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With this blog we want to inform you on our latest initiatives.
Enjoy reading and stay tuned!
Many of you are aware that a few months ago my colleague Andrew Spooner (@andspo) developed a series of films which focused on various aspects of digital design and user experience.
A number of UK Universities used these videos as part of their guest lecture series, with the launch of Windows 8 Andrew is currently producing a new set of videos, the first of which has been taken up by .net magazine.
The concept of the video is based upon how we use words in our applications and how we can use tone of voice more consistently across communications, from the application to the error message. Andrew simple focus is help you understand, that when you consider the wider context of an application and the various places where you talk to your users, be consistent with your tone and ultimately, create more beautiful applications.
Here’s a link to the article and the latest film:
Andrew has presented a number of design events and spoken in more detail about the series of films. If you have creative events coming up, or if any of your interested in hearing from a expert design/UX speakers from Microsoft for large events, do get in contact.
Windows Store App Labs are physical locations in more than 30 cities where you can access Windows 8 devices, get design help, and meet with Windows experts to make your app great. All for free! The UK Location is at Modern Jago, Club Row, Arnold Circus, Shoreditch, London, E2 7ES
Check out and test on the newest Windows 8 devices
Test your app on a variety of screen sizes, input methods, and chipsets with the latest Windows 8 devices including Windows RT tablets, Ultrabooks, All-in-Ones, and more.
Get design guidance from leading edge design agencies
Designers will review your app mock-ups or your complete app and provide feedback on how you can improve your app’s layout, navigation, live tile, and other UI elements.
Get technical guidance from Windows 8 experts
Our Windows experts are on hand to help test your app and offer any technical advice you need. We can help you with coding tips, debugging, and prepping your app to submit to the Windows Store.
Monday, October 29, 2012
8:00 AM - 12:00 PM
1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Monday, November 5, 2012
Monday, November 12, 2012
Coming Soon! - -
Monday, November 19, 2012
Monday, November 26, 2012
Monday, December 3, 2012
Monday, December 10, 2012
Monday, December 17, 2012
Well today marked the final of the University of Hull Three Thing Game competition.
From the 40 team 160 students who started we had only lost a small number and throughout the night all of the teams had made AWESOME progress.
Many of the teams were already testing and evaluating their and fellows teams games when we arrived back at the venue early this morning.
I have to state that we were all significantly impressed with the number of first year students who were still in attendance when considering they had only started with XNA this week so the last 24 hours had been a significant learning curve.
The judging was extremely difficult, I had the honour to be part of the judging teams, during the judging we were chaperoned by camera operators who captured the presentations on video @RobMiles and the team from Hull will be editing these and making them available as show real so check back soon for an update.
Each team of judges then picked their top two entries, the top two from each group went forward into the final rounds, which consisted of eight teams. The eight teams then had to present and demo their game to the audience of fellow finalist and judges which consisted of Academics, Indie Gaming Dev’s, Microsoft and Monogame staff.
Thanks to Rob for this lovely picture of me and the prizes you can see his full photo stream here on Flickr
The finalist wait anxiously to be called to present. Judges can be scary!
Finalist 1. ‘Three Game’O’Holics’, the first presenters, preparing to show off their game inspired by “Fighting, Desk, in a Dress”. This was an impressive take on the a doodle jump style game with a addictive two player mode and would make a gorgeous Windows Phone and Windows 8 app.
Finalist 2 ‘No Method, No Class’. with “Caffeine, Monkey, under attack”. The gameplay and sound-effects were excellent as monkeys came in for the kill. Huge Kudos to this team as the group was made up of one second year and two first year students and was significant addictive top down shooter.
Finalist 3. ‘Uncle Mikes Recursive Prolog Party?’” who had built a space shooter, Asteroid style but with semantic zoom to view the galaxy with a seriously addictive sound track. Again a perfect app for the Windows 8 store with the use of virtual joypad and semantics zoom control.
Finalist 4. ‘Sheerware Games’ showing off their Hyper Morph Windows Phone game, made from "Flying, Bombs, Tank". Based on the side scrolling defender/Rtype game built for Windows Phone and portable to Windows 8 via Monogame.
Finalist 5. The Honeybadger crew with Ninja defence a superb Windows Phone with invaders storming your castle and you letting loose with arrows, ninja stars and fireworks to see them off again a polished app ready for the Windows Phone marketplace and Windows 8 store via monogame.
Finalist 6. ‘Michael Jacksons Indian Takeaway’ with “Spray of Duty Modern Warbear” really original game based on a lone Teddy soldier using his deodorant to save off increasing numbers of invading poptarts of various flavours. The game had amazing use of shaders this would be excellent as Windows 8 app using either a virtual control pad or keyboard or controller.
Finalist 7.Battle Brothers They had created an astonishing looking space warfare game. This had great 3D graphics and physics engine. This would be a great rival to Armed within the Windows 8 store and I know it would have lots of interest and downloads.
Finalist 8 Two Sirs’ This was one of the most ambitious games I have ever seen, the team developed a multi-player game experience involving a battle between Kinect controlled angler fish and Windows Phone powered goldfish.
And the winners are!
In Third Place. Battle Brothers with their Lego prizes and I’m looking forward to seeing this amazing 3D Space Shooter in the Windows 8 store soon.
In Second Place. Honeybadger Productions clutching their prizes of Microsoft Kinect sensor and Microsoft T shirts prizes. Well deserved and a game with great potential and look forward to seeing this is the Windows Phone marketplace and Windows 8 store soon.
And the Winners!
Sheerware get the big prize of Windows Phone, Windows Phone Design Guide, Limited Edition Windows 8 T Shirt, and USB drive. I am really looking forward to downloading Hyper Morph from both the Windows Phone marketplace and Windows 8 store soon.
The People Choice Winner – Voted by all the participating teams in the competition.
The prize of Star Wars Lego Advent Calendars and Exclusive Ubelly.com T Shirts went to Sheerware.
So the key message
Get students undertaking competition such as this, ensure students develop real portfolios uploading apps/games to the Windows Phone and Windows 8 stores to demonstrate their competences and skills. All Students get free Windows Phone Marketplace, Windows 8 and Xbox developer accounts and store accounts for FREE via www.dreamspark.com for more details see www.DreamSpark.com and http://create.msdn.com
Samples and References
For students interested in developing for XNA we have lots of resources available for FREE see
Microsoft Faculty Connection Resources - http://www.microsoft.com/faculty XNA Creators Club Education Samples - http://xbox.create.msdn.com/en-US/education/catalog/ Windows 8 Development for XNA using MonoGame
Getting your apps in Store
You may be building great apps and games but don't forget to add the features that will make them shine
Windows 8 app certification requirements http://Aka.ms/storereq
Resolving certification errors after submitting to store http://Aka.ms/storefix
The Inter University Game Jam 2012 is taking place on 17-18th of Nov so if this was interest please enter or get your students to enter via http://www.devsoc.co.uk/game-jam.
The Imagine Cup 2013 the premier student world wide student game development competition. http://www.imaginecup.com
Today is a important day for Windows Phone, Come see what’s new in Windows Phone 8. Join the webcast at 10 a.m. PT on Oct. 29, live from San Francisco.
Resources for Windows Phone 8
Youtube - http://www.youtube.com/windowsphone
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/windowsphone
Windows Phone Blog - http://blogs.windows.com/windows_phone/b/windowsphone/
Pininterest - http://pinterest.com/windowsphone/
Webcast - http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/news/presskits/windowsphone/liveevent.aspx
Kinect for life
This week we had an event showcasing medical technology innovation in partnership with Kingston University, the University of Surrey, Brunel University and Microsoft.
Given the revolutionary advances made possible with Microsoft’s Kinect for Windows, Medical professionals and researchers are exploring how computer vision and natural user interfaces can enhance healthcare.
Kinect use examples
In Games it’s used to create a representation of your skeleton and in Robotics this is used for example to create a 3d map of a room so that a robot can navigate through it without colliding with objects. All of these features are accessible through the Kinect SDK that lets you access the post processed data (for example skeleton positions) or tap into the raw data if you need to. This is a task that just a few years ago would require months of work, at a PhD level.
Robbosavvy have clever Skeletal functions in the SDK to create a small demo using a Kinect sensor and a small humanoid robot called Robobuilder to demonstrate the capacities of both.
In this sample, we read Kinect’s skeletal data and make a Humanoid Robot mimic the Human’s position.
The flowchart is quite simple:
Step 1- Read the positions of each person’s joint (in our case Shoulder, Elbow and Wrist ) from Kinect
Step 2- With some trigonometry calculate the angles of the body, to determine for example if the arms are raised or not.
Step 3- That information is then sent to the servos (the motors that move the robot), to position them so that the Robot mimics the movements of that person. (The legs are not tracked otherwise the robot would fall off the table.)
In addition, to keep track of the person when they move side to side (L/R), we created a cool gadget that makes Kinect track you wherever you go.
The magic behind it is simple: you look at the person’s head and rotate Kinect so that the Head is always at the center of the Field of View.
This is a preview into a technology that will be used in the future for example to perform remote surgery or to send robots to work in dangerous areas.
More information on our Kinect + Robot project can be found here:http://robosavvy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=8026
Microsoft Robotics Studio
Most small robots, use a low power microcontroller similar to Arduino. This is something like a computer, but much less powerful, however suitable to communicate with sensors, control motors, recharge batteries, etc.
There is a huge variety of these microcontrollers, and even when the more usual types are used, the robot manufacturers usually create their own software to operate the robots.
This causes situations where for example when a program is designed for a given robot, it needs to be completely rewritten if another brand of robot is to be used, even if they are nearly identical at an hardware level.
This where Microsoft Robotics Studio steps in and closes that gap. Robot manufacturers, or the users themselves can design small software modules for each robot, that act as a translator between MRDS and the control system for the robots.
This means that in MSRDS a command, for example to make a humanoid robot step forward, is identical across several brands of robots.
With MSRDS, Robots can now talk to each other, talk to sensors from different manufacturers or be supervised by our own master process (hypervisor) that makes sure everything is working as expected. MSRDS also enables interoperability with complex functionalities hosted on the PC such as Speech Recognition.
Another advantage of MRDS is that it is a tool accessible to wide range of users, regardless of their expertise. Beginners can build Robot behaviours using Visual Programming Language and Advanced users can work with textual programming (any .Net language) to make the most out of MSRDS.
As an example, with one of our most sold robots called Robobuilder, we are able to control it using Voice commands, by using Windows built in Voice Recognition. This is achieved by simply dragging a few boxes in MSRDS Visual Programming Tool. Once all boxes are connected our Robot becomes capable of understanding what we tell him to do.
Microsoft Research Redmond is seeking applications from EMEA for the 2013 Faculty Fellowship Program (targeted at early career faculty members nominated by their institution).
Each year since 2005, Microsoft Research has recognized innovative, promising new faculty members from a number of research institutions to join the ranks of Microsoft Research Faculty Fellows. This program now encompasses more than 50 academic researchers whose exceptional talent for research and innovation in computer science identifies them as emerging leaders in their fields. The selected professors are exploring breakthrough, high-impact research that has the potential to help solve some of today’s most challenging societal problems.
In April 2013, the Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship grant recipients will be selected from applicants from four regions: Latin America and the Caribbean; Europe, the Middle East, and Africa; the United States and Canada; and Australia and New Zealand.
The road to tenure can be a bumpy one for early career professors in any field. Most find their first few years filled with a seemingly endless process of writing grant proposals. For the professors who are selected as Microsoft Research Faculty Fellows each year, this “overhead” is considerably lessened, allowing them to concentrate on the business of pursuing their research with minimal distractions. Microsoft Research selects a handful of top early-career professors in the field of computer science and provides them each with a cash award.
Microsoft Research seeks nominees who are advancing computing research in novel directions with the potential for high impact on the state of the art, and who demonstrate the likelihood of becoming thought leaders in the field.
The future of computing in academe rests with its newest faculty. In these early-career professionals lie the seeds of tomorrow’s great innovations. However, while recognized faculty with well-established reputations are able to attract the financial support necessary for substantial research programs, new faculty often struggle to secure adequate support to allow them to realize their full potential. Because new faculty are so vital to the future of academic computer science, the Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship Program identifies, recognizes, and supports exceptional new faculty members who are engaged in innovative computing research. The objective of this program is to stimulate and support creative research undertaken by promising researchers who have the potential to make a profound impact on the field of computing in their research disciplines.
Microsoft Research will select fellows this year from nominees from four regions: Latin America and the Caribbean; Europe, the Middle East, and Africa; the United States and Canada; and Australia and New Zealand.
Each fellowship includes a cash award. The Microsoft Research Faculty Fellows also have access to other Microsoft resources, such as software, invitations to conferences, and engagements with Microsoft Research. Microsoft awards Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship grants each year; awardees are selected by April.
The Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship Awards program provides recipients considerable freedom in planning the focus of their academic research. The funds can be applied to a wide variety of uses to pursue novel research. Examples of possible research areas include, but are not limited to: interdisciplinary research, scientific computing, bioinformatics, computational biology, software engineering, and other areas where computing transforms the discipline and advances the state of the art.
This is a great opportunity and we hope for many strong applications from across EMEA.
Six Steps to Windows Azure – Starts on 8th and 9th November:
Six Steps to Windows Azure programme which offers a series of free technical events and online sessions on the Windows Azure Platform. The programme aims to guide developers and IT professionals currently building apps or considering the cloud on how to take full advantage of Windows Azure.
Our upcoming events will cover both the technical and commercial aspects of adopting Windows Azure.
We will be launching a brand new web site with the full list of details and registration. Register now for the following events.
Windows Azure in the Real World - 8th November 2012
Get started with Windows Azure by seeing how companies have implemented real world solutions for different types of Azure workload. Join us if you currently building applications, considering moving to the Cloud and want to understand how to take full advantage of the Windows Azure Platform.
Advanced Topics in Windows Azure - 9th November 2012:
Join us to tour the latest features of Windows Azure from Media and Mobile services to Windows Azure Active Directory. The day will explore the opportunities Windows Azure offers with Windows 8 and the latest Phone Toolkits (iOS, Android and Windows Phone).
What’s next? Here are the upcoming themes. Registration will open shortly.
Windows Azure - Architecture and Design (13 November)
Integration with Mobile and the New World of Apps (4 December)
Open Source Development (15 January)
HPC (4 February)
Big Data (24 February)
For more details of Azure in education including FREE Curricula see http://www.windowsazure.com/education
Are you teaching gaming or web development?
Modern ‘Atari Arcade’ Experience Features Fresh Graphics, Social Connectivity and Tablet Touch Gameplay, Play Now for Free at Atari.com
Atari, one of the world’s most recognized publishers and developers of interactive entertainment, has developed a partnership with Internet Explorer to launch the Atari Arcade. The browser-based portal is a next-generation collection of Atari’s classic games reimagined in HTML5 with fresh graphics, gameplay and integration with Facebook and Twitter.
Atari Arcade shines in Internet Explorer, but also works well in other modern browsers. Because of the quality of the IE experience, an ad-free version is made available to all Internet Explorer customers when they play Atari Arcade.
In celebration of Atari’s 40 year anniversary and the upcoming launch of Internet Explorer 10, classic games like Asteroids, Pong, Lunar Lander, Missile Command, Centipede, and others have been developed with new graphics and gameplay features. Like the arcades that first popularized gaming, players can go head-to-head with friends in competitive, real-time battles for high scores and leaderboard placement in the next evolution of Atari fan favourites like Super Breakout and Combat.
Atari Arcade demonstrates what’s possible when you couple HTML5 along with a fast and fluid browser that is perfect for touch, which is precisely what you get with Internet Explorer 10. Now together with Internet Explorer and HTML5, we get to see some of our favourite games jump into the next generation of gaming on the web – which is pretty fantastic.”
Atari’s new platform will grant developers access to CreateJS, a suite of tools for creating cross-browser, cross-device HTML5 gaming and media experiences. This new offering will give developers a platform to publish and monetize games with the ability to utilize features like Facebook integration.
Atari has released a promotional video for the event in which game industry luminaries Nolan Bushnell and Grant Skinner provide their perspective on 40 years of video games and HTML5’s impact on future development. The video may be viewed at: http://youtu.be/3qaF9-W2Dvg.
Visit the Atari Arcade now at Arcade.Atari.com.
For more information about Atari games and the latest news: - Visit our website: www.atari.com - Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/atari - Follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/atari - Subscribe to our YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/atari
For more on Internet Explorer, please visit http://www.beautyoftheweb.com/
For developers http://atari.com/arcade/developers/
We are thrilled to announce the availability of YoYo Games support for building Windows Store games
YoYo Games was founded in 2007 by a group of leading Games and Entertainment industry executives. The company, headed by CEO, Sandy Duncan (ex-Vice President of Xbox Europe), was created to support the founders' belief that a new generation of games development talent and devices was emerging and there was an opportunity to incubate and showcase some of the very best of this talent on these new and existing platforms.
GameMaker is available today under a variety of licensing tiers, including a free tier, from the YoYo Games website (www.yoyogames.com) and has been downloaded more than 5 million times since 2007. In addition, GameMaker is the teaching product of choice for more than 5,000 schools and Universities worldwide. In September 2011, YoYo Games introduced GameMaker:HTML5, unleashing the games development talent of hundreds of thousands of gamers on the web. YoYo Games estimates that over 130,000 games have been developed using the YoYo Games platform.
YoYo Games announcement - http://www.yoyogames.com
YoYo Games Windows 8 Opportunity - http://www.yoyogames.com/gamemaker/studio/multiformat/windows8
YoYo Games Windows 8 Contest - http://www.yoyogames.com/competitions/windows-8
Download - http://www.yoyogames.com/gamemaker/studio
Stay tuned, because Microsoft's BUILD conference is rapidly approaching, and Windows Phone will be there. BUILD sold out in record time this year, and if you weren't one of the lucky few who got a spot, don't worry, because the entire event will be streamed live. We're looking forward to going in depth with you on what's new in Windows Phone 8 for developers. Watch Channel 9 for session content 24-48 hours post-event.