This sample demonstrates several features of Visual Studio useful in game development. It contains the starting point for a basic Direct3D game that shares code between Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 using the new Universal app model.


This sample requires Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 RC in order to be built.

Other versions of the Starter Kit

This is the latest version of the Starter Kit, and it is only supported on Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 RC or higher.

You can get the latest version of the Starter Kit for VS2013 RTM/Windows 8.1 only at

If you have Visual Studio 2012 Professional or higher, we highly recommend updating to Visual Studio 2013 Express and getting the latest version on the link above. The previous VS2012/Windows 8.0 only version of the kit is still available here:

If you have Visual Studio 2012 Express for Windows 8, the previous VS2012/Windows 8.0 only version of the kit is still available here:

If you have Visual Studio 2012 Express for Windows Phone, get the Phone 8.0 only version of the kit here:

Building the Sample

  1. Start Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 and select File >Open >Project/Solution.
  2. Go to the directory in which you unzipped the sample. Go to the directory named
    for the sample, and double-click the Visual Studio 2013 Solution (.sln) file.
  3. Press F6 or use Build > Build Solution to build the sample.


This sample contains the starting point for a basic game.

It demonstrates using the Visual Studio Graphics tools for asset manipulation, along with using an MSBUILD task for converting the included assets to a format suitable for runtime consumption.

The sample contains a “Starter Kit” which provides basic support for consuming the runtime assets produced by the MSBUILD task. This includes loading and rendering assets (including animated meshes), along with other functionality to enabled developers to work with the assets at runtime.

The sample also demonstrates using XAML to implement a simple 2D HUD over the 3D scene, and how to implement support for ARM devices, Windows Phone and older graphics cards through the use of fallback shaders.

Viewing Assets

To view the included assets, open the Assets folder in Visual Studio 2013, under the StarterKit.Shared project. Double click on any of the assets included in the Assets folder.

Including the Assets in the Build

The assets included with this sample have been set up to be converted by the MSBUILD task to a runtime format at build time. For an example on how this is set up, right click on the GameLevel.fbx file, and select “Properties” from the context menu. Select “General” from the Configuration properties on the left. Notice how the “Item Type” has been set to “Mesh Content Pipeline”. The Visual Studio Graphics tools contain 3 different build types related to assets: Mesh Content, Shader Content, and Image Content.

In this example, the mesh is converted at build time to a file named “GameLevel.cmo”.

Using the Starter Kit

The sample includes the header VSD3DStarter.h, which contains code for getting started with the content produced by the build task described above. It also contains the header Animation.h, which shows how to render meshes that contain bone animations.

An example of using the Starter Kit to load and render the GameLevel can be found in the Game.cpp file.

Source Code Files

More Information

Please submit bugs found in this sample via Microsoft Connect.  Please use the Visual C++ Forum on MSDN for questions or discussion about this sample.

Version History