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  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Build apps that Windows Phone users will love


    Windows Phone

    Windows Phone offers a compelling approach to bringing distinctive apps to its customers, offering an experience not found on other platforms. Similarly, the Windows Phone developer platform is designed to help you build apps that extend the experience throughout the phone in easily discoverable ways. Check out this podcast on designing great Windows Phone apps using our design team's philosophy of "fierce reduction" – making the most out of animation, pivots and other key Windows Phone visual elements.

    For even further guidance on how to build outstanding apps for Windows Phone – check out our favourites below.

    Windows Phone UX Guidelines

    Windows Phone Design Resources

    Design Day Event

    Windows Phone UX Style Design

    Designing Apps

    App Design Best Practices

    Prototyping in Blend

    Windows Phone Design Assets

    PSD Templates

    PNG Grid (Useful in Blend)

    SDK (contains Blend and icons)

    Windows Phone Tool Kit (contains extra controls for prototyping)

    Faculty and Student Resources

    FREE Windows Phone developer kit and store accounts from DreamSpark and teaching resources and curriculum from Faculty Connection

    Windows Phone Developer Support

    Did you know you can visit our forums and connect with the community of Windows Phone developers to ask questions and get answers? For the top issues and answers being discussed, check out the following:

    Register and manage account

    Submitting and publishing apps

    Payouts and reporting

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Can't attend BUILD in person? Watch it live!




    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. 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

    YoYo Games Gamemaker full support for Windows 8



    We are thrilled to announce the availability of YoYo Games support for building Windows Store games

    YoYo Games was founded in 2007 by a group of leading Games and Entertainment industry executives. The company, headed by CEO, Sandy Duncan (ex-Vice President of Xbox Europe), was created to support the founders' belief that a new generation of games development talent and devices was emerging and there was an opportunity to incubate and showcase some of the very best of this talent on these new and existing platforms.

    GameMaker is available today under a variety of licensing tiers, including a free tier, from the YoYo Games website ( and has been downloaded more than 5 million times since 2007. In addition, GameMaker is the teaching product of choice for more than 5,000 schools and Universities worldwide. In September 2011, YoYo Games introduced GameMaker:HTML5, unleashing the games development talent of hundreds of thousands of gamers on the web. YoYo Games estimates that over 130,000 games have been developed using the YoYo Games platform.

    YoYo Games announcement -

    YoYo Games Windows 8 Opportunity -

    YoYo Games Windows 8 Contest -

    Download -

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    ATARI and IE new CreateJS Libraries


    Are you teaching gaming or web development?

    Modern ‘Atari Arcade’ Experience Features Fresh Graphics, Social Connectivity and Tablet Touch Gameplay, Play Now for Free at

    Atari, one of the world’s most recognized publishers and developers of interactive entertainment, has developed a partnership with Internet Explorer to launch the Atari Arcade. The browser-based portal is a next-generation collection of Atari’s classic games reimagined in HTML5 with fresh graphics, gameplay and integration with Facebook and Twitter.

    Atari Arcade shines in Internet Explorer, but also works well in other modern browsers. Because of the quality of the IE experience, an ad-free version is made available to all Internet Explorer customers when they play Atari Arcade.

    In celebration of Atari’s 40 year anniversary and the upcoming launch of Internet Explorer 10, classic games like Asteroids, Pong, Lunar Lander, Missile Command, Centipede, and others have been developed with new graphics and gameplay features. Like the arcades that first popularized gaming, players can go head-to-head with friends in competitive, real-time battles for high scores and leaderboard placement in the next evolution of Atari fan favourites like Super Breakout and Combat.

    Atari Arcade demonstrates what’s possible when you couple HTML5 along with a fast and fluid browser that is perfect for touch, which is precisely what you get with Internet Explorer 10. Now together with Internet Explorer and HTML5, we get to see some of our favourite games jump into the next generation of gaming on the web – which is pretty fantastic.”

    Atari’s new platform will grant developers access to CreateJS, a suite of tools for creating cross-browser, cross-device HTML5 gaming and media experiences. This new offering will give developers a platform to publish and monetize games with the ability to utilize features like Facebook integration.

    Atari has released a promotional video for the event in which game industry luminaries Nolan Bushnell and Grant Skinner provide their perspective on 40 years of video games and HTML5’s impact on future development. The video may be viewed at:

    Visit the Atari Arcade now at

    For more information about Atari games and the latest news:
    - Visit our website:
    - Like us on Facebook:
    - Follow us on Twitter:
    - Subscribe to our YouTube Channel:

    For more on Internet Explorer, please visit

    For developers

    Check out the JavaScript libraries. Atari also produced an SDK to supplement the CreateJS libraries. Visit Make sure to visit the Developers tab for links to the developer resources and enjoy this behind the scenes video.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Want to create a HTML5 game for Windows 8? And publish it to the new Windows Store?



    HTML5 Game Starter Kit for Windows 8


    This is a great starter kit developed by one of my colleague Petri Tapio Wilhelmsen who is a member of the Microsoft Western Europe team.

    As you can see from my previous posts were aware many of the apps that are submitted to the Windows Store are failing certification because they didn’t know that a Privacy Policy was needed, or that the game/app had to implement a snap view and so on. This kit will help you with the most important things.

    Petri has created an excellent HTML5 Game starter kit that will help you set up a new Windows 8 game project in short time, this is ideal for schools, colleges and University who teach game development with HTML5.

    By using this starter kit you can get most of this functionality ready, for more details see or look at the following quick guides below.

    Here is a quick video to using the HTML5 Starter kit

    5 Step Guide to Bulding HTML5 games with the HTML5 Starter Kit

    Step 1a. You need to have Visual Studio 2012 installed on a Windows 8 device to use this. If you are a student and have access to (MSDNAA) or a MSDN Subscription you can download both products from there.

    You can use the free version of Visual Studio 2012 (express) and can be downloaded here:

    The Release Preview can be downloaded for free here:

    Step 1b. Download HTML5 Game Starter Kit for Windows 8

    Step 2. Start Visual Studio 2012 and create a “Blank App” Windows 8 JavaScript project:

    Click on File->New->Project…


    Choose JavaScript as the language and the template “Blank App”:

    Give your project a name (here: Mitt Spill) and press OK.

    A new project is generated and the structure will look like this:

    Step 3. What we will do now is to add the HTML5 Game Starter Kit files to the newly created project. We just copy the content of the HTML5 Game Starter Kit folder to the project folder.

    So, copy thse files from the HTML5 Game Starter Kit:

    Navigate to your new game soludtion and open the project folder. Paste the files here, and replace if asked:


    The project folder will look somewhat like this:

    Step 4. Go back to your Visual Studio 2012 project and update if needed:


    Step 5. Include the new files in your project.
    The last thing you need to do is to include the new files in your project structure from Visual Studio 2012.

    Click on the button highlighted in the red circle below. It will show the files that exist in the filestructure but not in the project structure(dark gray).


    Select the following files (hold control and click them):

    Right click one of the files and select “Include in project”:

    6. Test if it works.
    Congratulations, you are now having a working game project! Run the app and test that it works.

    Whats in the starter kit?



    Full screen mode

    Snap view mode

    Full screen with other app in snap view.

    About page

    Privacy Policy

    Remember!   The example game is using CreateJS. It’s located under js/CreateJS. You can remove this folder if it’s not needed in your project. But if you do so, the example game will not compile.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

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




    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.


    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).


    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

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    2013 Faculty Fellowship Program


    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


    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


    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.

    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:

    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


    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.


    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

    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

    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



    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.


    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.


    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.


    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 Screen  View - App fills entire screen


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


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

    IC536102 - Copy

    Landscape View


    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



    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.


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



    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.




    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.

    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.


    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.


    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.

    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.



    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

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows 8 are you ready?



    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…

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