Yesterday was my first solo flight for the Microsoft DPE team.
I've been at Microsoft over 2 weeks and I've spent my time learning technologies, filling out forms, learning about the company, and shadowing other evangelists.
But yesterday, I traveled to DeVry University in Tinley Park, IL to teach students how to build games for Windows 8.
The hosts at DeVry were great. They were extremely nice, they accommodated every request I made, they made sure the room was set up properly, and they even bought me lunch (Aurelo's Pizza is to die for, BTW).
I built a sample application of a game in which a player shoots monsters that chase him around a 2D landscape. We used the Construct2 game engine from Scirra Ltd - an impressive tool for building such games. The students followed along with my demo and built the project with me.
The students were great. About 30 high school students traveled to DeVry by bus and 4 DeVry students were in the audience. I was impressed that they not only picked up the tool and the concepts, but that they extended my demo - modifying the game in clever ways. One student flipped the game around so that the monster was shooting attacking humans; another bundled multiple players together so that he fired 10 rounds at once; another replaced all the game characters with NBA players. I was delighted to see so much creativity from high school students.
It wasn't all smooth sailing. When I arrived, I discovered the only browsers on the student machines were IE8 and Firefox 3. Since these browsers don't support the HTML5 features of the Construct game, we could not use them. But the DeVry IT department quickly fixed this and I now have one more detail to add to the classroom setup sheet I hand to the next event organizer.
I was excited to get my first event out of the way successfully and I'm looking forward to the next thousand events.