• Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Using great Windows 8 and Windows Phone Unity3d Open Source plugin for Notifications and Facebook Authentication




    The issue is that they are building a F2P Windows Store app in Unity3d is the requirement of plugin support.

    For F2P games to be successful the ability of using Toast notifications and authentication is key factor of success and should be considered a core feature requirement!

    Without the ability to authenticate users or provide of local scheduled toast notification a game will suffer not only from a major impact on user experience but also player retention and monetization

    So if your using Unity3d a great 3rd party Windows Store Unity plugin is Marker Metro plugin


    Marker Metro has a number of great features including the MarkerMetro.Unity.WinIntegration Plugin which includes

    Local Notifications

    Local Notifications can be set using LocalNotifications.ReminderManager.

    The ReminderManager will use system reminders on WP8, and scheduled notification toasts on Win8.1 allowing you to set deterministic timer based prompts easily for the user. See example here

    You should ensure that you add IsToastCapable = true within your manifest on Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1

    Facebook Integration

    Unity Plugin for Windows at this time are as follows the MarkerMetro.Unity.WinIntegration plugin Unity SDK for Facebook in WinIntegration.


    or C# plugin


    It at this moment has a static binary dependency on


    Store Integration

    There is a single Store API for both Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.x.

    For a complete implementation of IAP Integration using WinIntegration check out the starter template MarkerMetro.Unity.WinShared

    Video Player

    This allows you to play a video over the top of the Unity scene. It will use a standard XAML MediaElement

    For more details see http://www.markermetro.com/2015/03/technical/opensource-windowsporting/ and the associated github sites.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows & Windows Phone Challenge



    Windows & Windows Phone Challenge

    Active Dates (GMT): Wed, 27 Nov 2013 00:01 - Wed, 30 Apr 2014 23:59

    Who Can Compete? Students 16 and older worldwide

    What's the Team Size? Up to 4 competitors

    What's the Deadline? April 30th

    What Can You Win? $5000 and a trip to Seattle for first place

    Online or Live? This is an online-only challenge

    What Do You Submit? You will need to publish a  1 x Windows 8.1 and  1 x Windows Phone 8.1 app

    Check the Official Rules for all the details!

    Windows & Windows Phone Challenge

    Windows and Windows Phone apps are better together. Connected through the cloud with Windows Azure, they enable seamless experiences from PC to laptop to tablet to phone. Developing an app for both platforms is within reach for any student developer and gives you great experience with connected software and cross-platform development.

    But apps aren’t developed in a vacuum. In the real world, development teams with customers, whether internal or external, to deliver the right solutions to solve the biggest problems. In this contest we want you to get out there and find someone in your community to partner with. It could be a family business, a restaurant, a new startup, an artist or musician you know, or a charity working to make a difference. Use your networks, find someone to partner with, and make your case: you’ll develop a set of Windows & Windows Phone apps that meet their needs and both of you come out ahead.

    Working with your partner, figure out the problems they have that apps could solve. If it’s a nightclub, maybe they need an app that publishes their calendar of live performances. If it’s an artist, a digital portfolio they can easily update and share could help their career. If it’s a homeless shelter, maybe they need an app to alert volunteers of opportunities to help. If it’s a restaurant, maybe an app that has their menu and a link to make reservations.

    This is a great opportunity for you to think beyond technology. Consider finding a team member or associate from your school’s business program who wants to get some real-world experience, working alongside your dev team to collaborate in your community and demonstrate impact.

    We’re looking for student teams who are already thinking past graduation, past the next class, and who are ready to take a big step into their future. If you succeed at this contest, you’ll have an amazing story to tell when you start interviewing for jobs. Your talent, your passion, your technology, your community: with Windows & Windows Phone, they’re all better together.


    One team will win a trip to Seattle to be honoured at the Imagine Cup World Finals in July, 2014. That team will receive $5,000 and every team member will get a Windows Phone 8. Best of all, they'll spend time with the actual Windows & Windows Phone team on campus at Microsoft to review the winning project and get expert feedback on where to take it next.

    How to Get Started

    Take a look at our Getting Started guide for step-by-step instructions that will take you through the whole registration process.

    How to Submit Your Project

    Ready to submit your project to the judges? Click the 'Submission' link next to the competition on your Team Page to get started!

    Store Links

    You'll need to provide two links: one to the Windows 8 app store for the Windows 8 app portion of your project, and one to the Windows Phone app store for the Windows Phone portion of your project. Publishing your apps is not just a good idea; it's required!


    Your proposal is a short document or slideshow that explains your project, its purpose, and talks about your community partnership. Your proposal file should be no larger than 50MB, and if necessary you can compress it into a zip file for submission. Click the 'Select' button to pick the file you want to upload, and then click 'Upload' to send it to us.


    App Installers

    Remember that you're building two apps for this challenge! Submit each one separately. They should be no larger than 500MB, and you can compress them into zip archives to submit them. Don't forget to sign your Windows 8 app!


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows 10 and Visual Studio 2015 Technical Preview now available



    Windows 10

    • Adaptive UX: Windows 10 provides the ability to use a single UI that can adapt from small to large screens.
    • User controls: A number of our Windows 10 UI controls will determine, at runtime, how the customer is interacting with your app and render the appropriate user experience
    • API contracts: With Windows 10, you can directly verify if a Windows feature is available rather than inferring based on the operating system version.

    So if you haven't downloaded and installed Windows 10 get started now

    Simply sign up for the Windows Insider Program to download the latest Windows 10 Technical Preview with the new Project Spartan rendering engine and the tools

    Developer tools

    Developer Content

    In addition to the preview tooling, we are also releasing a number of resources to help you quickly come up to speed on the new universal app platform capabilities:

    1. Introducing the Universal App Platform: Mobile World Congress 2015,
    2. Windows 10 Jumpstart Preview: A first look at the upcoming Jumpstart training content. These videos provide you with the information you need to bring a Windows 8.1 app up to Windows 10.
    3. What’s New in Windows 10 for Developers: The Windows 10 developer documentation is online on the Windows Dev Center.
    4. Code samples: New with Windows 10, documentation code samples will be published on GitHub.
    5. Resources for Building games for Windows10 see http://www.xbox.com/dev
    6. Videos and resources from GDC http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/GDC/GDC-2015
    7. Videos and resources from WinHEC http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/WinHEC/2015

    See You at Build

    We hope that you enjoy the first look at the new developer tools. Please spend some time with it and send us feedback.  Build, is around the corner and we plan to go deep on Windows 10 and the Windows universal app platform at the event. If you aren’t able to attend in person, save the date to check out the Build site.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Getting ready for Windows 10


    This week WinHEC took place in Shenzhen China. Attendees had executive keynotes and more importantly had the opportunity to learn about the latest Microsoft products, get hands-on technical training these resources.

    There sessions are now available on the web via Microsoft channel9 see http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/WinHEC/2015 

    Channel9 is a great way of getting upto date on the content from our world wide events and its a great way of getting up to speed on what is new in Windows 10.


    If you interested in  device and driver development, our hardware dev center has links to content and news, and is where the Windows 10 WDK will be made available.

    For information around IoT specifically, our Windows On Devices web site has what you need this will include more details on Windows 10 for Raspberry Pi and Windows on embedded devices..


    If you have already joined the Windows Insider Program, thank you for helping make Windows 10 better.

    For more details on the Windows 10 SDK and WDK, and the Windows Insider Program is the best way to get Windows 10 see http://blogs.windows.com/bloggingwindows/

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Band is coming to UK build amazing experiences


    Microsoft Band is coming. Pre-order Now

    Create amazing app experiences for Microsoft Band.

    Extend the experience of your application to your users' wrists via a new dimension of interaction. Create an app that can send UI content to the band, keeping users engaged when they're in motion. Your app can also receive data directly from the band sensors, giving your users more reasons to interact with it. Create a personalized, data-rich, custom experience and enhanced scenarios that will engage users in ways only possible with Microsoft Band.

    Live healthier and be more productive. Buy now for £169.99

    Stand-out features

    Access sensors

    Use a range of sensors including heart rate, UV, accelerometer, gyroscope, and skin temperature, as well as fitness data, to design cutting-edge user experiences.

    Create your tile

    Keep users engaged and extend your app experience to Microsoft Band. Create tiles for the band that send glanceable notifications from your app to your users.

    Personalize your app

    Monetize your app by offering users ways to customize the band. Change the color theme, or bring the Me Tile to life by changing the wallpaper.


    Cortana is at your service (and on your wrist)


    Get started with the Microsoft Band SDK Preview.

    The Microsoft Band SDK Preview gives developers access to the sensors available on the band, as well as the ability to create and send notifications to tiles. Enhance and extend the experience of your applications to your customers' wrists.

    Band SDK Preview for Windows Phone


    Sample code

    Band SDK Preview for Android


    Sample code

    Band SDK Preview for iOS


    Sample code

    Additional resources


    Experience design guidelines

    Release notes

    More details at http://developer.microsoftband.com/

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft announces the Azure Internet of Things suite


    Microsoft Azure IoT services

    The Internet of Things (IoT) provides the opportunity to enable and extend digital business scenarios, helping you better connect people, processes and assets, and better harness data across your business and operations.


    Improving efficiencies, enabling innovation and fueling transformation are the cornerstones of Microsoft’s vision for the digital business. With Microsoft Azure IoT services, you can monitor assets to improve efficiencies, drive operational performance to enable innovation, and leverage advanced data analytics to transform your company with new business models and revenue streams.

    Learn more about the Azure IoT services:

    Azure Event Hubs
    Azure DocumentDB
    Azure Stream Analytics
    Azure Notification Hubs
    Azure Machine Learning
    Azure HDInsight
    Microsoft Power BI.

    Announcement of Azure IoT Suite.

    The Azure IoT Suite is an integrated offering that takes advantage of all the relevant Azure capabilities to connect devices and other assets capture the diverse and voluminous data they generate, integrate and orchestrate the flow of that data, and manage, analyse and present it as usable information to the people who need it to make better decisions as well as intelligently automate operations.

    The offering, while customizable to fit the unique needs of organizations, will also provide finished applications to speed deployment of common scenarios we see across many industries, such as remote monitoring, asset management and predictive maintenance, while providing the ability to grow and scale solutions to millions of “things.”

    The Azure IoT Suite will provide a simple and predictable pricing model despite the rich set of capabilities and broad scenarios it delivers, so our customers can plan and budget appropriately. This approach is aimed at simplifying the complexities that often exist with implementing and costing IoT solutions

    For more details on the Azure IoT suite see http://bit.ly/1xrMBiD

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    ID@Xbox coming to Windows 10




    Last week I was out at GDC here a quick review of the key announcements.


    Microsoft had a number of sessions see my earlier post http://blogs.msdn.com/b/uk_faculty_connection/archive/2015/02/10/gdc-microsoft-sessions-march-2nd-5th-2015.aspx


    Chris Charla, Director of Microsoft’s ID@Xbox program gave a talk at GDC entitled New Opportunities for Independent Developers, covering many of the changes coming to Xbox and WIndows 10 later this year.

    All the Microsoft sessions are now posted on Channel 9 and we have a dedicated landing page if your interested in finding out more at http://www.xbox.com/id/

    Windows 10 and Xbox Live


    Xbox LIVE will be made available to developers using the Windows Universal App Platform in the near future.

    To get access to Windows 10 and the live SDK need to register for the ID@Xbox program at the dev center (Xbox.com/dev) to gain access to this.

    if your are already a member of ID@Xbox for Xbox One you will need to complete a new for  form, which will read something along the lines of:

    Are you signing up to write for Xbox One, Win 10 w/ LIVE, or both?


    So you want to write an app for Xbox One, utilizing the Windows Universal App Platform?

    Here are the resources that will be made available to you:

    • 4 CPU cores
    • 1.5gb of RAM
    • 50% of the GPU

    If you are making a dedicated application for Xbox One via ID@Xbox  you’ll have full access to everything that the Xbox offers, so the resources above do not apply to you.

    Those resources above are strictly for apps or games running on the  Windows UAP, which scales to all of our platforms utilizing Windows 10 so Windows 10, Windows Phone, Hololens, Surface Hub etc..


    If your interested in learning more about Windows 10 and the Windows Universal app platform see Kevin Gallo’s blog post earlier this week clarifies many points about the Universal App Platform. I’d also suggest looking at this //BUILD/ talk from last year, where Nikola Metulev talks about Building Windows, Win Phone, & Xbox One Apps w/ HTML/JS/CSS & C++.

    In the meantime, we encourage you to get ready for Windows 10 by:

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    DreamSpark Survey for UK students and educators 2014/2015



    We need to know your thoughts about DreamSpark  help us, help the next generation of students

    We are inviting students and educators to complete a short survey to help us better understand how the DreamSpark programme is supporting you.

    We would like to understand what range of applications and tools have been of use to you, how often you use them and how effective they have been in supporting your skills development or teaching and learning.

    Most importantly, we would like to understand how effective access to DreamSpark has been in supporting your academic achievements.

    You also have a chance to let us know about any particularly positive or negative experiences you have had so we can ensure that in the future we are delivering an even better service.

    We are only looking for a few minutes of your time and all responses remain anonymous.

    Educator version: http://dreamspark.eduresearch.org.uk

    Student version: http://dreamspark-student.eduresearch.org.uk

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Adding a Try to Buy feature increases your chance of sale by 82%


    In recent post I talked about the benefit of adding Try to Buy 

    With the Windows store we have found over 82% of apps which are offered as a trial convert to a purchase.


    The try/buy option is a great USP for  Windows and Windows Phone stores each make it very simple to implement such an experience.

    global_167779742Try/Buy was also a recent question I had from the London Unity User Group Porting sessions we held.


    Unity3d includes a simple API in its platform to check for a trial license from the store platform.

    Here is a nice little step by step guide of how to get started with Unity3d and build a try to buy option within your game

    Step 1 Decide on your trial method!

    Is it going to be:

    • 1 Level
    • 1 day with unlimited access to features?
    • 7 days with unlimited access to features?
    • Unlimited with limited features?
    • Somewhere in between?

    Step 2 – Lets build it

    Unity3d has included a simple API for probing the license information for the game from the Store platform. I wasn’t able to find any documentation for the API on the Unity docs site,

       1: using System;
       2: using UnityEngine;
       4: namespace UnityEngine.Windows
       5: {
       6:     public sealed class LicenseInformation
       7:     {
       8:         public LicenseInformation();
      10:         public static bool isOnAppTrial { get; }
      12:         [WrapperlessIcall]
      13:         public static string PurchaseApp();
      14:     }
      15: }

    Within your game you will want to query this function and call the API to see if I need to setup the purchase mode or the player can just proceed with normal and use the trail gameplay.

    In a Unity3d game, there is a GameController object that will persist across scenes.

    We recommend you setup this listener here.

    In the file we need to store the status of trial mode in a public static field, so that other scripts that query it to limit features in the game.

       1: public static bool IsTrial = true;
       2:     void Awake()
       3:     {
       4:         GameObject.DontDestroyOnLoad(this); // cause this object to persist
       6: #if UNITY_WINRT
       7:         IsTrial = UnityEngine.Windows.LicenseInformation.isOnAppTrial;
       8: #endif
       9:     }

    What we now need to do is add a buy button to the GUI.

    What we want to happen is when the player presses the BUY button, it will call PurchaseApp() to launch the Store purchasing process.

       1: void OnGUI()
       2:     {
       3:         if (IsTrial)
       4:         {
       5:             if (GUI.Button(new Rect(50, 30, 100, 25), "Buy me!"))
       6:             {
       8:                 var receipt = UnityEngine.Windows.LicenseInformation.PurchaseApp();
       9:                 IsTrial = false;
      10: #endif
      11:             }
      12:         }
      13:     }

    Dont worry if your debugging at this PurchaseApp doesn't return anything at all. You will get an empty string – This is simply because your debugging your app against a app that HAS NOT BEEN PUBLISHED YET.

    So the key thing here is that this API appears to just be a fire-and-forget, so put in some logic to recheck the trial mode state when FixedUpdate runs, but only after 1 second has passed. So, while the app is in trial mode, we will check for a change every 1 second.

       1: void FixedUpdate()
       2:     {
       3:         if (IsTrial && (Time.realtimeSinceStartup - _lastTrialCheck) >= 1f)
       4:         {
       5:             _lastTrialCheck = Time.realtimeSinceStartup;
       7:             // we'll detect if the trial state has changed
       8:             if (UnityEngine.Windows.LicenseInformation.isOnAppTrial != IsTrial)
       9:             {
      10: #if UNITY_WINRT
      11:                 IsTrial = UnityEngine.Windows.LicenseInformation.isOnAppTrial;
      12: #endif
      13:             }
      14:         }
      15:     }

    As a reference here’s the full source for a sample GameController class.

       1: using UnityEngine;
       2: using System.Collections;
       4: public class GameController : MonoBehaviour {
       6:     public static bool IsTrial = true;
       8:     private float _lastTrialCheck = 0f;
      10:     void Awake()
      11:     {
      12:         GameObject.DontDestroyOnLoad(this); // cause this object to persist
      14: #if UNITY_WINRT
      15:         IsTrial = UnityEngine.Windows.LicenseInformation.isOnAppTrial;
      16: #endif
      17:     }
      19:     void FixedUpdate()
      20:     {
      21:         if (IsTrial && (Time.realtimeSinceStartup - _lastTrialCheck) >= 1f)
      22:         {
      23:             _lastTrialCheck = Time.realtimeSinceStartup;
      25:             // we'll detect if the trial state has changed
      26:             if (UnityEngine.Windows.LicenseInformation.isOnAppTrial != IsTrial)
      27:             {
      28: #if UNITY_WINRT
      29:                 IsTrial = UnityEngine.Windows.LicenseInformation.isOnAppTrial;
      30: #endif
      31:             }
      32:         }
      33:     }
      35:     void OnGUI()
      36:     {
      37:         if (IsTrial)
      38:         {
      39:             if (GUI.Button(new Rect(50, 30, 100, 25), "Buy me!"))
      40:             {
      42:                 var receipt = UnityEngine.Windows.LicenseInformation.PurchaseApp();
      43:                 IsTrial = false;
      44: #endif
      45:             }
      46:         }
      47:     }
      48: } 
  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    The Microsoft Band SDK Preview is out!


    last night we released the Preview of the developer SDK for  Microsoft Band SDK


    Here are a set of Useful links

    Designers: Download the Experience design guidelines.

    Developers: Download the Documentation (with code snippets for both Android and Windows), the SDK and the sample code for Windows.

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