Saturday, June 25, 2011

Readying the launch

I'd forgotten how getting ready to launch a game was almost as much work as writing the bloody thing in the first place - particularly on a new launch platform that I'd never used before.


In this case, the platform in question is the Chrome Web Store... Much like other Google products, it lacks the polish that other more 'consumer-experience-minded' companies (such as a certain fruit-themed computer manufacturer) have achieved, but nonetheless it's serviceable.

Prepping my app for test was simply a matter of adding an icon, a formatted JSON file and then zipping it and uploading via a fairly simple dashboard. On the whole, it all went pretty smoothly except for a few minor things...

Firstly, everything was crammed onto one page; it was a little confusing seeing what I was supposed to fill in where (but maybe that's just me getting old and frazzled). My feeling is this should have been spread over a number of pages.

Secondly, while the upload instructions were fairly simple, they kept referring to a crx file (even though I was uploading a zip file). I gather that the zip file is turned into a crx file by the upload process, but this wasn't exactly clear...

Thirdly, it wasn't clear at any point whether I was making a 'hosted app' or a 'packaged app'. It turned out I was making a hosted app, but none of the links I turned up were particularly helpful for turning it into a packaged app. The link I did find that told me how to change the manifest file was singularly unhelpful, as it did not explain how to troubleshoot errors.

So for now, Creatures & Castles will be a hosted app. Hopefully, I'll be able to get it packaged up soon. As it is the Chrome Web Store upload process could use a bit of an overhaul to make it clearer what's going on.

Lastly, there is apparently a bug in the developer test install process. My app refused to install from the Chrome Web Store test page. A bit of creative Googling told me that this was a known bug, and the trick to fix it was to remove the '/developer' part of the URL.

6 comments:

Andrew said...

Yeah, the dev side of the CWS needs a lot of polish. They basically bolted on the ability to publish apps onto the old extension dev site, and it shows.

As for making a packaged app, awesome! You'll probably get better reviews too, people like packaged apps better I find. Only thing is though that is has to be less than 10mb, which is kind of lame.

Anyways, I hope for the best.

Andrew (hiive) said...

Thanks :) It takes a little getting used to, but they definitely need to polish it up...

I'm still not sure how easy packaging it is going to be... I'm still looking into it.

Andrew said...

Shouldn't be too hard. Just take all your assets, and zip them up with the manifest file. Just need a launch path, like so:

"app": {
"launch": {
"local_path": "4kg.html"
}
}

Andrew (hiive) said...

I'll give that a try... I'll have to read up on how that affects server side stuff (for in-app purchases, etc).

Andrew said...

Unfortunately I tried it, and at least using Google In-App Payments, it seems impossible to do all-clientside. So for that, you'll have to offload it to a server somewhere.

What I did was I opened a Blogger blog where the only thing on the page was the "Support with Google Checkout" widget (which is curiously Blogger-only at the moment.) I then open that blog in a new window when someone wants to use it.

Andrew (hiive) said...

I'm using google app engine, and I've managed to get the in-app payment working server side... although their documentation leaves a little to be desired. The python sample doesn't even work as presented!