Google Play and Construct 2

Hi there!

Been quite some time I didn’t take 10 minutes to drop some lines… We are busy… And that’s good!

We are preparing our next game and our deadline is approaching at a very fast pace… Wertandrew and Phil took part in a gamejam a couple of month ago, and created a minigame called “Casino Heist”. An awesome computer game, that we decided to port to android and possibly IOS too.

That’s where things got a bit harder for me. You know, you can say you already did some Android apps if you downloaded the SDK and code in java. It’s, how to say, not hard…. But Casino Heist was made with Construct 2, in a hurry as with every gamejam entries, it is html 5 with some JavaScript. It’s not only about coding, and compiling to .apk. It’s about exporting your html 5 / JS game and make an apk with it… Well, I’m a fast learner, so I went for it! Pretty cool, or sadly, Construct 2 proposes Cordova export, no native apk exporter. First step, check!, exported the project (after a week of cleaning, changing, improving, all together). Now what? Oh, ok, import the Cordova project in Intel XDK. Coolio, easy Willy, the Cordova export does generate a .xdk so it’s a matter of downloading Intel XDK and opening the project in it. That’s where learning is needed. A bunch of stuff, options, configurations. And a nice warning that compiling to apk is deprecated and will be removed in a month from now….. Ok, so, create a keystore, check!. Ask Wert to make the splashscreens and icons, check!. Compiling check!, download the result check! So we have our apk files, both for ARM and x86 infrastructures. Cool, just sending it to my Galaxy S8+, enable unknown sources, install it and it worked! Wow, I must say that this phase went quicker than I thought!

Then Google Play came…. Well, ok, my account was maybe 10 years old or something like that, had to throw 25 bucks in it to get access to their console, not bad (still better than the 110 usd / year to get access to the Apple dev console…). So I’m there, a page presented in front of me, with a lot of icons, buttons, links… After a few tries, say a few days, I manage to have our game in the Play Store, accessible only to alpha testers. A good hint to all of you having problems with releasing an alpha version: it takes time the first time you release, to become available to testers. Dont forget to share the test account activation link and declare the allowed testers in your console!

Ok, so a working app, downloadable only by the targeted audience, all well in the kingdom! But… Before you can publish your game on Google Play, at least for the game services, you need at least 5 achievements… Achievements are great, I love them and it gives that little extra to the game you are playing. That’s where the nightmare started. In Construct 2 we have a native plugin for Google services, but it is only meant for browser games, not for apps, as the behind the scene is not the same for compiled games. Ok, after a few hours researches I found another, payant, plugin by Cranberry, that covers everything related to Android and IOS and made to export correctly to Cordova. Great, the only bad point is that the documentation is outdated, the dev doesn’t answer and all the topics related to those plugins are old and cover deprecated methods. Impossible, for about a week to create a connexion with Google services. The whole process goes from Construct 2, to the Cordova export, the Intel XDK settings and the Google Play console settings and app declaration. Took about 1.5 weeks to finally make it! Wow, I was that close to give up, seriously!

Since then, I have implemented the achievements, core side, while Wert created the needed icons for them. I have implemented Google leaderboards as well, but they are, for some reason, not yet working…. Oh well, they will soon or later 🙂

And once this is done, I’ll have to restart with…. IOS! Because it’s another system, but this will be harder, I don’t own any IOS devices to test. My friend Christopher Bergstresser accepted to borrow one of his apple devices the time it takes to implement all this. But that’s all for another dev post in the coming weeks 🙂

And to finish my little insight, what about a little glimpse at Casino Heist? There you go! Dev safe!

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