Category Archives: UWP

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New Tools in Windows Device Portal for the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

In the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, Device Portal now offers several new tools from across Windows to help you location test your UWP, explore Mixed Reality, build new hardware peripherals and test your apps new installation pipeline. It’s a little bit of goodness for everyone, and we’re excited to share these with you.
If you’re not familiar with Device Portal, you can check out the blog posts below to see what other tools you can find in Device Portal, or look at the new docs.microsoft.com to learn how to enable it.
And as always, all of these tools are backed by a REST API, so that you can use it from a scripting or client application environment using the Device Portal Wrapper.
Location Based Testing
Most of us don’t have the travel budgets to test our apps across the world – but pretending to travel is almost as good!  The Location tool in Device Portal lets you easily change the location that Windows reports to apps. By tapping the “Override” check box, you can swap out the device location for whatever you set using the map or lat/long text boxes. Be sure to uncheck the box when you’re done so that your location (and timezone) come back to reality – every vacation must end…

Figure 1: The News app keeping me up to date with local headlines!
This also works for web pages in Microsoft Edge, letting you test your webpages in different parts of the world.
Some notes on what this tool can and cannot do:
This doesn’t change the locale of your PC! So the News app above still saw an EN-US user in the middle of Italy.
You may not see all apps using this location. Some programs don’t use the Windows API to determine location or have special logic (e.g. using your IP address) to determine your location.
This tool marks the PositionSource of the location data as “Default.” Some apps may check for the source and alter their behavior based on it.
Happy travels!
USB Diagnostics
This one goes out to all the hardware folks – if “HLK” or “WDK” sound familiar, you might find this handy. The USB team has updated the USBView tool to work inside Device Portal, so developers working on new hardware can have more tooling at their fingertips.
The USB Devices tool can be a bit tricky to find – head to the hamburger menu in the top right, and go to “Add tools to workspace.”  Scroll to the bottom and check the “USB Devices” box, then hit “Add.” And voila – a full view of your systems USB hubs, controllers and peripherals. The hubs and controllers expand to show individual devices using the + (plus) sign, and clicking the gear will expand to show the items properties.

Streaming App Install Debugging
The Windows 10 Creators Update added ““streaming installation” for UWP, which allows a user to launch the app before it finished downloading. In order to make this easy to test, the App Model team has added a Streaming Install Debugger tool to Device Portal. To use it, deploy an app with content groups to the device, then open the Streaming Install Debugger. In it you’ll be able to edit the states of the content groups so you can test your apps behavior as streaming install is being simulated and ensure it behaves correctly when content groups are missing.

For more details, check out Andy Liu’s blog posts about the new App Installer and Streaming Install Debugger tools.
Mixed Reality Tooling
One of the bigger splashes in the Fall Creators Update is the addition of Mixed Reality to Windows Desktop. As part of that release, we’re including a suite of tools to help developers build great Mixed Reality apps. Two of these tools may look familiar to HoloLens developers – 3D View and a Framerate counter. There’s also a new app launch option that appears when you have an immersive headset attached to your PC, which lets you launch your app in Mixed Reality.
Frame rate is an important factor in making mixed reality apps comfortable, and it’s important for developers to optimize performance to hit full frame rate on the systems they support. The Frame Rate tool in the Device Portal helps by showing developers both the frame rate of their app and of the system’s compositor.

The 3D View helps when testing your immersive headset’s interactions with the real world, displaying its position as it moves through space.

Finally, what good is tooling if you can’t actually run your app in your immersive headset? Now, when you have an immersive headset attached, the Installed Apps tool will add a button letting you launch the app in the HMD. While fully immersive apps will always run in Mixed Reality, this new button is particularly useful for 2D UWP apps (or apps that switch between 2D and immersive) when you want to test them in Mixed Reality.

As always, if you have ideas for Device Portal that would help you write or debug apps, please leave us a note on our UserVoice or upvote an existing request. If you run into bugs, please file it with us via the Feedback Hub.
Related Posts:
Using Device Portal to view debug logs for UWP
Using the App File Explorer to see your app data

Using your ad units correctly when you have multiple store apps

As we had blogged earlier, ad unit performance has a direct correlation with the application category and the users targeted by the application. Having an ad unit associated with multiple store applications leads to ambiguity, which can result in improper ad delivery. This will have an adverse impact on your revenue and user experience. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and other compliance requirements mandate that there is a 1:1 correlation between a store application and an ad unit.
Each ad unit must be only be used in a single store application. This requirement includes applications that target Universal Windows Platform applications, along with Windows 8.x (WinRT) applications.
We’ve reached out to developers through various means, including multiple notifications inside Dev Center. The ad delivery will soon stop on ad units used across multiple applications, so if you have any such ad units, please update! Setting up new ad units is extremely easy.
Don’t forget these following tips that can help maximize your in-app-ad revenue:
Move to the latest advertising SDKs
Set COPPA settings for your app
Use only IAB standard ad sizes
Set your ad placement appropriately
Use Interstitial Banner as fallback to Interstitial Video

Xbox Live Creators Program Is Now Live!

Back in March, we revealed the Xbox Live Creators Program. Today, we’re excited to announce that any developer can now directly publish their games to Xbox One and Windows 10. We’ve already had some great games published during the preview program (check out the list below!), but there’s always space for more, and it’s time for your game to shine. Microsoft is committed to ensuring that any developer who wants to publish their game on Windows 10 PCs and the Xbox One console family can do so, and the Creators Program enables creators big and small, from around the world, to do just that.
What’s the Creators Program, you ask? Xbox Live Creators Program allows any developer to directly publish their games – any of their games – to Xbox One consoles and Windows 10 PCs with a standard certification process already in place for any other app or game in the Universal Windows Platform ecosystem. In other words, if you have a Dev Center account, then you’re ready to publish your game to Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs.
But it gets better! Using the Creators Program also allows you to implement a number of Xbox Live services directly in your game. Stuff like Gamertag Presence, Xbox Live leaderboards and Connected Storage. Things that make your life as a game creator easier, but also enhance your gamers’ experiences. And you also get to take advantage of killer features like Game Hubs and Clubs, Mixer streaming (and integration for more interactive experiences) and some really awesome accessibility features to make sure your game is available for an even wider audience.
And because you get to use the standard Windows Store certification process, you can have the freedom to publish when you’re ready, set pricing the way you like and establish sales and updates that fit your schedule.
Any Creators Program game published on the Windows 10 Store will be listed in the Games category, it’s that simple. On the Xbox One console, we’ve created a special section of the Store called Creators Collection, so that your game can be easily discovered by people looking for something new. We also did this because we know from feedback from players, parents and developers, that the current curated experience on the Xbox One Store is something they love. So, having the Creators collection gives all of us the best of both worlds: A curated store and a fully open marketplace in the Creators Collection.
Does the Creators Program sound good to you? It does to us! And it’s so easy to do. First step is to build your game utilizing UWP and Xbox Live SDK, and for that you can use the tools you’re already using – Visual Studio, game engines like Unity, Construct 2, MonoGame and Xenko – and combine them with a retail Xbox One console and your Dev Center account. You’ll need to grab the free Dev Mode Activation app from the Xbox Store, but then you’re just a few button presses away from converting that retail machine into something ready for your development efforts.
The Dev Center account is the standard one for anyone building apps or games in the Microsoft ecosystem. If you don’t have one yet, it costs as little as $20 as a one-time fee. Then get started on your Xbox Live integration by checking out the Creators Program page and the Xbox Live Creators Program step by step guide.
Creators Program games have access to a large set of Xbox Live services, but not all of them. You’ll be able to implement features such as sign-in and presence, use of your Gamertag, leaderboards, access to your Activity Feed, Game Hubs, Clubs, Party Chat, Game DVR and broadcasting on Mixer.
However, since Creators Program is an open program as opposed to a managed one, some services are not available to you: Achievements, Gamerscore or internet multiplayer. The good news is that if you want access to these features, we encourage you to apply to the  ID@Xbox program where you’ll get the ability to incorporate these. And of course, there’s a path for games to move from the Creators Program to ID@Xbox during development (or even after they reach the Store) if a developer decides they want to add Gamerscore, Achievements or internet multiplayer later on.
While ID@Xbox was designed for professional game developers who wish to use the full set of Xbox Live features through a full certification process, the Creators Program gives all the other developers a “right-sized” set of Xbox Live services. So whether they’re small studios, hobbyists, makers, teachers and students, or if they’re just learning the ropes – the Creators Program is a simplified way to create and ship games to the Xbox community.
We know that the below set of titles is just the beginning. We’re going to highlight more of the diverse array of Creators Program games that catch our eyes on the Xbox Wire. I hope to see your game listed there one day soon.
Here’s a quick look at the first titles that will be available via the program:
Animal Rivals, Blue Sunset Games: Animal Rivals is an action-packed couch party game for one to four players. Drop into the game and fight for the Animalonia’s throne as one of the furry contenders in different mini-games and locations. The game itself presents a unique art style mixing the cartoonish looks and satire approach. (Xbox One, Windows 10)
Block Dropper, Tresiris Games: Block Dropper is a fast paced, arcade style, 3D platformer. Try not to fall as you guide your character through the challenging single player mode or grab a friend to battle head to head in a local multiplayer Block Battle Arena. Tresiris is a small game studio based in Olathe, Kansas, who create fun and simple games with quality as their top priority. (Xbox One, Windows 10)
Crystal Brawl, Studio Mercato: Gauntlet meets NBA Jam in Crystal Brawl, a 2v2 capture-the-flag local multiplayer game that melds fast action with MOBA-like strategy. Choose from a variety of characters with different abilities, with a notable twist: each character has a unique ability that alters the terrain. Experiment with different character combinations to uncover hidden strategies! Studio Mercato is an independent game studio based in New York City. (Xbox One, Windows 10)
Derelict Fleet, Bionic Pony: Derelict Fleet is a fast-paced space combat game. You are tasked with defending a refugee fleet as you travel the stars searching for a new colony to call home. Bionic Pony is a small indie studio based in Tampa, FL that started making Xbox Live indie games in 2010. (Xbox One)
ERMO, Nonostante: ERMO is a relaxing puzzle game featured with a calming and peaceful graphics. Immerse yourself in the landscapes and colors of ERMO and let you be carried away. You will learn the rules in a few seconds, but ERMO will catch you for hours. (Xbox One)
GalactiMAX!, ONLYUSEmeFEET: In the vast darkness of space, GalactiMAX has the player shooting aliens for points to pierce the heavens in classic arcade shooter action! As more aliens are defeated, the player’s ship will increase in size and power. How big can this ship get?! (Xbox One, Windows 10)
kubic, Pixel Envision Ltd: kubic is a relaxing optical illusion puzzle game based on M.C. Escher’s art, impossible objects and other geometric designs. The object is to construct the goal configuration from a number of pieces. (Xbox One, Windows 10)
Space Cat!, GershGamesLLC: Shoot your way past an onslaught of enemies and bosses. Collect weapon upgrades like missiles, bombs, laser beams and much more. GershGamesLLC is a group of young hobbyists that makes for fun on the weekends. (Xbox One, Windows 10)
Stereo Aereo, The Stonebot Studio: Stereo Aereo is an action rhythm game that is inspired by the pop-culture influences of the 80’s. You, the player, have to make sure that the mediocre space rockband Stereo Aereo, gets to their life changing concert, on time, in this comic styled sci-fi game. (Xbox One, Windows 10)
Finally, to celebrate the availability of Creators Program becoming open for any developer, we’re also highlighting the Dream.Build.Play contest, which has an Xbox One category for any game developer who incorporates Creators Program features into their game. So not only can you get your game on the console for the first time, you have a shot at winning some cash money while you do it. Sounds good to us!