How to make a Windows 8 app

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Tutorial written by AshleyOriginally published on 9th, March 2012 - 16 revisions

Creating a game for Windows 8 is easy with Construct 2. If you haven't already, download the Free edition and get going with the Beginner's guide!

Note: consider publishing a Universal store app, which also supports Windows Phone 8.1+! Find out more by reading How to export Windows Store apps. The rest of this tutorial will cover Windows 8.0/8.1 only, without phone support.

Setup

You'll need Windows 8.0 or 8.1. You then need to install Visual Studio 2012 Express for Windows if you plan to make a Windows 8.0 app, or Visual Studio 2013 Express for Windows if you plan to make a Windows 8.1 app. Both are free downloads and can be found on the Visual Studio downloads site.

We recommend exporting for Windows 8.1 - it's the latest update, is available for free to Windows 8.0 users, and uses IE11 instead of IE10 as the browser engine which adds new features like WebGL support.

Development

You'll need to add touch controls. See this tutorial on touch controls for help on that.

Different devices have different size screens. See supporting multiple screen sizes.

You can add the Windows 8 object to your project to take integrate with Windows 8 specific features like in-app purchases.

Exporting from Construct 2

First, ensure your project has the right Name, Description and Author properties set, since these will be used in the exported app.

In the Export Project dialog, choose Export for Windows 8 and follow the next steps as you would for exporting an ordinary project. You'll also have the option to choose between exporting a Windows 8.0 app (using Visual Studio 2012) or a Windows 8.1 app (using Visual Studio 2013).

In the export directory you will find a Visual Studio project. Note there are three image files for the app icons, app-logo.png, app-smalllogo.png and app-storelogo.png. You should replace these with your own images but keep them exactly the same dimensions.

The main project file has the extension .sln (solution). Double-click it and Visual Studio should open it.

Testing from Visual Studio

If you've not used Visual Studio before, it's a complex and sophisticated tool for application development. However, you only need to use a small number of commands to configure and test your app. Find the "Solution Explorer" bar which lists all the files in the project.

The solution explorer.
Double-click package.appxmanifest. This file contains all the settings for your app. There is one thing you need to set up because Construct 2 can't export it for you, which is the publisher certificate for your app. Click the Packaging tab, which probably has a red X by it because the certificate is not set.

The app manifest.


Now click Choose Certificate.... In the dialog that opens, click the dropdown and select Create test certificate....

Choosing a certificate.
A dialog appears with your Publisher ID and a password entry. Don't enter a password - leave it blank and hit OK. Click OK on the Choose Certificate dialog as well, and you should now have a certificate set (mine appeared as CN=Ashley). If you've done this correctly the red X should have disappeared too.

Test certificates only allow you to test your app. When publishing to the Windows 8 App Store, you'll need a different certificate to publish your app.

Now you can launch your app by pressing F5. Visual Studio will build it and launch it as a Windows Store app, which uses the Internet Explorer 10 browsing engine on Windows 8.0 or Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 8.1. This allows you to test everything is working in the new browser and OS. You can also try tweaking the settings in package.appxmanifest, which include options like orientation lock and other tile images.

Publishing

To submit to the Windows Store, start following the steps from this URL:
https://appdev.microsoft.com/StorePortals/
You may need to pay a fee to open a new Microsoft Developer account. The website will take you through all the necessary steps and provide the publishing dashboard from where you can publish apps to the Store.

You may also be interested in Henry Hoffman's tutorial on how to add in-app purchases to Windows 8 games.

Other options

See also:
How to make a Windows Phone 8 app
How to make Android games
How to make iPhone and iPad games
How to make an iOS web app
Publishing and promoting your Construct 2 game

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Comments

2
ludodesign 30.3k rep

Oh! this is really interesting. Good news.

Congratulations @Ashley
serious, great work.

Friday, March 09, 2012 at 1:31:24 AM
4
Kiyoshi 13.3k rep

Win8 represents a huge huge step for HTML5, with it's fullscreen native apps running HTML5 . The feeling is completelly different from a browser . Much much better, that's the future. So exporting to metro is a huge step for C2 as well. Congrats !

Friday, March 09, 2012 at 2:09:02 AM
2
mammoth 8,486 rep

Great job. The best thing for an indie developer is to be one of the first of the marketplace. This gives everybody ample time to be able to sell their games on metro apps. This is awesome! Thanks a lot!

Friday, March 09, 2012 at 4:22:00 AM
2
Kyatric 69.3k rep

What are the performances of ie10 in a windows 8 environment for now ?

Friday, March 09, 2012 at 6:32:16 AM
2
mercy 5,830 rep

What is the performance of "fullscreen native apps running HTML5 " ?

Getting more curious, might as welly try myself.

Friday, March 09, 2012 at 9:19:05 AM
2
sqiddster 32.7k rep

I, too, am curious of how the performance is. Internet Explorer hopefully have got their act together by version 10...

Friday, March 09, 2012 at 11:03:43 AM
2
Bigheti 17.0k rep

Hummmm....interesting! Let's try to see is good!

Friday, March 09, 2012 at 11:05:11 AM
2
plauk 6,548 rep

Yep... this is very promising.

Friday, March 09, 2012 at 11:19:51 AM
3
Bob Thulfram 4,643 rep

Hey, this works! I followed your instructions. After exporting my app to Windows 8 format, copied it to my Windows 8 Consumer Preview, and then I created a certificate and did a F5 build. I now have my Windows 8 Metro app on the Start Menu. How cool is this???

My app is small so I didn't notice any performance issues, and I'm happy to say that it played my sound (I had two sound files, OGG and AAC, and it played one of them. I wonder which one. :-) )

By the time the store opens, I'll have an app for sale!

Monday, March 19, 2012 at 5:29:50 AM
1
Anonymous1 3,311 rep

Windows 8 has two versions of IE10. There is the desktop version which operates much like the current IE9 and has a few minor performance issues that I have experienced on pages like G and Facebook. The IE10 Metro version is simplified and doesn't allow add on's like Java and Flash to run, but HTML5 and JavaScript run very well.

This however will allow you to create a Metro app that I don't believe uses IE10 to execute the code. There are some games that are released on the Store now that use HTML5 and run very smoothly and I will be working out how to make my first game go from keyboard to mouse!

Glad you guys have begun working on supporting this!

Saturday, May 05, 2012 at 3:44:06 AM
2
eryltalbot 4,326 rep

Thanks a lot for this! I was just about to climb the C# ramp (I can't program in C#).

Tuesday, May 08, 2012 at 12:22:57 PM
1
mattharrington 2,402 rep
Thursday, June 14, 2012 at 5:50:09 AM
2
SocalSam 3,909 rep

Windows 8 development using Scirra is awesome. However, design is a problem and I am writing series of blog posts on game design, which like Matt you can see at http://blogs.msdn.com/devschool

Friday, June 15, 2012 at 12:28:24 AM
2
SocalSam 3,909 rep

Just re-read the post and it solved a WACK testing problem for me. Thanks.

If you are running into WACK test failures make sure to set the certification, this is one of the problems that I ran into.

Sunday, June 17, 2012 at 6:13:21 PM
2
sirLobito 4,792 rep

I´ve tested this feature in Windows8 and gotta say the result is really impressive.

Awesome work :D!

Thursday, July 12, 2012 at 11:38:37 AM

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