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    Microsoft Research Redmond is seeking applications from EMEA for the 2013 Faculty Fellowship Program (targeted at early career faculty members nominated by their institution).

    Each year since 2005, Microsoft Research has recognized innovative, promising new faculty members from a number of research institutions to join the ranks of Microsoft Research Faculty Fellows. This program now encompasses more than 50 academic researchers whose exceptional talent for research and innovation in computer science identifies them as emerging leaders in their fields. The selected professors are exploring breakthrough, high-impact research that has the potential to help solve some of today’s most challenging societal problems.

     

    2013 Faculty Fellowship Awards

    In April 2013, the Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship grant recipients will be selected from applicants from four regions: Latin America and the Caribbean; Europe, the Middle East, and Africa; the United States and Canada; and Australia and New Zealand.

    Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowships Help New Professors Succeed

    The road to tenure can be a bumpy one for early career professors in any field. Most find their first few years filled with a seemingly endless process of writing grant proposals. For the professors who are selected as Microsoft Research Faculty Fellows each year, this “overhead” is considerably lessened, allowing them to concentrate on the business of pursuing their research with minimal distractions. Microsoft Research selects a handful of top early-career professors in the field of computer science and provides them each with a cash award.

    About the Program

    Microsoft Research seeks nominees who are advancing computing research in novel directions with the potential for high impact on the state of the art, and who demonstrate the likelihood of becoming thought leaders in the field.

    The future of computing in academe rests with its newest faculty. In these early-career professionals lie the seeds of tomorrow’s great innovations. However, while recognized faculty with well-established reputations are able to attract the financial support necessary for substantial research programs, new faculty often struggle to secure adequate support to allow them to realize their full potential.
    Because new faculty are so vital to the future of academic computer science, the Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship Program identifies, recognizes, and supports exceptional new faculty members who are engaged in innovative computing research. The objective of this program is to stimulate and support creative research undertaken by promising researchers who have the potential to make a profound impact on the field of computing in their research disciplines.

    Microsoft Research will select fellows this year from nominees from four regions: Latin America and the Caribbean; Europe, the Middle East, and Africa; the United States and Canada; and Australia and New Zealand.

    About the Awards

    Each fellowship includes a cash award. The Microsoft Research Faculty Fellows also have access to other Microsoft resources, such as software, invitations to conferences, and engagements with Microsoft Research. Microsoft awards Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship grants each year; awardees are selected by April.

    The Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship Awards program provides recipients considerable freedom in planning the focus of their academic research. The funds can be applied to a wide variety of uses to pursue novel research. Examples of possible research areas include, but are not limited to: interdisciplinary research, scientific computing, bioinformatics, computational biology, software engineering, and other areas where computing transforms the discipline and advances the state of the art.

     

    This is a great opportunity and we hope for many strong applications from across EMEA.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Kinect for life

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    Kinect for life

    This week we had an event showcasing  medical technology innovation in partnership with Kingston University, the University of Surrey, Brunel University and Microsoft.

    Given the revolutionary advances made possible with Microsoft’s Kinect for Windows, Medical professionals and researchers are exploring how computer vision and natural user interfaces can enhance healthcare.

    Confirmed sessions:

    • Fall detection system, Dr Dimitrios Makris, Kingston University
    • Facial expression recognition from 3D data, Dr Hongying Meng, Brunel University
    • Controlling a smart home, Dr Francisco Florez Revuelta, Kingston University
    • Concept to Commercialisation – A strategy for business innovation 2011- 2015– Graham Worsley, Lead Technologist in the Assisted Living Innovation Platform, Technology Strategy Board
    • Kinect for Medical and Non-gaming applications: developments at the University of Surrey - Dr Kevin Wells, University of Surrey

    Confirmed speakers:

    • Graham Worsley, Technology Strategy Board
    • Prof Malcolm Sperrin, Royal Berkshire Hospital
    • Dr Dimitrios Makris, Kingston University
    • Dave Brown, Microsoft
    • Prof Paolo Remagnino, Kingston University
    • Dr Kevin Wells, University of Surrey
    • Dr Hongying Meng, Brunel University
    • Dr Francisco Florez Revuelta, Kingston University
    • Tim Craig, Smart Care UK

    Kinect use examples

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    One of those areas is robotics. The Kinect sensor uses an infrared laser projector and a infrared camera to determine the distance between the Kinect and several hundred of points, thus creating a 3d map of it’s environment.  

    In Games it’s used to create a representation of your skeleton and in Robotics this is used for example to create a 3d map of a room so that a robot can navigate through it without colliding with objects. All of these features are accessible through the Kinect SDK that lets you access the post processed data (for example skeleton positions) or tap into the raw data if you need to. This is a task that just a few years ago would require months of work, at a PhD level.

    Robbosavvy have clever Skeletal functions in the SDK to create a small demo using a Kinect sensor and a small humanoid robot called Robobuilder to demonstrate the capacities of both.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AcFeX3REDk

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOg_yyX3Hok

    In this sample, we read Kinect’s skeletal data and make a Humanoid Robot mimic the Human’s position.

    The flowchart is quite simple:

    Step 1- Read the positions of each person’s joint (in our case Shoulder, Elbow and Wrist ) from Kinect

    Step 2- With some trigonometry calculate the angles of the body, to determine for example if the arms are raised or not.

    Step 3- That information is then sent to the servos (the motors that move the robot), to position them so that the Robot mimics the movements of that person. (The legs are not tracked otherwise the robot would fall off the table.)

    In addition, to keep track of the person when they move side to side (L/R), we created a cool gadget that makes Kinect track you wherever you go.

    The magic behind it is simple: you look at the person’s head and rotate Kinect so that the Head is always at the center of the Field of View.

    This is a preview into a technology that will be used in the future for example to perform remote surgery or to send robots to work in dangerous areas.

    More information on our Kinect + Robot project can be found here:http://robosavvy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=8026

    Microsoft Robotics Studio

    There is currently no standard regarding the control of Robots.  

    Most small robots, use a low power microcontroller similar to Arduino. This is something like a computer, but much less powerful, however suitable to communicate with sensors, control motors, recharge batteries, etc.

    There is a huge variety of these microcontrollers, and even when the more usual types are used, the robot manufacturers usually create their own software to operate the robots.

    This causes situations where for example when a program is designed for a given robot, it needs to be completely rewritten if another brand of robot is to be used, even if they are nearly identical at an hardware level.

    This where Microsoft Robotics Studio steps in and closes that gap. Robot manufacturers, or the users themselves can design small software modules for each robot, that act as a translator between MRDS and the control system for the robots.

    This means that in MSRDS a command, for example to make a humanoid robot step forward, is identical across several brands of robots.

    With MSRDS, Robots can now talk to each other, talk to sensors from different manufacturers or be supervised by our own master process (hypervisor) that makes sure everything is working as expected.   MSRDS also enables interoperability with complex functionalities hosted on the PC such as Speech Recognition.

    Another advantage of MRDS is that it is a tool accessible to wide range of users, regardless of their expertise. Beginners can build Robot behaviours using Visual Programming Language and Advanced users can work with textual programming (any .Net language) to make the most out of MSRDS.

    As an example, with one of our most sold robots called Robobuilder, we are able to control it using Voice commands, by using Windows built in Voice Recognition. This is achieved by simply dragging a few boxes in MSRDS Visual Programming Tool. Once all boxes are connected our Robot becomes capable of understanding what we tell him to do.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    You may be building great apps and games but don't forget to add the features that will make them shine

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    So this week has been really busy, I have been presenting at events the length and breadth of the UK. On Thursday and Friday I has the pleasure of attending Euro Gamer 2012, to represent Microsoft at the Games Industry Fair.  During Euro gamer event we demonstrated Windows 8 and the games from the Train 2 game World Record gameathon teams,  we also demoed new games from number of UK Indie development studios who will be launching new titles aimed specifically for the Windows 8 platform for the Launch of Windows 8.

    GamesIndustry

    On Friday I attend the Careers & Education panel discussions representing Microsoft on the Game in Education discussion panel which took place in front of hundreds of eager students and graduates who want to get into the industry. The video recording of the panel discussion will be available at http://www.gamesindustry.biz/fair#home

    One of the key questions the panel received was how do you get into the industry? Well the simply answer from all the members was to get yourself noticed!

    To help provide some guidance have a look at the following presentation which highlights some of the opportunities for building games and entering competitions such as Microsoft’s Imagine Cup or UK specific competition such as Search for a Star. For guidance on the skills you need for development take a look at this post.

        

     

    Another question was ‘How do I make my app/game shine/standout in the marketplace?’

    Here a deck to guide you through some great examples of functionality you should add to a Windows 8 game

      
    For more specific details on building great games for Windows 8 see http://www.ubelly.com/gaming

    The following are a simply checklist of features you should consider and test in the development of your Windows 8 application or game.

    Windows 8 life cycle

    lifecycleIt's important to understand the life cycle process of Windows 8 and handle this in your code. When a user taps on an application to launch it, it is activated and enters Running mode. If the user closes the application it will be terminated. But what if the user user hits the Windows key and launches another application, or simply navigates to another application? In this case, the previous application will go to Suspended mode. In suspended mode, the application does not consume any CPU,but it will lose state, so you may need to add code to remember state when the app enters the suspended state. You will also want to add code in the Activated event handler to reload state when the user returns to the application

    Contracts

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    Implement search contract
    Let your users quickly search through your app's content from anywhere in the system, including from within other apps. And vice versa. For more info, see Adding search.

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    Implement Share contract
    Let your users share content from your app with other people through other apps, and receive shareable content from other people and apps, too. For more info, see Adding share.

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    Implement Play To contract
    Let your users enjoy audio, video, or images streamed from your app to other devices in their home network.For more info, see Streaming media to devices using Play To.

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    File picker and file picker extensions
    Let your users load and save their files from the local file system, connected storage devices, HomeGroup, or even other apps. You can also provide a file picker extension so that other apps can load your app's content.

    For more info, see App contracts and extensions.

    Different views

    Full

    Full Screen  View - App fills entire screen

    Snip

    Snap View  - App is snapped to a narrow region of the entire screen

    Fill

    Fill View - App fills remaining screen area not occupied by the app in the snapped state.

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    Landscape View

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    Portrait View

    For more info, see Supporting multiple views and Choosing a layout.

     

    Toast notifications
    Let your users know about time-sensitive or personally relevant content through toast notifications and invite them back to your app even when your app is closed.Learn more about tiles, badges, and toast notifications. move to the 3rd app

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    Secondary tiles
    Promote interesting content and deep links from your app on the Start screen, and let your users launch your app directly into a specific page or view.Learn more about secondary tiles.

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    App tiles
    Provide fresh and relevant updates to entice users back into your app.Learn more about app tiles.
    more up

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    Animation
    Use our library of animations to make your app feel fast and fluid. Help users understand context changes and tie experiences together with visual transitions. Learn more about animating your UI.

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    Personalization

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    Settings contract
    Let your users create the experience they want by saving app settings. Consolidate all of your settings under one roof, and users can configure your app via a common mechanism that they are already familiar with.Learn more about Adding app settings.


    Roaming
    Create a continuous experience across devices by roaming data that lets people pick up a task right where they left off, and preserves the UX they care most about, regardless of the device they're using. Make it easy for users to use your app everywhere, from their kitchen family PC to their work PC to their personal tablet, by maintaining settings and states with roaming.Learn more about Managing application data and see Guidelines for roaming application data.


    User tiles
    Make your app more personal to your users by loading their user tile image, or let the users set content from your app as their personal tile throughout Windows.


    Touch gestures
    Let your users connect devices, by physically tapping them together, to light up experiences where you expect multiple users to be physically nearby (multiplayer games). Learn more about proximity and tapping.

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    Cameras and storage devices
    Connect your users to their built-in or plugged-in cameras for chatting and conferencing, recording vlogs, taking profile pics, documenting the world around them, or whatever activity your app is great at. Learn more about Accessing content on removable storage.

    camera


    Accelerometers and other sensors
    Devices come with a number of sensors nowadays. Your app can dim or brighten the display based on ambient light, or reflow the UI if the user rotates the display, or react to any physical movement. Learn more about sensors.


    Geolocation
    Use geolocation information from standard web data or from geolocation sensors to help your users get around, find their position on a map, or get notices about nearby people, activities, and destinations.Learn more about geolocation.

    Other

    semantic

    Semantic zoom if you have more than 4-5 groups.
    Semantic zoom makes scanning and moving around a view fast and fluid, especially when the view is a long panning list.

    Offline mode
    Users to have better experience using your app, then your app should supports an offline mode where your application will load previous data.

    Commands for a particular view/ page are in the App bar
    The app bar contains transient access to commands relevant to a particular view.

    Scale to different  screens resolution
    Design an app UI that looks great on devices of various sizes—from a small tablet screen, to a medium laptop screen, and all the way up to a large desktop or all-in-one screen. See Guidelines for scaling to screens.

    For more information on what to consider when designing a Windows 8 app refer to the Detailed UX guidelines for Windows 8 style apps.

    If you would like to attend a FREE Windows 8 training camp please see http://www.microsoft.com/uk/msdn/windows8/

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows 8 are you ready?

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    AreyouReady

    On Friday 26th October Windows 8 students and all consumers will have the opportunity to purchase Windows 8 and new Windows 8 PC’s. So the statement of ‘Post PC era’ may be killed overnight by a wide array of amazing new devices. If you are teaching development, gaming or architecture Windows 8 has a number of major changes.

    So if your building an app for Windows 8 – or porting your existing app across – then make sure you get up to speed and attend one of our FREE camps and events.

    Here’s a short ‘trailer’ on why you should be part of the Windows 8 journey…

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    GameSalad announces support for Windows 8

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    gamesalad

     

    GameSalad are another game creation company who has confirmed support for Windows 8 App Store publishing via GameSalad Creator Pro.

    Once GameSalad Creator for Windows 8 is released, you will find a new "Windows 8" publishing target integrated directly into the web publishing flow, allowing you to quickly and easily publish any previously developed game or application to the Windows 8 Store.

     

    gamewin

    GameSalad and Microsoft will be hosting a joint webinar for any developer (basic or pro users) interested in Windows 8 Store publishing on Friday, September 28th at 1:00PM CST. Please register here: https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/452117663  - Introduction to the Windows Store.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    So what is so exciting about the gaming opportunity for Microsoft now within Education

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    Students now have lots of options when it comes to language, framework and tools for creating their projects and assessments and this is now true for developing a game for Windows 8.

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    GenerationApp provides design and technical consultations, video tutorials and technical articles that will help you each step of the way to getting your app in the store. We are here to help you take full advantage of this lucrative opportunity.

     

    You can download a evaluation version of Windows 8 below

    Download Windows 8

    Downloads Visual Studio 2012

     

    Or if you have a DreamSpark Premium account you can download the fill version of Windows 8 and Visual Studio for FREE

     

    C# Developers

    Unity
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    Unity announced support for Windows 8 at their annual Unite conference. We are all waiting for more details to emerge but in the mean time lets learn a little about Unity.

    Unity is a game development tool that has been designed to let you focus on creating amazing 3D games. Unity supports three scripting languages: JavaScript, C# (Mono), and a dialect of Python named Boo. All three are equally fast and can interoperate. All three can make use of cross platform .NET libraries from Xamarin which support databases, regular expressions, XML, networking and so on.

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    MonoGame
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    MonoGame is an Open Source implementation of the Microsoft XNA 4 Framework. MonoGame allows XNA developers on Windows & Windows Phone to port their games to the iOS, Android and now Windows 8. Using MonoGame for Windows 8 you can take your XNA code and with a recompile along with some additional code to support store requirements create a game for the Windows 8 store. ARMED! which is currently available for downloads from the Windows 8 Store is a great example of what is possible using MonoGame.

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    Follow this 3 part blog series on MonoGame that takes you step by step through the process from getting your development environment setup to getting your game Windows 8 Store Ready.

    XAML/C#
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    If your skills are based in XAML and C#, you have a great set of tools to create casual 2D games from scratch using Visual Studio and Blend. You can easily apply animations to text, images and shapes on the screen using the built in animation tool.

    The animations you define can modify any of the objects attributes overtime including position to create movement, transparency to make things appear and disappear and skew to change the shape and so on.

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    HTML5/JS Developers

    HTML5/JS using Canvas   

    The HTML5 canvas is great for creating games. In a game you generate or display graphics in real time and then change them at regular intervals based on user interaction or through physical properties that you encode into the logic.

    Dave Isbitski has a great video post on the basics around creating a casual 2D game using HTML5/JS and the Canvas element. If you have HTML5/JS skills then you have what it takes to create basic games that draw  and animate sprites, keep score and play sound.

    Cut the Rope was the first example of an HTML5/JS game ported to Windows 8. Download the game and try it out.

     

    More great content from Dave

    Getting Started with JavaScript Game Development on Windows 8

    GameMaker
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    YoYo Games, a Scottish startup based in Dundee announced that GameMaker: Studio, its cross-platform games development environment, will support Microsoft Corp.’s launch of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. GameMaker: Studio allows developers to create games in a single code base and then easily export with one button click and run them natively on multiple formats including HTML5, Facebook, Android, iOS, Windows and OS X. GameMaker: Studio for Windows 8 will be available for developers prior to October 26 while GameMaker: Studio for Windows Phone 8 will be available following device availability later this year.

    CreateJS
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    Frameworks are incredibly useful as they supply the infrastructure, scaffolding and utilities that most programs require and they shorten he development lifecycle considerably. For HTML5 game development you may want to consider CreateJS. For an example of the power of CreateJS check out the Atari developer site to see what GSkinner.com, Atari and Microsoft have reimagined using CreateJS.

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    CreateJS is a suite of modular libraries and tools which work together to enable rich interactive content on open web technologies via HTML5. These libraries are designed to work completely independently, or mixed and matched to suit your needs. The CreateJS Suite is comprised of: EaselJS, TweenJS, SoundJS, PreloadJS, and Zoë. 

    Here is a short overview of each of the libraries that compromise CreateJS:

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    EaselJS provides straight forward solutions for working with rich graphics and interactivity with HTML5 Canvas. It provides an API that is familiar to Flash developers, but embraces Javascript sensibilities. It consists of a full, hierarchical display list, a core interaction model, and helper classes to make working with Canvas much easier

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    TweenJS is a simple tweening library for use in Javascript. It was developed to integrate well with the EaselJS library, but is not dependent on or specific to it. It supports tweening of both numeric object properties & CSS style properties. The API is simple but very powerful, making it easy to create complex tweens by chaining commands

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    Consistant cross-browser support for audio is currently a mess in HTML5, but SoundJS works to abstract away the problems and makes adding sound to your games or rich experiences much easier. You can query for capabilities, then specify and prioritize what APIs, plugins, and features are leveraged for specific devices or browsers.

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    PreloadJS makes it easy to preload your assets: images, sounds, JS, data, or others. It uses XHR2 to provide real progress information when available, or fall back to tag loading and eased progress when it isn’t. It allows multiple queues, multiple connections, pausing queues, and a lot more.

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    Zoë is an AIR application that converts SWF animations to sprite sheets. Simply drag a SWF onto the application, and Zoë will automatically detect the required dimensions for the images in your sprite sheet, maintain any frame labels present in your SWF (for controlling playback), and export a sprite sheet. Other advanced features are also included.

    Visit the CreateJS website for more information and to download the libraries.

    Chris Bowen has written an excellent 4 part tutorial on how to create a 2D casual game using CreateJS. He takes an XNA/C# tutorial called Catapult Wars and ports the game to Windows 8 using Create/JS.

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    ImpactJS
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    ImpactJS is a JavaScript Game Engine that allows you to develop cross platform/browser HTML5 Games. The Impact developer license costs $99 and includes:


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    Jesse Freeman
    , well known for his blog, conference appearances and book on HTML5 Game Development, has recently joined Microsoft as a Technical Evangelist based in NYC. His book on developing HTML5 games using ImpactJS is available on Amazon.
    Jesse writes on his experience in using ImpactJS for game development on Windows 8 in this blog post.

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    Construct 2 from Scirra
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    Construct 2 is a ground breaking HTML5 game engine from Scirra a UK based start up located in London. It lets anyone make games - without any programming experience.
    Construct 2 is suitable for people who:

    • Want to start making their own games
    • Want to make production quality games
    • Want to rapidly prototype new games
    • Want to move on from old tech like Flash

    Construct 2 is available at 3 price points:

    1. Free – £0
    2. Personal – £79
    3. Professional – £259

    The Free edition has a limited number of sound effects and events and is useful in evaluating the product. The Personal edition is for individual developers. The Professional is for development teams. Those editions do not have any limitations.


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    Construct 2 supports building games for Windows 8. There is a great tutorial that can help you get started here.

    C++ Developers

    DirectX
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    C++ and DirectX development offers the greatest power to developers. A DirectX app typically combines programming logic, the DirectX API, and High Level Shading Language (HLSL) programs, together with audio and 3-D visual assets to present a rich, interactive multimedia experience. Visual Studio includes tools that you can use to work with images and textures, 3-D models, and shaders without leaving the IDE to use another tool.

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    Epic Games Unreal Engine 3
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    Unreal Engine 3 is under the hood of many of the best computer and video games. From entertainment software to training simulations, the Unreal Engine provides the platform and tools needed to develop cutting-edge 3D projects.

    Epic recently announced the availability of the Unreal Engine 3 for Windows 8 Game development. From the press release:

    Epic Games, Inc., in collaboration with NVIDIA, today presented the first public demonstration of Unreal Engine 3 (UE3) running on Windows 8 and Windows RT during Asus’ press conference at the IFA 2012 electronics trade show in Berlin.

    While this is not an exhaustive list, I hope that it gives you a sense of the breadth of support for languages, tools and frameworks available to all developers wishing to take advantage of the huge opportunity that game development offers on Windows 8.

    Rapid2D C++ Framework

    Rapid2DLogo

    Rapid2D is the only Game Engine that has been specifically designed for the production of Windows 8 Apps. The Rapid2D engine can be used to produce apps for Windows 8 PC, Tablet and Windows Phone 8.

    Rapid2D has a unique GUI interface that makes games production fast and accessible to both the experienced and novice developer. Rapid2D is designed to be intuitive allowing the fast production of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 applications. The engine uses the widely uses C++ for scripting.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    UNversity at the University of West of Scotland

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    UNversity is not a Game Jam – the goal is in the process, what you learn in the journey, not in the product. To re-iterate, UNversity 2012 opened with the following rules and outline:

    Pick a summer project (or two) and do it over the summer vacation period.

    Students had to Post regular updates  to keep peers informed on progress and to document their learning

    So if students were doing extra an online class at coursera.com, making a game on their own or with others, re-doing a previous coursework as a personal revision exercise.

    Rules:
    1. Pick something to do, and tell us what it is
    2. Let us know how you are getting on
    3. There is no rule #3
    4. Ask folk for help when you get stuck, and provide advice when you can     

    This was about as open as possible in terms of objectives as it could be, and the range of projects was appropriately broad. Just about everyone involved focused on programming from the ground up – rather than using existing engines, and most people were also working with ‘programmer art’. So not much chance of winning a Game Jam beauty contest for most entries… at the beginning of this post I said that UNversity is about the process, not the product. It is about creating a community, where people can pick their own priorities, their own projects but still help each other and have a place to turn to when help is needed.  In this, it worked for some at least.. 

    As one of the students, Kieran noted on his round-up:

    I’ve really enjoyed UNversity this year! … I’ve been very involved helping people with C++ problems and other issues in general. Think it’s one of the best parts of the year to be honest. Lets hope it continues!

    'Projects' ranged from one student completing online courses that are probably equivalent to an extra semester of university, to students who worked on one or more game projects that ended in varying stages of completion. But although it was the learning that counted, rather than the product, at the product end, Kieran has been producing the Android port of Wordtrick for Outplay, David released a simple invaders clone on the windows phone marketplace, Bryan produced an online Java game evolved from Asteroids.

    Stephen McGroarty the runner up, winning a Microsoft Kinect

    IMAG1060

     

    and the winner Neil Finlay receiving a Nokia Lumina

    IMAG1062

    Entering UNversity gives students a early exposure to an array of opportunities and to undertake extra curricula learning or research into technologies or processes that will help students gain further insights and experiences.

    UNversity simply gives students a chance to show off their abilities and stand out from the crowd, something that's really important in an increasingly crowded graduate job market. It's a great addition to your CV and should be a lot of fun too.

    Microsoft is delighted to be supporting UNversity in the form of prize sponsorship and are very pleased with the response we have had from the University of West of Scotland and its students. All Game Studios appreciate competition such as www.imaginecup.com and initiatives such as UNversity as a means of identifying talented individuals. While they also help to create another line of communication between developers and academia. This type of contact between universities and games developers is vital if we hope to increase the quality and quantity of graduate entering in industry. Many of 2012's participants were extremely strong, with a large number having gone on to secure roles in the UK games industry as a result of their participation.

    So here is looking forward to UNversity 2013

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    How Xamarin is supporting students building great portfolios

    • 0 Comments
    clip_image002

    Xamarin enables developers to build fully native iOS and Android apps in C# that can share code with Windows apps. Through code re-use and sharing, and by unifying mobile app development in C#, Xamarin makes it possible to deliver gorgeous, performant, native apps for all major device platforms quickly.

    Developer Ecosystem Impact

    This means the millions of existing .NET developers can succeed in a heterogeneous device world.

    IOS and Android developers have a path to cross-platform success and to Windows 8. And for XNA developers, our support of the MonoGame project and community makes it possible for them to get their games to Windows 8 and other device platforms.

    Learn more about Xamarin

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Xamarin now supports Azure Services

    • 1 Comments
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    Xamarin is partnering with Windows Azure Mobile Services to expand the Mobile Services SDK to iOS and Android platforms. Xamarin products empower more than 175,000 developers to write native apps for iOS and Android—all in C#.

    Mobile Services and Xamarin share a common goal: freeing developers to focus on what really matters.  Mobile Services reduces the friction of configuring a scalable and secure backend and lets mobile app developers focus on delivering a fantastic user experience.  Xamarin allows mobile app developers to make the most of C#, and enables mobile developers to support more devices with less code.

    For tutorials and more information on how to get started, please visit the Xamarin blog and developer center.

    http://blog.xamarin.com/2012/09/20/xamarin-partners-with-microsoft-to-support-azure-mobile-services-on-android-and-ios/

    The announcement on the Azure team blog:

    http://blogs.msdn.com/b/windowsazure/archive/2012/09/20/announcing-open-sourcing-of-windows-azure-mobile-services-sdk-on-github-and-partnership-with-xamarin.aspx

    We're pretty excited about this one, as it means that C# developers can use the same code to access Azure services from iOS, Android, or Windows.

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