Preparing GameMaker:Studio for Windows 8

Getting Started

To create games for Windows 8 you will need to have a copy installed on your PC. This can be the main OS or a sub-os that you can dual boot with Windows 7 (or any other OS you choose to use) but you cannot create a final application for Windows 8 outside of that OS.

When you have Windows 8 installed, you must make sure that you have Microsoft .Net Framework 3.5 installed (.Net 4 is installed as standard with Windows 8, but you may need to install the previous version too) which is available here, although when you install GameMaker:Studio on your Windows 8 OS it should complete this part automatically.

Visual Studio

You will also need to install at least one version of Microsoft Visual Studio. 2013, which can be used for Windows 8 JS and Windows YYC can be found here and Visual Studio 2012, which is required for Windows 8 N, is here. Visual Studio is essential, as you will need it to create the *.pfx file, which is your Developer Key needed to submit your apps and games to the Windows Store.

Microsoft Developer Licence

The GameMaker:Studio Windows 8 export target will create an app specifically for the Windows 8 OS, and it will be compatible with many of the unique features that this OS offers the user. However, if you wish to publish this game through the Microsoft Store for Windows, you must have a Microsoft Developer Licence, which is available by signing up for an account here. There is a small cost involved in registering for this account and you will need to have a valid bank account and credit facilities to be able to monetise any apps that you submit to the store.

Further Reading

Once all that is done and you have GameMaker:Studio installed, it is worthwhile taking a moment to look over the Microsoft Windows 8 Developers Guide as it contains a vast amount of information and recommendations for creating your apps and games so that they are integrated properly into this new and dynamic OS.

GameMaker:Studio Preferences

Once you have completed the preparation detailed above, it is a simple thing to start up GameMaker:Studio and begin to create your apps and games for Windows 8. There are a number of new functions related to this OS (you can find them easily as they are all suffixed with win8_) which will enable you to use the SearchLive Tile and Sharing features but before diving in it is worthwhile setting up your Developers Key correctly.

Developer Key

The Developer Key is essential to creating a Windows 8 app but it cannot be generated until you have set up the Preferences correctly in GameMaker:Studio.


Here you can set up the preferences that GameMaker:Studio is going to use with your installation of Windows 8 for testing games. Before stating to use the Windows 8 target platform you must have installed the Visual Studio Express 2012 SDK that supports building Windows Store JavaScript applications (this can be found here). Once that is installed the values for these preferences should be automatically generated. If these values are incorrect or are not generated automatically for you, you should do the following: 

 - Make sure that the section titled VS2012 Cross Tool points to the "vcvarsall.bat" in your MS Visual Studio installation. Without this you won’t be able to successfully create Windows Store packages.

 - The WinJS API reference and WinJS Api Version need to match with the WinJS API that comes with your version of Visual Studio. To check this, create a blank Windows Store JavaScript app in Visual Studio and, under References, right-click the Windows Library for JavaScript reference and select Properties. You should see an SDK Identity property that tells you all you need to correctly fill out these details.

You should also note that for GameMaker:Studio to generate your app correctly, you will need a Developer Key. Please refer to the section Global Game Settings - Windows8 Tab.

Next you need to point GameMaker:Studio to the Windows 8 SDK Tools which you can find in the folder "../Windows Kits/8.0/bin/x86". Finally you should click on the Check Native SDK button to confirm that your selections are okay and that everything works as it should. If you get an error or you are not sure that your Developer Licence is correct, you may also click on the button labelled Acquire Developer Licence which will open up a command prompt and automatically go through the necessary steps to get you one. 

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    If you use Visual Studio 13 instead of 12 and you don't have 12 installed on your computer anymore, you can change the VS2012 Cross Tools to:

    "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 12.0\VC" (12.0 instead of 11.0)

    and change WinJS API Reference to:


    After you have changed this, just click the "Check JS SDK" button and the SDK status will be "Passed".

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