Sunday, October 19, 2014

An Unexpected Journey: Android to iOS

Springling Swipe has been on Google Play for several weeks now. So, why isn't it on the AppStore yet?

Well ... have you got a minute?

About one week after the initial launch, I opened Unity (upgraded to 4.6 to take advantage of the new GUI system) to find that the entire GUI was gone. It wasn't like the sprites became unassigned - the objects were just gone. Making matters worse was the fact that I foolishly forgot to make a backup of the working copy. The closest backup was before the 4.6 update, so it was better for me to recreate the GUI. Time consuming, but not terribly difficult.

Another issue that needed to be addressed was a conflict between two plugins being used in the Android version of the game. Google Play Services allows for features such as leaderboards and achievements (it requires the later, in fact). Then there's AdMob, the service that provides the advertisements that will (hopefully) justify the work that's gone into this new venture as a game developer.

Depending on which plugins you use (there are a number of variations to pick from), they may or may not work well together. Since GPS require a gmail account anyway, it made sense to drop it from the iOS release. Again, it required a little work, but it wasn't difficult.

No, 'difficult' is being a Windows user trying to get something on the AppStore.

In order to get an app uploaded you have to do the following:

1) Have a Apple Developer license ($99/year; in contrast, Google Play requires a one-time developer's fee of $25)
2) Setup your iTunes Connect account
3) Get two certificates - Developer & Distributor - through this account for the app you want to make and apply them to your 'keychain'
4a) Fiddle with some settings and add a number of libraries related to the plugin to get where Xcode will compile it
4b) Connect an iPhone/iPad to a Mac and compile your app in Xcode to the device - as you might imagine, this is tricky for someone who owns neither an iOS device nor a mac. Fortunately, I know some 'apple guys' (This is the step I'm currently in).
5) Assuming there are no issues, upload the app from the device to iTunes Connect.

Easy for a Apple Acolyte. Nearly impossible for a PC Punk.

I'm praying that's all there is to it - that there isn't another 'surprise' or 'gotcha' waiting around the corner.  This has been such a headache. If I had the money, I'd buy a mac and an iphone just so I wouldn't have to go though all this mess again.

Unless the game suddenly takes off, however, I don't see that happening. I guess that means that the next leg of this journey will involve learning how to market my mobile game and get the word out about Springling Swipe.