Really not liking Apple..

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Hi all,

It’s been awhile, hope you’re all well. I wanted to chime in again because surprisingly it has almost been a year since Turret Town has been out on mobile. Which is one of the reasons why I wanted to make an update.

I’ve ragged on Apple on an earlier post, about them being difficult to work with while creating an App. This of course is very common when dealing with walled gardens. I tend to compare Apple a bunch to Google, and in this case I’m comparing the App Store with the Google Play Store.

One thing that Apple has its developers do is charge them to be a developer. Its approximately $99USD per year. And well, I’m going to let my membership lapse.
There are a few reasons why, firstly Turret Town as a game hasn’t done very well, it’s had a few hundred installs and a large amount of play sessions. So I’m quite happy with that.
Unfortunately the core game loop isn’t that exciting and I don’t expect the game to do well in the near future, so supporting a failing game on a platform I need to pay for is not something that makes much sense.

I’m not angry with Apple, its just another hurdle for me to jump through and at this moment in time I can’t justify spending the money to renew my membership.

Till next time,
-Sav

Turret Town finally on iOS! The Journey was long..

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Hello! Saveun checking in, this last bit of development was tough it took much longer than we thought and looking back on it, a huge portion could have been avoided.

The Android version went together relatively smoothly, a lot of the development at that phase was trying to get remaining features in and working correctly. This is credit to Google and the Play Development console, I really like how streamlined this process is.

We had the ‘finished’ Android version out mid September 2016, I took a brief break from TT and returned focused on getting the iOS version together and published.

We knew the native TT leaderboard was implemented much earlier, and we used Unity’s Ad solution to handle the ad’s so those were nothing for us to worry about.
I needed to hire an iOS developer to help me get the microtransactions and achievements working for the Apple build, this was because the developer I was working with didn’t have access to an Apple device. So we did what we could and I found a developer shortly after.
(I’d recommend using Upwork.com for finding freelancers. It’s a really good site, they’ve got a reputation system and helpful staff if you have questions).

I found someone there, and we got to work shortly after, this is probably two weeks after the Android version went live. We were making decent progress. The guy told me to set up my iTunesConnect account and we got the initial stuff together.
I should mention I don’t have a large amount of money committed to my game so the freelancers I was working with weren’t the most professional.
This one guy took three weeks to get some of the microtransactions working, after that much time passes with very little progress I gave him an ultimatum, shortly after we parted ways.
This happened two more times, all the while I was paying them and getting very little in return. One implemented the microtransactions and achievements but during testing we stumbled into a bug.

This bug was a real headache, remember this was my first game developed on iOS so something as simple as testing it on a device was difficult.
One developer said it the bug was related to this, he was also taking his time so we stopped working with each other. This happened a lot during development of the iOS version and one reason was because the freelancers took their time and I felt weren’t treating the job as a job.

We stopped working together and I decided to take this issue to the Unity 3D forums, thinking I could find a Unity expert there to help with the bug. I had a lot of developers contact me, and I was planning on working with some until this one person by the name of Russell Rybak aka Agile Panda contacted me.

His eMail read:
Hello my name is Russell I am 23 years of age and have been programming since I was 12. I’ve spent nearly half my life learning the best possible practices when it comes to programming and would love to work with you on this project. Since it is only about 10 hours worth of work I can do it for a very low price of $100 usd. Now you may be thinking I am not going to provide good code for such a low price but I will. The main reason I am doing work on unity is so I can earn some spare cash and build a portfolio all while finishing my last year of college.

I replied with:
Hi Russell, love the enthusiasm!

Tell me a little about yourself, what projects have you been involved in and what specifically have you worked on for them?
Do you have Github experience? What about iOS publishing experience?

The bugs are only visible when testing on a device, so please keep that in mind.

Now the reason I’m not hiding Russells name is because this guy took my money and didn’t do any work on Turret Town.
I mistakenly thought this person was genuine, and helping a kid get experience was a nice bonus.
I transferred the money over to him via PayPal and we started.

He claimed the bugs weren’t present on an iPhone 6s, I was testing on an iPhone 6. After he couldn’t fix anything he suggested we publish Turret Town for iPhone 6s’s and above, after I told him this wasn’t what I wanted he basically said “OK well good luck getting it to work”.

He said I should dispute the payment with PayPal and after some time they decided to settle the payment in his favor.

About a week after we stopped working with each other, I opened the ‘Remaining iOS issues’ document I shared with him and saw all the bullet pointed issues I listed in it were struck off, as if Russell marked them as completed. So I suspect Russell, struck all the issues off and sent that off to PayPal to say “Hey, look I did everything. See!”.
I don’t have anything to say about this experience, I guess the take away is; don’t trust people?

While I was thinking of solutions I got back to talking with my initial developer Noha, I started playing around in xCode and was sending some of the errors to Noha via eMail. She saw a few problems logged from xCode and committed fixes the following night. This resolved the iOS bug and well the rest is history.

 

I looked through my old eMails and found that I started Turret Town on the 17th April 2013 almost four years ago!
I don’t know when the initial idea came to me so this has been with me for years, it’s not for nothing though — this was a real test for myself. I made some mistakes during development and it’s all to make me a better developer.

 

Keep an eye/ear out, hopefully I’ll have something new to talk about later in the year.
Thanks to all the people that helped me, till next time,
-Saveun

Launched on Google Play

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Turret Town is now on mobile!

After the very lack luster release on Kongregate my focus shifted towards mobile.

I initially planned on releasing Turret Town on Google Play, iOS and Web simultaneously not realising how much work was involved for each SKU.
I had also planned to have two game modes. One was the wave based mode like the one on Kongregate and the second being a single player mode with 18 levels, where the difficulty increased every following level.

Over the course of development (and this blog) I think I’ve described where my head was when making large decisions.
The end goal was always to have Turret Town on all major mobile platforms — Android and iOS.

With the new game mode, I really wanted to try out analytics. This was a way to gauge user behaviour while playing Turret Town and if we noticed anything interesting we could evaluate the situation and plan a solution accordingly.
Unity has some decent tools on their Developer section and we ended up using Unity’s tools for Ads and Analytics.

While this was being implemented I realised I hadn’t planned anything for when the user completed Extermination mode. This is when Google Play achievements came in. And integrating that went very smoothly, new art was created and I think we got that in — in around a week.

Now with the game out on Google Play we are shifting our focus to iOS. I haven’t released anything there yet neither has the developer I’m working with, but we are working on it and we are hoping to publish in the coming months.

Thanks for your time,
-Sav

Monster on the leaderboard!

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A very important feature of Turret Town is the leaderboard, this was something I intended to have from the get go.

The game has been online for almost one month now and someone by the name of thekiller81 recently set a massive highscore of 1,150,170!
More than five times the amount of the person in second place.

This really caught me by surprise — as I was play testing the game I was maxing out at around 10, sure getting to wave 11 or 12, that’s doing well but wave 24! This is next level Turret Town ability.

This is me tipping my hat to you thekiller81.

Thanks again and talk to you next time.
-Saveun

 

 

Post Kongregate launch

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The response to Turret Town’s launch on Kongregate was… tepid.

First game launch and it doesn’t erupt in the huge success, oh well lets move on..

We had a few unexpected things happen when we published the game.
To give a little background as Google Chrome became more popular they started to do away with supporting certain things, Unity’s Web Player for one. It seems like all browsers are moving towards HTML5 which is cool. Unity realizes this and introduced a WebGL export option when they released Unity 5.0.

While developing the game we knew we wanted to get this Web version out, and WebGL felt like a good solution.
With any game you want to increase the amount of people you cater to and because Google Chrome is the most popular browser, we wanted the game to work on that. This is so we didn’t have some people immediately turn away when met with a “Please download Mozilla Firefox” window.

So, we work on the game, test that the game works and exports correctly, then we upload the finished game to Kongregate.
Bare in mind, testing was my responsibility and what I was looking for was anything immersion breaking, clicking not producing anything, navigation, that kind of stuff.

The game is published and I take a a couple days from working on it.
The next day I check in and the Turret Town Leaderboards are exactly the same as they were before. This is odd.
We do some investigating, turns out that because Mac ID’s cannot be accessed through WebGL (I wasn’t aware of this), that every user that played Turret Town on Kongregate was seen as the same person. And because I had a play through that went to Wave10 and had a pretty good high score, no one elses high score were added.

This was the first nail, and then there was another issue with WebGL, this bug is called mouse locking, and it is apparently a security issue along with the Mac ID issue.
What happens is — you’ll play the game like you normally would and when a menu shows, the mouse cursor isn’t confined to the game, if you drag too far to the right, it leaves the active game window and is now on the webpage.
This was a minor bug, but I think to some people would be seen as an immersion breaking experience.

After these two issues we had a talk about it and decided we would upload a Web Player version of the game, screw it. The game played fine on it (it was the closest compared to previewing the game within Unity).
And that’s why there are now two versions of Turret Town on Kongregate.

If you get a chance please check it out here, thanks for checking in,
-Sav

 

Launching on Kongregate

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I’m treating the Kongregate launch like a beta. This is to see how the audience reacts and whether of not it is worth continuing with the property.
It’s very hard for me to gauge a reaction because it feels like I’m working from inside a cave, the people who do know about it don’t really play casual games and I don’t know people in the demographic I’m trying to target.

Fingers crossed the Web launch goes well.
Also, if you’re from Kongregate… Welcome to my Turret Town development blog!