Developers

Autodesk creates a wide range of products, from consumer-oriented Windows 8 apps like Sketchbook Express all the way to enterprise-level programs such as Maya 3D. The latter is used by movie makers, advertisers, and even gaming professionals to create 3D art and animations. But as mobile and indie game development has been on the rise, Maya 3D has sometimes proven too costly for smaller developers to use.

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Back when Windows Phone launched, developers had to fork over $99 a year for access to the Dev Center (then it was called App Hub).  However, at the beginning of this summer, Microsoft slashed the price to just $19, or as they aptly put it “the cost of a pizza”. That special offer was to expire yesterday, but Microsoft’s Todd Brix has taken to Twitter to announce that the price is staying for the near future (he actually announced it yesterday, but we missed it).

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Microsoft has unveiled its digital self-publishing indie developer program for the Xbox One, essentially enabling developers to self-publish their work for consumers to enjoy on their consoles. The program is titled Independent Developers @ Xbox (ID@Xbox - www.xbox.com/id) and the company promises a smooth experience regarding actual development, distribution and discovery of titles on the Xbox One digital store. Registration has opened today.

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Nearly two weeks ago Microsoft released App Studio for Windows Phone enthusiasts and potential developers. The web tool allows users to create fairly basic apps for Windows Phone without much prior development knowledge. Today the team announced that App Studio has over 50,000 active projects alongside new features. Let’s check them out.

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You might know Autodesk for their 3D design tools like AutoCAD and Maya, or their game design middleware like Autodesk Scaleform. They also make a couple of Windows 8 apps for consumers: Sketchbook Express and FBX Review, which we discussed when it released back in July.

During my recent trip to San Francisco for Casual Connect, I stopped by the Autodesk Gallery for a quick visit. From a quiet corner of the Gallery, Wes Adams, Autodesk’s Games Industry and Product Marketing guy walked me through some of the cool things FBX Review can do. Head past the break for our hands on video, plus a photo tour of the Autodesk Gallery.

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Microsoft launched its new online tool for new Windows Phone developers earlier this week, enabling those with app ideas to easily create and deploy working concepts. If you're a novice at app development, or simply reside in emerging markets and don't have an endless supply of funding, the Windows Phone App Studio beta is a simple solution that helps you get cracking without any obstacles. It's time to turn that app idea into reality.

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Most of the developers we spoke with at Casual Connect last week weren’t there specifically to promote games for mobile Windows platforms. But one team came for just that reason; submitting their Windows Phone and Windows 8 game to the Indie Prize Showcase contest. The game: Fling Theory from Vancouver-based Coding Jar Studios.

You might remember Fling Theory as one of the six games that Microsoft and its partners launched during GDC back in March. It also happens to number among the first Unity releases for Windows Phone 8. Jodon Karlik, the studio president and Doug Insley, technical artist walked us through Fling Theory’s gameplay, development process, and possible Xbox Live plans during our chat. Get all the details and see the video after the break!

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Microsoft's Todd Brix announced yesterday new developer tools to further expand the opportunity for those who wish to produce content for Windows Phone. As well as new capabilities for developers, the official blog post also goes into detail about new payout markets, as well as expanded payment options and how the store is growing. If you're considering whether or not Windows Phone is worth it, these changes may sway your mind.

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Are you a Windows Phone Developer looking to win a Nokia Lumia 1020? Nokia is sponsoring the August Developer Registration Drive where established developers can have a shot at a new Lumia 1020.

To qualify for the contest you must live in the U.S. or Canada, you must be an existing Windows Phone developer with at least one published app currently in the Windows Phone Store, and you must be an active Windows Phone developer as of August 31, 2013. This means you must have either published a new Windows Phone application or have published an update to an existing Windows Phone application within a 180 day period (from August 31st that would be March 5th).

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Today, Microsoft is making another effort to woo developers to Windows Phone, especially for those who are novices or who are located in emerging markets.

The latest change is two-fold and involves new online software for developers and a more lenient unlocking policy to sideload apps.The effort is to make it easier for developers to jump on board Windows Phone by lowering the cost and barrier to entry.

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Popular Windows Phone developer Liquid Daffodil has revealed a sweet deal for those who are looking at getting involved with platform development. Partnering with Wintellect (www.wintellect.com), who specialise in technology training and consultation for companies, limited-time promotional access to online training is now available to developers for free with a 14 day promotion.

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If you have a Nokia Lumia 520 (on AT&T), 925 or 1020 you already have the GDR2 update for Windows Phone 8. Otherwise the update is slowly rolling out, devices like the HTC 8X and Samsung ATIV S have been seeing it show up for their devices. GDR2 (aka OS build 10327) brings some new features and fixes to Windows Phone for consumers as documented here by Microsoft, in addition to the Other storage fix and new hardware support.

But what about developers? Evidence for an update to the Windows Phone SDK recently appeared and disappeared last night.

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Nokia's busy giving away Windows Phones. Actually, scrap that - when isn't good guy Nokia giving hardware to partners and developers? This is just a friendly reminder that the Nokia Future Capture submission process ends tomorrow. You've got to get your app ideas over to the OEM before the time is up to be in with a chance of winning your own Lumia 1020.

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Published an app on the Windows Phone Store? Wish there was some way to get noticed or perhaps tackle competition on the store? Developers who are attempting to break into the market may find it difficult to accumulate downloads and get their name out there, so how do you get apps and games noticed?

There are numerous ways (including Windows Phone Central - *hint*), but one that we'll highlight today is an example of a service that should be avoided (and reported where applicable) - fake reviews.

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Amazon Web Services (AWS), the company's cloud services, has added SDK support for Microsoft's Windows Phone and Windows platforms. In a blog post on the official AWS blog, a developer preview of the next version of the SDK for .NET introduces support for apps on both platforms. Developers can connect to Windows and Windows Phone apps to AWS services and develop an app that's backed by the cloud platform.

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Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 Consumer Preview introduced their latest version of the Trident based web browser, Internet Explorer 11. Today the company has released the developer preview of IE11 for those still on Windows 7.

Internet Explorer 11 promises to bring improved performance, faster page load times, new standards support for next generation sites, and a completely redesigned “F12” developer toolkit.

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The popular DI.FM client for Windows Phone, Beem has been made open source. The client essentially allows users to connect to DI.FM servers and stream EDM (electronic dance music). Supporting both standard and premium streams, the developer has released the source code on GitHub with documentation for others to get involved and work some magic. It's all released under the Microsoft Public License (MS-PL).

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This is a great week for Windows 8 game development. First the full version of Unity 4.2 arrived with Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 support. Now Autodesk, makers of Autodesk Scaleform and many more middleware solutions, has just released their latest development tool: Autodesk FBX Review.  The application will allow developers to view 3D characters and animations from a variety of devices, including Windows 8. Not only is FBX Review built specifically for Windows 8, but it’s free!

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Unity Technologies have announced on their official blog that version 4.2 of the popular game engine is now available. Three new platforms are officially supported with this version, including Windows Phone 8 and Windows. We've previously looked at the beta program opening up to Microsoft's new platforms, but this marks as a huge step in the right direction for developers to create more advanced content for consumers.

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Results of the largest mobile developer study, spanning 115 countries and 6,000 participating developers has shown that more developers plan to start developing apps and games for Windows Phone than any competing platform. That may sound like something to celebrate, but we have to remember that 71 percent of developers who took part in the study already have work published for Android and 56 percent on iOS. That said, it's positive they're showing interest in Microsoft's mobile OS.

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