Games, Games, And More Games With Windows Azure and Windows Phone 7

XNAA couple of weeks ago, I posted about the HTML5 Game Camps going on this month and December. (NYC is 12/9 & Penn State is 12/14.)  There’s a lot going on when it comes to gaming… not just playing them, but also developing them.  If you’ve got the bug and want to try you hand at developing a game, Microsoft has some great options for you, including the XNA Framework. 

The XNA Framework lets you build games targeting the XBox, Windows PC, and of course, Windows Phone.  If you’re building a multi-player game with online components, then using the cloud with a Windows Azure backend is a great way to go.

I wanted to share with you some a couple of updated resources to help get you on your way to developing your own game.

Create & Publish Your Own Game To Windows Phone

AndrewParsonsDreamSparkLogoFirst, it is a lot easier than you think to build a game for Windows Phone and get it into the Marketplace. (Especially if you’re a student!) My teammate Andrew Parsons recently wrote a LONG, but thorough, step-by-step blog post on how. 

Andrew has detailed walkthroughs on how to get started with an AppHub (Marketplace) account, the tools, a sample game that you can build on top of, and how to complete the market publication process. 

As an added bonus, if you are a student, Andrew covers how you can register for DreamSpark and get FREE access to the AppHub for Windows Phone (normally a $99/yr cost)!

Read Andrew Parson’s post here:

Create & Publish Your Own Tower Defense Game

Windows Azure Toolkit for Social Games 1.1

WATSGSampleSecond, back in July, I shared news that there was a tech preview for a new Windows Azure Toolkit for Social Games (WATSG).  It was just announced yesterday on the Windows Azure blog that WATSG 1.1 was released.  The toolkit makes it easier for developers to quickly build social and casual games using Windows Azure.

The preview of the toolkit was built around a sample game called Tankster.  In the latest version of the toolkit, the team separated the toolkit code from the Tankster game.  This was done in order to make it easier to learn the toolkit and understand the basics of building a social game.  There are two new simpler samples included, “Tic-tac-toe” and “Four-in-a-row”.  These sample games are much easier to dive into than the full-featured Tankster game.

The core features of the toolkit include:

  • Samples Games (Tic-Tac-Toe and Four in a Row)
  • Authentication with ACS (Access Control service)
  • JavaScript Tests
  • Leaderboard
  • Game Friends
  • User Profiles
  • Invites and Notifications
  • Tests for both server and client code
  • Reusable JavaScript libraries

NathanTottenNathan Totten, a technical evangelist on the Windows Azure team, has put a post together walking through the latest version of the WATSG. Be sure to check that out here:

Nathan Totten: Windows Azure Toolkit for Social Games Version 1.1

You can find the project website and actual bits on Codeplex here:

Windows Azure Toolkit for Social Games


Winter XNA Games – RIT GameCamp

Thirdly, I wanted to remind you about the upcoming “Winter XNA Games – RIT GameCamp” coming up the weekend of December 2nd-4th in Rochester, NY. This will be a mega-game camp at the Rochester Institute of Technology.  If you’re into gaming, this might be worth the 5-6 hour trip to upstate NY from the NYC metro area!  It is four events rolled into one (details lifted from Andrew Parson’s blog):

  1. Game Jam Competitor - an all weekend challenge to build the best video game you can in less than 48 hours. Form teams of up to 4, and be prepared to build your game in XNA, HTML5 or Silverlight. This aspect of the Winter XNA Games starts on Friday evening and ends Sunday afternoon - be prepared to code and hack your way through the night and day to come out on top!
  2. XNA in a Day - learn how to develop games in XNA for Windows, Xbox 360 and Windows Phone - all in a single day. You'll create a game from scratch and go home with the tools you need to keep on going! Learning XNA in a Day is run on Saturday only - just turn up in the morning and by the time you head home Saturday night, you'll be on your way!
  3. Windows Phone Camp - a bit more serious about creating applications for Windows Phone and making money out of it? Come along to this all day event that first teaches you the ins and outs, then challenges you in a hackathon to see what you can do in just a few hours. The Windows Phone Camp runs on the Saturday of the Winter XNA Games weekend - learn, hack and, ultimately possibly, win in a single day? Sounds like my kind of thing, how about you!?
  4. HTML5 Camp - want to know more about the latest standard in browser-based applications? This four hour workshop will get you up and running as quick as you can code. A single Saturday afternoon can get you started - starts at 2pm and you'll be done by dinner - WOO!

For details and registration visit here:

REGISTER HERE for Winter XNA Games – RIT Game Camp

What are you waiting for?  Time to get the bits and build some fun stuff!

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