Tips and Tricks Best Practice for building your Windows Phone Game

Developing your game on Windows Phone 8 here are some top tips from my colleague Simon Michael @simon_mich

Windows Phone


1. Visit the Windows Phone dev centre for documentation, tools and samples for Windows Phone Apps Development.

2. Register for a store developer account and reserve your app name/s as soon as possible. Also register your phone for development.

If your a Student you receive a FREE windows phone store account at

3. Make use of some key support resources such as Getting Started Guide, Windows Phone Developer Blog, Windows Phone Developer forum and the many useful code samples that you can download and build.

4. Ensure that you are aware of the key Windows Phone 8 features that can really benefit your game.

5. Ensure that your apps tile and splash screen images all look good and comply with Windows Phone Store design guidelines. Check that the tile text is not truncated at any size. We strongly recommend that you support all three tile sizes (small, medium, large) for your app.

6. Your game needs to be designed and work well across all supported phone screen resolutions. Look to take advantage of the additional real-estate offered by the large screen phones.

In addition to testing on physical devices, take advantage of the powerful features in the “Windows phone Emulator” to test your game in all screen resolutions and orientations.

7. Be fully aware of the requirements for a privacy policy when using location services API and other network services. Full details are in #2.7 of the technical certification requirements.

8. You should ensure that your game runs on both lower-end WP8 devices (these have 512MB RAM) and high-end WP8 devices (1GB Ram or more). This will help to maximise the potential user-base for your game. Examples of low-end devices include the Nokia 520 and Nokia 620 phones. Examples of high-end devices include Nokia 920, 925, 1020 and 1520. The game should run as expected within the smaller memory foot-print, should load within the required timescales and should have same performance as when running on the high-end devices. View the Nokia Phone specifications.

9. Ensure that your game handles the devices hard back button as expected in #5.2.4 of the technical certification requirements.

10. If you have a premium (paid) game then we highly recommend that you consider adding either a time-based or feature-based trial option to your game. This is achieved by using the same game package – you do not need to create a separate trial game package. There is also a useful code sample.

11. If your game uses In-app-purchases (IAP) then Windows 8.1 offers full support of both consumable and durable IAP. Also see the guide to options for testing your IAP functionality.

12. Ensure that you have the correct age/game ratings for your games. Some countries and regions require that you also rate your app through a specific ratings board and so please check the list of countries and ensure that these are in place.

13. Your game must include the app name, version information, and technical support contact information that are easily discoverable. See #5.6.1 in the technical certification requirements.

14. Ensure that loading time and responsiveness of the game complies with #5.1 and #5.2 of the technical requirements. See the information on app lifecycle management.


Testing your Game

1. Ensure that you fully understand the Windows Phone Cert Technical requirements and that your application complies with them. Read the top certification failures and how to avoid them

2. Read the ‘Testing Apps on Windows Phone 8’ guide to understand what to focus on when testing your game for store cert.

3. Read the beta testing your app and IAP guide.

4. Try to test your game on both a low spec and high spec Windows phone 8 device.

5. Also use the Windows phone Emulator to test your game – including testing across all screen resolutions and orientations.

6. When you submit your app to store, use the app submission checklist to ensure that you have everything covered.

Building Games for Windows Phone 8 using Unity or Angle

1. For Unity-based games:

2. Read the detailed porting guides which provides advice on bringing iOS, Android and other platforms to Windows Phone 8.

3. Consider using the ANGLE project to reuse existing OpenGL ES 2.0 code, and to apply their current skills to building apps and games for Windows devices.

The goal of ANGLE is to allow Windows users to seamlessly run WebGL and other OpenGL ES 2.0 content by translating OpenGL ES 2.0 API calls to DirectX 9 or DirectX 11 API calls. See:

Using API information/References:

Using Cloud Services:

Windows Azure cloud services – IAAS and PAAS – virtual machines and fully scalable and on-demand compute and storage.

Windows Azure Mobile Services – supports iOS, Android and Windows

Using 3rd Party Services

You can use the partner services directory to filter by platform and service type in order to find providers for such services as middleware, advertising, analytics, social plug-ins etc.

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