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> Managing your Windows 7 Game Explorer

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TSDemonic Wrath
post Mar 4 2010, 06:33 PM, updated 10y ago

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Managing your Windows® 7 Game Explorer
by Demonic Wrath

Difficulty: Advanced

Index
  1. What is Game Explorer and how do I access it
  2. What does this guide do
  3. What is a GDF
  4. What do I need
  5. Steps
    • Creating a GDFInstall.exe
    • Create Resource File
    • Compiling a DLL
    • Adding to Game Explorer
What is Game Explorer and how do I access it
Game Explorer is a feature in Vista and 7 for easier management of large collection of games.
To access it, click on the Start Orb, and then click Games. Game Explorer is only available in Windows® Vista and Windows® 7.

What does this guide do
This guide will show you how to add games into your Game Explorer, with all the nice description, information, game rating, and box art. Of course, editors such as VGEE already exist, but there are limitations in that editor. You cannot adjust the game rating, WEI requirement, Play Tasks, Support Tasks, adding Game Provider, and creating GDFs.

What is a GDF
GDF stands for Game Definition File. A GDF is basically a file which contains all the game metadata. This is the file we're going to create to register a new game.

What do I need
To create a GDF file for Game Explorer, you will need these tools which are download-able.
  • DirectX SDK (March 2009) or later (DXSDK)
  • Microsoft® Visual Studio® 2008 (Express or Professional) (VS2008)
  • Some image editor to edit box art and icons
  • Some basic knowledge about regedit
  • Some basic knowledge about VS2008 (no need knowledge about programming, so don't worry)
  • (Optional) Photoshop user: Please install the ICO plugin (ICOFormat) to create icons
  • (Optional) Icobundle: to combine multiple resolution of icons into a single .ico file
  • (Optional) Iconsext: to extract .ico files from .exe/.dll files
Step 1: Creating a GDFInstall to help register the GDF
  1. Start DirectX Sample Browser
  2. Browse to "System"
  3. Look for GameuxInstallHelper
  4. Click Install Project for the GameuxInstallHelper
  5. Click OK when asked to go to the newly created folder
  6. Open the "GameuxInstallHelper_2008.sln" file
  7. Build the solution using VS2008.
  8. Congrats, you've completed the first step. You'll notice a file named "GDFInstall.exe" and "GameuxInstallHelper.dll" created in the Debug folder of the solution.
Step 2: Creating a Resource File
A resource file is required so that you can compile a GDF DLL.
  1. Start DirectX Sample Browser
  2. Browse to "Tools"
  3. Look for "Game Definition File Editor "
  4. Click Executable (This will open a program named "GDFMaker.exe"
  5. Click File > New Project (alternatively, just click the white document button below File)
  6. Enter Project Name (I'd recommend naming it with your game name)
  7. Enter Project Location (Just put somewhere you remember, it can be deleted after you create the DLL), then click OK
  8. Enter all the information of the game. (I'd recommend saving periodically to avoid data loss)
  9. After finishing entering the information and putting those fancy boxart, click Resource > Build Script for Project
  10. 2 files will be created at the Project Location (a .h and .rc file, to be exact)
Step 3: Compiling a DLL
  1. Start VS2008
  2. Create a new empty Project (for the location, it's preferably you put it the same with the Project Location just now)
  3. Right click on the Solution, and select Properties (in the Solution Explorer)
    user posted image
  4. Browse to Configuration Properties > Linker > Input
  5. In the Additional Dependencies, enter "LIBCMTD.lib" (w/o quotes)
    user posted image
  6. Next, browse to Configuration Properties > General
  7. In the Configuration Type (under Project Defaults), select Dynamic Library (.dll)
    user posted image
  8. Click OK
  9. Right click on the solution again, this time click Add > Existing Item...
  10. Browse to the 2 files you have created in Step 2 (.h and .rc file)
  11. Click Add
  12. Build the solution
  13. A .dll will be created in your Debug folder of the solution. This is the GDF dll you need.
Final step: Adding the game to Game Explorer
  1. Move the .dll file you've compiled just now to your game directory
  2. After copying, drag the .dll directly to the GDFInstall.exe you've created in Step 1
  3. Voila, you've just added the game to your Game Explorer
Frequently asked question
  1. I have set ESRB rating for my game but it doesn't show in the Game Explorer
    To make the game rating appears, you will have to edit the registry entry of the game. Please note that this guide will require some certain degree of knowledge about editing Windows Registry Editor¹
    1. Open Regedit.exe
    2. Browse to HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\GameUX
    3. You'll see a lot of entries such as {1D2039 ...}. These are called GUID. It is used to differentiate each games.
    4. Locate the game by slowly browsing through the list. (When creating the GDF in the GDF Editor, you'll find the GUID of the game on the top left of the editor)
    5. After you'll found the game, add a new DWORD value named "IsSigned" (w/o quotes)
    6. Set the value as 1
    7. After changing that, refresh the Game Explorer and you'll see the rating for the game
      user posted image
  2. I have added the game into the Game Explorer, but I cannot launch the game through Game Explorer
    This is most probably because you have entered the wrong parameter when you are creating the resource file in Step 2 for the PlayTasks parameter. Please double-check.
  3. The game is not displaying the correct version
    You need to point the Version parameter in the Editor to the correct file. For example, for StarCraft: Brood War, you should set the Version parameter in the editor to point to a File, instead of typing in the version manually. Then enter "StarCraft.exe" as the filename. It will display the version of the StarCraft.exe file.
  4. I cannot click OK when I'm adding the details for Publisher or Developers
    You have to enter the URL of the developer/ publisher and need to include the "http://" in the URL too.
¹ To access Registry Editor, just type in regedit.exe in your search bar in the Start Menu.


I'll add photos next update for easier reference.

If you're not sure about a step, have voted No in the poll or any suggestion to improve this guide, please PM me the details


This post has been edited by Demonic Wrath: Feb 27 2011, 03:05 AM

 

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