Creating a Game
The GameSparks platform delivers a broad range of capabilities, making it a little difficult to know where to start! This section walks you through some of the initial key tasks required to start working with the platform and create a game, helping you to understand how the various pieces fit together.
Registering an Account
Before getting started as a new user, you'll need to create an account on the Developer Portal. To register, click Register on the login screen:
You are taken to the Register screen, where you can enter your account details:
When you've first registered with an account to use the GameSparks service, you'll be a Development user.
Creating the Game
When registered, you can login:
- If this is your first time using the Portal, you'll be taken straight to the first stage of the game-creation process to create your first game.
- If you've used GameSparks before, click Add New Game from the drop-down menu in the top-right of the screen.
Adding a game is a 3-stage process:
- Stage 1 Game Details - Enter a name and description for your game. Set a timeout to end player sessions after they disconnect from your game.
- Stage 2 Features & Integrations - Select the Platform Features, and 3rd-party Integrations you want for your game.
- Stage 3 Geographical Setup - Select the Primary Region for your game and configure Geo Restrictions to allow or deny access to your game by country.
Note! In this section, we'll assume you've used Gamesparks before and have already created a game.
1. Log in to the portal. You'll be taken to the last game you had open.
2. Using the Games Menu at top-right, select Add New Game. The Add New Game page opens at Stage 1 of the game-creation process.
3. Enter a Name and Description for your new game.
4. If you want to set a timeout to end a player's session after they disconnect, under Game Settings select the Automatically end player sessions check box and enter the timeout period in minutes.
5. Click Next. The Add New Game page moves you to Stage 2 of the game-creation process.
6. Use this second stage to define some baseline settings for your new game:
- Use the check boxes to enable the default game currencies you want in your game and enter the sign-up bonus amounts for each currency you enable. Note that only those currencies you enable here will be exposed in the portal, such as for pricing Virtual Goods.
- Select the Platform Features you want for your game - by default, all are selected.
- Under Integrations, select the 3rd-party providers you want to integrate your game with - by default, none are selected.
Selections are not Final! You'll be able to edit these settings later after you have created your game. See Game Overview
7. Click Next. The Add New Game page moves you to Stage 3 of the game-creation process.
8. You can use this third stage for the Geographical Setup of your new game:
- Select the Primary Region you want for your game. In this example, we've chosen the Americas as the game's Primary Region.
- Define the Geo Restrictions you want to impose on players of your game:
- Select which countries where you want to players to be allowed access to your game - the default is to allow players in all countries to have access.
- To block access for players in a country, select the country in the Access Allowed list and use the arrows to move the country into the Access Denied list.
- Note that there are two additional options for denying access to your game:
- Anonymous Proxy - Denies access to users who attempt to connect using a proxy server and thereby hide their location.
- Satellite Provider - Denies access to users who attempt to connect through a satellite provider.
9. When you have completed Stage 3 of the game creation process, click Create. You are taken to the Game Overview page of your new game:
- A message displays to confirm Your game was created successfully.
- Your game is assigned a unique GameSparks API Key and GameSparks API Secret. You'll need these to set up your SDK.
- Your game is put into Preview stage. This is the stage where you build your game. When you are ready to publish your game, you can push it to the Live stage.
- As a Development user, your game will be placed in the Development Pricing Tier. This means:
- You cannot publish any game Snapshots to Live - you'll first have to upgrade your game's Pricing Tier to be able to publish your game. For details on how to upgrade your game to a Pricing Tier that allows you to publish to Live, see the Game Overview page.
- Other restrictions are imposed on the Development Pricing Tier - for details of what's included in the different available Pricing Tiers, please see our Pricing webpage.
Remembering Keys and Secrets
You should take note of your game's GameSparks API Key and GameSparks API Secret, because you'll need these when you set up your chosen SDK. Click Show at the right-hand side of the API Secret field to reveal it - you'll then be able to copy the API Secret.
Working with Game Overview? For more details of how to work with the Game Overview page, you can review this page.
Working in Preview and Publishing for Launch
- If your game is on the Development Pricing Tier, you won't be able to publish a game Snapshot to Live and you'll see a warning dialog when you click the Publish Snapshot button:
- You can click to Upgrade your Pricing Tier directly from the warning dialog or go to the Game Overview page and upgrade from there. For details on how to upgrade your game to a Pricing Tier that allows you to publish to Live, see the Game Overview page.
Preview and Live Stages
When you create a game, the game is put into Preview stage. There are two stages - Preview and Live:
- Preview is the stage where you develop your game - build out your game configuration, add required Cloud Code, and test out the game using a small number of test players in the Test Harness.
- Live is the stage for a published game and you should only move a game to this stage when it is ready to launch.
Switching to Live? As you develop your game in Preview, publish to Live at some point, and then continue to develop the game in Preview, there are several places in the portal where you can switch between the Preview and Live stages of your game. See below.
Publishing via Snapshots
You should remain in Preview as you develop and test your game. When you are happy with the state of your game, you can create a Snapshot. A game Snapshot takes a copy of everything you've created up to that point in developing the game's configuration. You can then publish the Snapshot. Publishing the Snapshot will copy the game as it was when the Snapshot was taken and moves the game from Preview stage into Live stage.
IMPORTANT! Here are a few important things to note when working with game Snapshots:
- Not Included in Game Snapshots - Two areas of your game are not included in a game Snapshot. A game Snapshot does not include anything you set up in the Manage section for your Admin Screens - these are published to Live separately as Screen Snapshots. Secondly, Experiments are also published to the game's Live stage separately.
- Finalizing Game Region - When you publish one of your game's Snapshots from Preview to Live for the first time, a confirmation dialog appears. This acts as a reminder, which you can use to finally decide on the Primary Region for your game.
- Unpublishing Snapshots - You can quickly unpublish a game Snapshot - this is particularly useful if you have inadvertently published your game into the Live stage before it is ready.
- More Details? For more details on working with game Snapshots, see here.
Going Live Checklist! Before you attempt to create a Snapshot of your game and publish it to Live, please review the Going Live Checklist to ensure everything runs smoothly.
Managing the Game's Life Cycle
Publishing your game via the use of a Snapshot allows you to easily manage your game's life cycle. You can continue development of your game in Preview while your customers can safely play on the Live stage and you know exactly what state the Live game is in. When you are ready to upgrade your game and publish it with any new features, you can create another Snapshot, publish the new Snapshot, and the whole process repeats again. Simple!
Really Important! Use the Live stage when you are ready to release your game to the public - this should be the ONLY stage your players use, because the number of concurrent users that can connect to the Preview stage at any given time is limited according to your game's Pricing Tier - see our Pricing webpage for details. If your game was left in Preview and more than the maximum number of concurrent players try to access your game, they won't all be able to connect successfully. Obviously, this is not what you want, so remember to take a Snapshot then publish through to Live!
Switching between Preview and Live
Several pages in the portal provide a Preview/Live switch for areas where it's useful to be able to view Preview or Live data as you continue to develop your game beyond its publication to Live. On some of these pages, the Preview/Live switch will be enabled only if you've already published a game configuration Snapshot to Live:
|Data Explorer||Only if a game configuration Snapshot has been published.|
|Manage Screens||Only if a game configuration Snapshot has been published.|
|Experiment Results||Only if the Experiment has been published.|
|Analytics API Stream||Only if a game configuration Snapshot has been published.|
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