GameMaker Studio 2 Mobile comes with three export platforms: Android, Amazon Fire and iOS. In this article we give the required steps to get the Android (and Amazon Fire) platform up and running using either the Mac or Windows GameMaker Studio 2 IDE.
Note that this guide this covers Google Play and Amazon, as both targets require the same tools to create executables and to test your projects..
After installing and running GameMaker Studio 2 on your PC or Mac you can specifically target building for Android using the Target Manager window opened by clicking the target button in the top right of the main window:
For the Android target platform you can see that there are two output options:
- VM - This will build your game using interpreted code.
- YYC - This will build your 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). 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 and you cannot use the debugger.
Regardless of the output that you select, you will need to add some extra build tools to your development computer before you can continue...
To start working with your Android devices and GameMaker Studio 2 you will need to download and install the following development kits:
- Android SDK
- Android NDK
- Java SE Development Kit (JDK)
These kits will be used when testing and building your project for Android. Note that the exact versions required for each (along with links for downloading them) can be found from the article:
Note that whenever possible you should stick to the versions we specify in that FAQ, as newer versions may be unsupported. Google do update the SDK/NDK pretty frequently, so be careful just grabbing the latest stuff.
Set Up the Android SDK and NDK
When using GameMaker Studio 2 on your Windows PC or Mac, you have to use Android Studio to get the build tools required to compile your games. Before continuing, however, please be aware that Google's path names can get very long, which can cause issues with Window's path length limit of 256 characters, so we would highly recommend installing as close to the root folder of your drive as possible - e.g: "C:\Android" for your Android Studio path - in order to avoid errors later on, when building your projects.
You can get Android Studio from the following link, and once downloaded you need to install it on your PC or Mac:
When installing Android Studio, you can choose either the Default install or the Custom install. We recommend the custom install:
This it gives you the option to shorten the path to the install folder, but also to get the Android NDK and setup your computer to use Virtual Devices as well (you need to select them from the custom install screen shown below):
If you choose the Default install, then you will need to later add the NDK if you wish to compile using the YYC runtime and you'll need to later add the Virtual Device components from the SDK Tools and AVD Manager if you wish to make use of the Android emulator.
Please note that the emulators are only compatible with some CPU architectures, so they may refuse to install, and emulators are never a replacement for real device testing anyway.
Regardless of the install type, once it has installed you need to run Android Studio and on the Splash Screen, go to the menu labelled "Configure", and in the drop-down menu select the SDK Manager.
This will open the following window where you can select and install the platform SDKs that you require (in general you simply need the latest SDK but you can install any, or all, of those on the list, as long as you ensure you use the correct SDK values later in GameMaker Studio 2):
When ready, click the "Apply" button to download the SDK components, and don't forget to take note of the Android SDK Location. as you'll need it later in the GameMaker Studio 2 Preferences.
Once you have downloaded the required platform SDKs, you need to click on the SDK Tools tab and then download and install the following (select each of them from the list then click Apply to download them - note that you may need to accept licence agreements before the download begins):
IMPORTANT! Make sure to take note of the Build Tools Version number as well that of the API installed, as you will need these later in GameMaker Studio 2.
Note that the above image shows the Android NDK selected too. This is required if you wish to use the YYC runtime to create your project APK, but for regular VM compilation this is not necessary (if you have performed a custom Android Studio install then this should already be added and installed).
IMPORTANT! GameMaker Studio v2.2.4 and above does not require the use of the Android Support Repository. However for all runtimes below 2.2.3 this is still required and can be located and installed from the "Support Repository" section of the Android Studio SDK Tools:
You can also choose to install all the extras with Google in them now, although this is not essential for basic Android development. These additional components will be used for any of the Google Play services, or for Ads or In App Purchases, so if you require any of these features in your projects, it's best to install them sooner rather than later (you can see in the image above that the Google SDK components have been ticked too).
If you wish to target the Amazon Fire device or use any of the Amazon services in your game, you will also need to download an additional set of files from the SDK Manager. However, since these are for Amazon and not Google, you need to do it from the SDK Update Sites tab. Here you need to click the (+) at the bottom and then enter the following in the window that opens:
Name the entry something like "Amazon Fire" then click "Okay" and then in Android Studio click Apply. The SDK Update Sites tab should now look like this:
If you go back to the SDK Tools tab, you will now have new entries for Amazon Fire, and you should select these then click Apply to install the components:
With that done, you are now ready to go and set up your project in GameMaker Studio 2.
Once you have the Android SDK and NDK installed, you may then have to download and install the Java JDK. By default, Android Studio comes with its own version of the JDK, which should be fine to use, but if you wish to use a specific JDK version then you will need to install it separately.
You can get the JDK for both Windows and Mac from the following link:
When installing a stand-alone JDK, make sure to get the one specified in the Required SDKs document.
Please note: you may be required to create an Oracle Account prior to downloading the JDK.
Once you have installed the JDK and its components and have the Android SDK and NDK set up, you can continue with GameMaker Studio 2...
Set Up GMS2's Preferences
When you go back to GameMaker Studio 2 after downloading and installing Android Studio and all the required SDK, NDK and JDK files, the first thing you need to do before creating a project is to set up the Android Platform Preferences (File > Preferences > Platform Settings > Android):
Here you need to link each of the downloaded SDKs with GameMaker Studio so that you can test and build your games. Once you have supplied the required paths for the SDK, NDK (if you chose to install this) and JDK they should show a green "Found" label (note that you can find the Android Studio paths to each of these components from the File > Project Structure window in Android Studio itself).
Now you can continue to create your Keystore file:
The KeyStore is a file that will be used to "sign" all your Android apps so please fill in all the details correctly and then back this file up! We recommend you create a single keystore file for all your projects and not separate ones for each project.
If you lose your keystore or forget the alias/password details you will not be able to perform updates on Google Play or Amazon apps that have already been published!
When creating a new keystore file, you are required to give the following details:
- File Name - this is the filename of the KeyStore (NOTE: Not your name or the company name!), and once it has been created this field will show the full path to it.
- Password - your security password for the KeyStore file which must be at least six characters long.
- Alias - this is the name of the "user" for this keystore and can differ from the Name field above.
The right-hand side is optional and has no relation inside GameMaker Studio 2, but we recommend you fill them in anyway.
- Common Name - this would normally be your name
- Organisational Unit - the department within the company that you are in
- Organisation - the name of your company
- Location - the name of the town or city where you are based
- Country - the two letter code for the country where you are based
Note that all names must have only letters, numbers and spaces - no other "special" characters!
Once this information is filled in and you are happy with it, press the button marked "Generate Keystore" for GameMaker Studio 2 to create the necessary KeyStore file. This may take a moment, but once it is done it normally will not need to be changed again.
If you are using an existing Keystore file, then simply point GameMaker Studio 2 to the file and fill in the details exactly as they were when you first generated it. Do not hit the Generate Keystore button, instead click Apply.
Just to repeat what was said before, as it's very important: please backup your keystore file somewhere safe and make sure to remember your details - we recommend taking a screenshot with the passwords showing and then backng this image file up along with your keystore. You can find the generated keystore at the path you have in the top field of this preferences form.
Once everything is setup here you can continue to add one or more devices for testing.
Set Up Android Devices
Back to GameMaker Studio 2 and in Target Manager you can see that there is a section marked Devices with a small "pencil" icon beside it:
Clicking this will open up the Android Device Manager where you can add one or more Android devices to target when running and building your projects for the Android platform. For GameMaker Studio 2 to detect your device it must first have been plugged into the the PC or Mac using a USB cable, and must have Developer Mode and USB Debugging enabled. On Mac you will also need to have installed the Android File Transfer App.
Once the device is connected, clicking Detect Device should automatically detect it and add it to the list of connected devices:
If you have issues with GameMaker Studio 2 finding the device or have any other connection issues, please see the article on Android Troubleshooting.
With that done you can then click the Test Connection button, and if the Android device is visible and correctly connected via USB then it should say "Connection Successful!":
Note that there is also an option to use an Android Virtual Device (AVD) for those of you without test devices, or that want to test on a wider range of devices. You can find out more about setting up AVDs on both PC and Mac using Android Studio from the following article:
Once you have set up an AVD you need to start the emulation before going back to GameMaker Studio 2 and clicking the Detect Devices button. A list of detected emulated devices will be shown and you can proceed to use them as targets for compiling (note that if you do not start the emulator before testing your project then the device will not be found and compilation will fail). If you want to check that the devices have been detected and can be used before trying to compile you can click the Test Device button for each of the discovered devices.
Set Up The Game Options
Unlike some other target platforms, before you can test your game you need to set some things in the Android Game Options, namely the initial Build Settings:
GameMaker Studio 2 gives you the option to selectively target specific versions of Android, mainly due to the fragmented nature of the Android OS on devices and the fact that certain extensions require different SDK or build tools. For a "vanilla" project (i.e., one that has no extensions or extra requirements) you would normally set these to the most up-to-date versions of everything.
You first need to give the Build Tools version, which can be found from the SDK Tools section of the SDK Manager in Android Studio, although note that you will need to check the "Package Details" to see it:
The next option is a legacy option for the "Support Library". From GameMaker Studio v2.2.4 onwards, this is no longer required and any values placed here will be ignored. However for all previous runtimes, this is still required (along with the installation of the Support Repository in Android Studio). To target the correct one simply use the initial Build Tools version number (for example, in the above image the build tools are 25.0.2, so the support library would be 25.0.0).
Next you have to set the Target, Minimum and Compile SDK versions. The Compile SDK version is the version of the API that the project is compiled against. This means you can use Android API features included in that version of the API. If you try and use API 28 features - for example - but set Compile SDK 26, then you will get a compilation error. If you set the Compile SDK to 28 then you can still run the app on an API 26 device (as well as all other previous versions too).
The Target SDK, however, has nothing to do with how your app is compiled or what APIs you can utilize. The Target SDK indicates that you have tested your app on (up to and including) the version you specify. This is simply to give the Android OS an idea of how it should handle your app in terms of OS features. For all practical purposes, most apps are going to want to set Target SDK to the latest released version of the API (as used by the Compile SDK setting). This will ensure your app looks as good as possible on the most recent Android devices.
The Minimum SDK version is the minimum API level that will run your project. This is set to 16 by default, and in general this will be fine, but if you add extensions then they may require a higher minimum API level.
IMPORTANT! If you are using the AVD and an emulated device then you must open the Architectures section and check the x86 target, otherwise the project will not compile and run.
You don't need to give any further information here if you are just testing your projects, and so you can close the Game Options and continue.
Testing On An Android Device
Once the above sections are completed and you have a project ready for testing, you can go to Target Manager and select the target, output, and device options that you want to use:
You can then click the "Play" button in the GameMaker Studio IDE to compile the project and push it to your test device.
Remember: If you are want to test on an emulated device via AVD, you must have started the AVD manager from an Android Studio project (PC and Mac), and have already started the emulated device there.
Note that the first time you try to test an Android game, Google's compile tools may need to connect to the internet to download additional files and tools, which in turn may prompt a firewall alert - if this happens you should allow the connection otherwise the build will fail. This is normal and should only happen the first time you build using those SDK values. Be aware that Gradle (the Google tool in question) will occasionally check for its own updates, though, if you are online at the time.
If all has gone well, you should see your game project running on your target device.
Once you have finished testing and are happy with the project, then you'll want to look at creating a final executable package and publishing it to a store. This process is explained in the following articles: