Testing and Publishing your GameSalad Games/Apps to Windows 8


GameSalad Creator is a 2D object oriented tool that allows you to create completely original games using a drag and drop interface, enabling you (the user) to create applications for Windows 8, iOS, Android, HTML5, and even for the Mac Platform without typing a single line of code so perfect for those developing there first app.  

This is possible by using Creator's unique design and powerful features to turn logic and assets into finished high-quality products. For our purposes, ‘logic’ refers to the combination of Rules, behaviours, and Attributes that jointly define how a project operates, and ‘assets’ are the images and sounds imported into your project.    

To download Creator for Windows, head over to http://gamesalad.com/creator to get the most recent version.

GameSalad Windows Creator supports Windows 8, Android, and HTML5 publishing while Mac Creator supports iOS, Windows 8, Android, HTML5, and Mac Platform. An active Professional GameSalad Membership subscription is required for Android and Windows 8 publishing. As Pro memberships are account based, you'll only need one even if you plan on using both Windows Creator and Mac Creator. Simply log in to the Creator with your Pro account and you're good to go.

What Screen Size/Canvas should I use?

This is common question the setting should be 720p HD as the native resolution for Windows 8 is 1366 x 768

Publishing your GameSalad Apps and Games to Windows 8

To publish for Windows 8, you'll need a Windows 8 Developer  License (available at http://dev.windows.com)  or if your a student or educator via DreamSpark.com (available at https://www.dreamspark.com/Student/Windows-8-App-Development.aspx) and an active GameSalad Pro membership subscription (available at http://gamesalad.com/creator/pricing)

It's important to note that while it’s possible to publish for Windows 8 using any supported Windows operating system, you'll need a Windows 8 environment to adhoc test your game. Another key detail is that unlike iOS publishing, the code signing process isn't divided into developer signing versus distribution signing. Instead, you'll simply upload the resulting APPX file using the Windows 8 developer portal (available at http://dev.windows.com)  when you're ready for submission via .

Once you're ready to publish your game, you'll go through the same Web Publishing process you've already been using, but this time using the newly added 'Windows 8' platform tab. This page has the following fields and configuration options: 

Nickname Short Name Privacy Policy URL Customer Support URL Display Name Description Tile Settings Splash Screen Snap View Image Windows 8 Store Package Settings 

Its vital that these field are completed I will explain each of these settings individually in regards to what they do and how they affect your game. Keep in mind that many of the terms I'll be using are Windows 8 user-interface specific.

Nickname - This name helps you tell your apps apart during the GameSalad Web Publishing process. Changing this field from its default setting of "Windows 8" will only change its corresponding tab label in the Platforms list on the left-hand side of the page. In other words, this field is only intended to help users stay organized and has no impact on your published file.

Short Name - Specifies a short name for the app that appears directly on the tile. Per Windows Store requirements, users are allowed a maximum of 13 characters. The tile that this name will appear on can be see in Windows 8's  "Modern UI Style".
Privacy Policy URL - This URL links to your personal Privacy Policy, which is a requirement of the Windows Store. If you do not a publicly hosted Privacy Policy for your game or games, you'll need to create one prior to submitting. Please do not direct players to GameSalad's Privacy Policy.

This is One of the most common reasons Windows 8 apps fail certification is lack of a privacy statement.

Do I need a privacy policy for my app?

Windows 8 Certification requirement 4.1.1 states

Your app must have a privacy policy if it collects personal information

Now most of us building apps read that and think, I’m not collecting anyone’s email address or phone numbers with my app so I don’t need a privacy statement. Then you submit your app for certification and it fails! Why?

Personal information includes: Webcam snaps, Audio/Video recordings, Photos, Documents, Contacts, and so on. So if you are using the webcam to take pictures or creating a document that access contact information or users files you need a privacy statement.

Personal information also includes: IP Addresses. That means if your app has the ‘internet client’ capability enabled in your app you are going to need a privacy statement. By the way, the default templates in Visual Studio include the ‘internet client’ capability, so unless you change the default manifest, you will need a privacy statement.

What do I put in a privacy policy?

According to Windows 8 certification requirement 4.1.1

In general, an acceptable privacy policy is one that:

• Informs users of the information collected by your app

• Informs users how that information is used, stored, secured and disclosed

• Describes the controls that users have over the use and sharing of their information

• Describes how they may access their information

• Complies with applicable laws and regulations

We do not provide a sample or a template for a privacy policy beyond that. Since the privacy policy is a document between you and the users of your app, you will have to write it and publish it on a website yourself.

If you do not actually collect or store personal info from the users, say so in your privacy policy

Where do I have to put this privacy policy?

You must provide the privacy policy (or a link to it) in the description page of the submission site and in your settings.

Where can I find some examples?

Take a glance at the Windows 8 store and look at the description pages of some published apps. You can also go to the settings page of any installed apps you may have. If your app doesn’t collect personal information, you can probably write it yourself making it clear that you do not collect personal information. If your app does collect personal information you need to do your homework and find out the appropriate legal wording for your privacy policy.

A good example is

This application does not collect or share any personal information. Your IP address (and related data provided by the operating system when making a web request) may be logged by the Internet-based servers (controlled by the vendors ) that provide the data used by the application.

Or take a look at standard Microsoft Privacy policy as basis is http://privacy.microsoft.com/en-us/default.mspx

Is there a code sample for adding it to settings?

Sure, we all live for cut and paste. I found a nice C# example of how to add a privacy policy to your settings in a blog post at Expression Blend.com. http://www.expressionblend.com/articles/2012/08/16/windows-8-certification-and-privacy-statement/
Customer Support URL - This URL directs users to where they can receive Customer Support for your game, which is also a requirement of the Windows Store. Please do not direct players to GameSalad Customer Support.
Display Name - Specifies the friendly name as it will appear to Customers in the Windows 8 Store.  This is the App name that you reserved for this app in the Windows 8 developer portal. You'll be able to provide placeholder text in this field if you're only publishing to ad-hoc test. If you are publishing to submit to Windows, the Display Name needs to be a perfect match to the app name you previously reserved. 

Description - A description of your game that will be displayed to your potential players. 

Windows 8 UI Features

Tile Settings (Including 'Tile Background Colour', 'Foreground Text', 'Show App Name', 'Logo', and 'Small Logo') - These are all fairly self explanatory, but each includes a tool tip with additional details for further clarity. Note both the Logo and and Small Logo must either be a .png or a .jpg and their required dimensions must be pixel perfect. 
Splash Screen (Including 'Splash Screen Background Colour')  - again must be pixel perfect in size and .png or .jpg.
Snap View Image (Including 'Background Colour' and 'Vertical Alignment') -- Must be pixel perfect .png or .jpg

Windows 8 Store Package Settings (Including 'Package Name', 'Publisher ID', 'Publisher Display Name', 'Version Number', and 'Store Logo') - With the exception of the Store Logo, these fields contents are provided to you by Microsoft, through the developer portal. You'll be able to provide placeholder text in this field, these will need to be a perfect match to the information provided in the developer portal. The logo must be pixel perfect and .png or .jpg. 

Ensure that the following fields must be character-for- character exact to what's on your Windows 8 developer portal http://dev.windows.com, otherwise your app submission will be unsuccessful:

Display Name,
Package Name,
Publisher ID (minus "CN="),
Publisher Display Name.

Once you've filled out the Web Publish form and have generated/downloaded your game, you're ready to submit to the Windows Store.  After registering a Developer Profile via www.DreamSpark.com or directly at http://dev.windows.com you will be given a Publisher ID and Publisher Display Name.

To find these values you will need to login to your Developer Account via dev.windows.com

From your Developer Dashboard under Profile click on Account You will under Display Info your publisher Display Name and Publisher ID. It is critical that these values are input exactly as they appear on the page (Again, no need to include the CN= when entering your ID, GameSalad take care of this in the publishing system) 

Before publishing the final product for submission to the Windows 8 Store you will need to have reserved the App Name via your developer portal on Microsoft's Website.

To Reserve App Name: 
Go to your Dashboard Click on Submit an App  Click App Name Add the Desired Name to the App Name field and submit. 
Reserving the App Name will then provide you with the Package Name. 
To get the package Name: Go to Your Dashboard Click Edit on the App in Question Click on Advanced Features Click on Push Notifications and Live Connect Services Click on Identifying your app The Identity Name at the bottom of the page is your Package Name.

Steps for ad-hoc testing your Windows 8 game: 


If your a student simply head over to

Getting Started Building Windows 8 apps https://www.dreamspark.com/Student/Windows-8-App-Development.aspx

If your a Non Student developer you will need

•    Windows 8 SDK (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/hardware/hh852363.aspx)   

•    Visual Studio 2012 Express or Professional installed (http://www.microsoft.com/visualstudio/eng/products/visual-studio-express-products)

•     GameSalad App-Signer available at http://gs.downloadables.s3.amazonaws.com/AppSigner0.10.0.zip (this is required to sideload and test your app/game before publishing to the windows store)

Getting Started testing your app/game

•    Install Visual Studio and Windows 8 SDK Download and Extract the GameSalad App Signer to the directory of your choice (we recommend your Documents folder)    

•    Go to Directory that the App Signer was extracted into    

•    Right Click AppSigner.exe and select Send to > Desktop Create Shortcut 

•    Right Click Shortcut and select Properties    

•    Go to Compatibility Tab and select the Run as Administrator (bottom of window)    

•    Apply > OK

•    Build your app or Game with Gamesalad and publish the app 

How to Use the GameSalad AppSigner after you have created your app/game

•    Double Click to Run Program    

•    App Path - Browse to the published APPX file that you desire to sign 

•    Publisher ID - This is the Publisher ID that was used during publishing    

•    Key Name - This can be anything that you desire.  Ideal use case is to enter in the name of the Application without spaces.    

•    Click Sign App     •    You are now ready to Side Load your game for ad-hoc testing  

To Side Load for Testing    

•    Browse to directory that has the signed APPX    

•    Right Click the Add-AppDevPackage.ps1 and choose Run in Power Shell    

•    Follow the prompts in Power Shell     
◦    NOTE: If this is the first time that you are side loading an application for testing, you will be prompted to Acquire a Developer License.  The account that you use to sign in must be a Microsoft Live account.  Once you are signed in, continue following the prompts.     
◦    NOTE: If the version Number of the app/game was not increased during publishing, and you have previously installed a version of the app/game onto the Windows 8 device, you will need to uninstall the existing version prior to installing.   

•    Once the app has been installed, proceed to the Windows Start Screen and click the icon for your test application.

Publishing your app to the Windows 8 Store

Once you're ready to publish your game, you'll go through the same Web Publishing process you've already been using, but complete all the fields in the 'Windows 8' platform tab as instructed above.

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