Setting Up UWP For Windows 10 Desktop

The GameMaker Studio 2 UWP target permits you to test three different UWP export platforms: Windows 10 Desktop, Windows 10 Mobile and the XBox One. In this article we give the required steps to get the UWP target up an running on a Windows 10 Desktop PC. Note that you must follow these steps and set up the export to desktop first before attempting to set up the other possible UWP platforms.

You can find information on setting up for the other possible UWP platforms from the following links:

It's important to note that you must be using a PC with Windows 10 installed for the UWP target to work!

General Information

After installing and running GameMaker Studio 2 on your PC you should be able to create and test projects immediately using the "Test" target option for your OS. However, to target the UWP platforms you need to use the Platform Target window in the GameMaker Studio 2 IDE, located in the top right of the workspace:

For the Windows target platform you can see that there are two output options:

  • VM - This will build your game using interpreted code. 
  • YYC - This will build you game using compiled native code.

The VM option will build your game and use interpreted code within a special YoYo Runner. The performance of this target is less optimised than YYC, but it is faster to compile and offers the ability to run in debug mode (when using YYC the debugger will not start and you will be asked if you want to run the project using the VM). The YYC target however, gives a much greater optimisation (and corresponding performance boost) especially with logic-heavy games, but large projects can take some time to compile.

However you can't test anything yet as you also have to install Visual Studio and the correct build tools...

Required Downloads

The first thing that you will be required to do to use the UWP target is to download and install Visual Studio for Windows. You can get the free Visual Studio Community 2015  here,and you can get Visual Studio Community 2017 here (GameMaker Studio 2 can use either, although we recommend you use VS 2017).

Please note that while VS2015 / VS2017 requires you to be running at east Windows 7 with SP1, you must be running a PC with an up-to-date version of Windows 10 for the UWP target to work.

Setting Up VS 2015

Once it has downloaded, start the installation process and choose a location to install VS 2015 to, then select the Custom option and click Next. This will take you to a window that shows the different components that you want to install, of which you should choose those marked in the image below:

Click Next to see a summary of the components to install and then continue. Once the install process has finished, you need to enable the Developer Options on the Windows 10 PC before we can continue.

Setting Up VS2017

When you run the installer for VS2107 you will be presented with a welcome screen where the products available for installation are listed. In this case you want to select Visual Studio Community 2017, which will then open a further window where you can select the components required and the install path for them. Select the Universal Windows Platform node, and then the Desktop Development node, but note that install options shown in the image below differ from the defaults, and only show the minimum required options for GameMaker Studio 2 to build Windows UWP packages.


Click Install to install the selected components, and then restart your PC to finalise the installation.

Enabling Windows 10 Developer Mode

With VS 2015/2017 downloaded and installed, you now need to enable Developer Mode for your Windows 10 PC as well as set up the Device Portal. If you do not do this, GameMaker Studio 2 will not be able to communicate with the PC and create your UWP apps.

The easiest way to enable Developer Mode is simply to type "Developer Mode" into Windows Search and then click the "Settings" entry that will be shown. This will open the following window:

You need to select the Developer Mode option (which may require that Windows downloads and installs some additional packages), and then select the option beneath that, Enable Device Portal. The device portal is what will permit GameMaker Studio 2 to communicate with the Windows 10 PC, and when enabled you will be required to give a Username and Password:

Note that the username and password should be unique to the portal and must not be those used by your Microsoft Account or other Windows credentials. Once you have given this information, click the button labelled apply and then close the settings manager and go back to GameMaker Studio 2.

For more information on the Device Portal please see this Microsoft Article: Device Portal For Desktop.

GameMaker Studio 2 Preferences

With Visual Studio 2015 Community now installed, we need to go back to GameMaker Studio 2 and open the Preferences (File Preferences), then browse down to the section Platform Settings and finally, Windows UWP:


Here you should add the path to the install location of Visual Studio (you can use the button to open an explorer window and choose the path that way), and you need to also set the path to the UWP tools folder (GameMaker Studio 2 will try to autodetect these settings for you).

Setting Up Your Windows 10 Desktop Device

The final stage for setting up the UWP target for Windows 10 Desktop requires you to add the Windows 10 PC as a device to your Target Manager. In the Target Manager Window you can see that there is a section marked Devices with a small "pencil" icon beside it:

Clicking this will open up the UWP Device Manager where you can add one or more UWP devices to target when running and building your projects for the UWP platform. Here you should click the Add New Device button to create a new Device and then fill out the details (below you can see an example of what information is expected):

The top field, Display Name is simply a name that you can give to the device so that it is easy to identify in the devices list. After filling that out you need to give the Host Name - this is the IP address of the Windows 10 PC on the network that is to host the game and must be suffixed by ":50443" to set the port number. After that add the User Name and Password that you set up for the Device Portal in the previous steps. You can leave the PIN blank as it is not required for UWP Windows 10 Desktop.

Testing And Compiling Your Project

You have now set up a Windows 10 UWP Desktop PC and can go ahead and select it (as using either the VM or YYC compiler options) and then click the "Play" button at the top of the IDE. This will compile the game and run it on the Windows 10 PC.

IMPORTANT! If the project has been imported from a previous version of GameMaker Studio, it will not have a temporary PFX key assigned to it. This is required for testing and compiling and you can add the default one by going to the Game Options > Packaging and then use the following path: ${base_options_dir}\windowsuap\keys\WinUWPRunner_TemporaryKey.pfx

Once you have set up the basic Windows 10 UWP for desktop, you can then go on to setup the other platforms - Windows 10 Mobile and Xbox One - if you have access to those platforms. See the following guides for more information:

When you have tested your project and are ready to upload it to the Windows Store, you need to create a final executable package, which is explained in the following article:


If you are having problems creating or testing a project with the Windows UWP target, you may need to have created some blank projects in Visual Studio 2015 Community first, as this will generate certain app dependency files that may be required.

To do this, open Visual Studio 2015 and create a new C++ Blank UWP Project:

After choosing the minimum and target versions of Windows 10 that you want to use for the app, you need to test the app in Debug and Release for each of the CPU architectures available. So, select the targets from the top of the VS interface like this:

- Debug > x86 > Local Machine

and then:

- Release > x86 > Local Machine

Do this for each of the CPU architectures, then close VS and try running your projects again in GMS.

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