Archive for the 'Windows 8' category

“Infiltration” live in Windows Store

Feb 25 2013 Published by under Windows 8

My latest game, Infiltration, for Windows 8 is live in the Windows Store.

Get it here!

screenshot_02242013_131048

This is a game that I’ve wanted to make for a long time. One of my favorite old time arcade games was Gravitar. I’ve played it a bunch in the last year or so on MAME. It’s such a difficult game, but very addicting for me anyway. Infiltration is a homage to that game. It has a lot of the same basic game play – you fly a ship into an area, avoid getting shot or running out of fuel while achieving an objective. In Gravitar the only real objective is to destroy all the guns. In Infiltration there is a target or multiple targets you need to capture. When all targets are captured, the exit appears and you use it to complete the level. Destroying all the guns and collecting all the fuel is optional, but worth bonus points.

The game has 30 levels in the full version, which sells for $1.49 US. There’s also a trial version which gives you a sampling of several levels. In keeping with the spirit of Gravitar, some of these levels are very hard. The full version also supports loading of custom levels which can be created with the free Infiltration Level Editor, another app which has been submitted to the Windows Store just today and which should hopefully be available soon.

I wrote Infiltration (and the level editor) in HTML and JavaScript, with a mix of canvas and DOM elements. The Visual Studio JavaScript profiler was crucial in optimizing the game to run smoothly at 60 fps with quite a bit of collision detection and animation going on. It was a blast to use, digging into bottlenecks, fixing them up and seeing a marked improvement.

I originally wrote the level editor just for myself to facilitate creating of the official levels for the game. But I had so much fun making it and spent so much time polishing it that it wound up being a full featured app that I had no reservations about releasing.

screenshot_02252013_182513

As for the submission process of the game itself, this was the smoothest and fastest process I’ve ever encountered for an app submission process. I wrapped things up Sunday night and submitted it to the store. Monday morning when I woke up, there was a rejection notice. This had to do with submissions to foreign stores, namely Korea, Brazil, Taiwan, and South Africa. These countries currently require actual certification of game ratings. I’ll be looking into getting such certification for this and future games, but I wasn’t going to hold things up so I had to take those off the list for now. Anyway, I unchecked those countries, resubmitted, and a few hours later the app was approved and live in the store! I don’t know what the iOS App Store process is like now, but back when I was doing apps there such a situation would have meant a week and a half setback. This time I had submission, rejection, fix, resubmission, and approval – all within 18 hours! I’m hoping the level editor goes as quickly.

My previous app and game were free. This is my first attempt at the try/buy scenario. I’m not expecting to get rich, but looking forward to seeing what can be done in this environment. I’ll report how it goes.

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Microsoft Surface Pro

Feb 10 2013 Published by under General, Windows 8

Background

A few years back I was invited to Microsoft for a day with a small group of other bloggers to be briefed on what MS had going on and to speak with Bill Gates himself for a full hour. One of the things they showed us was the early prototype of the Microsoft Surface. At the time, it was basically a touch screen table. And it was amazing. This was before anyone had seen an iPhone or an iPad, so seeing and touching a real time interactive multitouch device left us all in awe. They also said that the future of the Surface probably included a more portable device – something you could carry from room to room, and maybe hang on the wall to watch movies,s play games, etc.

Well, time went by, people started creating other touch screen devices, the iPad came out and blew everyone away and the Surface became a rumored, yeti-like creature.

Then, some time last year, this video was released:

This video definitely captured my attention. And as more and more info on the Surface came out, I kept getting more interested. My weapon of choice has been a Lenovo T520 laptop. I love it to death, but it’s rather large. I’ve been eyeing various ultra-book type devices for a while now, but nothing out there really did it for me. And that upcoming Surface was still in the back of my mind.

Last fall, the Surface RT was released. This, unfortunately, did not interest me at all. RT only runs RT apps. It wouldn’t work for what I wanted it for. I wanted something I could use to do actual work, a full featured pc. So I’ve been holding out to see what the Surface Pro looked like.

So last week I ventured into the Microsoft Store at the Prudential Center Mall in Boston and checked out the prerelease demo models. I liked it. You couldn’t buy them or preorder them, but they would let you reserve one. I didn’t really expect they’d sell out early on release day (Saturday, February 9), but I figured it couldn’t hurt to put in a reservation.

Well, the day before release, New England had a massive blizzard, which shut down the area. In fact, a state of emergency was declared, the subway system was shut down and a travel ban on public roads was enacted. So it didn’t look like I’d be picking up my Surface on Saturday.

By late Saturday morning, the on-line store had sold out of Surface Pro 128 GB models, and there were reports of stores with long “Apple-like” lines selling out of the devices as well. I honestly didn’t expect that. So in the afternoon, when it became nice and sunny out and I had the car all dug out, I actually considered going in. I called the store to ensure they were open. I found out later that Microsoft had put all the employees up at a local hotel so they could get into the store in the morning for launch day. They were open, but informed me before I even asked that they had no more Surface Pros left. I said I had a reservation card and after a few minutes on hold, they said if I could make it in, they’d take care of me.

I made it in and got a 128 GB Surface Pro with a touch cover. All went smoothly. The best thing that happened in the store though, was overhearing this conversation between a woman who walked into the store and an employee:

Woman: “Do you have any iPhones in stock?”
MS Guy: “… um, no, this is the Microsoft Store. If you want an iPhone, you need to go to the Apple Store.”
Woman: “Oh… hmm… OK. … So you don’t have ANY???”

First Impressions

Thanks for putting up with all that, when what you really want to know is how the device itself is.

Short story: I like it a lot. Not sure if I love it yet or not. Much like Windows 8 itself, it’s so different than anything else that I think it’s going to take a while to figure out how it fits into my technological life.

The Surface is kind of like a tablet, but a bit heavy to walk around with and use one-handed like an iPad. It also doesn’t have the extended battery life that your usual tablet does. Average reports of around 5 hours.

But that extra weight brings you a lot. This is a very full featured computer with a core i5 processor running full Windows 8. I can install any program on here that I can install on a regular laptop or desktop Windows pc. And it runs those programs well.

The type cover is great. It snaps in solidly with a very strong magnet and is extremely usable. The screen is beautiful. It’s a bit small. I’m not sure how well I can use the screen itself for an everyday work pc. But it will connect to an external display.

The keyboard also has a track pad which, while not the best track pad I’ve ever used, is far from the worst. I actually find myself using it fairly often. When in desktop apps, the UI elements can be fairly small and hard to hit with a fat finger, so the track pad comes in handy.

The surface also come with a pen. This uses licensed Wacom technology, so the experience of using the pen as a drawing tool is outstanding. To be honest, the pen feels a bit cheap and plasticy compared to the beautifully solid build quality of the device itself. But it works, and is another option I sometimes use for hitting small ui elements in desktop apps.

Overall, the experience of using the device is very good. It’s small enough that when you are typing, your fingers are close enough to the screen that it’s quite natural to use the touch screen as needed.

There was a big media frenzy in the last couple of weeks about the available storage on the Surface devices being “less than advertised”. A real bunch of FUD, in my opinion. Yes, the OS and essential programs are going to take up space. Windows 8 is a full operating system, not a mobile OS, so it’s rather large. But this post really made my day, showing that a 128 GB Surface has just barely less usable storage than a 128 GB Mac Book Air. In fact, if you move the recovery partition off, it has more.

surfacemacbookzdnetcompare

Anyway, like I said, still getting used to this device and feeling out where it fits and what I’m going to use it for. I’ll report more as that becomes more clear.

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Windows 8: Pinning Documents to the Start Page #2

Jan 10 2013 Published by under Windows 8

In a post last week, I gave a kind of convoluted solution to pinning a document to the Windows 8 Start Page. Jesse Freeman just pointed me to a Windows 8 app that does the same thing in a bit more of an elegant way: Tile A File. You simply start the app, browse to a file you want to pin, and tell it to create a Start Page tile. You can opt to use the default icon it picks, or choose a custom tile image. Nice solution.

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Windows 8: Pinning Documents to the Start Page

Jan 06 2013 Published by under Windows 8

Before diving into all the stuff below (which still might be useful in some cases) you might want to look at this post: http://www.bit-101.com/blog/?p=3657

If you’ve read past the post title and into this text, I’m going to assume you have some experience or at least some interest in Windows 8. Therefore you know that there’s a Start page with tiles of various applications installed on your system. You can rearrange these, remove and re-add them, and in some cases resize them. A lesser known fact is the ability to pin folders to the Start page – just right click the folder in Explorer and you’ll see a “Pin to Start” menu item.

What seemed to be missing for me though, was the ability to add documents to the Start page. For example, I have an Excel spreadsheet where I log all my running, with various charts, weekly and monthly tallies and other analysis all baked into it. I use it almost every day, so I thought it’d be nice to have it pinned to the Start page to bring it up as fast as possible. There doesn’t seem to be any automatic way to do this, but I did figure out a little trick. It’s not quite a single-click solution, but for those few documents you use all the time, it’s worth the minute or less that it takes to set up the one time. You could also probably create some kind of script or utility to do this, but not sure it’s worth the extra effort. Anyway, here’s what you do:

1. From Explorer, right click on the document you want to pin and choose “Create Shortcut”. This will create a new file next to the original, which is an alias pointing to the document.

2. Now you want to copy this shortcut into the following folder:

C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

It’s probably going to tell you that you need administrator privileges to paste it there. You can just click continue to acknowledge this, assuming you do have such privileges.

3. You may want to rename the file. By default it will be something like “Keith Running Log.xls – Shortcut”. This is what will show up on your Start page under the tile, so if  you want, change it to something like “Keith Running Log”.

4. Now go to the Start page. You won’t see the tile there, but start typing the name of the file and it should quickly filter it out. Now right click it and choose “Pin to Start” from the App Bar. Bingo! A pinned document. (You’ll see I got lazy and didn’t even rename it.)

Note that this is not limited to MS Office docs. As far as I can tell, any document with a registered extension that will open in some application can have this method applied.

I’d love to see a Windows update that makes this a bit more straightforward, but at least it’s possible.

 

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Game in Progress: Infiltration

Jan 04 2013 Published by under JavaScript, Windows 8

I just wanted to share a little bit about the game I’m currently in the process of creating. It will be a Windows 8 game, called “Infiltration”. The game play, as well as the visual style, is very much a homage to the arcade classic Gravitar, but it is far from an exact copy. The concept is that you have to infiltrate this alien world, fly through various barriers and tunnels and capture one or more targets. I guess I’ll make up a story of what these targets represent – information, energy crystals, or whatever. Anyway, once you grab all the targets, while avoiding being shot, taking out the guns that are shooting you, and keeping track of your fuel, the exit will appear and you fly into it to complete the level. Here are a few screenshots of some of the levels:

  

The controls are basically what you would find in Gravitar or Asteroids: turn left/right, thrust, shoot, with some friction so if you are drifting left or right you will come to a stop fairly soon. The world of the game has basic one dimensional gravity, i.e. your ship is pulled down so you need to regularly use some upward thrust to keep from crashing. Thrusting of course uses fuel and when you run out of fuel, you’re gonna crash. Most of the levels have fuel pods you can pick up to replenish your reserves.

A Word about Gravitar

Gravitar is one of my favorite old school video games. This is not to say that it was my favorite back in the day. I remember it in the arcades, but I never played it that much. Why? Because it was freaking HARD! Now I play it on MAME, which doesn’t waste my hard-earned quarters (worth a lot more back in the early 80’s), but I’m still not even close to beating all the worlds in the first universe. If you want to see for yourself how tough it is, try the online version here: http://my.ign.com/atari/gravitar.

Beyond the visual style and basic game play (fly, shoot, fuel, get out), I did want to capture a bit of that difficulty in Infiltration. So most of the levels are pretty damn hard. I imagine some casual users might consider a few of them impossible. But 1. I will have completed every level personally, and 2. I still don’t think it’s as hard as Gravitar.

If you are interested in Gravitar, you need to check out Dan Coogan’s Gravitar site. Seriously, this is virtual shrine to the game. There you can find screenshots and walkthroughs of every level, interviews with the creators, scans of the original manuals, flyers, ads, etc. There is even 350+ scanned pages of the original Gravitar design binder – original sketches, plans, meeting minutes, office correspondence about the game, cabinet specs, etc. An amazing resource to see what went into making a game like that back in the day.

Designing Levels

It became obvious to me very early on that if I was going to be designing a bunch of levels, doing it by plugging numerical coordinates into some kind of text document, loading the level, seeing what it looked like, tweaking the values and checking again, etc. was going to be very painful. So I set about making a graphical level editor for the game. This was also done as a Windows 8 app and became a major side project for a few weeks. I can now draw out a full level, place, move, and delete any game items, all with a full undo/redo stack, and load and save levels as JSON. It’s got a grid you can toggle on/off as well at toggle snap-to-grid, and inputting of level metadata. I’m pretty proud of it. Here’s what it looks like in action:

The next pain point was after creating a level, I had to add that level to the game project and compile the game. And then recompile the game every time I made a change. So I added a feature in the game itself to be able to load custom external (not compiled in) levels from the file system. At this point, I don’t even need to have Visual Studio open anymore. I create the levels in the editor and test them in the live game. Tweak the level, save, reload the level in the game.

This has worked out so well that I’ve decided to leave the external level feature in the game itself, and release the editor as a public app as well. So, when this is finally all completed, people will be able to create their own levels, play them, share them with friends, etc. Maybe I could even get some kind of best level contest going.

Current Progress

As of this writing, I have 23 levels done. I plan to have 30 in total. The first few are pretty easy tutorial-type levels. It gets tough pretty quickly after that though. I think I’m going to check out the try/buy functionality for this game, releasing a trial version with a selection of levels, and a full version with all levels plus the ability to load custom levels. The editor would be free, but only useful if you have the full version of the game. The trial may have ads as well. Not looking to get rich here, but I never signed my vow of poverty either.

I’ve been working on this since the beginning of October. So it’s been a couple of months and I’m itching to be done with it. I think there is little, if any, coding left to be done, just level creation, which I hope to wrap up by this weekend. Then I’ll probably need to tweak and rearrange the levels a bit to make them flow. Hopefully you’ll see this in the store by the middle of the month, if all goes right.

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2012 in Review

Dec 31 2012 Published by under General, JavaScript, Technology, Windows 8

Following a tradition several years in the running, I bring you my personal retrospective into 2012 and a glimpse into the new year.

In fact, 2012 followed much the same pattern as 2011 – some interesting stuff in the start of the year, a long period of just kind of being bored with everything, and then finding something to be excited about as the year drew to a close.

As 2011 ended, I was starting to get more seriously into JavaScript and web development. In early 2012 I posted a few opinionated opinions on object creation in JavaScript, which sparked some good conversation. I followed these up with a couple of articles on the same subject on the Adobe Developer Center.

In April I went to Beyond Tellerand – Play, a creative/development conference in Cologne, Germany. I revived one of my most popular talks, Playing With Chaos, for this conference, redoing all the examples in JavaScript. It went over amazingly well. The talk is always really well received. After that, I had the idea to turn the talk into a self published book and got a good start on it. But that kind of fizzled out after a couple of months. Perhaps I’ll revive it some time in the new year. You can actually watch the whole talk at the BT Play site, along with the other sessions.

It turned out that BT Play was the only speaking gig I did all year – the least amount of speaking I’ve done since I’ve started. I did have a couple of other opportunities to speak, but have not been super interested in doing so, to be honest. There are few if any “Flash conferences” around anymore, and even if there were, I’m not really doing any Flash these days. I don’t feel expert enough to try to get into the JavaScript conference speaking circuit. I probably could do more stuff like the chaos talk, which would go over well in any kind of creative type situation, but the impetus just wasn’t there for some reason. I guess another part of it is that the Flash conferences had a certain group of people you knew were going to show up. A large part of the pull to speak at these was the hooking up with friends from around the world and hanging out with them. I do miss that.

In June, my coworker and friend, Todd Anderson, and I went down to Austin for the TXJS conference, as attendees. It was very odd not knowing anyone else at the conference, and I’ll admit it, not having people coming up to me saying they read my books, blog, used my components, etc. It was also around this time that I started to get a bit bored with JavaScript. This statement needs a lot of clarification. I don’t have any problem with the language itself or what it can do. And at first, I was pretty excited about all the stuff happening in the community – so many new libraries and frameworks coming out all the time. But this latter part is what eventually got me bored with it. Too many frameworks, too many opinions. and everyone in your face telling you the RIGHT way to do things. I guess I was a bit guilty of this myself earlier in the year with my object creation posts. But I just kind of got tired of all the king-of-the-hill playing that’s going on in web development this last year or so. I got too caught up in the “how to” part and wasn’t really MAKING anything.

So you might have noticed that from June to August of this year I went pretty dark. Honestly I wasn’t even doing anything blogworthy. A bit of a technology sabbatical, covered well enough in this post. Also mentioned in that post is that Windows 8 programming is what pulled me back into activity. I now have two apps in the Windows 8 Store and am very close to having my next one ready for submission.

If it’s not obvious already, I LOVE Windows 8 programming. Everything I’ve done so far has been with HTML/JavaScript, which is the one thing that has most excited me over the last couple of years. But there’s very little of the community chaos that you get in web development. You are essentially developing for IE 10. So all the self-righteous, holier-than-thou web dev hipsters aren’t going to talk to you anyway. 🙂 I’m not a standards guru, but from what I know, IE 10 is pretty good. And even if it’s not 100% standards compliant, since you are only developing for the one platform for desktop Win8 apps, it’s kind of a standard itself.  There’s none of the cross-browser / cross-platform stuff to worry about. Basically, you can just ignore all the noise and MAKE stuff. And that’s what I’m doing. And loving it.

On the job front, I’m still at Infrared5 and that’s all going pretty well. Although nothing jumps out as being hugely exciting there for me in the last year, there were no huge problems either. I did one project in ActionScript / Flex / Desktop AIR, which was pretty unique in that it embeds a Red5 server in the app itself to do local recording of video. I have Paul Gregoire to thank for the Red5 help and in hacking together a stripped down version of the Red5 server that could be run on the low end hardware we were targeting. It was quite a technical challenge and worked out pretty well. Most of the rest of the year I’ve been doing iOS stuff for a client of the company that keeps hiring me back. Earlier in the year I helped build out a custom iOS library for the client, and in the latter half, I’ve been helping to build an app based on that library – truly eating my own dog food! It’s an interesting situation to be working with the black box of a closed library that you helped build but no longer have access to the source of. A bit frustrating at times, but quite an eye opener as well.

So what’s in store for 2013? More of the same. Specifically, my plan for the moment is to participate in this: http://onegameamonth.com/ The One Game A Month… er… project? It’s not a game jam, it’s not a contest, it’s just a couple thousand people who say they are going to try to make a game each month for 2013. Fantastic idea. I’ve spent way too long on the game I’m currently working on. That’s a common problem with any personal programming project. There’s no deadline, so you fiddle with it forever, trying to make it perfect, eventually get bored with it and start something else. This boxes out your time. One month. Get it done. Ship it. The game I’m working on now will wind up being my January game, and I have a great concept for February. I’m excited about this.

I also really do plan to do more blogging. I’m going to try to put something up 2-3 times a week. Probably a lot of it will be about the game I’m working on at that particular time. Any tricks or tips, problems or insight.

Also, as many of you know from my tweets, G+ posts, other comments, and occasional mentions on this blog, I’ve been heavily into running in the last few years. This past year I ran my first two marathons and am now in training for my first ultramarathon, a 50K (31 mile) trail race in April. I don’t like to put too much of that info on this blog, but if you are interested to hear more about that, here’s another year in review post from that viewpoint, on my personal blog.

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Falling Balls Update

Dec 05 2012 Published by under Windows 8

At the end of October this year, Falling Balls was released into the Windows 8 Store. After just over a month, I thought it would be interesting to discuss how it is doing, and to answer the question, “should I build games or apps for Windows 8?”

Hard statistics.

Here you can see the download stats. It’s averaging roughly 900 downloads a day, with a best day of just over 1500, and generally trending up. The weekends usually see more downloads than the weekdays. You can also see the demographics of who is downloading the app.

As of this writing, the game has been downloaded about 25,000 times.

The dev center also gives you some pretty cool status such as average app usage per day. Amazingly, in mid-November, people were playing Falling Balls for an average of 17 minutes per day! Average! That’s insane. It’s now around 6-7 minutes per day, which to be honest, still amazes me.

Money.

So what about profit? I decided to follow the successful pattern of releasing the app for free and using advertising. I used Bing ads which integrate well in Windows 8 apps, but you can easily implement any other HTML-based ads in a Windows 8 HTML/JS application.

Here you can see daily ad revenue. There was a bug in my own code in the first release that was preventing the ads from showing up. Obviously, that got fixed on the 8th and has been generally uptrending since then, again with peaks on the weekends. Averages are in the range of around $5 on weekdays and $7-8 on weekend days. (The dropoff for the last day is just because the reports lag a day behind, so there is no data for today’s revenue yet.) In the three or four weeks that the ads have actually been appearing, I’ve made around $120-130. But I suspect that will increase a bit, especially since I’m planning a few upgrades to the game.

Summary.

So far, I can’t say that the game has been the runaway, oh-my-god-what-happened success that it was on iOS, but I’m sure there are a number of factors that play into that, such as the fact that iOS devices were broadly available for a year or so before the app store was open to developers. There was a huge base of people wanting new apps and games from day one. There is also a big difference between the mobile app store market and a mostly desktop / somewhat tablet based app store.

I’m hopeful that the trends will continue upwards as Windows 8 gains traction and more people get Win8 devices over the holidays and in general. But even so I’m not complaining. Already, I’m looking at a couple hundred dollars in passive income. Nothing to quit the day job over, but certainly welcome.

If the situation changes markedly in the future, I will be sure to report on it.

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Falling Balls for Windows 8 release 2 is out

Nov 08 2012 Published by under Windows 8

I pushed Falling Balls out the door with bare minimum functionality. In the week or so it’s been out though, it’s gotten a couple of thousand downloads and a solid 4 star rating. Early this week I decided to enhance it a bit with two new difficulty levels – “hard” and “ninja”.

In hard mode, the balls start coming out faster right away and you’ll see a lot more of them. If you had a decent score in the original mode, you’ll be hard pressed to get anywhere near that in hard mode.

Ninja mode is a bit faster than easy (original) mode, but the balls come at you from both directions. You can still last a while on it, but it’s far more challenging, and in my opinion, a lot more interesting.

I also fixed a bug which was preventing ads from showing up in most cases. I’m saying this because for most people it will look like I just added the ads in this release, but in fact they were there all along, just not working very well. Like the iOS version, the ads will only show after you die and will go away while you are in active game play. Feel free to click on them if you see something vaguely interesting, and support … me. 🙂

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Falling Balls for Windows 8 now available

Nov 01 2012 Published by under Windows 8

Just got the email last night, Falling Balls is now available in the Windows 8 Store!

I’m really interested to see how this does. I’ve implemented Bing ads in the game, exactly the same way they are implemented in the iOS version, i.e. when you die, there is a banner ad in the top center of the screen. It goes away when you start playing, so it’s not there to distract you from game play. You don’t want to see an ad – don’t die! However, I’m not seeing any ads in the live app. It took a while to see any at all while I was testing, though it worked fine using a test ad account. From looking at various forum posts, I think they just don’t have that much inventory, so there is very low fulfillment rate. I may need to switch to another ad provider if Bing doesn’t pull through soon.

I also have some additional features I want to add to the game. Considering making them in-app purchases, but if I can get ads working a bit better, I’d be happy to keep them free.

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Windows 8 App Store Submission Process

Oct 26 2012 Published by under Windows 8

As of this writing, I’ve submitted two apps to the Windows 8 Store. The first one is Particle Art. This one took four tries to get approved. The second is a port of Falling Balls, which I just submitted for the third time and I’m pretty sure it will pass this time.

There are a few things I’ve learned in the process that I’m sure will make things go much smoother for my future submissions. And hopefully they will help anyone else going through the process.

First off…

Privacy Policy!!!!

In the current app submission flow, I feel this is not given nearly the emphasis that it should be. The wording makes it sound very conditional and almost optional. My apps do not use, store, or transmit any information from any user whatsoever, so I didn’t think I’d need this. But the truth is that it is almost certain that any app you create will need a privacy policy. This is a very good article on the subject:

http://gyorgybalassy.wordpress.com/2012/10/22/your-app-needs-a-privacy-policy-in-the-windows-store/

When I first got rejected for Particle Art, it was for lack of a privacy policy. in the online app submission process, there is a field where you enter a link to your privacy policy. I created a policy, put it on line, entered the link, and resubmitted. A few days later, rejected again. So you actually need to be able to display your privacy policy IN the app as well. There is a mechanism for this, which I discovered after a bit of digging around. Rather than go into it, I’ll link to Jesse Freeman’s article where he describes the steps:

http://jessefreeman.com/articles/windows-store-privacy-statement/

Submitted again. Rejected again. This time because the app was freezing. On the rejection report was a zipped file containing a screenshot and steps to reproduce the hang. It turns out that somehow one of the project files had somehow gotten removed from the project. It was still on the hard drive, but not referenced in the project, thus was causing a crash when it was referenced. This was another file in the settings panel and I think I had done a save-as to create the privacy policy settings, which resulted in only the new saved file being in the project, not both the original and new. Anyway, that was a simple fix – just add the file back to the project. Resubmit again, and now the app is in the store.

Lessons learned:

1. Privacy policy!!!
2. Completely test every aspect of your app just before you submit it.

Next was Falling Balls. I was still not a true believer in the privacy policy and was absolutely convinced that it did not need one. Rejected. Privacy policy added in app and online. Resubmitted again. Rejected again. Reason: crash. What??? I’ve played the thing repeatedly and done just about everything you can do with it and it never once crashed. Despair set in. Combed through code. Profiled app and found some huge inefficiencies there, which I cleaned up. But there was nothing definitive. Perhaps if the app was running on a low powered ARM device… ? Who knows??? I sadly considered resubmitting and crossing my fingers hoping that solved it. Decided to take another look at the rejection. OH… there’s a details report attached as a zip file. Missed that. What do you know… a screenshot with steps on how to reproduce the issue. Duh.

Turns out that I’d left a reference to my FPS counter in one particular spot in the app. I’d removed the FPS counter just before submission though. But if you did this one function, it would try to access it and crash. Solved and fixed within 2 minutes of seeing the detail report.

Lessons learned:

1. PRIVACY POLICY!!!!!!!
2. COMPLETELY TEST EVERY ASPECT OF YOUR APP JUST BEFORE YOU SUBMIT IT!!!

Summary

See “Lessons Learned”.

10 responses so far

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