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  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Inter Uni Game Jam 2012


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    As you are all aware, last weekend was Uni Jam 2012, at Nottingham Trent University.

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    Presentation from the welcome keynote and announcement of the theme.



    Setting up at Inter Uni Game Jam

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    Students from the following universities attended the event:

    Nottingham Trent University

    University of Nottingham

    Kingston University

    City University London

    University of Derby

    University of York

    University of Warwick

    Anglia Ruskin University

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    It is clear from the video footage taken during the event that the general atmosphere was great. The attendees were upbeat and enthused about the opportunity with everyone smiling even in the middle of the night people. Even in cases where development was being halted by bugs and other issues, all the students managed to stay positive and enjoy themselves.

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    Another highlight was when a member of the team from Warwick University offered to help the 2 man team (from Kingston and London City University) with a maths problem. This goes a long way to showing that although it was a competition, the spirit of the event was friendly and students from different universities were able to work together to create brilliant games.


    A quote from the DevSoc Facebook page following the event was "I came to Uni in October, hoping to be able to learn how to make games, and with DevSoc, I successfully made one after a month. Can't argue with that!!!" This is what the vision for the game jam was all about, so feedback like this has made all the work worthwhile.

    Full videos of the event and interviews with the teams can be found at



    Inter Uni Game Jam 2012 Winners

    Prizes were awarded by the judges as follows:

    Accessibility - NTU DevSoc (Patrick Merritt, Paul White, Eamonn Hayden, Charlotte Ash) Windows Phone 7/8, XNA MonoGame

    Game Play - NTU DevSoc (Luke Shires, Alex Roberts, Nick Powell, Charlotte Neill, Russell Claxton) Windows 8 XNA MonoGame

    Graphics - University of York (Samuel Twidale, Joe Williamson, Tom Rosling) Flash

    Innovation - Anglia Ruskin University (Ed Horsey, James Roberts, Kieran Linnie, Owen Westfield Bell) Unity

    Windows 8/Windows Phone - NTU DevSoc (Luke Shires, Alex Roberts, Nick Powell, Charlotte Neill, Russell Claxton) Windows 8

    People’s Choice - NTU DevSoc (Luke Shires, Alex Roberts, Nick Powell, Charlotte Neill, Russell Claxton) Windows 8

    Random Prize Draw for a Windows Nokia Lumia Phone - NTU DevSoc (Eamonn Hayden)



    This event would not have been a success without all the support we have received from third parties. Our thanks go to:

    Nottingham Trent University – Dev Soc’s Alex Close and his excellent organisation,  huge thanks to the Computer Science Department for providing on going support through the planning and running of the event and providing us with an excellent venue.

    Stewards and Nottingham Trent DevSoc team – For volunteering their time to help run the jam. Some stayed awake for the whole 24 hours to make sure they could help if they were needed.


    Microsoft - For sponsoring the Windows 8/Windows Phone category, Peoples choice category and random prize draw.

    Pocketeers - For sponsoring for the Innovation prize category.

    Marmalade - For sponsoring the Game Play prize category.

    Desura + Indie Royale - For sponsoring the Innovation prize category.

    Pololu – For sponsoring the Accessibility prize category.

    Rebellion + 2000AD - For sponsoring the Graphics prize category.

    Insane Dev (Steven Batchelor-Manning) - For sponsoring the Accessibility prize category and coming down to the venue to show support.

    Dynamite Jack – For sponsoring the Graphics, Innovation, Accessibility and Game Play prize categories.

    Wiseman Designs - For providing treats for all competitors in the form of Haribo and Freddos.

    Fellow judges

    Mode7 Games (Paul Taylor) - For judging the competition and providing a Frozen Synapse key to everyone who participated in the event.

    David Smith - For judging the competition and providing ongoing support throughout the competition.

    So get publishing apps and creating a portfolios here are some useful takeaways

    Games are the #1 download and #1 money making app category so get developing!

    Pick your niche, grow from there have a look at the excellent things have achieved.

    XNA and MonoGame provides a solution to get your existing XNA assets and games running as a Windows 8 Store App

    MonoGame provides a cross platform solution so that you can leverage your existing XNA development effort, across multiple marketplaces to develop a portfolio of games across platforms

    Follow the certification guidelines (WACK) to make your app Windows 8 Store ready and use your Free windows phone and Windows 8 developer accounts to publish your titles to store.

    Enter as many competitions and Game Jams to grow your experiences also enter competitions such as for teams and for individuals.

    Useful Resources and links Building Windows 8 Games Windows 8 UK Camps and Training Events Windows 8 Samples Windows 8 developer resources Windows Phone 8 developer resources  MonoGame MonoGame Installer for Windows Git Resource

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Power UP competition for Windows 8 Game Developers



    Microsoft has launched a developer contest called 'Power Up'. The competition is aimed at UK Inide Developers who want to develop and
    publish awesome games for Windows 8.  

    If you are using .Net or 3rd Party Frameworks like GameSalad, GameMaker, Construct2 or if your an existing developer using XNA today to develop Xbox Indie titles why not port your existing titles or create a new ones for the Windows 8 “Power Up” competition and be in with a chance to win some “money can’t buy” prizes.  

    We have worked with MonoGame in the UK recently at a University hack to port existing XNA games to Win8 RT and then develop those games to be published in the Windows 8 Store.  You can read more details here.

    If you’re the winner of ‘Power Up’ you will win some amazing prize, including a free PR campaign, mentoring with industry leaders drawn from
    the Boards of UKIE and TIGA and a commercial trailer for your awesome Windows 8 game app. You simply need to ensure game is published in the UK Windows 8 Store before December 14th.  Full entry details, terms and conditions can be found at

    Prizes range from free PR for a month, mentoring by industry veterans, Nokia smartphones, Visa Gift Cards from YoYo Games to name but a few.

    The competition is open now and you have until December 14th, 2012 to enter. To be in with the chance of winning one of our fantastic prizes, after
    successfully submitting your app to the UK Windows 8 store, follow the steps
    below to enter the competition.

    Send the following details to Andrew Webber, UK Marketing Lead for Indie Game App Builders at

    • Your name
    • Studio Name
    • Email Address and Phone
    • Name of the Game App
    • Include a copy of your Store Certification email for the App you are submitting.

    There is no limit to the number of entries, all entries need to be received by 11.59PM GMT 14th December 2012.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Student can do really amazing things! Imagine Cup




    At the 2012 competition, QuadSquad, from the Ukraine, created a device that allows deaf individuals to communicate using custom-designed sensory gloves and a smartphone app to translate sign language gestures into speech. The device is nothing short of incredible and the team won the software design category with their product, Enable Talk.

    Time has just recognized the team as having one of the best inventions of the year. This incredible achievement has once again shown why Imagine Cup is an opportunity that every student should take advantage of as the ideas that are fostered during this competition can truly impact the world around us in a positive way.”

    For more details of the Imagine Cup see

    If your interested in entering a team, or becoming an mentor see out guides here



  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    XNA inside UNITY3D for Ludum Dare Student/Institutional Entries



    Unity_logi XNA

    I was having a chat with a number student early this morning at the Inter Uni Game Jam 2012 re Gameathons and Hacks they have attended. Ludum Dare seems to a great and popular online competition for rapid prototyped games. However it was clear from the discussions students building XNA were severely hindered due to the nature of Lumun Dare and its 1000s of competitors, the reason being, is that the majority of the competitors will only play games Online that don't have to be complied so Flash and Unity web player games are really popular.

    As I discussed in a previous blog  Flash .SWF games can be ported to Unity using UniSwf see

    So we got onto discussing XNA to Unity or as its called UnityXNA which is simply a straightforward way of getting XNA games running in Unity3D. This was a rather interesting discussion with Ph.D student Luke Shares a member of the DevSoc team had actually already been experimenting with this and built a solution for the DevSoc 1st years for Lumun Dare entrys and we compared his work from Barnaby Smith, MVI Networks who has released a solution on GitHub at

    What's rather interesting is that MVI Networks solution, make Zero code changes to the original XNA game code. Barnaby has used a mixture of new code and some code from MonoXNA to implement XNA emulation by having a game object with a script attached run an XNA game performing updates and drawing.

    A great walkthrough and analysis of UnityXNA can be found here

    Also if your interested in seeing the XNA Platform sample running in Unity you can see the game in your web browser here and download the source here.

    Implemented so far:

    1. Basic game loop and GameTime calculation.
    2. ContentManager loads Texture2Ds, SoundEffects and Songs, each wrapping the relevant Unity3D object.
    3. SpriteBatch Draw implemented using a draw queue, specifically created for the purpose. Currently supports colour tinting, source rectangles, and sprite effect flip modes.
    4. SpriteBatch DrawString has limited support, rendering the text in the correct position and with the correct colour.
    5. Support for playing Songs through MediaPlayer and playing SoundEffects
    6. KeyboardStates emulated for a limited set of keys which are mapped from their XNA values to Unity3D KeyCodes.
    7. Zero code changes to the game needed to run Platformer sample

    Known issues, immediate areas for improvement:

    1. SpriteFont is not supported, all DrawStrings render with the default GUI Label font.
    2. Frame rate is currently vsync’d at 60 frames per second. When vsync is disabled GameTime is not calculated correctly.
    3. Windows Media Audio (.wma) is not supported by Unity3D, so I’ve converted the sample audio files to Ogg Vorbis (.ogg).
    4. Keyboard input is currently limited to a small set of keys, more mappings between XNA Keys and Unity3D KeyCodes need creating.
    5. Mouse, gamepad and touch input are not currently implemented.

    So this is yet another way of getting your XNA Assets running as an Awesome Windows 8 or WindowsPhone 8 store application.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows Phone 8 JumpStart Training November 28-29, 2012 - Register Now



    Microsoft Learning is thrilled to announce a new Jump Start for developers focused on building apps for Windows Phone 8.

    This special live online course is scheduled for two full days of fast-paced, demo-rich sessions led by my colleague and fellow Microsoft Technical Evangelist, Andy Wigley, and Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Strategist, Rob Tiffany. Andy and Rob are two of the most respected experts in mobile app development and are excited to help C#/XAML developers get the most out of the Windows 8 platform.



    What: Building Apps for Windows Phone 8 Jump Start
    Date: November 28-29, 2012
    Time: 7:00am – 5:00pm PST
    Cost: FREE!
    Target audience: Application Developers who want a fast-paced, real-world understanding of how to leverage C# and XAML to build apps for Windows Phone 8

    ** REGISTER NOW **

    Help us spread the word with a blog post or a tweet like this one:
    Building Apps for #WindowsPhone 8 #MSJumpStart w/ @andy_wigley & @robtiffany 11/28! #wpdev @MSLearning

    What’s a “Jump Start” Course?
    Training specifically designed for experienced technologists whose jobs demand they know how to best leverage new, emerging Microsoft technologies. These advanced courses assume a certain level of expertise and domain knowledge, so they move quickly and cover topics in a fashion that enables teams to effectively map new skills to real-world situations.

    Cannot spare the two day on the 28th and 28th

    The first UK in person -  Windows Phone 8 DevCamps will be help in London on Friday 14th December and Saturday 15th December.

    Booking details here:

    14th December, Modern Jago
    Event ID: 1032536241


    Phone: 0870 166 6670 ref – 6241

    15th December, Modern Jago
    Event ID: 1032536242


    Phone: 0870 166 6670 ref – 6242

    The Windows Phone 8 Camps have been designed to show you how to build a Windows Phone 8 app. You can tailor the day to make it as personally productive and rewarding as possible. You can work on your own projects with assistance from Windows Phone 8 experts, network with others and also have the option of attending short tutorial sessions on Windows Phone 8 related topics.

    The Windows Phone 8 Camps will cover an introductory overview session as well as a range of short tutorial sessions. Short tutorial sessions will include topics such as the Windows Phone 8 application lifecycle, new Windows Phone 8 controls such as the LongListPicker, a high level view of the platform – i.e. how .NET and the Windows Phone Runtime APIs work together and the choice around implementation technology, new Windows Phone 8 features such as the Speech API, app to app communication with file and protocol associations, lock screen notifications and in-app purchase, how to make the most of the new Tile templates, and how to make best use of the tooling – the role of Visual Studio and Expression Blend. We’ll also cover how to share code between a Windows Phone 8 app and a Windows 8 app.

    In addition, you will learn how you can publish your Windows Phone 8 app into the Windows Phone Store.

    The Windows Phone 8 Camp will kick off at 9am and officially finish at 6pm or 9pm for the hardcore attendees.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Building Windows 8 Store games with Unity



    Microsoft is currently planning a number of events for Building Windows Store games using 3rd Party game frameworks

    Microsoft has a planned Unity Event which will be Live Streamed so you watch the live stream at details of the event will be posted at

    You do not have to register for the live stream, just point your browser to Channel 9

    Join Unity and Microsoft for this free, all-day training designed to jumpstart your Windows Store game app development with the Unity engine.

    You will learn from Unity and Microsoft experts in a low-key, interactive way and then get hands-on time to apply what you’ve learned.

    Proposed Agenda 


    · Overview and Introduction to the Windows 8 platform and the Windows Store

    · Introduction to the Unity engine

    · Unity + Windows 8 global business opportunities

    · End-to-end walkthrough of building a Windows Store game with Unity 4 

    · Learn how to tweak an existing Unity game to target the Windows Store

    · Learn to optimize and deploy your Unity project for Windows 8, Windows RT, and Windows Phone 8.

    · Learn about features to differentiate your games with Windows 8 integration, such as tiles and contracts

    · Tips & tricks for designing, reusing, and sharing code between Windows Phone and Windows 8

    · Case studies and Shared examples from Unity, Microsoft, and expert 3rd party developers

    · Discussions and Q&A from Microsoft and Unity engineering and product specialists

    Day 2

    · Bring your hardware and software and immerse yourself and your team into a full day of Windows Store game development using Unity platforms in a casual environment.

    · Meet other Unity Windows 8 developers, share experiences, and grow your development capabilities.

    · Meet members of the Unity and Windows evangelism team and get great advice on developing great Windows Store games.

    Live Stream

    If you can’t attend in person, watch the live stream of the event at You do not have to register for the live stream; just point your browser to Channel 9 or to our registration site on the day of the event.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    How do you become an Xbox Live Publisher on Windows Phone, Windows 8, XBLA, Xbox360/Kinect and Web



    This week at LaunchConference I had a number of questions form student interested in become Xbox Live publishers on Windows Phone and Windows 8 and develop games with the Xbox Live functionality.

    • Title groups
    • Title-managed storage
    • Near real-time, cross-screen multiplayer, and matchmaking
    • Leaderboards
    • Achievements

    Well here is the answer from the Session Building Cross-Device Xbox Games 


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    C++ and Physics/Game engines



    There are a number of physics/games engines being used within academia and with the release of Windows 8 the following video  discusses how to consume a non-WinRT C++ Code set see: Building Windows Runtime Components with C++.


    Box2D is open source physics engine, and it is used in number of solutions including Physics Helper, coco2dx and Construct2 by


    For the Unreal Engine article see:, available for Windows RT at


    Autodesk Scaleform 4.1 now supports Windows 8

    The Autodesk Scaleform 4.1 states that it does support Windows 8 Metro in the 4.1 version,, you can download the tool for non-commercial use.

    Other really useful tools


    UniSwf simply publish assets from Flash and they seamlessly appear in the Unity editor. see

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    FREE Online training at with Pluralsight


    All student now get Pluralsight, simply go to and then go to download software.  At the bottom of the screen, all by itself is Pluralsight, with a bunch of training modules. 

    There are modules available on C++ programming. HTML5 ,XAML and many more .


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Why build games on Windows 8 at the Inter Uni Game Jam 2012



    This weekend 17th – 18th Nov.  I will be at supporting and judging at the UK’s Uni Game Jam 2012, #UJ2012 hosted at the Nottingham Trent University.


    A number of teams from across the UK will hopefully using the event to have a great time but also start developing and refining their personal portfolios and CVs. There will be lots of ideas following over the 24 hours and hopefully a good number will become entries into this years gaming category for the 


    Student game jams are great fun and a great way of getting experience, CV and portfolio materials development and may be even a amazing game into a store or marketplace.  So I am looking forward to a few hours of sleep and no doubt a NERF shoot out or two and seeing what can be achieved.

    So keep an eye out on the blog and at for updates throughout the weekend.

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    For teams entering the Windows 8 and Windows Phone category don't forget lots of great resources at and  and all the SDK Can be downloaded from DreamSpark 

    Windows 8 is great gaming across all hardware and you can use lots of 3rd party frameworks and middleware so you could enter multiple categories.

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