Running the game under Windows Phone 8
In previous articles I talked about how we launched the game on Google Play and on social networks . The next platform was supposed to be iOS, but again there were hiccups and a decision was made to try out Windows Phone 8. It took several weeks to port the game, and the same amount for approval in the market. In the article I will tell you what we have done and what came of it.
Preparation of everything necessary for development
First of all, I needed a device on WP8, on which tests could be carried out. The choice fell on the budget Nokia Lumia 520 for $ 190. I had never used this OS before and didn’t think that I would like it, but after taking the phone a couple of days, I realized that everything was not so bad. The lack of freedom of action is sad, of course, but on the other hand, it’s good that WP8 applications cannot be hacked. There were still worries about power, I thought there would be lags in games - but no, everything works quickly.
Then installed Windows 8.1. At first, I spat for a long time - running programs outside the desktop is very inconvenient, and the lack of start-up was a scarecrow. Strongly deduced my habit to periodically press the "windows" button on the keyboard. If in previous versions the start panel opened, then in the eighth version it flips from the desktop onto the screen with squares in the metro style. It strained.
I was very pleased that Windows 8.1 and Visual Studio 2013 were free for many days and during that time I managed to do everything I needed.
To begin development, it is not necessary to have a developer account. You only need to unlock the phone through Windows Phone Developer Registration. After that, you can build the application on the device and test.
You’ll need a developer account later when you need to put the game on the market. I did not have to buy it, because I work through the publisher (HeroCraft).
Features of porting a game to Unity3d under WP8
Build under Windows Phone is somewhat reminiscent of iOS. First, an intermediate project is created, which opens through VS 2013, and only then can the final * .xap file be built.
Many libraries are not available for this platform. Here's what stopped working for me :
- System.Security.Cryptography.MD5CryptoServiceProvider. Encryption via MD5, an alternative script was found that allows you to generate md5.
- `System.Runtime.Serialization.SerializationInfo`. Deserialization via Json.FX has stopped working. As a result, I had the old fashioned way through string.Split.
Not without bugs. The suspension of the car stopped working, the wheels flew in the air. It turned out that WheelCollider.GetGroundHit is crooked, in the end I redid it to Physics.Raycast .
A bit awkward clicking on the links. The standard Application.OpenURL () method is not suitable. It is necessary to create a special method in the VS solution, which will then be called by the event through Unity3d.
It is unpleasant that there is no debug so far, although they say in Unity 4.3 version it should appear.
You also need a pack of several square icons of different sizes.
I also had to redo several features from the publisher's SDK. We completely abandoned it for this platform. The player rating was compiled on php + mysql, and the “Rate me” window was rebuilt with a new interface and another implementation.
Balance and Monetization Adjustment
Compared to Android, for WP8 we tightened the balance and introduced gasoline, which is consumed with each race and is gradually being restored. A similar scheme is now quite popular.
In the coin donation window, we adjusted prices, increased the minimum payment to $ 2, and the maximum payment to $ 30. Also for larger payments, we write how many additional coins the player will receive the relative first payment in percent.
The game is freemium, so I had to deal with the payment system. I am glad that there are enough examples that have helped to understand how everything works. To test payments, you need to upload the game to the market, but only as BETU ! The first time we accidentally threw it into a release, as a result, we waited a long time until the moderators watched the raw version and rejected the game. Then it was reloaded in beta and the game became available for testing throughout the day. It seems that you can still deploy a virtual machine to run the payment system, but this method seems much more complicated. Products are divided into two categories - Comsumable (consumables, coins, etc.) and Durable (opening additional content, etc.).
If you are too lazy, then on the Asset Store there are ready-made plugins for integrating micropayments. Cost in the region of $ 30.
Yes, the game has ads. It appears in the pause and result windows, as well as on the lockscreen. I wanted to insert the familiar admob, but it was not for WP8, in the end I had to insert ads from NAX (Nokia Ad Exchange). There were no problems, there is an article on the hub about the implementation of this network . By the way, after I implemented NAX, the admob SDK for WP8 was released , but it was too late to rebuild the project.
Gulf Market Games
Moderation is tough and long, but very high quality. Very much hammering for the system button Back. In any situation, it should work. We stopped several times because of this button. Surprised that Microsoft are working good testers. They send reports, as expected - in pdf-format, clearly describe how to repeat the bug, write how it should be, and how in the game. Well done.
The duration of the check is sad.Pre-release checks for 5 days - this is approx. Everything is fine here, but post-release fixes are very difficult. It turned out that when I fixed the bug with the back button, I created a new one that freezed (stopped) the game in some places. Fix did quickly, it was necessary only in one place to change the value of the variable. But in the end, the check took about 5 days, while the game was very actively gaining momentum. From my point of view, this is not very correct. It should be possible to speed up the pouring of critical fixes, and then in 5 days the game can be "merged". An unpleasant situation turned out. You probably will say that you need to do everything right right away ... Yes, but it doesn’t always work out that way.
With the promotion of the situation is pretty nice, it is very conditional, because resources are very few. In theory, if you buy a review on w3bsit3-dns.com, then there will undoubtedly be a return, given that Russia is a large Windows Phone market, but we did not. In general, paid reviews were not bought at all. The publisher did a newsletter on its channels, after which there were reviews on the game, which is also nice. Also, Microsoft and Nokia have confirmed that our game will be put on a promo.
In any case, I believe that due to a little competition, there can be no problems with the promotion of this platform.
Release and Statistics
The game quickly reached the top and tumbled a lot of jumps, even more than on Android after the release. The critical bug that stayed in the market for 7 days spoiled everything, but I hope the main part of the audience has not been lost.
Downloads for the first 10 days - 100k (on Android - 50k). ARPU is also twice as high.