Unity Editor Tool Tips, Headings and Clamping Ranges

Hi Xander here…

Firstly a reminder that we are Beta Testing The Dog Run. If anyone would like to join please opt in here: https://play.google.com/apps/testing/com.ZuluOneZero.TheDogRun

(Apologies in advance for the pop up on this site advertising for help! It should only come up once)

The Dog Run has just been reviewed by Daikon Media if you are interested in reading what they thought please follow this link: https://daikonmedia.com/the-dog-run-review/

This post is about how to help yourself organise scripts in the Unity Editor using Tool Tips and Headings.  When you are developing as an Indie there can be long gaps between coding runs.  There is never enough time and so much to do so using anything that can help you quickly understand what those behaviours are supposed to be doing is a godsend (and adds to your godspeed).

Take this script for example from our game currently in development Endless Elevator.

This is the raw Editor display before beautifying:

I come back to this after a few days and have no idea what all those things should be and as they are so terribly unorganised it makes it all the harder to work it out.  Sure the code is commented and hell I wrote the stuff but it still takes time.

This is the same script with the addition of Headers and Tooltips (unfortunately the Tooltips are a bit hard to capture in a screen shot but you all know what they are).

Much Easier!

How to Make and Do!

I’ll use a quick example project to demonstrate how to use Tool Tips and Headings. They are super quick and easy.  I’ll also go over another extremely useful Editor function which is the Range. The Range can be used to clamp down a variable between a maximum and a minimum. This allows greater control over it’s setting while working on your game in Run Time so that you can tweak the variables easier.

Have a look at this example script:

HandyEditorTips Class


using UnityEngine;

public class HandyEditorTips : MonoBehaviour {

[Header("Speed Settings")]
[Tooltip("Speed value between 100 and 500.")]
// Show this float in the Inspector as a slider between 100 and 500
[Range(100.0F, 500.0F)]
public float speed = 100;

[Header("Point to Rotate Around X Axis")]
[Tooltip("Location Across the screen on the X axis")]
public float vector_x = 0;

// Update is called once per frame
void Update () {
// Rotate the object around the given point
// (Point to rotate round, direction of rotation, speed * frame rate delta)
transform.RotateAround(new Vector3(vector_x, 0, 0), Vector3.forward, speed * Time.deltaTime);
}

}

 

This script is added to the Sphere in the project and the Slider is a huge help in setting the required speed of turning.

Juxtapose this with the other setting for the X Axis vector variable and see when I try and use that when it’s not clamped into some sensible settings. It sends my Sphere cycling all other the shop.

It’s not groundbreaking stuff I know. But it’s easy to implement and does make your coding job easier in the initial phases.  Once you’ve got all your scene elements into some kind of decent shape you can start moving those variables that shouldn’t be exposed into a private scope and setting them to static.

Here is the Unity API Documentation Links if you want to do more reading:

https://docs.unity3d.com/ScriptReference/TooltipAttribute.html

https://docs.unity3d.com/ScriptReference/HeaderAttribute.html

https://docs.unity3d.com/ScriptReference/RangeAttribute.html

Unity Debugging with ADB for Android

Hi Zulu here… (First of all … sorry for the cat)

Let me say straight off that your first port of call for any Unity debugging should be the Unity Console.

Though sometimes you need more low level operating system logging for Android. This is where ADB (in lower case) comes in.

On Windows this is a command line tool to view the logs from a connected Android device.

The command line is not the only way to use the tool sometimes it’s better to use the Android Studio interface (a bit more graphical).

You will need to have your Android device connected to your workstation and USB debugging turned on  (Google that if you need to). You could also use an Android emulator on your desktop.

I use Leapdroid or KoPlayer.  (Leapdroid have now joined Google and no longer support the emulator but it’s still available to download on the internet).  I guess you could also use the emulator that comes with Android Studio.

When your game is installed and running on your device go to the directory in your workstation (PC) where the Android SDK Tools are.

On mine they are here:

C:\Users\<user_name>\AppData\Local\Android\sdk\platform-tools

In the tools directory open the monitor.exe (this tool was depreciated in Android Studio 3.0 and replaced with profiler.exe mine is still on the lower revision).

This documentation on the Android site is a good start investigating the profiler:

https://developer.android.com/studio/profile/android-profiler

You can also get into LogCat directly from Android Studio (if you have it open):

Go to  View | Tool Windows | Android Monitor

At the bottom of Android Monitor in it’s own tab is the LogCat console window. This contains all of the information about what’s happening in the Android operating system.

As you can see the LogCat console contains a lot. It logs everything.

To filter it type “tag:Unity” in the textbox at the top to see messages that relate to Unity.

Using adb logcat from the command line

Open a command prompt on your development workstation and find the location of your Android SDK platform-tools folder.

Mine was here:

/Users/YourUserName/Library/Android/sdk/platform-tools

If you get this error when you run adb.exe using the command prompt:
‘adb’ is not recognized as an internal or external command operable program or batch file

You can add ‘adb’ to the $PATH environment variable (and restart the command prompt).

setx PATH "%PATH%;C:\Users\AppData\Local\Android\sdk\platform-tools"

 

To run logcat through the adb shell, the general usage is:

[adb] logcat [<option>] … [<filter-spec>] ..

This is the official Android Developer Logcat Command-Line Tool documentation:

https://developer.android.com/studio/command-line/logcat

but you can get –help on the command line.

It can be handy to know the device id of your Android phone/tablet whatever. This command will help:


C:\Users\<user_name>>C:\Users\<user_name>\AppData\Local\Android\sdk\platform-tools\adb.exe devices
List of devices attached
ce10171a5c19853003 device

 

You can specify that the log spew into a file instead of into your console (the console is pretty much useless as there is too much to scroll through).


C:\Users\<user_name>\AppData\Local\Android\sdk\platform-tools\adb.exe -d logcat > adb_logcat_out.txt
-d use USB device (error if multiple devices connected)

logcat show device log (logcat --help for more)
-s SERIAL use device with given serial (overrides $ANDROID_SERIAL)

 

The default Log Location on my machine was:
C:\Users\<user_name>\AppData\Local\Temp\adb.log

A few seconds of output got me a 6.5 MB file so a bit of filtering is advisable

If you run into trouble with the adb server just kill it and restart.


C:\Users\<user_name>\AppData\Local\Android\sdk\platform-tools\adb.exe kill-server

C:\Users\<user_name>\AppData\Local\Android\sdk\platform-tools\adb.exe logcat -s ce10171a5c19853003 DEBUG

C:\Users\<user_name>>C:\Users\<user_name>\AppData\Local\Android\sdk\platform-tools\adb.exe logcat -s ce10171a5c19853003 DEBUG
* daemon not running; starting now at tcp:5037
* daemon started successfully
--------- beginning of main
--------- beginning of system

 

If you want further help check out these pages from the Unity Manual and Tutorials:

https://docs.unity3d.com/Manual/TroubleShootingAndroid.html

https://docs.unity3d.com/Manual/LogFiles.html

https://unity3d.com/learn/tutorials/topics/mobile-touch/building-your-unity-game-android-device-testing

As a final word I’ll also direct you to this package called Device Console on the Unity Asset Store. I’ve not used it but it looks really good and for fifteen dollars might save you a lot of hassle.

https://assetstore.unity.com/packages/tools/utilities/device-console-44935

Key Quest! Google Play Store Key Signing and the Pain of a Long Slow Death

Should Google Manage Your Keys for Games built with Unity?

We recently had a problem that caused weeks of pain and struggle and it had nothing to do with coding. It was the damn java keystore signing process that we signed up for on the Google Play Store.

The basics are that the Google Play Store requires that all APKs be digitally signed with a certificate before they can be installed.  Apps must use the same certificate in order for users to be able to install new versions or updates.  This is a good and secure system. No issues here.

If you lose your key you cannot distribute any updates to your app/game. This would be really bad for some companies so Google offers to keep your keys safe so that you if you did lose them you can ask to have the key sent to you which gives you authority distribute again. Yay for Google!

But our problems start here in Unity when you build your game for Android the keystore is defined on the Player Settings tab of the Build Setting (CTRL+SHIFT+B).

In the first case when running your project from Unity the package (APK) is automatically signed with a debug certificate generated by the Android SDK tools. The debug keystore and certificate are in $HOME/.android/debug.keystore.

This debug certificate is insecure by design and can’t be used on the Google Play Store for publishing an Alpha release but you can upload it for Beta releases.  I think this is where we started going wrong.

When you upload an APK to the Play Store you can opt in to app signing by Google Play. They recommend it but it’s optional. If you prefer, you can continue managing your own keys.

The advantages of opting in to the Google Play Store App Signing program is that 1. You ensure that the app signing key is not lost. 2. If your app signing key is compromised only a user with an account linked to your app can manage an upload key which makes it harder to do something malicious. (If you sign in your apps are signed with an upload key proving your credentials – Google then manages your APK and assigns it the correct and valid signing key).

To quote their documentation: “When using Google Play App Signing, you will use two keys: the app signing key and the upload key. Google manages and protects the app signing key for you, and you keep the upload key and use it to sign your apps for upload to the Google Play Store.

When you use Google Play App Signing, if you lose your upload key, or if it is compromised, you can contact Google to revoke your old upload key and generate a new one. Because your app signing key is secured by Google, you can continue to upload new versions of your app as updates to the original app, even if you change upload keys.

If you lose your keystore or think it may be compromised, app signing by Google Play makes it possible to request a reset to your upload key. If you’re not enrolled in app signing by Google Play and lose your keystore, you’ll need to publish a new app with a new package name.”

Alright. Read that last bit again. It’s important and why app signing might be a really good idea. If you manage your key yourself and you lose it and want to make an update to your app then you have to publish your whole app again under a different name. Again just to drum that home … If you lose your keystore, the only solution is to upload a new instance of the app to the Google Play Store with a new key, a whole new store listing like it’s a different product, as it will not accept an APK signed with a different key.

See: https://support.google.com/googleplay/android-developer/answer/7384423?hl=en
(Manage your app signing keys) The support team only accepts key reset requests from the Play Console account owner. The account owner can fill out a form and attach the upload_certificate.pem file. Then you can update your keystores and API provider registration.

It seems easy and if you want to read funny people on the internet slagging off the Byzantine process check out the comments under this tutorial:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGoCF0Et_CU&feature=youtu.be

I was a little lost so I started looking for the help of my peers and of course from Unity.

I found a post from one poor soul who was in the same boat as me and the response from Unity Support was: “What do you want to be supported from Unity side? I see this unrelated to our build process.” So someone needs to have a little talk to that chap.

There are more than a few forum posts around this for Unity (and that last one is for andromo but the subject is the same issue).
https://answers.unity.com/questions/1434637/can-google-play-app-signing-be-used-with-unity-and.html
https://forum.unity.com/threads/android-signing.62137/
https://answers.unity.com/questions/1372982/how-i-can-sign-my-apk-with-an-google-plays-upload.html
https://stackoverflow.com/questions/50608172/unity-google-play-app-signing-issue-and-keystore
https://forums.andromo.com/discussion/1980/important-do-not-opt-in-to-google-play-app-signing

Look – and this is really the bottom line – it all got too frustrating and annoying trying to work out what the hell was going on and since I was only in my third release cycle I just opened up a new App on the Play Store and ditched the old one.  But that’s just not possible for anyone who has an App out there and has no other option. So this is the process to getting that pesky key back.

In the Google Play Store you can see your App Signing Keys here:

You got your App signing certificate – this is the one that actually signs your app.
SHA-1 certificate fingerprint (above)
SHA1: A8:C0:F2:25:E6:A4:17:A3:F7:13:7B:96:37:FB:B8:59:69:72:9B:8C

And your Upload certificate – this is the one that you use to upload with your APK so that Google knows it’s you.

Your upload key is only registered with Google and is used to authenticate the identity of the app creator.
Your upload key is removed from any uploaded APKs before being sent to users.

SHA-1 certificate fingerprint (above)
SHA1: 74:5A:11:31:6E:2E:C0:DD:8C:F5:6E:65:24:5F:77:B8:2C:EA:6A:9A

In my case the upload certificate was from the default android debug keystore (that I shouldn’t have used):

C:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.8.0_111\bin>keytool.exe -list -keystore C:\Users\<user>\.android\debug.keystore
Enter keystore password:

Keystore type: JKS
Keystore provider: SUN

Your keystore contains 1 entry

androiddebugkey, 10/08/2016, PrivateKeyEntry,
Certificate fingerprint (SHA1): 74:5A:11:31:6E:2E:C0:DD:8C:F5:6E:65:24:5F:77:B8:2C:EA:6A:9A

 

To generate and register a new upload key, follow the instructions in the Android Studio Help Center.
https://developer.android.com/studio/publish/app-signing#generate-key

You don’t need to use Android Studio you can also do it on the command line (which is easier I think).

First generate a private key using keytool. For example:

# keytool -genkey -v -keystore my-release-key.jks -keyalg RSA -keysize 2048 -validity 10000 -alias my-alias

C:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.8.0_111\bin>keytool -genkey -v -keystore D:\ZuluOneZero\Demo-Unity-Android-key.jks -keyalg RSA -keysize 2048 -validity 10000 -alias Demo4Unity
Enter keystore password:
Re-enter new password:

What is your first and last name?
[Zulu]: ZuluOneZero
What is the name of your organizational unit?
[Unknown]: TheDogRun
What is the name of your organization?
[Unknown]: ZuluOneZero
What is the name of your City or Locality?
[Unknown]: Melbourne
What is the name of your State or Province?
[Unknown]: Victoria
What is the two-letter country code for this unit?
[Unknown]: AU
Is CN=ZuluOneZero, OU=TheDogRun, O=ZuluOneZero, L=Melbourne, ST=Victoria, C=AU correct?
[no]: yes

Generating 2,048 bit RSA key pair and self-signed certificate (SHA256withRSA) with a validity of 10,000 days
for: CN=ZuluOneZero, OU=TheDogRun, O=ZuluOneZero, L=Melbourne, ST=Victoria, C=AU
Enter key password for <Demo4Unity>
(RETURN if same as keystore password):
Re-enter new password:
[Storing D:\ZuluOneZero\Demo-Unity-Android-key.jks]

Note: keytool is located in the bin/ directory in your JDK. To locate your JDK from Android Studio, select File > Project Structure, and then click SDK Location and you will see the JDK location
C:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.8.0_111\bin\keytool.exe
(I used this one but you will have a keytool for every JDK and JRE on your machine – doesn’t matter which one you use)

Then, export the certificate for the new key to PEM format:

# keytool -export -rfc -alias <upload> -file <upload_certificate.pem> -keystore <keystore.jks>

C:\Users\<user>\AppData\Local\GitHub\mingw32\bin\openssl.exe x509 -inform der -in C:\Users\<user>\Downloads\deployment_cert.der -out D:\ZuluOneZero\deployment_cert.pem

Add the certificate to the signing keystore:

keytool -export -rfc -alias Demo4Unity -file C:\Users\roderick\Downloads\upload_cert.der -keystore D:\ZuluOneZero\Demo-Unity-Android-key.jks

C:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.8.0_111\bin>keytool -export -rfc -alias Demo4Unity -file C:\Users\roderick\Downloads\upload_cert.der -keystore D:\ZuluOneZero\Demo-Unity-Android-key.jks
Enter keystore password:
Certificate stored in file <C:\Users\roderick\Downloads\upload_cert.der>

If you want to inspect the certificates (on Windows) right click and open with Crypto Shell Extensions.

Or you can inspect the certificates like this:

C:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.8.0_111\bin>keytool.exe -printcert -file C:\Users\<user>\Downloads\upload_cert.der
Owner: CN=ZuluOneZero, OU=TheDogRun, O=ZuluOneZero, L=Melbourne, ST=Victoria, C=AU
Issuer: CN=ZuluOneZero, OU=TheDogRun, O=ZuluOneZero, L=Melbourne, ST=Victoria, C=AU
Serial number: 3e64dcd1
Valid from: Thu Sep 13 16:28:59 AEST 2018 until: Mon Jan 29 17:28:59 AEDT 2046
Certificate fingerprints:
MD5: F8:D3:CF:84:88:8E:16:EA:3D:74:F0:7E:9E:18:13:C9
SHA1: BD:1B:A2:99:05:11:0E:F6:A0:B5:1A:7B:7D:EB:01:3C:8B:A7:98:6D
SHA256: 7C:24:86:CD:58:1A:2F:74:21:B0:A6:9B:3D:DF:BC:BE:2A:15:F3:23:B9:44:7F:98:5D:8D:FB:24:98:37:82:9C
Signature algorithm name: SHA256withRSA
Version: 3

Extensions:

#1: ObjectId: 2.5.29.14 Criticality=false
SubjectKeyIdentifier [
KeyIdentifier [
0000: 21 44 48 FA 63 97 2D B0 A4 92 2B 38 41 E4 2F 7D !DH.c.-…+8A./.
0010: EA 26 E0 10 .&..
]
]

You can inspect keystores like this:

C:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.8.0_111\bin>keytool.exe -list -keystore D:\ZuluOneZero\Demo-Unity-Android-key.jks
Enter keystore password:

Keystore type: JKS
Keystore provider: SUN

Your keystore contains 1 entry

demo4unity, 13/09/2018, PrivateKeyEntry,
Certificate fingerprint (SHA1): BD:1B:A2:99:05:11:0E:F6:A0:B5:1A:7B:7D:EB:01:3C:8B:A7:98:6D

 

All the detail above are dummy one’s for demonstration purposes only.

Endless Elevator Mechanics

Howdy. Xander here…

This is a quick demo of the basic play mechanics from our new game in development Endless Elevator.  We got the basic movement working a while ago (see our Smooth Moves post) and now that The Dog Run is in BetaTesting we can spend some more time working on this game.

(If you want to help with Beta Testing and be an early adopter of The Dog Run you can sign up here: https://play.google.com/apps/testing/com.ZuluOneZero.TheDogRun)

This clip below for Endless Elevator shows:

The Good Guy Cop Character movement (oh yeah he goes left and right)

Firing his awesomely powerful dumb dumb gun

Using (the eponymous) Elevator (see if you can spot the camera tracking bug!)

Traversing (the namesake) Escalators

Finally entering a doorway with a Power Cube (I’m not sure what it will look like in the final game yet). When he goes into a doorway with the special block the game flips and he goes into a Super Spy Store (not shown) where new fun weapons and power-ups are available!  Cool.

The Dog Run – Game Play Demo

Hi Harmony here…

Today I did some game play testing of the new game we are beta testing right now.

If you want to do some beta testing you can opt in here:   https://play.google.com/apps/testing/com.ZuluOneZero.TheDogRun

Feedback can be posted on the website in the comments or directly by email at
zuluonezero.z10@gmail.com

 

ZuluOneZero takes “The Dog Run” for a walk on the Google Play Store

 

An Endless Runner for Android goes into Beta Testing.

Take your dog for a run – it’s good for your heart – and supports animal rescue!

This is a free game – with no pop ups. In the Alpha release there is the option to watch ads.
All profits from the ads go to support animal welfare and animal hospitals.

The game is about taking your fun lovin’ pooch out running – but watch out! There is a bunch of obstacles in your path – it’s a good thing you are a natural jumper and can run all day in all sorts of weather.

Preview the game here (You will need the Opt in URL):
https://play.google.com/apps/testing/com.ZuluOneZero.TheDogRun

Feedback can be posted on the website in the comments or directly by email.

ZuluOneZero Game Design
http://www.zuluonezero.net/
zuluonezero.z10@gmail.com

The Dog Run Soundtrack

Hi Gene here !  We are getting really close to pushing our Dog Run game into Beta Testing on the Play Store.  The original soundtrack was a little too moody for the game so we started working on a new one.

If you want to be a Beta Tester Subscribe to this mail list on the right.

We started with a basic rhythm and then built it up into eight different loops. Next the crazy funky keyboard riff was added in a really simple twelve bar step pattern.  It took a while to get it right but the wailing howling synth was laid over the top in about sixteen takes. Worth it though. Last we added a few undulating effects for interest and mixed it down inside the box.  I’ve been listening to it loop about in my head for a few hours at a time and I think it’s making me loopy. Damn fine effort even if I say so myself.

Check it out on Soundcloud: (Set it too loop!)

Gene out.

The Kit

This is the hardware and software that I’m currently using to make games.

My main machine is a Venom BlackBox laptop. It’s got an i5 Intel Core and 8 GB of RAM. The OS c:\ drive is flash and the d:\ storage drive is SAS. so the operating system stays fast but it also has plenty of local storage. This was my main expense and after working for years on a 3nd hand Toshiba it’s an absolute dream. They are made locally in Melbourne at a place called MLN Computers who specialize in Gaming Hardware and it’s just beautifully finished and super thin and light. Plus it’s Batman black with green backlit keys if you want them. Off mains it’s a bit of a battery hog but for what I do on it and the process heavy apps I use it does pretty well. It gives a lot of power and is very stable. The only down side is because it is very thin the fan comes on quickly and can be loud to the point of distraction sometimes.

I do a lot of music and audio work on my laptop and use a Line 6 KB37 midi keyboard and digital USB audio interface. I got this years ago and its been super awesome. It come bundled with the Line 6 Pod Farm software and a bunch of other audio apps like Reason 10 and Ableton Lite and virtual instruments from Korg (the amazing Korg Legacy Collection), and Applied Acoustics (the fully versatile AAS Player and gorgeous LoungeLizard EP-4). Sadly it’s no longer made and I have no idea what I’m going to do if it ever gives up the ghost – probably go back to Linux Audio (sadly the KB37 was incompatible with my Linux audio box if you ever get the chance to play with it I recommend Musix or Ubuntu Studio but there are heaps of other options).

For either guitar or keyboard it’s fabulously versatile and can also interface with whatever Daw I’m using.

I bought a second hand Wacom drawing tablet. When I picked it up it turned out to be an old one from one of Melbourne’s larger game companies. I took that as a good sign.

I started making games in htlm5 and all I really needed for software was a copy of Sublime Text 3, Gimp and the Tiled map editor.

I moved on to Unity3d and Visual Studio 2017 but still use Gimp as my main art making software.

I tried lots of other art packages like Spriter, Krita, Pencil,  Adobe Illustrator CS2, Adobe Photoshop CS2, and GraphicsGale.  All of them were good but I like Gimp best. It seems to have all the features that I need and I’m more comfortable with the open source nature of the project.

I tried lots of other Game Engines as well: Stencyl, Unreal Engine and Amazon Lumberyard but I think I’ll stick with Unity for a while.

For model making I use Blender. I find it easier than the other programs I’ve tried (even with all the keyboard shortcuts).  The community is awesome too.

I also really like using  MagicaVoxel for quick fun models.

I tried DAZ Studio, DesignDoll and Sculptris but I always come back to Blender.

For animation in 2D I use Plastic Animation Paper (PAP4 ) and Gimp.  I really like PAP4. It’s old but has very powerful features.  I use Blender for 3D Animation.

For making video content and editing I use the OpenShot Video Editor.

All my documentation is done with OpenOffice.

For Source Control I use GitHub and TortoiseSVN, or a local Helix Perforce service.

For an Android emulator I either use Android Studio, KOPLAYER or Leapdroid.  I think Leapdroid is my favourite.

I have a really really big list of software that I tried and never really used. Mostly because I just never got time and if I spent all my time getting new toys I wouldn’t have time to play with the ones I already have.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make a Promotional Video for your Mobile Game

One of the best ways to get noticed on the App Store (any one) is to have a video that markets your games best assets. We recently did one for NumBlocks which has, in all honesty, been struggling to make an impact on the Play Store. The game is elegantly simple and looks great. It has a good mechanic and is easy to learn and play. We built it as a platform to test our ability to publish something and to work through the hurdles of getting a game finished. In that respect it is perfect!

Have a go of NumBlocks and let us know what you think? (click image to Play)

Not having a huge budget for marketing we wanted to make it ourselves. Were not audio visual newbies and weren’t looking for anything too complex. Plus the game is free so there is really no point paying someone to effectively polish a lump of coal in the diamond that we know it is.

Here is the finished product (click to Play!):

We used the OpenShot Video Editor.  Here at ZuluOneZero we support open source community driven projects as our default posture when looking for software to work with.  OpenShot Video Editor is crafted with love and open-source.  It’s under the free & open-source license forever (GPL version 3.0).

It’s very good and worked perfectly for our project. It has a simple but powerful interface and comes with a very nice set of built in transitions and other features.

We started off with a straight image of our NumBlocks logo. I really like the glowing internal light of this logo and the straightforward “Play” on the front. We did this icon in Gimp and imported it into the editor.

Check it out:

Next we got crafty. I asked the team (read ‘my brain’) for a flashing run through of the numbers in sequence to build tension and to lead in to the game play. We tried doing this manually in the editor but it was too fiddly lining up 40+ images with the right timing. So we came up with a novel solution and ended up opening all the number icon jpegs directly from the operating system folder onto the system picture viewer.  We then used the built in Game Bar that comes with Windows 10 to record a screen capture of the viewer. I manually scrolled through the number icons with the arrow keys on the keyboard at the tempo I wanted and sped up to a crescendo at the end.

We used the record feature of the game bar again to record the game play sequences. This time we ran the app on a mobile emulator on the desktop. The only issue I had with the final outcome of this was that the mouse pointer has to be used and looks a bit derpy. Next time I’ll download a pointy finger mouse icon to use so it looks more like a mobile game.  We edited the footage down to key sequences and game play.

Next I used the OpenShot speed manipulation tools to speed up a section of the game play footage to make it look more exciting and to showcase the game.

Next we stripped the audio from the existing clips and laid down some original music from the game.  You can listed to the music here on SoundCloud.

P.S. If you want to be notified when I post please sign up and subscribe using the form at the lower right of the page.

How To Get Beta Testers

Yay! We Are In Beta!

When ZuluOneZero published NumBlocks on the Google Play Store we went through the requisite development phases.

The game has been released now – have a play:
NumBlocks published on the Google Play Store for Android.

Click to Play:

Also on the Amazon Play Store for Android and Kindle.

Click to Play:

This was our first app that we thought looked good enough to give away to real users.
I was very proud of the artwork and how the game played on screen.
It’s a simple no-frills game but it was a perfect test platform to scope out what’s required to get a game published.
Which incidentally is a little daunting but in reality the whole process of publishing a game on the Google Play Store was pretty easy.
The Google Play Console was easy to use and there were plenty of official and community references to help us through it.

Uh Oh … Problem …

We went through several development iterations and found a revision that worked on most Android platforms.
We were running Unity 5 and targetting all mobiles above Android API 15 4.03 called “Ice Cream Sandwich”.
Not being a big shop our test devices were old personal phones that were around this API version. It was running well and looked great an a VM but once we started using our physical test devices we found a few issues dealing with different screen resolutions and one phone didn’t have enough resources to run the random number generator so that the same numbers kept spewing out.

Then we upgraded to Unity 2017.1.0f3 and lost support for those older API’s. Oops no more supported hardware to test on! We really needed to get some Beta Testers who could trial the game on a variety of different platforms that we couldn’t access. We could test thoroughly with virtual machines but as we found when testing on real phones there are some things about how the game looks and plays that can only be reproduced on the real platform.

Solved! (Not!)

So our marketing team (Harmony and Felicity) and I did some research on recruiting Beta Testers and we quickly realised that we couldn’t affort to pay for the service.
We did find a wealth of paid services out there which I’ll list below in case someone can make use of that information.

Not all of these services were paid but most of them required some sort of effort or buy-in up front that we couldn’t match.

http://appstorm.net/
http://appuseful.com/app/add
http://betacandy.com/
http://betali.st/
http://betalist.com/
http://betapage.co/
http://betatesters.io/?utm_source=InstabugBlog&content=betatestbeginnersguide
http://erlibird.com/

Ready to introduce your startup to the world?


http://makeuseof.com/
http://market.thenextweb.com/
http://momb.socio-kybernetics.net/

Contact us


http://quora.com/
http://startupli.st/
http://startuplift.com/
http://web.appstorm.net/
http://www.betabound.com/
http://www.betabound.com/announce/
http://www.mob4hire.com/

Submit Your StartUp

Submit

Submit Startup


http://younoodle.com/
https://betafamily.com/
https://feedmyapp.com/
https://inspiredbeta.com/
https://www.topcoder.com/
https://www.usertesting.com/
https://www.utest.com/

Social Media Save Me!

So we turned our attention to the online communities that might be able to assist us.
We did some more research and found that social media is literally teeming with sites and groups that want to Beta Test your app. Awesome. Problem solved.

We published a Beta version of the app on the Play Store and mocked up some Beta Testing campaign ideas along with a set of goals that we had for Beta Tests. We were looking for technical testers as opposed Marketing and I can tell you I was pretty excited about getting some feedback on the game. When we pubished the Beta version of the game we could choose a number of Beta testers that the game would be released to. The interface gave us a minimum of 1000 users so we went with that and given the number of social media sites we found thought that this didn’t sound all that unreasonable.

This is a brief list of the social media sites and lists and groups that we advertised for Beta Testers on….

Google Communities:
Android Beta Tests
https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/109783274236354693762
Android Game Developer
https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/107240075790372473394
Indie Game Developers
https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/116817422244345691332
Game Developers
https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/100673606633986699530
Game Developers
https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/101640237427303194102
Game Programmers
https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/102656807509358954492
Mobile Game & App Developers
https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/107514033174068960125

http://www.reddit.com:
/r/TestMyApp
/r/alphaandbetausers
/r/AndroidAppTesters
/r/startups
/r/betatests
/r/androidapps

https://twitter.com/:
search?q=%23Betatesting%20&src=typd
search?q=%23Betatesters&src=typd
search?q=%23Testmyapp&src=typd
search?q=%23Indiedev&src=typd

We even did a big call through our Facebook Page and Blog.

Big Reveal!!!

Guess how many Beta Testers came flocking to try out our great new game…..

None. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Not one.

We checked around the boards on these sites and groups and actually found very little actual Beta Testing going on.
After a few weeks of interacting with these communities and even testing a few apps ourselves thinking that we might get some kind of Beta Testers Karma we still found that no-one really wants to test your app (unless maybe if you are building a huge free MMO that’s going to be awesome – anyone doing that?).

Free Advice!

So there you have it – Beta Testing using social media groups doesn’t work. You don’t get nufin’ for free in life.

So my advice to you is that if you don’t have one already, start building an email list now. For a startup game dev studio with no support framework it’s pretty hard to come by free help when you need it. Ideally, start collecting email addresses before you even have an app, and keep at it! Because even a handfull of Beta Testers is better than none.