On 27 April, the team from the Moratuwa University, Team V360, emerged victorious at the Sri Lanka Finals of the Microsoft Imagine Cup 2012, held at the Sri Lanka Institute for Information Technology (SLIIT) Malabe.
The Imagine Cup is an annual student technology competition where student innovators around the world can harness their creativity and the power of technology to build groundbreaking, innovative solutions.
More than 700 students from 15 higher education institutes took part in the national competition this year. After receiving their awards from Microsoft Sri Lanka, the winner and the two runner-up teams will head to Australia to participate in Imagine Cup 2012 Worldwide Finals in July.
The winning team, Team V360, was selected from six semi-finalist teams. They presented their ideas to a lineup of judges that included Greg Young, CEO of Sri Lanka Telecom; Faiq Faaiz, Executive Vice President of Millennium Information Technologies; Padman De Silva, Chief Executive Officer of MS Technologies; and Imran Vilcassim, EPG Director of Microsoft Sri Lanka.
Comprising Thurupathan Vijayakumar, Malin De Silva and Rukshan Lakshitha Dangalle, Team V360 presented their winning project, “Back2Earth”, a technology that supports the 7th United Nations Millennium Development Goal: environmental sustainability. Their solution offers a one-of-a-kind interactive experience, creating awareness and enthusiasm by educating and actively engaging the public, encouraging them to contribute to environmental sustainability.
Microsoft Sri Lanka is one of the largest contributors towards enriching education in Sri Lanka. It was instrumental in introducing the “Software for the 21st Century” programme, which allows university students to gain access to the latest Microsoft software for free.
The Imagine Cup Grants Program, which is also organized by Microsoft, is a three-year, USD3 million competition to help students transform their ideas and their projects for businesses or non-profit organizations. These ideas aid communities that can benefit greatly from such technologies. The winning teams will also have the opportunity to collaborate with Microsoft to further develop and implement their plans.
The annual Imagine Cup has given students the opportunity to shine in a global arena, and apply what they had learned to real world problems. Through the competition, they were able to pick up useful skills and gain invaluable experience in a cross-cultural environment, ensuring their bright futures as entrepreneurs.
By Dony Sukardi
Editor’s Note: Fruit Ninja Developer Dojo was a 2 day seminar organized by Microsoft Singapore and e27. This session gave local game developers a rare opportunity to learn about game development practices and marketing techniques from the founders of Halfbrick Studios, the makers of one of the world's leading casual games - Fruit Ninja - which is played by millions around the world and is available on Microsoft platforms such as Windows 8 and Xbox Kinect.
The Fruit Ninja #DevDojo proved to be a great evening with interaction amongst the participants, sharing their passion on game development. Everybody, including me, was looking forward to getting to know the success story of Halfbrick and its famous game with more than 300 million downloads: Fruit Ninja.
At Microsoft Singapore Auditorium, Shainiel Deo, Chief Executive Officer of Halfbrick, took the stage to give an opening speech where he shared two main points on how to be successful in the industry. First, nail what you’re trying to do. You ought to try to be the best and carefully pick your team. Second, make sure that with every product you build, you learn something from it.
Fruit Ninja might be the game that made Halfbrick known to the world, however, it wasn’t at all their first game. In fact, it was the 15th ever since the company was established in 2001. There is progression and refinement from one product to the next.
The opportunity is here again, even bigger than ever, with the release of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 (WP8). With the very same base code (with very minimum tweaks for WP8), you can now target tablets, laptops, desktops and mobile phones.
Shainiel then passed the baton to Phil Larsen, Chief Marketing Officer of Halfbrick, to present some of Halfbrick’s marketing strategies. The best game marketing starts with the game. Believe in your game when you market it to the public.
He also stressed that we needn’t be 100% innovative. Many times, developers crack their heads trying to come up with something totally new. That is not to say that new innovation is not important. We can also build on existing concepts and add fresh twists to them.
Highlighting the necessity of getting universal, he advises to reach out to as many players as possible, hence targeting different platforms. Such can also be achieved by getting partnerships with other companies while staying true to the gameplay.
Several marketing techniques that contributed to the success of Fruit Ninja were game trailers posted on YouTube that generated millions of views and taglines such as “Ninjas hate Fruits”, and bringing the game to people by organizing Fruit Ninja Master, a competition to find the best Fruit Ninja in Australia.
Phil also brought attention to the games by branding them to increase relevance. Recognizing the effort that Microsoft has put into marketing Kinect for Xbox360, Halfbrick decided to name the Fruit Ninja’s title for Xbox360 as Fruit Ninja Kinect. These things might seem insignificant, however, without knowing it, we buy into them, contributing to the overall success of a product.
For developers who are releasing a title and don’t know what to do, he advise them to try finding a mentor, which has proven to be beneficial. Phil summed up his presentation by reminding us that huge successes are possible. We ought to make every single point of contact count and there is no one secret to be successful.
Phil Larsen, CMO of Halfbrick greeted the audience and introduced Fruit Ninja Dev Dojo.
After a short break, it was time for a technology talk by Richard McKinny, Chief Technology Officer of Halfbrick. Richard demoed Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride on Windows 8. He praised the features that Windows 8 has to offer, starting with Snapped View. It is not immediately apparent on what to do with snapped view for games. Many developers might do nothing more than just place a splash screen or screen saver on that space, waiting for the user to come back to the game, if ever.
Thinking that Microsoft has added Snapped View for a purpose, the team thought of a brilliant idea. Realizing that players of Fruit Ninja love fruits, the team decided to give an unlimited supply of fruits on a conveyor belt. So, if you’re working on your Word document and feel bored or stressed, you can slash the fruits on the side of the screen.
And there are Live Tiles, which might be regarded as normal icons on your Start screen. Halfbrick did not know what they were for at first, but soon fell in love with them. Live Tiles provide re-engagement with users. Halfbrick implemented them on their Windows 8 games: on Fruit Ninja by showing stats on a vertically rotating tile, and on Jetpack Joyride by showing current game missions.
Social is built into the very core of Windows 8. Game developers can code what they want the user to share on different parts of the games by using the default share functionality. In Jetpack Joyride for example, players can share their points or screenshots of the game.
After elaborating on the awesome features of Windows 8, Richard moved on to discuss some game development technologies. With so many platforms to target these days, game developers should try to create their own game engine and avoid platform specific implementations for things that can be done in a cross platform way.
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Dony is a developer, designer and tech enthusiast. He loves gadgets, simple-clean-yet-sophisticated stuff and great food.
This worldwide developer event will take place 9 – 11 November 2012 in more than 30 locations across the globe, including nine cities in Asia Pacific. For a full list of sites, with more being added each day, visit http://www.microsoft.com/student.
Registration has launched for Microsoft Corp.’s WOWZAPP 2012, a worldwide Hackathon for Windows. Students, developers and entrepreneurs, and other types of developers across countries including India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Turkey, Finland, Chile and Greece will work in teams to develop apps that will be published and available for download in the Windows Store.
In Asia Pacific, WOWZAPP 2012 will be held in nine satellite areas covering:
As two of the eight major countries in the world to host WOWZAPP 2012, events in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, as well as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, are each expecting over 500 developers to converge at these locations.
At the events, students will be provided with the resources they need to build their apps, such as Visual Studio 2012 Express for Windows 8, and a free Windows Store registration code, both available through DreamSpark. In addition, students will be able to test their apps, and developer experts and trainers will be available toanswer questions and help participants submit their apps to the Windows Store.
You can follow our WOWZAPP 2012 event online on Twitter at @WOWZAPP.
For more information and to register for WOWZAPP 2012, visit http://www.microsoft.com/student/en-us/wowzapp.
The Social Web has dramatically changed how non-governmental organizations communicate with supporters, donors and volunteers. Even though a large percentage of NGOs in South Asia now regularly use social media in their online fundraising and communications campaigns, few social media practitioners in the NGO sector have been properly trained on how to best utilize sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr. Many organizations are making simple mistakes that are draining their social media Return on Investment (ROI) – the good news, however, is that these mistakes can be easily fixed.
This webinar begins with laying a foundation for understanding the role of social media in the context of Web 1.0 (The Broadcast Web), Web 2.0 (The Social Web), and Web 3.0 (The Mobile Web), and then moves on to highlight five of the most useful best practices for managing and maintaining social media campaigns. The webinar then closes with an exploration of social media ROI, and introduces a simple system on how to track and report on results.
Date: Wednesday, 12 December 2012Time: 11:00 am – 12:00 pm (Indian Standard Time)Cost: FreePresented By: Heather Mansfield @ Nonprofit Tech 2.0
Please Note: This webinar is sponsored by Microsoft Citizenship Asia Pacific. To be alerted of future webinars offered free to NGOs, please subscribe to the Microsoft Citizenship Tech4Good e-Newsletter.
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