How to Get Accepted in the Windows 8 Marketplace!

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Helping your App Make it to the Big Leagues: Windows 8

Introduction

So you've made a really fun app that you're proud of. That's an excellent first step! Congratulations! This guide is written to help you get your little guy on to the Windows 8 app store. Please keep in mind, this is for Windows 8 App Store only. I will be writing a separate tutorial for the Windows Phone Store. These are all lessons I learned the hard way while submitting 10 apps for the Windows Keep the Cash promotion in 2013.

Step 1: What you need before you even export your project from Construct 2.

So, there's a number of things you need to do before you submit your app to the Win8 store. You need to run it through Visual Studio, associate images with it for tiles, and build and test your app. Here's what you need to do before you ever begin the app submission process.

Make sure you're running Windows 8 Pro.

Yes, this is NECESSARY. If you don't have Windows 8 at all, this is a $200 expense. If you have Windows 8 basic, it's a $100 upgrade, but you can get away with just the trial. I recommend HIGHLY that you do not attempt the trial of windows 8 pro if you are not already running Windows 8. It's like giving your computer a heart transplant just to try it out.

Download Visual Studio and the Windows 8 SDK.

This link will take you to those downloads.

Get a Developer's License.

This costs $50, unless you're lucky enough to be a student that qualifies for Dreamspark. This is necessary to continue on through this tutorial.

Step 2: Working within Visual Studio

So you've got Visual Studio with the Windows 8 SDK... Congratulations! Alright, now to get down to the nitty gritty.

1. Export your project from Construct 2.

2. Open Microsoft Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows 8

3. Open your project in Visual Studio. You're looking for the .sln file in the root of your project.

4. Go to STORE menu and click 'Reserve App Name'. Follow the very self explanatory steps until you get to "packages" and stop. Also, when choosing markets for your app, exclude non-english speaking countries, and definitely exclude any markets that require a game rating certification. These are: Brazil, Taiwan, Korea, and South Africa. (Thanks Paradox!) You can, incidentally, submit your game for consideration by their respective ratings board, but this tutorial doesn't cover that.

4a. Also, if you're charging for your app, each region you submit to will need its own tax documents. It's on you whether or not this is worth your time. (Thanks again, Paradox)

5. Go to the STORE menu again and click "Edit App Manifest". This should bring you to the application UI. Scroll down to tile.

6. Upload custom images to "Logo", "Wide Logo" (optional), "Small Logo", and "Splash Screen" near the bottom. With the exception of "Wide Logo", NONE OF THESE ARE OPTIONAL. Please observe the mandatory pixel sizes of these images.

7. Go to the "Packaging" tab and upload a custom image for "Logo". Like above, ensure that you observe the mandatory pixel size of this image.

8. Go to "STORE" menu and click "Associate App with the Store...", and follow the dialogues. If your app name doesn't appear, make sure you did step 4 properly.

9. Click "Capture Screenshots" to open the app in a console and test the app, and generate a screenshot. Please keep in mind the screenshot will be saved to your clipboard. Just paste it in paint and save it.

10. Go to "STORE" menu and click "Create App Packages..." and follow the dialogues. When it prompts you to run the Certification kit, click yes. If you have the UAC on your computer enabled, allow Visual Studio to make changes to your computer.

11. Go make a burrito. Play some XBOX or PS3. Call your grandmother. But whatever you do, DO NOT TOUCH YOUR COMPUTER UNTIL THE CERTIFICATION KIT FINISHES. It also doesn't hurt to pray to the technology gods.

Step 3: "So you have an .appxupload file. Now what?"

1. Go to the App Dev portal for Windows 8. Find your project, and click it. Now go down to "Packages", and click upload. Please keep in mind not all browsers support dragging your project file to the webpage. The file that the dashboard is looking for you to upload is found in [Project]\AppPackages. It should be called [Project Name]_1.x.x.x_AnyCPU.appxupload, or very similar. Don't worry, the website will tell you if you selected the wrong file.

2. On the Description section, make sure you upload your screenshot and fully explain your app. It doesn't hurt to fill out the features section.

Step 4. LEAVE NOTES TO TESTERS. DO IT.

So this one step is so important it deserves its own section. Let me paint a picture for you. Imagine a stressed, harried man sitting at a desk with a manager almost constantly looking over his shoulders. He has a quota of several thousand apps he has to test today. Your app hits his screen, and there's no notes to the testers. That button that you thought was clearly established as a button looks like text to him, and the background picture, which isn't supposed to be a button, is what he thinks should take him to the next page. It doesn't, so he fails your app, copy pastes a generic "Does not support touch function" error, and sends it back to you. You then have to test your app 20 times, because you can't figure out what the hell that guy meant by "Doesn't support touch." You submit error tickets to Scirra.com. You howl curses in to the skies.

Or.

You leave step by step instructions on how to access every major feature in your app. The tester is REQUIRED TO READ IT. Now he KNOWS that button is a button. He passes your app, and you throw a party.

Also, make sure you explain the purpose of your app to testers. They can fail an app that doesn't seem to have any kind of purpose. So if your app seems useless to them, they'll send it back.

Step 5. Throw a party.

I hope this walk through saves you a lot of aggravation and the hassle of throwing bricks through monitors! I would love your comments and questions. Thanks!

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