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!
Students with a valid academic email address can now save 10% when they purchase any Surface RT device through Microsoft Store!
The offer is available for students, faculty and staff, and requires verification of eligibility using an .ac.uk email address. The discount is only valid until 31st October 2013, so get in quick to be sure you don’t miss out!
For full details of the deal, head over to the Surface website.
When you’re looking at buying a new device it can be really hard to compare each device with one another without flicking between multiple tabs in your browser. The Windows team here at Microsoft have now made it easy, with their new comparison site for tablets.
The site gives you the option to compare some of our favourite Windows 8 tablets, including our very own Surface RT, against the iPad, showing you all the key specs you want to know such as battery life, weight and the ever important price.
In addition, you can find out about a few of the features and functions that each tablet provides, such as the Office suite, free cloud storage and printing capabilities.
Whether you’re in the market for a tablet, or are just interested in seeing the difference in available devices, check it out!
No matter whether you’re targeting iOS or Android, PC or Windows Phone, Windows Azure has the tools. Use our services to build community sites. Let users sign in with Facebook, Twitter, Google, or Microsoft accounts. Build an app from the ground up, or host a game you’ve already created. Explore and try (for free!) and see if we’re a match for your cloud computing needs.
Windows Azure allows game developers to focus on development and scale in the face of unpredictable demand. These resources showcase how real-life game developers are benefiting from Windows Azure.
Quotes from developers
“With Hadoop on Windows Azure, we can mine data and understand our audience in a way we never could before. It’s really the BI solution for the future.” - Mark Vayman, Lead Program Manager, Halo Services Team
“We can continue to work with the development language we know, and we are able to scale up when demand is high. It used to take us a week to set up a computer to run the game; this now takes only 10 minutes." - Vincenzo Tinebra, Cofounder of Waappy
Halo 4 Uses Windows Azure Service Bus
Pixel Pandemic on Windows Azure
Sneaky Games on Windows Azure
Meeting Challenge of Peak Loads
Webzen on Windows Azure
Kobojo on Windows Azure
Case Studies Halo 4 Developer Gets New User Insights from Big Data in the Cloud
Game Developer Uses Windows Azure to Reduce Costs, Meet Demand
Game Developer Reduces Costs and Achieves On-Demand Scalability with Windows Azure
Online Game Studio Minimizes Costs, Enhances Margin with Windows Azure
Application Developer Enhances Agility and Reduces Risk with Cloud Services
Game Developer Meets Demand and Prepares for Success with Windows Azure
Combat in the Cloud: Game Designer Launches Global Online Game on Windows Azure
Pottermore, Based on Hugely Popular Harry Potter Books, Uses Windows Azure to Scale Up to 1 Billion Page Views in First Two Weeks
Meet the ‘Plumbers’ Powering ‘Halo 4’ Infinity Multiplayer
Social Game Developer Enjoys Lower Costs and Improved Scalability with Windows Azure
MobileBits Makes It Easy to Deploy Games on Multiple Devices and Platforms
The UK students game competition Dare to be Digital 2013, is now LIVE.
I recently had a trip up to Scotland to meet with Elaine Russell programme manager for Dare to be Digital to be introduced to the 15 teams from all around the world who have come together for the next nine weeks to build new and original games. Their final task with be to demo the titles to thousands of families, friends, gamers and industry judges at the four day ProtoPlay event, taking place at Abertay in Dundee. The 15 Teams are the most diverse ever, with teams from China, England, India, Ireland, Norway and Scotland, developing projects for platforms including Android phones and tablets, iPad, iPhone, Ouya, PC and Xbox 360.
Stone Hammer Games
Two Remaining Souls
Co-op Action Tower Defence
Top Down, Multiplayer, Tactical Stealth
Simulation / Mini game
Crash Course Studios
Escape from Dr Noremac's Lair
Second Screen Multiplayer Party Platformer
Milksteak and The Jellybeans
Attack of the Ghastly Grey Matter
2D Sidescroller / Endless Runner
Action / Adventure
Co-operative Puzzle Platformer
Out Late Games
Jimmy and the Scousers
Horde, Tower Defense, Augmented Reality
Size DOS Matter
2.5D Action Side-scroller
The three winning teams from Dare to be Digital, will then go on to compete for the prestigious BAFTA Ones To Watch award.
This year, mentors and judges are from Lift London (Microsoft), Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, Sega Europe, Codemasters, Reflections Ubisoft, Denki, Jagex, Ninja Kiwi, Outplay Entertainment, Ruffian Games, Tag Games and Cobra Mobile
The very best of luck to all of the teams.
You can keep track of the whole Dare competition online,
Dare to be Digital website, Facebook page and Twitter account
Also check out this interview with last years winner here
This is the first of a three-Jump Start series tailored for those interested in a demo-heavy learning experience introducing Microsoft’s Big Data solution set.
Live Event Details
17:00 BST Friday, 21 June 2013 END 22 Jun, 01:00
Microsoft Technical Evangelist Saptak Sen will start with setting up and loading data into Windows Azure storage and a Windows Azure HDInsight cluster. After covering Windows Azure Data Management concepts (e.g., SQL Machines, SQL Databases, Tables, Blobs), they will demonstrate using Hive to query Hadoop data using HiveQL commands and walk through how Hive leverages the entire Hadoop cluster.
Finally, they will explore ways to pull data from HDInsight and other sources into Excel using tools like PowerPivot, Data Explorer, Power View and Geoflow to visualize data models with self-service analysis.
- Windows Azure Storage - Windows Azure HDInsight - HDInsight Hive Console - Create external table statements - Table partitions - Select statement syntax - Hive ODBC driver for connecting to ODBC consumers like Excel - Data Explorer Excel add-in - Excel PowerPivot and Power View - Windows Azure Marketplace, SQL Server and Windows Azure SQL Database - Geoflow Excel add-in
For more details on Azure in Education see http://www.windowsazure.com/education
Windows Azure Jump Start? Is now available on demand on Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA). This free, expert-led course will help you understand how to use Windows Azure Infrastructure Services, such as virtual machines and virtual networks to migrate, extend, run, manage, and monitor common workloads in the cloud. Watch it now.
Join Microsoft for this one day FREE event in central London on the 20th of June.
Lean how Windows Azure can be used in curricula, support research endeavours, and enable student projects. Institution administrators can explore how to use Windows Azure for infrastructural and application needs. Agenda 8.30 - 9.00 Arrival 9.00 - 9.10 Welcome to UCL 9.10 - 10.00 Welcome to Windows Azure - Rob Frazer Microsoft, Cloud CTO 10.00 - 10.15 Morning Break 10.15 -11.00 Windows Azure in Academia - Ashwin Karuhatty Microsoft, Director of Academic Programs 11.00 - 12.00 Windows Azure PaaS, IaaS, SaaS - Carlos Oliveira http://www.shapingcloud.com and Windows Azure User Group http://ukwaug.net/ 12.00-13.00 Lunch Break (Lunch will not be provided) 13.00 - 13.50 Windows Azure Pop Up Labs - Steve Plank Microsoft, Azure Technical Evangelist 13.50 - 14.00 The Windows Azure Prime Challenge 14.00 -15.00 Windows Azure VM Depot - Steve Lamb, Microsoft Open Technology http://vmdepot.msopentech.com/ 15.00 - 15.15 Afternoon Break 15.15 - 16.00 Windows Azure in Research - Kenji Takeda, Microsoft Research Connections 16.15 -16.40 Azure Q and A Panel Microsoft 16.40 Close
Register at http://azureineducation.eventbrite.co.uk
BAFTA is searching for talented newcomers in Film, TV and Games as part of a brand new initiative. In partnership with Burberry, Breakthrough Brits will showcase and support the next generation of creative talent.
For more information on developing games for Windows 8 and Windows Phone see
http://dev.windows.com or http://dev.windowsphone.com and http://design.windows.com
Background to http://www.Appcampus.fi
Appcampus.fi is a joint effort between Nokia and Microsoft to build a new global mobile eco-system around the Windows Phone platform. Nokia and Microsoft selected Aalto University as a partner to accelerate the development of the eco-system globally. Aalto University initiated the AppCampus program to foster the development of new self-sustaining mobile innovation ventures via education, entrepreneurship and research programs. The goal of the AppCampus program is to create a self-sustaining application development ecosystem that would organically generate new services and applications for Windows Phone and Nokia Platforms.
Awards: 20,000 -70.000 euro per App/Game
Level 1 (e.g. 20kEUR) • Relatively simple (standalone) applications. • In calendar time we would expect this to be done in two months. Level 2 (e.g. 50kEUR) • Application which requires interfacing with some existing network (cloud) based service/media/information. • In calendar time we would expect this to be done in three months. Level 3 (e.g. 70kEUR) • Application which includes the development of the network (cloud) service back-end, and interfacing with it. • In calendar time we would expect this to be done in four months or more.
What support is provided?
Dedicated resources, coaching & Education, Product-oriented Professional Software development, Process & Quality Assurance Network & Marketing Support, Marketplace & Nokia Store
What are the clauses?
IPRs remain property of the developers. NOT NOKIA or Microsoft No Equity dilution. No Revenue Share required.
Why are Nokia and Microsoft doing this?
Fostering Next level of UX & Entrepreneurial Innovation
So how do you get started?
Creating a Kick Ass Submission
Application should meet some(*) combination of the criteria: 1. Innovative, first-to-market app-concepts. 2. Differentiated, unique apps, not already available on competing operating systems. 3. Support for key features and APIs of the platform as they become available. 4. Demonstrated design elegance and technical quality. 5. Potential to drive momentum of the new ecosystems. Like what? Innovative First-to-market app-idea(not seen before on any mobile platforms) Differentiated/Unique Not already published in any mobile app stores Key features/APIs Support key features and APIs of the platform Convincing Overall Proposal Demonstrated design, technical, and business excellence Popularity/Commercial value Potential for mass appeal and/or revenue generation
Use Features Live Tiles & Secondary Tile Push Notifications Nokia Maps/LBS Try and Buy Lock Screen (WP8) In App Purchase (WP8) Speech (WP8) Deals/Wallet (WP8) NFC (WP8) Lenses (WP8) App to App Communication (WP8, Nokia Music) NB. Mere ports of existing applications or simple feeds of syndicated content will not be eligible for funding.
Resources Blog http://appcampus.fi/blog How to do a good submission follow a case example Online submission: http://appcampus.fi FAQ http://www.appcampus.fi/faq Application http://www.appcampus.fi/application
Guest blog by David Renton Reid Kerr College
This year our HNC Games students at Reid Kerr College worked in partnership with a local Primary School, Lochfield Primary in Paisley, to produce games for their HNC Group graded unit project.
This is the third year we have worked in partnership with Lochfield for our HNC Graded Unit games, however this year we took things a step further with the schoolchildren actually contributing art work for the games.
Students presenting ideas to Lochfield Primary
The project began in February and in discussion with the school we set the theme for this years games to be “Healthy Living”. So we tasked our students to come up with game ideas that promote an awareness of the benefits of healthy living and asked them to select a representative from each team of 4, who would present those ideas to the primary school. On the 8th of February we visited Lochfield Primary and our students gave PowerPoint presentations on their game ideas to around 70 Primary 6 pupils. They were then given the opportunity to get feedback from the kids and discuss their ideas further in small groups, effectively using the schoolchildren as a focus group. Some of my students were extremely nervous about the idea of presenting to and talking to schoolchildren, but as in previous years those fears soon dissipated when they realised how enthusiastic and positive the children were about the games, something that rubbed off on the rest of their team-mates when the representatives reported back. One thing that we introduced this year, which we hadn’t done before, was that we asked the schoolchildren to draw art for the games, so during the discussions with the schoolchildren, our students also discussed with them the types of art they would like them to create.
Discussions with the schoolchildren
From February to May our students worked away in their teams turning their concepts into games for Windows 7 using XNA4. We received a bunch of art from the schoolchildren which we scanned in and used in at least half the games, along with art produced by our own students.
On May 20th we had a big event at the college and over 70 Primary 6 pupils were bussed into the college for the day. We had to split the schoolchildren up and we enlisted help from the Care & Construction departments in our college, who took turns with half of the group while the other half played the games our groups had created. Once the children were finished playing the games they went onto an online survey and rated the games out of 20, based on originality, graphics, sound and most importantly gameplay.
Schoolchildren playing the games
It was a close call between two of the games and in the end one vote could have swung it either way; eventually the only game which featured a 2 player mode won. In the end it was a triumph for gameplay, however the game which came second had an excellent concept, was a great game with far more complexity to it and even had a level designer. I’m hopefully they will develop it further and enter it into the imagine cup next year.
The top 4 games as voted for by Lochfield Primary 6
This partnership with Lochfield Primary has improved our students’ experience of learning in a number of ways and opened the eyes of the schoolchildren to games development as a possible career path.
Benefits to Games Development students
1. They had a realistic learning experience by designing and writing games for a live client group.
2. The partnership was an enjoyable and positive learning experience for both the schoolchildren and the college students, as they experienced working with a partner to produce artwork for the games.
3. The competitive element of the partnership was appealing to them and a motivating factor.
4. Peer review by other students and by the schoolchildren was invaluable in forming ideas on how the games could be improved in the future.
The winning team (from left to right: David Savage, Grant Hamilton, Michael Collins & Ryan Kennedy, along with Lee Stott from Microsoft).
Lee stayed on after the schoolchildren had left and took part in a judging event in the afternoon with my HND Games Development students, who had been tasked with producing a Windows Phone game based around an apocalyptic theme (so lots of Zombie games). We had an impressive judging panel, which I had kept as a little surprise from my students , that included myself, David Marshall & Martin Barrett from Reid Kerr, Fiona Rushton & Ian Tyson from James Watt, Daniel Livingstone from UWS and of course Lee Stott from Microsoft.
Ten of my students presented their game concepts, how their games had been developed and how they felt about the way their game had turned out. They also answered questions from the panel, who had the opportunity to play all the games on Windows Phones. In the end the panel came up with a top 3 and Lee presented the winning student with a Windows Phone as a prize.
The winning game – Dead City
Ally Louden - winner of a Windows Phone from Microsoft for the best Graded Unit game
The 2nd and 3rd placed games – Escape and Haven (Escape is on the right hand side, Haven is at the bottom left).
Runner up Ryan Anderson and 3rd place Daniel Boyle
To keep up with the latest news from David and his adventures as an Academic hero check out his blog at http://games4learning.co.uk/
If you have any interesting stories or events to share please do get in contact and ensure you join our linkedin group to share your experiences
Today Microsoft gave its very first public demo of the upcoming Windows 8.1 update, the announcement covered many of the exciting improvements as highlighted in this blog post from last week. You can see some of the highlights of what to expect in Windows 8.1 for yourself in this short demo video featuring Jensen Harris from the Windows User Experience Team:
Additionally, we announced Outlook 2013 RT will be coming to Windows RT tablets as part of Windows 8.1.Our commitment to Windows on ARM doesn’t stop with the addition of Outlook 2013 RT. We announced a number of other enhancements with Windows 8.1, earlier this week at TechEd North America, including new manageability, networking, and security capabilities that will make Windows RT an even more compelling option for education sector and enterprise.
Today's announcement are ideal for the educational market as we also confirmed that new small screen x86 tablets including the recently announced Acer Iconia W3, will come with Office Home and Student 2013 right out of the box.
We’re only weeks away from the public preview of Windows 8.1, which will be available starting June 26th. So keep checking the Windows Blog for further details.