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Windows Phone 8.1 Emulator
SharpDX - Create Direct2D Bitmap
Windows 8–Metro 2D/3D
Windows 8–Metro
Using Textured Models from Blender in XNA
Windows Phone Development
Blade 3D
Grid Racer Level Editor v1.0 released
Game Studio - Animation Designer
Game Studio


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By mikea on Monday, May 05, 2014
I installed the Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 RC over the weekend, which includes the new Windows Phone 8.1 development tools and Emulators. The update took about 3 hours to install, which is longer than it took to install VS2013 in the first place…

I created a new Windows Phone Hub App and did a build and deploy. The Windows 8.1 application deployed but the Windows Phone emulator just hung at the ‘starting’ screen



What we expected to happen is...
By mikea on Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Creating a Direct 2D Bitmap in SharpDX turns out to be a bit more effort than one would think. Direct X makes use of the Windows Imaging Components (WIC) to load/save image files. The loaded image then needs to be converted from a WIC bitmap into a Direct 2D Bitmap before you can display it.

The main points to note is that a Direct2D surface must have a pixel format of Format32bppPBGRA, so the loaded WIC BitmapSource is wrapped in a WIC FormatConverter which is initialized to the correct pixel format. A new Direct 2D bitmap is then created from the Format Converter.

Here are the core routines to do it, based on code from the SharpDX v2.2.0 Win 8 samples.


1: public void TestLoadBitmap(DeviceManager deviceManager) 2: { 3: var formatConverter = DecodeImage(deviceManager, @"Assets\TestImage.png"); 4: var d2dBitmap = SharpDX.Direct2D1.Bitmap.FromWicBitmap(deviceManager.ContextDirect2D, formatConverter); 5:  6: deviceManager.ContextDirect2D.BeginDraw(); 7: deviceManager.ContextDirect2D.DrawBitmap(d2dBitmap,...
By mikea on Tuesday, July 17, 2012


If you’re needing to handle low level graphics in Metro, Microsoft's guidance is to use C++ with DirectX. With our current skill sets being Java and C#, having to brush up on our rather rusty C++ skills was quite a daunting thought. Enter SharpDX, an open source API for accessing Direct X from Managed Code, including Windows 8 Metro.

SharpDX tries to be a 1:1 mapping to the Direct X API’s, and as such it provides very low level access to Direct 2D / Direct 3D. It definitely doesn’t replace XNA! Initial testing with SharpDX is showing promising results and our proof-of-concept developments are progressing nicely.

By mikea on Tuesday, July 17, 2012

With the demise of Silverlight and Windows Phone 7.5 we’ve lost many, many man hours worth of invested time and effort. Complaining makes one feel better for a short time, but doesn’t solve anything and unless you’re a politician it certainly doesn’t produce any revenue.

So, for the Microsoft Windows platforms, we’ve switched to the new Windows 8 – Metro. This will allow us to distribute our apps on the Windows App Store and target multiple devices with a single application.

The next few posts will detail our struggles (and successes) with porting our libraries and assets to the new Metro environment.

By mikea on Friday, January 13, 2012
This tutorial will demonstrate how to import a Textured 3D Model from Blender into a Windows Phone XNA application. This work is based on Blender 2.61 and XNA 4.0

Open Blender, you should see the default scene, a Cube, Camera and Light Source.


Right-Click on the cube to select it, if it isn’t already selected. You should see a yellow border around the cube. Select the Textures tab.


By mikea on Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Blade Software is happy to announce that we are extending our development to include targeting Windows phone 7!

We are busy extending Game Studio to add build targeting for Windows Phone 7 to simplify content sharing between our various target devices.
We will be porting our existing titles to Windows phone 7 in the new year and are looking forward to to all the new titles we have lined up in the first half of 2012.

We will provide updates on this blog as each title is submitted to the window phone 7 AppHub.

By mikea on Friday, December 23, 2011

We have completed a partial port of our Blade 3D engine from C# to Android OpenGL ES 2.0 !

We’re still busy with a few bits, including picking, but the work is progressing rapidly.
Already the ability to work with a full 3D engine is showing massive benefits for building immersive user experiences.

We look forward to sharing more information about our upcoming titles using 3D shortly.

By mikea on Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Version 1.0 of our Grid Racer Level Editor plugin for Game Studio has been released!

You visually design the levels and then build the package which adds the levels directly into the relevant project. e.g. Your eclipse android projects' resources folder.

Build and deploy your Android project in eclipse and you can test the levels on your device.

This enables extremely rapid develop / test scenarios.

By mikea on Tuesday, December 13, 2011
The Animation Designer Plugin is now operational!

More effects will be added as required.

By mikea on Friday, October 28, 2011

Announcing Blade Software's all new 'Game Studio'.
We are busy with alpha testing of version 1.0 of our new 'Game Studio'.

Game Studio allows you to create a 'Game Project' which stores all your game resources and allows you to edit / view them using custom designers and builders.

Designers are plugins developed using .Net MEF, which makes the studio fully extensible.

Custom builders allow packaging the game resources for multiple environments. e.g. Silverlight and Android.

The first designer plugin is an animation designer which allows for visually building / previewing frame based animations. With support for Storyboards, looping, variable frame rate etc.

Next up is a Level Editor plugin for Grid Racer.

Screenshots to follow.



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