Train2Game News Marmalade SDK goes free

MarmaladeDevelopers will now be able to download the Marmalade SDK for free.

Marmalade Technologies has announced that a free license is now available for its flagship product, which enables studios to create games for multiple platforms, including iOS Android, Blackberry, Tizen and both Windows Phone and Windows Store using a single codebase.

Developers will also have access to other products, such as Marmalade Quick, Marmalade Web and Marmalade Juice, which helps them convent iOS projects to run natively on Android.

Meanwhile, developers with Marmalade’s Indie, Plus or Pro licences can now develop games for Windows and Mac, Roku and selected Smart TV platforms.

“Following feedback from our developer community, I’m delighted that we are now able to give all developers the world over the ability to experience the full power of the Marmalade SDK for free,” says CEO Harvey Elliott.

“We know from our community that maintaining native performance for apps across different platforms is a top priority, and now all developers can use a free version of the Marmalade SDK, meaning no compromise on performance whatever their platform and freeing them to concentrate on making fantastic apps and games.”

Source: Develop

Train2Game News: Unity Update includes new platform support

unity-logoThe Unity engine has just been updated to 4.2 and it now includes support for Windows Phones, Windows Store and Blackberry 10.

In Unity 4.2, all users of the free version of Unity can publish to any mobile platform they wish, including Windows Phone 8, Windows Store, iOS, Android or BlackBerry 10, without any additional charge.

In addition, Unity Pro users will be able to use the Windows Store Pro deployment option, which includes the Windows Phone 8 and Windows Store apps platforms, free of charge.

Unity Pro users will have access to advanced Unity features when deploying their iOS, Android or BlackBerry 10 projects by if they choose to purchase Unity iOS Pro, Android Pro or BlackBerry 10 Pro Add-On products from the Unity Store.

A host of other features have also been added to the game development engine.

In the graphics realm, there’s now OpenGL ES 3.0 support for Android and static and dynamic batching for shadow casters and shadow collector pass.

The editor now has integrated version control support for Perforce, and, crucially, splatform switching, player building and asset importing can be cancelled, bringing greater flexibility to the software. Tweaks has also been made to the shader and texture importers to reduce the time spent switch between them.

Looking to the mobile development side, deferred lighting is now a feature on both Android and iOS, and there have been a number of usability upgrades for both platforms.

There have been improvements to other areas of the tool too, and you can read more about those, as well as more details on the features mentioned above on Unity’s blog page which you can find here, http://blogs.unity3d.com/

The major change for the 4.2 update is support for the new platforms, which means the engine provider has effectively doubled its platform supports.

Train2Game News: Microsoft offers points for Windows Store apps

W8CompThis is another great opportunity for Train2Game students who have a game idea and just want an excuse to get working on it! From now until 30 April, Microsoft will give you points towards a prize of your choice for every app you upload to the Windows Store.

Who is eligible to participate in the UK App Builder Reward Programme?

Open to individuals who are eighteen years or over at the date of entry and who have the applicable UK Windows Store and/or Windows Phone Developer Account.

What is the timeframe of the UK App Builder Reward Programme?

The programme is open for apps that are published between Monday 4th Feb 2013 to Tuesday 30th April 2013. App builders will have up to Sunday 19th May 2013 to claim points for their app(s) (see the “How Do I Claim My Points” section). The points must be redeemed for rewards by Tuesday 31st May 2013 (see the “Redeeming Points For Rewards” section).

What apps are eligible for the UK App Builder Reward Programme?

Windows Store and Windows Phone apps published between Monday 4th Feb and Tuesday 30th April 2013 are eligible for the programme. Furthermore, in order to earn points for your app, it must certain requirements. Click here for full details.

How do I earn the additional bonus point by incorporating Windows Azure Services:

  • Compute – Web/Worker Role, Azure Mobile Services and Azure Media Services.
  • Storage – Blobs, Tables, Queries.
  • Database – Windows Azure SQL Database

To validate that you are using one of the Windows Azure Services, please provide your Windows Azure Subscription ID and Live ID so this can be verified when you are claiming your apps for points.

How do I claim my points?

  • Firstly, develop and publish your Windows Store and/or Windows Phone app.
  • Secondly, register and sign in to the UK App Builder Reward Programme
  • Then, submit your app in the ‘claim points’ section. Be sure to include the name, URL of your app. In order to claim bonus points, be sure to include your Windows Azure details and/or existing Windows Phone or Windows Store app details if ported.

What happens to the points that I don’t use?

Any unused and remaining points earned in this reward programme that are not used before Friday 31st May cannot be carried forward to any future reward programmes and will, therefore, be lost. So, make sure you use your points before the programme finishes. App builders will have up to Sunday 14th April 2013 to claim points for their app(s). The points must be redeemed for rewards by Sunday 28th April 2013.

How do I ensure the points I claim are updated on the UK App Builder Reward Programme?

To ensure that your points are allocated effectively and efficiently, please ensure that you accurately input your Windows Store and/or Windows Phone developer details (publisher details, full name, and email according to the developer account).

When will I receive my points once I have claimed them on the website?

Please note that processing time is not immediate and not in real time. Points will be awarded after 5-10 working days. We will do our best to turn this around as soon as possible. But please bear with us and only contact us if you have not received your points after 10 working days you have claimed your point online. As outlined before, you can help by ensuring your publisher name, for the Windows Store and/or Windows Phone details are correct.

What is the maximum number of points I can earn?

There is no maximum in the number of points you can earn but all points earned must be redeemed by 31st May, and, there is a maximum number of points we have on offer for each point category. See below for the maximum of points we will allocate to each category.

General Points for Apps
Publish a Windows Store App 50 Points
Maximum of 60,000 points available across the whole rewards programme.
Publish a Windows Phone App 25 Points
Maximum of 12,500 points available across the whole rewards programme.
Bonus Points
Your Windows Store or Phone App incorporate one or more Windows Azure Services 25 Points
Maximum of 12,500 points available across the whole rewards programme.
Your app Windows Store app is ported from Windows Phone or Windows Phone app is ported from Windows Store. 25 Points
Maximum of 12,500 bonus points available across the whole rewards programme for WP>W8.
Maximum of 6,250 bonus points available across the whole rewards programme for W8>WP.

When will I receive my reward once I have redeemed my points?

You will receive your reward within 6 weeks of redeeming your points

What if I am a Windows Store or Windows Phone developer residing outside of the UK?

Sorry, but this programme is available to residents in the UK only (Northern Ireland excluded).

Is there a discussion forum I can join?

Yes, join us on the UK App Builder LinkedIn group here http://linkd.in/ukw8apps.

I have more questions, who can I ask?

Please email us on enquiries@my-rewards.com.

Train2Game News: Icey Monty visits Yippee! Entertainment

Icey Monty and Yippee! EntertainmentThis week the guys at Icey Monty had the privilege of heading over to Yippee! Entertainment as part of a Train2Game scheme to connect students with established games makers.

Yippee! Entertainment are the creators of Chimpact, the monkey-swinging title which hit number one on the Windows Store. Veterans of the UK’s gaming industry, members of the Yippee! team have worked on games such as: FIFA, Mario Artist Paint Studio, The Simpsons and The Rugrats.

The Train2Game student studio, made up of Lee Sainsbury, Nick Walker and John Esslemont, were taken on the visit to get an insight into the Yippee! team’s experiences as a start-up studio, take a look behind the scenes at Chimpact, see the team’s latest project in development and be given advice on video game design and development.

The visit

Icey Monty sat down with Steve Ruddy, Technical Director at Yippee! Entertainment, to discuss the tech they use for their titles. The Icey Monty boys were blown away by some of the things they were shown, and it really gave them an insight into how professional studios develop tech to manage time scales and repetitive tasks, and how to use tech to really polish a game.

They then met with Kevin Green, Lead Artist at Yippee! Entertainment. Icey Monty then discussed the importance of documentation, how to decide on the best design to proceed with and how to go about creating an interesting and innovative GUI. They learnt a lot about how to make the correct design decisions and talked about making an overall enjoyable title.

Icey Monty, were asked to show a short demonstration of Tamarex, their first title for mobile which is yet to be released. It was well received by the Yippee! Team and they got some great feedback on how to improve the game.

It was a pleasure for Icey Monty to meet the Yippee! team and get to see how a professional studio operates, to see what top mobile developers are currently working on. The students are incredibly grateful and wanted to thank Yippee! for giving up their time.

Special thanks to Lorraine Starr, Commercial Director at Yippee! Entertainment, for additionally giving the team a tour of media city and making sure they were well looked after.

Train2Game News: Rapid2D Competition

Rapid2DRapid2D Launches TEN THOUSAND POUND App Competition!

But that’s not all; there will also be runners up prizes of Xbox 360 consoles and bundles taking the total prize fund way beyond £10,000

Windows 8, has teamed up with industry sponsor Microsoft Corp. to launch an app competition with a first prize of £10,000.

Aimed at start-ups and student studios, while being open to anyone to enter, teams will be required to submit apps to the Windows  Store. The judging will be based on overall app quality submitted by a studio/team.

Myra Smallman, of Rapid2D, also announced, “To create a level playing field for those who are just starting out in the industry, Rapid2D has produced a range of templates for use with our exciting new engine, all available for free to competition entrants.”

Anand Krishnan, Senior Director, Developer and Platform Group, Microsoft UK, added, “We are proud to support and sponsor this amazing initiative. It offers opportunities for hobby builders, students and startups to bring their ideas to life. We are excited to see what the next generation of developers, designers, artists and coders can do with the Rapid2D game engine.”

The competition will launch at 15.00pm (UK) on Wednesday 23rd January 2013 via the Rapid2D web site. The first of the 10 templates will also be made available at the same time as will the latest version of the Rapid2D engine, Rapid2D V1.2.

Registration via the Rapid2D website also opens 23rd January. The closing date for the collections of apps being published is 2nd April 2013.  All Apps which are to be considered for the competition must be submitted to the Windows Store for approval by 12 midnight on 2nd April 2013.

Rapid2D competition more

It is not a prerequisite of entry to use the Rapid2D engine – entrants can develop a Windows 8 game with any language or middleware platform, whilst we recommend the Rapid 2D engine to utilize the templates and accelerate the game app development.

Individuals can enter, but obviously teams can share the demanding workload

Full terms and conditions available via www.rapid2d.com , however entry is restricted to the UK.

Train2Game News: Mid-week round up – 09.01.13

Xerneas and YvetalThe first news in this weeks Train2Game Mid-Week round up is a follow up to the Pokémon news from yesterday. The two legendary creatures that are briefly seen in the trailer have been named. They are Xerneas and Yveltal.

Video games had the highest total amount pledged out of all other categories on Kickstarter last year.  561,574 backers made 1.3 pledges totaling $83 million. Out of 2,796 video game projects launched, 911 were funded. Video games had almost double the amount of pledges than Films, the second most successful category. They make up nearly a quarter of Kickstarter’s total backers and total money pledged.

Valve have given the first glimpses of  what could be, the media named Steam Box. Code-named “Piston”, the system is still in a development stage and Xi3Coporation states the system will be “optimized for computer game play on large HD televisions”. The specifications have not been released yet, but will be built on Xi3′s Modular Computer chassis which is grapefruit sized, and will support both Steam and their recently released Big Picture mode.

Following the demise of City Of Heroes last year, Missing Worlds Media have decided to create a new superhero MMO, currently named Project Phoenix. Their aim is to build a Superhero game from the ground up and take what was successful from past games and build on it with new technology. If you are missing the super being you created, this could be one to keep an eye on.

Microsoft have sold 60 million Windows 8 licenses to date. The figure represents cumulative sales of Windows 8 including upgrades and sales to original equipment manufacturers for licensing. Windows 8 sales are following a similar trajectory to that seen with Windows 7, according to Windows chief marketing and financial officer Tami Reller. Microsoft also said that over 100 million apps were downloaded from the Windows Store in the two months following the digital distribution platform’s launch with Windows 8 and Windows RT. There are now more than 1,700 certified systems for Windows 8 and Windows RT.

Train2Game News: Eurogamer reports on Game Jam

With the release of Windows 8 and the student games being published on the Store, Eurogamer has done a story on the World Record Game Jam.
You can read the article below

The Microsoft-sponsored game jam

Train2Game News: A new ‘World’ has arrived

Steve Ballmer at the Windows 8 launch

Windows 8 is here. After many months of building anticipation the new Microsoft operating system has arrived.

Today saw the launch of the Windows 8 operating system, the Microsoft Surface tablet running the system and the Windows store.

Unlike previous versions of Windows, this one is designed for an array of different devices, including: PCs, notebooks, tablet computers and smartphones. It is built for a new generation of touchscreen devices, rather than the traditional PC and mouse.

Windows 8 has better battery life, faster boot time, a smaller memory footprint and has undergone 1.2bn hours of pre-release testing.

Windows have said that more than one thousand new PCs have been certified for Windows 8, with some being more affordable than several, already available, tablet computers. Many of the new PCs running the new operating system will have touchscreen ability, for users that want to control there PC with the swipe of a finger, instead of using a mouse.

Steve Ballmer, the Microsoft chief executive, says “Windows 8 PCs will be the best PCs ever, as the company faces down competition in tablets and smartphones from Apple and Google.

“Windows 8 shatters perceptions of what a PC really is and is a bold and innovative break from past Windows versions.

“Welcome to the world of Windows 8.”

Every Windows 8 device will come with the Windows store available and developers are adding hundreds of apps to it every day. The store has launched with an initial one thousand five hundred apps.

At the September world record winning Game Jam, the students who participated, worked on Windows 8 and a number of those apps are being released to the store. A list of all the student apps will be announced this coming Monday.