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.
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