Toolz

Does anyone have a different contact email than: getgfw@microsoft.com I've sent several emails to this address over the last month in attempt to get the certification process going on a new title we are going to be releasing with no response. Alternately if the application packet for this is online a url would be helpful.

Thanks in advance.



Re: Game Technologies: General Games for Windows Certification

The ZMan

What exactly are you looking for

The email you give comes from http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms810462.aspx which says to use gfwlogo@microsoft.com for questions and getgfw@microsoft.com to get the paperwork. However that is for logo requirements rather than certification. I'm nto actually sure there is a formal certification process (I'm trying to do some research but if you have more information on what you want I can try to find out where you should go)






Re: Game Technologies: General Games for Windows Certification

Chuck Walbourn

The article you refer to is old and that program for Windows XP was discontinued well over a year ago. There seem to be a number of old documents polluting the MSDN2 path there, so I'm sorry for the confusion. I've asked that this get cleaned up ASAP.

The Games for Windows branding program is still ramping up, so title participation is currently by invitation only. We publicly released the G4W Technical Requirements and Test Cases with the DirectX SDK because they are the best single source of guidance on making games work great on Windows Vista as well as older versions of Windows.

http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb173456.aspx
http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb173457.aspx

In addition to the Games for Windows branding, there are two Windows Vista-related logo programs: Works With Windows Vista and Certified for Windows Vista. WwWV is a low bar that basically says "We've tested it with Vista and we will take support calls for our title running on Vista". CfWV is a much higher bar and includes formal certification testing. The Games for Windows branding is a variation of the CfWV logo program, although both WwWV and CfWV are fully open programs that are ready to support a large number of submissions. More information on these logo programs at https://winqual.microsoft.com/default.aspx

I would recommend that every Windows game publisher & developer read through the Games for Windows documents to understand the requirements and opportunities. Use the information to get your titles to be compatible with Windows Vista, and register that application with the Works With Windows Vista logo. This will make sure that Microsoft's upgrade advisor will note that the title in question is compatible with Windows Vista. From there you can explore other opportunities such as the Certified for Windows Vista logo program or the Games for Windows branding program.





Re: Game Technologies: General Games for Windows Certification

DavidAWinter

I assume there are going to be waivers available for some of the requirements Some of those requirements only make sense for a small number of game styles.

The game controller requirements for example.

Once a player has begun to use an Xbox 360 Controller for Windows with a title they must not be required to use the mouse/keyboard until after the game has exited to the Windows desktop.

Okay, support the 360 controller.. that fair enough, it's a good controller. But to put a restriction in place that states that once a user begins playing the game with it, they must be able to use it for the rest of the interface That makes no sense. Nobody is going to use a game controller to navigate unit lists, or use drag/drop features. A game pad is the worst possible input device for a considerable number of interfaces. How do you 'draw' in the various in game editors with a game controller Basically, the only way to make that work, is to cripple the interface and remove features that rely on a mouse and keyboard.

Once the player enters the 3D portion of the game, using the game pad may work the best. But once the user exist that portion, and is involved in other areas of the game, with no 3D game play, why are they forced to use an interface that was built around a game controller

Game developer knows their product far better than Microsoft does and should be the party responsible for determining what input devices makes the most sense to use in various areas of their game.

BTW, if supporting the 360 controller is a requirement, where are the artwork files located that have been authorized by Microsoft to use in game

All executable code files (e.g., .EXE and .DLL extensions) must be signed with an Authenticode certificate.

Is Microsoft going to provide the tools to sign these files Or is this some sort of deal with verisign to provide the certificates at no charge

I would suspect that the vast majority of independent game developers will opt for the "Works With Windows Vista" certification. Is there any up to date documentation on that

David





Re: Game Technologies: General Games for Windows Certification

Chuck Walbourn

The requirements are intended to be universal with respect to retail product. How they will apply to online only distribution is still under discussion as the program is focused on retail at the moment, but the requirements that would only apply to retail product have already got wording around applicability in them. For example, the 3.7 Support Autorun requirement only applies for games distributed on removable media. Some of the requirements don't apply if you are going for a full per-user deployment that never requires any admin rights, which is a direction that makes sense for many casual games.

Not all tiles are required to support the common controller. The first line of the requirement reads: "Games that support gamepad controllers must support the Xbox 360 Controller for Windows using the XInput API." The text does need some clarification, but the intent is basically this: If your game has a simple interface, it should be usable with the common controller throughout. If your game doesn't map to a gamepad, then the requirement doesn't apply to you in the first place. Some games, such as Flight Sim X don't actually use the common controller as a 'gamepad', but more like a joystick because you can't control all the functionality from just a gamepad.

The code signing tools are already public, and have been for years. Any valid Certificate Authority can be used; it does not need to be Verisign. These are the same certs used for hosting HTTPS sites, and they can be used to sign all binaries you distribute so you can amortize the cost over multiple products and releases. We have an article on using codesigning in the DirectX SDK: http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb172338.aspx

The Works With Windows Vista and Certified for Windows Vista logo programs are both hosted on the winqual site. If you don't have a full code signing cert, you'll need to get an organizational cert to get access to the secure portions of that site to actually sign up, but the documentation on the logo programs are already public. https://winqual.microsoft.com/default.aspx Look for the link labeled "Client Software Logo Programs". Note that the WwWV bar is really so low that you may still have a negative experience on Windows Vista, but at least your customers know if they ask for support they won't be hung-up on for saying "I'm running Windows Vista". Aim for something higher with respect to your product.

For independent ISVs, I would recommend doing as much of the G4W stuff as possible to ensure your titles are well supported on Windows. This will more than cover the bar for WwWV and puts you in a technical position to consider CfWV and/or the Games for Windows branding when the time comes. Even without the relevant logo programs, doing these things will make for a better experience and better on-going compatability.





Re: Game Technologies: General Games for Windows Certification

DavidAWinter

Hi Chuck.

 Thank you for following up.

 The requirements are intended to be universal with respect to retail product. How they will apply to online only distribution is still under discussion as the program is focused on retail at the moment, but the requirements that would only apply to retail product have already got wording around applicability in them. For example, the 3.7 Support Autorun requirement only applies for games distributed on removable media. Some of the requirements don't apply if you are going for a full per-user deployment that never requires any admin rights, which is a direction that makes sense for many casual games.

 I suppose I wasn't very clear. I was actually speaking of retail product as opposed to 'casual' games. Come to think of it, I'm not completely sure what Microsoft's definition of a 'casual' game is. Pogo style web games probably qualify.. but World of Warcraft could be played on a casual basis too. Does a $30 game become labeled as a casual game because it's purchased online  At any rate, I'm not sure that splitting up the requirements in this fashion is a good idea.. there are far too many grey areas. And those grey areas would require waivers.

If your game doesn't map to a gamepad, then the requirement doesn't apply to you in the first place.

 The issue though is that in my case, the 3D game play does (or rather it can if the user chooses) map to a game controller. The user has the option to play the game in various ways. If they choose to play the 3D portion of the game in 'arcade mode' then the 360 controller requirement makes sense and I'd be happy to officially support that. But from what I'm reading, as soon as they chose to use the controller, they must be able to use the controller through the rest of the game. That's where the trouble is. If, in my personal case, the user exits the 3D on field game play, and goes into the play editor, or the team management portions of the game, the controller wouldn't make sense. But the requirement states they must be able to use it.

The Works With Windows Vista and Certified for Windows Vista logo programs are both hosted on the winqual site. If you don't have a full code signing cert, you'll need to get an organizational cert to get access to the secure portions of that site to actually sign up, but the documentation on the logo programs are already public. https://winqual.microsoft.com/default.aspx Look for the link labeled "Client Software Logo Programs". Note that the WwWV bar is really so low that you may still have a negative experience on Windows Vista, but at least your customers know if they ask for support they won't be hung-up on for saying "I'm running Windows Vista". Aim for something higher with respect to your product.

 Point taken in respect to aiming higher. Obviously that's the goal, but some of the requirements in the full GFW cert are simply out of the realm of possibility for the majority of independent developers. Be the reasons time, costs, or access to technology in general. In the end, the customer just wants the game to work. I don't believe I've ever been requested to not put the game start up icon on the desktop though.

 My worst fear, and believe me, it has kept me up at night, is that Microsoft is going to make the GFW certification a requirement.. meaning no other option and if it's not certified, it wouldn't run. 

 If GFW becomes a requirement (just like driver certification for Vista already is), then that means that independent developers get left out in the cold. Already Vista is causing nightmares for independent developers due to it's lack of support for existing technologies.

 I think it's a slippery slope. Enforcing certifications, etc on consoles is one thing. It makes sense and those development houses willing to develop for those platforms know the expenses going into it. Windows however is supposed to be an open platform. I think it needs to stay that way.

David





Re: Game Technologies: General Games for Windows Certification

Chuck Walbourn

As I said before, the exact text around the use of the common controller does need some clarification, but the spirit of the requirement is pretty clear.

Windows is fundamentally an open platform. As such, certification is not required. Even the WHQL driver certification is NOT required for a driver to be loaded onto Windows. The only *requirement* for a driver is that it should be Authenicode signed and in 64-bit native form or it will not load on an x64 version of the OS, which with Windows Vista is a much more broadly available configuration. You do NOT need to have WHQL signing to be installable, and Authenticode signing is open to anyone who purchases a signing cert from a CA.

Microsoft traditionally encourages developers, hardware partners, and other third-parties to do the "right" thing with respect to the platform through the incentives of logo and co-marketing programs. The current generation G4W branding program does exactly that. The reason we have formal certification is that traditionally self-cert programs have failed to meet any technical bar. This time around we are being proactive about getting the requirements out to the development community rather than relying on the marketing arm of a publisher to push the requirements down through all the layers involved. The actual branding precense is still focused on retailers and publishers at this time, but unless developers do the work in the first place there isn't much point to having technical requirements.

There are no aspects of the G4W technical requirements that are beyond the reach of indie developers. A few hundred dollars a year for the Authenicode cert might be a price they'd rather not pay, but it's not much money for the majority of development houses. Again, signing is not required to ship exes on Windows, but without it you will get more vsibility out of Windows as an untrusted potentionally dangerous program. We have filled in all the technical details with technical articles and samples in the DirectX SDK, so there's no 'magic' to the requirements at all, or even Microsoft invovlement in the process of doing the technical work. There is process involving Microsoft around the branding program itself.

Obviously there is a cost here depending on how far away from current best practices a given developer is operating. Our position is that for the most part, there is nothing in the Games for Windows branding program technical requirements that you should not already be doing for a Windows game whether or not you are incented to do so by a co-marketing program.