On Saturday 23rd March, 12 of the Windows Games Ambassadors battled the snowy conditions to attend weekend long session aimed at helping them understand the opportunity of Unity and Windows 8.
The weekend was simply focused on Windows 8 and Unity3d exposure. The Windows Games Ambassadors are group of 17 students who have been recruited from across the UK’s Games Design, Games Programming and Games Technology University courses.
The goal of the weekend was simply to provide the ambassadors with a understanding of the opportunity of Unity and Windows 8. One of the key goals of the programme is to ensure that empower ambassadors to engage with student building AWESOME GAMES and portfolios using UNITY and other 3rd Party Frameworks either as part of their course or vocationally in their free time.
The weekend was an intense mix of presentations, coding and learning about the Unity beta + 3rd party plug-ins and assets used to develop Windows 8 games.
The weekend was structured as a learning exercise with the team broken down into coding pairs, each pair had mixed ability and skills and its a important learning exercise of working in a small agile development team.
The focus of the exercise was to:
1. Help the Windows Games Ambassadors understand the complexity of building a game with Unity and taking it Windows 8
2. To provide a focus on students developing a portfolio of Windows Phone and Windows 8 apps.
3. To provide the Windows Games Ambassadors with sufficient knowledge to discuss the pro and cons of using 3rd party frameworks
Modern Jago was our host location, Jago is one of Microsoft’s central London locations used for various developer and community outreach activity . The Day started with a overview of the Windows Games Ambassadors survey results, The survey had been completed by hundreds of students from across UK over the past few weeks.
The Survey results presented a number of interesting finding which can be seen below.
Each of the Ambassadors than had to present on their progress to date looking at the following areas..
1. Engagement, i.e. what clubs or societies had been formed how they were using social media and blogs to engage with students on and off campus.
2. Games and Apps Overview, an overview of their own apps and games, and those which fellow students had built or were being built
3. What events or hackathon/gameathon have been undertaken or planned to be undertaken
Unity3D and Windows 8
We then got to grips with Unity and Windows 8 development, we provide a short overview of the products and tools to ensure the Windows Games Ambassadors had the ability to understand current process for supporting Windows 8 with Unity projects. We covered building the pipeline and support of Windows 8 features such as live tiles, share charm etc. using both custom built unity plug-in (using VS2012) and also a 3rd party Unity plug-in
We presented an overview of Windows 8 and Unity3d including plug-ins to add share and live tiles to Unity3d developed games and made these a mandorty outcome of any apps developed during the weekend.
The day was made up of formal presentation, scrum meeting and Informal discussions. The teams got to mingle over lunch, helping building the team as the members cover the length of breadth of the UK. In the picture members from Hull University, University of West of Scotland, Westminster University, University of Portsmouth and Birmingham City University
Team Based Working
The Ambassador were matched in pair of mixed skills and abilities i.e. 1st year with 2nd year and from different institutions this was the first time they have ever worked together.
Two teams enjoy the informal spaces at Jago – Hull Uni team, Josh and John with University of West Scotland, Michael and Westminster University Tom working in pairs.
Over the entire weekend the teams worked as buddies, generally splitting the role of designer and developer
At the end of the second day, the teams who felt in a position to show a working game with Windows 8 features including as Live tiles, share etc. had to pitch their concept and game.
Team 1. Birmingham City University & Greenwich University
Team 2 Derby University
Team 3 Staffordshire University & Portsmouth University
Team 4 University of West of Scotland and Westminster University
Team 5 University of Hull
The Winning Team
1st Place Team 3 Staffordshire University & Portsmouth University - GRIDLOCKED
2nd Place Team 5 University of Hull – BASS
For more details of the Windows Games Ambassadors and their activities please see http://www.windowsgamesambassadors.co.uk