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  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Shape the Future Programme - Any school in the UK can take advantage of this flexible and affordable 1:1 device programme



    Shape the Future is a high profile digital inclusion programme from Microsoft which has so far extended the new era of digital learning to 21 million students in 56 countries.  

    The UK’s first Shape the Future project was launched this week, in partnership with Intel and RM, and with keynote speeches from Dr Vanessa Pittard from the Department for Education and Joice Fernandes (Global Shape the Future lead) amongst others. 

    The Shape the Future website is live and any school in the UK can take advantage of this flexible and affordable 1:1 device programme to help their students realise their full potential.  The suite of devices includes robust classmate minibooks and tablets, a good range of laptops running Windows 8 and Windows 8 slates. 

    For more information visit the website and facebook page for Shape the Future   

    The following infograhic summaries the reasons we need Shape the Future – and what the UK’s first programme offers. 



  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Techdays Online Presentations


    Last week UK Technical Evangelist’s Simon May and Andrew Fryer presented a number of sessions at TechDays Online.

    TechDays online is dedicated online UK event covering Windows Server 2012, Windows 8 and Private Cloud.

    On the day Andrew and Simon had a number of requested to publish the decks those decks are now here available for you to click through and download if you so wish.

    More details are on Simon Blog at

    Windows Server 2012

    Windows 8

    Private Cloud


    For a list of more IT professional events see

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Ensuring your student apps get into the Windows 8 Apps Store


    In response to my blog What are the key things I should check before submitting my app to store? Follow this 7 step guide.

    I was introduced to the following academic institution, Howest Digital Arts and Entertainment (DAE) Howest is a leading academic institution in game development. With the current shift in the gaming industry, from standard retail to instant downloadable deliveries, Howest  decided to take advantage of the opportunity of allowing students to develop portfolios within the Windows 8 Store.

    Windows 8 has been the ideal platform, simply because it runs on various device types, with touch or standard mouse and keyboard. It support various development languages XNA via Monogame, C++\DX, HTML5 and various 3rd party gaming frameworks.

    Howest has Several student games – built in XNA and ported via Monogame to Windows 8 which are now available within the Windows 8 Store. With the launch of Windows 8 Howest has made for the first time in its history student games available in a commercial Store.

    As part of this year courses that have more game currently passing store certification. Are you or your institution considering allowing students to submit their apps or are you on their behalf submitting their apps to the store?

    You can Download the Howest apps from the Windows Store

    Some Hero Game



    Binary Puzzle

    The availability of the Store and gaming announce the start of a new era for online CVs and portfolios. Howest from now will publishing their best student into the Windows Store. You, Windows 8 user, will have soon a large variety of short, free games while students will get a reality check of being a software publisher prior to graduation.

    How did Howest consider doing this?

    During the Imagine Cup finals in Sydney, the game “Influence” was installed on a Windows 8 tablet.  Students were encouraged to convert the XNA game via Monogame to Windows 8 game. Although lots of documentation on porting 2D games is available, porting 3D XNA games introduced a series of new obstacles. With the hard work and dedication of the lecturers and students, they succeeded in successfully bringing 4 games to the Windows 8 Store – and there are even more games to come in the following days.

    Imagine Cup Exposure

    6 years in row, Howest students have participated in the worldwide finals with every year a team ending up in the top 5. So if you have talented students make sure they enter the Imagine Cup see

    Publishing Apps to Store

    So if your interested in getting your students apps into store,  the following is one of the most common reason why Windows 8 Apps fail store certification.

    You need a privacy policy for your app Windows 8 Certification requirement 4.1.1 states “Your app must have a privacy policy if it collects personal information”

    • Most of us believe were not collecting anyone’s email address or phone numbers with my app so I don’t need a privacy statement? Then you submit your app for certification and it fails! Why?
    • Personal information includes: Webcam snaps, Audio/Video recordings, Photos, Documents, Contacts, and so on. So if you are using the webcam to take pictures or creating a document that access contact information or users files you need a privacy statement.
    • Personal information also includes: IP Addresses. That means if your app has the ‘internet client’ capability enabled in your app you are going to need a privacy statement. 

    The default templates in Visual Studio include the ‘internet client’ capability, so unless you change the default manifest, you will need a privacy statement.

    What do I put in a privacy policy?

    According to Windows 8 certification requirement 4.1.1 In general, an acceptable privacy policy is one that

    • Informs users of the information collected by your app
    • Informs users how that information is used, stored, secured and disclosed
    • Describes the controls that users have over the use and sharing of their information
    • Describes how they may access their information
    • Complies with applicable laws and regulations

    Where can I find some examples?

    Take a glance at the Windows 8 store and look at the description pages of some published apps. You can also go to the settings page of any installed apps you may have. If your app doesn’t collect personal information, you can probably write it yourself making it clear that you do not collect personal information. If your app does collect personal information you need to do your homework and find out the appropriate legal wording for your privacy policy.

    The Microsoft game Wordament which has you log in with a userid to play the game and posts high scores uses the Microsoft Online Privacy notice found here.

    PuzzleTouch Prime which is a jigsaw puzzle game that allows you to create puzzles from your own photos uses the privacy policy here

    If you do not actually collect or store personal info from the users, say so in your privacy policy”

    Where do I have to put this privacy policy?

    You must provide the privacy policy (or a link to it) in the description page of the submission site and in your settings. Here’s a great post from Tim Heuer telling you how you can use a free Azure website to host your privacy policy!

    Can I have a code example for adding it to settings?

    Here is an example in C# of how to add a privacy policy to your settings in a blog post at Expression

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows Phone 8 SDK requirements



    What are the system requirements for the SDK?

    Here are the system requirements for the Windows Phone 8 SDK

    • Supported operating systems: Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro, Windows 8 64-bit (x64) client versions
    • Hardware: 4 GB of free hard disk space, 4 GB RAM, 64-bit (x64) CPU
    • Windows Phone 8 Emulator: Windows 8 Pro edition or greater, a processor that supports Second Level Address Translation (SLAT)

    If you have already been developing for Windows Phone 7 note the new requirements

    1. You need to be running a 64 bit Windows 8 OS to install the Windows Phone 8 SDK.

    2. If you don’t meet the requirements for the Windows Phone 8 Emulator, the Windows Phone SDK 8.0 will install and run but the Windows Phone 8 Emulator will not function and you will not be able to deploy or test apps on the Emulator. see for details on SLAT

    The emulator uses Hyper-V under SLAT so if you try to run a project in the emulator and Hyper-V is not enabled, you will be prompted to turn on Hyper-V. Turning on Hyper-V will require you to restart your computer.

    What new APIs and features can I leverage?

    If you visit the Windows Phone Dev Center you’ll find all documentation and samples for the Windows Phone 8 SDK.

    Here are a couple of new features here just to whet your appetite

    If your teaching or building app/games with the Windows Phone 7 SDK do I have to restart it?

    No. Apps built for Windows Phone 7.5 still run on Windows Phone 8, so finish and publish the apps using your free developer account from via

    If you want to leverage some of the new Windows 8 features, you can do that in your next release.

    Additional Resources

    Check out the following videos from Build 2012 on Windows Phone 8 Development

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    iOS Resources for Windows 8 Developers:


    The iOS Resources page ( is now live on dev center. This is a great starting place for iOS developers to begin their Windows app building.  

    apple-ipad surface

    The page currently has numerous articles, including:

    - Installing Windows 8 and dev tools on Macs

    - Getting started guide for iOS developers

    - API mapping index preview which maps iOS APIs to Windows 8 APIs saving developers’ time when porting over apps

    - An introduction to C# for Objective-C developers

    - iPad design case study

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    //Build Windows Phone 8 and availability of SDK





    Today at BUILD we announced the availability of the Windows Phone 8.0 SDK.



    - Announcing the new Windows Phone 8 Developer Platform by Kevin Gallo -

    - Windows Phone 8 SDK at the Download Center -

    - Updated Windows Phone Dev Center -

    - What’s new in Windows Phone 8 -

    - Visual Studio Blog – Introducing Windows Phone SDK 8.0 -

    - .Net Framework Blog – Announcing the release of the .NET Framework for Windows Phone 8 -

    - Windows Phone Blog – Meet Windows Phone 8 -

    - Windows Phone 8 Developer Videos -

    - Windows Phone Dev Center Twitter Feed -

    - Windows Phone Twitter Feed -

    Download Windows Phone 8 now

    The Windows Phone SDK 8.0 has been released to the web and is immediately available for download via MSDN Subscriber Downloads, as well as via the Microsoft Download Center using the following links:

    - Direct link:

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Channel9 Windows 8 Videos and Build Keynote



    Channel 9 has 85 new videos on Windows 8.

    There are over 30 in their “Introducing Windows 8” series. These are great starter and include all the necessary information for anyone wanting to get started on Windows 8 ( i.e. here’s what Share means, here’s what Search means )

    There are also some really interesting video on the following subject areas which are great for students wanting to develop application portfolios

    1) Enterprise Deployment -

    2) Understanding Windows Store





    3) Accessibility videos



    Don't forget Windows Build starts today 30/10/12


    Stay tuned, because Microsoft's BUILD conference is rapidly approaching, and Windows Phone will be there. BUILD sold out in record time this year, and if you weren't one of the lucky few who got a spot, don't worry, because the entire event will be streamed live.

    Build 2012

    Build 2012 Redmond, WA, October 30 - November 2, 2012, 136 sessions Live Stream

    At Build, we'll dive deep to cover all the areas you care about. How to design and build beautiful Windows 8 apps. How to sell your apps in the Windows 8 Store and make money. And much more. Join us on the Microsoft Campus for 4 days of extraordinary presentations delivered by the…

    //Build Resources

    We're looking forward to going in depth with you on what's new in Windows Phone 8 for developers. Watch Channel 9 for session content 24-48 hours post-event.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows Phone 8 launch event to be held in San Francisco on October 29th


    Today is a important day for Windows Phone, Come see what’s new in Windows Phone 8. Join the webcast at 10 a.m. PT on Oct. 29, live from San Francisco.


    Resources for Windows Phone 8

    Youtube -

    Facebook -

    Windows Phone Blog -

    Pininterest -

    Webcast -

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Three Thing Game Winner – Team Sheerware with HyperMorpth


    ThreeThingGame LogoT MonogameLogo100x100 Win8_logo

    Well today marked the final of the University of Hull Three Thing Game competition.

    From the 40 team 160 students who started we had only lost a small number and throughout the night all of the teams had made AWESOME progress. 


    Many of the teams were already testing and evaluating their and fellows teams games when we arrived back at the venue early this morning.

    I have to state that we were all significantly impressed with the number of first year students who were still in attendance when considering they had only started with XNA this week so the last 24 hours had been a significant learning curve.

    The judging was extremely difficult, I had the honour to be part of the judging teams, during the judging we were chaperoned by camera operators who captured the presentations on video @RobMiles and the team from Hull will be editing these and making them available as show real so check back soon for an update.

    Each team of judges then picked their top two entries, the top two from each group went forward into the final rounds, which consisted of eight teams. The eight teams then had to present and demo their game to the audience of fellow finalist and judges which consisted of Academics, Indie Gaming Dev’s, Microsoft and Monogame staff.

    Thanks to Rob for this lovely picture of me and the prizes you can see his full photo stream here on Flickr


    The finalist wait anxiously to be called to present. Judges can be scary!


    The Finals

    Finalist 1. ‘Three Game’O’Holics’, the first presenters, preparing to show off their game inspired by “Fighting, Desk, in a Dress”. This was an impressive take on the a doodle jump style game with a addictive two player mode and would make a gorgeous Windows Phone and Windows 8 app.


     Finalist 2  ‘No Method, No Class’. with “Caffeine, Monkey, under attack”. The gameplay and sound-effects were excellent as monkeys came in for the kill. Huge Kudos to this team as the group was made up of one second year and two first year students and was significant addictive top down shooter.


    Finalist 3. ‘Uncle Mikes Recursive Prolog Party?’” who had built a space shooter, Asteroid style but with semantic zoom to view the galaxy with a seriously addictive sound track. Again a perfect app for the Windows 8 store with the use of virtual joypad and semantics zoom control.


    Finalist 4.  ‘Sheerware Games’ showing off their Hyper Morph Windows Phone game, made from "Flying, Bombs, Tank". Based on the side scrolling defender/Rtype game built for Windows Phone and portable to Windows 8 via Monogame.


    Finalist 5. The Honeybadger crew with Ninja defence a superb Windows Phone with invaders storming your castle and you letting loose with arrows, ninja stars and fireworks to see them off again a polished app ready for the Windows Phone marketplace and Windows 8 store via monogame.


    Finalist 6. ‘Michael Jacksons Indian Takeaway’ with “Spray of Duty Modern Warbear” really original game  based on a lone Teddy soldier using his deodorant to save off increasing numbers of invading poptarts of various flavours. The game had amazing use of shaders this would be excellent as Windows 8 app using either a virtual control pad or keyboard or controller.


    Finalist 7.Battle Brothers They had created an astonishing looking space warfare game. This had great 3D graphics and physics engine. This would be a great rival to Armed within the Windows 8 store and I know it would have lots of interest and downloads.


    Finalist 8 Two Sirs’ This was one of the most ambitious games I have ever seen, the team developed a multi-player game experience involving a battle between Kinect controlled angler fish and Windows Phone powered goldfish.



    And the winners are!

    In Third Place.  Battle Brothers with their Lego prizes and I’m looking forward to seeing this amazing 3D Space Shooter in the Windows 8 store soon.


    In Second Place. Honeybadger Productions clutching their prizes of Microsoft Kinect sensor and Microsoft T shirts prizes. Well deserved and a game with great potential and look forward to seeing this is the Windows Phone marketplace and Windows 8 store soon.



    And the Winners!

    Sheerware get the big prize of Windows Phone, Windows Phone Design Guide, Limited Edition Windows 8 T Shirt, and USB drive. I am really looking forward to downloading Hyper Morph from both the Windows Phone marketplace and Windows 8 store soon.



    The People Choice Winner – Voted by all the participating teams in the competition.

    The prize of Star Wars Lego Advent Calendars and Exclusive T Shirts went to Sheerware.


    So the key message

    Get students undertaking competition such as this, ensure students develop real portfolios uploading apps/games to the Windows Phone and Windows 8 stores to demonstrate their competences and skills. All Students get free Windows Phone Marketplace, Windows 8 and Xbox developer accounts and store accounts for FREE via for more details see and

    Samples and References

    For students interested in developing for XNA we have lots of resources available for FREE see

    Microsoft Faculty Connection Resources -
    XNA Creators Club Education Samples -
    Windows 8 Development for XNA using MonoGame

    Getting your apps in Store

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

    Windows 8 app certification requirements

    Resolving certification errors after submitting to store

    Other Competitions

    posterv3 (6)

    The Inter University Game Jam 2012 is taking place on 17-18th of Nov so if this was interest please enter or get your students to enter via


    The Imagine Cup 2013 the premier student world wide student game development competition.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Porting of a existing XNA Windows Phone Game to Windows 8


    Windows Phone Win8_logo

    Basic considerations

    Typically, you develop an application for Windows Phone 7 by using Microsoft Silverlight  and one of the managed programming languages—usually C# or XNA.

    There are two main Windows Store app development approaches that you can use when migrating your Windows Phone 7 app: XAML, and JavaScript with HTML5. You develop Windows Store apps using C++, C#, or Visual Basic by using one of those languages with XAML, whereas you develop Windows Store apps using JavaScript with JavaScript, CSS, and HTML5 along with the Windows Library for JavaScript.

    Porting to a Windows Store app using XAML

    A Windows Store app using C++, C#, or Visual Basic, using XAML, is the preferred model for ports from Windows Phone 7. If you are familiar with Silverlight, you can port to a Windows Store app using XAML by using familiar languages like C# or Visual Basic, and a similar set of UI elements and APIs.

    For more detail about porting a Windows Phone 7 application to XAML, read Migrating a Windows Phone 7 app to XAML.

    Porting to a Windows Store app using JavaScript

    A Windows Store app using JavaScript is another model for Windows Phone 7 ports, and may be better suited for simple UI-based apps or to full-screen web apps or clients.

    However if your a game developer then you can move your existing Windows Phone XNA using Monogame.

    Porting to Windows Store app using MonoGame

    For some background you can read these posts:

    During the ThreeThing Game event, Dean Ellis @InfSpaceStudios  talked through the porting of a one of the teams Windows Phone game, Shear Carnage to Windows 8, the initial port took 7mins 47seconds, which is pretty impressive stuff!


    Some of the key features, the team now need to work on now to get the app store ready is..

    • In app advertisement
    • Windows 8 Store app contracts and charms settings to allow the tweeting and sharing of results
    • Development of a online leader board
    • A ensuring the app functions is both landscape and portrait modes.

    Overall this is pretty stunning for existing Windows Phone developers taking existing or new phone apps to both the Windows Phone Marketplace and Windows 8 Store.

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