Setup GameMaker:Studio for Windows Phone 8

In order to utilize GameMaker:Studio’s Windows Phone support you will need to first prepare GameMaker:Studio for use as well as fulfil a couple of prerequisites from Microsoft. To make things easier we have outlined below all the necessary steps for you to take in this simple setup process.

Getting Started

First and foremost is to ensure that your PC or laptop is running Windows 8 and that it meets the minimum requirements for developing on the Windows Phone target. If you have not yet upgraded to Windows 8, you can find out how to get a copy of the OS (as well as the minimum specifications and how to upgrade you current OS) from the page Getting Windows 8.

Getting started with the Windows Phone module requires a few things from you first. The most important of these is to ensure that your hardware and software meet the minimum requirements set by Microsoft for the SDK and emulator to be used. This means that you must have the following:

  • For the Windows Phone 8 emulator these additional requirements also apply:
    • Windows 8 Professional or Enterprise Edition
    • Hardware virtualization
    • Second Level Address Translation (SLAT)
    • DHCP, so the virtual machine can get a IP address on the local network
    • The Windows Phone emulator images (available from the same page as the SDK and VS downloads)

Please note that the Windows Phone SDK will also install Microsoft Visual Basic Express for Windows Phone as well, so there is no need to install it separately, unless you have updated to Windows 8.1 in which case you should also download the VS2013 Express package and it's Update.

NOTE: You must have a Windows Phone Device for the submission process to Microsoft.


Hardware virtualization is taken care of by the Hyper-V server-based virtual machine, and this is what will be used to emulate the different Windows Phone standards. However this great technology comes at a price.... You need to have a machine capable of running it! What this means is that you need a multi-core, 64 bit processor and that your system BIOS has second level address translation (SLAT). A great handy small 3rd party utility to detect if you have the necessary SLAT support is located here:

Setup GameMaker:Studio

Once you have all the above installed correctly, you can now startup GameMaker:Studio. The first thing to do before starting to test or create a Windows Phone game, is to set up the Preferences for the Windows Phone module. You can get to the Preferences from the File drop down menu, and then you should select the Windows phone Tab which will look like this:


As you can see, there's not a lot to this section! All you really have to do is check that SDK Status says "OK" (GameMaker:Studio should have already performed the necessary checks when you upgraded to the module, but if not you can use the "the click the "Check SDK" button (Read the section on SDK Problems for help) to force GameMaker:Studio to perform this action.

Now select the device that you wish to have the emulator use for testing your game on. The available devices are:

  • Device - Your own Windows Phone test device, plugged into your PC by data cable.
  • WVGA (512mb) - Emulates a memory-constrained Windows Phone 8 phone with a display size of 480 x 800.
  • WVGA - Normal Windows Phone with a display of 480 x 800.
  • WXGA - Large Windows Phone display at 768 x 1280.
  • 720p - HD display at 720 x 1280.

Note that you can change the emulator target at any time through the preferences, and should you have any problems with the emulator, as long as the SDK is installed and checked, you can always test using a Windows Phone device connected to the PC.

WARNING! When you come to submitting your game to the Windows Store, the final build MUST be made with this set to Device otherwise your game will be rejected.

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