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!
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
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
We are pleased to announce new versions of Blend + Sketchflow preview for Visual Studio 2012. Bringing Blend and Visual Studio together offers more value. Blend is a great tool offering a wide variety of designers and developers the ability to quickly and easily build great looking and powerful UI.
These new versions make available capabilities that were previously only available in Expression Blend such as Windows Presentation Foundation, Silverlight and SketchFlow support, unifying the design-centric tools for building Windows Store Apps and Windows desktop apps to Visual Studio users.
This is for evaluation only and none of the platforms contain a go-live license. Therefore you SHOULD use other released versions of Blend for production work.
What is the Blend + Sketchflow Preview for Visual Studio 2012?
Blend for Visual Studio 2012 can help you design user interfaces for applications with robust tools that solve complex design tasks for building Windows Store apps.
The Blend + Sketchflow Preview introduces powerful WYSIWYG design capabilities to Visual Studio developers by providing support for WPF and Silverlight.
What is the difference between Blend + SketchFlow Preview for Visual Studio 2012 and Blend for Visual Studio 2012 RTW? Do I need both?
Blend for Visual Studio 2012 is a unique, innovative authoring tool with rich visual tools for creating Windows store apps using HTML/CSS and XAML. Blend is installed with most versions of Visual Studio 2012.
Blend + SketchFlow Preview for Visual Studio 2012 delivers WPF, Silverlight, and SketchFlow support compatible with Visual Studio 2012. You can install this alongside Visual Studio 2012 RTW.
What is SketchFlow; how does it differ from Storyboarding in Visual Studio 2012?
SketchFlow provides an informal and quick way to explore, iterate and prototype user interface scenarios. SketchFlow is for building working prototypes of software for developers, while the new storyboarding capability allows PowerPoint to be used for capturing lightweight requirements from stakeholders.
A large number of the UK’s Universities and colleges have been using XNA since 2004 within gaming course curricula on Windows, XBox and Windows Phone. We have a huge set of Free curricula resources for XNA game development at http://www.microsoft.com/faculty
XNA over the last 7 years has provide a number of students and indie game developers with an impressive content pipeline, game assets, load functionality, animation, math, sound and user input tracking via gamepad, mouse, keyboard and touch with game logic organized in a straightforward game loop architecture, more recently we have also added curricula for XNA and Kinect.
Within education XNA has been a huge driver for a number of students and developers who wanted to learn how to create games. XNA along with Visual Studio made it as easy as File –> New –> XNA Game Studio Project and you were off developing.
Since Windows 8 is built on the strong foundation of Windows 7, any app built for Windows will run in the Windows 8 desktop environment. This includes apps based on XNA, Win32, .NET, WPF, Silverlight, etc.
Windows 8 also introduces a new type of app called a Metro Style App for developers that wish to make their app available in the Windows 8 Store, for free or for sale. Using Visual Studio 2012, you have a language choice of C++, XAML with C#, VB or C++, or HTML5/JS to create a Metro Style App.
Using the XNA Framework is not a choice for building a Metro Style App. Official Microsoft guidance on game development is documented here.
Windows 8 allows you too build highly immersive games using HTML5/JS, XAML/C#, XAML/VB or C++ and DirectX.
However a number of you have already stressed too me, that you and your students have been developing with XNA and have an existing code base, or would like to import existing XNA games too Windows 8 your only option it would seem is running as a desktop app.
This is where MonoGame comes in…
MonoGame is an Open Source implementation of the Microsoft XNA 4 Framework. The goal is to allow XNA developers on Windows & Windows Phone to port their games to the iOS, Android, Mac OS X, Linux with both PlayStation Suite and Windows 8 support currently under development.
NOTE : This project is not linked with Microsoft or any of it subsidiaries. It is a non-profit, open source project. MonoGame is licensed under the Microsoft Public License (Ms-PL)
NOTE : This project is not linked with Microsoft or any of it subsidiaries. It is a non-profit, open source project. MonoGame is licensed under the Microsoft Public License (Ms-PL)
MonoGame provides a cross platform XNA Framework implementation for XNA developers who want to take their code to non-Microsoft platforms as well as the ability, to target Windows 8.
MonoGame for Windows 8 you can take your XNA code and with a recompile and some additional features too simply create a Metro Style App for example Armed within the Windows Store uses MonoGame. I have too stress MonoGame is still under development and so any use of it should come with a note of advice to stay on top of that effort.
In order to provide a complete implementation of XNA on Windows 8, MonoGame leverages SharpDX , an open-source project delivering the full DirectX API for managed code (.NET) and Windows 8 (WinRT). SharpDX is an open-source project, free of charge available under the following MIT License.
If you have done any reading about Windows 8, one thing all the press is focusing on is Windows 8 offers and unprecedented opportunity to monetize your developer skills.
Combining the broad reach of Windows which already exists, a new developer platform in the form of Windows Store Apps, best-in-class developer tools Visual Studio 2012 and Team Foundation Server, a reimagined user experience with Windows Store, Metro Style Apps, support for new chipsets Intel and RTM, and a built-in Store with industry-leading business terms, with initial revenue share of 70% revenue for you 30 % for Microsoft and 100% in app purchase revenue to you.
Windows 8 is the largest developer opportunity, ever! So lets look at some of the reasons for developers to consider writing applications for the Windows Store.
There is more than 1.25 billion Windows users globally. The market potential for your selling your application is enormous. Clearly, the market for Windows-based applications far outnumbers anything else. Thinking about academia specifically, potential employers will be wanting to recruit students with the skills, experience and portfolio of existing Windows 8 apps to build their latest software releases.
2. The Scale of the Windows Opportunity
Simply put the Windows Store offers a marketplace for your application with a global reach of 200+ markets, 100+ languages, even distribution to enterprise customers. A generous revenue sharing model is in place. Imagine that you keep 70-80% of the revenue share from your application.
3. So what are we doing to help
4. So What type of App should I be building?
5. The Windows Store Ensures Visibility Strong support for search, category browsing, ranking lists, editorial content. The Windows Store features latest, most popular, and fast rising apps.
6. Enterprise Support Don’t limit yourself to consumer apps. Perhaps you have an idea for an Enterprise application. Luckily, the Windows Store will have rich support for deployment and management scenarios. Compliance and security is built in. There is support for direct control over the deployment of Metro style apps.
7. How you make money Your applications can be time-based and feature-based trials, paid apps, including in-app purchases. In-app purchases can help you customize the transaction flow with the customer. Sales analytics can also help you increase your reach.
8. Free Apps - Many choose to offer free applications + an ad model I personally think it makes the most sense to get your application out there as a trial. We have learned from the Windows Phone marketplace that trial versions get 70 times more downloads than paid versions. 10% of those convert to the paid version, typically within a few hours.
1. The Windows Dev Center
2. The Windows engineering and Windows Store teams are blogging regularly at the following sites
· Windows 8 app developer blog: Get coding and design best practices and tips, and updates on events and offers for developers.
· Windows Store for developers blog: Get all the latest news on doing business in the Windows Store.
Whether you are a software developer, an IT administrator, many of us need to run multiple operating systems. Windows 8 uses Hyper-V, the machine virtualization technology that has been part of the last 2 releases of Windows Server.
In brief, Hyper-V lets you run more than one 32-bit or 64-bit x86 operating system at the same time on the same computer. Instead of working directly with the computer’s hardware, the operating systems run inside of a virtual machine (VM).
Hyper-V enables developers to easily maintain multiple test environments and provides a simple mechanism to quickly switch between these environments without incurring additional hardware costs.
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Hyper-V requires a 64-bit system that has Second Level Address Translation (SLAT). SLAT is a feature present in the current generation of 64-bit processors by Intel & AMD. You’ll also need a 64-bit version of Windows 8, and at least 4GB of RAM. Hyper-V does support creation of both 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems in the VMs.
Hyper-V’s dynamic memory allows memory needed by the VM to be allocated and de-allocated dynamically (you specify a minimum and maximum) and share unused memory between VMs. You can run 3 or 4 VMs on a machine that has 4GB of RAM but you will need more RAM for 5 or more VMs. On the other end of the spectrum, you can also create large VMs with 32 processors and 512GB RAM.
In conclusion, by bringing Hyper-V from Windows Server to Windows Client, allows you to provide a robust virtualization technology designed for the scalability, security, reliability, and performance needs of most data centers. With Hyper-V, developers and IT professionals can now build a more efficient and cost-effective environment for using and testing across multiple machines.
So how do I know if my machine support SLAT (second level address translation).
1. Windows 8 HyperV requires support for SLAT (second level address translation).
2. So if your thinking of installing Windows 8 in your institutions computer labs you should check your machine BIOS as this feature can be enabled/disabled.
3. To do this Download CoreInfo from the Windows Sysinternals website, here.
4. Open a command window with admin rights and type coreinfo –v, if an asterix is displayed next to EPT row then your Intel processor supports SLAT.
Over the past few weeks, I have had a few questions around the ability of Windows Azure http://www.windowsazure.com/education to run non Windows operating systems. In this post I will explain the process of installing Linux on Windows Azure.
Firstly some key facts about Windows Azure support for Linux
Creating a virtual machine that is running the Linux operating system is easy when you use the image gallery in the Windows Azure Preview Management Portal. With no prior experience with Windows Azure, you can create a virtual machine running the Linux operating system in the cloud that you can access and customize.
Images are provided by these trusted members of the Linux community:
Here is a step by step walkthrough adapted from Bruno Terkaly Blog http://blogs.msdn.com/b/brunoterkaly
Select a flavour of Linux
Selecting a flavour of Linux
Specifying Linux VM Details
Your Virtual Machine Running (Portal)
Understanding the Dashboard, Endpoints, and Configuration
How to open endpoints to your Linux VM
Opening a TCP port
Working with Putty
Your terminal screen to your Linux VM
What if you already have a Linux Sever you simply want to move to the cloud?
Here is a quick step by step guide for creating and Uploading a Virtual Hard Disk that Contains the Linux Operating System
You create a virtual machine in Windows Azure by using a virtual hard disk (VHD) file. You can choose to create a virtual machine by using a VHD file that is supplied for you in the Image Gallery, or you can choose to create your own image and upload it to Windows Azure in a VHD file.
Choose one of the partners below for help creating Linux virtual machines in Windows Azure:
Learn how to create your own virtual hard drive (VHD) with a Linux operating system on it, and then upload it and use it to create a Linux virtual machine in Windows Azure.
Today marked an exciting day, we announced via S. Somasegar’s blog post and Jason Zander’s blog post that MSDN subscribers including DreamSpark premium institutional administrators now have access to Visual Studio 2012. DreamSpark subscribers can download and install Visual Studio 2012 later this month once its made available.
Additionally we confirmed that we will be having a Virtual Launch Event on September 12, 2012 for Visual Studio 2012 please see further details at http://visualstudiolaunch.com.
So from today all versions of Visual Studio 2012, including Visual Studio Professional, Premium, Test Professional, and Ultimate. Additionally, Team Foundation Server, Visual Studio Express for Web, Visual Studio Express for Windows 8, and Team Foundation Server Express are now available.
So What is new in Visual Studio 2012?
Visual Studio 2012 includes numerous updates to simplify the development experience, help teams collaborate more effectively, and delight end-users across a variety of devices. Although there are too many features to highlight here, below are a few key new features:
· Improved web development tooling with Page Inspector and DOM Explorer
· Support for Microsoft’s latest platforms including Windows 8.
· Visual Studio Light Switch and Blend for Visual Studio are included giving developers access to rapid application tools and designer surfaces.
· Write simplified asynchronous code using the .NET Framework 4.5
· Take team collaboration to the cloud with Team Foundation Service Preview or on-premise with the latest version of Team Foundation Server.
· Improved support for SharePoint development
There have been some changes to the Visual Studio SKUs, what is the current line up?
We are always focused on providing the right products to meet the needs of our various customers. For Visual Studio 2012 we have the following SKUs.
· Visual Studio 2012 Ultimate
· Visual Studio 2012 Premium
· Visual Studio 2012 Professional
· Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2012
· Visual Studio Test Professional 2012
We have also simplified our Visual Studio Express SKUs so developers can focus on the latest Microsoft platforms.
· Visual Studio 2012 Express for Web
· Visual Studio 2012 Express for Windows 8
· Visual Studio Team Foundation Server Express 2012
Where do I go to get Visual Studio 2012?
There are a variety of ways to buy Visual Studio 2012. MSDN, DreamSpark Premium and DreamSpark subscribers will get it as part of their subscription. . Enterprise and volume licensing customers can get Visual Studio 2012 through their existing channels.
For developers that would like to purchase Visual Studio without going through an MSDN subscription, they can get it through a Microsoft Academic resellers:
· S. Somasegar’s blog post and Jason Zander’s blog post
· Visual Studio 2012 Launch Event
· Visual Studio Website
How the cloud can help
There are 2 ways your Application can get data
Push and Pull – Maybe Both
Example of a Notification
Downloads and Setup - Windows Azure Toolkits for Devices
Windows Phone - http://bit.ly/watwp7
Android - https://github.com/WindowsAzure-Toolkits/wa-toolkit-android
iOS - https://github.com/WindowsAzure-Toolkits/wa-toolkit-ios
Windows 8 - http://bit.ly/Lcthn1
The Windows Azure Toolkit for Social Games is a set of guidance, samples, and tools that helps developers quickly get started building a casual or social game on Windows Azure. https://github.com/WindowsAzure-Toolkits/wa-toolkit-games
Keeping data off the local device and in the cloud
Project Templates, Samples and Libraries Source Code http://watwindows8.codeplex.com/wikipage?title=Project%20Templates%2c%20Samples%20and%20Libraries%20Source%20Code&referringTitle=Documentation#
Creating a New Windows 8 Cloud Application http://watwindows8.codeplex.com/wikipage?title=Creating%20a%20New%20Windows%208%20Cloud%20Application&referringTitle=Documentation#
Running the Windows 8 Cloud Application http://watwindows8.codeplex.com/wikipage?title=Running%20the%20Windows%208%20Cloud%20Application&referringTitle=Documentation#
Using the Windows 8 Cloud Application Services Application http://watwindows8.codeplex.com/wikipage?title=Using%20the%20Windows%208%20Cloud%20Application%20Services%20Application&referringTitle=Documentation#
Sample Metro App using Windows Azure Service Bus http://watwindows8.codeplex.com/wikipage?title=Sample%20Metro%20App%20using%20Windows%20Azure%20Service%20Bus#
Push Notification Worker Sample http://watwindows8.codeplex.com/wikipage?title=Push%20Notification%20Worker%20Sample&referringTitle=Documentation#
Margie's Travel http://watwindows8.codeplex.com/wikipage?title=Margie%e2%80%99s%20Travel#
ACS Windows Metro Sample http://watwindows8.codeplex.com/wikipage?title=ACS%20Windows%20Metro%20Sample&referringTitle=Documentation#
How to Deploy Your Services to Windows Azure http://watwindows8.codeplex.com/wikipage?title=Appendix%20I%3a%20How%20to%20Deploy%20Your%20Services%20to%20Windows%20Azure%3f#
How to Obtain Namespace and Management Keys http://watwindows8.codeplex.com/wikipage?title=Appendix%20II%3a%20How%20to%20Obtain%20Namespace%20and%20Management%20Keys%3f#
More information and details on Windows 8 Tile Notification Types http://bit.ly/A8GuVg
More information and details on Windows 8 Toast Notification Types http://bit.ly/MDHfJ4
More information and details on Windows 8 Badge Notification Types http://bit.ly/LTf4GP
More information and details on Windows 8Geolocation http://bit.ly/rFiLhN
More information and details on Windows 8 Notifications http://bit.ly/NSi8D6
MSDN Developers Portal - http://bit.ly/QNgt58
Windows 8 Developers - http://bit.ly/JH5jOQ
Try these NuGet Packages
Try Windows Azure in Education 150 day Academic Pass and 90 day Student Pass
Microsoft presents the largest opportunity for game developer students.
Our developer resource guidance available from http://dev.windows.com and http://create.msdn.com with FREE app store accounts for students to publish applications and games to the marketplace.
Our array of platforms Xbox, Windows Phone, Windows 7 and Windows 8 and a huge users base across the Ecosystems.
I am glad to introduce the following Guest blogger - Mark Hope, Mark works for games industry specialist recruiter – Aardvark Swift. He sources graduates for UK games studios and is also responsible for organising the nationwide Search for a Star programming competition
Our clients (primarily Game Studios) look for a range of different skills /experiences from graduates when they leave University. However when they are looking to hire talented staff to make the next AAA Console or Mobile Games some things don’t change……
Studios look for courses with a solid programming and Maths base: Whether this is a traditional Computer Science course or a modern Computer Games Programming course. The traditional language required by studios is C++, so we recommend as many projects and modules using this programming language be completed.
Any experience of professional programming is seen as invaluable, if students have an industry placement it is fantastic, however as these are few and far between we suggest graduates are as active as possible in extra curricular competitions and development. Taking part and being successful in competitions like Search for a Star, Microsoft Imagine Cup, Game Jams or Dare to be Digital shows that graduates are passionate about the industry and students get to showcase their skills. Go on, get involved!
Any personal and team games development that lead to a release platforms such as Windows Phone, Windows 8 or Xbox shows skills that industry look for. So if students have titles on App Store / Xbox Live Marketplace it shows graduates are:
· Can finish a game
· Can show polish
· Don’t have buggy code
The relative success of the game is not as important, however if it is successful it also shows creativity of the student / team.
An excellent online and free resource for building an online portfolio is the website www.carbonmade.com. We always recommend an online portfolio as the best method of showcasing your games and projects. Make sure you show your best work and make it as easy as possible for Studios to access it.
We recommend each project on your online portfolio should include:
· An overview (what did you contribute?) especially in the case of team projects
· Images of the project in action
· A Video run through (show as much as you can – Menus, Levels, High score tables etc)
· Downloadable content or links (studios like to see your code)
A quality CV is essential. Your CV is one of the most important recruitment tools you have, so spending time getting it right is well worth the effort. It will be initially assessed in a matter of seconds, and if the potential employer doesn’t see what they are looking for almost instantaneously, your details will rapidly hit the “unsuccessful” pile.
Make sure your CV includes:
· Overview Section (a mini intro – cover letters will be separated)
· Skills Section – Outlying any programming languages, tools etc you have used (we find tables are good way to keep organised and neat here)
· The Education section is the most important section of the CV (unless you have games industry experience) Make sure you highlight your course and the marks you have gained, focus on programming and maths modules. A levels are also well thought of, so highlight grades (key advice throughout, hiding marks doesn’t fool anyone!) Make sure GCSE’s are brief and not listed in full.
· Work Experience – This should be after education unless you have games industry experience or internships. Make sure you highlight core communication skills gained from other work experience (team work, time management etc) If you do have Games Industry experience, go to town! Give as much details about the skills you have gained and projects you worked on etc.
· Hobbies and Interest – This section can show your passion for game genre’s and can be tailored to applications. It is also important that you have a life outside of games, so don’t miss these other hobbies and interests out.
Aim for 2 pages but no more than 3 if possible. For more detailed information about CV and Demo Advice take a look at: http://www.aswift.com/html/graduates/index.jsp
A huge thanks to Mark and if you would like to get in contact, with Mark to know more about our services or if you have any questions about the games industry you can contact him via Email: email@example.com Tel 01709 834 777
Aardvark Swift delivers the following information to students as part of our “Get in the Game” careers talk where they discuss:
· The results from our Annual Studio Skills Survey (where we ask studios what they look for in graduates).
· Helpful advice about what makes a good CV and Portfolio etc.
· Promote upcoming events and competitions that students can enter to improve their experience
· Answer questions relaying our industry knowledge.
· So keep an eye out for Microsoft Graduate Careers and Aardvark Swifts visits to your university.