The Google Play Games on PC Developer Emulator is a developer-focused emulator for Google Play Games on PC. Unlike the player experience, you can install and debug your own packages. You also can simulate various player configurations such as the aspect ratio, mouse emulation, and graphics backend to help you ensure that your game performs as expected across a variety of PC configurations.
Starting the Emulator
Once installed, you will have a "Google Play Games Developer Emulator" start menu element and a desktop shortcut to launch the emulator. The emulator will remain resident in your system tray when you close the window.
You are asked to sign into your Google account the first time you run the emulator. Use the same login credentials you plan to use for development.
You can sign out by right clicking on the system tray icon, selecting Developer Options, then clicking Force sign out. When you do so, the emulator immediately restarts and asks you to sign in again.
After launching, you will see a typical Android home screen. Left mouse clicks are directly translated into finger taps as in mouse emulation mode. Games sideloaded for development appear in the application list, which you can get to by clicking and dragging up on the desktop (emulating an upwards swipe on a phone or tablet).
In addition to mouse translation, the Google Play Games on PC Developer Emulator provides keyboard shortcuts to improve navigation:
ctrl + h: press the home button ctrl + b: press the back button F11or alt + enter: toggle between fullscreen and windowed mode shift + tab: open the Google Play Games on PC overlay, including the current key mappings for the Input SDK
Installing a game
The Google Play Games on PC Developer Emulator uses the Android Debug Bridge (adb) to install packages.
Current versions of
adb are compatible with the Google Play Games on PC Developer Emulator.
Additionally a compatible version is installed at
Files\Google\Play Games Developer Emulator\current\emulator when you install
To follow these instructions, adb should be available in your
$PATH. You can
adb is configured correctly with the
adb devices command
List of devices attached
Install the game
Google Play Games for PC Emulator
adb devicesin your command prompt. You should see:
adb devices List of devices attached localhost:6520 device
- If you get an error, verify that you've followed the instructions in Adb compatibility.
- If you don't see a device, attempt to reconnect over port
adb connect localhost:6520
adb install path\to\your\game.apkto install your game. If you've generated an Android App Bundle (aab), see the instructions for bundletool and use
Run your game by either:
adb shell monkey -p your.package.name 1to run your game, replacing
your.package.namewith your game's package name.
- In the Google Play Games on PC Developer Emulator, click the icon to run your game. Just like on an Android phone, you have to "swipe up" on the home screen to see the list of installed games.
Debugging a game
Use the Android Debug Bridge (adb) to debug as you do for any other game.
The emulator appears as a device connected via
adb logcat functions as expected, as do tools that help prettify or filter
logcat output -- including Android Studio.
In addition to
adb, logs can be accessed in your
%LOCALAPPDATA%\Google\Play Games Developer Emulator\Logs directory. Most
useful here is
AndroidSerial.log which represents everything
would echo from the moment the emulator starts.
The Google Play Games on PC Developer Emulator focuses on developer efficiency rather than end user experience. This means that you have unobstructed access to the Android system, including using the standard Android launcher instead of the Google Play Games on PC experience, and controls over features that are otherwise automatically enabled and disabled for players.
Testing mouse input
During development, the Google Play Games on PC Developer Emulator defaults to touch emulation rather than giving you direct mouse input. You can enable direct mouse input by right clicking the system tray icon, selecting Developer Options, and then PC mode (KiwiMouse).
Google Play Games on PC has two mouse modes: an emulated mode that translates mouse clicks into single taps and a passthrough "PC mode" that lets games handle mouse actions natively and perform pointer capture. For details on mouse input in Google Play Games on PC see Setup mouse input.
In the player client, emulation is disabled by adding this to your manifest:
This feature flag has no effect in the development environment.
Testing aspect ratios
The developer emulator launches in a 16:9 aspect ratio – unlike the player client which derives its aspect ratio from the primary display. By right clicking on the system tray icon, selecting Developer Options, and then any option in the Display Ratio section, you can test how the game looks on different player's screens.
The preferred method to configure your aspect ratio
is to use
a portrait game would have a
0.5625 aspect ratio so you may want to
set a max aspect ratio of
1 to prevent your game from going wider than square:
Similarly, a landscape game would be
16/9 or roughly
1.778, so you may want
to set a min aspect ratio of
1 to prevent it from going skinnier than square:
What to test
If your game only supports portrait modes in the manifest, you can select 9:16 (Portrait) in the drop-down to see how it looks on players' PCs. Otherwise verify that your game works at the widest and narrowest landscape ratios you support in your manifest, remembering that 16:9 (Default) (or 9:16 (Portrait) if your game is portrait only) is required for full certification.
Testing rendering backends
Google Play Games on PC uses ANGLE as compatibility layer to ensure that OpenGL ES calls are handled correctly by the host PC using either a DirectX or Vulkan backend. The emulator also supports Vulkan directly, although not on DirectX. This layer also converts mobile only compressed texture formats to PC compatible ones. By right clicking on the system tray icon and selecting Graphics Stack Override, you may either set it to your system's default or force vulkan on or off for compatibility testing.
What to test
There are minor variations in supported texture formats and the steps needed to emulate various mobile features on desktop. When profiling and optimizing your game, it may be worth checking each backend.
Profiling your PC game
Since the emulator uses the same technology as the consumer client, it's a suitable environment for performance profiling.
Perfetto is a tool for analyzing performance on Android. You can gather and view a Perfetto trace using the following steps:
In a PowerShell prompt, start a trace using
adb shell perfetto --time 10s gfx wm sched --out /data/misc/perfetto-traces/example.trace
--timeflag specifies the duration of the trace to gather. In this example, the trace is 10 seconds.
- The arguments after the
--timeflag indicate which events are to be traced. In this example
wmwindow management, and
schedprocess scheduling information. These are common flags for profiling games and a full reference is available.
--outflag specifies the output file, which is pulled out of the emulator onto the host machine in the next step.
Pull the trace from your host
adb pull /data/misc/perfetto-traces/example.trace $HOME/Downloads/example.trace
Open the trace in the Perfetto UI
- Open ui.perfetto.dev.
- Select Open trace file from the upper left corner under Navigation.
- Open the
example.tracefile you downloaded in the previous step to your
Inspect the trace in the Perfetto UI. Some tips:
- Each process has its own row, which can be expanded to show all the threads in that process. If you're profiling a game, it's process is likely the first row.
- You can zoom in and out by holding Control and using the scroll wheel.
- When using the
schedevent, there is a row for each thread showing when that thread's state is running, runnable, sleeping, or blocked.
- When enabling an event like
gfx, you are able to see the various graphics calls made by various threads. You can select individual "slices" to see how long they took, or you can drag along a row causing a "slices" section to open at the bottom and show you how long all the slices took in your selected time window.
It is possible to perform some graphics profiling with RenderDoc.
- Set the environment variable
ANDROID_EMU_RENDERDOCto a non-empty string (such as
Set the environment variable
%USERPROFILE%\AppData\LocalLow. This tells Renderdoc to place its log files somewhere reachable within the emulator sandbox.
If you are using the Vulkan backend. Select Graphics Settings > Vulkan Instance Implicit Layers and ensure that VKLAYER_RENDERDOC_Capture is checked.
Launch Google Play Games on PC Developer Emulator. A RenderDoc overlay is drawn at the top as long as support is enabled.
Launch RenderDoc anytime before or after Google Play Games on PC Developer Emulator launches.
Click File > Attach to Running Instance and select crosvm.
Specify Environment Variables
In order for Renderdoc to work, you have to add or change environment variables in Windows. You can change environment variables using the UI, PowerShell, or cmd.exe.
Use the UI
Win+Rto open the run dialog.
sysdm.cplto open the System Properties window.
- Select the Advanced tab if it isn't already active.
- Click the Environment Variables button.
From here you can either click the New button to create a new environment variable or select a variable and click the Edit button to edit it.
In a PowerShell window, type:
VALUE with the values you wish to set. For
example, to set
In a cmd.exe window, type:
VALUE with the values you wish to set. For
example, to set
Tips for Android 11 (API level 30) or higher
Google Play Games on PC is updated with the latest Android releases. Here are some tips for working with the latest version of Android.
Keep tools up to date
Android Studio installs a version of adb that is compatible with the developer
emulator; however, some game engines include an older version of adb. In that
case, after you install the developer emulator, you can find a compatible
C:\Program Files\Google\Play Games Developer
If you launch one version of
adb, it terminates the other. This means that
if your game engine automatically launches its own
adb instance, you may have
to re-launch and reconnect the version of
adb that comes with the developer
emulator whenever you deploy.
Android 11 (API level 30) or higher includes scoped storage, which provides better protection to app and user data on external storage. Besides making your game compatible with scoped storage requirements, you need to perform extra steps to load APK Expansion Files (obb) or asset data into the Google Play Games on PC Developer Emulator. Follow these steps if you run into issues accessing those files from your game:
- Create a directory that your app can read.
- Push your expansion files to the emulator.
adb shell mkdir /sdcard/Android/obb/com.example.game
adb push main.com.example.game.obb /sdcard/Android/obb/com.example.game
Because of the new package visibility rules, apps that target Android 11
(API level 30) or higher are blocked from querying for information about the
other apps that are installed on a device. This means that your game is blocked
from accessing Play Services when sideloaded via
adb instead of being
installed via the Play Store. To test your IAP with a sideloaded game,
you must add a query to the package "
com.android.vending" in your
AndroidManifest.xml file as follows:
<package android:name="com.android.vending" />
Installing your game in the consumer client
You cannot install a game on the consumer client until it has been listed in the Play Games Services catalog. After your game has a single release, you can create an internal test track validate future updates before release.
The player client doesn't support the developer focused features of the Google Play Games on PC Developer Emulator. This is best used to QA the game before release to test the end to end player experience after the initial release.