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  1. If you are building games and projects in Unity and targeting the Universal Windows Platform (UWP), you may have noticed than in the recent Unity releases this was actually broken. What you end up seeing in your build UWP project in visual studio is the following error: If you dig further, you may also expose the underlying error code here: This prevents you building / updating projects from Unity to the UWP Platform. Once discovered, both Unity and Microsoft worked closely together to resolve the issues and updated their respective parts as quickly as possible. Fixing the problem The fix for this problem is fairly easy. However, it is a little time consuming (unless you have a mega fast download connection) as mostly it requires updating to the latest Unity and Visual Studio patch releases. 1: Install Unity 2017.1p5 or 2017.2p9 The first step, is to simply update your installation of Unity: If you are on Unity 2017, then this is 2017.1p5 (or newer) If you are on Unity 2017.2, then this is 2017.2p9 (or newer) For the 5.x cycle, just update to the latest patch (although I haven’t tested this) This will update both Unity and your install of the Visual Studio Tools for Unity 2: Update VS 2017 to 15.3.3 Once Unity is up to date, you will need to update your installation of Visual Studio. If you are still on VS 2015, then there is no action but you won’t be able to build UWP packages targeting the newer Creators update and won’t be able to build Mixed Reality platform. To update Visual Studio 2017, simple close all open instances of Visual Studio and launch the Visual Studio Installer Once it’s running (the first step may be to update the installer first), simply hit “Update” on your specific instance of Visual Studio (the installer will happily update ALL installed instances if you wish) and once it’s complete you will be on the latest version. Open Visual Studio to verify, click “Help –> About Visual Studio” in the menu and you should be running 15.3.3 (or newer). If not, check your internet connection and try running the installer again. 3: (Optional) Set player settings for project to .NET & .NET4.6 (NOT IL2CPP, not tested but reports say it doesn’t play nice with Live) Not strictly required but highly recommended for UWP projects, is to update the .NET Api Compatibility Level that is used in your built project. This allows you to use more modern C# 6 functionality if you wish without causing errors when you build it in Unity. To update this, open the Player Settings window in the editor using either “Edit –> Project Settings –> Player” in the editor menu, or using the “Player Settings” button on the “Build Settings” build window. In the Other section on this configuration page you will find the following settings. Not to be confused with the “Scripting Runtime Version”, which I’m told breaks UWP project builds (although I haven’t personally tested yet) 4: Build project targeting UWP SDK 14393 or higher To build for Modern UWP, you need to be targeting a minimum API level of 14393 (Anniversary Edition), For Mixed Reality builds you will need a minimum API level of 15063 (Creators Update). Either will work but you need to ensure you select the version that is right for your target. The current advice with new builds is to always target the latest but that is completely up to you. You will find the SDK selection on the “Build Settings” screen when you have the “Universal Windows Platform” target selected: 5: Open project in VS Once you have built your project, open it in Visual Studio to continue. 6: UPDATE NETCore NuGet package to 5.4+ <- without this, it still doesn’t work In testing I have found this is critical still for existing projects or when you build your first (ever) UWP project, you need to have the latest NETCore NuGet package downloaded and available else it will fail. you don’t have to update the other NuGet packages if you don’t want to (UWP Packages come bundled with the Application Insights NuGets for Windows Store integration for example), just the NETCore package. To check and update the versions of the NuGet packages, right-click on the “Solution” in the “Solution Explorer” within Visual Studio and select “Manage NuGet Packages for Solution…” Alternatively, you can also simply right-Click the “References” branch in your projects structure, also in the “Solution Explorer” in VS, this however will only show/update the NuGet’s installed in that single project and not the entire solution: Once the NuGet manager is open you will see the installed NuGet packages, with a notification if any updates are available (provided you have an internet connection). Simply select the NuGet package to update, NETCore in this case, select the version to update to on the right and click “Install”. You will then be walked through a set of screens to accept the license for that package (if one exists) and then a final “get out of jail free” accept or reject screen. Once complete, all the required references included in that package will be updated. 7: Build and Run for x64 only (x86 or Arm is a no go still) With everything in place, all that is left is to build your project. By default, Unity still insists on selecting the ARM platform as the default (don’t know why but I guess it’s too small a thing to want to change), so you will need to update this to the x64 platform (don’t use x86 unless you really need it, most UWP systems all target x64 now). After that, you can build. If you are unsure about which Solution Configuration to select (read, Build Type), remember what they are there for: Debug Used obviously for debugging, enables extra debugging information to be sent to an attached instance of Visual Studio (whether you run it from Visual Studio or just “attach” to it later). Will cause a performance hit when running but this is needed so you can walk through the code if there are any issues. It will also enable the debug window inside Unity to report errors to the screen should they occur. Release Builds the project but without all the debugging stuff. just runs your project. With Unity however, it’s keen to note you are still running your entire project with all the superfluous code that Unity has in a project. DO NOT SHIP THIS!!! Master This is a special Solution Configuration (just for Unity) that also runs code in Unity to strip mine unnecessary code / services and packages everything together neatly. This makes your Unity project run as fast as it can. <- SHIP/PUBLISH THIS!!! All well and good With everything in this article, you should have no further issues building your UWP projects and once you have gone through it at least once (I’ve found) you need not do it again (apart from updating NuGets, you should always do that) Any issues, let me know or comment on this post.
  2. Since Microsoft launched its Mixed Reality program, initially with the business focused HoloLens program, a lot of interest has been garnered for the experiences it has generated, especially with most of its game focused demos. Now that the program has begun targeting the consumer space with its new range of entry level Mixed Reality headsets (or Immersive Headsets as they are referred to) from Acer, Asus, Dell and others, the pace is certainly heating up. For full disclosure, I am a developer on the Mixed Reality program and received my preview headset from Microsoft. However, apart from being a Microsoft MVP (community evangelist) I have no direct connection to Microsoft and I do not work for them. This review is all my own works and opinions and has not been influenced from any vendor or supplier. Everything else I discuss in this article has been paid for and sourced by myself with the view to provide an unbiased review of the consumer experience with the new Mixed Reality headsets. All information is subject to the preview program for Mixed reality which is due for full release in October 2017. My concern as a developer, was how easy these new Mixed Reality headsets, portals and setup were for new consumers. How things are put together and any troubles new users could face. To make it a real experience, I even purchased a new entry level gaming PC and have not changed anything about it during setup for testing. For fun, I also dragged in my family, both old and new for a full comparison. What is Windows 10 Mixed Reality and how does it differ from the other VR offerings? With all of the existing Virtual Reality setups such as the Occulus Rift, HTC Vive (although now just referred to as Vive) and the Sony PSVR, there was a fair amount of setup and (in some cases) a fairly hefty upfront costs to gain the full experience. Most require a fairly restricted room setup through the use of cameras and other sensors which have to be specifically placed within a room (making it very difficult to travel with), as well as certain lighting restrictions or requirements. These experiences are astounding once they are up and running and truly immersive but to the every-day consumer, can seem quite daunting. The Windows 10 Mixed Reality setup on the other hand has been the easiest out-of-the-box setup experiences I’ve had to date. No fiddly cameras or sensors, any room will do (great for taking places) and the PC requirements for running a modest experience has dropped significantly. *Note, more of the PC requirements and experience levels later. The Devices Microsoft has taken a turn back to its roots and unlike the HoloLens, has given the manufacture and production of its new headsets to its OEM partners, which seem to be growing week on week at the moment. So far, they’ve announced the following headsets and vendors: Acer $299 Headset $399 Headset + Controllers HP $329 Headset $429 Headset + Controllers Asus $535 Headset + Controllers? (Controller bundle not confirmed) Dell $349 Headset $449 Headset + Controllers Lenovo $349 Headset $449 Headset + Controllers *All prices are subject to change and based on current published figures As you can see each device has a very similar look and feel based on Microsoft’s base specification, providing: 1,440 x 1,440 resolution in each eyepiece 90Hz refresh rate Adjustable headband (some also include special headbands which are anti-bacterial, a nice touch when multiple people use it) A Flip Up visor design, which makes it easy to switch to the real world without removing the headset USB 3 & HDMI connectors Each manufacturer has taken its own view and design with the specs to give a unique feel and weight to each. The Inside out experience The one main thing that sets the Microsoft Mixed Reality setup different to every other high-powered VR style experience (excluding the likes of Cardboard / mobile VR) is that it requires absolutely no external setup, no additional devices or sensors, it is literally just plug and go. This is all provided by the two front motion sensors and a collection of other sensors built in to the visor which track all movement within the headset and project it’s view outwards. It knows which way you are facing, what altitude you are at (standing, sitting and even lying down) as well as the angle of your head. In my own testing, this is extremely accurate, even if you “shake your head”. The tracking system is also not bothered by the light levels in the room, so whether it’s dark or extremely bright (I’ve personally tested both) it makes no difference. The only environment I’ve not tested in is outside, as the PC cords don’t reach that far. The way the inside-out sensors work (as opposed to the camera/sensor outside-in setup where you are “watched from outside”), is that the camera sensors track the headset’s movement by watching the room movement and then translating that in to direction. This is paired with another set of other sensors, such as a gyroscope and accelerometer, to both validate this input and also give relative force / angle measurements. This simply results in the headset itself knowing where it’s moving, instead of other systems tracking you externally. The HoloLens takes this further by actually mapping the environment it see’s, which the Mixed Reality (Immersive headset) is based upon. Currently developers don’t yet have access to this “view” from the sensors, so we can’t embellish the experience. But here’s hoping it is exposed later which will make for some even more fun projects. The Motion Controllers So far we’ve only see one exact controller design, to which most have observed that these resemble a melding of the current Vive and Oculus controller designs with the addition of a Windows button. Each controller has a touch thumbstick as well as a traditional thumbstick and the usual plethora of additional buttons to cater for most VR experiences. At the time of writing, I’ve yet to receive my controllers to pair up with my Headset experience. I’ll do a follow up post once they arrive. Unlike Vive, Occulus and PSVR however, these controllers require no additional sensors, devices, light up beacons or cameras, they simply use the existing sensors built right in to the headset. The headset detects the position / rotation of the controllers and the inputs are fed back to the PC through a bluetooth connection, no wires needed. Hardware Requirements One of the biggest things that has put off a lot of consumers from the VR space (again excluding phone like experiences) is the cost. The PC’s and Graphic card requirements of most systems has been considerable and well out of the reach of all but the prosumer / elite gamer. The tide has now turned with the introduction of the PSVR which only needs a Playstation 4 (additional hardware is provided with the headset to supplement the consoles hardware). Both Vive and Oculus have also lowered the bar for their minimum PC specification(although it still requires some high-end gear). Note, to run the Mixed Reality Headsets, you will have to update your PC’s operating system to at least the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. Available now in preview (insider program) and due for full release in October 2017. With the Windows 10 Mixed Reality setup, things are different. Sure, if you want the Uber high end experience, you will need a PC to meet that level but for the everyday consumer who just wants to experiment and play, there is now a much more comfortable zone which meets the means of the average gaming PC. * For Windows PCs with integrated graphics hardware, please note the following: Windows Mixed Reality immersive headsets will only run at a maximum of 60Hz. Windows Mixed Reality feature support has only been tested for, and confirmed to run on, the Intel HD Graphics (620 or higher) platform at this time. AMD integrated graphics platforms have not yet been tested or confirmed by Microsoft. AMD mobile CPUs have not yet been confirmed by Microsoft. As you will see later in this review, for my Personal setup, I purchased a Modest gaming PC (I paid approx. £750) which proved more than sufficient to run the Mixed reality setup. I probably would not recommend using Integrated Graphics chips and suggest using a more capable video card, such as those from Nvidia and AMD. The takeaway (TL;DR) In short, once you have an average gaming PC with at least HDMI 1.4 and USB 3.0 connections (the main things to check if you have the Blue USB connectors) and your PC has been updated to the Windows 10 Fall Creators update (available now in preview and full released in October 2017), you are ready to start. There is no additional setup, simply plug in your headset and you are good to go. Just try not to trip over the cable when connecting the headset to the PC. Testing the Consumer Experience With the preamble out of the way, let’s dig in to the real meat of this review. Being a developer, we usually have mega machines to cope with running both the title and the development environment at the same time, which creates an issue with testing. However, to get the real-world consumer experience, I dropped all that (actually, I replaced my setup because my main uber PC actually died and I needed a replacement that didn’t hurt the wallet too much) and began with what I had out of the box with my new PC. The Gaming PC Given most consumers will walk in to a computer shop or browse amazon (insert preferred online retailer here) and pick something that fits their budget for the most part. To the layman, the specs seem largely irrelevant, most of all general consumers (aka parents) are simply looking to get the most for the money they have. For those of us who are a little more tech savvy, we check specifications and ensure we are getting something that fits our needs balancing with our wallet. For my part I settled on a mid-range gaming PC which had enough power and didn’t stretch my wallet too much. With a keen eye on the Mixed Reality specs above, it had enough wiggle room and the only area I was particularly concerned with was the graphics card (I did however have a backup plan as my main graphics card was still good from my old PC). Breaking it down: Running Windows 10 Home edition – Well within the MR specs but as a developer I’ll likely upgrade this. For a consumer, this is perfectly fine for Mixed Reality (I didn’t upgrade for tests) Processor – Intel i5 7400 (7th gen) – A modest processor well within the Mixed Reality specs NVidia GTX1050 2GB – A robust graphics card with a decent amount of throughput. If you are looking at laptops, then make sure to go for a minimum of the 1050TI, just to be sure. 8GB Memory – Again, nothing major and the minimum you’ll see offered with most gaming PC’s and some power PC’s 256GB SSD – If you want your PC on in seconds and want things to run fast, I highly recommend an SSD. However, for MR it’s not essential if you want to save a few pennies All in all, I spent only £750 (Approx $950) which for a gamer who wants to play modern titles, this is about on par. you could probably shave a £100 or so if you shop around. I hoped would this PC setup would be sufficient for a good Mixed Reality experience with the fall back that I had my uber powered graphics card as backup if I needed. Which to my amazement, this rig absolutely flew through all of the tests I hit it with. The Headset The headset that I was sent, is the Acer development version of their Mixed Reality headset. I have to point out this is still classed as a preview device and not a production version, so the final version may have some slight differences between what we developers get and what the general public receive. Historically though, this is not far off and the main differences are with the packaging and documentation included with the headset (something prettier than a brown cardboard box) The first thing I noticed after unboxing the headset was how light it was. I’ve used all of the other headsets and there is a fair amount of weight with them. If you use them continuously, your head does start to feel a little heavy (which is fine because your eyes usually give up on you first, or your stomach if the dev hasn’t accounted for good VR movement). With the Mixed reality headset, there is practically nothing to it (the Asus headset is reported as the lightest, which might explain its higher cost). All of my family noted this while wearing it, they barely noticed the headset was there (ignoring the fact you are looking at a mountain vista from the get go). My only real complaint with the Acer headset is the head strap, it uses a push button fix / release system to tighten it. This can become quite fiddly, especially when multiple people are passing the headset around to play/test and can lead to a very common issue of “hair snagging”. Some of the other MR headsets use the more common twist lock, which would have been my preference. The other issue I faced was that the foam to protect your face on the headset (which is removable and washable, a nice touch) just isn’t thick enough. So much so, that when I wear the headset there is a gap between the foam and the sides of my face, which lets in light. I can work around it but it’s not the best, granted only really an issue in well light / daylight scenarios. My Test Area Not the tidiest of rooms (I am a dev after all) and with a casual onlooker, but my test room is good for a variety of reasons: A modest space to experiment in with a walkable space of about 2 Meters x 2.5 meters. Which is more than enough with the cable length you get with the Mixed Reality headset. The room is exposed to direct Sunlight for the morning (being fully surrounded by glass), shaded light in the afternoon and obviously pitch-black at night, with or without the spotlights. This gave me enough freedom to test all light conditions. It is a little cluttered, with a few shelves and other obstacles that my head and such, would not like to come in repeated contact with. The floor is quite slippery while wearing socks, for some skiing / swimming experiments. This gives us an approximate kind of space most gamers are going to have in some shape or form. The space is large enough for most walking tests and I have a nice chair on wheels for some fun sat down as well. I would probably think about looking into ways to extend the HDMI/USB cables and possibly fix them in an elevated position, to avoid tripping over the cables which is a common problem with all of the higher quality headsets (unless you have a backpack PC, which look totally awesome) Will all this ready, let’s unbox the headset, plug it in and get it setup. Challenge 1: Testing the setup process After you have unboxed all your toys and the boxes are strewn all over the living room floor, the first task any new Mixed Reality consumer is going to face is “how to plug all this stuff in anyway”. Sure, the headset looks cool while you are wearing it and you can look kind of space age while walking around. Eventually though you will want to actually turn the thing on. Check for Updates First task is to ensure the PC is up to date, no doubt there will be sufficient notice in the documentation for the headset, to ensure that you have upgraded/updated your PC to the latest and greatest Windows 10 build, namely the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (still no word at the time of writing if it’ll be called the “Autumn Creators update” or if we’ll have to live with the US Naming as well). So once your PC is updated, it’s time to plug it in. Side Note, for the purposes of this test I have installed the Creators update using the “Windows Insider Program”, which gives every person the chance to test out the newest updates from Microsoft before they hit the shelves. From October, this won’t be necessary, unless you want even newer builds/versions than the Creators Update. Plugging In The final installation guide that is released with the production headsets will likely recommended to launch the “Mixed Reality Portal” before plugging in the Headset but in true consumer simulation testing, I plugged it in before I even tried. Thankfully whether you plug the headset in first or launch the portal, it makes no difference, so all bases are covered there. Once the device is recognised and drivers are installed, you are ready to get started. Although at this point there isn’t much to see. Starting up the Mixed Reality Portal When you start the “Mixed Reality Portal” application for the first time (this new app is installed by default with the Creators Update), the first step will test your PC, your headset and then get everything else installed and ready: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Starting from the Top-Left and working right, let’s walk through the setup process: The First screen you see is as informative as you would expect, giving you some much needed information for what to expect from this arduous process (just kidding). Next, we have the critical System test. If your PC doesn’t come up to scratch, this will tell you where you need to focus. Whether it’s just newer drivers, replace your graphics card or grab the wallet for a newer PC. Now the fun begins, connect your headset to the PC, plugging in the Video (HDMI) and Driver (USB3.0). Once your headset is detected, you’ll get a personalised walk-through your gear. And a detailed view of all the ports, including the sensors, headband and where to find the in-built headset jack (no trailing headset wires!) – Just be sure to use one with a mic for the full experience. If you have purchased the extra controllers, you will then be prompted to pair them with the PC. Don’t worry if you haven’t, you can still use either keyboard and mouse or an Xbox One controller (provided you have the Xbox Wireless receiver in your PC) Next, we come to the all-important choice, do you want to sit or walk. The headset will work in either mode and it’s up to you which you will start with. Don’t worry, you can always switch later. If you chose to walk, you’ll need to setup your initial boundary. Here the device uses its sensors and your legs, to scan your room to work out where you can and can’t walk. First job is to setup your center. The process recommends this is at your PC but it isn’t essential. For your first go though, hold your headset in your hands and face your PC as instructed and Click “Center”. Now you will get a little demo about tracing your environment, this simply involves walking around your room, keeping the headset facing the computer (or your center) as far as you physically can (including how far the cable will let you go), when you return to the center it will automatically finish. In this shot, you can see the effect of the trace in my room setup, a little smaller than the demo. Once complete, the setup recommends jumping for joy, although I would recommend you put the headset down first. Now that you’re are all setup, all that is left to download the rest of the Mixed Reality setup, including the VR house that you begin with for experimenting (or kicking back and watching movies on the largest screen EVER!) Now you are ready, Don your headset and start exploring. As you can see, the setup experience has been well thought through and without the need for extra camera’s and sensors, the process is just as simple and plug-in, walk round your room and you are done. For the basic seated experience (e.g. space sim, driving, rollercoaster, etc) it’s even easier. Challenge 2: Trying it out with a non-techie Although the process was quick and simple for me, I still wasn’t convinced. So, I uninstalled everything, packed up my gear and challenged my 14yr old daughter to “have a go”. Within 20 mins the rig was back up and running and she was happily destroying my VR house and filling it with animals. So even with some basic tech know how (i.e. can plug things in the right ports) even teenagers can set this up. Challenge 3: First experiences As soon as you have the Headset up and running and attached to your head, you are entered in to the default Mixed Reality environment, that being your 3D virtual house. This includes such locations as: A veranda with an excellent view A library like area with shelves and some art A visitor area with a globe, pictures and applications running on the wall Finally, my favourite room (where I spend most of my time), the 100 ft cinema room. There’s a lot to see and you start to get a feel for how the basic Mixed Reality controls work, which are pretty much the same as any other VR experience. However… There is a flaw in the current setup as it doesn’t actually tell you HOW it works, you almost have to figure it out on your own. Hopefully, this will be resolved in the “Box” experience, where some manuals or “QuickStart” instructions but to be honest, I would have also expected this to be introduced to the “player” in their first run of the Experience. There is a “Holo Tour” app which does offer you some insight, but it isn’t installed by default. Additionally, new applications once installed don’t actually start just by running them, they are only available from the “in-house” experience where you can launch them, again there isn’t much to tell you that this is the case. As a developer, I’ll likely explore these start-up options myself and try to find an easy path. Both Oculus and Vive allow you to just Start VR experiences from the desktop and offer a similar “welcome tour” or “demo kit” as another option, more akin to the traditional PC gaming “Click to run”, so it feels normal. Will investigate more and maybe I’m just missing something. Like I said at the start, I was jumping in without reading and just testing the “out of the box” experience, so it may just be that. I fully expect SteamVR applications to “Just Start” else that would break the Steam experience but we won’t know / see more until it’s made available, likely on or just after the October launch. (no details released as yet to the SteamVR support) Challenge 4: Managing the setup If you know Windows 10, you will already be familiar with the “Settings” application, which is simply accessed by clicking on the start button and then clicking on the COG. It’s nice to see Microsoft are keeping trend with this when it comes to Mixed Reality, so the config is all under its own banner in the Settings application. No faffing and searching for hidden options. It’s also nice to see that this option is only available once you have completed the “Mixed Reality Portal” setup and is removed when the Mixed Reality extensions are uninstalled (yes you can remove them). Behind this are a small selection of options to customise your setup, including: Audio and Speech Setup Includes options to: Force the PC to switch to using the Headset’s audio port by default Force the PC to switch to using the Headset’s microphone audio port by default Is speech recognition (aka Cortana) enabled in Mixed reality (Allows you to control your environment and interact with it, might not be good in games) Plus, it includes some feedback and help options (actually, these are every screen so they are always to hand) Environment Controls This will reset any boundary or scans of your environment from the PC. Useful if you travel and need to re-setup the experience. It also includes options to “Reset Your Home” VR environment. (Like when your kids fill it with animals and delete all your stuff) Headset display options Through this screen, you can alter your perceived experience, this includes options to: Increase or decrease the Visual Quality pushed to the headset Useful if you PC is struggling or you want to see if it can perform at higher settings The Default is “Automatic” where the Mixed Reality setup will manage it for you Calibration If you are regularly having issues focusing on the display, you can tweak the focal distance the eyepiece uses to display visuals This can help especially if you use it without your glasses or have regular trouble. Usually tightening the headset band. There is enough space to also use it with your glasses on. Uninstall If by some chance you’ve had enough, are returning the headset or (more likely) transferring to another PC, you can remove all the Mixed Reality config from the PC It is also useful if you had an issue in the install / setup and just want to reset the entire process and start again. Through doing this write-up, I’ve had to do this several times. It’s quick, painless and leaves no lasting scars thankfully. Don’t worry about clicking it by accident, it’ll still ask you if you’re sure and even if you do, reinstalling is as simple as opening the “Mixed Reality Portal” again. Final Conclusions – Ultimate TL;DR From the Device’s, Price and initial setup, I can happily say the experience is far better that I could have guessed. I’ve worked with other development teams using alternate VR solutions and Microsoft’s Mixed Reality set-up compares equally on both quality and head tracking (in some cases better but time will tell). However, it far outstrips its competition with its rapid setup (not needing other sensors and a “special” room setting up) and its weight. There aren’t many apps yet, as the store is still in preview and developers can’t “publish” to it yet. But with the recent announcement of SteamVR support and the number of developers I’ve talked to who are already making UWP Mixed Reality versions of their games, I suspect this will rapidly ramp up come launch time. Not to mention the Dream Build Play competition, which has an entire category focused on Mixed Reality games with $50,000 at stake. I do hope the “first run” experience is tweaked or improved on the run up to launch, as this was the only area I felt it was “let down” slightly, but that is a minor thing and should be fairly easy to resolve, if it hasn’t already and I just missed something. Pro’s Lightweight and comfortable to wear No additional hardware sensors required, it’s all built in No need to remove the headset just to run another game, can be done in the environment or by simply “Flipping” up the visor and using your PC Extremely easy setup experience and detailed setup guide, even a 14yr old could follow it. Con’s Preview hardware had issues with the cushioning foam, didn’t touch face in places (might be different with release or other headsets). If you started the headset whilst it was outside of it’s boundary, it sometimes had trouble and you had to reset up the boundary. Like it’s cousins, it’s a wired setup. 3rd party providers will need to come up with ways to improve this, either going wireless or having a Wire Stand. Kids will need supervision, at least at first No way to “turn it off”. Might sound odd for a con, but by default the settings will wake the Mixed Reality Portal when the headset moves. this includes if you nudge it by accident. The simple fix is to turn this option off. But for first time users, they may not know where to look (even though it’s in the common settings screens). All in all, I’m very happy with the headset and the options this opens for me, as a parent, a consumer and a developer. The fact it can run on modest and fairly inexpensive hardware is a huge boon. That I have a full VR setup for just over £1000 means it’s very accessible and not cost prohibitive. If you already have a capable gaming machine, which meet these lower specifications, then your outlay is even less. All in all, I do think that Oculus and Vive have some serious competition on their hands with the new Mixed Reality range. The fact there are several suppliers and not just one vendor that are bringing these to market shows just how much Microsoft has thought about its strategy and has returned to the days when PC’s were great. Now VR truly has a chance of being great with it so readily accessible.
  3. If you are building games and projects in Unity and targeting the Universal Windows Platform (UWP), you may have noticed than in the recent Unity releases this was actually broken. What you end up seeing in your build UWP project in visual studio is the following error: If you dig further, you may also expose the underlying error code here: This prevents you building / updating projects from Unity to the UWP Platform. Once discovered, both Unity and Microsoft worked closely together to resolve the issues and updated their respective parts as quickly as possible. Fixing the problem The fix for this problem is fairly easy. However, it is a little time consuming (unless you have a mega fast download connection) as mostly it requires updating to the latest Unity and Visual Studio patch releases. 1: Install Unity 2017.1p5 or 2017.2p9 The first step, is to simply update your installation of Unity: If you are on Unity 2017, then this is 2017.1p5 (or newer) If you are on Unity 2017.2, then this is 2017.2p9 (or newer) For the 5.x cycle, just update to the latest patch (although I haven’t tested this) This will update both Unity and your install of the Visual Studio Tools for Unity 2: Update VS 2017 to 15.3.3 Once Unity is up to date, you will need to update your installation of Visual Studio. If you are still on VS 2015, then there is no action but you won’t be able to build UWP packages targeting the newer Creators update and won’t be able to build Mixed Reality platform. To update Visual Studio 2017, simple close all open instances of Visual Studio and launch the Visual Studio Installer Once it’s running (the first step may be to update the installer first), simply hit “Update” on your specific instance of Visual Studio (the installer will happily update ALL installed instances if you wish) and once it’s complete you will be on the latest version. Open Visual Studio to verify, click “Help –> About Visual Studio” in the menu and you should be running 15.3.3 (or newer). If not, check your internet connection and try running the installer again. 3: (Optional) Set player settings for project to .NET & .NET4.6 (NOT IL2CPP, not tested but reports say it doesn’t play nice with Live) Not strictly required but highly recommended for UWP projects, is to update the .NET Api Compatibility Level that is used in your built project. This allows you to use more modern C# 6 functionality if you wish without causing errors when you build it in Unity. To update this, open the Player Settings window in the editor using either “Edit –> Project Settings –> Player” in the editor menu, or using the “Player Settings” button on the “Build Settings” build window. In the Other section on this configuration page you will find the following settings. Not to be confused with the “Scripting Runtime Version”, which I’m told breaks UWP project builds (although I haven’t personally tested yet) 4: Build project targeting UWP SDK 14393 or higher To build for Modern UWP, you need to be targeting a minimum API level of 14393 (Anniversary Edition), For Mixed Reality builds you will need a minimum API level of 15063 (Creators Update). Either will work but you need to ensure you select the version that is right for your target. The current advice with new builds is to always target the latest but that is completely up to you. You will find the SDK selection on the “Build Settings” screen when you have the “Universal Windows Platform” target selected: 5: Open project in VS Once you have built your project, open it in Visual Studio to continue. 6: UPDATE NETCore NuGet package to 5.4+ <- without this, it still doesn’t work In testing I have found this is critical still for existing projects or when you build your first (ever) UWP project, you need to have the latest NETCore NuGet package downloaded and available else it will fail. you don’t have to update the other NuGet packages if you don’t want to (UWP Packages come bundled with the Application Insights NuGets for Windows Store integration for example), just the NETCore package. To check and update the versions of the NuGet packages, right-click on the “Solution” in the “Solution Explorer” within Visual Studio and select “Manage NuGet Packages for Solution…” Alternatively, you can also simply right-Click the “References” branch in your projects structure, also in the “Solution Explorer” in VS, this however will only show/update the NuGet’s installed in that single project and not the entire solution: Once the NuGet manager is open you will see the installed NuGet packages, with a notification if any updates are available (provided you have an internet connection). Simply select the NuGet package to update, NETCore in this case, select the version to update to on the right and click “Install”. You will then be walked through a set of screens to accept the license for that package (if one exists) and then a final “get out of jail free” accept or reject screen. Once complete, all the required references included in that package will be updated. 7: Build and Run for x64 only (x86 or Arm is a no go still) With everything in place, all that is left is to build your project. By default, Unity still insists on selecting the ARM platform as the default (don’t know why but I guess it’s too small a thing to want to change), so you will need to update this to the x64 platform (don’t use x86 unless you really need it, most UWP systems all target x64 now). After that, you can build. If you are unsure about which Solution Configuration to select (read, Build Type), remember what they are there for: Debug Used obviously for debugging, enables extra debugging information to be sent to an attached instance of Visual Studio (whether you run it from Visual Studio or just “attach” to it later). Will cause a performance hit when running but this is needed so you can walk through the code if there are any issues. It will also enable the debug window inside Unity to report errors to the screen should they occur. Release Builds the project but without all the debugging stuff. just runs your project. With Unity however, it’s keen to note you are still running your entire project with all the superfluous code that Unity has in a project. DO NOT SHIP THIS!!! Master This is a special Solution Configuration (just for Unity) that also runs code in Unity to strip mine unnecessary code / services and packages everything together neatly. This makes your Unity project run as fast as it can. <- SHIP/PUBLISH THIS!!! All well and good With everything in this article, you should have no further issues building your UWP projects and once you have gone through it at least once (I’ve found) you need not do it again (apart from updating NuGets, you should always do that) Any issues, let me know or comment on this post.
  4. Many devs I’ve spoken to or given advice for with regards Dream Build Play all worry about one BIG thing – Will It all be finished ready for the Big December deadline! It might seem an odd statement but I’ll explain why. What you are aiming for is enough to demonstrate your game, it’s gameplay and enough content to showcase your dream. Let’s expand on what I mean by that in this article. 1: Minimum Viable Product The minimum you should be aiming for with the Dream Build Play competition is a MVP or Minimum Viable Product. Not to say that is all you are aiming for but it is your bare minimum. What I mean by this, with regards to any game, is to have fully working gameplay with enough content to elaborate the vision for your game (and it shouldn’t crash ). This may also mean: It only works in a fixed resolution – no messing around with Portrait OR Landscape or resizing windows You might implement only one control method (if you plan for more, e.g. Gamepad, touch, keyboard and mouse) You may only do the first few levels, showing off the core game mechanic Some areas (like in open world games) may be off limits, or offer a “Coming Soon” or “Check back later” prompt You don’t need to go through regional certification or game ratings systems. Granted MS make this easy with IARC (International Age Ratings Certification), but still, time is better spent elsewhere. All in all, you are aiming to showcase what you game can be and how it stands out from everything else. 2: Expand your base Even with your MVP, try to add other elements which may or may not relate you your core game mechanic, including (but not limited to) A menu system Doesn’t need to be anything major or too flashy. But ensure it’s in the theme / style of your game (not a template). Include credits and if possible a demo reel (again keeping it simple) Basic Services integration Show how your game will have services integration like Live Logon, Leaderboards (even just one), Achievements. The Creators Club portal has tons of information on integrating with Live Services, samples and even an easy to implement API pack for C++ / Unity or C#. If you can, also look in to some basic Mixer support to really shine. Qualify for other categories If you want to maximise your potential once you have your base game running, also think about existing to other categories, like Azure, Mixed Reality and so on. Don’t go too mad but with your MVP ready for contest submission, see what else you can add. These are small things that you should have in your final submission, as shipping something that just jumps in to gameplay (unless it’s intended, if so mark that in your submission) doesn’t show good form. 3: Polish and Finish With your submission ready and if you still have time, there are a few other things to consider: Do a trailer Have a little fun, play the game, record it, mix it and have some interesting voice over (if it suits). You might find by playing your game from a different perspective that you will find some last-minute tweaks you can add for even more fun. Have other people play it! This one I can’t stress enough. Once you do have an MVP, or at least enough to play test, use the community, shout out to friends and have others play your game for feedback (and cookies!). Remember, you don’t have to implement all their feedback for the submission, some can wait until after. But look out for those crucial things that could lose you marks, like hard to use controls (not everyone thinks like you do), obscure UI (not everyone thinks like you do), Localization Nothing shows sheer determination than to show support for more than just a single language in a product. It demonstrates you understand the global market and what it takes, plus you are serious about the attraction of your game You can do Trailers and some other activities (like a post-mortem post) after the submission is posted, so keep that in mind when balancing the time budget. But be careful, if you suddenly find something after you’ve submitted you will likely slap yourself in the face, like REALLY Hard. That’s all for now. Right, I got a few more posts lined up I need to work on, but I’ll sum up here with the lasting points. Think of DBP as a GameJam but over 3500 hours (I’d recommend a few naps) Get it working first and iterate Don’t be afraid to change direction If you are slightly unhinged or have a lot of time in your hands, do more than one project Don’t sweat the competition. Just make your vision the best it can be and tweak it with things that you believe it will stand out. If you can delight your followers throughout the competition, you’ve won half the battle already. Granted the same can be said of normal game development but here, you have a more focused audience to appease. Later when you release you will get tons of backing, even if you aren’t the final winner. It’s a win – win overall with the amount of media attention that Microsoft and it’s partners have lined up Good luck to all
  5. As noted from my previous post on Dream Build Play, the competition has now roared in to life and everyone who registered is now able to start filling in their profile and highlighting both their existing games and their future competition entry. However, what is not immediately apparent, is that the profile system is there not just to showcase yourself, but to also offer your services to other devs who either are turned away at building something so big and new or need a little extra help on their project (I’m specifically looking at you, all those with skills beyond programmer art and play the guitar ) Get together with Dream Build Play Dream Build Play is meant to inspire all of us to Dream Big, Build the most uber project we can so everyone can Play it! But we don’t have to do it alone! Thanks to the profile system, if you don’t feel up to building your own project, then simply offer your services for either a share of the prizes or a share of the mountains of cash when it’s on sale (or just for recognition and thanks?). This enables anyone who’s already in the competition to look for help they need and recruit you in to their projects. Also, if you have this brilliant idea and not sure how to build it (or your art skills are like mine and a stickman is a bit of a challenge), then search for potential team members, reach out to them and then enter as one team, the choice is up to you. If you are advertising your services on the site, be sure to highlight exactly what you are good at! (and willing to do!) In the profile screen, you’ll see a lot of details you can enter. Everything from Your nickname, country and a sneaky little avatar picture, along with all your networks, connections and such. like Github, twitter, facebook, etc. What’s important if you want to put yourself out there, is a description of yourself and your Skills in the dedicated area. I’ve pictured mine just for reference (sorry, I’m not really available as I’m already busy ) Once done, you will be available on the site for all to see: Searching for a Star Now comes the fun bit, whether you are searching for your team mates or someone else is looking for you (best not to advertise it you’re wanted in some regard ). From the Community panel, you’ll be able to search for friends either by name, skills or where they live (so make sure you put down the skills you have) So, whether you’re looking for an artist, programmer, modeller, animator or just someone to make coffee in your local town (I joke, as there isn’t a coffee Skill. But there SHOULD be!) then this feature will make your life much easier. once you are done searching, reach out get chatting and, more importantly, GET BUILDING!
  6. The excitement is growing and a whopping 1500+ people have registered for this year’s competition, that’s by far the most entrants the event has had in a single year. initial reports show over 60+ projects already in the works, so it’s lining up to be a great competition. I’m not usually one for small titbit posts but I’m going to shout out a few to focus on a few aspects of the competition that really need some notice! Fill in your profile! – Shout about your game With the competition well under way, the second phase of the Dream Build Play site is now live, showcasing both the developers and artists that have registered for the completion. It also houses another section dedicated to the games either being worked on or historical games that devs have already published. Now if you haven’t already, you should fill in your profile on the site, this is great for several reasons: 1: Get Noticed There is a huge amount of traffic being reported on the site, not just by devs but also by people interested in the games being built. So it builds up some prestige and gets people following you. (see 2) Your profile talks about you, what games you’ve built, where to find them, where to find more out about you. You are in fact selling yourself as someone to take notice in for the duration of the completion and beyond! Don’t sell yourself short! 2: Build an audience People are repeatedly coming back to the site now that the profile system is up and running. Reviewers, youtuber’s and review sites are already doing the rounds checking on the entries. There is a lot of weight behind this competition, not just from Microsoft but also from its partners, sponsors and a fair amount of media backing as well as the whole gaming community. Dream Build Play even in its early XNA days of Windows / Xbox and Phone always got a lot of attention. Now that the net has widened with so many more chances to win. 3: Build your team! If you are struggling, you can use the site to find other people in the event who may be able to help you out. Some even may be there to just offer their services! I’ll follow up on another post about this specific service later. Remember, these profiles advertise you as much as they advertise everyone else. If you’re stuck, shout out for help. if you have time to spare or a fantastic set of skillz, then offer your services (and maximise your potential for winning!) 4: Advertise your current works A few smart devs have also started listing their existing projects that are live. Whilst not official entries, it highlights the devs capabilities for the projects they have already worked on. like a person’s game, check out the rest of the catalogue and get excited for more! Give people MORE reason to follow you! Give people more reason to follow your project and help you promote your entry. Feel free to put up demo’s / alpha builds on demo sites (like Itchio!) and go wild to showcase why yours is the best game in town. All this will lead on once you eventually publish your game as well! We are the champions! For now, all the best to everyone competing! It’s already starting to shape up like the best Dream Build Play competition of all time and we’re only a few days in! P.S. If you’ve read this far, be sure to check out my upcoming post about game dev diaries. In short, if you haven’t already, START ONE NOW!!
  7. It’s official, the world has ended as Microsoft has resurrected the hugely successful Dream Build Play challenge for 2017. The biggest main difference in this resurgence, is that you can now use any tool, framework or language you wish, So long as it targets Windows 10 UWP!. The competition is broken up in to 4 main categories with various Prize levels for each, totalling a MASSIVE $200,000 prize fund for entrants to win! The competition is open to all (AS IN WORLDWIDE) with only a few of the usual exceptions: If you are a legal resident in your place of residence and 18 years of age or older as of June 27, 2017. If you are 18 years of age or older but are considered a minor in your place of residence, you must have your parent’s or legal guardian’s permission to enter; and You have the technical programming education, experience and/or knowledge to create games for UWP; and You are NOT a resident of any of the following countries: Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria; and PLEASE NOTE: U.S. export regulations prohibit the export of goods and services to Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria. Therefore, residents of these countries / regions are not eligible to participate. You are NOT an employee of Microsoft Corporation or an employee of a Microsoft subsidiary; and You are NOT an employee of any company or organization that is involved in the provision of prizes, equipment or materials for this Challenge; and You are NOT involved in any part of the administration and execution of this Challenge; and You are NOT an immediate family (parent, sibling, spouse, child) or household member of a Microsoft employee, an employee of a Microsoft subsidiary, or a person involved in any part of the administration and execution of this Challenge. You also can’t (of note) submit a game that is being built by a major publishing house or one that is currently in development for console development programs such as ID@Xbox, PS Dev, etc. It has to be your own work and not linked to your development studio or company. If it wasn’t obvious, you also cannot submit games that are already published and sold, the game / project must be new. (AFAIK) If you are up to the challenge, there are a few key dates to be aware of! A brief history of Dream Build Play Dream Build Play which ran from 2007 through to 2012, has birthed some of the most famous Indies in the years gone by, including: SKA-Studios with The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai & I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES 1NIT!!!1 – So famous everyone is still playing their games Humble Hearts with Dust: An Elysian Tail (which went on to be bought by Microsoft Studios) Xona Games with Duality ZF (still going strong with new titles being released this year) To name but a few. Most Studios and 1 man bands, especially those that won, have all gone on to do great things and that was only with a single framework to build it in, Microsoft’s XNA Framework. Now, with the new and improved Dream Build play, the competition is open to anyone and everyone, with any tool, framework or language you wish, with only one single requirement: What is this Windows 10 UWP thing anyway? Now you might think this is just one big push to get developers to build games for Windows 10 and you would be completely right in that but nothing says more than “come build for my platform” than the promise of money. However, this competition is SOOO much more than that. The Windows 10 UWP ecosystem is a singular platform for building apps/games for Windows 10, it simply allows you to build a project once and then ship it to any client within the Windows10 family, such as: Windows 10 desktop (the primary focus for DBP this year) Xbox One UWP (the secondary focus, which you get for free as it’s a UWP platform) – The retail deploy, native Xbox isn’t required! Surface Hub Mobile HoloLens & Mixed Reality (also a focus for the competition) iOT All of which are available to deliver to with a single package. Granted, given some have different screen sizes (some with no screen), you still have to think about how your game will work in each target but that is no different than if you were building for the Web, or for other platforms, such as Android tablets and phones. What can I use to build my project? Where previously the competition was limited to Microsoft’s own game development framework XNA, this year the doors have been flown open to any Tool, framework, middleware that you can use, so long as it’s able to target the Windows 10 UWP platform. To make things easier, many of the largest companies already provide “out of the box”, so shipping to Windows 10 UWP is usually no more than a few clicks away. For instance, these companies all support UWP natively as an export platform: And that’s not to say you can’t just go your own way, as UWP has a full D3D rendering surface under the hood, so you can always roll your own C++ engine and just start firing things at the screen. Making your Game stand out! As ever with these competitions, it’s all about making your game stand out, making your Unique features scream at a judges face saying Pick me. Microsoft has already gone a long way to give you some pointers to make your final submission a big success, such as: 1. Cloud It’s no secret that most big games these days need some sort of backend infrastructure, whether it’s for a MMO or PVP arena, or just for chat systems. The competition literally screams out, do something unique with a cloud backend and make it scale. The platform however, will have to be Microsoft’s Azure platform. To help with this, Azure already has loads of samples and integrations ready for most of the big framework providers and if that wasn’t enough, there are open source libraries as well. It’s fairly easy to pick up and learn if you are new to the area, so simply plan for it in your design and do what you can to stand out. 2. Xbox Live Services (both desktop and Xbox) Microsoft provide the Xbox Live platform through their new Xbox Live Creators Program, which offers you libraries, connections to provide serviced for game engines include Construct 2, MonoGame, Unity, and Xenko (others are available as well). This enables you to Integrate with Xbox Live social experiences such as sign-in, presence, Leaderboards, and more. If you want more services, you can sign up with ID@Xbox to get access to the full range of services. 3. Mixed Reality It should be no surprise that everyone is jumping on the Mixed Reality bandwagon, offering games that work in VR, AR or Both. Adding this in to the Mix of your game will go a long way to impressing judges if implemented well. One note to remember, is you need to also think about special audio and give a good audio experience with your 3D game, just having a pretty 3D scene will NOT be enough. 4. Mixer Integration Originally called Bean, Mixer is Microsoft’s new Collaborative Video streaming service with a heavy focus on games (Like Twitch), what sets it apart is that you can now integrate the service directly in your game, giving YouTubers and players the ability to interact with the audience through the game (A truly mind bending experience). So, if you chose to make your game “YouTuber” friendly and build a project that includes not just the player but an audience as well, you will be well on your way to a prize! 5. ALL OF THE ABOVE No one said you should make your life easy. Providing you don’t go too far out of your comfort zone, do it ALL (or at least more than just a game). Gamers today are always demanding more and to keep pace you should find ways to give them more, quicker and easier. DREAM…. BUILD … GET PEOPLE TO PLAY Dream Build Play is back with a vengeance. You should look on this competition as the mother of all Game Hack events with huge prizes and goodies. More than that, every previous DBP comp has always birthed new Game Development Super heroes as the competition really highlights just what devs can do (especially with limited time) and then go on to be uber rock stars. So, what are you waiting for, the clock is ticking. Get registered and be ready to submit by:
  8. Dream Build Play Returns

    It’s official, the world has ended as Microsoft has resurrected the hugely successful Dream Build Play challenge for 2017. The biggest difference in this resurgence is that you can now use any tool, framework or language you wish, so long as it targets Windows 10 UWP! You can learn more about the competition at https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/projects/campaigns/dream-build-play-challenge. The competition is broken up in to 4 main categories with various Prize levels for each, totaling a MASSIVE $200,000 prize fund for entrants to win! The competition is open to all (worldwide) with only a few of the usual exceptions: If you are a legal resident in your place of residence and 18 years of age or older as of June 27, 2017. If you are 18 years of age or older but are considered a minor in your place of residence, you must have your parent’s or legal guardian’s permission to enter; and You have the technical programming education, experience and/or knowledge to create games for UWP; and You are NOT a resident of any of the following countries: Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria; and PLEASE NOTE: U.S. export regulations prohibit the export of goods and services to Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria. Therefore, residents of these countries / regions are not eligible to participate. You are NOT an employee of Microsoft Corporation or an employee of a Microsoft subsidiary; and You are NOT an employee of any company or organization that is involved in the provision of prizes, equipment or materials for this Challenge; and You are NOT involved in any part of the administration and execution of this Challenge; and You are NOT an immediate family (parent, sibling, spouse, child) or household member of a Microsoft employee, an employee of a Microsoft subsidiary, or a person involved in any part of the administration and execution of this Challenge. You also can’t (of note) submit a game that is being built by a major publishing house or one that is currently in development for console development programs such as ID@Xbox, PS Dev, etc. It has to be your own work and not linked to your development studio or company. If it wasn’t obvious, you also cannot submit games that are already published and sold, the game / project must be new. If you are up to the challenge, there are a few key dates to be aware of! A brief history of Dream Build Play Dream Build Play which ran from 2007 through to 2012, has birthed some of the most famous Indies in the years gone by, including: SKA-Studios with The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai & I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES 1NIT!!!1 – So famous everyone is still playing their games Humble Hearts with Dust: An Elysian Tail (which went on to be bought by Microsoft Studios) Xona Games with Duality ZF (still going strong with new titles being released this year) Most Studios and 1 man bands, especially those that won, have all gone on to do great things and that was only with a single framework to build it in, Microsoft’s XNA Framework. Read more about the history of Dream Build Play on Wikipedia. Now, with the new and improved Dream Build play, the competition is open to anyone and everyone, with any tool, framework or language you wish, with only one single requirement: It must target the Windows 10 Universal Windows Platform. View full story
  9. Dream Build Play Returns

    It’s official, the world has ended as Microsoft has resurrected the hugely successful Dream Build Play challenge for 2017. The biggest difference in this resurgence is that you can now use any tool, framework or language you wish, so long as it targets Windows 10 UWP! You can learn more about the competition at https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/projects/campaigns/dream-build-play-challenge. The competition is broken up in to 4 main categories with various Prize levels for each, totaling a MASSIVE $200,000 prize fund for entrants to win! The competition is open to all (worldwide) with only a few of the usual exceptions: If you are a legal resident in your place of residence and 18 years of age or older as of June 27, 2017. If you are 18 years of age or older but are considered a minor in your place of residence, you must have your parent’s or legal guardian’s permission to enter; and You have the technical programming education, experience and/or knowledge to create games for UWP; and You are NOT a resident of any of the following countries: Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria; and PLEASE NOTE: U.S. export regulations prohibit the export of goods and services to Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria. Therefore, residents of these countries / regions are not eligible to participate. You are NOT an employee of Microsoft Corporation or an employee of a Microsoft subsidiary; and You are NOT an employee of any company or organization that is involved in the provision of prizes, equipment or materials for this Challenge; and You are NOT involved in any part of the administration and execution of this Challenge; and You are NOT an immediate family (parent, sibling, spouse, child) or household member of a Microsoft employee, an employee of a Microsoft subsidiary, or a person involved in any part of the administration and execution of this Challenge. You also can’t (of note) submit a game that is being built by a major publishing house or one that is currently in development for console development programs such as ID@Xbox, PS Dev, etc. It has to be your own work and not linked to your development studio or company. If it wasn’t obvious, you also cannot submit games that are already published and sold, the game / project must be new. If you are up to the challenge, there are a few key dates to be aware of! A brief history of Dream Build Play Dream Build Play which ran from 2007 through to 2012, has birthed some of the most famous Indies in the years gone by, including: SKA-Studios with The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai & I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES 1NIT!!!1 – So famous everyone is still playing their games Humble Hearts with Dust: An Elysian Tail (which went on to be bought by Microsoft Studios) Xona Games with Duality ZF (still going strong with new titles being released this year) Most Studios and 1 man bands, especially those that won, have all gone on to do great things and that was only with a single framework to build it in, Microsoft’s XNA Framework. Read more about the history of Dream Build Play on Wikipedia. Now, with the new and improved Dream Build play, the competition is open to anyone and everyone, with any tool, framework or language you wish, with only one single requirement: It must target the Windows 10 Universal Windows Platform.
  10. OpenGL How dead is XNA?

    As Andy states, the dream of XNA is far from dev and it's still supported / taught across the world, Microsoft just choose to not acknowledge it for the moment (it's a bit like VB and that still seems to linger)   Its spirit still lives on in projects like MonoGame which is constantly evolving past the boundaries that XNA originally had including DX 11 and multi-platform support (now supports, WP 8, Win 8, Mac, iOS, Android, Ouya, PSM, Linux and likely more in the future)   Alternatively if you want an engine, then the SunBurn gaming engine from synapse gaming is still heavily XNA based and they recently re-engineered the XNA platform for their multi-platform offering which you can use with or without the Engine (pure XNA or XNA on steroids)
  11. RT @AdDuplex: Win From The Future: Win a Nokia Lumia 1520 or Microsoft Surface 2 by promoting your app for free! http://t.co/s82vWBOFWR #wp