The goal of this site is to put relevant and applicable tools and information at the fingertips
With this blog we want to inform you on our latest initiatives.
Enjoy reading and stay tuned!
Microsoft wants you to be a successful game developer. We want you to capitalise on the emerging market landscape with the models made possible by cloud
To help you get started we have developed the following models. These models help you understand what cloud is? what services are offered? How the cloud can help your game and studio.
Get started in the cloud with a simple turn-taking game.
3D | 2D | Video
Set up your gaming infrastructure. Add a leaderboard that’s updated continually.
3D | 2D | Video
Use the cloud infrastructure for more complex transactions such as validating user actions.
The hardest thing with video game development is, “Where do I start?” Well a colleague at Microsoft David Cook has answered this with the development of the 3D Game Dev starter kit for Unity3d
You can download this from https://onedrive.live.com/redir?resid=BA8DC4B28555902A!1496&authkey=!AACNnQmRmY0GGkg&ithint=file%2czip
Start by simply opening up the kit, looking around a bit, and then changing the name in the credits to your name and the name of the game from Space Robot Zombie Escape to something your own.
After that, go to File -> Build, and build the game as a Universal App (should be selected for you already). Once your happy with the game you can publish it to the Windows 8 and Windows Phone Store.
Interview with @GaryLloyd89 Artist at @Sketchfab and @HyperSlothGames . Windows Games Ambassador.
I've been completely obsessed with pretty much all things related to 3d-art for four or five years now. I love being immersed in 3d worlds and my time at University, along with working in games for the past two years, has enabled me to work on some pretty awesome projects with some great visuals. However, there always comes the dilemma of building up a portfolio to show off to new clients or employers. Traditionally, myself and other artists have used 2d images, which usually consist of beauty and wireframe renders, along with a breakdown of the texturing process applied to the asset. This is still a great method, but times are changing and the future is here right now as a standard for every major web browser out there.
It was almost two years ago I was introduced to Sketchfab: a platform and community for sharing 3d content. I was really interested and immediately started testing their service. The absolute brilliance of the Sketchfab viewer is that it can be embedded into pretty much any website, forum or portfolio. With a few clicks the actual upload process for 3D content is quick, easy and painless. Rather than viewing 3d content in 2d through renders, you can now interact with and manipulate the content in real time, without any sort of plug-in, through the power of WebGL.
Necromancer Altar by Gary Lloyd on Sketchfab
Currently, the site supports over 27 different 3d file formats and has dedicated exporters for 3d software packages, such as Maya, 3ds Max and Blender, which makes it perfect for any aspiring game artists or developers to quickly share content with followers and friends. Best of all, they offer free unlimited uploads to all users, as well as access to their premium 'Pro' features for students! (As long as your college/university has signed up. Read more about that here if you're interested: https://sketchfab.com/students The applications for Sketchfab relate to pretty much anything that can be displayed in 3D: game art, architectural visualisation, 3d scanning and more. There's a huge variety of content on there but I think it's a particularly awesome service to help game developers and artists really show off their assets in a unique way. There are a variety of game developers on Sketchfab who are using the service to aid with their PR and Kickstarters, or as a tool to just share content with their communities. With recent additions, such as post-processing and Physically-Based Rendering, on the way to browsers, I think Sketchfab is the perfect tool for showcasing 3d content and a unique opportunity for users to showcase their work to everyone in an interactive way. Check out the video below and get involved in the community. The staff at Sketchfab are very active on social media and are only an e-mail away for any questions or help.
Discover Sketchfab from Sketchfab on Vimeo.
Xbox One Wireless Controller can work with your PC if you download one of the following driver packages:
Note To use your Xbox One controller with your console after using it with a PC, you must re-sync the controller to the console. You can do this by using the wireless sync button or a USB cable. For details, see Connect a wireless Xbox One controller to your console.
If you want to use an Xbox 360 Controller with your computer, you can use an Xbox 360 Controller for Windows. Or, you can use an Xbox 360 Wireless Controller together with an Xbox 360 Wireless Gaming Receiver for Windows.
Adding controller support to a brand new Unity project.
Start up Unity, and go to File > New Project.
Setting Up the Input Manager
In order to set up Unity so we can easily access controller inputs from scripts, we need to properly set up the Input Manager.
Go to Edit > Project Settings > Input to open the Input Manager.
There are 20 total input buttons and axes on an Xbox controller, but for this demo we will only add the 4 face buttons, A, B, X, and Y, and the two joysticks. This is the most tedious part of the process, so if you’d like to skip it, I’ve provided a completed InputManager.asset file to download and use here:
Add 8 new axes to the Input Manager by changing the size value. The first 4 inputs will represent the 4 face buttons. Open the dropdown menu for the first new Axis, and change the values to the following settings for the A button:
For the next 3 inputs, input the same settings for the other 3 face buttons, except for “Name” and “Positive Button”. The button settings should reflect the values on the Unity3D Xbox Controller wiki:
NOTE: Windows, Mac, and Linux all have different button values for the Xbox controller, as seen on the Wiki page. To make the process of switching between these platforms easy, the InputManager.asset file found in the Project Settings folder in your Unity project folder stores your input settings. If you create a separate InputManager.asset file for each platform, and store them in another folder, you can switch them in and out by replacing the file in your Unity project folder with the one for the desired platform.
The last 4 inputs will represent the 2 axes on the 2 joysticks. For the first one, change the values for the following settings for the X axis on the left joystick:
Input the same values for the next 3 inputs, for the left joystick Y axis, and the right joystick X and Y axes. Again, refer to the Xbox controller page on the Unity3D Wiki to find the correct axis values:
Setting Up a Scene
For this example we will create a simple scene to move a character around in. Add a plane with a collider as a floor, and add a capsule on top of it as a player. If the capsule has a capsule collider on it, remove the capsule collider and instead add a character controller component. Make sure there is a camera in the scene, and it is pointed at the objects in the scene. Finally, add a light into the scene so we can see our objects properly.
Coding the Player Movement
Next we will write a script to control our player. Create a new C# script called PlayerMovement, and open it in your editor of choice. Write the following code:
1: using UnityEngine;
3: using System.Collections;
5: public class PlayerMovement : MonoBehaviour
9: private Vector3 movementVector;
11: private CharacterController characterController;
13: private float movementSpeed = 8;
15: private float jumpPower = 15;
17: private float gravity = 40;
19: void Start()
23: characterController = GetComponent<CharacterController>();
27: void Update()
31: movementVector.x = Input.GetAxis("LeftJoystickX") * movementSpeed;
33: movementVector.z = Input.GetAxis("LeftJoystickY") * movementSpeed;
39: movementVector.y = 0;
45: movementVector.y = jumpPower;
51: movementVector.y -= gravity * Time.deltaTime;
53: characterController.Move(movementVector * Time.deltaTime);
Finally, add this script as a component to your Capsule, and press play to test out your game.
Adding Player Number 2
Adding support for multiple controllers is a great way to include local multiplayer in your game. To add more controller inputs, add more axes to the Input Manager. Repeat the same process as before, except when entering the “Positive Button” values, include the number of the joystick. For example, instead of “joystick button 0”, write “joystick 2 button 0”. Similarly, for the left and right joystick axes, change the “Joy Num” dropdown value to reflect the correct joystick number. Finally, when writing the “Name” value for the buttons and joystick axes, add a suffix which denotes the joystick or player number. For example, instead of “LeftJoystickX”, write “LeftJoystickX_P2”. Remember to change all of these settings for your first set of inputs as well.
After changing all of the input settings, you will have to make some changes to the PlayerMovement script as well. Make the following changes.
19: public int joystickNumber;
21: void Start()
25: characterController = GetComponent<CharacterController>();
29: void Update()
33: string joystickString = joystickNumber.ToString();
35: movementVector.x = Input.GetAxis("LeftJoystickX_P" + joystickString) * movementSpeed;
37: movementVector.z = Input.GetAxis("LeftJoystickY_P" + joystickString) * movementSpeed;
43: movementVector.y = 0;
45: if(Input.GetButtonDown("A_P" + joystickString))
49: movementVector.y = jumpPower;
55: movementVector.y -= gravity * Time.deltaTime;
57: characterController.Move(movementVector * Time.deltaTime);
After changing the script, duplicate your player object, and move it to the side a bit, so it’s not overlapping the first player. Select the first player, and look at your PlayerMovement component in the inspector. Because we made joystickNumber a public integer, we should be able to change it directly in the inspector. Change one player’s joystickNumber to 1 in the inspector, and change the other player’s to 2. This should allow you to control each player separately with 2 controllers.
So are you new Game Developer? what type of startup do you want to be?
Type 1 - Ambitious: want to be worth £20M+ minimum in 3 years.
Type 2 - “Game Changing”
Type 3 - Build/leverage new technology/ business model innovations
So what type of games do you make?
So where are you in the Start-up journey?
How Start-Up Funding Works ?
So what's required to become and investable start-up?
Team, Tech & resources that is FIT for the task of creating an awesome company
Product that is the best solution FIT for the target customers problems.
Business Model that is FIT to be scaled.
Sources of Help
Microsoft BizSpark http://www.bizspark.com
Microsoft Venture https://www.microsoftventures.com/accelerators/london
Capital Enterprise; www.capitalenterprise.org
Meet-up - http://www.meetup.com
Mobile Academy- http://themobileacademy.org.uk/
Makers Academy- http://www.makersacademy.com/
Skills Matter- http://skillsmatter.com/
Start- up Britain - http://www.startupbritain.org
British Library- www.bl.uk/bipc
General Assembly- https://generalassemb.ly/locations/london
Innovation Warehouse- http://www.theiw.org
IC Tomorrow - https://connect.innovateuk.org/web/ictomorrow
UCL Decide- https://www.ucl.ac.uk/decide
Start-up Weekend- London- http://london.startupweekend.org/
Launch 48- http://launch48.com/
Mobile Collective http://mobilecollective.wordpress.com
3 Beards- http://www.3-beards.com/
Tech Hub- http://www.techhub.com/events/
Capital List Get Together- http://www.capitallistblog.co/our-monthly-monday-get-together/
Funding Games Development & Beta Testing
Grants & Awards General
Technology Strategy Board ( R&D Funding) - http://www.innovateuk.org - http://www.innovateuk.org/content/competition/grant-for-rd-single-business.ashx
Knowledge Transfer Networks- www.innovateuk.org
Abertay Prototype Fund - http://prototypefund.abertay.ac.uk/
Skillset - http://www.creativeskillset.org/games/
IC Tomorrow- https://connect.innovateuk.org/web/ictomorrow
London European Enterprise Network- http://www.een-london.co.uk
E Funding for SME R&D - http://www.eurostars-eureka.eu/what.do
EU Funding for R&D collaborations: http://ec.europa.eu/research/participants/portal/page/calls
Knowledge Transfer Partnerships funding support- http://www.ktponline.org.uk/ktp-what-will-it-cost-my-business
J4B- Portal for grant finding http://www.j4b.co.uk
Grant to Develop Video Games
This brand new scheme aims to help independent, European companies to develop either a video game concept or project that has the potential to circulate within the European Union and beyond. http://www.mediadeskuk.eu/funding/
Sources of Grants- www.j4b.co.uk
Competition funding £1000 issued to 10+ businesses per month- http://www.shell-livewire.org
Princes Trust http://www.princes-trust.org.uk/need_help/enterprise_programme.aspx
£1000- £20,000 Enterprise Loans for Under 25’s- www.startuploanslondon.co.uk or www.startuploans.com
New Enterprise Allowance Scheme – Check who delivers the scheme in London by e-mailing Capital Enterprise.
Community Development Finance Associations- http://www.cdfa.org.uk - Also check out North London Community Finance
ELSBC Access to Finance – Business Plan support for those looking to raise up to £10K
Soft loans for Creative Businesses- http://www.creativeindustryfinance.org.uk/
Crowd funding Platforms
Reward based Crowdfunding platforms- will help you to raise funding to build a proto-type and market test a great idea or product.- Great for pre-selling cool tech hardware.
What they provide?
Fellow Community of entrepreneurs & supporters
Runway support & funding (£15-£100K at standardised investment terms. )
( 3-6 months on average)
Physical Space & Facilities
Mentors ( 1st Industry- 2nd Investors)
Help to Rapid Field Trail with users & customers.
Demo days- Introductions to Investors/ customers
What can they test?
Product- Assess Functional use/ improve design & UX
Market Reaction- interest/ usage/revenue - AARRR
Revenue/ profit Potential- pricing, market timing, LTV/CCA
Business Model- “To Pivot or Not To Pivot”
Investor reaction- interest and valuations
Team- ability to work together and deliver.
So are you ready for investment?
Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme-SEIS http://www.seis.co.uk/
SEIS is a tax break launched in 2012 for UK tax payers to encourage them to buy shares in start-up companies registered in the UK
SEIS investors can input £100,000 in a single tax year rising to a maximum £150,000 over two or more tax years in to a single company
Investors cannot control the company receiving their capital
Investors pick up 50% tax relief in the tax year the investment is made, regardless of their marginal rate.
Ihe business must be a start-up company -registered in the UK within 2 years of claim.
The company must not employ more than 25 workers.
The company must have assets of less than £200,000.
The company has to trade in an approved sector – generally not in finance or investment, for example, a property company raise capital as a SEIS.
Building the perfect pitch
Who to approach?
Seed/ Early stage Investment Platforms
Top SEIS Funding Syndicates
1.Jenson Solutions- www.jensonsolutions.com 2.Ingenious Media- www.ingeniousmedia.co.uk 3.Ascension Ventures- http://www.ascensionmedia.com/ascension-ventures.php 4.Start-up Funding Club- http://www.startupfundingclub.com/ 5.Ascot SEIS – www.ascotwm.com
Top Traditional Angel Syndicates
1.London Business Angels: http://www.lbangels.co.uk/ 2.E100 (LBS) 3.Oxford Angels: http://www.oxei.co.uk 4.Cambridge: http://cambridgeangels.com 5.Envestors- www.envestors.co.uk 6. Angels Den- www.angelsden.com
Super Seed Investors
1. Playfair Capital- http://playfaircapital.com 2.Angel Pad http://angellab.co.uk/ 3.Kima Ventures- http://www.kimaventures.com 4.Boundary Capital - www.boundarycapital.com 5.Venerex ( Fashion Tech- see Capital List) 6.Jam Jar Investments- http://jamjarinvestments.com 7.No 1 Seed - www.number1seed.co.uk 8.Warner Yard Associates - http://www.warneryard.com 9.Angel List – www.angel.co
NESTA - www.nesta.org.uk/investments
Unltd – www.ubltd.org.uk
Big Society Capital- http://www.bigsocietycapital.com
Sources of Social Finance- http://www.bigsocietycapital.com/finding-the-right-investment
Bridges Venture Fund http://www.bridgesventures.com/social-entrepreneurs-fund
Big Issue Investment- http://www.bigissueinvest.com
Social Finance- http://www.socialfinance.org.uk
Social Investment Fund- http://www.thesocialinvestmentbusiness.org
Stargate Capital- Trapezia- http://www.stargatecapital.co.uk/
FSE- Incito- http://thefsegroup.com/investors/business-angels/incito-ventures/
Aspire Fund - http://www.capitalforenterprise.gov.uk/files/Aspire%20Information%20Leaflet%20(v%202)%20Flyer%20brochure.pdf
Bridges Sustainable Fund- http://www.bridgesventures.com/sustainable-growth-funds
Ingenious Media- Cleantech Fund http://www.ingeniousmedia.co.uk/investments/investment-opportunities/clean-energy
Carbon Trust- http://www.carbontrust.com/about-us/our-investments
Low Carbon Accelerator- http://www.lowcarbonaccelerator.com
CT Investment Partners- http://www.ctip.co.uk
Wellington Partners- http://www.wellington-partners.com/wp/index.html
London Venture Partners - http://www.londonvp.com/
DN Capital - http://dncapital.com/
Initial Capital - http://www.initialcapital.com
White Star Capital - http://whitestarvc.com/
Playfair Capital - http://playfaircapital.com
Connect Ventures- http://connectventures.co.uk
Welcome to Microsoft BizSpark simply select the right program for your business and get started today!
BizSpark gives startups 3 years of free stuff – software, service, tech support, and Azure cloud services. Your startup qualifies if it is less than 5 years old, is privately held, and earns less than $1M annually. Simply register at www.bizspark.com
Here are just a few things you get:
Taking Your business idea to the next level! with Microsoft Ventures Accelerators
A full-Featured IDE - Free. Start coding the app of your dreams for Windows, Android, and iOS.
Download Everything you need, all in one place for FREE!
Tools Designers, editors, debuggers, profilers - all packaged up in a single environment.
Devices Tools for Apache Cordova and Unity to reach even more platforms.
One my colleagues Dave Douglas has been some work in educating game developers on the power of having a cloud backend to their games
Dave has made some great quick-start tutorial is for Unity3D game developers who would like to get a cloud backend that runs across multiple platforms (including the Unity Editor for quick testing).
One of the big advantages for game devs using Unity3D is that it supports so many platforms additionally Unity have a great set of resources for windows Developers including amazing FREE tools like Visual Studio tools for Unity and some amazing offers and resources
It’s fair to say more people own more than one device that connects to the internet and a lot of them can run apps and games.
While the platforms and ecosystems may differ as a gamer I would like to play the same game across any device (and on any platform) and expect things to sync. Azure Mobile Services is a ‘Backend as a Service’ which supports multi-platform app development. In Unity the BitRave plugin for Azure Mobile Services is designed to just work on any platform that Unity supports.
Dave Douglas @deadlyfingers one of my colleagues in Microsoft UK has done the following walkthroughs of how to get started.
You can Also read his blog with the complete walkthrough documented at
There are more training resources for game developers at Microsoft Virtual Academy http://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/training-topics/game-development
Guest blog by Tim Stoddard, Staffordshire University @Gamepopper
Standing out above the crowd
My discovery into games development came from an opportunity at A-Levels to make a project on anything, so I decided to make a game using GameMaker 8. I decided to pursue making computer games in University, when I transferred from Computer Science to Computer Games Programming. After making a few games for the Windows Store, I decided I wanted to make one fairly large indie game, and being a student is the best time to do it.
So for the duration of a year, I was working on a game part time, during my degree and placement, and mostly on my own.
So what is the Game?
The game was Secret of Escape, a top-down stealth action game developed in Construct2. The game has since been released on Desura, Itch.io and IndieGameStand, as well as being shown at several game events such as Launch Conference, Norwich Games Expo, Insomnia52 and London Gaming & Anime Con. But out of all the moments I’ve had from making a game, the one that surprised me the most was Secret of Escape being nominated for the TIGA Games Industry Award for Best Student Game.
I submitted my game to the awards because I figured it might be a good chance, and the process of entering was straightforward. All you needed to do was enter your details, choose which category you wanted to submitted to, and upload both a copy of your game and a video and give a reason why you should win the award. Then in mid-October I got an email which showed my game as shortlisted for Best Student Game, needless to say I was excited.
What is your advice?
If there is any word of advice I would give here, it would be this. If you are ever nominated for an award, go to the award ceremony. Not only is it a moment to be proud of an achievement in your career, and is common courtesy to accept an award in person if you win, but an awards ceremony is a big opportunity to network and speak to professionals from all parts of the industry.
I had the opportunity of speaking with people from indie developers such as Futurlab (Velocity 2X), Evil Twin Artworks (Victory At Sea), Sumo Digital, all the way up to large studios such as Rebellion (Sniper Elite III) and Bullfrog Productions (Fable Anniversary). Not to mention people who work in Recruitment (Aardvark Swift and Amiqus), Accounting, and Quality Assurance.
Of course there was the ceremony, with the nominees of each award being displayed on large monitors, some with footage of the games being shown. I got to see my game being shown during the Best Student Game, and cheer at excitement for seeing it there. I also cheered when Staffordshire University was shown during the Best Education Initiative award. I was also sitting with the developers at Bullfrog, so I gave my support for them too.
Sadly I didn’t win, but being nominated and going to the award ceremony is definitely one of the highlights as a game developer. Hopefully one day I’ll return and take a trophy home with me, so I guess it’s time to start working now..
Tim excellent stuff and great to see you making the right steps!
So if your a student and interested in standing out above the crowd go and build a game for the players and not for yourself!!
Enter the www.Imaginecup.com gaming competition or individual competition like http://gradsingames.com/competitions/search-for-a-star/ and http://gradsingames.com/competitions/sumo-digital-rising-star/
One of the great things about Windows Azure is its platform agnostic
So if your building games for Android check out the following videos by Dave Douglas http://www.deadlyfingers.net/ a fellow Microsoft Technical Evangelist on building a Azure backend to your game.
Create android app with cloud backend (Part 1: Azure Mobile Service)
Create android app with cloud backend (Part 2: Table Permissions and OAuth)
If your interested in trying out Azure apply online at www.azure.com or register for our special game dev offer http://aka.ms/gamedevoffer