Faculty Connection is an online set of real-world resources and shared peer knowledge, the goal of the Faculty Connection site is to put relevant and applicable tools and information at the fingertips of technology educators.
The UK Academic Team is responsible for offering IT students and faculty members free access to software, for enhancing knowledge and skills by providing curriculum materials and other learning opportunities, for helping students achieve their dreams by organizing an international competition, and finally for assisting last year students through career resources and job opportunities at our customers and partners.
With this blog we want to inform you on our latest initiatives.
Enjoy reading and stay tuned!
Do you have a device running the latest Windows Phone 8 operating system?
Are you a fan of the TouchDevelop app that enables you to create apps directly ON your mobile device?
Do you love to try out the latest apps, and give feedback about what you like or wish to see improved?
Then our beta testing program for the upcoming update of the TouchDevelop app is for you!
This update will leverage some of the phone sensors and features only available on Windows Phone 8, and it will include all of the new language features which you already might have seen in the TouchDevelop Web App.
This update packs our new editing and execution engine that is powered by TypeScript under the hood. You will enjoy a unified experience between the Windows Phone app and the Web App that runs on most other devices and even your PC.
If you want to participate in the beta testing program, send an email to email@example.com with the following information:
The Touchdevelop team will collect this information over the next couple of days, and then invite the first 800 respondents to try out the beta. They also might contact you later on again to ask for your feedback.
The existing TouchDevelop app for Windows Phone will keep working as before on all Windows Phone 7 devices.
Like TouchDevelop on Facebook to stay up to date.
Rapid2D v1.3 introduces Rapid2D Pro which allows you to deploy to Windows Phone!
Now you can release your game onto desktop, tablets and mobiles with a single click!
You now have greater control over your game’s objects; adjust the finer details of how they behave, right in the editor. Custom colliders will compliment this higher level of control perfectly. Squares and circles just not doing it for you? Draw your own colliders around your game objects, to make your objects! as precise as you like.Collision filters also make an appearance, allowing objects to only react physically to certain object types. Scene switching is now yours to use; create games with multiple levels, create menu screens! , or for simply anything you can apply it to.ParticlesWith up to 10,000 simultaneous particles, that’s just the start of our new particle system. Customisable warp effects allow you to push and pull particles in different directions with different intensities. Create a gentle breeze, a directional explosion, perhaps even a full blown vortex! They can stretch, according to their force, and their colour is under your control with additive and normal blending. Particles can be set to be uniformly emitted to give predictable, balanced distribution, or non-uniformly emitted to create a more sporadic distribution. The emitters themselves can be used with global or local directions, which might really come in handy, since they can also be attached to your game objects, too! Multi-threadingMulti-threaded rendering greatly improves efficiency in this release, by performing simultaneous rendering on multiple CPU cores, taking advantage of faster processors in modern phones. The automatic .DDS converter helps to limit the amount of resources your images will claim. These are just two of the additions we've made to improve the quality of the games you create.An installer, to make your experience with Rapid2D even more, well, rapid! You’ll also notice that the engine will prompt you when a new version is available, to make sure you’re kept up to date with the latest changes.Finally, this update opens the doors to two new licences! Pro and Studio.To find out which one best suits your needs and a list of some of our features, you can get more information hereFor a limited time only, get 50% off Pro and Studio licenses! Offer expires on the 27th of May
Interested in programming with C++ here are some great resources
Prepare your Windows Store DirectX game programming environment
Add Windows Store features for DirectX 11.1 games
Prepare your Windows game for publishing]
Port from DirectX 9 to Windows Store
Port from OpenGL ES 2.0 to Direct3D 11.1
DirectX game development and sample walkthroughs
Developing Marble Maze, a Windows Store game in C++ and DirectX
Develop Reversi, a Windows Store game in C# and XAML
Additional game programming resources
I am pleased to confirm that Doctor Who, Matt Smith, will be hosting the Imagine Cup awards ceremony!
The Doctor's mastery of technology is only matched by his creativity, his compassion, and his sense of wonder at all the amazing things people can accomplish when they are inspired by hope. And in this Imagine Cup video, Matt’s eager to find out: What's next?
Spread the word and invite your students to join us as Matt hosts our awards ceremony live online, at ImagineCup.com on the 11th of July 2013.
Scirra have teamed up with Microsoft to launch a new Windows 8-based competition with some fantastic prizes!
Create a new game with Construct 2, or port an existing one, and successfully publish it to the Windows 8 Store by June 21st to be entered in to the competition. Allow a week for the store submission to complete, so try to get your entries submitted to the store by June 14th.
In addition to the above prizes, the top fifty entries will also receive a $100 voucher that can be redeemed in the Scirra Store! That's right, there are 50 of these available!
For more details see https://www.scirra.com/blog/113/windows-8-summer-competition
On the 8th of May there was a very interesting Guardian article based on research that the Windows Phone team commissioned in the UK.
The key finding of the research
· Over a quarter of UK parents affected by their kids’ unauthorised app purchases
· Eight year olds have run up the largest app costs, adding an average of £59 to smartphone and tablet bills
In the Guardian article there are number of nice comment on the Kids Corner functionality and helping parents manage their children's access to the apps and games on the windows phone device.
“Microsoft deserves credit for Kid's Corner, though: it was a welcome innovation in the market that is likely to nudge Apple and Google towards improving their own parental features.
From the research it is estimated that 21m+ in the UK play games on one or more platforms. Of those 21m+ it is reckoned that 6-10 year olds are the largest demographic of users.
As you can seen by the research they, are also playing cross platform from console, mobile and browser (with 31% playing all vs 6% of 11+ year olds).
The research was carried out with over 2,000 smartphone/tablet-using UK parents, reveals that over a quarter (28%) of parents have fallen foul of their kids making unauthorised app and in-app purchases, with over eight out of ten (83%) of these parents suffering from an increased monthly bill as a result.
Over one in ten (14%) of the ‘bill shocked’ parents were concerned that they couldn’t afford to pay their increased bill, with over a third (34%) of UK parents now hiding their smartphone and tablet from their kids. Nonetheless, 17% of UK parents still share their smartphone and tablet passwords with their children, with nearly a quarter (23.5%) of parents not having a security password at all.
The findings reveal for those parents who have suffered from unauthorised app or in-app purchases, eight year olds are running up the largest app costs, having added on average an extra £59.59 to their parents’ smartphone or tablet bill. And, demonstrating the widespread issue of ‘accidental’ buys by very young children, well over a third (36%) of kids aged four and under have made app and in-app purchases without permission.
As well as the financial implications of the unsupervised use of a parent’s smartphone or tablet, there is also the risk of social media pranks. Over a quarter (27%) of kids have sneakily updated a parent’s Facebook status, and one in five (20%) updated their Twitter status. Potentially causing a career limiting move, one in ten kids have also hijacked a parent’s Facebook profile to comment on or insult their boss.
Indicating the ‘app-titude’ of tech savvy children, two-thirds of parents admit their children know as much or the same about technology as they do. Demonstrating the need for support, over three quarters (77%) believe parents need more help from technology companies to manage their kids’ app behaviours.
So its clear from the research that Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 and the addition of Kids Corner offers help for parents, to reduce the likelihood of suffering ‘bill shock’, providing peace of mind when kids are using smartphones.
So I would be interested in discussing this further, especially with those of you undertaking research into this area.
Microsoft Research Connections announced the release of the book, TouchDevelop—Programming on the Go, available in print form, as an e-book, and on the web. TouchDevelop has reached new heights as the only programming environment on mobile touch devices that creates apps directly for the Windows Marketplace. This book is a comprehensive guide on how to use TouchDevelop to write fun, productive apps that make full use of a device's audio, camera, sensors, and so on.
Touchdevelop — Programming on the Go by Nigel Horspool (University of Victoria), Judith Bishop, Arjmand Samuel, Nikolai Tillmann, Michał Moskal, Jonathan de Halleux, Manuel Fähndrich (Microsoft Research)
Download the book for FREE.
Download as single file
Alternative download option: one file per chapter
Who this book is for
This book has much to offer to both students and teachers: For teachers, it walks in detail through all of the screens of the TouchDevelop app, and it points out similarities and differences of the TouchDevelop language compared to other programming languages that the teacher might already be familiar with. For students and enthusiasts, the book can serve as a handy reference next to the phone. The book systematically addresses all programming language constructs, starting from the very basic constructs such as variables and loops. The book also explores many of the phone sensors and data sources which make creating apps for mobile devices so rewarding.
How to read this book
If you are new to programming with TouchDevelop, or if you have not yet worked on touchscreen devices, we suggest that you read the book starting from chapter 1. If you are already familiar with the basic paradigm of the TouchDevelop programming environment, then feel free to jump ahead to the later chapters that address particular topic areas.
Two apps, one book
This book is written from the perspective of a Windows Phone user – all screenshots and navigation instructions refer to the Windows Phone app. The TouchDevelop Web App runs in many modern browsers on many different devices such as iPhone, iPad, Android phones and tablets, Macs, PC. The Web App uses the same programming language and has a very similar navigation structure as the TouchDevelop Windows Phone app. As a result, you can reuse the lessons of this book when you create mobile apps in your web browser.
Register here http://kingstonmicrosoftapps.eventbrite.co.uk
With Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 Stores you have a choice of, a variety of devices tablets, notebooks and all in ones, to a stunning array of phones from manufactures such as Nokia, HTC and Samsung.
With Windows 8 features such as live tiles, snapped view, sharing charms and more, your application comes alive. Your beautiful apps are delivered through the Windows Store available in over 200 markets. As an app developer you can make money the way you want.
We want to show you how Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 are the perfect platform for you to build your next app/game or even start your first venture as an app/game developer.
All students get a FREE developer and store account from Microsoft DreamSpark. For detailed instruction to obtain a free Windows Store account for students.
This event is FREE for Educators, Students, Start-ups, indies and pro developers.
We want new student start-ups to succeed so come along and hear how we are fostering the creation of innovative mobile applications for the Windows 8 and Windows Phone ecosystem, and in addition, to create a new generation of self-sustaining mobile start-ups.
Hear from Nokia AppCampus accelerator program managed by Aalto University in Espoo, Finland. This is an 18 million Euro joint investment between Microsoft and Nokia to foster mobile application development on the Windows Phone and any other Nokia platform.
Throughout this one day event we will have keynote speakers from Microsoft and Nokia. Hear first-hand how to receive awards varying from €20,000, €50,000 to €70,000 from Nokia AppCampus Incubator
We will also be hosting a dedicated hackathon and Game Jam for Windows 8 and Windows Phone apps and games.
Gaming students will have the chance to spend 24 hours building a game and need to publish their game to the Windows Store or Windows Phone Store by 31/05/2013. *Prizes will be awarded for the best app judged by Microsoft UK Staff. (terms & conditions apply). Those taking part in the Game jam must complete an entry form by 31st May, which can be found here.
App development students will have a chance to spend 10 hours building a Windows Phone and Windows 8 app where Microsoft UK will be judging the best app on the Saturday afternoon.
Friday 17 May 2013
9.00 – 10.00 Building Awesome Windows 8 Apps - Mike Taulty, Microsoft 10.00 – 11.00 Student to Start-up Oxiway, Oxford University, Microsoft BizSpark company. 11.00 – 11.15 Break 11.15 – 13.00 Nokia Appcampus Mobile Application Accelerator
13.00 – 14:00 Lunch
14:00 – 15:00 Developing Awesome Windows Phone Apps - Andy Wigley, Microsoft 15:00 – 16:00 Designing Beautiful Windows Applications - Andrew Spooner, Microsoft 16:00 – 16:15 Break 16.00 – 16.00 Sat 18th May Windows 8/Windows Phone GameJam (Optional Build Windows 8/Windows Phone 8 Games) 16:15 – 17:15 Developing Windows Apps using ZipApp - Martin Beeby, Microsoft 17:15 – 12pm Sat 18th May Windows Hackathon (Optional Build the Best Windows 8/Windows Phone 8 App)
Windows 8 developer resources - http://dev.windowsphone.com
Windows Phone 8 developer resources - http://dev.windowsphone.com
Updating your game for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 with GameMaker: Studio™ is easy
Want to learn more?
Check out the getting started resources below.
Get help from Game Maker experts!
Following on from Sarah Lamb great post at UK MSDN “Imagine a scenario in which you were able to add new levels to a platform game immediately after they have been built. Using a cloud backend makes this all possible, and when you can also track significant quantities of data to keep your game flow smooth and your players engaged, you give your title the best chance it has at being great at player retention.”
I wanted to ask the following questions…
How many of you use the cloud today in your gaming experience?
Take a look at following video
Now ask yourself the question again?
So this is how we see the use of games and apps on modern devices
How do you see your consumers using devices, apps, services and infrastructure?
What does Windows Azure Offer?
How many of want to use the cloud but not sure where to start?
Simply go to http://www.windowsazure.com
Or if your a academic or student go to http://www.windowsazure.com/education
How many are you just really interested in learning more about the cloud?
One of the key features for mobile app/game developers is Azure Mobile Services https://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/develop/mobile/ which supports Windows, iOS, Android and HTML
What does Azure Mobile Services offer?
Interested to hear what the thought leaders in the RU Gaming Industry think re: The opportunity of the Cloud?
See the following summary document EU Cloud Gaming Conference 2013 simply click on the image to download your PDF copy to keep.
Next week, I have been asked to present to a group of developers who are new to Windows 8. The group have been developing their first Windows 8 store apps and wanted me to cover the following topics.
1) Design guidelines and how make your app look beautiful 2) How to successful submit and publish your app to the Windows Store
In this blog I want to discuss 2) How to successful submit and publish your app to the Windows Store
Firstly you need to use the correct type of App developers account
Individual app developer
We use the term “individual,” but it doesn’t necessarily mean that only one person is working on the app (although that could be the case). Instead, it’s better to think of this type of account in terms of its capabilities.
With an individual developer account:
A company account can use the enterpriseAuthentication, documentsLibrary, or sharedUserCertificates capabilities. It's also the only way to submit desktop apps to the Windows Store. One thing to remember about company accounts: they can take a little longer to set up, because we need to verify that you represent your company.
Here are the essential differences between these two account types.
For more details see account types
What types of Apps can you develop?
To acquire a desktop app, a user clicks a URL (one that you provide when you list the app) that takes them to a website. From there, the user can download or purchase the app.
If you are an enterprise developer, your apps probably fall into one of two categories: apps that you want to make available to a large number of potential users, and apps that are really only relevant to individuals within your company. If you want to make your app available to as many people as possible, your best option is to list the app in the Windows Store.
If you’re a developer working with an OEM to preinstall your app, you must follow specific steps to get apps listed in the Windows Store or make them available for imaging on OEM PCs.
The following resources guide you through the types of Accounts types for Publishing your app to the Store
On the menu bar, choose Project, Store, Create App Packages.
If you’re running Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows 8, instead choose Store, Create App Packages.
The Create App Packages wizard appears.
On the Create Your Packages page, choose the Yes option button, and then choose the Sign In link.
The Sign In dialog box appears.
If you haven’t already established a developer account, choose the create an account link to display the page from which you can get an account.
In the Sign In dialog box, enter your Microsoft account and password, and then choose the Sign In button.
On the Select an app name page, choose from the list the App Name for the app that you’re packaging, and then choose the Next button.
If you’re packaging an update to an app that you’ve already published, select the Include app names that already have packages check box to display names of published apps in the list.
If no app names appear in the list, choose the Reserve Name link to open the Dashboard and reserve a name.
On the Select and Configure Packages page, in the Output location text box, enter the location where the package files will be created.
(optional) In the Version text boxes, update the version number of your app.
In each field, you must enter an integer that’s between 0 and 65535, inclusive.
If the Automatically increment check box is selected, the last field of the version number will increase by one each time that you package the app. However, the major version number typically shouldn’t increase unless you’ve significantly changed your app.
In the Select the packages to create and the solution configuration mappings section, select the check box for each build configuration for which you want to create a package.
The build configurations grid lists the possible platform architectures of the package (that is, Neutral, ARM, x64, and x86). In each row, a combo box displays the combination of the current Solution Configuration and Architecture choices that are relevant for that row’s architecture. The check box for the default platform is set to the current, active project platform. The combo box for the Neutral row show the Solution Configuration combinations that contain AnyCPU as the project’s platform. If no Solution Configuration combination is relevant, the entire row for that platform is unavailable for selection. One package is produced for each configuration that you specify.
For each build configuration that you specified, choose the Solution Configuration that you want to build.
When you package an app for the Store, you can specify Release or any custom solution configuration that you’ve created.
A package will be created for each build configuration that you specified.
Select or clear the Include public symbol files, if any, to enable crash analysis for the app check box.
When the check box is selected (default), Visual Studio generates the public symbol files (.pdb) and adds them to the .appxupload file. The .appxupload file is created as part of the packaging process and contains two other files: .appx and .appxsym. The .appxsym is the compressed file that contains the public symbols of your app. When you upload the app and the .appxupload file to the Store, the Store analyzes the file and uses the public symbols to map crashes of your app. The resulting telemetry information about your app is published for you to review on the developer dashboard. For more information, see Submitting your app and Analyzing your apps in the Windows Store.
Choose the Create button.
When the packaging process has completed, the Package Creation Completed page appears.
To verify whether your package meets requirements for the Store, choose the Launch Windows App Certification Kit button.
This option is available only if you specified at least one solution configuration that supports local validation. For more information, see How to test your app with the Windows App Certification Kit.
For more information, see Packaging your Windows Store app using Visual Studio 2012.
Troubleshooting packaging, publishing, and deployment errors (Windows Store apps)
One or more errors or warnings might appear when you build, package, or deploy your app. The following page list the errors and warnings you may receive and provides guidance on resolution.