• Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Guidance on Deploying Windows 8.1 in education



    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?


    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    • Note The command-line interface (CLI) in MVMC 1.0 has been replaced by Windows PowerShell in MVMC 2.0.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


    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



    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.


    And here are the archives:


    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


    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

    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


  • 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

    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:

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

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

    <!DOCTYPE html>
        <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>
            html, body {
                width: 100%; height: 100%;
                padding: 0; margin: 0;
                overflow: hidden;
            #renderCanvas {
                width: 100%; height: 100%;
                touch-action: none; -ms-touch-action: none;
            <canvas id="renderCanvas"></canvas>

    - 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
                    // Once the scene is loaded, just register a render loop to render it
                    engine.runRenderLoop(function () {
            }, 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”:


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


    - 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”:


    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:


    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:


    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:


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


    3. Select “Projects” and “GameController” :


    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) {
            // 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.


    Download the Visual Studio solution

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

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    WebGL to Windows 8


    WebGL offers new very interesting opportunities for the gaming industry.

    You can now develop a game for the web running cross-platforms and take the very same code to build a Windows Store App and add some platforms specifics & monetization.

    Pre-requisites: validate your game in IE11 which now supports WebGL

    Step 1. Validate your code against Internet Explorer 11.

    To test against IE11, the best experience is to install any version of Windows 8.1 on a development machine. IE11 is also now available on Windows 7.

    You can also test it as a first experience via Virtual Machines or via BrowserStack or bootcamp, parallels on Mac.

    If you dont have access to MSDN or a copy of Windows 8 You can find free VMs to download on our Modern.IE website: http://www.modern.ie/en-us as well as a 3-months trial for BrowserStack.

    Of course, especially for a game, you will have to test at the end on real device to tune the performance and the gameplay.

    Step 2. Be sure that your game runs in every WebGL-enabled browser/platform.

    Doing these two tasks will save you some time in the future and maximize your reach.

    So what is new with IE11

    IE11 embeds the JS & rendering engines being used to execute Windows Store Apps. So, when you’re writing HTML5 Windows 8.1 Store Apps, you’re more or less targeting IE11.

    Using a WebGL engine

    I would strongly suggest using a WebGl engine rather than writing yourself your code against the low-level API of WebGL.

    Any WebGL engine working fine in Internet Explorer 11 but here a two excellent opensource options.


    Three.JS: http://threejs.org/ created & mainly maintained by Mr Doob.

    There are lots of resources available to learn ThreeJS


    Open-source WebGL engine specifically designed for creating games.

    Developed by

    3D engine: David CATUHE (@deltakosh)
    Scenes: Michel ROUSSEAU (@rousseau_michel)
    Game FX: Pierre LAGARDE (@pierlag)
    Game FX: David ROUSSET (@davrous)

     Babylon.JS is scene oriented and has a great Blender exporter.

    Using Web Application Template

    For Games with WebGL. A nice way to get these to WP8 and W8 is the web app template. http://wat-docs.azurewebsites.net/

    You can also relatively easily add xbox controller, sound etc.. using Xinput control feature of Windows 8

    Please watch the videos below demonstrating the use of the Web Application Template (WAT) being used to build a Windows 8 HTML5/JS game.

    The game can also be built as a native Windows 8 game the advantage this had over the WAT was the game could work offline.

    Here is a recording of the endeavours and this 10 minute video shows how you would technically go about porting a game like this using both the WAT approach and the native approach.


    The native implementation 6:40 seconds in : http://youtu.be/T51tgL3qzi8?t=6m40s

    If you just want to see the app running then check out 5.42 minutes in http://youtu.be/T51tgL3qzi8?t=5m24s

    For more details of the Web Application Template see msft.it/60119JW9

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Azure in UK Education


    Learn more about Microsoft Azure could help your institution discover the modern cloud by viewing/download our new infographic below:

    Resources available

    Microsoft Azure for education, teaching students all about cloud http://www.windowsazure.com/education

    Microsoft Azure for Research – Power your research with cloud http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/projects/azure/default.aspx

    Microsoft Azure in Education from Microsoft Education UK

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Summary of Microsoft Azure Build Announcement


    At the Build 2014 conference, we introduced the new Microsoft Azure Preview portal and the new Basic tier of compute instances. We also announced the general availability of the Web Sites Basic tier along with enhancements to the Web Sites Standard tier, Active Directory Premium, Scheduler, RA-GRS, Dynamic Routing Gateways and Point-to-Site, AutoScale, and Visual Studio Online. In addition, Azure Automation public preview was announced and Azure Backup pricing was reduced.

    Azure Portal 

    The web browser portal brings together portions of both Azure and Visual Studio Online—Microsoft Azure Web Sites and SQL Database—plus, eventually, more and more add-on tools across the app lifecycle from both Microsoft and partners.

    Try the portal at http://Portal.azure.com, you can sign in, work, and browse, and also move back-and-forth between the Preview portal and the current Microsoft Azure management portal.

    Basic tier of compute instances

    A new Basic tier of compute instances offers similar CPU and memory configurations as the Standard tier of instances, but these instances cost up to 26.6% less.
    The Basic tier doesn’t provide load-balancing and automatic scaling features, as the Standard tier does. Instances in the Basic tier are best suited for applications such as single-instance production workloads, development workloads, test servers, and batch processing, where those features might not be required.

    For more information, visit the Virtual Machines website. To get a comprehensive look at pricing, visit the Virtual Machines Pricing Details website.

    Windows Azure Web Sites

    Azure Web Sites Basic tier now generally available (GA), and Web Sites Standard tier customers to receive more value Web Sites Basic tier, a new entry-level tier, provides support for small, medium, and large virtual machine (VM) sizes and enables you to scale up to three VM instances. The Basic tier includes 10 GB of storage and supports custom domains. SSL is available at standard rates. Advanced features like AutoScale, Backup, web jobs, and staging slots require customers to subscribe to the Standard tier.  Web Sites customers using the Standard tier will now receive even more value. At no additional cost, customers can now upload and use five SNI and one IP SSL certificates with 50 GB of storage. Plus, Standard tier customers will now receive all the new advanced capabilities, including live debugging, Backup, and site slots. Standard tier instances support up to 500 websites; scale up to 10 VM instances; and offer AutoScale, which dynamically adds or removes VM instances based on actual customer traffic.

    These are perfect for student projects For more information, visit the Web Apps website. To get a comprehensive look at pricing, visit the Web Sites Pricing Details website.

    Azure Active Directory Premium now generally available

    Azure Active Directory Premium, the Microsoft identity and access management solution for the cloud, provides synchronization with on-premises directories, single sign-on to hundreds of SaaS applications, machine learning–based security and usage reports, alerting, and Multi-Factor Authentication. Azure Active Directory Premium also empowers end users with self-service password reset, delegated group management, and a customizable environment for launching enterprise and consumer applications.

    Azure Active Directory Premium includes entitlement to Forefront Identity Manager Server and Client Access Licenses. Azure Active Directory Premium will be available for purchase through the Microsoft Enterprise Agreement volume licensing program for academic institutions.

    For more information, visit the Azure Identity and Access Management website.

    Scheduler now generally available

    Using Scheduler, you can invoke actions—such as calling HTTP/S endpoints or posting a message to a storage queue—on any schedule. With Scheduler, you create jobs in the cloud that reliably call services both inside and outside of Azure, and then run those jobs on demand, on a regularly recurring schedule, or on a designated future date. Scheduler is backed by a 99.9 percent SLA.

    For more information, visit the Scheduler website. To get a comprehensive look at pricing, visit the Scheduler Pricing Details website.

    Read-Access Geographically Redundant Storage now generally available

    The new read-access service is now available as another option for geographically replicated storage accounts. As with other options, the stored content is replicated to a secondary location, but now you can have read access to the secondary location in case of a major disaster in the primary location. The secondary location is in the same region but is hundreds of miles from the primary location.

    This is perfect for Universities who now have campus location in other countries.

    Virtual Network Dynamic Routing Gateway and Point-to-Site now generally available

    Last year, we announced a feature called Dynamic Routing Gateway and Point-to-Site VPN, which supports route-based VPNs and allows you to connect individual computers to a virtual network in Azure. That feature is now generally available.  The Dynamic Routing VPN Gateway in a virtual network will now have the same SLA as the Static Routing VPN Gateway. The Dynamic Routing VPN Gateway will continue to be free until May 1, 2014. Starting May 2, 2014, it will be charged at the general availability price.

    For more information about the service, visit the Virtual Network website. For a comprehensive look at pricing, visit the Virtual Network Pricing Details website.

    AutoScale now generally available

    In Azure, you can configure your application to automatically scale up or down to accommodate current demand, and use auto-scaling rules to minimize costs. AutoScale is now generally available for Virtual Machines, Cloud Services, Web Sites, and Mobile Services.
    For more information about how to use AutoScale, visit How to scale an application and How to scale web sites.

    Visual Studio Online now generally available

    Visual Studio Online, the cloud solution that enables development teams to plan, build, and ship software across a variety of platforms is now available with a financially backed SLA.

    Try Visual Studio Online for your next development project. It will guide you through setting up an environment for you or your team that includes everything from hosted Git repositories and project-tracking tools, to continuous integration and deployment to Azure—all without having to install or configure a single server.

    For more information, visit the Visual Studio Online website. To get a comprehensive look at pricing, visit Visual Studio Online Pricing Details website.
    If you choose not to continue to use the Visual Studio Online service at the new prices, you can disable Visual Studio Online for your account by using the Azure Management Portal.

    Azure Automation public preview now available

    Azure Automation allows you to automate processes for your infrastructure and application lifecycle by enabling integration, orchestration, and automation of tasks using Runbooks built on Windows PowerShell Workflow. With Automation, you can author Windows PowerShell Runbooks that integrate into other Azure services, as well as external systems you use to deliver your end to end tasks that simplify cloud management.

    For more information on Azure Automation, visit the Automation webpage. To get started with Automation, go to the Automation: Getting Started guide.

    Azure Backup price reduction

    Effective April 1, 2014, customers will see lower prices for Backup. Backup helps you protect important server data off-site with automated backup to Azure. Now you can benefit from simple, reliable off-site data protection at a lower cost.

    For more information, visit the Azure Backup website. To get a comprehensive look at pricing, visit the Azure Backup Pricing Details website.

    For more details on the Microsoft Azure Announcement at Build see the following sessions

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    So what is the best FREE Hackathon tool - Windows App Studio


    At Build last week we launched a new tool  Windows App Studio Beta.

    With Windows App Studio you can build universal Windows app projects that results in an app for Windows Phone and Windows, all in a single session.

    This is the perfect tools of Student Hackathons combined with a  FREE DreamSpark Subscription which includes a FREE developer accounts for both Windows Phone and Windows 8.

    You can build and publish apps directly to the Windows 8 and Windows Phone Store in the shortest possible period of time.

    Getting Started and Creating your first app with Windows App Studio

    Windows App Studio give you the ability to switch/toggle between Windows Phone and a Windows, this automatically updates your app view to see how the changes will be reflected on-screen, based on the device type. You can even make changes to your dynamic App Studio content hosted in the cloud and push to both Windows Phone and Windows users when they launch your app. And all from within the Windows App Studio Beta website. So no IDE or software is required to be installed on your PC or MAC 


    When you generate your app, you’ll notice that you can still download the app directly to your Windows device, you can download packages to publish, or you can download the original source code for Windows Phone 8.0, Windows Phone 8.1, and Windows 8.1 apps and make modification in Visual Studio IDE which off course is FREE via www.dreamspark.com


    Creating an app from an existing web page  

    You can still start your project from scratch, called an “Empty App”, or start with one of dozens of templates. New in this release, we’ve added the ability to build a template that allows you to create a Windows 8 or Windows Phone app from an existing website.

    What is really cool about this is you can and add native controls we call this type of app a WebApp. and this enhancement is developed from our Open Source Project Web Application Template which allows you take any existing responsive web site into a Windows 8 or Windows Phone app see http://wat.codeplex.com 

    But with Windows App Studio we make this really simple for all users by simply entering the URL of the mobile website, you can create a Web App Template (WAT) for Windows Phone directly within Windows AppStudio without having to use Visual Studio. .


    If you have already used App Studio to create an existing App you can easily update the App to support both Windows 8 and Windows Phone.

    If you have already created a Windows Phone app using App Studio, it’s easy to also create a Windows app.

    Publishing your Apps to Store

    If you are planning to publish to the Store, you’ll first need to register for a Dev Center account ($19 USD annual registration fee or FREE for students via DreamSpark).

    To Setup your FREE developer account Get your FREE Registration Code

    You will need to reserve a name for your app—just go to Dev Center to reserve the App Name, and then place the App Identity, App Display Name, Publisher ID, and Publisher Name (as it appears in Dev Center) in your App Studio project. This places the necessary data in your app manifest, which is needed for app submission. We have added support for this directly on the Publish Info page in App Studio.

    Be sure to invest time to create an app title, app description, and image for your app tile that will capture the attention of your target audience. Then, you’re ready to publish in the Store.


    So if your looking at building a portfolio of apps or have a hackathon download Windows App Studio Beta.

    You will be amazed at  just how easy it is to get started creating apps for Windows and Windows Phone. 

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