• Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Today: “iOS app builders? Check out the free iOS to Windows app development training Live Stream


    Apple-ipad-2-16gb-wifi AsusVivoTab iphone surface

    Event Date

    Thursday Dec 13, 2012 - 9 to 5 PM PST

    Friday Dec 14, 2011 - 9 to 5 PM PST

    Time zone: (GMT-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

    Event Location

    Live Stream via Channel9 and the Verge

    Registration - http://bit.ly/iOStoWindows8

    You can register for the live stream here, then just point your browser to Channel 9 or to our registration site on the day of the event. You can also tune in at the Verge to watch the live stream.

    Join the Big Nerd Ranch and Microsoft for this free, two-day training designed to jumpstart your Windows Store app development.

    You will learn the ins-and-outs of the Windows platform from iOS developers who are now building Windows apps. Sessions will follow a low-key, interactive format where iOS terms and concepts will be mapped to Windows alternates. You will also get hands-on time to apply what you’ve learned.

    What’s the agenda?

    Times need to be finalized, but we’ll cover the following topics in sessions that are 30 to 60 minutes long:

    Day 1 – 13th Dec 2012

    · Introduction to the platform and the Windows Store

    · Design differences between iOS and Windows 8

    · Tooling: Visual Studio and Blend

    · C# for Objective-C developers

    · Asynchronous programming

    · Consuming web services

    · Intro to building Windows Store apps with XAML (controls, layout and styling)

    · Advanced UI development with XAML (data binding, templates, and collections)

    · Contracts and extensions

    · Ask the Experts panel

    · InstallFest

    Day 2 – 14th Dec 2012

    · Process Lifecycle Management and State Management

    · Notifications and Live tiles

    · Bing Maps, SkyDrive, and Microsoft Account integration

    · C++ for Objective-C developers

    · Reusing code with Windows Phone

    · Hands-on-labs

    How do I register?

    You can register for the live stream here, then just point your browser to Channel 9 or to our registration site on the day of the event. You can also tune in at the Verge to watch the live stream.


    Any iOS developer will benefit from this training, but we will focus more on those apps that are not games. For this event, there will be no deep game/graphics coverage (no OpenGL ES to DirectX deep-dives).


    Email your questions to windevcamps@microsoft.com

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Plugins for Unity3d



    Fortumo is making carrier billing on Windows Phone and Windows 8 available to more app developers.

    Fortumo have launched a custom version of our Windows in-app purchasing SDK for developers using Unity to build their apps.Integrating carrier billing to your Windows Phone or Windows 8 app built with Unity is now much faster, with no additional development effort needed. Here’s what you need to do to start accepting mobile payments with Fortumo in your app:

    1. Sign up at our homepage and create a Windows in-app purchasing service (note that the same service can be used for both Windows Phone & Windows 8 apps);

    2. Once you have created a service, download the Windows billing library for Unity from your Dashboard;

    3. Integrate the Fortumo Windows in-app purchasing SDK into your app. You can find the guidelines in our Developers Portal;

    4. Make some test payments – if everything works, you’re good to go!

    Fortunio are also offering developers  up to $25,000 to cover your integration costs.

    You can also check out the campaign that Unity is running to get additional benefits for bringing your apps to Microsoft platforms.

    If you have any feedback or questions regarding carrier billing on Windows Phone and Windows 8, get in touch with Fortumo via bd@fortumo.com


    prime[31], one of the most popular providers of plug-ins for Windows and Windows Store, make it easier for you to implement in app-purchases, use Live Tiles, monetize via ads, and connect to Azure storage. Starting today, through June 2015, you will be able to get all these plug-ins for FREE:

    Functionality provided

    Windows Store 8.0 and 8.1

    Windows Phone 8.0 *

    Handling trial and in-app purchases

    Store plug-in

    Store plug-in

    To get Live tiles, toast notifications

    Metro Essentials plug-in

    Metro Essentials plug-in

    To give you access to the Microsoft Ad SDK

    Microsoft ads plug-in

    Microsoft ads plug-in

    For easy access to Azure storage

    Microsoft Azure plug-in

    Microsoft Azure plug-in

    *Note that Windows Phone 8.1 support and corresponding free plug-ins will be coming soon.

    To take advantage of this offer and get your free plug-ins, visit the prime[31] website; free plug-ins will be marked as ‘Download Now.’ Please provide your name and email so prime[31] can send you the license, then just import the plug-in into your Unity project.

    You can see installation and other information at Plug-in Documentation. Also visit the prime[31] YouTube Channel for videos on how to get set up. For technical questions and support, please use the prime[31] support forums.


    Don’t forget about the Unity Developer contest with over $100K USD in prizes. Game submissions will be accepted through July 20, so be sure to download your prime[31] plug-ins and publish your game to have an opportunity to win.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Research PhD Scholarship Programme short listing announced Feb 2013


    A new round of the Microsoft Research PhD Scholarship Programme in EMEA started in September when 109 applications were received from 20 countries in the EMEA region.



    Applications comprised those submitted to the Initiative in Informatics with Edinburgh University (where we co-fund four PhD Scholarships a year) and a new initiative with University College London.

    The applications, which were submitted by academic supervisors and are often co-authored by Microsoft Research Cambridge researchers, are currently being reviewed by Microsoft internal and external reviewers and announcements will be made in Feb 2013.

    Students will then be appointed and start pursuing their research in the 2013–14 academic year.

    If your interest in more details click here.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Imagine Cup UK Regional Finals



    All students registered to www.imaginecup.com should be getting weekly newsletters explaining the regional format and informs them weekly on what hacks/finals are coming up in the near future.

    However they only get this if they have signed up on www.Imaginecup.com .

    To ensure that all students wishing to compete in the Imagine Cup and get a place in the UK finals they need to take part in one of the regional hacks.

    Here is a table about all the dates we have so far


    Key Dates & Venue


    February 15-17th Exeter University

    Hackathon and Finals



    March 23rd-24th UCL


    27th  March – UCL


    North East

    February 1st -2ndCentre of Life (Newcastle)


    March 26th- Sunderland Software Centre



    March 2ndCentre for Excellence in Computer Games Education at the University of Abertay Dundee.

    Hackathon and Finals



    Best of Luck to all the UK Competitors

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Adding Try before you Buy to your Windows 8 Game or app


    Windows 8 allows you to build trial functionality right into your existing app, using the LicenseInformation class. Using the methods in this class, you wrap key functionality of your app inside conditional statements. You can then decide to time-limit these features in the trial version, disable them totally, or even include advertising until the user buys the full version. This flexibility ensures you never have to write a second version of your app, or worry about in-app purchases – and your app will always be free to download from the Windows Store.

    You can also simulate the current status of your app (trial or full) by using the CurrentAppSimulator class, to test how it will appear to the user.


    Step 1: Pick the features you want to enable or disable during the trial period

    The current license state of your app is stored as properties of the LicenseInformation class. Typically, you put the functions that depend on the license state in a conditional block, as we describe in the next step. When considering these features, make sure you can implement them in a way that will work in all license states.

    Also, decide how you want to handle changes to the app's license while the app is running. Your trial app can be full-featured, but have in-app ad banners where the paid-for version doesn't. Or, your trial app can disable certain features, or display regular messages asking the user to buy it.

    Think about the type of app you're making and what a good trial or expiration strategy is for it. For a trial version of a game, a good strategy is to limit the amount of game content that a user can play. For a trial version of a utility, you might consider setting an expiration date, or limiting the features that a potential buyer can use.

    For most non-gaming apps, setting an expiration date works well, because users can develop a good understanding of the complete app. Here are a few common expiration scenarios and your options for handling them.

    • Trial license expires while the app is running

      If the trial expires while your app is running, your app can:

      • Do nothing.
      • Display a message to your customer.
      • Close.
      • Prompt your customer to buy the app.

      The best practice is to display a message with a prompt for buying the app, and if the customer buys it, continue with all features enabled. If the user decides not to buy the app, close it or remind them to buy the app at regular intervals.

    • Trial license expires before the app is launched

      If the trial expires before the user launches the app, your app won't launch. Instead, users see a dialog box that gives them the option to purchase your app from the Store.

    • Customer buys the app while it is running

      If the customer buys your app while it is running, here are some actions your app can take.

      • Do nothing and let them continue in trial mode until they restart the app.
      • Thank them for buying or display a message.
      • Silently enable the features that are available with a full-license (or disable the trial-only notices).
    If you want to detect the license change and take some action in your app, you must add an event handler for this as described in the next step.
    Step 2: Initialize the license info

    When your app is initializing, get the LicenseInformation object for your app as shown in this example. We assume that licenseInformation is a global variable or field of type LicenseInformation.

    Initialize the CurrentApp or CurrentAppSimulator to access the app's license info. Add an event handler to receive notifications when the license changes while the app is running. The app's license could change if the trial period expires or the customer buys the app through a Store, for example.

    Step 3: Code the features in conditional blocks

    When the license change event is raised, your app must call the License API to determine if the trial status has changed. The code in this step shows how to structure your handler for this event. At this point, if a user bought the app, it is a good practice to provide feedback to the user that the licensing status has changed. You might need to ask the user to restart the app if that's how you've coded it. But make this transition as seamless and painless as possible.

    Step 4: Get an app's trial expiration date (Windows only)

    Include code to determine the app's trial expiration date.

    Step 5: Test the features using simulated calls to the License API

    Now, test your app using simulated calls to the license server. In JavaScript, C#, Visual Basic, or Visual C++, replace references to CurrentApp with CurrentAppSimulator in the app's initialization code.

    CurrentAppSimulator gets test-specific licensing info from an XML file called "WindowsStoreProxy.xml", located in <installation_folder>\Microsoft\Windows Store\ApiData. If this path and file don't exist, you must create them, either during installation or at run-time. If you try to access the CurrentAppSimulator.LicenseInformation property without WindowsStoreProxy.xml present in that specific location, you will get an error.

    You can edit WindowsStoreProxy.xml to change the simulated expiration dates for your app and for its features. Test all your possible expiration and licensing configurations to make sure everything works as intended.

    Step 7: Describe how the free trial works to your customers

    Be sure to explain how your app will behave during and after the free trial period so your customers won't be surprised by your app's behavior.

    For more info about describing your app, see Your app's description

    Step 6: Replace the simulated License API methods with the actual API

    After you test your app with the simulated license server, and before you submit your app to a Store for certification, replace CurrentAppSimulator with CurrentApp, as shown in the next code sample.

    Important  Your app must use the CurrentApp object when you submit your app to a Store or it will fail certification.

    Trial app and in-app purchase sample


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    A Game Jam Sandwich


    Guest blog by Dr Jacob Habgood, Sheffield Hallam University 

    A game jam is an exhausting endeavour at the best of times: coding day and night to try and come up with a prototype for the next blockbuster game—or at the very least—a better game than everyone else in the room. Add a festival launch event for schoolteachers at the start, and an industry Game Republic lecture by Microsoft at the end and you have a game jam sandwich—a rare delicacy which tastes of pizza and smells of Redbull.

    The festival launch was for the 2013 Games Britannia videogame education festival taking place at Sheffield Hallam University in June this year. The focus of the festival is about providing hands-on workshops and competitions for schools based around game development. As part of this we run a game design competition for schools, in which pupils redesign classic videogames: last year it was Monty Mole, and this year it's Zool. The 'launch' was all about announcing details of this year’s competition, and releasing the completed version of Monty Mole as a published game (now available on the IndieCity game store in aid of the Special Effect charity). How exciting is that? A chance for schoolchildren to get their game design created and published! BBC Look North obviously thought so as they were there to interview the children about their game and they appeared on TV that very evening!


    Amongst all this media excitement, our own students had been challenged to make a Windows 8 game in just 24 hours using GameMaker Studio (the same tool used to make the Monty game). Fortunately, we had the support of Lee Stott from Microsoft to help the students to obtain free Windows 8 developer accounts via DreamSpark. He'd also kindly brought along a stack of Windows 8 tablets to test the games on and (most importantly in the eyes of the students) he provided the pizza. He was definitely the most popular man in the room.

    Students were put into artist/programmer pairs and told that their game had to be a single touch control and based on the meteorologically appropriate theme of 'ice'. As you can imagine, the next 24-hours involved a predictable number of appearances by snow men, ice skaters, polar bears and penguins, with a space man selling ice-cream on the moon thrown in for good measure.


    All of the first year students taking part in the Game Jam had been using Game Maker in one of their modules, but a few of the older students taking part had never used it before. It was a testament to Game Maker's simplicity that they were able to create game prototypes in such a short space of time. It gave the programmers a chance to focus on experimenting with gameplay through simple game mechanics rather than having to worry about the underlying technology for a change.

    The students worked incredibly hard day and night to get their prototypes done and everyone was really impressed with their dedication. There were times when you could have heard a pin drop, although that soon changed once the sound effect CDs came out! Twenty four hours may seem like a long time for an event, but it’s an incredibly short time in game development terms and the deadline was soon upon us. Each bleary-eyed team queued up to demonstrate their game to the judging panel and awaited their decision.


    The three finalists were announced as Snow Fight, Ice Fishing, and Sgt. Rick O’Shot. The worms-like gameplay in Snow Fight hit the judges’ nostalgia-spot perfectly and the winding game mechanic of Ice fishing was both impressive and intuitive to play. The bouncing game mechanic of Rick O’Shot was surprisingly simple, but very enjoyable. The final accolade for these three teams was to get to present their game in front of an audience of industry professionals at the evening’s Game Republic event. Lee Stott gave a very informative talk on Windows 8 game development to the assembled crowd of local veterans, before the teams got their chance to take to the stage and show off their achievements of the last 24 hours. Finally the suspense was lifted and Sgt. Rick O’Shot was announced as the winner, for its simple, enjoyable gameplay mechanic. The team received a range of Microsoft goodies, plus access to the Steel Minions studio to finish off the development of their game—so watch this space! Everyone then retired to the pub together for some well earned food and drink courtesy of Microsoft and Game Republic.


    Many congratulations to all our students who took part for showing the kind of enthusiasm and commitment that is essential to get into the games industry! Hopefully we will be seeing completed versions of many of their games appearing on the Windows 8 store in the near future. Having a published game has great value in the eyes of the games industry, and to be able to do this in your first year at university using Game Maker Studio, is an opportunity that every student should jump at. To encourage this, YoYo Games very kindly provided our students with temporary free Game Maker Studio licences, and Lee has set up both local and national competitions to give them a deadline to work to.

    Many thanks to everyone for their support with this enjoyable event and we look forward to seeing the fruits of their labour on the Windows 8 store!

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows Azure Research Award Program 2013


    Windows Azure

    Microsoft Research is soliciting proposals for the use of Windows Azure in research.

    Microsoft Research welcome research proposals from any branch of scholarly activity. To qualify, applicants must be affiliated with an academic institution or non-profit research laboratory. In addition to individual investigator projects, we are interested in projects that will support access to services and data of value to a collaboration or community. Winning proposals will be awarded large allocations of Windows Azure storage and compute resources for a period of one year.

    We will periodically announce additional special-opportunity RFPs on specific cloud research topics. These topics will include community research data services, streaming instrument data to the cloud, machine learning in the cloud, large-scale image analysis, environmental science, astronomy, genomics, and urban science.

    Your proposal should not exceed three pages in length. It should include resource requirement estimates (number of core, storage requirements, and so forth) for your project.

    Proposals will be evaluated and awards announced six times a year. The first deadline for proposals is October 15, 2013, and results will be announced within two weeks after that date. The next deadline is December 15, 2013, and on the fifteenth of every other month after that.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Imagine Cup 2012 Starting 06/07/2012




    Follow the action from Australia July 6 - 10 on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and the Imagine Cup blog.

    Imagine Cup 2012 - Registration


    Microsoft Student Partners, acting as roving reporters, are covering Imagine Cup and broadcasting live! Sit back, relax, and join in the fun.

    Imagine Cup 2012 - Registration


    There’s still time to choose your favourite team and help them win the People’s Choice Award. Vote for your favourite videos by July 9 and the winning team will go home with $10,000!

    Imagine Cup 2012 - Registration


    The Imagine Cup yearbook lists the project descriptions and introduces you to the teams competing in Sydney. Read about their inspiring apps, and wish them luck! .

    We are going to live stream the following Imagine Cup events,  here http://icsocialmediateam.com/live-stream/

    Best of luck to Team EyeWork @teameyeworks from Newcastle College and Northumbria University representing the UK.


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Kinect and Audio. How does the Kinect mic and audio array work?


    Channel 9 have published a great interview with Principal Software Architect Ivan Tashev the content is at Channel 9 videos.

    Ivan who works at MS Research has been responsible for a number of MS audio devices from Kinect to Microsoft Round Table.

    Ivan talks about the differences between Kinect 1.0 and Kinect 2.0 some fascinating insight into the technology and research behind an amazing product.

    For more details on Kinect and Kinect SDK see Kinect for Windows  http://www.kinectforwindows.com

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    TechEd Europe, 25-28 June, IFEMA – Feria de Madrid Convention Centre, Madrid, Spain



    TechEd Europe,  25-28 June, IFEMA – Feria de Madrid Convention Centre,  Madrid, Spain

    Register by 22 March to take advantage of the Early Bird price of €1,695, a €300 savings off regular pricing there will be also a limited number of academic tickets available from the 12/02/2013 for $1,195 so ensure book as soon as possible.

    At TechEd you will get 4 days of hands-on learning, deep product exploration and countless opportunities to build relationships with a community of Microsoft experts and peers. Need to deliver maximum business value while managing your company's technology investments?

    Session and Speakers

    TechEd Europe has a wide range of education opportunities and the technical tracks. You will learn shortcuts, glean real-world guidance and get product roadmap details from Microsoft and industry experts.

    This Years Special Events

    Delegates will get access to the technologies and opportunities to meet one-on-one with Microsoft product experts and fellow professionals at our ancillary activities.


    clip_image012Welcome Reception

    Check out solutions and services from Microsoft partners and meet with the Microsoft product groups

    clip_image013 Delegate Party 

    Mingle with your fellow attendees and countrymen along with some fun activities.

    clip_image014Ask the Experts
    Meet one-on-one with Microsoft technology experts and peers to exchange feedback on technology trends and how to leverage these effectively in your business.

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