The goal of this site is to put relevant and applicable tools and information at the fingertips
With this blog we want to inform you on our latest initiatives.
Enjoy reading and stay tuned!
As you are all aware, last weekend was Uni Jam 2012, at Nottingham Trent University.
Presentation from the welcome keynote and announcement of the theme.
Setting up at Inter Uni Game Jam
Students from the following universities attended the event:
Nottingham Trent University
University of Nottingham
City University London
University of Derby
University of York
University of Warwick
Anglia Ruskin University
It is clear from the video footage taken during the event that the general atmosphere was great. The attendees were upbeat and enthused about the opportunity with everyone smiling even in the middle of the night people. Even in cases where development was being halted by bugs and other issues, all the students managed to stay positive and enjoy themselves.
Another highlight was when a member of the team from Warwick University offered to help the 2 man team (from Kingston and London City University) with a maths problem. This goes a long way to showing that although it was a competition, the spirit of the event was friendly and students from different universities were able to work together to create brilliant games.
A quote from the DevSoc Facebook page following the event was "I came to Uni in October, hoping to be able to learn how to make games, and with DevSoc, I successfully made one after a month. Can't argue with that!!!" This is what the vision for the game jam was all about, so feedback like this has made all the work worthwhile.
Full videos of the event and interviews with the teams can be found at http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCElCpSPU28MP_e3IhDerJ-A
Inter Uni Game Jam 2012 Winners
Prizes were awarded by the judges as follows:
Accessibility - NTU DevSoc (Patrick Merritt, Paul White, Eamonn Hayden, Charlotte Ash) Windows Phone 7/8, XNA MonoGame
Game Play - NTU DevSoc (Luke Shires, Alex Roberts, Nick Powell, Charlotte Neill, Russell Claxton) Windows 8 XNA MonoGame
Graphics - University of York (Samuel Twidale, Joe Williamson, Tom Rosling) Flash
Innovation - Anglia Ruskin University (Ed Horsey, James Roberts, Kieran Linnie, Owen Westfield Bell) Unity
Windows 8/Windows Phone - NTU DevSoc (Luke Shires, Alex Roberts, Nick Powell, Charlotte Neill, Russell Claxton) Windows 8
People’s Choice - NTU DevSoc (Luke Shires, Alex Roberts, Nick Powell, Charlotte Neill, Russell Claxton) Windows 8
Random Prize Draw for a Windows Nokia Lumia Phone - NTU DevSoc (Eamonn Hayden)
This event would not have been a success without all the support we have received from third parties. Our thanks go to:
Nottingham Trent University – Dev Soc’s Alex Close and his excellent organisation, huge thanks to the Computer Science Department for providing on going support through the planning and running of the event and providing us with an excellent venue.
Stewards and Nottingham Trent DevSoc team – For volunteering their time to help run the jam. Some stayed awake for the whole 24 hours to make sure they could help if they were needed.
Microsoft - For sponsoring the Windows 8/Windows Phone category, Peoples choice category and random prize draw.
Pocketeers - For sponsoring for the Innovation prize category.
Marmalade - For sponsoring the Game Play prize category.
Desura + Indie Royale - For sponsoring the Innovation prize category.
Pololu – For sponsoring the Accessibility prize category.
Rebellion + 2000AD - For sponsoring the Graphics prize category.
Insane Dev (Steven Batchelor-Manning) - For sponsoring the Accessibility prize category and coming down to the venue to show support.
Dynamite Jack – For sponsoring the Graphics, Innovation, Accessibility and Game Play prize categories.
Wiseman Designs - For providing treats for all competitors in the form of Haribo and Freddos.
Mode7 Games (Paul Taylor) - For judging the competition and providing a Frozen Synapse key to everyone who participated in the event.
David Smith - For judging the competition and providing ongoing support throughout the competition.
So get publishing apps and creating a portfolios here are some useful takeaways
Games are the #1 download and #1 money making app category so get developing!
Pick your niche, grow from there have a look at the excellent things www.devsoc.co.uk have achieved.
XNA and MonoGame provides a solution to get your existing XNA assets and games running as a Windows 8 Store App
MonoGame provides a cross platform solution so that you can leverage your existing XNA development effort, across multiple marketplaces to develop a portfolio of games across platforms
Follow the certification guidelines (WACK) to make your app Windows 8 Store ready and use your www.DreamSpark.com Free windows phone and Windows 8 developer accounts to publish your titles to store.
Enter as many competitions and Game Jams to grow your experiences also enter competitions such as www.imaginecup.com for teams and http://www.aswift.com/searchforastar for individuals.
Useful Resources and links
http://www.ubelly.com/gaming Building Windows 8 Games
http://www.microsoft.com/uk/msdn/windows8/ Windows 8 UK Camps and Training Events
http://bit.ly/GJ_W8Samples Windows 8 Samples http://dev.windows.com Windows 8 developer resources
http://dev.windowsphone.com Windows Phone 8 developer resources
http://monogame.codeplex.com MonoGame Installer for Windows
http://www.github.com/mono/MonoGame Git Resource
August the 1st marked a important day for academic institutions wishing to use/teach Windows 8 in the next academic session.
Windows 8 reached Release to Manufacturing, Windows 8 is now being issued to all PC OEM and manufacturing partners.
More details http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/archive/2012/08/01/releasing-windows-8-august-1-2012.aspx
So over the next few days/weeks you will see the availability of exciting new models of PCs loaded with Windows 8 and online availability of Windows 8 on October 26, 2012.
More details http://windowsteamblog.com/windows/b/bloggingwindows/archive/2012/08/01/windows-8-has-reached-the-rtm-milestone.aspx
Developers can visit the Windows Dev Center to get access to all the tools and resources they need to design, build, and sell apps in the Windows Store. While all apps during the preview phases were free, at RTM developers can begin charging for apps, so those with access to RTM bits will begin to see paid apps appear in the Windows Store.
Also, Windows Server 2012 has been released to manufacturing.
On September 4. That’s when Windows Server 2012 will be generally available for evaluation and download by all customers around the world. On that day we will also host an online launch event where our executives, engineers, customers and partners will share more about how Windows Server 2012 can help organizations of all sizes realize the benefits of what we call the Cloud OS. You will be able to learn more about the features and capabilities and connect with experts and peers. You’ll also be able to collect points along the way for the chance to win some amazing prizes. You don’t want to miss it. Visit this site to save the date for the launch event.
More details http://blogs.technet.com/b/windowsserver/archive/2012/08/01/windows-server-2012-released-to-manufacturing.aspx
Over the past few days I have had a few questions re how does a University go about installing Enterprise apps onto Windows 8 machines without having to setup Microsoft LiveIDs on each of the machines,
As your all aware from the Consumer preview, applications are installed via the Microsoft Store, authentication to the store is based upon your Microsoft LiveID. As a consumer you simply click on the store icon and use the Windows 8 Store to get an application onto Windows 8 Consumer Preview.
However if you are an Enterprise looking to get Metro applications onto your employees/students or lab Windows 8 desktops then you will likely want to do it more directly.
Which is where “sideloading” fits in.
Microsoft Technet has detailed documentation on Windows 8 Sideloading to add and remove line-of-business (LOB) Metro style apps
At which point installing an app is as simple as
Additionally you can also remove apps via this process
More details on the Windows Store can be found here
And Building Windows 8 blog
Due to the number of comments I have had on this post, I just wanted to confirm what products will be available under DreamSpark for students.
MSDN Subscriber Downloads: August 15th, 2012
Visual Studio 2012 and Windows 8 are available as of, August 15th, on MSDN Subscriber Downloads to DreamSpark Subscribers.
To confirm DreamSpark Premium Subscription Program Administrators may follow these steps to get immediate access to the software:
1) Visit http://msdn.microsoft.com/subscriptions/downloads
2) Sign in with the Windows Live ID associated with their DreamSpark Subscription
3) Search for the product of choice and click on “Download”
4) To acquire product keys the administrator may click on “Product Keys” and “Get Key” for applicable SKUs.
a. Note: Not all Visual Studio 2012 SKUs require a product key.
5) The file will be downloaded in .iso format.
a. Click here for instructions on how to use .iso files.
Please see the SKU Availability Matrix below for specifics on which products will be available on DreamSpark.com, and through DreamSprk Premium ELMS Institutional WebStores. The SKUs highlighted in red will be available starting August 25th, with the remaining releasing in a week thereafter, To confirm, Windows desktop operating systems are only available to students at education institutions which have purchased a DreamSpark premium subscription for STEM based disciplines .
Note: these SKUs will be available in the following languages on the 25th, English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese-Brazil, Russian, Chinese Simplified, and Chinese Traditional, with rolling releases of additional languages following on a week after:
For Visual Studio SKUs a separate Portuguese-Brazil language pack will be required, and will also be available on the 25th.
Visual Studio Professional 2012
Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web
Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows
Visual Studio Premium 2012
Visual Studio Ultimate 2012
Visual Studio TFS Express 2012
Visual Studio TFS Server 2012
Team Explorer for Visual Studio 2012
Team Explorer Everywhere for TFS
Windows 8 Debug/Checked Build
Windows 8 Enterprise
counts as credit toward the following certification(s):
Use code : HTMLJMP for a free exam credit, the exam will normally cost £99.
After passing 70-480, you will be given a certification for Microsoft Specialist and this is one of the three exams which will ultimately certify you as MCSD (Microsoft Certified Solution Developer).
MCSD is one tier above MCSA (Associate) and is a respectable title in the field of web development.
Exam registration: http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/exam.aspx?id=70-480 Link for free online training: https://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/tracks/developing-html5-apps-jump-start?o=1943 Link to MCSD page: http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/certification/mcsd.aspx
This offer is available for a limited time only until March 2013 and is open to IT Academy members also so all students undertaking a course can sit a free exam at any prometric testing centre.
One of the questions I have had this week, is from Mobile development course leaders, how they can teach, Windows Phone, iOS and Android in the same lab?
For the first time ever, you can write native iOS apps in Visual Studio using C#.
So I know a number of academics love Resharper, Team Foundation Server, and the entire Visual Studio ecosystem, so hopefully the following information will make your life is now complete.
Another key aspect of mobile development is code portability simply put the Sharing code between iOS, Android and Windows and with the Xamarin iOS plug this has just got a whole lot easier.
Xamarin iOS for Visual Studio allows iOS applications to be written and tested on Windows computers, with a networked Mac providing the build and deployment service.
This article covers the steps to install and configure the Xamarin iOS tools on each computer, in order to build iOS applications using Visual Studio.
Developing for iOS inside Visual Studio provides a number of benefits:
Xamarin.iOS for Visual Studio supports configurations where Visual Studio is running inside a Windows virtual machine on a Mac (eg. using Parallels or VMWare).
Watch the following video for more information
Last week I attend a number of events, which involved discussions in relation to using Windows 8 with a Keyboard and mouse. I mentioned the fact that Microsoft had introduced a suite of keyboard shortcuts to help you manage its classic and metro interfaces.
So here is the list of Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts
For more details on Windows 8 see.
Developing Apps for Windows 8
Download Windows 8 Consumer Preview
Building Windows 8 Blog
Windows Store Blog
With the announcement that you can run Hyper-V on the Windows 8 client. I have had a lot of questions regarding this? I did do a post back in August explaining the process of checking your PC estate for SLAT Support see http://blogs.msdn.com/b/uk_faculty_connection/archive/2012/08/31/if-your-thinking-of-installing-windows-8-are-your-labs-machine-capable.aspx
A number of people have reported simple having problems running Hyper-V on a Windows 8 client as it requires SLAT to run Hyper-V.
Running Hyper-V on Windows Server 2012 does *not* require SLAT but most institutions don't want to install a server OS as a desktop operating system. SLAT is a feature of the CPU. It is called “Rapid Virtualization Indexing (RVI)”, and has been called Extended Page Tables (EPT) by Intel and Nested Page Tables (NPT) by AMD.
You can use Wikipedia to look up Intel Nehalem and AMD NPT:
Processors that support SLAT
For AMD machines you can look up the supported models at http://support.amd.com/us/kbarticles/Pages/GPU120AMDRVICPUsHyperVWin8.aspx
Tools for testing for SLAT Microsoft’s Mark Russinovich has also created a really nice utility coreinfo.exe You can simply run coreinfo.ext and it will detect EPT and NPT (SLAT) support on your CPU.
To test your machine, simply download coreinfo.exe from Microsoft Sysinternals http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/cc835722 and use the coreinfo -v switch to list the features. An asterisk * next to a feature indicates that it is supported. A minus sign - indicates no support for that feature. Note: Coreinfo must be executed on a system without a hypervisor running for accurate results and under a administrator account on Windows 8. For example here is a screenshot from my Lenovo X200 series tablet
“*” means the feature is present
“-“ means it is missing
Alternatively, you can use Windows PowerShell to capture your specific CPU model this could be scripted to report the state of your entire PC labs or cluster estate the PowerShell command is gwmi win32_processor
NOTE: Be sure to include the specific family/model/stepping since different processor revisions may have different feature sets.
I have a had a number of questions last week, from some of the UK’s University Gaming Students and Academics re Windows 8.
Over the past few weeks as part of my UK tour with Aardvark Swift recruitment, I have been highlighting the opportunity of students building portfolio’s and publishing apps on Windows 8 Store to demonstrate their abilities to help them gain employment see the PowerPoint deck below.
For more resources on Windows 8 development see http://www.ubelly.com/gaming
If your interested in attending a free Windows 8 developer camp see http://www.microsoft.com/uk/msdn/windows8
One of the questions, I was asked last week was how can student use tools to develop prototypes and proof of concepts for academic activities, I wanted to share with you the following templates for PowerPoint. Using these templates, you can quickly put together a Windows 8 app layout and iterate on it. All elements in the set are based upon regular PowerPoint vector shapes, and are fully editable and customizable.
As anyone who has seen one of my presentations, PowerPoint is a really great rapid prototyping tool its slide-by-slide approach allows you to present a flow and tell a story with your designs. You can even create basic clickable prototypes by adding hyperlinks between slides. Furthermore, PowerPoint is available on almost every computer, including the new Windows Surface devices that run Windows RT, and is fairly simple to get started with.
Download the Templates For Free!
The wireframing set is available as a .pptx file (for PowerPoint 2007 or newer) that you can download using the link below:
It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. You can therefore use it any way you want, private or commercial, just as long as you distribute the resulting work under the same license and give proper credit to the original creators:
Example grid page displaying item previews arranged in groups.
Example page displaying details for a single group with previews for each item in the group.
Example page displaying one item in detail.
Example page displaying a list of items and the details for the selected item.
Example of a Metro app in snapped view state.
Example of an app in fill view state.
Collection of common UI controls (part 1): button, text box, list box, check box, radio button, toggle switch, etc.
Collection of common UI controls (part 2): search box, date/time picker, slider, progress bar, scrollbar, etc.
Grid view (with groups).
List view and charms bar.
App header, app bar, and toast.
240 app icons (part 1).
240 app icons (part 2).
While you can build great prototypes with FREE tools and PowerPoint, you may find yourself wanting the templates to be in a format that is easier to search through.
In this case, I can highly recommend taking a look at PowerMockup, an add-on for PowerPoint.
PowerMockup provides a searchable library of wireframe elements that can easily be dragged and dropped onto a slide. Best of all, the tool allows you to add your own creations to the library and share them with others.
Andreas Wulf, www.powermockup.com has created these FREE additions
After downloading the files, switch to the “PowerMockup” tab in the PowerPoint Ribbon bar, click on “Import Files”, and select the downloaded .pmst files. Here is a screenshot of how it will look like after you have imported the templates:
All elements, including the icons, are properly named and tagged, making them easily searchable.
I hope you enjoy the set!
At Microsoft we have an amazing set of tools to inspire future developers
Here a list of developer tools to help inspire tomorrow developers (Figures in bracket are guidelines for ages that it is appropriate) For FREE additional curricula materials see http://www.microsoft.com/faculty
· Kodu (5-11)
Kodu is a new visual programming language made specifically for creating games. It is designed to be accessible for children and enjoyable for anyone. The programming environment runs on the Xbox, allowing rapid design iteration using only a game controller for input. The core of the Kodu project is the programming user interface. The language is simple and entirely icon-based. Programs are composed of pages, which are broken down into rules, which are further divided into conditions and actions. Conditions are evaluated simultaneously. The Kodu language is designed specifically for game development and provides specialized primitives derived from gaming scenarios. Programs are expressed in physical terms, using concepts like vision, hearing, and time to control character behaviour. While not as general-purpose as classical programming languages, Kodu can express advanced game design concepts in a simple, direct, and intuitive manner. See http://www.kodugamelab.com/about
· The Kodu Cup (7-14)
The Kodu Kup is a game creation competition for UK school-children aged between 7 and 14. The Kodu Kup is open to any child enrolled as attending a UK school and who is aged between seven to fourteen years of age at the date of entry. Children are entered by their appropriate school teacher as a team of three. For more information the flyer can be downloaded from here: http://bit.ly/KoduKupFlyer
· Small Basic (5-11)
Small Basic is a project that is focused at making programming accessible and easy for beginners. The Language draws its inspiration from an early variant of BASIC but is based on the modern .Net Framework Platform. The Environment is simple but rich in features, offering beginners several of the benefits that professional programmers have come to expect of a worthy IDE. A rich set of Libraries help beginners learn by writing compelling and interesting programs. Small Basic is intended for beginners that want to learn programming. In our internal trials we've had success with kids between the ages of 10 and 16. However, it's not limited to just kids; even adults that had an inclination to programming have found Small Basic very helpful in taking that first step. See http://www.smallbasic.com
· .NET Gadgeteer (6-24)
Are you ready to create something awesome? Microsoft .NET Gadgeteer is an open-source toolkit for building small electronic devices using the .NET Micro Framework and Visual Studio/Visual C# Express. Build all manner of electronic gadgets quickly and easily with .NET Gadgeteer! LEARN HOW TO GET STARTED
· TouchDevlop (8-24)
TouchDevelop makes learning programming exciting! You can write code directly on any device and you can directly use sensors and media via high-level APIs. It's easy to create games and apps, publish them or tweak those published by others. You write code in our touch-friendly editor where you compose programs by tapping on your screen, yet concepts you learn transfer to traditional languages such as Java or C#. TouchDevelop embraces the "Bring Your Own Device" revolution by providing a unified programming environment everywhere. http://www.touchdevelop.com
· Project Spark (8-24)
Project Spark is a digital canvas which can be used to make games, movies and other experiences. A player can download other user-generated content, remix that content or create content of their own. A player can use the Xbox controller, keyboard and mouse, touch-devices and Kinect to build experiences. Kinect can be used to animate models and record audio. The created environments can contain mountains, rivers, and towns. http://www.projectspark.com
· Web Application Template (11+)
The Web Application Template is an Open Source Visual Studio 2013 template that lets developers create Windows 8.1 apps based on existing web content. Used in the right way, Web Application Template can facilitate the creation of compelling extensions to your web content for Windows users.
· Windows Phone AppStudio (8-24)
Windows Phone App Studio lets you swiftly build apps for immediate publishing, testing, and sharing with clients, co-workers, and focus groups. Windows Phone App Studio generates your source code - a feature no other app-builder tool provides so you can learn the basic and make enhancements with Visual Studio. http://apps.windowsstore.com/
· Project Siena (8-24)
Microsoft Project Siena (code name) is the beta release of a new technology for those interested in building an app without any programming experience, you can create powerful apps for the device-first and cloud-connected world, with the potential to transform today’s business processes.
Here are some examples of what people have already been building:
Apps for auditing and inspecting a manufacturing facility through photos, videos, and pen and voice notes, all tied to an asset database see http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/projectsiena/default.aspx
· DreamSpark (6+)
DreamSpark is a Microsoft Program that supports technical education by providing access to Microsoft software for learning, teaching and research purposes.
DreamSpark is simple: it's all about giving students Microsoft professional-level developer and designer tools at no cost so that students can chase their dreams and create the next big breakthrough in technology - or just get a head start on their career.
DreamSpark helps educators teach the latest technologies and experiment in research. Microsoft knows that to make learning more motivating, relevant, and engaging for today's students requires a diverse set of resources. DreamSpark gives educators the resources to ensure their classrooms always have the latest technologies to challenges, motivate, and keep students engaged in new ways.
DreamSpark is also a subscription for Academic Institutions: it provides a cost-effective way to put Microsoft developer tools, platforms and servers in labs and classrooms, and on their students’ and faculty’s computers for learning and research purposes. It reduces lab costs and teaching budgets.
How do I get DreamSpark Software?
As a Student: simply create an account, verify your student status and download software through this website at no cost. If your school/university has a subscription, you can also get access to more software titles.
As an Educator: you can get access through your institution’s subscription. Talk to your school administration to get a DreamSpark subscription and order today!
As an Academic Institution: order the subscription type that is right for you. DreamSpark Standard is for all types of institutions from primary to tertiary educations. DreamSpark Premium has a wider software catalog of over 500 products and is for qualifying technical departments only.
· DreamSpark FREE Store Developer Account for Windows 8 and Windows Phone (16+)
Develop applications for Microsoft software that showcase your talent, your skill and your development creativity. If you can imagine it, you can create it, and you may even just change the world with it. https://www.dreamspark.com/Student/App-Development.aspx
· Xbox For Education (6+)
The Xbox for Education offer includes a 3-Year DreamSpark Standard subscription for the institution. To take advantage of this offer from Monday 27th January, schools and colleges should visit: www.Xboxforeducation.co.uk
Xbox for Education and the associated resources available at DreamSpark http://www.dreamspark.com and Microsoft Faculty Connection Resources http://www.microsoft.com/faculty provides teachers with resources from first principles to advanced techniques.
These resources will shows you how to use the C# language to solve problems and how C# is used within the Microsoft XNA Framework to create games. The games that you write using the resources available can run on a Microsoft Windows, an Xbox 360, or a Windows Phone.
Or simply use packages such as Kinect Sports and Adventures, Mind Craft, Kodu and Project Spark in the classroom.
· The Imagine Cup (16+) There are lots of ways to participate in Imagine Cup. Find the competition that's right for you and your team. Fans of gaming? Check out the Games Competition. Want to change the world? Take a look at the World Citizenship Competition. Click on any competition's name to learn more about it, read up on the rules, and learn how to sign your team up. http://www.imaginecup.com