I have run a number of Windows 8 student events recently at numerous universities and colleges, and I’m gearing up to start again for the fall. Here is the list of links and resources that I provide to students, gathered in one place.
First, here are some general event resources. This includes a document on where to get free assets (sprites, backgrounds, sound effects, and music) and a PowerPoint describing the different types of Creative Commons licensing. This can help with game development.
Getting set up
Get Windows 8 and Visual Studio 2012
If you already have Windows 8, download Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows 8 (free download, halfway down the page in blue). If you already own Visual Studio 2012 in the Professional, Premium, or Ultimate editions, that will work too.
If you don’t have Windows 8, either install it (and then see above) or follow the instructions on Keith’s blog to set up a Windows 8 dev environment on Windows Azure.
Register for the Windows Store
Registering for the Windows Store is a two-step process for students.
- Get your free access token from DreamSpark.
- Click on the light blue square in the bottom right corner which says “start developing for Windows 8”.
- Under step 3, click “Get your registration code”.
- Click “Verify Now” and then “I do not have a DreamSpark account.” Enter your information. Then verify through your school.
- After this, navigate back to the link, repeat steps a and b above, and click “Get code now”.
- Register for the Windows Store. Use an individual account. Enter your free access token when it prompts you to pay $49, and hit “Update total”.
Visual Studio Windows 8 Development Resources
- Contoso Cookbook hands-on labs
- Windows Store app samples
- Starter kits – click on the “Visual Studio” folder
Scirra Construct 2 Resources
A company called Scirra makes an awesome tool called Construct 2 for game development. Games created with Construct 2 can be exported as Windows Store apps for Windows 8, Windows Phone apps, Android apps, iOS apps, and more.
- Download Construct 2
- The Shooter Tutorial – the best way to learn Construct 2!
- How to export your Construct 2 game as a Windows 8 app – this covers how to convert your game from Construct 2 to a Visual Studio project. Then you have to build an app package in Visual Studio, which can be submitted to the Windows Store. (Update: here is the new version of this page that works with universal apps.)
- Starter kits – click on the “Scirra Construct 2” folder
- Scirra forums
- Ryan Joy’s advertising plugin
- “GANG Game” multi-level example
TouchDevelop is a development environment optimized for touch, created by Microsoft Research. Apps created with TouchDevelop can be exported to Windows 8 and Windows Phone.
- Resources to learn TouchDevelop
- TouchDevelop eBook – available as a free download
- TouchDevelop courses
- TouchDevelop slides
- TouchDevelop documentation
- TouchDevelop tutorial videos
- Email the TouchDevelop team
- TouchDevelop forums
I need help!
If you are working on your Windows 8 app and get stuck, you can get help from the forums listed above, or directly from me and my team.
- Jennifer Marsman’s blog
- Jennifer Marsman’s office hours
- My team’s office hours
- Free online training from Microsoft Virtual Academy
The following programs and promotions may be beneficial.
App Builder Program – Learn to build Windows 8 and/or Windows Phone apps, and earn points to redeem for rewards (including XBOX games, Xbox LIVE 3-Month Gold Membership, Windows 8 Pro Upgrade, and/or developer registration costs paid for the Windows Store or Windows Phone Store!)