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Introduction: developing the ideal platform… for the development

At the GDC Europe 2016 conference, the Microsoft developer platform team was pleased to introduce the upcoming technologies that will improve the development of games for Windows 10.

In addition to testing our partners’ games, we organized an interactive space with workstations where developers could interact with Microsoft experts and get detailed free consultations on topics such as Visual Studio, the Universal Windows Platform (UWP), Unity, Azure gaming services, the Windows Store and Xbox.

In this article we will explain in more detail what gaming technologies will be included in Windows 10 Anniversary Update this summer and how Microsoft sees the future of game development for Windows devices. Stay in touch and keep up to date with the latest developments thanks to our game developer website.

Game development has come a long way since the first zero-crossover game appeared on a CRT monitor in the 1950s. Microsoft has been working productively with game developers for several decades.

A good example: the Windows Games development package was released in 1995. With the release of Windows 10 and the transition from global releases of OS to a regular cycle of updates, our view of game development has been enriched by the constant integration of user feedback, which improves the experience of developers.

Our subsequent investments in developer platforms and tools reflect this commitment. We are committed to providing developers with the maximum possible coverage of their devices through the Windows Universal Platform (UWP).

This is the basis of our vision for the future of game development on Windows devices such as computers, tablets, Xboxes and HoloLens.

How does Microsoft develop the process of integrating user feedback? We pay attention to the needs and difficulties of developers and constantly conduct unique research to find the best solutions to their problems.

This article details our key initiatives to develop game development tools for Windows, our many years of experience in this area, and the ultimate goals of our strategy, which was adopted in August 2016 with the release of Windows 10 Anniversary Update.

We’re excited about the rapid adoption of Windows 10 by gamers – more than 45% of Steam users as of July 2016 – but we understand that we need to continue to work closely with such a passionate audience and remain responsive.

When we talk about what our Windows 10 game development tools need to be developed, all the talk comes down to the question: What do we expect from our development environment?

After all, most of us are software developers. Along with the question, “What do developers want?”, it has become our guiding star: we must make sure that game developers never doubt whether Windows 10 is really the best platform for making computer games.

This question shows how we think about setting our global goals: openness and community, power and capabilities, and finally, interaction and outreach.

Openness and community

Starting with the implementation of new UWP technologies in Windows 10, our long-term vision is to create a truly inclusive, open gaming ecosystem that supports device families, gives great opportunities to all gamers and allows game developers to easily reach out to this entire audience.

Obviously, in previous releases of Windows 10, many users did not have an intuitive understanding of how to install UWP games from outside the Windows Store.

The end user had to run the PowerShell script to install the certificate and game, and even enter commands directly into PowerShell. Sometimes users were confused by certificate errors or had the impression that downloading unpublished games was not the best way to install them.

Windows Anniversary Update has a pre-installed tool called “Application Installer”. It makes it easy to install applications – the user only needs to double-click the APPX or APPXBUNDLE file for direct installation. Scripts or commands are no longer needed.

Just open Explorer, find your APPX or APPXBUNDLE file, double-click, let the installer know about your application, click “Install”, and it’s done!

The advanced user should take into account that the game to be installed must be trusted for his device – this is how protection against malware and other problems is implemented.

That is, if a corporate or developer application with special rights or permissions is installed on the device, the device must have a signature certificate on it.

And unlike any EXE files downloaded from the Internet, the application installer tells you what you need for your game, such as access to contact lists.

We also follow the principles of openness in developing the Windows Store’s PC features, which have traditionally been – and always will be – a rich and active ecosystem with competing and complementary platforms that allow developers to fully explore their creativity by creating and selling their games the way they want them to be.

We understand that the process of releasing games to the market, for example through the Windows Store, should be as simple and convenient as possible for developers, but they also need to provide the tools and data to improve their gaming experience. Openness is evidenced by the convenience of selling your game in the Windows Store.

No complicated account management process: you don’t need to talk to a Microsoft representative to sell your product in the Windows Store! Simply create an account at the Windows Development Center, download the content, and your game will be ready for direct download to hundreds of millions of devices running Windows 10 today.

Paul T. Linder