GameMaker development for PC: get started

Use this topic to prepare your GameMaker game for publishing to the Microsoft Store.

Required software

The following tools and SDKs need to be installed to use GameMaker Studio 2 with the GDK:

  • VS2019
  • GDK
    • Be sure to set the installer to update the system paths or the extension project will not be able to find CMake.

Up to date Gaming Runtime Services (GRTS) and PC Bootstrapper

Starting with the May 2202 GRTS release, a PC Bootstrapper has been added to the PC game launch experience. The PC Bootstrapper is presented during side-loaded development workflows and when an installed MSIXVC packaged title is launched in Retail scenarios and launches before the game itself launches. The PC Bootstrapper has a dependency on the Gaming RunTime Service (GRTS) that is distributed automatically to all Windows 10/11 PCs. If GRTS is out of date on your development PC, it can generate an error (E_FAIL) when attempting to sign in.

To make sure you have the latest version of Gaming Services on your PC:

  1. Verify your Windows 10/11 developer environment is set to RETAIL mode and not in a developer sandbox.
  2. Close all other games and apps.
  3. Use this link to go to the Microsoft Store page for Microsoft Gaming Services (and select "More details" to expand the Store page if needed):
  4. Ensure it is current and does not tell you it needs updating.
  5. Also, go to the Library view in the Microsoft Store app to update all apps and components.

GameMaker Studio 2

If you don't already have GameMaker Studio 2 installed, download and install it from

GameMaker Studio 2 - GDK Extension

The GameMaker Studio 2 GDK Extension is required to use the GDK with GameMaker Studio 2.
The source for the GameMaker Studio 2 GDK Extension and setup instructions for it are available here:

Follow the steps listed in the README file at the root of the repo. When cloning the GDKExtension repo be sure to use the --recurse-submodules switch to include the submodules or required files will be missing when you try to build the solution.

The extension has a building guide and quick start guide under GDK_Project_GMS2/datafiles/GDK_Extension_Documentation.pdf. The guide includes documentation of the GDK extension APIs for Game Maker Studio.

Building the GDK Extension

Once you have all the required software and have cloned the Game Maker Studio 2 GDK Extension repo, you can build the extension using Visual Studio 2019 and the GDKExtension.sln under the DLL subdirectory of the extension repo. For detailed building instructions, see the building guide under GDK_Project_GMS2/datafiles/GDK_Extension_Documentation.pdf.

Creating a product in Partner Center

Before you can test Xbox services functionality or publish a game to the Microsoft Store, you need to create your Xbox Live-enabled product in Partner Center. For more information about Partner Center, see Setting up an app or game in Partner Center, for Managed Partners.

Testing the GDK Extension

The GDK Extension repo has a sample project to demonstrate integration of the GDK plugin with a Game Maker Studio 2 project. The sample project file can be found under GDK_Project_GMS2/GDK_Project_GMS2.ypp. When you build the sample project (Build->Create Executable) you'll need to select the Package as Zip option so you have access to the MSIXVC package required for installing the app. Using Package as Installer will not produce an MSIXVC package and the app will not be able to properly access Xbox Services.

When the build finishes, it will open a File Explorer window containing the created .zip file and a subdirectory with the same name as the package which contains the MSIXVC package. Looking in the Game Maker Studio output window you will also see a line with the output path for the MSIXVC package. For example:


To run the sample project so that it has access to Xbox Services you will need to install the package using wdapp install with the name of your package. For example:

wdapp install XboxDeveloperExperienceTe.GamePassSampleGame_1.0.0.0_x64__pmsd8ndztetqc.msixvc

Once the package has been installed you can launch it using the Windows button.

Updating MicrosoftGame.config

The sample project uses a default MicrosoftGame.config file. To test the sample or your own GameMaker Studio project with your project's Partner Center configuration information you'll need to update the MicrosoftGame.config file.

The sample's config file can be found in GDK_Project_GMS2\datafiles\MicrosoftGame.config.

In order to use Xbox services functionality you need to update your project's MicrosoftGame.config with your Partner Center project identity details.

  1. Go to the Partner Center dashboard.
  2. Select your game from the list of products.
  3. Select the Game setup tab, and then select Identity details.
  4. Select Show Details to expand the Identity details section.
  5. Use the following values from the table in the Identity details section, and then copy those values from Partner Center into the corresponding element and field in MicrosoftGame.config.
Name in Partner Center MicrosoftGame.config
Xbox Title ID TitleId
Package/Identity/Name Identity->Name
Package/Identity/Publisher Identity->Publisher
Xbox Services -> Xbox Settings -> MSAAppId MSAAppId

For example, the following identity details in Partner Center would result in your MicrosoftGame.config looking like the sample bellow:

Name in Partner Center Example value
Xbox Title ID 64353034
Package/Identity/Name 41336MicrosoftATG.Achievements2017Redux
Package/Identity/Publisher CN=A4954634-DF4B-47C7-AB70-D3215D246AF1
Xbox Services -> Xbox Settings -> MSAAppId 0000000000000000
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<Game configVersion="1">

  <Identity Name='41336MicrosoftATG.Achievements2017Redux' Version="" Publisher='CN=A4954634-DF4B-47C7-AB70-D3215D246AF1' />

    <Executable Name="Achievements2017_desktop.exe"
  <ShellVisuals DefaultDisplayName="Achievements2017 Desktop Sample"
                PublisherDisplayName="Xbox Advanced Technology Group"

See MicrosoftGame.config overview for additional information on the values in MicrosoftGame.config.

Integrating the GDK extension into your own project

Once you've built the GameMaker Studio GDK extension and successfully tested the sample project you'll be ready to integrate the extension functionality into your own project.

At a minimum, your project needs to call the following functions to integrate with the GDK:

  • gdk_init needs to be called to initialize the GDK. The gdk_init function needs to be called before any other GDK functionality can be used.
  • gdk_update needs to be called once each frame while the GDK is active.
  • gdk_quit needs to be called to clean up once your project is done using the GDK and no other GDK functionality will be used.

In addition, the GDK extension has the following modules providing access to GDK functionality:

  • Base Module provide functions controlling user/account selection for the player.
  • Storage Module provides functions controlling loading and saving data associated with a user.
  • Xbox Live Module provides functions to use features from Xbox services including stats, leaderboards, achievements, and rich presence.
  • In-App Purchases Module provides functions controlling making user purchases in your project.

The guide included in the extension repo provides documentation for the GDK functions in the GDK Extension APIs section. You can find the guide in GDK_Project_GMS2/datafiles/GDK_Extension_Documentation.pdf.

Testing Xbox services in your game

In order to test Xbox services functionality in your game such as achievements, you need to use a sandbox and test accounts with access to that sandbox.

Creating a test account

To test any Xbox services features in your game you'll need to create test accounts that have access to your development sandbox. For information about creating test accounts, see Creating test accounts.

Switching your sandbox

After you've created a test account, use the account to access your sandbox by using the following steps.

  1. To find your sandbox ID, go to Partner Center.
  2. Select Xbox Live, and then select Gameplay Settings.


Your sandbox ID is on the first tab, and it's named like "ABCDEF.0".

  1. Open the Start menu.
  2. Enter Microsoft GDK Command Prompts, and then select Enter on your keyboard.
  3. Open the first command prompt.
  4. In the command prompt, enter XblPCSandbox.exe [your sandbox ID].
  5. After the command prompt launches several apps, sign in with your test account to the Xbox App.

If you're able to sign in successfully, you've created a test account and changed to your sandbox to begin testing.

For more information on sandboxes see Xbox Live Sandboxes overview.


In order to be ready to publish your game, you need to:

  • Have finished integrating your game with the GDK
  • Updated your MicrosoftGame.config file with the correct values from the project you created in Partner Center
  • Create an MSIXVC package using Package as Zip in GameMaker Studio

After you've completed those two requirements, you're ready to publish. To submit your game, go to Partner Center and follow the instructions in the UI.