Meet student developer Lionel Camacho from the University of Pretoria in South Africa. Lionel is part of the AppFactory, a joint program between Microsoft and the Joburg Centre for Software Engineering that aims to develop locally relevant apps on Windows 8.
What inspired you to start developing?
I can say the first time that I found the inspiration to really start developing was when I started at The University of Pretoria to do my B.IS Multimedia degree and on the first day they showed us videos and demonstrations of previous students projects which included animations, game projects and much more. I was blown away by what they were able to create and felt really inspired by what student developers had created.
How did you start developing for Windows Phone?
What got me started developing for Windows Phone was a guest lecture from Dave Russell (@DaveMSDevSA), a Developer Evangelist at Microsoft South Africa, in our final year game design class which covered development using XNA Game Studio 4.0 and Windows Phone.
He showed us a few basic demos of what was possible and then said that each student who developed 5 Windows Phone apps that got published to the store would receive a free Windows Phone. That was all the motivation I needed! I attended two lectures presented by the MSP team at the University of Pretoria covering development for Windows Phone. 2 months later, after some initial hiccups and store validation failures I had taught myself how to develop for Windows Phone and had my 5 apps in the store and I got my first Windows Phone as promised and have been in love with the platform ever since!
Here are some of my apps: My Reminders, Foreign Tongue Translator, Shoe Size Converter and InvaderZimTicTacToe.
How did you start developing for Windows 8?
I learned about The AppFactory at an event called TechDays 2012, which is an initiative by Microsoft South Africa and The JCSE (Joburg Centre for Software Engineering) that aimed to develop locally relevant apps on the new Windows 8 platform and that they were looking for young student developers.
Even though I had never developed for Windows 8 I decided to contact them on Facebook and let them know I was interested in joining their team, I was then invited to interview. Since I had not developed any Windows 8 apps yet the Lead on The AppFactory project, Warren Larkan (@larkanw), said that if I developed a Windows 8 app by the end of the month and sent it to him and he was impressed with it I would be given the opportunity to join The AppFactory! After some hard work and late nights I had a Windows 8 app I was proud of so I sent it to him and a few days later got the good news that they wanted me to join the team.
These are my Windows 8 apps: Whatz Happening in ZA, Tech Lounge ZA, The Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre, Multimedia Degree Info, and South African Movie Times.
Do you participate in any other Microsoft programs (Imagine Cup, Microsoft Student Partner, DreamSpark, etc.)?
I am participating in the Imagine Cup for the first time this year! Our team, Toxik CaMo Studios which is made up of myself, Onalenna Mokwena and Thabang Petje, had our eye on the Imagine Cup so we decided to develop our final year game project using XNA Game Studio 4.0. We decided to keep it simple and develop a 2D puzzle platformer which also makes use of the Xbox controller for PC which is about a monkey who has magnetic powers which he uses to navigate the environment and complete puzzles. We entered it into the Games category of the local finals of Imagine Cup SA 2013 and it has made it to the final round of judging which will take place in March 2013 making it one of the top 4 games entered in South Africa! We are hoping to finish tops and win a place to Imagine Cup 2013 Russia!
DreamSpark is also one of the reasons I have been so involved in developing for all the different Windows platforms. With limitless help, tutorials, free resources, applications and store accounts I would really recommend every student to sign up for a DreamSpark account and start developing! It’s the best place to start off as a new student developer on the Windows platform and it’s a really valuable resource for everything a student would need to get their developer accounts up and running.
How can students contact you if they want to find out more about you?
The easiest place to get hold of me is on twitter, my handle is @LionelCamacho and I am always open to questions students might have about development or anything else they might have queries about. I also have a blog that I recently started where I share all my latest apps and where I will also be posting tutorials in future.
Big ups Lionel...... By the way, Magnetic Monkey is awesome and addictive too