Building a Windows Store-ready Windows 8 game with GameMaker:Studio is easy. With the recent launch of the Windows 8 now is the time to get your game in the store. Here are the three key development steps to building, testing and publishing your game to the Windows Store.
Before you get started building your Windows 8 game with GameMaker:Studio you need to make sure that you have done the following:
- Download and install Windows 8 - You can download a 90 day FREE evaluation version of Windows 8 from the Evaluation Center.
- Download Visual Studio Here and install it in Windows 8. NOTE: If you are an MSDN subscriber; you can get Windows 8 and Visual Studios from MSDN Subscriber Downloads.
Become a Windows Store Developer - Sign up for your Windows Store Account and reserve your game name today.
- If you are an MSDN subscriber you can get a free one-time, 12-month Windows Store account here.
- If you are a student then the subscription fee is waived.
- If you are a startup or small business then you are eligible to get a free one-time, 12-month Windows Store account here
We also recommend that you check out the Microsoft Windows 8 Developers Guide for information and expert recommendations on how to create and monetize Windows 8 apps, leveraging their key features such as Live Tiles and Share as well as how to setup selling and advertising features. You can also get an overview of these features and their implementation within GameMaker:Studio by loading up and testing the Windows 8 demo file that is included (run GameMaker:Studio, select "Demos" from the start-up screen and look for the one marked "Windows 8").
When submitting to the store a Store Certificate must be generated. This is done by first of all reserving a name on the Windows Store and setting up the game name for the store. Once this is done you will need to download Visual Studio for Windows 8 from Microsoft.
When this is installed and you are signed in, create a new Store project named whatever you wish then click Store menu at the top and select 'Associate with Store'. The window should show the game names you have reserved on the Windows Store, click the one you wish to use, click next then click associate.
This should then create a new file in the project called *projectname*_storekey, change the name of this to reflect the name of your GameMaker Project and publisher name, eg: yoyogames.simplysolitaire_storekey, then copy this to your project directory.
You will then need to set this as the certificate for your GameMaker Project by going to Global Game Settings, selecting the Windows 8 options then selecting the Installation tab at the left hand side. Click '...' to navigate to your new certificate then click the Install button.
You now need to Create the Windows 8 application.
Once this is all done you should be able to submit the game to the Windows Store.
Building And Testing Your Game
To be able to build you game in GameMaker:Studio and test the unique Windows 8 functions you will have to make sure the the following requirement has been met:
Setup your Developer Key - The Developer Key is essential to creating a Windows 8 app to generate you must set up the Preferences correctly in GameMaker:Studio. You can find detailed instructions on the page Preparing GameMaker:Studio for Windows 8.
It is also a good idea to review some of the videos and design articles that have been made available to you from other game developers here, as well as ensure that your game complies with the Windows 8 Certification Requiremnts.
Finally, you should download the Windows App Certification Kit, which is a tool you can use to help your game pass Windows Store certification process, which includes testing your game.
Publishing Your Game To The Windows Store
Now you are ready to upload your game to the Windows Store! Here's a brief checklist of what you will have to do to complete this process:
- Access the Windows Store dashboard and click Submit an app. This takes you to the Release summary page, which lists the steps that get your app ready for Windows Store certification. Note If you've already reserved an app name, you will see a tile on the Dashboard for that app. If that's the case, click the app tile instead of Submit an app.
- Click App Name to reserve the name of your app.
- Click Selling details to supply info such as your app's price, categories, and markets.
- Click Advanced features to configure features such as push notifications that your app uses.
- Click Age rating and ratings certificates to pick an age rating for your app and upload any ratings certificates.
- Click Cryptography to declare whether your app uses any cryptography.
- Click Packages to upload your app's packages.
- Click Description to provide a description for your app.
- Click Notes to testers to provide the certification testers with any info they might need to test your app.
- Click Submit for certification to submit your app. We will send you an email when the certification process is complete. You can also check on your app's certification status at any time.
If you, as a developer, need to get help with anything Windows 8 related, you can find it here.
Should you get any certification errors, you can learn what they mean and how to resolve them by referring to this Windows Developer Center article: Resolving Certification Errors.