• Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Porting your Cocos2D-x game to Windows devices

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    cocos2d-x-r225x

    Cocos2D-x is a great open source C++ cross-platform gaming engine for building games for mobile devices. Microsoft Open Technologies is contributing code to the open source project for the Windows devices support.

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    What is MS Open Tech doing with Cocos2D-X?

    Cocos2D-x. Cocos2D-X is originally based on OpenGL ES. Microsoft Open Technologies contributing support for Windows Devices

    In order to port Cocos2D-X to Windows Devices MS Open Tech have used the Angle project, The Angle Project simply translates OpenGL ES 2 API calls to DirectX API calls.

    To learn more about MS Open Tech's work with the Angle Project, check out our blog post.

    To participate/contribute/just check out our work, you can visit our GitHub repo.

    Learn more about porting a Cocos2D-x game from iOS or Android

    To learn how to port your existing iOS or Android Cocos2D-x game to Windows Store or Windows Phone, check out this white paper.

    Six Top Tips for Poring your Cocos2dx Game to Windows

    These tips in a white paper that details the 6 main steps required to port games to Windows on Cocos2D-x and are happy to share it broadly on our projects page.

    Here is a quick overview of the six steps which are required to get your existing code to run on Windows Phone and/or Windows Store:

    1. Create a Cocos2d-x project using project creator tool.
    2. Create Windows 8 and Windows Phone projects in Visual Studio.
    3. Copy the source code consisting of C++ and header files to the project Classes directory. Add these files to your project in Visual Studio
    4. Copy resources to the project Resources directory.
    5. Modify a couple of project settings necessary for compilation.
    6. For Windows Phone, convert any MP3 files to WAV files. Similarly, for Windows Phone replace fonts that are not supported by Windows Phone or update the code to use fonts available on the platform.

    Tutorials

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Get your game/app ready for Windows store publication?

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    Privacy Policy – If you game/app accesses the internet for any reason, including advertising, you must have a privacy policy readily available for the player to read – whether it’s hosted directly in your game or just a link to a web-hosted policy. See section 2.7.2 in the certification requirements for more details – http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-US/library/windowsphone/develop/hh184841(v=vs.105).aspx

    Location Services – if your game makes use of location services, then you not only have to have a privacy policy, then you must provide a way for the user to opt-out without crashing the application. This can simply be a message that tells the player that location is a required game mechanism.

    The Back button – Windows Phone requires handset manufacturers to implement a hardware back button for a consistent user experience. Because of this, your game should behave similar to the guidance below in order to pass certification.

    • During gameplay – present a pause menu/dialog or navigate to the previous menu. For example, in a simple game, you may simply want to return to the main menu of your game when the back button is pressed.
    • In the pause menu/dialog – pressing the back button should exit the menu/dialog and resume the game.
    • In the main menu – if the back button is pressed during the main menu, then your game should exit.

    Here’s a code sample of handling the back button

    in Unity the back button can be handled by the Escape Key Mapping

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Launch of brand new Computer Science Ebook in education!

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    Today Microsoft Education UK have launched our much anticipated, brand new Computer Science e-book!

    The e-book explores everything from coding, debugging, gaming and developing for the web, to providing links to prestigious Computer Science communities that schools and teachers can join, and links to our own Microsoft Computer Science resources.

    With the new Computer Science curriculum being implemented in September, there is a huge demand from teachers for information and practical guidance on delivering Computer Science.

    So please share your thought and comments on Twitter @microsofteduk

    You can download it by clicking on the 'Save' dropdown at the top of the e-book and learn more about Microsoft Schools at http://blogs.msdn.com/ukschools

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Window Phone Developer can now update to Windows Phone 8.1

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    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!

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    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!

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    “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

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    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

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    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

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    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?

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    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...

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