Game Development Tools
Start with the web
Here are just a few web standards available in most modern web browsers, including Microsoft Edge, that you can use to make great online games:
Touch Support: Almost all modern web browsers include mouse, keyboard, and touch as standard input options, so it’s easy to make a web game that works in all possible form factors where you can find a web browser. You can get even more functionality out of the unified pointer event system made available in Internet Explorer 10.
Better 2D Graphics with Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) and Canvas: The HTML5 canvas provides fast drawing of shapes, text, and images, enabling smooth animation and complex scenes. SVG support makes high-quality vector art display and animation a snap.
On the web, most games are either made by pulling together a number of libraries to make a complete project, or by building on a game framework. For instance, you could make 2D puzzle game by combining the HTML5 canvas for drawing, Matter.js for simulating physics, and WinJS for user interface. Or, use Unity's web target to build a fast-paced 3D action game that can be easily ported to the Windows Store.
More and more, web apps are becoming as capable as any other app type. With technologies like Apache Cordova (aka PhoneGap), you can package your web app easily and publish it on the Windows Store or other platforms.
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Games for all screens
A great way to jump into the app world is by writing a game for Windows for phones, tablets, or both. Touch-based Windows Store games can be built using a wide range of technologies including sensors, from accelerometers to detect movement, to GPS radios that enable gamers to explore your world by moving around theirs. The Windows Store API enables all of these sensors and more, using a consolidated API design that makes adding an additional sensor or input device a minor code addition.
A great way to jump into the app world is by writing a game for Windows for phones, tablets, or both. Touch-based Windows Store games can leverage data from sensors to enance game play experience, from accelerometers to detect movement, to GPS radios enabling gamers to explore your world by moving around theirs. The Windows Store API enables all of these sensors and more, using a comprehensive API design that makes adding an additional sensor or input device a minor code addition.
The new Universal Windows Platform, also known as Windows Apps, delivers compatibility for your game across Windows 10 devices. The platform provides a common API for phone, PC, and Xbox One, along with tools and options to tailor your game to each device. Learn more about how to become a Windows Insider and start developing Windows 10 games today.
Making a game for the Windows Store provides an opportunity to make a high-quality, high-performance game that runs on the wide gamut of Microsoft platforms, including all devices running Windows and Windows Phone. In addition, if you’ve written a game before for Windows using DirectX 10 or higher, chances are the vast majority of your graphics code can be reused in your Windows Store game, enabling you to spend more time adding features and less time porting code.
More and more game middleware is becoming available to make great games on Windows. Depending on your needs and budget, there is very likely a perfect solution for you, including free and open source solutions, professional systems like Epic’s Unreal Engine, and the versatile Unity3D game development suite.
The Windows Store is the only place where you can publish a single app that can be installed on mobile phones, tablets, and PCs. Learn more about how to get your game from a number of different platforms onto the Windows Store to tap the market of millions of Windows devices.
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Level-up your game
First person shooters, real time strategy games, flight simulators, and many other groundbreaking genres were made popular for the PC, and Microsoft products have been the base of those innovations. Now game developers have the opportunity to use an additional set of features to build new experiences on the PC with Windows and the Windows Store. Ensuring your game runs natively on Windows is surprisingly straightforward, whether you write it all yourself or use a framework like Unity.
With Windows 10, the new universal app platform delivers compatibility for your game across devices. With a common API for phone, PC, and Xbox One that includes DirectX 12, you can tailor your game experience to each device. Learn more about the rich set of tools and technologies for making games for Windows by becoming a Windows Insider today.
When you write a game in native code, there really is nothing getting in the way between you and the hardware. In Windows 10, DirectX 12 provides unprecedented power over the GPU with a console-like API and lower CPU overhead. The best part? DirectX 12, like all Windows 10 Store APIs, is supported on Windows 10 PCs, phones, and Xbox One.
Kickstart your game by taking full advantage of the world of game engines and game libraries available for Windows apps. Start with a free and open source engine like Cocos2D, or using a commerical system like Epic's Unreal Engine or Unity3D. Whatever you choose, you'll have your game up and running quickly and easily.
Most Windows devices come with a wide range of sensors, from accelerometers to detect movement, to GPS radios that enable gamers to explore your world by moving around theirs. And the Windows Store API enables all of these sensors and more, using a consolidated API design that makes adding an additional sensor or input device a small code addition. The Windows Store API provides tools for unifying touch, mouse, keyboard, and game controllers, enabling games that smoothly adapt to multiple form factors.
The Xbox ecosystem
The Xbox brand provides more possibilities for game developers than ever. Learn how to make Xbox games work on millions of devices by porting to the Windows Store and leveraging the Xbox Live for Windows service. Furthermore, with ID@Xbox indie developers have a path to publishing their games to the Xbox. And ID@Xbox is expanding to support developers on Windows 10. If you’d like to take advantage of the Xbox Live feature set in Windows 10 – cross play with Xbox, Achievements, Gamerscore, and more – you’ll be able to work with ID@Xbox to include Live in your Universal Windows Platform games. In the future we’ll also help you ship your universal app platform games on Xbox One.
The ID@Xbox program (Independent Developers publishing program for Xbox One) enables qualified game developers of all sizes to unleash their creativity by self-publishing digital games on Xbox One, giving studios the tools and support needed to maximize their success. ID@Xbox enables game developers to take their existing game and make it available on the Xbox One, and gives access to the full power of the platform, including Kinect, Achievements, Gamerscore, Challenges, SmartGlass, Xbox Live, and more.
Porting a console game to the Windows Store provides the opportunity to get your game to millions more potential gamers on a wide gamut of devices. And with the new universal app platform and DirectX 12, you can share more and more of your code between your Windows game and your Xbox game, reducing support costs and maximizing your potential.
With the Xbox app on Windows 10, gamers have more ways to connect and play, wherever they are. Games, friends, and achievements follow players across their Windows devices. Xbox Live is built into Windows 10, giving you access to the greatest gaming community in the world. Xbox app on Windows 10 means more for your games—more players, more devices, more possibilities. Get started developing games for Windows 10 today.
Keeping users engaged
Making a game that's fun to play is one thing, but getting users to stay engaged in the connected age requires your game to add a lot more to the experience, like connecting with friends or exploring new content. Microsoft provides a wide range of services for simplifying the most common tasks in getting an app to have online support. Check out how games published to the Windows Store can get a lot of great features for a small cost, and learn how to make your own supporting services for great online games.
Getting the word out about your game can be a daunting task. Luckily, the Windows Store gives you numerous strategies for marketing and selling your game. But the Windows Store also provides features for keeping customers engaged and potential monetization opportunities, such as in-app purchases, trials, and advertisements.
The Windows Store is a great place to understand your market. From the Windows Store developer console, you can track the number of installs, read reviews, see if your game is crashing on people's devices, and see how many in-app purchases are being made. The collection of data you get from providing your game on the Windows Store is tremendous, and provides a great feedback loop for making your game exactly what your customers are looking for.
Want an online game but don’t have any experience with writing code for servers? The Windows Store provides a number of services for you, without you ever needing to create a server at all using the Application Data API.
With a small investment of server code using Azure Mobile Services, you can open up your game to a wide range of cool features, like push notifications & live tiles. You can even integrate your app quickly with social networking services.
The web makes a huge range of rich gaming experiences possible, and the cloud makes it much easier to get up and running. Building backend services can be a challenge, but with Microsoft Azure, scaling your services to meet demand is an affordable prospect. We’ll show you how to cover the necessary steps to grow your game servers to meet a growing user base effectively and economically.
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