Writing games for Windows and Windows Phone

Applies to Windows and Windows Phone

Move your games to Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1, and enjoy state-of-the-art graphics and a lot more.

The Windows advantage

A DirectX arcade game

If you're creating new games, or porting existing titles, there are plenty of good reasons to support Windows.

  • Your game will never look better. Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 use DirectX 11.1 for state-of-the-art graphics.
  • Powerful coding, diagnostic, and debugging tools at your disposal.
  • A broad range of cool devices to run your games, including phones, desktop PCs, laptops, and small hand-held tablets.
  • Flexible interactions with touch and pen support, as well as traditional keyboard, mice, and game controllers.
  • The Windows Store and Windows Phone Store providing exciting new monetization options, such as in-app purchases and consumables.

Not every game requires the full-on graphics power of DirectX, and not every developer has the time to learn how to use DirectX, or how to code in C++. If you're interested in more casual games, or if you want to leverage your JavaScript skills or use C# (which has plenty in common with Objective-C and Java), there are still plenty of way to build games for Windows devices.

Cross-platform games authoring

These days, it makes sense to release the same game on multiple platforms — especially when the same resources (images, sound, animations, 3D models, music) can be shared so easily. If you're creating a game to be cross-platform, it pays to consider your options from the beginning. For example, if you're targeting Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1, you can focus on using C++ and DirectX and build a universal Windows app. However, if you're thinking of supporting iOS or Android, you can either port your existing code to their native environments or consider something more neutral, like a cross-platform authoring tool like Unity or a development environment based on Mono (the open source implementation of the .NET platform), or JavaScript and HTML5.

Sample game code

Blogs for game developers

Videos and tutorials

Authoring tools

  • Unity

    A 3D and 2D game environment.

  • GameSalad

    A game authoring environment.

  • Construct 2

    A game authoring environment.

  • Titanium Studio

    A cross-platform authoring environment.

  • SharpDX

    Use the DirectX API from .NET languages, such as C#.

  • MonoGame

    An open source XNA replacement.

  • Xamarin

    A cross-platform C# development tool.

  • Cocos2D-x

    A cross-platform code library for drawing and physics modeling.

  • Impact.js

    An HTML-based game library.

  • Marmalade

    A cross-platform SDK.

  • OpenFL

    A cross-platform development tool.

  • PhoneGap

    An HTML/JavaScript/CSS coding library.

  • GameMaker

    An authoring environment specifically for games.

Related topics

Developing games with DirectX
Design inspiration: Games



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