Category Archives: Xbox

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#ifdef WINDOWS – Dev Center Analytics with Hannah Jimma

Analytics are invaluable when it comes to continued success with Microsoft Store. Dev Center analytics enable developers to measure success and generate learnings about how users use their creations, and allow for targeted actions to increase reach and continuously improve the overall experience.
I met with Hannah Jimma, a program manager on the Microsoft Store team focusing on Dev Center analytics, and I learned about what analytics are available today and some new features the team is working on for the future. Among other things, we covered:
       Measuring success of acquisitions, including what data is available on the way developers are discovering your apps
       Understanding how developers are using your apps and quickly discover bugs and crashes
       Capturing feedback from your users and interacting with them
       Analyzing data that is specific to Xbox
       Trying out new features in the Dev Center with the Dev Center Insider Program
and much more. Check out the video above for the full overview and feel free to reach out on Twitter or in the comments!

Dev Center’s Year in Review: 2017

In 2017, the Dev Center Team has been hard at work bringing new features and programs to the Windows developer community. Our goal is to deliver features that will help you, as a developer, attract new customers, engage with your current Windows 10 customers and monetize your apps and games on Windows.  Today, we want to share all the new and exciting things we’ve brought to the community within the past year. Below are just some of the improvements we’ve made:
The Dev Center experience:
Experience a modern and efficient Dev Center dashboard

Use the Import/Export feature to quickly create and update Store listings
Schedule the precise date and time that your app will be available in Store
Flexible sale pricing and configuration to help promote your app

Monetization opportunities:
Xbox Live Creator’s Program – now any developer can integrate Xbox Live into their game and publish to Xbox One and Windows 10

Offer In-app purchases subscriptions with automated recurring billing (Dev Center Insider Program feature)
Desktop Bridge – bring existing apps and games to the Microsoft Store and UWP
See how Evernote used the Desktop Bridge to bring their app to Microsoft Store

Customer engagement:
Create more engaging Store listings with video trailers that could drive more acquisitions

Offer personalized content to specific segments of your customer using targeted offers
Use search terms to help optimize how your app shows up in customer searches
App & game analytics:
View near real time health analytics for your apps
Filter health data with new filters; OS release version, architecture, Sandbox and PRAID

Download CAB files for app failures in the Health report that occur on a Windows Insider release
See how many customers viewed you Store page, acquired, installed and used your apps by viewing the Acquisition funnel
View your app reviews grouped according to categories with Review insight categories to see where you should focus improvement efforts

See how your customers are engaging with Xbox features in your game with Xbox analytics
Understand the impact of any Xbox Live client errors through the Xbox Live service health tab

View acquisition reports for your Office add-ins on Dev Center
Health and Install reports for Windows desktop applications (available through the Windows Desktop Application Program)
Microsoft Ads Platform:
Join the Windows Premium Ads Publishers Program which curates a list of best in class apps and games in terms of usage, engagement and experience

Utilize the Microsoft Ad Monetization Platform that provides ad mediation service ensuring that ads from different networks are delivered to developers from a single SDK
You can now use interstitial and native ads through the Microsoft Advertising SDK
We’ve added new ad networks (Taboola, Outbrain, Revcontent, SpotX and Smartclip) to our platform to help increase fill rates and revenue
We would like to thank all the Windows developers, publishers and partners for continuing to invest in the Windows 10 ecosystem. We look forward to continuing our work to help make you successful in 2018!

Announcing Babylon.js v3.1

Babylon.js is an open source framework that allows you to easily create stunning 3D experiences in your browser or your web apps.
Built with simplicity and performance in mind, it is the engine that fuels the Remix3D site, Xbox Design Lab or 3D objects preview in Teams or OneDrive on the web.
Earlier this year we announced the third version of the engine. Today I’m glad to announce its first update: Babylon.js v3.1.

The main goal of this version was to provide helpers to achieve high end tasks. Let’s see some of them:

Improving VR experiences with the VRExperienceHelper
Babylon.js v3.0 introduced support for WebVR and VR controllers (including Windows Mixed Reality, Oculus and HTC Vive). With 3.1 release, we wanted to make the process to add VR experience in your code simple.
Therefore, we introduced the VRExperienceHelper which will take care of the following for you:
Create the HTML button to enter VR mode
Create a WebVRCamera (if supported) and a DeviceOrientationCamera as a fallback (this camera will allow you to use device orientation events to control your scene. This is useful on mobiles for instance)
Add support for teleportation and rotation in the same way you can experience it in the Windows Mixed Reality cliff house
Add support for controllers picking (you can use your controllers to interact with the scene) and gaze picking (you can use your gaze to interact)
All of this will be available with literally 3 lines of code:

var VRHelper = scene.createDefaultVRExperience();
VRHelper.enableTeleportation({floorMeshName: "Sponza Floor"});

You can try it here:

We also added more WebVR demos on our homepage for you to try:

Building a 3D experience with 2 lines of HTML with Babylon.js Viewer
Babylon.js viewer is a new tool to allow you to integrate 3D into your web sites or web apps in a couple of seconds. Everything can be done directly from your web page:

<babylon model.title="Damaged Helmet"
<script src="// "></script>

With these two lines of HTML you can create a complete touch aware 3D viewer anywhere in your page.
The viewer can be configured in all possible way either with HTML attributes, JavaScript code or even with DOM elements:

<babylon extends="minimal" scene.default-camera="false">
<model url="" title="GLB Model" subtitle="BabylonJS">
<auto-rotate type="0"></auto-rotate>
<light1 type="1" shadow-enabled="true" position.y="0.5" direction.y="-1" intensity="4.5">
<shadow-config use-blur-exponential-shadow-map="true" use-kernel-blur="true" blur-kernel="64" blur-scale="4">

All the user interface can be updated to reflect your brand and the configuration model can also be extended.
Please follow this link to our documentation to learn mode about the Babylon.js viewer:
Create your demo setup with a few lines of code thanks to the EnvironmentHelper
For non-3D experts, setting up a 3D environment (lights, skyboxes, etc.) could be tricky. Therefore, we added a tool named EnvironmentHelper and directly available on the scene to help you with this task.
Using it is straightforward:

var helper = scene.createDefaultEnvironment();

And you can then get a good-looking setup (skybox + ground) adapted to your scene:

The helper offers a lot of options like enabling reflections or shadows:

var helper = scene.createDefaultEnvironment({
enableGroundMirror: true,
groundShadowLevel: 0.6,

See a live version here:
Helping the community with our glTF exporter for Autodesk 3dsmax
We introduced support for glTF 2.0 in Babylon.js 3.0 and we wanted to help our community to produce assets in this open standard format. This is the reason why we worked on adding support for glTF export in our Autodesk 3dsmax exporter.
You can now create your scene in 3dsmax and directly export it to glTF in one click:

More info here:
From the client to the server: Introducing the NullEngine
Starting with Babylon.js v3.1, we introduced the NullEngine which is a version of the main Babylon.js engine but we no need for a WebGL capable device.
The NullEngine will obviously not produce any rendering and thus can be used in a node.js / server-side environment.
It can be used to:
Run tests
Run a server-side version of your application / game
Use specific Babylon.js services (like glTF loaders for instance)
More details can be found here:
Improving the codebase
Babylon.js is entirely written in TypeScript. In order to improve the quality of the code we decided to turn on all strict type checking offered by the latest version of TypeScript (like the strict null check introduced by TypeScript 2.0 or the strict function types added by TypeScript 2.6).
With stricter type checking we can capture errors and bugs at compilation time and thus provide more reliable code for the community.
Improving documentation
Writing good documentation is a complex task. With this release we added more content for beginners. We now have complete course starting from scratch and going through all important aspects of the engine.

We also added several multi-steps guide so you can read and learn at your own pace.
If you want to know more or just want to experiment with our latest demo, please visit
And if you want to join the community and contribute, please join us on GitHub!

New DirectX 12 features in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

We’ve come a long way since we launched DirectX 12 with Windows 10 on July 29, 2015. Since then, we’ve heard every bit of feedback and improved the API to enhance stability and offer more versatility. Today, developers using DirectX 12 can build games that have better graphics, run faster and that are more stable than ever before. Many games now run on the latest version of our groundbreaking API and we’re confident that even more anticipated, high-end AAA titles will take advantage of DirectX 12.
DirectX 12 is ideal for powering the games that run on PC and Xbox, which is the most powerful console on the market. Simply put, our consoles work best with our software: DirectX 12 is perfectly suited for native 4K games on the Xbox One X.
In the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, we’ve added features that make it easier for developers to debug their code. In this article, we’ll explore how these features work and offer a recap of what we added in Windows 10 Creators Update.
But first, let’s cover how debugging a game or a program utilizing the GPU is different from debugging other programs.
As covered previously, DirectX 12 offers developers unprecedented low-level access to the GPU (check out Matt Sandy’s detailed post for more info). But even though this enables developers to write code that’s substantially faster and more efficient, this comes at a cost: the API is more complicated, which means that there are more opportunities for mistakes.
Many of these mistakes happen GPU-side, which means they are a lot more difficult to fix. When the GPU crashes, it can be difficult to determine exactly what went wrong. After a crash, we’re often left with little information besides a cryptic error message. The reason why these error messages can be vague is because of the inherent differences between CPUs and GPUs. Readers familiar with how GPUs work should feel free to skip the next section.
The CPU-GPU Divide
Most of the processing that happens in your machine happens in the CPU, as it’s a component that’s designed to resolve almost any computation it it’s given. It does many things, and for some operations, foregoes efficiency for versatility. This is the entire reason that GPUs exist: to perform better than the CPU at the kinds of calculations that power the graphically intensive applications of today. Basically, rendering calculations (i.e. the math behind generating images from 2D or 3D objects) are small and many: performing them in parallel makes a lot more sense than doing them consecutively. The GPU excels at these kinds of calculations. This is why game logic, which often involves long, varied and complicated computations, happens on the CPU, while the rendering happens GPU-side.
Even though applications run on the CPU, many modern-day applications require a lot of GPU support. These applications send instructions to the GPU, and then receive processed work back. For example, an application that uses 3D graphics will tell the GPU the positions of every object that needs to be drawn. The GPU will then move each object to its correct position in the 3D world, taking into account things like lighting conditions and the position of the camera, and then does the math to work out what all of this should look like from the perspective of the user. The GPU then sends back the image that should be displayed on system’s monitor.

To the left, we see a camera, three objects and a light source in Unity, a game development engine. To the right, we see how the GPU renders these 3-dimensional objects onto a 2-dimensional screen, given the camera position and light source. 
For high-end games with thousands of objects in every scene, this process of turning complicated 3-dimensional scenes into 2-dimensional images happens at least 60 times a second and would be impossible to do using the CPU alone!
Because of hardware differences, the CPU can’t talk to the GPU directly: when GPU work needs to be done, CPU-side orders need to be translated into native machine instructions that our system’s GPU can understand. This work is done by hardwire drivers, but because each GPU model is different, this means that the instructions delivered by each driver is different! Don’t worry though, here at Microsoft, we devote a substantial amount of time to make sure that GPU manufacturers (AMD, Nvidia and Intel) provide drivers that DirectX can communicate with across devices. This is one of the things that our API does; we can see DirectX as the software layer between the CPU and GPU hardware drivers.
Device Removed Errors
When games run error-free, DirectX simply sends orders (commands) from the CPU via hardware drivers to the GPU. The GPU then sends processed images back. After commands are translated and sent to the GPU, the CPU cannot track them anymore, which means that when the GPU crashes, it’s really difficult to find out what happened. Finding out which command caused it to crash used to be almost impossible, but we’re in the process of changing this, with two awesome new features that will help developers figure out what exactly happened when things go wrong in their programs.
One kind of error happens when the GPU becomes temporarily unavailable to the application, known as device removed or device lost errors. Most of these errors happen when a driver update occurs in the middle of a game. But sometimes, these errors happen because of mistakes in the programming of the game itself. Once the device has been logically removed, communication between the GPU and the application is terminated and access to GPU data is lost.
Improved Debugging: Data
During the rendering process, the GPU writes to and reads from data structures called resources. Because it takes time to do translation work between the CPU and GPU, if we already know that the GPU is going to use the same data repeatedly, we might as well just put that data straight into the GPU. In a racing game, a developer will likely want to do this for all the cars, and the track that they’re going to be racing on. All this data will then be put into resources. To draw just a single frame, the GPU will write to and read from many thousands of resources.
Before the Fall Creators Update, applications had no direct control over the underlying resource memory. However, there are rare but important cases where applications may need to access resource memory contents, such as right after device removed errors.
We’ve implemented a tool that does exactly this. Developers with access to the contents of resource memory now have substantially more useful information to help them determine exactly where an error occurred. Developers can now optimize time spent trying to determine the causes of errors, offering them more time to fix them across systems.
For technical details, see the OpenExistingHeapFromAddress documentation.
Improved Debugging: Commands
We’ve implemented another tool to be used alongside the previous one. Essentially, it can be used to create markers that record which commands sent from the CPU have already been executed and which ones are in the process of executing. Right after a crash, even a device removed crash, this information remains behind, which means we can quickly figure out which commands might have caused it—information that can significantly reduce the time needed for game development and bug fixing.
For technical details, see the WriteBufferImmediate documentation.
What does this mean for gamers? Having these tools offers direct ways to detect and inform around the root causes of what’s going on inside your machine. It’s like the difference between trying to figure out what’s wrong with your pickup truck based on hot smoke coming from the front versus having your Tesla’s internal computer system telling you exactly which part failed and needs to be replaced.
Developers using these tools will have more time to build high-performance, reliable games instead of continuously searching for the root causes of a particular bug.
Recap of Windows 10 Creators Update
In the Creators Update, we introduced two new features: Depth Bounds Testing and Programmable MSAA. Where the features we rolled out for the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update were mainly for making it easier for developers to fix crashes, Depth Bounds Testing and Programmable MSAA are focused on making it easier to program games that run faster with better visuals. These features can be seen as additional tools that have been added to a DirectX developer’s already extensive tool belt.
Depth Bounds Testing
Assigning depth values to pixels is a technique with a variety of applications: once we know how far away pixels are from a camera, we can throw away the ones too close or too far away. The same can be done to figure out which pixels fall inside and outside a light’s influence (in a 3D environment), which means that we can darken and lighten parts of the scene accordingly. We can also assign depth values to pixels to help us figure out where shadows are. These are only some of the applications of assigning depth values to pixels; it’s a versatile technique!
We now enable developers to specify a pixel’s minimum and maximum depth value; pixels outside of this range get discarded. Because doing this is now an integral part of the API and because the API is closer to the hardware than any software written on top of it, discarding pixels that don’t meet depth requirements is now something that can happen faster and more efficiently than before.
Simply put, developers will now be able to make better use of depth values in their code and can free GPU resources to perform other tasks on pixels or parts of the image that aren’t going to be thrown away.
Now that developers have another tool at their disposal, for gamers, this means that games will be able to do more for every scene.
For technical details, see the OMSetDepthBounds documentation.
Programmable MSAA
Before we explore this feature, let’s first discuss anti-aliasing.
Aliasing refers to the unwanted distortions that happen during the rendering of a scene in a game. There are two kinds of aliasing that happen in games: spatial and temporal.
Spatial aliasing refers to the visual distortions that happen when an image is represented digitally. Because pixels in a monitor/television screen are not infinitely small, there isn’t a way of representing lines that aren’t perfectly vertical or horizontal on a monitor. This means that most lines, instead of being straight lines on our screen, are not straight but rather approximations of straight lines. Sometimes the illusion of straight lines is broken: this may appear as stair-like rough edges, or ‘jaggies’, and spatial anti-aliasing refers to the techniques that programmers use to make these kinds edges smoother and less noticeable. The solution to these distortions is baked into the API, with hardware-accelerated MSAA (Multi-Sample Anti-Aliasing), an efficient anti-aliasing technique that combines quality with speed. Before the Creators Update, developers already had the tools to enable MSAA and specify its granularity (the amount of anti-aliasing done per scene) with DirectX.

Side-by-side comparison of the same scene with spatial aliasing (left) and without (right). Notice in particular the jagged outlines of the building and sides of the road in the aliased image. This still was taken from Forza Motorsport 6: Apex.
But what about temporal aliasing? Temporal aliasing refers to the aliasing that happens over time and is caused by the sampling rate (or number of frames drawn a second) being slower than the movement that happens in scene. To the user, things in the scene jump around instead of moving smoothly. This YouTube video does an excellent job showing what temporal aliasing looks like in a game.
In the Creators Update, we offer developers more control of MSAA, by making it a lot more programmable. At each frame, developers can specify how MSAA works on a sub-pixel level. By alternating MSAA on each frame, the effects of temporal aliasing become significantly less noticeable.
Programmable MSAA means that developers have a useful tool in their belt. Our API not only has native spatial anti-aliasing but now also has a feature that makes temporal anti-aliasing a lot easier. With DirectX 12 on Windows 10, PC gamers can expect upcoming games to look better than before.
For technical details, see the SetSamplePositions documentation.
Other Changes
Besides several bugfixes, we’ve also updated our graphics debugging software, PIX, every month to help developers optimize their games. Check out the PIX blog for more details.
Once again, we appreciate the feedback shared on DirectX 12 to date, and look forward to delivering even more tools, enhancements and support in the future.
Happy developing and gaming!

Xbox analytics report update in Dev Center

We are happy to announce that we’ve updated our Xbox analytics report with a new Xbox Live service health tab to provide visibility into Xbox Live’s service responses.
Xbox Live service health
The new Xbox Live service health tab helps you understand the impact of any Xbox Live client errors, including rate limiting. You are now able to drill down by endpoint and status code to more effectively fix issues. This includes exempt rate limited requests to see potential impact in cases of high volume of these services.
The report also provides a view on Xbox Live’s service availability for your title, so you can quickly determine whether an issue is due to your title’s code or a service outage. The report includes sandbox filters, so you can be more proactive and mitigate issues before your game is released.

Xbox analytics overview
The Xbox analytics overview tab shows who your players are and how they’re engaging with Xbox Live features, so you can make key business decisions for your Xbox titles. For many of these statistics, we also show the Xbox average, so you can easily see how your customers interact with Xbox compared to the average Xbox customer. You can view the following data in the overview tab:
Concurrent usage
Gamerscore distribution
Achievement unlocks
Game statistics
Friends and followers
Accessory usage
Connection type

You can learn more about the Xbox analytics report here. We look forward to the positive impact it will have on your players!

Windows Developer Day in London – Windows 10 Fall Creators Update SDK Availability

Windows 10 Fall Creators Update provides a developer platform that is designed to inspire the creator in each of us – empowering developers to build applications that change the way people work, play and interact with devices. To truly fulfill this platform promise, I believe that our developer platform needs to be centered around people and their needs.  Technology should adapt and learn how to work with us.
As we showed at Microsoft Build in May, the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update SDK delivers thousands of new capabilities and improvements that support this promise. Today, at Windows Developer Day in London, we’re celebrating three areas that help you, our developer partners:
Create inspiring experiences using the next revolution in technology – Mixed Reality
Modernize applications for the modern workplace
Build and monetize your games and applications
I’m pleased to share with you that you can get started now by downloading the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update SDK. Windows 10 adoption has been incredible – with more than 500 million monthly active devices. We are also seeing devices staying current with the latest updates faster than ever, with the majority of devices running the latest updates in less than 6 months, and over eighty percent of devices running the latest update in less than a year. We can’t wait to see the next wave of innovation enabled by the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update SDK.
Create inspiring experiences using the next revolution in technology – Mixed Reality
The next revolution of computing is Mixed Reality. Microsoft is the only company embracing the entire continuum for mixed reality, from augmented reality to virtual reality and everything in between. Windows 10 was designed from ground up for spatial interactions and the next wave in this journey is Windows Mixed Reality, uniting the digital and real world to create a rich, immersive world. As humans, we interact with space constantly, and Windows Mixed Reality will feel the most natural for users. With HoloLens, we have already demonstrated unrivaled innovation that is transforming industries. Now, our immersive headsets offer unrivaled experiences.
For developers, Windows Mixed Reality offers unique opportunities.
Our unified platform maximizes reuse across platforms and device form factors
Windows Mixed Reality provides reach on the broadest range of devices
Our Microsoft Store provides an unrivaled discovery opportunity
Millions of people come to the Store every day to get an application from our broad catalog
Modernize applications for the modern workplace
With the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update SDK, developers can easily create a new or update an existing application to support modern experiences that employees need, or customers expect.
Modernizing your deployment
The deployment system in Windows 10 has been significantly enhanced to help your users start using your application quicker and easier. This starts with the ability to only download the delta between updates, the updated bits versus the entire package to your end user. In addition, you can break up your application into components to allow streaming install. This will allow your application to work before your user has the entire application installed.
To assist with this modernization, the Fall Creators Update introduces the Windows application packaging project with Visual Studio 2017 version 15.4. This new project allows developers to utilize the app packaging without having to convert your existing installer. Just add the project and you’re done. Once your application is using the modernized installer, you now have access to all the APIs that have been added to the Windows Platform. For example, integration with Windows Hello to assist with security, action center integration to assist with engagement, and cross-device capabilities provided with device relay and activity feed.
Another major investment has been the integration of .NET Standard 2.0 which enables developers to reuse their code across platforms and devices with Visual Studio and integrates the vast array of libraries available in the open source community built on .NET.
Fluent Design System
The Fluent Design System is the evolution of Microsoft’s approach to creating the very best user experiences. Experiences with Fluent Design feel natural on the device you’re using, whether it’s a large screen desktop with keyboard, a laptop or tablet with touch, a mixed reality headset, or one of many other computing form factors. Applications using Fluent Design are optimized for consuming content and are efficient and powerful to use for creating and collaborating, and they help you to achieve more… they are experiences you love to use!
For developers, the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update provides a comprehensive solution for creating applications with Fluent Design in a way that’s simple, powerful and flexible to your needs. It includes UX building blocks, guidelines, samples, tools, and a community to help you build the best experiences for your customers. Here are some highlights:
The Navigation View control provides an easy, consistent home for getting around your app.
Acrylic Material gives you a rich new visual building block that helps you create information hierarchy and greater immersion in your app.
The Reveal Highlight interaction visualization built into many controls helps your experience feel natural to use across as disparate inputs as mouse, pen, touch and gaze.
Connected Animations aid usability by preserving context and increasing engagement, and are so easy to adopt incrementally.
Gesture Actions like swipe build on familiar patterns to help users efficiently and naturally get stuff done.
Learn more about all the different building blocks and features you can take advantage of at:
Device Relay and Activity Feed
Microsoft Graph and Project Rome enable new and exciting ways to drive user engagement across apps, devices and platforms. Device relay allows your customers to continue what they’re doing right now, but on a different device and Activity Feed, allows them to pick up an activity they were doing in the past, and continuing it now or sometime in the future.
Helping your customers stay connected to what they need to do right now isn’t as easy as it used to be. People have multiple devices they switch between and they expect them to all work together. Using the Remote Systems and Remote Sessions APIs, you can do truly delightful device relay scenarios to help your customers use the right device for the task.  The Remote Systems APIs enable you to communicate with the user’s devices across Windows, Android and iOS.
With the Activity Feed, you can keep your customers engaged and help them resume what they need to do next. Your customers can’t always finish what they were doing in a task or session in your app, but you can still help them pick up where they left off between devices and experiences by simply adding an activity to the Activity Feed using the UserActivity API.
Build and monetize your games and applications
Lastly, with the Expanded Resources feature in the Fall Xbox One Update, we’ve made another investment in the promise to open Xbox One to UWP game developers who want to build more immersive experiences. Now, developers will automatically have access to 6 exclusive cores, 5 GB of ram and full access to the GPU with DX12! We designed Visual Studio 2017 with game developers in mind! We built a brand-new work-load based installer in Visual Studio 2017, which optimizes the install experience for game developers, so you get everything you need and nothing you don’t.
We recently launched the Xbox Live Creators Program, and this gives anyone the ability to build and publish games for the Xbox One family of devices and Windows 10 PCs. You don’t have to go through concept approval, and the certification is simplified. What’s more is that you are able to leverage select Xbox Live features like stats, leaderboards and cloud saves. We have added more monetization options and tools in Microsoft Store. Interactivity is the future of live streaming and Mixer is our fast and interactive live streaming platform. We have the Mixer SDKs for the major game engines and languages and you can make something cool in less than an hour. Our goal is to create a community of indie game developers. We want to foster open discussions between developers and Windows, and each other. With that in mind, we are bringing back Dream.Build.Play in 2017. The 2017 Challenge has a prize pool over $225,000 (USD), with several categories.
Community and thanks
We were pleased today to have been joined on stage in London by two creative partners building UWPs for unique and innovative experiences.  Black Marble, a UK based developer is building on its history of simplifying law enforcement experiences with a new Mixed Reality UWP to bring MR to courtrooms. Texthelp, another UK based company, showcased a UWP application and Edge extension that helps improve reading and writing comprehension for children with dyslexia and students learning in a second language. Texthelp has also announced a new app, EquatIO, which assists learning in mathematics.
Whether you’re building immersive experiences for Windows Mixed Reality, games, education or business applications, community is crucial to the Windows developer platform. I’d also like to take a moment to thank all developers who are participating Windows Insiders Program and have been using the Fall Creators Update Preview SDK. We value your insight and suggestions, as well as your feedback.
I look forward to seeing what you create with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update SDK. The Windows Dev Center is open now for submissions to the Microsoft Store! For more details, go to

More Resources for Universal Windows Platform Games with Fall Xbox One Update

Since the advent of consoles, developers have asked for ways to create games for one platform that you could run anywhere. With the release of the Expanded Resources feature in the Windows Fall Creators Update, we are taking the industry closer to that goal than it has ever been before. Now, developers will automatically have access to 6 exclusive cores, 5 GB of ram and full access to the GPU!
When Windows 10 launched in July 2015, Windows and Xbox converged to a single operating system for game development and introduced the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) application model.
UWP apps created for Windows 10 PCs and Xbox games created for Xbox One could be bought and run side by side on consoles, but only in a specialized environment created for lightweight entertainment experiences.
Coming this fall, UWP games published through the Windows Store to Xbox One consoles such as Fallout Shelter by Bethesda Softworks, games in the ID@Xbox program, or games in the Xbox Live Creators Program will be able to access the expanded resources. UWP game developers get both a performance boost and a much larger sandbox in which to Dream, Build, and Play.
Team Xbox is excited to see how creators take advantage of this extra power to bring even more variety and creativity to Xbox One. ANYONE can become a creator for Xbox One, get started here.
*D3D12-Based UWP Games get access to the full power of the GPU

Windows Developer Day Returns!

Windows Developer Day is back! Join us on October 10, starting at 9:30 AM PDT via live stream, or attend a viewing party in your area (location list below), as we explore what’s new in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update for developers.
The day’s schedule features an introductory keynote by Kevin Gallo and members of the Windows engineering team, a live-streamed Q&A session and several streaming sessions diving deeper into the current Windows 10 update.
Learn what’s new for developers in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update
No matter what you’re working on, you’ll find plenty of new features and improvements to make your software more compelling:
Game devs
Game Mode and new performance enhancements improve the gameplay experience for most of your players.
Xbox Live Creators Program lets you integrate Xbox Live into your game and publish to both Xbox One and Windows 10.
Mixer is the only next gen streaming service that offers viewers real-time influence and participation in your players’ live streams.
Windows Store improvements help you promote your games with video trailers and control timing and pricing more precisely.
Commercial devs
.NET Standard 2.0 adds more than 20,000 new APIs and lets you share code across all your .NET code base.
Xamarin lets you use your existing C# and .NET skills to build truly cross-platform apps for iOS, Android and Windows 10 devices.
Desktop Bridge improvements to tooling and more make it much easier to convert your existing Win32 and .NET software to Windows 10.
Windows Mixed Reality delivers new levels of immersion to help you enhance the visual experience of your users.
Consumer devs
Microsoft Graph and UserActivity API make your end-to-end experience seamless by connecting screens and experiences across devices and platforms.
Fluent Design System helps you engage your users continuously across all their devices with beautiful, expressive experiences.
Tooling improvements within Visual Studio make it easier to create, convert and deploy your software.
.NET Standard 2.0 adds more than 20,000 new APIs and lets you share code across all your .NET code base.
Live Stream Viewing Parties
Join other developers from your local developer community and attend a Live Stream Viewing Party hosted by a Microsoft Windows Development MVP. Enjoy refreshments, watch the live stream, participate in the Live Q&A alongside your peers and make new community connections!
Here is a list of the locations: 
Amstelveen, Netherlands
Bonstetten, Zurich, Switzerland
Boston, MA, USA
Chicago, IL, USA
Cologne, Germany
Dresden, Germany
Durban, South Africa
Ghent, Belgium
Manchester UK
Mexico City, Mexico
Milan, Italy
Milwaukee, WI, USA
Moscow, Russia
Munich, Germany
Paris, France
Penang, Malaysia
Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain
Singapore, Singapore
Stockholm, Sweden
Vienna, Austria
Zagreb, Croatia
Learn more about Windows Developer Day and sign up here!

Dream.Build.Play 2017 Challenge Updates

When we launched the Dream.Build.Play 2017 Challenge in June, we had big plans for not just a contest, but a way for indie game developers to connect with each other and show off their skills and experience. We didn’t set out to replace existing communities, but maybe we could create a little something that would complement other systems. Our goal is always to help indie developers be as successful as possible, and Dream.Build.Play 2017 Challenge is just one thing we thought up.
Before I begin, I do want to say that this article is long. I’ve got a lot of cool and important information to share, and rather than break it up into individual posts and have you search for it in multiple places, I’m throwing it all down in one place. Come back and refer to this page as often as you need to. Ok, let’s get started!
State of Play
By the look of it, that contest is generating some great interest from you all. To date there are over 2,000 indie developers from all walks of life signed up on the competition site, and we know there are more to come. And what do I mean by “walks of life”? Well, we have students, we have professional developers trying their hand at building a game, we have dedicated indie studios who want to showcase their talents.
But it doesn’t stop there. We have indie developers from all over the world too. My home country, Australia, is represented, as is the US and the UK. But how about Bangladesh? Yep. Austria? Yep. Greece, Sweden, France, Brazil… The list goes on. Dream.Build.Play is turning out to be a truly global experience.
That’s all great and all, you say, but what about these big plans you mentioned?
Glad you asked.
The Big Plans
This month, we launched phase two of the Dream.Build.Play website. It takes the contest and amps up the stuff you can do with it in a big way, but we’ve tried to do it in a thoughtful way that will help you out for other things too.
As of now, you can log into the Dream.Build.Play website and check out the community of developers who have created profiles. And you can create your own too. Each profile comes with name, country, photo and a brief bio description. But then it can be enhanced with what I consider the special sauce of Dream.Build.Play. Besides that basic biographical info, you can add all the ways people can connect with you, plus all the skills you have, plus all the games you’ve worked on.
Yes, all. First, take connections and networks. You can choose from Xbox, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and so on, but you can also add your DeviantArt or Bandcamp accounts, or GitHub, Unity, Unreal or Stack Overflow accounts. And a whole lot more. And if there’s something missing, we’ve got you covered with a Personal Website link. Add as many as you want. Add none. It’s up to you.
When it comes to skills, it gets event better. We’ve built an extensive list of skills, from a variety of programming languages, to middleware and game engines, to more softer skills like game design. But if you want to advertise a skill that’s not listed, just add it in, and as long as it passes our moderation queue, it’ll show up in your profile.
Adding games is where the magic really starts to show through. You can add every game you’ve worked on, and each one comes with its own set of information. From the game’s name and genre, to cover art, screenshots and even a trailer video. And then add a description, and what platform category it belongs to and you’re almost there. Every game entry can have its own set of connections. So if you have a website for your game, a YouTube link, a Twitch channel and a Facebook page, add them all so people can check it out.
Why is this important?
We created the community like this for a very important reason: so you can all connect with each other. Let me give you an example.
Dave is building a game in Unity, but he doesn’t have a single audio engineering bone in his body. But he really wants to enter the Dream.Build.Play 2017 Challenge and potentially win big cash money. I can relate.
Dave heads to the Community page and filters the Skills list for Audio Engineering. In the results pane, he sees a few other members who have that skill. He clicks on Grace’s profile. Dave sees that Grace not only has Audio Engineering as a listed skill, but she also has Unity. Great! She’ll likely know how to incorporate sound into his Unity game.
He can then check out the games Grace has listed, heading to their websites, or videos, and check out the audio that she has created previously. He likes the sounds he’s hearing and decides that he wants to see if Grace would like to join him on his epic journey. He can then return to Grace’s profile and click on any of the Connections she has added and get in touch.
Cooler, if they agree to join forces, the Dream.Build.Play website allows them to do just that. All Dave has to do is head to his game page, edit it and add Grace to join his team. Bam! Both will now be listed as being part of the cool game that they’re collaborating on.
I love this community
One of my favorite things about the game developer community, is the willingness of everyone to help out and give people tips, feedback and advice on how to improve or fix their creations. I wanted to flag one great example of that that came out this week: Simon Jackson’s post on Unity and Visual Studio.
Simon and fellow indie dev Jim Perry brought to my attention a small issue between Visual Studio, Unity and Xbox Live. They thoughtfully investigated and figured out a workaround, and for all of you who are actively building UWP games in Unity who want to integrate Xbox Live, Simon has written up their findings on his blog:
Also, I also want to highlight that Simon has created a special area on DevPost for Dream.Build.Play here: If you’re looking for additional info or resources, or you want to contribute back to the community, please head there and take a look.
Quick recap so far
A quick summary of where we are:
Phase two of Dream.Build.Play has launched. Woo!
You can now add your personal profile, complete with skills, connections and games.
Games can have their own connections, as well as screenshots, videos and more.
Games do NOT have to be for the Dream.Build.Play 2017 Challenge. They can be used to showcase your experience.
You can search the community based on skill.
You can form teams.
One special note. As I mentioned right at the beginning of this post, we’ve had (to date) over 2,000 people register to compete. If you look on the Community page and see less than that, that’s because only those people who have created a profile will show up on that page. So get in there and create your profile and make sure your friends and colleagues are heading back to Dream.Build.Play and updating theirs too, so the community fills out.
But wait, there’s more!
I hope you didn’t think we were stopping there. I’ve got some exciting news to share! We’re announcing a new contest as part of Dream.Build.Play: The Developer Diary Contest.
The Developer Diary contest challenges Dream.Build.Play creators and developers to document their journey in building a game. It has some minimal requirements such as needing to do at least five posts or videos, across at least a month in duration, but it’s really about encouraging you all to share your stories with each other.
Talk about a pain point you encountered and tell people how you fixed it. Or maybe something you were pleasantly surprised by when you started exploring UWP. Or how about how Azure made your life easier with some kind of cloud coolness.
Here’s a great example from Tarh Ik who we shared this with just a couple of days ago:
And yes, the game he’s blogging about is indeed on Dream.Build.Play!
You’ll have until December 31st to create your Developer Diary and be in the running to win $5,000 cash and the adulation of your peers. Get to it!
Need help?
To finish off this article, I know that creating a game can be tough. But we’re here to help. Not only can you post questions to our Windows Developer Twitter handle or Facebook group, but you can grab a whole bunch of documentation, all conveniently located in one place: The UWP Game Development Guide!
Until next time, good luck, create your profile and add all the games you’ve worked on, and see you in the Dream.Build.Play community!
Oh, and keep your eyes peeled. We may have some other announcements soon.

Xbox Live Creators Program Is Now Live!

Back in March, we revealed the Xbox Live Creators Program. Today, we’re excited to announce that any developer can now directly publish their games to Xbox One and Windows 10. We’ve already had some great games published during the preview program (check out the list below!), but there’s always space for more, and it’s time for your game to shine. Microsoft is committed to ensuring that any developer who wants to publish their game on Windows 10 PCs and the Xbox One console family can do so, and the Creators Program enables creators big and small, from around the world, to do just that.
What’s the Creators Program, you ask? Xbox Live Creators Program allows any developer to directly publish their games – any of their games – to Xbox One consoles and Windows 10 PCs with a standard certification process already in place for any other app or game in the Universal Windows Platform ecosystem. In other words, if you have a Dev Center account, then you’re ready to publish your game to Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs.
But it gets better! Using the Creators Program also allows you to implement a number of Xbox Live services directly in your game. Stuff like Gamertag Presence, Xbox Live leaderboards and Connected Storage. Things that make your life as a game creator easier, but also enhance your gamers’ experiences. And you also get to take advantage of killer features like Game Hubs and Clubs, Mixer streaming (and integration for more interactive experiences) and some really awesome accessibility features to make sure your game is available for an even wider audience.
And because you get to use the standard Windows Store certification process, you can have the freedom to publish when you’re ready, set pricing the way you like and establish sales and updates that fit your schedule.
Any Creators Program game published on the Windows 10 Store will be listed in the Games category, it’s that simple. On the Xbox One console, we’ve created a special section of the Store called Creators Collection, so that your game can be easily discovered by people looking for something new. We also did this because we know from feedback from players, parents and developers, that the current curated experience on the Xbox One Store is something they love. So, having the Creators collection gives all of us the best of both worlds: A curated store and a fully open marketplace in the Creators Collection.
Does the Creators Program sound good to you? It does to us! And it’s so easy to do. First step is to build your game utilizing UWP and Xbox Live SDK, and for that you can use the tools you’re already using – Visual Studio, game engines like Unity, Construct 2, MonoGame and Xenko – and combine them with a retail Xbox One console and your Dev Center account. You’ll need to grab the free Dev Mode Activation app from the Xbox Store, but then you’re just a few button presses away from converting that retail machine into something ready for your development efforts.
The Dev Center account is the standard one for anyone building apps or games in the Microsoft ecosystem. If you don’t have one yet, it costs as little as $20 as a one-time fee. Then get started on your Xbox Live integration by checking out the Creators Program page and the Xbox Live Creators Program step by step guide.
Creators Program games have access to a large set of Xbox Live services, but not all of them. You’ll be able to implement features such as sign-in and presence, use of your Gamertag, leaderboards, access to your Activity Feed, Game Hubs, Clubs, Party Chat, Game DVR and broadcasting on Mixer.
However, since Creators Program is an open program as opposed to a managed one, some services are not available to you: Achievements, Gamerscore or internet multiplayer. The good news is that if you want access to these features, we encourage you to apply to the  ID@Xbox program where you’ll get the ability to incorporate these. And of course, there’s a path for games to move from the Creators Program to ID@Xbox during development (or even after they reach the Store) if a developer decides they want to add Gamerscore, Achievements or internet multiplayer later on.
While ID@Xbox was designed for professional game developers who wish to use the full set of Xbox Live features through a full certification process, the Creators Program gives all the other developers a “right-sized” set of Xbox Live services. So whether they’re small studios, hobbyists, makers, teachers and students, or if they’re just learning the ropes – the Creators Program is a simplified way to create and ship games to the Xbox community.
We know that the below set of titles is just the beginning. We’re going to highlight more of the diverse array of Creators Program games that catch our eyes on the Xbox Wire. I hope to see your game listed there one day soon.
Here’s a quick look at the first titles that will be available via the program:
Animal Rivals, Blue Sunset Games: Animal Rivals is an action-packed couch party game for one to four players. Drop into the game and fight for the Animalonia’s throne as one of the furry contenders in different mini-games and locations. The game itself presents a unique art style mixing the cartoonish looks and satire approach. (Xbox One, Windows 10)
Block Dropper, Tresiris Games: Block Dropper is a fast paced, arcade style, 3D platformer. Try not to fall as you guide your character through the challenging single player mode or grab a friend to battle head to head in a local multiplayer Block Battle Arena. Tresiris is a small game studio based in Olathe, Kansas, who create fun and simple games with quality as their top priority. (Xbox One, Windows 10)
Crystal Brawl, Studio Mercato: Gauntlet meets NBA Jam in Crystal Brawl, a 2v2 capture-the-flag local multiplayer game that melds fast action with MOBA-like strategy. Choose from a variety of characters with different abilities, with a notable twist: each character has a unique ability that alters the terrain. Experiment with different character combinations to uncover hidden strategies! Studio Mercato is an independent game studio based in New York City. (Xbox One, Windows 10)
Derelict Fleet, Bionic Pony: Derelict Fleet is a fast-paced space combat game. You are tasked with defending a refugee fleet as you travel the stars searching for a new colony to call home. Bionic Pony is a small indie studio based in Tampa, FL that started making Xbox Live indie games in 2010. (Xbox One)
ERMO, Nonostante: ERMO is a relaxing puzzle game featured with a calming and peaceful graphics. Immerse yourself in the landscapes and colors of ERMO and let you be carried away. You will learn the rules in a few seconds, but ERMO will catch you for hours. (Xbox One)
GalactiMAX!, ONLYUSEmeFEET: In the vast darkness of space, GalactiMAX has the player shooting aliens for points to pierce the heavens in classic arcade shooter action! As more aliens are defeated, the player’s ship will increase in size and power. How big can this ship get?! (Xbox One, Windows 10)
kubic, Pixel Envision Ltd: kubic is a relaxing optical illusion puzzle game based on M.C. Escher’s art, impossible objects and other geometric designs. The object is to construct the goal configuration from a number of pieces. (Xbox One, Windows 10)
Space Cat!, GershGamesLLC: Shoot your way past an onslaught of enemies and bosses. Collect weapon upgrades like missiles, bombs, laser beams and much more. GershGamesLLC is a group of young hobbyists that makes for fun on the weekends. (Xbox One, Windows 10)
Stereo Aereo, The Stonebot Studio: Stereo Aereo is an action rhythm game that is inspired by the pop-culture influences of the 80’s. You, the player, have to make sure that the mediocre space rockband Stereo Aereo, gets to their life changing concert, on time, in this comic styled sci-fi game. (Xbox One, Windows 10)
Finally, to celebrate the availability of Creators Program becoming open for any developer, we’re also highlighting the Dream.Build.Play contest, which has an Xbox One category for any game developer who incorporates Creators Program features into their game. So not only can you get your game on the console for the first time, you have a shot at winning some cash money while you do it. Sounds good to us!