Last week, we sat down with the Windows 8 Games Studios team to get a feel for what the winner of the Ultimate Experience contest could expect. We left with some nuggets of advice worth their weight in gold. Rather than keeping those to ourselves, we decided to do the cordial thing and share with the community. From gamification to pursuing passion projects, here’s some worthwhile advice to get you ahead of the game – no pun intended.

Make it excellent on touch

Game designer Kevin Lambert said, “Right now tablets and touch-enabled devices are gaining a lot of momentum. Soon everyone will have it.” Kevin helped redesign elements of gamification into classics like Solitaire and Minesweeper on the new touch-enabled Windows 8 so he knows what he’s talking about. Be ahead of the curve and build the functionality into your app or game now.

Make collaboration a priority

“Always going to have friction between those saying “make this great” and others saying “this is great, now let’s make it DONE” – push the technology and make it awesome, but don’t lose track of the end objective.

Be specific about your audience

Developers who can say “Women, age 35-55, who love Real Housewives” are going to build a better game because they are targeting their experience. If your audience is “everybody” your game design and mechanics are going to be great for nobody.

Gain experience through smaller apps

Developers that are eager to strike it rich on their first app should be patient. You learn a lot of lessons your first few times at the rodeo. Worry about monetizing once you’ve gotten any initial bumps and bruises out of the way.

Want to Get a Foot in the door at Microsoft? Build what you love

It’s all about displaying a passion and knack for technology.  Learning your lessons and proving you can do it on your own is the best way to moving into a role with Microsoft when the time comes. The excitement and enthusiasm that comes from building an experience from scratch will only impress recruiters, so keep working!