Steve Guggenheimer: Build 2015 (Part 3)

Remarks by Steve Guggenheimer, corporate vice president, Developer Platform and Evangelism, on April 30, 2015.


I don’t think anybody does a better job of the notion of data as a platform and bringing intelligence to data than Joseph; a great storyteller, great at really, really bringing this to life.

So I think we’re on our final run.  We wanted to sort of bridge from Joseph and pick up on where we were a few minutes ago.

So last year, when we were talking about the Web, we were talking about the Babylon JS project.  John mentioned that earlier.  And one of the things we had done is we actually took a Web experience, used Babylon JS, hooked it up so we could do virtual reality with it, took advantage of Oculus Rift at the time.

This time, we’ve been working further on Babylon, connecting it into the data side, trying to make it more intelligent.  So in the city of Pompeii the government has been using drones to fly around and map the city.  And I’m going to fly around using what they’ve created from that on the Web and let John tell you about it.

JOHN SHEWCHUCK:  So in partnership with the Italian government we took these drones that were flying around, about 50 hours of drone time, and we took over 30,000 pictures, high-res images of Pompeii.  And then the very interesting thing is we moved that information up into the cloud where we used Azure and machine learning algorithms to go and generate the 3D mesh that you’re seeing in front of you.

Now, the thing that’s pretty incredible about this is you’re actually looking at an image which is about close to a trillion pixels.  And as Steve’s able to do, you can wander around in this thing, you can see any aspect of it.

But I think this really illustrates the power of when we can take great innovation in the client, couple it with the machine learning, the big data in the cloud, and bring experiences to every platform that we wouldn’t have been able to do before.

STEVE GUGGENHEIMER:  Yeah, I flew us around, I ended up in the Basilica.

So this is a good bridge and transition.  A couple things here, which is obviously the cloud side.  I also have a machine up here, a laptop with two graphics cards, two GPUs.  And one of the things I want to bridge into is gaming, DirectX 12.  One of the things that DirectX 12 allows us to do is actually take advantage of multiple GPUs, so I can have some client-side assist here.

And then on the gaming side, look, like music, gaming is an area that I’m pretty sure everyone in the audience has some connection to one way or another.  There’s lots of conversations around gaming, from the mobile side to the Xbox and others.

The real thing there is when you think about sort of high-end graphics and gaming, it’s not actually the Xbox or any of the consoles, it’s actually back to the PC.  And so if I can do that with a two graphics card system, we brought along just for fun a box that has four graphics cards.  Digital Storm lent it to us.  It’s the very highest end on the hardware side.

And then we asked our friends at Square Enix to take the work they do, which is a mixture of science and really the computation side, and graphics quality and art, and bring those together, and show us a little bit about what you can do with DX12, with Windows 10, and sort of where this whole technology area is going.

So first off, I’m going to have their chief technologist sort of give us a little introduction.  Let’s go ahead and run the video.

(Video segment.)


So Square Enix has built “Final Fantasy,” over 100 million copies sold.  This is an art and science technology demonstration they’ve put together.  What you saw was DX11.  What I’m going to do now is run through a similar scene in DX12.

(Video segment.)

STEVE GUGGENHEIMER:  Now, you might assume looking at that that’s also a video, but the truth is that’s in-game DX12.

So what we’re going to do now is I’m going to go between manual and automatic so I can shift back and forth.  And when you see the word manual up there, I’m going to drive.  So let’s let this go through auto, and then I’ll change the lighting, so you can see this real time.

So as it pauses here, I can take over.  So now I can scroll around, I can look down, I can change the lighting effects as they come through.

I can move on to the next scene.

Again let it run on auto, and now I’m going to take it and drive around.  Again, I can adjust the lighting.  And we can keep going through in this way.  Let me bring the shadows in and take them out.

All right, let’s keep going through.  I’m going to pass through this one and go on to the next one.  And we’ll see as we get closer we’ll look at the skin tone.  There we go.

Now, the thing that’s really incredible about what you’re seeing is just the density of data that’s involved in this.  Each of these scenes is over 63 million polygons per scene.  That’s about six to 12 times more than we could do with DX11.

Just to give you an idea on the textures that you’re seeing here, those are 8k by 8k textures, again significantly more than we were able to do.

I think where it gets really interesting, though, is look at the hair.  Every piece of hair that you’re seeing is actually being rendered as a polygon.  This isn’t surfaced mapped stuff.  And as those polygons are running through the pipeline, they’re running over 50 different shaders to go through this and to generate that level of clarity on this.

I think it’s an incredible example of just how far people are pushing the limits of big data and technology, bringing it together, and really building experiences that would be hard to build almost any other way.

STEVE GUGGENHEIMER:  And so our thanks to the folks at Square Enix for letting us show this off, and for building it.  Incredible piece of technology and art put together.

Now, that’s sort of the high-end, incredibly fun — let’s give those guys a hand.  (Applause.)

Graphic-intensive side of gaming.

And now for something completely different.  If you go to the other end of gaming, one of the acquisitions we made earlier in the year was “Minecraft.”  And “Minecraft” is a community game.  Lots of people like to work on it, mod on it.  It’s a place we get a lot of feedback to not change the modding side of it, to not change the community.

So what we wanted to do was actually contribute to the community.  So what we want to do today is announce the availability of a modding toolkit for Visual Studio.  I’m going to pass on this slide and come back to it since I paused so long.

And so I want to invite Aidan Brady, a junior out of Atlanta, he’s actually one of the top modders in the U.S., and Briana Roberts from our team.  They’re much better equipped to talk about this and demonstrate it than we are.  So I’m going to have them come on out, and why don’t you guys show us what’s going on with Visual Studio.

BRIANA ROBERTS:  Hi, everyone.  My name is Briana Roberts.  I’m thrilled to be here today.  I’m a senior content developer in Microsoft Learning Experiences Academic team.  We sit within the developer experiences organization like by Guggs.

So why am I here today?  Well, I happen to think I have the best job.  I get to create awesome content to get students excited about computer science and computer programming.

You may be asking yourself, what’s hot with kids these days, and the answer is “Minecraft.”  It is one of the newest ways to engage students and teach them about coding using mods like the ones we’re going to demo today.

Minecraft is an awesome education tool.  It’s being used in over 5,000 schools, libraries and after-school programs.

All right, without further ado, I want to introduce Aidan Brady.  He’s a high school student out of Atlanta, Georgia.  And let me just throw this out there, but he’s a big deal in the “Minecraft” modding community.  His very first mod, Mechanism, has taken off.  It’s huge.

So Aidan, will you tell us a little bit more about yourself and your love for “Minecraft”?

AIDAN BRADY:  Sure.  My name is Aidan Brady.  I’m 17 years old, and a junior in high school.

I started programming in Python when I was 10, but moved on to Java when I was 12, which I’ve kind of focused on ever since.

A friend introduced me to “Minecraft” in 2011, and it was kind of the perfect fit for me, because I already knew the language, and I just loved the creative potential that the game had.

I hoped to later on get the computer engineering degree and maybe an MBA, too, to do what I love, which is maybe to work for a company as awesome as Microsoft.

BRIANA ROBERTS:  You’re well on your way.

Well, I don’t know if everyone in the audience has played “Minecraft.”  Maybe their kids have.  Can you tell them what a mod is?

AIDAN BRADY:  Sure.  A “Minecraft” mod is basically an extension of the “Minecraft” game.  It can add new content.  And if you’re familiar with the game, things like new blocks, new items, but in our case we’re just going to focus on one new block which is kind of exciting.

BRIANA ROBERTS:  As Guggs mentioned, Microsoft recently acquired “Minecraft,” and we’re so excited about it.  And we really committed to continuing this vibrant community of gamers that we have out there.

So what we’re going to do today is show off some “Minecraft” modding using Java in Visual Studio.

AIDAN BRADY:  Yes.  And this tool is fantastic.  I recently switched from using Eclipse as my primary modding development tool, and honestly it was the first transition.  It’s easy, it’s intuitive.  I love it.  I mean, I feel right at home.

And right here you can see on the new project dialogue we have a few little templates here, and I love this.  These are “Minecraft”-forged mod templates.  So by clicking this right here we’re able to make a new “Minecraft” mod just like that and get started.

And there’s also one that’s near and dear to my heart right here, which is the Mechanism mod sample, so you can mess around with what I’ve done.

BRIANA ROBERTS:  This is awesome for all these Java developers that they can just both play and change the game that they love, all within our IDE.

Now, if you’re familiar with Visual Studio, then you’re familiar with IntelliSense.  We are going to show off some of the key features of IntelliSense that really bring this modding to life for these developers.

I want to make sure I throw it out there that this is not a replacement for Eclipse; this is an add-in that’s been built so students just like Aidan, who want to build and create, can do so in Visual Studio.

We’re going to get into the code just a little bit.  You’ve seen this with other languages; now you’ll see it with Java.

So as I hover over a keyword, I get the quick info, which just lays the complete separation of the code that I’m looking at.

Now, as I type a word, and I’ll type that period, a valid list of members appears.  All I have to do is say “tab.”  It will add that selected line into my code.

Aidan, do you want to tell us about parameters?

AIDAN BRADY:  Sure.  Parameter info here gives you information about the name, number and types of parameters required by a method.  And in this case you can see we have a parameter listed in bold.  This is the next parameter required by this series of parameters of this method.

And it’s fantastic for new developers.  I mean, I wish I’d had this when I got started, because —

BRIANA ROBERTS:  Yeah, I can’t even imagine learning to program with this kind of help.  This is awesome.

AIDAN BRADY:  All right, but on that note I say enough coding and let’s play something here.

BRIANA ROBERTS:  OK.  So what do we have now?

AIDAN BRADY:  All right, now this is a little project that I’ve been working on.  If we open this up here, you see we’re going to run this directly through Visual Studio.  And as this is loading, I just want to say, when you think about “Minecraft,” you think about the game, you know, like I already mentioned, the creative potential that it has.  And that’s why I got into the game in the first place.  You’re opening in this world and you can do whatever you want, build whatever you want; it’s so cool.

But OK, getting in here I’ll open up our little test world.  And in here I’m going to open up my inventory, and you use the normal “Minecraft” CNC block right here.


AIDAN BRADY:  But we have a fancy CNC block here that’s going to do a little bit more damage than what you might be used to.


AIDAN BRADY:  Here, I’ll place a few of these down.

BRIANA ROBERTS:  It’s perfect, because I happen to have this trigger over here.  So I think it’s going to help us with this explosion.  It’s a little smaller than when I ordered it online.  OK, I’m going to hold this.  All right, you ready?  Go.


BRIANA ROBERTS:  That was awesome.

This extension is available now.  Make sure you go check it out.  We cannot want to see what you build with it.

STEVE GUGGENHEIMER:  Thank you so much.

AIDAN BRADY:  Thank you.

STEVE GUGGENHEIMER:  What do you guys think?   Did they do a great job?  (Applause.)


AIDAN BRADY:  Thank you.

STEVE GUGGENHEIMER:  Thank you, guys, so much.  We’ve got to get him back to school.  I think he’s missed two days of school because of us, so we want to make sure we did a good job.

Look, we’ve got lots of great partners in this area as well on the tool side with Unity and Cocos, Trivia Crack’s “Cut the Rope”, social games.  I’m addicted to “Trivia Crack,” I hate to say it.  Monument Valley has got a new game coming out.  So again we’ve got folks pushing us, working with us, making sure we do a great job in this area.

Look, as we get through this then, I wanted to come back around to conversations with developers.  You saw a bunch of different ones today.  One of the things that John and I do and our teams around the world is we like to get together and code.  We run hackfests.  They’re not competitions, it’s not a hackathon, it’s getting together with you and building things.

All the companies listed here in groups are groups we’ve worked with.  We have space up in Seattle that we use for doing this.  I’m happy to announce that we’re going to open a space here in San Francisco under the Reactor label — that’s why I changed my rugby jersey — so that we have a space here.

Obviously, I’d love to have space all over the world we don’t, but we are available all around the world.  So we’re going to make sure we show up wherever you are.  The Reactor space will here in San Francisco.  We’ve got one in Seattle.

And then as a team we’re going to take the content from Build, the things you’re going to see the rest of the day and tomorrow, we’ll be going to 26 cities around the world, try and show up where you are.

In addition, we’ll be either hosting or showing up at thousands of events around the world over the next year to bring everything you saw from Joseph’s work to Kevin and David to everybody else that works with us in the company, the Office Graph and all the other pieces.

So with that, I want to thank you for your time today.  We’re going to have a maker video as our walk-off.

The thing I’d like to say I think which Joseph has teed up, if our meme this morning was more code, then in the words of Christopher Walken, I think our meme for the rest of the day and probably next year is more cow.

With that, I wish you well.  Have a great day.  (Applause.)