• Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Window Phone Developer can now update to Windows Phone 8.1

    • 0 Comments

    Developer you can update your personal phone(s) to run Windows Phone 8.1 using the Windows Phone Preview for Developers program.

    Along with the tooling delivered in Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 RC, developers can now get everything they need to start building and testing Windows Phone apps and universal Windows apps. Even better, Windows Phone Store is also starting to accept app submissions and to enable app linking today – enabling you to bring the universal Windows app experience to your beta users and consumers.

    To update your Windows Phone 8 device to 8.1, you will need to download the app and opt into the program (the process is outlined on the Windows Phone Dev Center); if your phone is already opted in, then all you should need to do is head over to your phone’s settings and check for an update.

    Windows Phone Preview for Developers program

    The Windows Phone Preview program gives our developer community access to prerelease builds of Windows Phone updates before the operating system updates are made generally available to consumers.

    Participation requirements for the Windows Phone Preview program is simple, you must meet one of the following three criteria:

    (a) you’re a registered developer on the Windows Phone Dev Center, or

    (b) you’re a registered developer with Windows App Studio, or (c) your phone is developer unlocked (which anyone can do using the developer phone registration tool, which is included as part of the Windows Phone tooling).

    As mentioned above, check out the Windows Phone Preview Program for Developers page for full details. If you have any further questions or encounter an issue while updating your phone, we have a team of update experts monitoring the program’s support forums – ask a question in the support forum, and someone should be able to help you out.

    Support and References

    Update your Windows Phone to 8.1  update your phone

    Watch the Build 2014 Windows Phone Resources session content available

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    BAFTA Breakthrough Brits is Back!

    • 0 Comments

    clip_image001

    BAFTA, in partnership with Burberry, is looking for the next generation of British talent in Film, TV and Games. If you're working professionally in these industries and making a name for yourself in your chosen field – or you know someone who is – then we want to hear from you.

    Up to 20 talented newcomers will be selected by a stellar industry Jury to take part in this year-long mentoring and guidance programme, kicking off with an evening reception at Burberry's Regent Street flagship store and a day of in-depth career guidance and mentoring from leading industry figures at BAFTA headquarters. BAFTA supports each Breakthrough Brit by working with them to tailor a programme of support, mentoring and career development. Successful Breakthrough Brits will also receive non-voting membership of BAFTA for a year, giving them free access to BAFTA events and screenings and to our members' space at 195 Piccadilly.

    Applicants in Games

    You will have been involved with a piece of work that has been, or will be, released or published in the UK between August 2013 and August 2014. In addition, the project on which you undertook your first lead or impactful role will be in a playable state by August 2014. One project might fulfil both of these criteria.

    In other words, we would like to hear from people who have made a real difference to the successful completion of a project and who are making a name for themselves in games. This may include more junior team members who have demonstrated exceptional promise and gone above and beyond to drive the success of a project.

    Do you know a Breakthrough Brit?

    Breakthrough Brits aims to champion creative individuals who may not be household names in their field yet but have already shown incredible promise. Applications are now open for the initiative and if someone you know is working professionally in the Film, Television or Games industry and making a name for themselves in their field then please encourage them to apply. You can also email breakthrough@bafta.org with the name and contact details of your suggested candidates and we will get in touch with them directly. All candidates must fully complete the application form in order to be considered for the initiative.

    Applications close 10am, Monday 9 June 2014

    For more information, please visit bit.ly/Breakthrough-Brits or contact breakthrough@bafta.org.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Virtual Academy Hero Start your Career today!

    • 0 Comments

    clip_image003

    “If I am honest I normally skim read emails to this account, even those from Microsoft (shock horror!) The email regarding the MVA facility however really caught my eye. It is really nice to not only gain more knowledge on the latest Microsoft technologies but also have something material to show for it. Very much looking forward to completing the outstanding modules and work towards gaining more usable knowledge in the work place.” – John, IT Pro

    Microsoft Virtual Academy is a online MOOC platform that offers technical training resources available on demand and at NO cost to Students, Educators, Developers and IT Professionals around the world.

    So take part and join a community of  Developers and IT Professionals who want to take control of their careers and go above and beyond to become a workplace hero, and a hero of their career

    clip_image002

    WIN PRIZES! Become a member of the MVA Super Six!

    1. Sign up – and receive your free hero costume (t-shirt) http://aka.ms/mvaherotw
    2. Earn skills – be rewarded with MVA Super Six stress ball figurines
    3. Hero stories – share your experience to win prizes

    Complete the MVA courses within a ‘badge’ to earn the technical powers of an MVA Hero – there are six super heroes to collect, collect the whole set!

    Anyone can become a hero of their IT career!

    Help us spread the word, share the below social media at your schools, colleges and Universities  and get your peers and students to start their training!

    Twitter:

    Discover your inner IT warrior, get skilled up, win prizes and become an #MVAHero! http://aka.ms/mvaherotw

    Follow #MVAHero and register at http://aka.ms/mvaherotw

    Facebook:

    You there, IT extraordinaire! Seems like you know your stuff, but do you have what it takes to become a true champion? Register for the Microsoft Virtual Academy, take on the MVA Heroes and your endeavours will be generously rewarded: http://aka.ms/mvaherofb

    Are you the leader of the pack, a knight in shining armour? We think you should be. That’s why we’re inviting you to take up arms and become a true MVA Hero! Complete the training to earn your stripes, and some cool superhero swag: http://aka.ms/mvaherofb

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Socket-based networking APIs for Windows Phone

    • 0 Comments


    I have had a few questions from Game developers asking about the use of networking classes in System.Net

    Some of the name spaces they are trying to utilise are simply not available on in .Net for Windows Phone or they have to changed from Windows 8 to WinRT.

    The following Unity project sample below includes complete implementations for System.Net.TCPClient using Windows.Networking.Sockets WinRT namespace:
    /UnityPorting/tree/master/PlatformerPlugin/MyPluginUnity/Legacy/System/Net

    WinRT has new sockets APIs in Windows.Networking namespace and you should be able to extend on the approach demonstrated in the sample project functionality.

    Unity Windows Phone Game Sample https://github.com/windowsgamessamples

    If your porting from Windows 8 to Windows Phone then each platform utilise different name spaces so you will need to find alternatives using windows. namespaces from WinRT.

    Here is a nice table of mappings http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/apps/br230302.aspx

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Guidance on Deploying Windows 8.1 in education

    • 0 Comments

    WIN8

    The following has been taken form the guidance for education which has been published at  http://technet.microsoft.com/library/dn645494.aspx?ocid=wc-nl-insider

    The guide includes details for deploying the Windows 8.1 operating system in an educational environment

    This includes some high level talking points on the following which include:-

    1. Benefits for IT
    2. Benefits for faculty
    3. Benefits for students

    There is additional support information and guidance for the following

    See also

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Are you thinking of evaluating or migrating from VMWare to Microsoft Hyper-V?

    • 0 Comments

    Well here is the perfect tool!

    Microsoft Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter 2.0

    Microsoft® Virtual Machine Converter (MVMC) is a Microsoft-supported, stand-alone solution for the information technology (IT) pro or solution provider who wants to convert virtual machines and disks from VMware hosts to Hyper-V® hosts and Windows Azure™.


    MVMC can be deployed with minimal dependencies. Because MVMC provides native support for Windows PowerShell®, it enables scripting and integration with data center automation workflows such as those authored and run within Microsoft System Center Orchestrator 2012 R2. It can also be invoked through the Windows PowerShell® command-line interface. The solution is simple to download, install, and use. In addition to the Windows PowerShell capability, MVMC provides a wizard-driven GUI to facilitate virtual machine conversion.


    New Features in MVMC 2.0

    MVMC 2.0 release of MVMC includes the following new features:

    • Converts virtual disks that are attached to a VMware virtual machine to virtual hard disks (VHDs) that can be uploaded to Windows Azure.
    • Provides native Windows PowerShell capability that enables scripting and integration into IT automation workflows.
    • Note The command-line interface (CLI) in MVMC 1.0 has been replaced by Windows PowerShell in MVMC 2.0.
    • Supports conversion and provisioning of Linux-based guest operating systems from VMware hosts to Hyper-V hosts.
    • Supports conversion of offline virtual machines.
    • Supports the new virtual hard disk format (VHDX) when converting and provisioning in Hyper-V in Windows Server® 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2012.
    • Supports conversion of virtual machines from VMware vSphere 5.5, VMware vSphere 5.1, and VMware vSphere 4.1 hosts Hyper-V virtual machines.
    • Supports Windows Server® 2012 R2, Windows Server® 2012, and Windows® 8 as guest operating systems that you can select for conversion.

    Standard MVMC Features

    In addition to the new features previously identified, MVMC provides the following functionality:

    • Converts and deploys virtual machines from VMware hosts to Hyper-V hosts on any of the following operating systems:
      Windows Server® 2012 R2
      Windows Server® 2012
      Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1
    • Converts VMware virtual machines, virtual disks, and configurations for memory, virtual processor, and other virtual computing resources from the source to Hyper-V.
    • Adds virtual network interface cards (NICs) to the converted virtual machine on Hyper-V.
    • Supports conversion of virtual machines from VMware vSphere 5.5, VMware vSphere 5.0, and VMware vSphere 4.1 hosts to Hyper-V.
    • Has a wizard-driven GUI, which simplifies performing virtual machine conversions.
    • Uninstalls VMware Tools before online conversion (online only) to provide a clean way to migrate VMware-based virtual machines to Hyper-V.

    Important MVMC takes a snapshot of the virtual machine that you are converting before you uninstall VMware Tools, and then shuts down the source machine to preserve state during conversion. The virtual machine is restored to its previous state after the source disks that are attached to the virtual machine are successfully copied to the machine where the conversion process is run. At that point, the source machine in VMware can be turned on, if required.
    Important MVMC does not uninstall VMware Tools in an offline conversion. Instead, it disables VMware services, drivers, and programs only for Windows Server guest operating systems. For file conversions with Linux guest operating systems, VMware Tools are not disabled or uninstalled. We highly recommend that you manually uninstall VMware Tools when you convert an offline virtual machine.

    Supports Windows Server and Linux guest operating system conversion. For more details, see the section “Supported Configurations for Virtual Machine Conversion” Includes Windows PowerShell capability for offline conversions of VMware-based virtual hard disks (VMDK) to a Hyper-V–based virtual hard disk file format (.vhd file). Note The offline disk conversion does not include driver fixes.

    Download for FREE at http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=42497&WT.mc

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Programming Windows Store Apps with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, Second Edition, by Kraig Brockschmidt

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    Front cover of Kraig Brockschmidt's Programming Windows Store Apps with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, Second Edition

    Download the PDF, the Mobi, the ePub, as well as the companion content.

    We’re pleased to announce our free (1311-page) ebook: Programming Windows Store Apps with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, Second Edition, by Kraig Brockschmidt.


    Kraig began updating the first edition exactly a year ago, and when you examine the new ebook’s Table of Contents you’ll quickly see how much work he has done to share his deep understanding of Windows Store app building. Even in the simplest sense—new pages added to this edition: 478—Kraig’s effort and generosity are impressive. Thank you, Kraig, and enjoy, app builders!
    The following excerpt from Kraig’s introduction to the ebook shares our goals for the title:

    Introduction from the Author

    Work on this second edition began almost as soon as the first edition was released. (I’d make a quip about the ink not being dry, but that analogy doesn’t work for an ebook!) When Windows 8 became generally available in the fall of 2012, work on Windows 8.1 was already well underway: the engineering team had a long list of improvements they wanted to make along with features that they weren’t able to complete for Windows 8. And in the very short span of one year, Windows 8.1 was itself ready to ship.

    At first I thought writing this second edition would be primarily a matter of making small updates to each chapter and perhaps adding some pages here and there on a handful of new features. But as I got deeper into the updated platform, I was amazed at just how much the API surface area had expanded! Windows 8.1 introduces a number of additional controls, an HTML webview element, a stronger HTTP API, content indexing, deeper OneDrive support, better media capabilities, more tiles sizes (small and large), more flexible secondary tile, access to many kinds of peripheral devices, and more options for working with the Windows Store, like consumable in-app purchases. And clearly, this is a very short list of distinct Windows 8.1 features that doesn’t include the many smaller changes to the API. (A fuller list can be found on Windows 8.1: New APIs and features for developers.)

    Furthermore, even as I was wrapping up the first edition of this book, I already had a long list of topics I wanted to explore in more depth. I wrote a number of those pieces for my blog, with the intention of including them in this second edition. A prime example is Appendix A, “Demystifying Promises.”

    All in all, then, what was already a very comprehensive book in the first edition has become even more so in the second! Fortunately, with this being an ebook, neither you nor I need feel guilty about matters of deforestation. We can simply enjoy the process of learning about and writing Windows Store Apps with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. And what about Windows Phone 8.1? I’m glad you asked, because much of this book is completely applicable to that platform. Yes, that’s right: Windows Phone 8.1 supports writing apps in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, just like Windows 8.1, meaning that you have the same flexibility of implementation languages on both. However, the decision to support JavaScript apps on Windows Phone 8.1 came very late in the production of this book, so I’m only able to make a few notes here and there for Phone - specific concerns. I encourage you to follow the Building Apps for Windows blog, where we’ll be posting more about the increasingly unified experience of Windows and Windows Phone.

    Who should read this book?

    This book is about writing Windows Store apps using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Our primary focus will be on applying these web technologies within the Windows platform, where there are unique considerations, and not on exploring the details of those web technologies themselves. For the most part, I'm assuming that you're already at least somewhat conversant with these standards. We will cover some of the more salient areas like the CSS grid, which is central to app layout, but otherwise I trust that you're capable of finding appropriate references for most everything else. For Java Script specifically, I can recommend Rey Bango’s Required JavaScript Reading list, though I hope you’ll spend more time reading this book than others!

    I'm also assuming that your interest in Windows has at least two basic motivations. One, you probably want to come up to speed as quickly as you can, perhaps to carve out a foothold in the Windows Store sooner rather than later. Toward that end, Chapter 2, “Quickstart,” gives you an immediate experience with the tools, APIs, and some core aspects of app development and the platform. On the other hand, you probably also want to make the best app you can, one that performs really well and that takes advantage of the full extent of the platform. Toward this end, I've also endeavoured to make this book comprehensive, helping you at least be aware of what's possible and where optimizations can be made.

     
    Let me make it clear, though, that my focus in this book is the Windows platform. I won’t talk much about third-party libraries, architectural considerations for app design, and development strategies and best practices. Some of these will come up from time to time, but mostly in passing. Nevertheless, many insights have come from working directly with real-world developers on their real-world apps. As part of the Windows Ecosystem team, myself and my teammates have been on the front lines bringing those first apps to the Windows Store. This has involved writing bits of code for those apps and investigating bugs, along with conducting design, code, and performance reviews with members of the Windows engineering team. As such, one of my goals with this book is to make that deep understanding available to many more developers, including you!

    View the full article...

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Getting to Grips with Unity3d

    • 0 Comments

    unity

    Live online training courses

    I always get the following the following question from lots of students ‘I want to start to learn Unity where should I start?’

    Well if Unity isn't part of your course then the options are to grab a book, jump on you tube or watch a interactive learning series.

    Well Unity know this is a problem so they have set up a live training series which take place online with Unity experts you can query live? . Unity hold a number of Live seminar style sessions where tutor will take you through a particular project, topic, or number of topics.

    http://unity3d.com/learn/live-training

    And here are the archives:

    http://unity3d.com/learn/live-training/archive

    Which includes the following courses which are a great starting point for anyone interested in game design or game development

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Adding adverts into your Windows 8 and Windows Phone Apps and Games

    • 1 Comments

    One of the most popular questions from Unity Porting Camps http://www.unityportinguk.com has been how can I add ads to my app

    Well we have a number of supported Advertising SDK which are listed at our partner services portal for Windows 8 and Windows Phone development at http://services.windowsstore.com/.

    The Partner portal has links to partners providing the following services for both Windows 8 and Windows Phone.

    • Advertising
    • Analytics
    • Controls & Frameworks
    • Cross Platform Tools
    • Database
    • Design
    • Developer Tools
    • Gaming Middleware
    • Geolocation
    • Graphics
    • Has Offer
    • Media Services
    • Networking
    • Payments
    • Performance
    • Push Notifications
    • Social Plugins
    • Storage
    • Testing
    • UI Controls
    • User Management

    Here are the available Advertising SDK which support Windows 8 and Windows Phone

  • Scoreoid

    Scoreoid is a real-time marketing platform that powers engagement and monetization. Scoreoid enables brands, studios, publishers and app developers to interact and engage with their users in real-time. "We help you touch your users".

  • AdRotator

    AdRotator is a multi-platform Ad Rotating solution that integrates multiple AdProviders in to a single control and can manage rotation of those ads based on the developers configuration. It also features fallback capabilities to always ensure the app/game always has ads to show.  We also support remote configuration so the developer can alter their Ad Configuration on the fly without re-deploying their app/game or show their own ad to pass in formation to clients.

    Get the New Unity Plug-in!

  • MediaBrix

    MediaBrix powers the industry's leading advertising and services platform for social and mobile games.

  • PreApps

    PreApps.com is the leading platform introducing new mobile apps to user and the marketplace prior to release. Our vision is to build an ecosystem, which connects app developers with app users prior to release to in turn create better quality, more successful apps. Our collaborative process has demonstrated to increase app downloads, enhance app ranking, and overall app quality

    Get the PreApps Featured Feedback app for free!

  • LeadBolt

    FREE CASH TO ADVERTISE YOUR APP! Click Learn More.
    LeadBolt is an award winning mobile app discovery, advertising and monetization network focused on delivering innovative solutions for Windows Phone 8, iOS and Android app developers and now for Windows Store apps.
    Through the largest range of traditional and high-performance ad formats, LeadBolt delivers industry leading results to developers wanting to have their app discovered by users and increase their downloads.

    Get a code for extra $! Click here for more info.

  • Inmobi

    InMobi is the largest independent global mobile ad network and monetization platform with a global reach of over 691 million consumers across 165 countries on our network, we can help you reach your mobile audience anywhere in the world. Our highly skilled mobile experts plus local account managers will be on hand to help you book and optimize your campaign.

  • Microsoft Advertising SDK for Windows Store apps

    Whether you're developing in HTML or XAML, the Microsoft Advertising SDK has made it easy to insert ads into your Windows 8 apps. With a few lines of code, you can quickly get ads being served in your app by following the simple steps outlined in our SDK documentation.

  • AdDuplex

    AdDuplex is a cross-promotion network for Windows Store and Windows Phone apps empowering developers to advertise their apps for free by helping each other.

  • Ads Plug-in for Unity3d

    unity

  • At the Unity camps lots of people are interested in Ad services which provided by a dedicated Unity3d plugin.

  • One of the best I have seen in use is the Unity3D plug-in for AdRotator

  • The AdRotator plug-in enables you to use our Windows and Windows Phone AdRotator solution in Unity3D projects for those platforms and configure how AdRotator works directly from the Unity editor.

  • Using this is simple and goes like this:

    • Download the Unity AdRotator asset from our codeplex site (We will look to publishing it on the Unity3D store at some later date)
    • Add the Asset package to your Unity3D project
    • In the scenes where you want AdRotator displayed, Ad the “AdRotatorManagement” manager game object to your scene (needs to be the top most item in the hierarchy), after installing the asset, this will appear in the game object create menu.
    • Use the inspector to configure how you want AdRotator to display in your scene.
    • Edit the AdRotator configuration files in the Assets / AdRotator folder (there is one for WinPhone and one for Win8 at the moment but we may unify that later) – Note don’t touch any of the other files
    • When your ready, deploy your game to a Windows 8 C#/XAML or Windows Phone 8 project (these are the only two supported options at the moment)
    • Lastly, open your generated solution and ad the V2 AdRotator beta to your project through NuGet and any other Ad Providers you wish to use.
    • **Note, check the readme that comes with the AdRotator NuGet package if you intend to use PubCentre, there is an additional step to pass the reference for PubCentre directly to AdRotator which will be needed.
  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Building a WebGL game for Windows 8 Store

    • 1 Comments
    WIN8
    Install Visual Studio 2013

    To build a Windows 8.1 app for the Windows Store, you’ll need.

    1. Windows 8.1

    2. Visual Studio 2013 to package your code.

    3. Windows Store and Developer account.

    Simply follow the procedure described here: Get started - Download the tools . You can install the free version: Visual Studio 2013 Express for Windows 8 or if your a student you can head over to www.dreamspark.com and install Visual Studio Professional or Ultimate for FREE.

    If your a student you get a FREE developer account via https://www.dreamspark.com/Student/Windows-8-App-Development.aspx

    Taking your WebGL Browser to an app

    1. Select a third party engine for this we will be using babylon.js OpenSource engine.

    Babylon.js is a WebGL engine described in my previous post. However it doesn't matter if you use three.js or any other engine the concepts described remain exactly the same.

    My key rule of thumb is Babylon.js is perfect  if starting from scratch. If you already have browser and WebGL implemented three.js is a good starting point

    Building a  simple BabylonJS sample

    - Download BabylonJS on Github: https://github.com/BabylonJS/Babylon.js . Take the complete package embedding our sample scenes. We’re going to use the Espilit scene.
    - Download also our Hand.js polyfill: http://handjs.codeplex.com/
    - Create a web project using your favorite tools. Copy babylon.js & hand.js into a “scripts” folder and copy the “Espilit” scene from github into an “Espilit” folder.- On your web server, add support for the .babylon & .babylonmeshdata MIME types. If you’re using IIS, add this block definition into your web.config:

    <system.webServer>
      <staticContent>
        <mimeMap fileExtension=".fx" mimeType="application/fx" />
        <mimeMap fileExtension=".babylon" mimeType="application/babylon" />
        <mimeMap fileExtension=".babylonmeshdata" mimeType="application/babylonmeshdata" />
      </staticContent>
    </system.webServer>

    - Create a HTML page with this code and name it “index.html”:

    <!DOCTYPE html>
    <html>
    <head>
        <title>BabylonJS - Espilit demo</title>
        <script src="scripts/hand.minified-1.1.3.js"></script>
        <script src="scripts/babylon.js"></script>
        <script src="scripts/main.js"></script>
        <style>
            html, body {
                width: 100%; height: 100%;
                padding: 0; margin: 0;
                overflow: hidden;
            }
            #renderCanvas {
                width: 100%; height: 100%;
                touch-action: none; -ms-touch-action: none;
            }
        </style>
        </head>
        <body>
            <canvas id="renderCanvas"></canvas>
        </body>
    </html>

    - Create a “main.js” file into the “scripts” folder with this code:

    document.addEventListener("DOMContentLoaded", startGame, false);
    function startGame() {
        if (BABYLON.Engine.isSupported()) {
            var canvas = document.getElementById("renderCanvas");
            var engine = new BABYLON.Engine(canvas, true);
            BABYLON.SceneLoader.Load("Espilit/", "Espilit.babylon", engine, function (newScene) {
                // Wait for textures and shaders to be ready
                newScene.executeWhenReady(function () {
                    // Attach camera to canvas inputs
                    newScene.activeCamera.attachControl(canvas);
                    // Once the scene is loaded, just register a render loop to render it
                    engine.runRenderLoop(function () {
                        newScene.render();
                    });
                });
            }, function (progress) {
                // To do: give progress feedback to user
            });
        }
    }

    And we’re done! We’ve rebuilt in a few lines of code the very same demo as this one: http://www.babylonjs.com/index.html?ESPILIT.

    Creating a Windows 8 Store App

    1. Copy/pasting into a Windows Store App project

    - Open Visual Studio 2013 and create a “JavaScript” –> “Windows Store” new project. Name it “WebGLStoreGame”:

    image

    - Copy/paste the index.html file as well as the 2 “Espilit” & “scripts” folders into the Windows Store App project:

    image

    - by default, a Windows Store HTML5 project starts by loading “default.html”. Let change that. Double-click on “package.appxmanifest” to open the properties page & change the start page by “index.html”:

    image

    That’s it! You’ve just finished migrating the code into a Windows Store application! Press CTRL+F5 or the play button to launch the game:

    image

    You now need to add Windows 8 feature such as snap and charms

    Updating your Windows 8 game to embrace the Windows 8.1 platform

    First article you have to read as a game developer is that one: Designing a great game for Windows. It will briefly explain you how to embrace the Windows 8.1 platform & its design considerations: live tiles and notifications, share contracts, app bar, support for a variety of form factors and screen sizes, snap view, etc.

    For JavaScript developers, download this good simple sample to start with: JavaScript and HTML5 touch game sample. You’ll find the code to create an app bar & a settings flyout panel for instance. I’ve used this sample project to modify the one we’ve created together.

    Handling multiple views of a Windows Store app, Snap/Full

    You really have 2 choices:

    1 – Preserve the full screen rendering with its aspect ratio by adding black bars. There is an easy solution based on CSS3 look at this detailed article: Modernizing your HTML5 Canvas games Part 1: hardware scaling & CSS3
    2 – Simply change what the camera is now viewing. For that, you just have to listen to the onresize event and change the size of the canvas. The BabylonJS engine will automatically reflect the changes for you.

    In my case, I’ve decided to implement the 2nd solution for this tutorial:

    imageimage
    imageimage

    To understand how it works, simply have a look to the code in the Visual Studio solution available to download at the end of this article.

    The game now support Keyboard and Touch inputs

    Adding Xbox Controller input

    As this is web based game there is currently no exposed API to allow me to use an Xbox Controller as input  inside the IE11 JavaScript engine. However, DirectX and more particularly XInput expose the API to get the data from an Xbox Controller. Read more about that here: Getting Started With XInput

    The idea is then simply to build a WinRT component in C++ wrapping those API for the JavaScript world.

    What is excellent is that this sample has already been written and available among the Windows Store Apps samples: XInput and JavaScript controller sketch sample as we know controllers are desired control mechanism for most gamers.

    Adding XInput Control

    1. Download the XInput and JavaScript controller sketch sample sample and copy the C++ project into your “WebGLStoreGame” Visual Studio solution:

    image

    2. Add a reference to this project into the “WebGLStoreGame” JavaScript project. For that, right-click on “References” and “Add Reference…” :

    image

    3. Select “Projects” and “GameController” :

    image

    4. Calling the C++ logic directly from your JavaScript code. Here is the code to control the camera function with a controller- BabylonJS camera. :

    // babylon.xboxControllerCamera.js
    var BABYLON = BABYLON || {};
    (function () {
        BABYLON.XboxControllerCamera = function (name, position, scene) {
            BABYLON.FreeCamera.call(this, name, position, scene);
            // You need first to referance the WinRT C++ component from the Windows SDK samples
            if (GameController) {
                // Although the API supports up to 4 controllers per machine,
                // this sample only works with a single controller.
                this.controller = new GameController.Controller(0);
            }
        };
        // We're mainly based on the logic defined into the FreeCamera code
        BABYLON.XboxControllerCamera.prototype = Object.create(BABYLON.FreeCamera.prototype);
        BABYLON.XboxControllerCamera.prototype.angularSensibility = 8000000.0;
        BABYLON.XboxControllerCamera.prototype.moveSensibility = 20000.0;
        BABYLON.XboxControllerCamera.prototype._checkInputs = function () {
            var offsetLeftX, offsetLeftY, offsetRightX, offsetRightY;
            var state = this.controller.getState();
            if (!state.connected) {
                return;
            }
            // Gamepad thumbstick values are between -32768 and 32767. 
    // Drawing position is moved incrementally if // the thumbstick value exceeds a deadzone value of 6500. offsetLeftX = Math.abs(state.leftThumbX) > 6500 ? 0 + state.leftThumbX : 0; offsetLeftY = -(Math.abs(state.leftThumbY) > 6500 ? 0 - state.leftThumbY : 0); offsetRightX = Math.abs(state.rightThumbX) > 6500 ? 0 + state.rightThumbX : 0; offsetRightY = -(Math.abs(state.rightThumbY) > 6500 ? 0 - state.rightThumbY : 0); this.cameraRotation.y += offsetRightX / this.angularSensibility; this.cameraRotation.x += -offsetRightY / this.angularSensibility; var speed = this._computeLocalCameraSpeed(); var direction = new BABYLON.Vector3(speed * offsetLeftX / this.moveSensibility, 0,
    speed * offsetLeftY / this.moveSensibility); BABYLON.Matrix.RotationYawPitchRollToRef(this.rotation.y, this.rotation.x, 0,
    this._cameraRotationMatrix); this.cameraDirection.addInPlace(BABYLON.Vector3.TransformCoordinates(direction,
    this._cameraRotationMatrix)); }; })();

    It’s pretty straight-forward. The X axis on the left analogic joystick is “strafing” left/right and the Y axis is moving forward/backward in the direction of the camera.

    The right analog joystick is controlling the orientation of the camera.

    You could even go further by sending vibration data to the controller during your game when the player will be touched by the enemies for instance.

    Getting your game ready for Store

    1. Passing the WACK test

    The first thing you need to do before submitting your app to the Windows Store is running the WACK (Windows App Certification Kit) tool. It will run automatic tests against your app to ensure you have the minimum quality bar (decent launch time, no crash, etc.).

    You’ll find interesting details on what’s the tool is doing there: Using the Windows App Certification Kit and how to use it.

    To be sure to pass this WACK test using this tutorial, you need to do a last specific task for JavaScript. All JS files must be saved as UTF-8. This is explained here: Windows App Certification Kit tests : “HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files must be encoded in UTF-8 form with a corresponding byte-order mark (BOM) to benefit from bytecode caching and avoid certain runtime error conditions.

    In conclusion, check that all files are UTF-8 encoded. For instance, “babylon.js” could be using another encoding type. To change that, open the “babylon.js” file and select Save As from the File menu in Visual Studio. Select the drop-down control next to the Save button and select Save with Encoding. From the Advanced save options dialog, choose the Unicode (UTF-8 with signature) option and click OK.

    image

    Download the Visual Studio solution

    If you’d like to review the complete solution, feel free to download David Cathue fill solution here

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