Cortana for Games

Because Microsoft is still working on porting Azure Mobile Services for Windows 10 Universal apps (you may cast your vote at the Visual Studio User Voice site), I’m going to pause the blog series I started last time and present you with a different topic today: Voice commands in games.

In Windows 10, Cortana can recognize your voice to tell you the time, check the weather for you, look up your next scheduled meeting or simply chat with you. As a developer, you may add as many additional voice commands to Cortana as you like – a great opportunity to increase the retention and lifetime value of your game!


In this blog post, we’re going to build a simple app that resembles popular mobile strategy games and extend that app with voice commands that allow the player to ask Cortana for their current gold, last attack or building construction progress.

To get idea of where we’re headed, take a look at this YouTube playlist illustrating our desired results.

Continue reading “Cortana for Games”

Creating A Windows 10 Game With Azure

Exciting times! Starting today, Windows 10 is available for everyone: During the next twelve months, people can upgrade for free if they’re running Windows 7 or Windows 8 on their machine. What’s in it for us?

Well, we can see that Microsoft’s efforts of rewriting the Windows kernel over the past few years have really paid off: With Windows 10, universal apps enable each and every one of us to develop a single app and run it on phones, desktops and consoles alike!

Universal Windows Platform

I found that this is the perfect time to start a new big blog series about developing multi-platform online games. In this series, we’ll learn how to build a classical strategy game on Windows 10 using a (free!) Microsoft Azure backend. Azure enables us to create a backend that scales to arbitrary user counts, is easy to connect to various client platforms (not just Windows) and comes with full tool support for maximum productivity. Azure is a huge platform, and this can really be a little overwhelming – it was for me, and I think it will be even for more experienced developers. So we’re going to go through this step by step.

We’ll talk about building and deploying client and server, authenticating users, implementing the game logic itself on both sides, and sending push notifications, among others. Whenever you’ve got any questions, or are aching to see a specific feature, just add your thoughts to the comments below!

Okay – let’s do this!

Continue reading “Creating A Windows 10 Game With Azure”

Twitter Digest 8

Wow, it’s been over two years since my last twitter digest! I’ve made the effort to scroll all the down Twitter to recover all of the fun you’ve missed 😉 Seven pages of nice tweets, here goes the first ten!


Giray Özil @girayozil  ·  13 Nov 2013

Someone made an internal tool called POT. Efficiency of relevant meetings dropped 20% due to obvious jokes.

Filipe Fortes @fortes  ·  9 Nov 2013

Debugging is like being the detective in a crime movie where you are also the murderer.

Jeff Atwood @codinghorror  ·  5 Nov 2013

Complaint-Driven Development: identify the 10 things users complain about most in your software, and fix those things. It works.

Giray Özil @girayozil  ·  1 Aug 2013

A recruiter called at 6am. You’d think they’d see what timezone I’m in by looking at my resume but who has time to read resumes these days.

Giray Özil @girayozil  ·  17 Jul 2013

Every time you feel lazy and send a bug back to QA to see if it’s magically fixed itself, a tester’s puppy gets diarrhea.

Jeff Atwood @codinghorror  ·  12 May 2013

After searching, cloth “armor” is apparently a fantasy RPG conceit more than historical reality. Turns out cloth ain’t stopping swords.

Markus Persson @notch  ·  29 Mar 2013

I’m so tired I could sleep.

John Carmack @ID_AA_Carmack  ·  26 Mar 2013

Wasted a decent amount of time because an archaic SetColor() function was expecting 0-255 instead of 0.0 – 1.0.

Markus Persson @notch  ·  7 Mar 2013

Here’s a list of the things I like about EA:

John Carmack @ID_AA_Carmack  ·  5 Mar 2013

I advocate the use of an idVec2i type for all two integer element tasks over discrete x/y, width/height, etc. A lot of code is improved.

APPX3104 after upgrading your Windows Store app to Windows 10

In my previous post I started talking about potential issues you might face when upgrading C++ Windows Store apps to Windows 10 Technical Preview along with Visual Studio 2015 Preview.

Another thing that might occur when trying to deploy your app on your local machine is the following error:

error APPX3104: You cannot create an app bundle when building for platform ‘x86’ which is not included in the list of platforms selected for producting app bundle. Set platform to a one of following values: arm.

Note that this error doesn’t occur when deploying directly for your ARM devices, such as your Microsoft Surface or your Windows Phone.

This happens due to an entry in your .vcxproj file which has most likely been created by Visual Studio 2013:

Removing that entry will allow you to deploy for all platforms again. In fact, this line won’t be present if you create a new Visual C++ DirectX Windows app from scratch in Visual Studio 2015 Preview.

MSB3774 after upgrading your Windows Store app to Windows 10

If you’ve recently installed the Windows 10 Technical Preview along with Visual Studio 2015 Preview, you might encounter the following compiler error after having upgraded your C++ Windows Store app:

error MSB3774: Could not find SDK “Microsoft.VCLibs, Version=14.0”

Chances are that Visual Studio automatically changed the Platform Toolset of your project:

Platform Toolset

This may be pointed out by your version control system as well as the only change in your project file after the upgrade:

Changing it back to Visual Studio 2013 (v120) (or <PlatformToolset>v120</PlatformToolset> in the project file) might resolve that issue for you.