• Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Kinect V2 Preview SDK now available includes UNITY3D plugin

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    This week we released a preview version of the Kinect for Windows SDK 2.0 and began shipping KinectV2 pre order devices to developer around the world.

    Whets New in Kinect V2

    • The new sensor can track as many as six complete skeletons and 25 joints per person.
    • Improved skeletal tracking: The enhanced fidelity of the depth camera, combined with improvements in the software, have led to a number skeletal tracking developments. In addition to now tracking as many as six complete skeletons (compared to two with the original sensor), and tracking 25 joints per person (as compared to 20 with the original sensor).
    • Higher depth fidelity: With higher depth fidelity and a significantly improved noise floor, the v2 sensor gives you better 3D visualization, increased ability to see smaller objects and all objects more clearly, and more stable skeletal tracking.
    • 1080p HD video: The colour camera captures full, beautiful 1080p video that can be displayed in the same resolution as the viewing screen, allowing for a broad range of powerful scenarios. In addition to improving video communications and video analytics applications, this provides a great input on which to build high-quality, augmented reality scenarios, digital signage, and more.
    • New active infrared capabilities: In addition to allowing the Kinect for Windows v2 sensor to see in the dark, the new infrared (IR) capabilities produce a lighting-independent view, which makes machine learning or computer-vision–based tasks much easier—because you don’t have to account for or model lighting-based variation. And, you can now use IR and colour at the same time.
    • Wider/expanded field of view: The expanded field of view enables a larger area of a scene to be captured by the camera. As a result, users can be closer to the camera and still in view, and the camera is effective over a larger total area.

    In addition to the new sensor’s key features, the Kinect for Windows SDK 2.0 includes:

    • Improved skeletal, hand, and joint orientation: With the ability to track as many as six people and 25 skeletal joints per person—including new joints for hand tips, thumbs, and shoulder centre—as well as improved understanding of the soft connective tissue and body positioning—you get more anatomically correct positions for crisp interactions and more accurate avateering.
    • Support for new development environments: New Unity support provides faster, cost-efficient, and high quality support for cross-platform development, enabling developers to build their apps for the Windows Store using tools they already know.
    • Powerful tooling: Thanks to Kinect Studio’s enhanced recording and playback features, developers can develop on the go, without the need to have a Kinect sensor with them at all times. And Gesture Builder lets developers build their own custom gestures that the system recognizes and uses to write code by using machine learning.
    • Advanced face tracking: With significantly increased resolution, applications can capture a face with a 2,000-point mesh that looks more true to life. This means that avatars will look more lifelike.
    • Simultaneous multi-app support: New multi-app support enables more than one application to access a single sensor simultaneously. This means you could have a business intelligence app running at the same time that a training or retail or education experience were running, allowing you to get analytics

    For Game developers, Architects and AR Professional.

    The new SDK 2.0 public preview includes Unity support for faster, cost-efficient, and high quality support for cross-platform development, enabling developers to build their apps for the Windows Store using tools they already know. see online training at http://channel9.msdn.com/coding4fun/kinect/Kinect-for-Windows-v2-SDK-and-Unity-3D

    Training

    Join our Microsoft Virtual Academy to learn from our experts and jump start your development.

    Key links

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Game Developers Launch New Projects After £225,000 Funding From Creative England

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    Today we gathered at Dolby HQ in central London to celebrate UK Indie games developers.

    It was he chance of this years Greenshoots  teams to showcase their brand new games.

    Greenshoots is a programme from Creative England and Microsoft to support start-up game studios with bringing new and exciting game titles to the Windows platforms.

    From underwater shoot ‘em ups and robot-infested puzzle games, to futuristic galaxy battles and crazy golf, the nine selected developers each secured funding of £25,000 to support the development of their new games for mobile and tablet platforms.

    Greenshoots, which also includes workshops and business expertise from Microsoft, Creative England and industry partners, helps new and emerging companies to kick-start development of new intellectual property (IP) and reach a global audience. While developing their title for Windows 8 or Windows Phone, the programme encourages developers to push their game out across all platforms.

    Ian Livingstone CBE, Creative England board member, said: “The UK has a wealth of creative talent that is the driving force behind the booming indie games industry. But in order to scale, these businesses need the right investment and support. I’m delighted that vital funding is being provided by a dedicated team through the Greenshoots programme to meet this urgent need. The resultant games benefiting from this essential funding speak for themselves.”

    Jaspal Sohal, Creative England’s Head of Games and Digital, said: “These fantastic games are exactly what the Greenshoots programme is all about – supporting new and emerging games developers and seeing their ideas come to life. They are a prime example of what can be achieved with the right investment and support. We are proud to have worked with such a talented bunch of games developers whose passion has been evident throughout the whole process. Now get playing!”

    Details of Greenshoots Round 2 will be announced in September.

    Here is a quick video of the games from this years Greenshoot cohort http://youtu.be/X-BVQzgtulg

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Building your Windows 8 and Windows Phone Icons – Windows Store Image Generator

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    In order to take advantage of the different screen resolutions and pixel densities that your Windows 8 and windows Phone apps will be displayed at, you’ll need to output some of your apps’ bitmap assets at different sizes.

    Why do you have create so many app icons?

    This is simply related to the different in screen sizes, resolutions and pixel densities across devices, read these guidelines for scaling to pixel density.

    Getting Started building Icons

    To create all the required images for the current Windows Store application requires you to generate 44 images at specific sizes and which need to follow a defined naming convention for Window’s resource loader to supply the right image for the right device.

    There a tool

    Check out the Windows Store Image Generator.

    The Window Store Image Generator simply allows you to upload one image which it uses to automatically generate the 44 images your project requires. You can then download them in one ZIP file and drag and drop into your VS project.

    This tool saves at least a couple of hours of pixel resizing!

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Building Games using WebGL and Bablyon.js

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    If your interested in how to build games for both the Windows & Windows Phone stores using WebGL & Babylon.js:

    - Using WebGL to create games for the Windows Store

    - Creating a HTML5 phone, tablet & PC game using the Universal Apps project for Windows Stores

    - WebGL 3D engine called Babylon.js (www.babylonjs.com). This is an open-source engine

    Using Cloud Services in your game

     Why and how we migrated babylonjs.com to Microsoft Azure

    If your interested in understanding more see the following links of how Ubisoft have implemented Assassins Creed:Pirates using WebGL and Bablyon.Js

    - Engadget: ‘Assassins Creed: Pirates’ now available as a free-to-play browser game

    - Polygon: Assassin’s Creed Pirates now available in web browsers

    - The Next Web: Microsoft and Ubisoft launch 3D Web game Assassin’s Creed Pirates, built with open-source framework Babylon.JS

    - Neowin: Microsoft and Ubisoft team up for Assassin’s Creed demo that runs in the browser

    - Gamasutra: Ubisoft, Microsoft partner to launch Assassin’s Creed HTML5 demo

    - WinSuperSite: Microsoft and Ubisoft Bring “Assassin’s Creed” Game to the Web

    - BetaNews: Microsoft and Ubisoft embrace open source to bring ‘Assassin’s Creed: Pirates’ to the web

    - Slashgear: Ubisoft teams with Internet Explorer for Assassin’s Creed race

    - WinBeta: Ubisoft releases Assassin’s Creed Pirates in partnership with Microsoft, perfect for IE11

    - TechTalkDC: WebGL Updates to IE11 Bear Fruit with Assassin’s Creed Pirates for the Web

    - Click Online: Assassin’s Creed Pirates Now Playable in Browsers

    - The Final Gen: Assassin’s Creed Pirates Browser Demo Available Now

    - Dual Shockers: Assassin’s Creed: Pirates Available as Free-to-Play Browser Game

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    TechEd Europe 28th – 31st October, Barcelona

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    Registration is Now Open!

    Registration for TechEd Europe is now live!

    Take advantage of the Early Bird price of €1,695.  This €300 discount is available through July 7, 2014.

    Academic Faculty & Staff Discount €1,195

    Additional Documents

    Help Spread the Word

    TechEd Europe Registration is OPEN! Register by 7 July and save €300 for #TEE14 http://aka.ms/TEE14RegisterNow

    Need to convince your boss to let you attend TechEd? We’ve got you covered. http://aka.ms/tee14cyb #TEE14

    Discuss, Plan and Connect w/peers before getting to Barcelona. Start a thread on the #TEE14 forum! http://aka.ms/TEE14Forum

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Kinect for Windows v2

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    Exciting News

    In case you’ve not yet heard, the Kinect for Windows announced pricing and availability in July of our new sensor and SDK (public beta)!

    The Kinect for Windows v2 sensor pre-order is here!

    It allows you to get your hands on the sensor ahead of the game. Developers who take advantage of the pre-order, while supplies last, will be able to start building solutions once the public beta of the SDK 2.0 begins in July. 

    For access to this exclusive pre order, click: http://aka.ms/k4wv2preorder

    And if you haven’t done so yet, and want to receive the most recent Kinect for Windows news as it happens, please follow us on Twitter and/or like us on Facebook.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Visual Studio Online

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    So are you using Visual Studio?

    Are you using Team Foundation Server?

    Are you implementing any Application Lifecycle Management solutions that covers the range of software development activities from requirements capture through to development and onto testing and release into production.

    Well if not.. why?

    - TFS has strong version control, with an ALM element, and also supports GitHub.
    - The platform offers integrations for Eclipse, JIRA, MS Project, as free Add-Ins.
    - It’s possible to have unlimited VU’s for Load testing as long as you have Visual Studio Ultimate
    - There’s an option to have customisable Process Templates, and the user can also customise Burndown charts through Reporting
    - In terms of Release Management, Workflows can be added using PowerShell
    - Team Rooms can be used for enhanced collaboration, such as requesting feedback
    - Excel can easily be used for bulk update to TFS, which is useful in migration

    Here’s just a few links you may find useful to learn more about Visual Studio, TFS and ALM:

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Why is App or Game Feedback so Important?

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    We all use apps or games on daily basis.. we usually just download these  from a apps store on the device we own, but how many of you actually share your experience or feedback with developers or with other consumers.

    Here some quick reason why feedback and ratings are so important in today app culture.

    From a Developer Perspective

    Why app ratings are so important

    Download the quick guide for developers http://aka.ms/Xfdfgv

    You won’t always get a reaction like this! However taking user feedback on board and updating your app accordingly will enhance the overall app experience and attract more downloads. Walking in the shoes of your user is not always easy so use the feedback function to gain insights and knowledge which you may not be able to foresee.

    Download the Rate my App code

    From a Consumer Perspective

    Release your inner critic

    Download the quick guide for consumers http://aka.ms/Gr6dse

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Getting Started with Microsoft Cloud Services

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    Microsoft UK Azure Evangelist Steve Plank is running a webinar every week called Azure Weekly.

    The event runs every Tuesday from 12:30 – 13:30 (UK timezone) and is aimed at the techie who has not yet had any/much exposure to Azure but who just wants a leg-up to get started.

    This is a more practically focused session than a theoretical/architectural session and is mostly based around the following demos:

    * Creating a Microsoft Azure WordPress website

    * Creating a Microsoft Azure ASP.Net website

    * Creating a Microsoft Azure Virtual Machine

    * Creating a Microsoft Azure Mobile Services (with Android client)

    * Creating a Microsoft Azure Cloud Service

    * How to sign up for a free Microsoft Azure Trial subscription

    If you miss it one week – just come the next week.

    You can ask questions throughout and there will be a short slow at the end for Q&A as well.Note: Unfortunately, we’re not in a position to deal with detailed individual problems. For example if you are getting an unexplained exception or error message and it’s not something that is immediately apparent, we encourage you to use the usual channels – Internet searches, blog-posts, MSDN/TechNet documentation, YouTube, Channel9.msdn.com, Vimeo, Microsoft support and other technical resources.

    Later the same day, any relevant questions that were asked, plus the answers, will be sent out by email and for those that can’t wait that long – they will also be tweeted.

    Click here to register for the FREE seminar.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Plugins for Unity3d

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    fortumo-mobile-payments-logo[1]

    Fortumo is making carrier billing on Windows Phone and Windows 8 available to more app developers.

    Fortumo have launched a custom version of our Windows in-app purchasing SDK for developers using Unity to build their apps.Integrating carrier billing to your Windows Phone or Windows 8 app built with Unity is now much faster, with no additional development effort needed. Here’s what you need to do to start accepting mobile payments with Fortumo in your app:

    1. Sign up at our homepage and create a Windows in-app purchasing service (note that the same service can be used for both Windows Phone & Windows 8 apps);

    2. Once you have created a service, download the Windows billing library for Unity from your Dashboard;

    3. Integrate the Fortumo Windows in-app purchasing SDK into your app. You can find the guidelines in our Developers Portal;

    4. Make some test payments – if everything works, you’re good to go!

    Fortunio are also offering developers  up to $25,000 to cover your integration costs.

    You can also check out the campaign that Unity is running to get additional benefits for bringing your apps to Microsoft platforms.

    If you have any feedback or questions regarding carrier billing on Windows Phone and Windows 8, get in touch with Fortumo via bd@fortumo.com

    image

    prime[31], one of the most popular providers of plug-ins for Windows and Windows Store, make it easier for you to implement in app-purchases, use Live Tiles, monetize via ads, and connect to Azure storage. Starting today, through June 2015, you will be able to get all these plug-ins for FREE:

    Functionality provided

    Windows Store 8.0 and 8.1

    Windows Phone 8.0 *

    Handling trial and in-app purchases

    Store plug-in

    Store plug-in

    To get Live tiles, toast notifications

    Metro Essentials plug-in

    Metro Essentials plug-in

    To give you access to the Microsoft Ad SDK

    Microsoft ads plug-in

    Microsoft ads plug-in

    For easy access to Azure storage

    Microsoft Azure plug-in

    Microsoft Azure plug-in

    *Note that Windows Phone 8.1 support and corresponding free plug-ins will be coming soon.

    To take advantage of this offer and get your free plug-ins, visit the prime[31] website; free plug-ins will be marked as ‘Download Now.’ Please provide your name and email so prime[31] can send you the license, then just import the plug-in into your Unity project.

    You can see installation and other information at Plug-in Documentation. Also visit the prime[31] YouTube Channel for videos on how to get set up. For technical questions and support, please use the prime[31] support forums.

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    Don’t forget about the Unity Developer contest with over $100K USD in prizes. Game submissions will be accepted through July 20, so be sure to download your prime[31] plug-ins and publish your game to have an opportunity to win.

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