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Link It - My first published game


pLeet

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Note : to my fellow French speaking friends, you can find the French version HERE !

 

Yesterday I've finally take the time to publish my first game on the Android Play Store.

So I decided to create this topic first of all to share my creation with you, and to get your feedbacks and thoughts. I'm also willing to give you MY feedback of this little adventure.

 

 

So let's get started with a small presentation :

 

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Link It ! is an arcade type of game, with a "die and retry" mentality. Your objective is to link as much energy core as possible to the central sphere, without any collision between two cores. The sphere will speed up everytime your successfully create a new link. A green zone surrounded by two red zones pop up every two successful links. If the player manager to land a core in the green zone, every linked core is absorbed by the sphere, freeing some space. If, however, the core land in a red zone, the start point of energy cores will no longer be static : the spawnpoint will move from right to left untill you manage to land a new core in the green zone.

 

You'll find a full description on the game's Play Store presentation : https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.awali.linkit

 

Link It ! isn't my first game, far from that, but it's the first game I manage to create from A to Z, going through conception phase, development, and finally publishing in two times : closed beta then production.

 

Let's move to my feedback now :

 

The difference between a "finished" game and a ready-to-be-published game might sound tiny, but I can assure you that there's 30% more work between the two of them. First of you need to polish every aspect : animations, transitions, tweaks for the inputs, catching and managing every possible errors / states. And in my case it is a mobile game, so I had to add every "standard" functionalities often find in such kind of games : sharing scores and screenshots on every possible plateforms (social medias, mailing and instant messaging apps, and so on), leaderboard (and soon achievements) with Google Play Games Services, code optimization and specially graphics optimization, handling every screen sizes (GUI, game behaviour), advertisement (sadly this is a must-have), analytics, and so on...

 

As you can see, the list can keep on going. In my case, the longest task was integration Google Play Games Services : I've lost about 2 days hands down. Libraries which refuse to download and update, version conflicts, and later on authetification troubles (thanks Google for changing my apps SHA-1 signature -.-). I'll come back later on that point.

 

Now for the publishing, I've chosen to do it in two times : a close beta in a first time, and once I've gathered enough positive feedback from my testers I push it in production (to every one one the Play Store). The close beta allowed me to test my application in real conditions, which help me avoiding two errors :

 

  • Sharing score with screenshot : on my phone, everything was working like a charm. The huge mistake I made was not trying my game on differents version of Android. I have an old HTC which isn't up to date (I'm still on Lollipop). One of my tester (using Oreo) said that this function didn't work. Why ? (/!\ Warning Android developper gibberish incoming /!\) In order to share a picture to other applications, we used to create and start an Intent and feed it some parameters among which was the picture URI. The problem is that this method¬†is now deprecated in newer version of Android : we need to use a ContentProvider now. The process is a bit more heavy, but it's better for the user's security.

 

  • Connecting to Google Play Games account for the leaderboard : just like above, the functionality was working well on my phone (after spending a shit ton of time installing and setting-up Google Play Games Services), but didn't work for any of my testers once I publish it in close beta. After double checking my app signing, the SHA-1 footprint, informations of the game service, I still got this error. What was the problem ? Google set up a new keystore system. Until now, when publishing, an app had to be signed¬†with a keystore which hold every information¬†of the developer. If the developer ended up loosing this keystore, he wouldn't be able to update his app. So Google decided to let developers storing this keystore within Google servers (which I did) to avoid such kind of problem. But they didn't¬†mention anywhere that this keystore is actually different from the one you sign your app with, so the SHA-1 footprint is obviously different, and thus, the authentification error.

 

Aaaaaaand that's it for my little feedback ! I hope this was useful or at least interesting. If you have any question, or if you want any extra information, just ask me, I'll gladly answer it !

 

Feel free to download the game and share you highscore in this topic !

Psssst : actually I'm 3rd in the leaderboard, with a highscore of 46 ;)

 

Thanks for your time, I'm looking forward to read your answers ! See you soon !

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Thanks @panda for the feedback and the compliment, it's really appreciated !

 

Of course I can controle how often ads pop up, right now it's about every 4 or 5 deaths. It didn't seems to be too high to me at first, but I might change it in the next update.

I'm also thinking of removing thoses ads in the future, or prehaps changing the way they pop up (letting the player decide when to show an ad to continue -only once- ???). I'm not really sure at the moment.

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Some news !

 

I've published an update that include some modifications and new features.

Here is a list of all modifications : 

  • No one likes advertisements, so we've lowered ads frequency just for you! <3
  • As often requested, back button now give you the possibility to quit the game
  • We've slightly lower the difficulty progression, so the sphere won't speed up that fast past level 40-50
  • Smoothed green and red zone graphics
  • Added 3 new inspirational quotes to keep you pumped up! ;)

As always, feel free to drop a comment and share your thoughts !

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