Release & Testing your game


The release phase of any personal project is an important one. There are a few things you want to worry about when creating a release. First you want to make sure your potential users can play the game. Then you want to ensure you have all the proper components to a release. Finally you want to make sure you protect your code, and yourself.

As mentioned in previous blogs, It is recommended you have your friends/family play the game, make sure they understand the instructions even though they may not like the game. People will eventually play what you release even though your friends and family may not like your idea. The purpose of having friends and family test your game is to make sure that people who will want to play your game can play it, and not so much of getting your friends and family hooked on your games.

To publish on Android you only need 25$ and an app to publish. Android apps do not undergo a review process which is why I think its easiest to publish here or on the web for your first game on a market filled with people trying to play games all the time. The interesting part about publishing on Android is how you do your licensing. If you dont protect your code you will have many bad things happen to you.

Protecting your code is easy and hard at the same time. First, anyone and everyone should use an Obfuscator when publishing. Obfuscating code is extremely important for a few reasons. First it makes your code nearly unreadable. Second it makes it very difficult to remove licensing code. Finally it has some benefits to performance if your using a good Obfuscator.

Adding the Android LVL(Licensing System) to your app can create a licensing scheme that is hard to break but all licensing can be broken, Just like unit testing till your bored, you should license till your bored. Generally speaking its you vs. the world, and you will have to put in a small amount of effort to make the person who eventually does steal your app, pay for it with time and effort.

Protecting your product is also part of protecting your code. If your app is free and you expect to make ad revenue, Obfuscation makes it hard for people to steal your ad revenue by changing the pay-to account and re-releasing the app. Embedding ads into your game will prevent people from moving it to a website and making money off your game without you seeing a profit etc..

Protecting yourself is also important. Google recommends you put an EULA at the beginning of any application to ensure you don't get sued for a random reason. After doing this however I have seen comments on the app saying they wont use the app because there is an EULA. (by the way none of this is legal advice on my part :) )

Finally, have a way to get bug reports from your app. If you have 30,000 people using your app and they are getting exceptions, Android by default will collect some information on those exceptions. However I have read that it does not catch all. There are some 3rd party libraries that will do this for you if you decide to. Getting this information back about your app can get extremely helpful in the long run, especially when dealing with thousands of different devices like the Android platform forces you to deal with.

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