Social applications (games, sharing, and location-based applications and services) are very quickly becoming the most prominent types of applications. These social applications have the potential to grow from a few users to millions of users in an incredibly short period of time, and as such, they need a robust, scalable, and dependable platform on which to run to meet the growing demands of the users.
If we take the founding principles of Windows Azure (on-demand scalable computing resources, storage, and geographic delivery) and apply them to the needs of social games, we can quickly see how Windows Azure and Social Gaming is a perfect match. Companies like Sneaky Games (the developers of the Facebook fantasy game Fantasy Kingdoms) and Playdom (the makers of Bola Social Soccer, a Facebook, Sonico, and Orkut game with over 5 million users) are already using Windows Azure as their backend platform.
Windows Azure Toolkit for Social Games
To make it even easier to develop social games with Windows Azure, there is the Windows Azure Toolkit for Social Games. The toolkit allows you to quickly get started building new social games with Windows Azure. It includes accelerators, libraries, developer tools, and samples. It also has specific services and code to handle capabilities unique to games, such as storing user profiles, maintaining leader boards, in-app purchasing, and so forth.
As a starting point, the toolkit also includes the source code for a game called Tankster, created by Grant Skinner and his team at gskinner.com. The game is built with HTML5 and comes complete with reusable service-side code and documentation. It also supports a variety of social interactions including messaging, wall posts, and comments while player achievements and game stats are presented on a live leaderboard so gamers can interact with each other.
So what’s next?
Then have a look at the samples and Tankster.
If you’ve previously developed a game, see how you can overlay the functionality provided by the toolkit onto your game. If the toolkit doesn’t fit with your game, no worries. Think about your game’s architecture and where you can leverage Windows Azure’s on-demand compute, storage, and geographic delivery services to get your game in the Cloud. Either way, take this opportunity to see how you, too, can leverage the benefits of Windows Azure.
Need access to the Cloud?
Learn how Windows Azure can be used in curricula, support research endeavours, and enable student projects. Institution administrators can explore how to use Windows Azure for infrastructural and application need via Azure for Education Grants.
Microsoft provides grants for educators wanting to use Windows Azure platform in their curricula. These grants are facilitated through Windows Azure academic passes, which provide the following resources for a period of 5 months from the date of redemption: More info
Need access to Windows Azure outside the classroom? Working on a project on cloud computing? Or maybe your master thesis? As a student you can take advantage of the free Windows Azure trial offer and run a Small Windows Azure instance with a 1GB SQL Azure database for 90 days* More info
The Windows Azure Research Engagement project aims to boost scholarly and scientific research by extending computing to the cloud. We provide a cloud computing platform and work with researchers on projects that push the frontiers of client and cloud computing. More info
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