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Windows 10 game development guide

Last Updated: 1/12/2017

[ Updated for UWP apps on Windows 10. For Windows 8.x articles, see the archive ]

Welcome to the Windows 10 game development guide!

This guide provides an end-to-end collection of the resources and information you'll need to develop a Universal Windows Platform (UWP) game.

Introduction to game development for the Universal Windows Platform (UWP)

When you create a Windows 10 game, you have the opportunity to reach millions of players worldwide across phone, PC, and Xbox One. With Xbox on Windows, Xbox Live, cross-device multiplayer, an amazing gaming community, and powerful new features like the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) and DirectX 12, Windows 10 games thrill players of all ages and genres. The new Universal Windows Platform (UWP) delivers compatibility for your game across Windows 10 devices with a common API for phone, PC, and Xbox One, along with tools and options to tailor your game to each device experience.

This guide provides an end-to-end collection of information and resources that will help you as you develop your game. The sections are organized according to the stages of game development, so you'll know where to look for information when you need it.

To get started, the Game development resources section provides a high-level survey of documentation, programs, and other resources that are helpful when creating a game.

This guide will be updated as additional Windows 10 game development resources and material become available.

Game development resources

From documentation to developer programs, forums, blogs, and samples, there are many resources available to help you on your game development journey. Here's a roundup of resources to know about as you begin developing your Windows 10 game.

Note Xbox One development and select Windows 10 gaming features (Xbox Live Services, for example) are managed through programs such as ID@Xbox and Microsoft Studios. This guide covers a broad range of resources, so you may find that some resources are inaccessible depending on the program you are in or your specific development role. Examples are links that resolve to developer.xboxlive.com, forums.xboxlive.com, xdi.xboxlive.com, or the Game Developer Network (GDN). For information about partnering with Microsoft, see Developer Programs.

Game development documentation

Throughout this guide, you'll find deep links to relevant documentation—organized by task, technology, and stage of game development. To give you a broad view of what's available, here are the main documentation portals for Windows 10 game development.


Windows Dev Center main portalWindows Dev Center
Developing Windows appsDevelop Windows apps
Universal Windows Platform app developmentHow-to guides for Windows 10 apps
How-to guides for UWP gamesGames and DirectX
DirectX reference and overviewsDirectX Graphics and Gaming
Azure for gamingBuild and scale your games using Azure
UWP on Xbox OneBuilding UWP apps on Xbox One
Xbox Live documentationXbox Live SDK
Xbox One developer documentation (GDN)Xbox One XDK documentation
Xbox One developer whitepapers (GDN)White Papers

Developer programs

Microsoft offers several developer programs to help you develop and publish Windows games. To publish a game in the Windows Store, you'll need to create a developer account on Windows Dev Center. Other programs may be of interest depending on your game and studio needs, and can create opportunities such as Xbox One development and Xbox Live integration.

Windows Dev Center

Registering a developer account on the Windows Dev Center is the first step towards publishing your Windows game. A developer account lets you reserve your game's name and submit free or paid games to the Windows Store for all Windows devices. Use your developer account to manage your game and in-game products, get detailed analytics, and enable services that create great experiences for your players around the world.

Register a developer accountReady to sign up?

ID@Xbox

The ID@Xbox program helps qualified game developers self-publish on Windows and Xbox One. If you want to develop for Xbox One, or add Xbox Live features like Gamerscore, achievements, and leaderboards to your Windows 10 game, sign up with ID@Xbox. Become an ID@Xbox developer to get the tools and support you need to unleash your creativity and maximize your success. Before applying to ID@Xbox, please register a developer account on Windows Dev Center.

ID@Xbox developer programIndependent Developer Program for Xbox One
ID@Xbox consumer siteID@Xbox

Xbox tools and middleware

The Xbox Tools and Middleware Program licenses Xbox development kits to professional developers of game tools and middleware. Developers accepted into the program can share and distribute their Xbox XDK technologies to other licensed Xbox developers.

Contact the tools and middleware programxboxtlsm@microsoft.com

Game samples

There are many Windows 10 game and app samples available to help you understand Windows 10 gaming features and get a quick start on game development. More samples are developed and published regularly, so don't forget to occasionally check back at sample portals to see what's new. You can also watch GitHub repos to be notified of changes and additions.


Universal Windows Platform app samplesWindows-universal-samples
Xbox Advanced Technology Group public samplesXbox-ATG-Samples
Direct3D 12 graphics samplesDirectX-Graphics-Samples
Direct3D 11 graphics samplesdirectx-sdk-samples
Direct3D 11 first-person game sampleCreate a simple UWP game with DirectX
Direct2D custom image effects sampleD2DCustomEffects
Direct2D gradient mesh sampleD2DGradientMesh
Direct2D photo adjustment sampleD2DPhotoAdjustment
Xbox One game samples (GDN)Samples
Windows 8 game samples (MSDN Code Gallery)Windows Store game samples
JavaScript and HTML5 game sampleJavaScript and HTML5 touch game sample

Developer forums

Developer forums are a great place to ask and answer game development questions and connect with the game development community. Forums can also be fantastic resources for finding existing answers to difficult issues that developers have faced and solved in the past.

Windows apps developer forumsWindows store and apps forums
UWP apps developer forumDeveloping Universal Windows Platform apps
Desktop applications developer forumsWindows desktop applications forums
DirectX Windows Store games (archived forum posts)Building Windows Store games with DirectX (archived)
Windows 10 managed partner developer forumsXBOX Developer Forums: Windows 10
DirectX early access program forumsDirectX 12 forum

Developer blogs

Developer blogs are another great resource for the latest information about game development. You'll find posts about new features, implementation details, best practices, architecture background, and more.

Building apps for Windows blogBuilding Apps for Windows
Windows 10 (blog posts)Posts in Windows 10
Visual Studio engineering team blogThe Visual Studio Blog
Visual Studio developer tools blogsDeveloper Tools Blogs
Somasegar's developer tools blogSomasegar’s blog
DirectX developer blogDirectX Developer blog
DirectX 12 introduction (blog post)DirectX 12
Visual C++ tools team blogVisual C++ team blog
ID@Xbox developer blogID@XBOX Developer Blog

Concept and planning

In the concept and planning stage, you're deciding what your game is going to be like and the technologies and tools you'll use to bring it to life.

Overview of game development technologies

When you start developing a game for the UWP you have multiple options available for graphics, input, audio, networking, utilities, and libraries.

If you've already decided on all the technologies you'll be using in your game, great! If not, the Game technologies for UWP apps guide is an excellent overview of many of the technologies available, and is highly recommended reading to help you understand the options and how they fit together.

Survey of UWP game technologiesGame technologies for UWP apps

These three GDC 2015 videos give a good overview of Windows 10 game development and the Windows 10 gaming experience.

Overview of Windows 10 game development (video)Developing Games for Windows 10
Windows 10 gaming experience (video)Gaming Consumer Experience on Windows 10
Gaming across the Microsoft ecosystem (video)The Future of Gaming Across the Microsoft Ecosystem

Game planning

These are some high level concept and planning topics to consider when planning for your game.

Make your game accessibleAccessibility for games
Build games using cloudCloud for games
Monetize your gameMonetization for games

Choosing your graphics technology and programming language

There are several programming languages and graphics technologies available for use in Windows 10 games. The path you take depends on the type of game you’re developing, the experience and preferences of your development studio, and specific feature requirements of your game. Will you use C#, C++, or JavaScript? DirectX, XAML, or HTML5?

DirectX

Microsoft DirectX is the choice to make for the highest-performance 2D and 3D graphics and multimedia.

Direct3D 12, new in Windows 10, brings the power of a console-like API and is faster and more efficient than ever before. Your game can fully utilize modern graphics hardware and feature more objects, richer scenes, and enhanced effects. Direct3D 12 delivers optimized graphics on Windows 10 PCs and Xbox One. If you want to use the familiar graphics pipeline of Direct3D 11, you’ll still benefit from the new rendering and optimization features added to Direct3D 11.3. And, if you’re a tried-and-true desktop Windows API developer with roots in Win32, you’ll still have that option in Windows 10.

The extensive features and deep platform integration of DirectX provide the power and performance needed by the most demanding games.

How-to guides for DirectX gamesGames and DirectX
DirectX overviews and referenceDirectX Graphics and Gaming
Direct3D 12 programming guide and referenceDirect3D 12 Graphics
Graphics and DirectX 12 development videos (YouTube channel)Microsoft DirectX 12 and Graphics Education

XAML

XAML is an easy-to-use declarative UI language with convenient features like animations, storyboards, data binding, scalable vector-based graphics, dynamic resizing, and scene graphs. XAML works great for game UI, menus, sprites, and 2D graphics. To make UI layout easy, XAML is compatible with design and development tools like Expression Blend and Microsoft Visual Studio. XAML is commonly used with C#, but C++ is also a good choice if that’s your preferred language or if your game has high CPU demands.

XAML platform overviewXAML platform
XAML UI and controlsControls, layouts, and text

HTML 5

HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is a common UI markup language used for web pages, apps, and rich clients. Windows games can use HTML5 as a full-featured presentation layer with the familiar features of HTML, access to the Universal Windows Platform, and support for modern web features like AppCache, Web Workers, canvas, drag-and-drop, asynchronous programming, and SVG. Behind the scenes, HTML rendering takes advantage of the power of DirectX hardware acceleration, so you can still get the performance benefits of DirectX without writing any extra code. HTML5 is a good choice if you are proficient with web development, porting a web game, or want to use language and graphics layers that can be easier to approach than the other choices. HTML5 is used with JavaScript, but can also call into components created with C# or C++/CX.

HTML5 and Document Object Model informationHTML and DOM reference
The HTML5 W3C RecommendationHTML5

Combining presentation technologies

The Microsoft DirectX Graphics Infrastructure (DXGI) provides interop and compatibility across multiple graphics technologies. For high-performance graphics, you can combine XAML and DirectX, using XAML for menus and other simple UI, and DirectX for rendering complex 2D and 3D scenes. DXGI also provides compatibility between Direct2D, Direct3D, DirectWrite, DirectCompute, and the Microsoft Media Foundation.

DirectX Graphics Infrastructure programming guide and referenceDXGI
Combining DirectX and XAMLDirectX and XAML interop

C++

C++/CX is a high-performance, low overhead language that provides the powerful combination of speed, compatibility, and platform access. C++/CX makes it easy to use all of the great gaming features in Windows 10, including DirectX and Xbox Live. You can also reuse existing C++ code and libraries. C++/CX creates fast, native code that doesn’t incur the overhead of garbage collection, so your game can have great performance and low power consumption, which leads to longer battery life. Use C++/CX with DirectX or XAML, or create a game that uses a combination of both.

C++/CX reference and overviewsVisual C++ Language Reference (C++/CX)
Visual C++ programming guide and referenceVisual C++ in Visual Studio 2015

C

C# (pronounced "C sharp") is a modern, innovative language that is simple, powerful, type-safe, and object-oriented. C# enables rapid development while retaining the familiarity and expressiveness of C-style languages. Though easy to use, C# has numerous advanced language features like polymorphism, delegates, lambdas, closures, iterator methods, covariance, and Language-Integrated Query (LINQ) expressions. C# is an excellent choice if you are targeting XAML, want to get a quick start developing your game, or have previous C# experience. C# is used primarily with XAML, so if you want to use DirectX, choose C++ instead, or write part of your game as a C++ component that interacts with DirectX. Or, consider Win2D, an immediate mode Direct2D graphics libary for C# and C++.

C# programming guide and referenceC# language reference

JavaScript

JavaScript is a dynamic scripting language widely used for modern web and rich client applications.

Windows JavaScript apps can access the powerful features of the Universal Windows Platform in an easy, intuitive way—as methods and properties of object-oriented JavaScript classes. JavaScript is a good choice for your game if you’re coming from a web development environment, are already familiar with JavaScript, or want to use HTML5, CSS, WinJS, or JavaScript libraries. If you’re targeting DirectX or XAML, choose C# or C++/CX instead.

JavaScript and Windows Runtime referenceJavaScript reference

Use Windows Runtime Components to combine languages

With the Universal Windows Platform, it’s easy to combine components written in different languages. Create Windows Runtime Components in C++, C#, or Visual Basic, and then call into them from JavaScript, C#, C++, or Visual Basic. This is a great way to program portions of your game in the language of your choice. Components also let you consume external libraries that are only available in a particular language, as well as use legacy code you’ve already written.

How to create Windows Runtime ComponentsCreating Windows Runtime Components

Which version of DirectX should your game use?

If you are choosing DirectX for your game, you'll need to decide which version to use: Microsoft Direct3D 12 or Microsoft Direct3D 11.

Direct3D 12, new in Windows 10, brings the power of a console-like API and is faster and more efficient than ever before. Your game can fully utilize modern graphics hardware and feature more objects, richer scenes, and enhanced effects. Direct3D 12 delivers optimized graphics on Windows 10 PCs and Xbox One. Since Direct3D 12 works at a very low level, it is able to give an expert graphics development team or an experienced DirectX 11 development team all the control they need to maximize graphics optimization.

Direct3D 11.3 is a low level graphics API that uses the familiar Direct3D programming model and handles for you more of the complexity involved in GPU rendering. It is also supported in Windows 10 and Xbox One. If you have an existing engine written in Direct3D 11, and you're not quite ready to make the jump to Direct3D 12, you can use Direct3D 11 on 12 to achieve some performance improvements. Versions 11.3+ contain the new rendering and optimization features enabled also in Direct3D 12.

Choosing Direct3D 12 or Direct3D 11What is Direct3D 12?
Overview of Direct3D 11Direct3D 11 Graphics
Overview of Direct3D 11 on 12Direct3D 11 on 12

Bridges, game engines, and middleware

Depending on the needs of your game, using bridges, game engines, or middleware can save development and testing time and resources. Here are some overview and resources for bridges, game engines, and middleware to help you decide if any are right for you.

Bridges and game engines for Windows 10 (blog post)More ways to bring your code to fast-growing Windows 10 Store
Game Development with Middleware (video)Accelerating Windows Store Game Development with Middleware
Visual Studio and Unity, Unreal, and Cocos2d (blog post)Visual Studio for Game Development: New Partnerships with Unity, Unreal Engine and Cocos2d
Introduction to game middleware (blog post)Game Development Middleware - What is it? Do I need it?

Universal Windows Platform Bridges

Universal Windows Platform Bridges are technologies that bring your existing app or game over to the UWP. Bridges are a great way to get a quick start on UWP game development.

UWP bridgesBring your code to Windows
Windows Bridge for iOSBring your iOS apps to Windows
Windows Bridge for desktop applications (.NET and Win32)Convert your desktop application to a UWP app

Unity

Unity 5 is the next generation of the award-winning development platform for creating 2D and 3D games and interactive experiences. Unity 5 brings new artistic power, enhanced graphics capabilities, and improved efficiency.

On the Unity roadmap, support for DirectX 12 will be coming in a future version of Unity.

The Unity game engineUnity - Game Engine
Get Unity 5Get Unity
Universal Windows Platform app support in Unity 5.2 (blog post)Windows 10 Universal Platform apps in Unity 5.2
Unity documentation for WindowsUnity Manual / Windows
Publish your Unity game to Windows StorePorting guide
Publish your Unity game as a Universal Windows Platform app (video)How to publish your Unity game as a UWP app
Use Unity to make Windows games and apps (video)Making Windows games and apps with Unity
Unity game development using Visual Studio (video series)Using Unity with Visual Studio 2015

Havok

Havok’s modular suite of tools and technologies help game creators reach new levels of interactivity and immersion. Havok enables highly realistic physics, interactive simulations, and stunning cinematics.

Havok websiteHavok
Havok tool suiteHavok Product Overview
Havok support forumsHavok

MonoGame

MonoGame is an open source, cross-platform game development framework originally based on Microsoft's XNA Framework 4.0. Monogame currently supports Windows, Windows Phone, and Xbox, as well as Linux, macOS, iOS, Android, and several other platforms.

MonoGameMonoGame website
MonoGame DocumentationMonoGame Documentation (latest)
Monogame DownloadsDownload releases, development builds, and source code from the MonoGame website, or get the latest release via NuGet.

Cocos2d

Cocos2d-X is a cross-platform open source game development engine and tools suite that supports building UWP games. Beginning with version 3, 3D features are being added as well.

Cocos2d-xWhat is Cocos2d-X?
Cocos2d-x programmer's guideCocos2d-x Programmers Guide v3.8
Cocos2d-x on Windows 10 (blog post)Running Cocos2d-x on Windows 10
Cocos2d-x Windows Store games (video)Build a Game with Cocos2d-x for Windows Devices

Unreal Engine

Unreal Engine 4 is a complete suite of game development tools for all types of games and developers. For the most demanding console and PC games, Unreal Engine is used by game developers worldwide.

Unreal Engine overviewUnreal Engine 4

BabylonJS

BabylonJS is a complete JavaScript framework for building 3D games with HTML5, WebGL, and Web Audio.


BabylonJSBabylonJS
WebGL 3D with HTML5 and BabylonJS (video series)Learning WebGL 3D and BabylonJS
Building a cross-platform WebGL game with BabylonJSUse BabylonJS to develop a cross-platform game

Middleware and partners

There are many other middleware and engine partners that can provide solutions depending on your game development needs.

Windows Dev Center partnersDev Center Partners

Porting your game

If you have an existing game, there are many resources and guides available to help you quickly bring your game to the UWP. To jumpstart your porting efforts, you might also consider using a Universal Windows Platform Bridge.

Porting a Windows 8 app to a Universal Windows Platform appMove from Windows Runtime 8.x to UWP
Porting a Windows 8 app to a Universal Windows Platform app (video)Porting 8.1 Apps to Windows 10
Porting an iOS app to a Universal Windows Platform appMove from iOS to UWP
Porting a Silverlight app to a Universal Windows Platform appMove from Windows Phone Silverlight to UWP
Porting from XAML or Silverlight to a Universal Windows Platform app (video)Porting an App from XAML or Silverlight to Windows 10
Porting an Xbox game to a Universal Windows Platform appPorting from Xbox One to Windows 10 UWP
Porting from DirectX 9 to DirectX 11Port from DirectX 9 to Universal Windows Platform (UWP)
Porting from Direct3D 11 to Direct3D 12Porting from Direct3D 11 to Direct3D 12
Porting from OpenGL ES to Direct3D 11Port from OpenGL ES 2.0 to Direct3D 11
OpenGL ES to Direct3D 11 using ANGLEANGLE
Classic Windows API equivalents in the UWPAlternatives to Windows APIs in Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps

Prototype and design

Now that you've decided the type of game you want to create and the tools and graphics technology you'll use to build it, you're ready to get started with the design and prototype. At its core, your game is a Universal Windows Platform app, so that's where you'll begin.

Introduction to the Universal Windows Platform (UWP)

Windows 10 introduces the Universal Windows Platform (UWP), which provides a common API platform across Windows 10 devices. UWP evolves and expands the Windows Runtime model and hones it into a cohesive, unified core. Games that target the UWP can call WinRT APIs that are common to all devices. Because the UWP provides a guaranteed core API layer, you can choose to create a single app package that will install across Windows 10 devices. And if you want to, your game can still call APIs (including some classic Windows APIs from Win32 and .NET) that are specific to the devices your game runs on.

The goal of the UWP is to have:

  • One core operating system
  • One application platform
  • One gaming social network
  • One store
  • One ingestion path

The following are excellent guides that discuss the Universal Windows Platform apps in detail, and are recommended reading to help you understand the platform.

Introduction to Universal Windows Platform appsWhat's a Universal Windows Platform app?
Overview of the UWPGuide to UWP apps

Getting started with UWP development

Getting set up and ready to develop a Universal Windows Platform app is quick and easy. The following guides take you through the process step-by-step.

Getting started with UWP developmentGet started with Windows apps
Getting set up for UWP developmentGet set up

If you're an "absolute beginner" to UWP programming, and are considering using XAML in your game (see Choosing your graphics technology and programming language), the Windows 10 development for absolute beginners video series is a good place to start.

Beginners guide to Windows 10 development with XAML (Video series)Windows 10 development for absolute beginners
Announcing the Windows 10 absolute beginners series using XAML (blog post)Windows 10 development for absolute beginners

UWP development concepts

Overview of Universal Windows Platform app developmentDevelop Windows apps
Overview of network programming in the UWPNetworking and web services
Using Windows.Web.HTTP and Windows.Networking.Sockets in gamesNetworking for games
Asynchronous programming concepts in the UWPAsynchronous programming

Process lifetime management

Process lifetime management, or app lifecyle, describes the various activation states that a Universal Windows Platform app can transition through. Your game can be activated, suspended, resumed, or terminated, and can transition through those states in a variety of ways.

Handling app lifecyle transitionsApp lifecycle
Using Microsoft Visual Studio to trigger app transitionsHow to trigger suspend, resume, and background events for Windows Store apps in Visual Studio

Designing game UX

The genesis of a great game is inspired design.

Games share some common user interface elements and design principles with apps, but games often have a unique look, feel, and design goal for their user experience. Games succeed when thoughtful design is applied to both aspects—when should your game use tested UX, and when should it diverge and innovate? The presentation technology that you choose for your game—DirectX, XAML, HTML5, or some combination of the three—will influence implementation details, but the design principles you apply are largely independent of that choice.

Separately from UX design, gameplay design such as level design, pacing, world design, and other aspects is an art form of its own—one that's up to you and your team, and not covered in this development guide.

UWP design basics and guidelinesDesigning UWP apps
Designing for app lifecycle statesUX guidelines for launch, suspend, and resume
Targeting multiple device form factors (video)Designing Games for a Windows Core World

Color guideline and palette

Following a consistent color guideline in your game improves aesthetics, aids navigation, and is a powerful tool to inform the player of menu and HUD functionality. Consistent coloring of game elements like warnings, damage, XP, and achievements can lead to cleaner UI and reduce the need for explicit labels.

Color guideBest Practices: Color

Typography

The appropriate use of typography enhances many aspects of your game, including UI layout, navigation, readability, atmosphere, brand, and player immersion.

Typography guideBest Practices: Typography

UI map

A UI map is a layout of game navigation and menus expressed as a flowchart. The UI map helps all involved stakeholders understand the game’s interface and navigation paths, and can expose potential roadblocks and dead ends early in the development cycle.

UI map guideBest Practices: UI Map

DirectX development

Guides and references for DirectX game development.

DirectX game development on the UWPGames and DirectX
DirectX interaction with the UWP app modelThe app object and DirectX
Graphics and DirectX 12 development videos (YouTube channel)Microsoft DirectX 12 and Graphics Education
DirectX overviews and referenceDirectX Graphics and Gaming
Direct3D 12 programming guide and referenceDirect3D 12 Graphics
DirectX 12 fundamentals (video)Better Power, Better Performance: Your Game on DirectX 12

Learning Direct3D 12

Learn what changed in Direct3D 12 and how to start programming using Direct3D 12.

Set up programming environmentDirect3D 12 programming environment setup
How to create a basic componentCreating a basic Direct3D 12 component
Changes in Direct3D 12Important changes migrating from Direct3D 11 to Direct3D 12
How to port from Direct3D 11 to Direct3D 12Porting from Direct3D 11 to Direct3D 12
Resource binding concepts (covering descriptor, descriptor table, descriptor heap, and root signature) Resource binding in Direct3D 12
Managing memoryMemory management in Direct3D 12

DirectX Tool Kit and libraries

The DirectX Tool Kit, DirectX texture processing library, DirectXMesh geometry processing library, UVAtlas library, and DirectXMath library provide texture, mesh, sprite, and other utility functionality and helper classes for DirectX development. These libraries can help you save development time and effort.

Get DirectX Tool Kit for DirectX 11DirectXTK
Get DirectX Tool Kit for DirectX 12DirectXTK 12
Get DirectX texture processing libraryDirectXTex
Get DirectXMesh geometry processing libraryDirectXMesh
Get UVAtlas for creating and packing isochart texture atlasUVAtlas
Get the DirectXMath libraryDirectXMath
Direct3D 12 support in the DirectXTK (blog post)Support for DirectX 12

DirectX resources from partners

These are some additional DirectX documentation created by external partners.

Nvidia: DX12 Do's and Don'ts (blog post) DirectX 12 on Nvidia GPUs
Intel: Efficient rendering with DirectX 12DirectX 12 rendering on Intel Graphics
Intel: Multi adapter support in DirectX 12How to implement an explicit multi-adapter application using DirectX 12
Intel: DirectX 12 tutorialCollaborative white paper by Intel, Suzhou Snail and Microsoft

Production

Your studio is now fully engaged and moving into the production cycle, with work distributed throughout your team. You're polishing, refactoring, and extending the prototype to craft it into a full game.

Notifications and live tiles

A tile is your game's representation on the Start Menu. Tiles and notifications can drive player interest even when they aren't currently playing your game.

Developing tiles and badgesTiles, badges, and notifications
Sample illustrating live tiles and notificationsNotifications sample
Adaptive tile templates (blog post)Adaptive Tile Templates - Schema and Documentation
Designing tiles and badgesGuidelines for tiles and badges
Windows 10 app for interactively developing live tile templatesNotifications Visualizer
UWP Tile Generator extension for Visual StudioTool for creating all required tiles using single image
UWP Tile Generator extension for Visual Studio (blog post)Tips on using the UWP Tile Generator tool

Enable in-app product (IAP) purchases

An IAP (in-app product) is a supplementary item that players can purchase in-game. IAPs can be new add-ons, game levels, items, or anything else that your players might enjoy. Used appropriately, IAPs can provide revenue while improving the game experience. You define and publish your game's IAPs through the Windows Dev Center dashboard, and enable in-app purchases in your game's code.

Durable in-app productsEnable in-app product purchases
Consumable in-app productsEnable consumable in-app product purchases
In-app product details and submissionIAP submissions
Monitor IAP sales and demographics for your gameIAP acquisitions report

Debugging and performance monitoring tools

The Windows Performance Toolkit (WPT) consists of performance monitoring tools that produce in-depth performance profiles of Windows operating systems and applications. This is especially useful for monitoring memory usage and improving game performance. The Windows Performance Toolkit is included in the Windows 10 SDK and Windows ADK. This toolkit consists of two independent tools: Windows Performance Recorder (WPR) and Windows Performance Analyzer (WPA). Another useful tool for generating dump files to investigate game crashes is ProcDump, which is part of Windows Sysinternals.

Get Windows Performance Toolkit (WPT) from Windows 10 SDKWindows 10 SDK
Get Windows Performance Toolkit (WPT) from Windows ADKWindows ADK
Troubleshoot unresponsible UI using Windows Performance Analyzer (video)Critical path analysis with WPA
Diagnose memory usage and leaks using Windows Performance Recorder (video)Memory footprint and leaks
Get ProcDumpProcDump
Learn to use ProcDump (video)Configure ProcDump to create dump files

Advanced DirectX techniques and concepts

Some portions of DirectX development can be nuanced and complex. When you get to the point in production where you need to dig down into the details of your DirectX engine, or debug difficult performance problems, the resources and information in this section can help.

Optimizing graphics and performance (video)Advanced DirectX 12 Graphics and Performance
DirectX graphics debugging (video)Solve the tough graphics problems with your game using DirectX Tools
Visual Studio 2015 tools for debugging DirectX 12 (video)DirectX tools for Windows 10 in Visual Studio 2015
Direct3D 12 programming guideDirect3D 12 Programming Guide
Combining DirectX and XAMLDirectX and XAML interop

Globalization and localization

Develop world-ready games for the Windows platform and learn about the international features built into Microsoft’s top products.

Preparing your game for the global marketGuidelines when developing for a global audience
Bridging languages, cultures, and technologyOnline resource for language conventions and standard Microsoft terminology

Submitting and publishing your game

The following guides and information help make the publishing and submission process as smooth as possible.

Packaging and uploading

You'll use the new unified Windows Dev Center dashboard to publish and manage your game packages.



Windows Dev Center app publishingPublish Windows apps
Windows Dev Center advanced publishing (GDN)Windows Dev Center Dashboard advanced publishing guide
Rating your game (blog post)Single workflow to assign age ratings using IARC system
Packaging your gamePackage your UWPDirectX game
Packaging your game as a 3rd party developer (blog post)Create uploadable packages without publisher's store account access
Creating app packages and app package bundles using MakeAppxCreate packages using app packager tool MakeAppx.exe
Signing your files digitally using SignToolSign files and verify signatures in files using SignTool
Uploading and versioning your gameUpload app packages

Policies and certification

Don't let certification issues delay your game's release. Here are policies and common certification issues to be aware of.

Windows Store App Developer AgreementApp Developer Agreement
Policies for publishing apps in the Windows StoreWindows Store Policies
How to avoid some common app certification issuesAvoid common certification failures

Store manifest (StoreManifest.xml)

The store manifest (StoreManifest.xml) is an optional configuration file that can be included in your app package. The store manifest provides additional features that are not part of the AppxManifest.xml file. For example, you can use the store manifest to block installation of your game if a target device doesn't have the specified minimum DirectX feature level, or the specified minimum system memory.

Store manifest schemaStoreManifest schema (Windows 10)

Game lifecycle management

After you've finished development and shipped your game, it's not "game over". You may be done with development on version one, but your game's journey in the marketplace has only just begun. You'll want to monitor usage and error reporting, respond to user feedback, and publish updates to your game.

Windows Dev Center analytics and promotion


Dev Center AppDev Center Windows 10 app to view performance of your published apps
Windows Dev Center analyticsAnalytics
Responding to customer reviewsRespond to customer reviews
Ways to promote your gamePromote your apps

Visual Studio Application Insights

Visual Studio Application Insights provides performance, telemetry, and usage analytics for your published game. Application Insights helps you detect and solve issues after your game is released, continuously monitor and improve usage, and understand how players are continuing to interact with your game. Application Insights works by adding an SDK into your app, which sends telemetry to the Azure portal.

Application performance and usage analyticsVisual Studio Application Insights
Enable Application Insights in Windows appsApplication Insights for Windows Phone and Store apps

Creating and managing content updates

To update your published game, submit a new app package with a higher version number. After the package makes its way through submission and certification, it will automatically be available to customers as an update.

Updating and versioning your gamePackage version numbering
Game package management guidanceGuidance for app package management

Adding Xbox Live to your game

Note Xbox Live development is managed through programs such as ID@Xbox and Microsoft Studios. This guide covers a broad range of resources, and you may find that some resources are inaccessible depending on your program participation or specific development role. Examples are links that resolve to developer.xboxlive.com, forums.xboxlive.com, xdi.xboxlive.com, or the Game Developer Network (GDN). For information about partnering with Microsoft, see Developer Programs.

Download the latest Xbox Live SDKXbox Live SDK
Adding Xbox Live to your Universal Windows Platform appHow to - Add Xbox Live SDK to Universal Windows Platform (UWP) Apps
Requirements for games that use Xbox LiveXbox Requirements for Xbox Live on Windows 10
Overview of Xbox Live game development (video)Developing with Xbox Live for Windows 10
Cross-platform matchmaking (video)Xbox Live Multiplayer: Introducing services for cross-platform matchmaking and gameplay
Cross-device gameplay in Fable Legends (video)Fable Legends: Cross-device Gameplay with Xbox Live
Xbox Live stats and achievements (video)Best Practices for Leveraging Cloud-Based User Stats and Achievements in Xbox Live

Additional resources

Indie game development (video)New Opportunities for Independent Developers
Considerations for multi-core mobile devices (video)Sustained Gaming Performance in multi-core mobile devices
Developing Windows 10 desktop games (video)PC Games for Windows 10
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