PC Game Launch Requirements

Here is the list of everything that we need in order to release your game:

  1. Final builds, with appropriate branding (see Marketing Requirements FAQ page)
  2. Marketing art asset and screenshot pack (see Marketing Requirements FAQ page)

Additionally, all games must adhere to the requirements explained in detail below. Games that do not meet these requirements will not be eligible for distribution and may be rescheduled much later in the release queue.

ActiveMark Wrapper Requirements 

  • Unprotected: Must be unprotected, and must not perform self-checks or self-reads (read data within the executable), or perform auto-updates (for example from the Internet).
  • Self-Contained: Must not rely on CD, DVD, or external file or component not contained within its installer.
  • Win 32-code: Must a 32-bit Windows executable with a .exe extension, and must comply with standard Windows architecture.
  • Uncompressed: Must not be compressed or packed.
  • Intentional Execution: The main executable must be called intentionally by the consumer (that is, it is not a device driver, Windows service or similar).
  • Macromedia Flash Games: Games which include Macromedia Flash must have the game’s main SWF incorporated in the main executable. The resources must be separate, and not loaded into memory from the executable (always use CreateFileA functions to read resources from the executable rather than CreateFileMapping functions).
  • Clean Exit: Must free all allocated resources (memory, COM, interfaces, etc.) before quitting.
  • ActiveMARK cannot protect applications done in .NET (contact your account manager to receive instructions with a workaround to protect .Net games).

General Requirements

  • Full Unlocked Game: No parts must require purchase to unlock (level-based demos, extra features, etc.). Our wrapper will handle the demo conversion to full game.
  • Default to Full Screen: On first launch.
  • Cannot Use Player-Based Technology: For example, bytecode (e.g. Director).
  • Windows Limited User: The game must run on a Windows “Limited User Account”.
  • Thumbs.db Removed: Along with any other files created locally after game execution.
  • EXE Location: The .exe file must be in the root directory of the game
  • Other Files / Software Required: Your game must not install or require any additional software or data files, other than the game itself. For example:
  • DirectX 10
  • Microsoft C++ Redistributable
  • Additional DLLs
  • Game Icon in executable: The main game executable of the game must contain an icon.

Branding Requirements

Though we need only one version of the game, we need to be able to easily swap out one or more logos for each of our channels without requiring many separate builds from you. Please design your game to these specs; games that don’t meet these specs will not be able to be distributed:

  • Logos should be pulled from a ‘branding’ subfolder (i.e. – [game root]\branding\splash1.jpg)
  • Game should present each logo in name order (i.e. – splash1.jpg, splash2.jpg, splash[n].jpg)
  • Each logo should receive its own full screen image when presented
  • Formats supported: .jpg, .png
  • Preferred resolution: 800×600

For the GameHouse and Zylom releases, the game will only show the matching logo (besides yours). However for some of our other distribution channels, the game will need to show additional logos. Please configure your game to be flexible in the number of logos that it needs to display.

Additionally, any URLs (active or inactive) must be removed or fully configurable (including the ability to hide them). This includes any Developer and / or Publisher links, up-sell buttons for other games on GameHouse.com, or any plain text web links (example: “Find more at www.website.com”).

Please also refer to our Marketing Requirements FAQ page for additional requirements.

Localization Requirements

In order to distribute your game through our global network, we need to be able to localize your game into other languages. To read more about how to prepare your game for the localization process, please review our Localization documentation.

In-Game Advertising Compliance

GH wraps all games with our internal in-game advertising tool for post main release usage; for more information about this program, please contact your Producer / Portfolio Manager. To sum, streaming video ads are dynamically served within the game demo version via an ad server (similar to traditional web site ads). In exchange for watching the video ads, customers can continue playing the game beyond the traditional demo period. Once a customer purchases a game, the ads are disabled.

Developers receive a revenue share on all advertising revenue, as well as the game sale, should the customer convert. Devs will receive monthly reports on associated ad revenue and metrics.

Unsupported Engines

The following technologies are currently incompatible with the advertising technology used by GameHouse:

  • OpenGL

Minimum / Recommended Systems Specs

Our system specs are based on visitor information at GameHouse.com. We encourage developers to keep these specs in mind while developing their games, as it ensures that the widest audience can play (and buy) your game. Significantly higher system requirements lead to a definite decrease in sales volume.

Minimum Specifications

  • Pentium III, 800 MHz processor
  • Windows 8 / 7 / Vista / XP
  • 256 MB system RAM
  • 32 MB video RAM
  • DirectX 7+
  • Internet Explorer 7.0+ and Mozilla Firefox
  • Supports windowed and full screen modes

Recommended Specifications

  • Pentium III, 1 GHz processor
  • Windows 8 / 7 / Vista / XP
  • 512 MB system RAM
  • 32 MB video RAM
  • DirectX 7+ or better
  • Internet Explorer 7.0+, Mozilla Firefox 3.0, and Google Chrome
  • SoundBlaster compatible sound card

Quality Assurance Overview 

GameHouse handles quality assurance through its internal resources. Your GHP Producer / Portfolio Manager will collaborate with you on managing the pipeline and bug resolution process. For 3rd party games (i.e. – not published through GameHouse) our QA pass is limited to a final build verification / hardware compatibility pass. Published games get in-depth QA resources through their development cycle.

For more information, see the Tips section, below.

Tips: QA Best Practices
While your Producer / Portfolio Manager will work with you during the QA process, it’s imperative for your bottom line that you deliver as bug-free a product as possible. To assist you, here are the 10 most common bugs that cause QA failures for PC games, in no particular order.

  • Game does not recover properly from sleep/hibernate mode.
  • Game does not recover properly from Control/Alt/Delete (locking computer, checking task manager).
  • Game does not handle Alt Tab (switch to another application).
  • Game does not handle Alt F4 (manually force application to quit).
  • Game does not properly restore using windows key.
  • Game does not launch under Windows with UAC turned off (User Account Controls settings).
  • Game sounds continue to play when game is minimized to task bar.
  • Game does not launch to full screen on initial launch.
  • Game options do not save on subsequent launches.
  • When playing game in window mode, game will cause user native desktop resolution to change.

Final Build Verification & Compatibility Test Cases
All games undergo a test pass prior to release. Here are the cases that we test against; for smoother deployment, please ensure that your game complies with these prior to submission:

  • Verify the proper splash screen sequence: GameHouse logo, developer logo
  • Verify that when game is minimized or focus is lost all game audio ceases; game audio should resume when focus is returned
  • Verify with any User, UAC On: Alt-Tab does not cause the game to crash or hang.
  • Verify with any User, UAC On: Control Alt Delete does not cause the game to crash or hang.
  • Verify with any User, UAC On: Volume settings are not altered by launching the game or adjusting in-game sound levels.
  • Verify the game can be shut down through task manager. Use Control/Alt/Delete to bring up task manager and select the shut down option.
  • Verify that the game does not fight other applications for focus while playing in fullscreen and/or window mode
  • Verify that all clickable options in-game have mouseover highlights and sound effects
  • If level-saving feature is present, ensure that user’s progress is saved after exiting and relaunching
  • Verify that all controls work as expected, including keyboard, mouse, and all supported peripherals
  • Verify that the game pauses and music stops when interrupted by Ctrl/Alt/Del, Alt/Tab
  • Verify game has loading screen or progress bar
  • Verify the user can recover game from Windows L command
  • Verify the user can switch between game and application using Alt/Tab
  • Verify the user can recover game from Sleep & Hibernate
  • Verify that user can recover game from Control/Atl/Delete
  • Verify functionality of game options
  • Verify game does not have pre-existing player profiles
  • Verify the game runs on Windows 8
  • Verify the game run on Windows XP SP3
  • Verify there are NO external game links or e-commerce links
  • Verify on first launch the game launches into full screen mode

Windows 8 Support 

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