Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone, I hope all you nice, well behaved developers were left something nice from Santa!? Santa left me an HTML 5 game development book, so who knows, you may see some HTML 5 related tutorials appearing on soon. Who knows, an HTML 5 version of IwGame may appear one day.

2011 has been a busy year, we’ve (Pocketeers Limited) released BattleBallz Chaos paid and free versions on iPhone, iPad, Android, Samsung Bada and Blackberry Playbook. We’ve also released Funky Cam 3D paid and free versions on iPhone, iPad, Android and Samdung Bada. In addition, we developed Murder Detective, Hampton Bridge Murder for Tournay Software on iPhone, iPad, Blackberry Playbook and Android as well as helped Honey Badger Studios port their Zixxby game over from Android to iPhone, iPad and Blackberry Playbook using the Marmalade SDK.

Now for a quck appraisal of the apps we developed this year:

Funky Cam 3D FREE has shipped over 500k units on Android, around 100k units on iOS and about the same number on Samsung Bada. Revenue income from Funky Cam 3D FREE is around $10-$20 per day (15k-20k impressions per day) across all platforms. Income from paid versions of Funky Cam 3D is very poor across all platforms. Funky Cam 3D FREE is currently the No 1 downloaded app for Samsung Bada on Samsung Apps. Reviews have  been a mixed back, some love it whilst some hate it

BattleBallz Chaos got a fair bit of publicity in association with the Marmalade SDK, being featured on stage at the Blackberry Dev Con 2011 as well as in an official Blackberry Playbook gaming advert, Pocketeers also received a fair bit of attention from the Blackberry press because of the speed at which we converted the game over Playbook and had it live on the store (less than 24 hours). BattleBallz Chaos paid sales have been better than Funky Cam 3D by around 200%, but ad revenue has been incredibly bad (less than $1 per day). Reviews have been pretty positive across all platforms, although we have had some Android compatibility issues which has skewed our Android ratings somewhat.

This year was our entry into the mobile market, we came in from console development, so we have had a lot to learn. In summary:

  • Know your audience – We expected mobile gamers to play similar games to console (not so). We have been watching the top 100 apps and games over this year and discovered that mobile gamers do not want console style games. Instead they want low intensity, easy learning curve gaming, less competitive game play with highly colourful quality graphics and animations. Mobile gamers also  expect a walk through or some kind of game introduction as opposed to a help screen that’s hidden away in the menu system.
  • Marketing is the key – App stores are filled with hundreds of thousands of apps so getting noticed is incredibly difficult. Genuine free apps for obvious reasons require less marketing as users are much more likely to download them because they don’t have to pay anything.  Most app stores base their rankings on number of downloads in the last X hours / days, because of this Marketing is best done in bursts to increase the chances that users will discover and and install your app in a short period of time. To rise up the charts quickly requires a lot of marketing in a short period of time.
  • Ad Mobs v Facebook advertising – Both are quite useless unless you have a LOT of money to spend on a campaign, although we did find that Facebook ads did work better than AdMobs
  • Freemium – Although we have not tested the great freemium theory, a majority of app revenue is coming from the sale of additional levels perks , items and other in-game consumables (much like the Zygna facebook model), so this is something we are going to test out in 2012.
  • Android platform – Whilst the Android platform is cool and all, it just isn’t much use for making money. In fact, if the Marmalade SDK did not support the Android platform ten we would most likely drop it altogether. Its ok, if you want to make a few bucks from ads, but not worth investing a significant amount of money into. That said, we are yet to try out a freemium based model of monetisation, so we will give it another chance this year.
  • Price playing – We discovered that we can  increase the visibility of an app or game by regularly dropping the price to very low or even free. Users notice the price drop and download discounted products in droves (everyone likes a bargain!). This can push your apps position up in the charts temporarily. We have  found that dropping our price to free for 2 days can give you a sales boost for 7-14 days.
  • Lite versions – We found that releasing a limited lite version of BattleBallz Chaos didn’t affect sales much, we had very few converts to the paid version. That said, BattleBallz Chaos is the completely wrong type of game for the mass mobile market
  • Cross promotion – We found that cross promoting apps and games worked quite well. We placed a large full sized ad into each of our apps, effectively advertising each others availability. We may try a system such as OpenFeint’s in 2012 to increase exposure
  • Don’t expect to get rich quick and don’t expect anything to be easy – We’ve spoken to many mobile developers this year and the general consensus is that mobile development is easy, but marketing is incredibly difficult. Very few developers actually make it into the top 50/100 which is where the money is at. The journey to the top is long and difficult so be prepared for the long haul and wave good bye to a lot of time and  money. if you are not prepared to gamble then walk away from mobile development altogether.
  • Cross platform is a MUST – If we had simply developed our products on either Android or iOS we would probably have packed up mobile development this year and moved onto something else.  If it wasn’t for the Marmalade SDK’s cool cross platform technology we would probably not have stuck with it. Going cross platform will increase the chances of a hit as you are catering for many platforms with very little extra effort or costs. Going cross platform also generally increases your return on investment (ROI).
  • Don’t believe app the hype – App publishers, app  stores and ad networks will say anything to hook you into using their services. Just be sure to research them before putting in the effort. Their advertised figures will usually be massively out of date. Insist on current figures and see what other developers are saying about them around the web.

We also began the development of IwGame this year, an open source  cross platform game engine for the Marmalade SDK community. We began development of IwGame for a number of reasons:

  • Lessen the learning curve for Marmalade developers and provide a solid game engine on top of the Marmalade SDK
  • To help promote the Marmalade SDK to mobile developers
  • To help promote Pocketeers Limited’s development services and apps

So far we are very pleased with IwGame and plan on continuing its development all the way through 2012. We also plan on putting our own internal engine on hold for a while to focus on creating games and apps with IwGame to show developers live apps and games created using the IwGame engine. Also, depending upon the success of IwGame this year, we may port the engine to Windows Phone 7 and HTML5.

IwGame Engine v0.26 Released – Supports 12 Ad Providers, Accelerometer and Compass

Well me, Santa and the elves have been very busy bees this week and between us we managed to hammer out another update to the IwGame Engine before Christmas (Thanks Santa, couldn’t have done it without those delicious mince pies!)

Here are the latest changeds for IwGame v0.26:

  • Bug fix – Actor crash bug when no camera assigned to the scene
  • Bug fix – Fixed CIwGameHttp crash bug
  • Bug fix – Fixed ad rendering crash bug
  • Bug fix – Deleted scenes are now removed at the end of a frame and not immediately
  • Bug fix – Scenes with no attached camera didnt set transform correctly
  • Bug fix – Sprite hit test could be called before transform was set up
  • Accelerometer support added to CIwGameInput
  • Compass support added to CIwGameInput
  • CIwGameAdsMediator added to mediate ad requests between multiple ad providers to improve fill rate
  • Support for VServ, Mojiva, Millenial Media and AdModa ad providers added
  • ExtraInfo added to ad requests to allow custom information to be passed to ad providers
  • Added URLDecode method to CIwGameString

New here? What’s IwGame? IwGame is an open source free to use cross platform game engine for iPhone, iPad, Android, Bada, Playbook, Symbian, Windows Mobile, LG-TV, Windows and Mac, built on top of the Marmalade SDK. You can find out more and download the SDK from our IwGame Engine page.

I want to include a big thank you to all those that have reported bugs and documentation errors, especially Phillip who saved me many hours of proof reading.

As you can see from te list of changes there are a fair few bug fixes (sorry about that), but more importantly some new stuff:

New Ad Networks Added

Yes, we now support six ad providers (twelve ad providers indirectly), a couple which also deliver ads from other networks providing you with access to 12 ad networks in total. Here’s the complete list:

  • Inner-active
  • AdFonic
  • Vserv – Also provides support for InMobi, BuzzCity, JumpTap, ZestAdz / Komli Mobile and Inner-active
  • Mojiva
  • Millennial Media – Also provides support for AdMob, Amobee, JumpTap and Mojiva
  • AdModa

Many thanks to those ad providers that bent over backwards to support our integration efforts.

New Ad Mediation Support

Now we have so many ad providers we need some way of mediating ad requests between them all. Ad Mediation is the process of going through a list of prioritised ad providers requesting an ad, if the ad provider does not provide an ad then request an ad from the next provider. Keep on doing this until you get an ad that you can use. This should hlpe you attaina near 100% fill rate and maximise your apsp potential ad revenues.

IwGame provides automated ad mediation using the CIwGameAdsMediator. To use the mediator you create a CIwGameAdsMediator, populate it with ad party’s then attach it to the CIwGameAds object as shown below:

// Create ad mediator and attach it to the main ad object CIwGameAdsMediator* ad_mediator = new CIwGameAdsMediator(); IW_GAME_ADS->setMediator(ad_mediator); // Create Inner-active ad party and add to the mediator CIwGameAdsParty* party = new CIwGameAdsParty(); party->ApplicationID = "Your inner-active App ID"; party->Provider = CIwGameAds::InnerActive; ad_mediator->addAdParty(party); // Create AdModa ad party and add to the mediator party = new CIwGameAdsParty(); party->ApplicationID = "You AdModa App ID"; party->Provider = CIwGameAds::AdModa; ad_mediator->addAdParty(party); // Create AdFonic ad party and add to the mediator party = new CIwGameAdsParty(); party->ApplicationID = "Your AdFonic App ID"; party->Provider = CIwGameAds::AdFonic; ad_mediator->addAdParty(party);

As you can see, incredibly simple. The process of attaching the ad mediator will ensure that the ad object will attempt to collect ads from all ad parties should previous parties fail to collect an ad. You do not need to make any changes to the ad view, the system is completely automated.

Support for Accelerometer and Compass added to CIwGameInput

CIwGameInput now has support for reading the devices accelerometer and compass devices allowing you to integrate these alternative input methods into your games.

Well that’s it for this update. More features coming soon (probably in the new year).

Happy holidays everyone!

IwGame Engine v0.25 Released – Documentation Added

New here? What’s IwGame? IwGame is an open source free to use cross platform game engine for iPhone, iPad, Android, Bada, Playbook, Symbian, Windows Mobile, LG-TV, Windows and Mac, built on top of the Marmalade SDK. You can find out more and download the SDK from our IwGame Engine page.

Well I feel quite shell-shocked, I’ve been working flat out and its taken a few days but I finally got the first draft of the documentation done for IwGame.

The documentation consists of an 81 page document in PDF, Word and OpenOffice formats and is located in the Docs folder in the IwGame distribution. Its a first draft so please expect lots of mistakes including quite probably some quite embarrassing auto correction mistakes.

As I was producing the documentation I found a number of holes that needed to be plugged, hence an update along with the documentation:

Here are the changes for IwGame v0.250:

  • Added first draft of IwGame engine manual in PDF, Word 97 and OpenOffice formats.
  • Added CIwGame::BringSceneToFont() to allow bringing of scenes to the top of the scene stack
  • Added naming to animations in CIwGameAnim
  • Added ne findAnimation() methods to CIwGameAnimManager
  • CIwGameSound SetVolume and SetPitch() now taking floating point values
  • Added support for active and visibility to CIwGameScene scenes
  • Fixed some string comparison issues
  • Can now stop auto ad requests using CIwGameAdsView::setNewAdInterval(0)
  • Fixed issue where bad ad requests were not timing out in CIwGameAdsView

Now its time get back on with my life 🙂

Funky Cam 3D Top Downloaded App for Bada on Samsung Apps

Funky Cam 3D Icon
Funky Cam 3D Icon

Yes, you read that right, we are pretty excited to announce that our Marmalade powered Samsung Bada app Funky Cam 3D FREE has just hit the No. 1 top spot on Samsung Apps. You can a grab a copy of our No. 1 Christmas hit at Funky Cam 3D on the Samsung App Store

Funky Cam 3D is also available on the following platforms:

* iPhone and iPad

* Android (also available on most other Android stores)

You can find out more about Funky Cam 3D at

If you are interested to know how many downloads that equates to per day then the value is 3000-4000 downloads per day. Just goes to show the marketing power of Samsung’s Bada platform.

Marmalade SDK Bitesize Tutorial – How to Determine Device Operating System

Just though that I would sneak this quick bite sized tutorial in whilst taking a breather from documenting IwGame. Tell you something, I never realised just what a big beast IwGame has become.

Ok, I’m going to quickly cover how to determine which device operating system we are running on using the Marmalade SDK.

The Marmalade SDK has two neat little functions called s3eDeviceGetInt(s3eDeviceProperty property) and s3eDeviceGetString(s3eDeviceProperty property) which allow us to query details about the device that we are running our apps on. As the names suggest, one returns an integer value, whilst the other returns a human readable string value.

Using the property parameter you can query all sorts of things such as:

  • Device operating system (S3E_DEVICE_OS)
  • Device phone number (S3E_DEVICE_PHONE_NUMBER)
  • Device language (S3E_DEVICE_LANGUAGE)
  • Battery level (S3E_DEVICE_BATTERY_LEVEL)
  • Operating system version (S3E_DEVICE_OS_VERSION)
  • Floating point unit support (S3E_DEVICE_FPU)
  • Language- country code pair, e.g. en-us (S3E_DEVICE_LOCALE)

And all sorts of other useful info. Check 3seDevice.h for a comprehensive list of all properties that you can retrieve.

To find out which operating system you are running on you call:

int os = s3eDeviceGetInt(S3E_DEVICE_OS);

You can then test for which OS is running using a simple switch statement like this:

switch (os) { case S3E_OS_ID_SYMBIAN: break; case S3E_OS_ID_WINMOBILE: break; case S3E_OS_ID_WINCE: break; case S3E_OS_ID_QNX: break; case S3E_OS_ID_BADA: break; case S3E_OS_ID_ANDROID: break; case S3E_OS_ID_IPHONE: break; case S3E_OS_ID_WEBOS: break; case S3E_OS_ID_WINDOWS: break; case S3E_OS_ID_LINUX: break; case S3E_OS_ID_OSX: break; }

Android Sales / Downloads Figures Update for Funky Cam 3D (December 2011)

I’ve decided that I’m going to start running monthly updates on our sales / downloads figures for one of our Android product Funky Cam 3D.

Here are our latest download totals as of 11th December 2011 per Android App Store:

  1. Appia –  240140 downloads
  2. SlideMe – 34342 downloads
  3. Android Market – 21926 downloads
  4. Mobango – 5931 downloads
  5. AndroidFreeware – 5492 downloads
  6. Mobiles24 – 2178 downloads
  7. GetJar – 2015 downloads (picking up some good traction now)
  8. AndroidPit – 767 downloads
  9. Mikandi – 371 downloads
  10. Handster – 184 downloads
  11. Amazon App Store – 170 downloads
  12. Mobireach – 69 downloads
  13. Fasmicro – 48 downloads
  14. Appoke – 33 downloads
  15. mall – 25 downloads
  16. CNET – 6 downloads

Here are our previous download figures from 6th November 2011:

  1. Appia –  148390 downloads
  2. SlideMe – 20286 downloads
  3. Android Market – 15276 downloads
  4. Mobango – 5393 downloads
  5. AndroidFreeware – 3616 downloads
  6. 1Mobile – Removed as 1Mobile no longer show download stats
  7. Mobiles24 – 1975 downloads
  8. GetJar – 724 downloads (in contrast one of our very old J2ME mobile game DEMOS  has been downloaded 3.759 times in the same period, making GetJar very much still a Java ME app store)
  9. AndroidPit – 549 downloads
  10. Mikandi – 312 downloads
  11. Amazon App Store – 170 downloads
  12. Handster – 126 downloads
  13. Fasmicro – 38 downloads
  14. Mobireach – 17 downloads
  15. Appoke – 14 downloads
  16. mall – 8 downloads
  17. CNET – 1 download

I think its safe to say that there are only 3 stores that matter, which include Appia, SlideMe and Android Market.

If you don’t know who Appia are then they are a content aggregator that aggregates content to stores like Handango and Pocketergear,

It is a little sad to see that the official “Android App Store” is actually the 3rd best performing market on the list. I think Google need to pull their socks up. if they had any sense they would go the way of Appia and aggregate the content, they are sat on top of a potential gold mine.

Its also a little sad to see how awful GetJar are performing, although they do seem to be picking up some traction with our downloads tripling since last month.

And well the Amazon app store, they are probably the biggest disappointment of 2011 for Android. Discover-ability is the worst of all app stores we have our products on, we had to drill down a number of categories and hundreds of other apps just to find our “New” apps. Marketing support is none existent, despite contacting them on numerous occasions for free app of the day feature / promotions we were  simply been ignored. Amazon need to figure what the word “support” means in the phrase “developer support”. We are going to leave our products on Amazon for a while longer to see how the new Kindle Fire performs, if things don’t pick up then we will remove our products and withdraw support for Amazon.

IwGame Engine v0.24 Released – New Unified Ad Engine Support

Its taken a few weeks and loads of chasing people up and tests but we finally got our unified ad engine integrated into IwGame. And to celebrate that event we are releasing the code as open source. You can download the latest version of IwGame Engine from here

Here are the latest changes to IwGame:

  • Bug fix – Headers are now applied to CIwGameHttp GET requests
  • Added CIwGameHttpManager::DetermineUserAgent() to build a browser compatible user-agent
  • Added CIwGameHttpManager::DetermineIPAddress() to determine the users IP address. Please change PING_DOMAIN to your own domain!
  • Added CIwGameString::Replace(char chr, char with) char string replacment method
  • Added CIwGameString::Contains(char chr) to check if a string contains a particular char
  • Added CIwGameString::URLEncode(const char* str) to url encode an ascii string
  • Added CIwGameUtils::GetGraphicModeName(int width, int height) returns VGA style naming graphics mode
  • Added CIwGameAd – Main ad request class which requests and retrievs ads from a variety of ad providers (Inner-active and Adfonic are supported at the moment)
  • Added CIwGameAdView – Requests ads at set intervals and displays them using animations, can cache ads
  • Added CIwGameAdsViewAnimator, a basic example animator that can be used to animate ads in a CIwGameAdsView

As well as the ad request and ad view classes you will notice a few other neat additions that may prove useful such as DetermineIPAddress() and DetermineUserAgent(). DetermineUserAgent returns the IP of the device that your app is running on whilst builds a browser compatible user-agent string for all supported Marmalade platforms. Yes, I know the user-agent is fudged bit it seems to work well and its a lot more compatible with other web API’s than the default s3e user-agent header.

We decided to separate the ad request class CIwGameAds from the actual ad renderer CIwGameAdsView to enable developers to simply use one without the other, so if you just want the ability to put in an ad request feel free to just roll with CIwGameAds. if on the other hand you want the complete package that requests ads at a regular interval, displays them and handles clicks then go with CIwGameAdsView.

We have provided an example with the test bed this update that shows you how to initialise, update and shut down ads (see main.cpp). Lets take a quick look at the code that has been added:

Application ID

All ad networks need some way to identify you and your app as the originator of the ad and click requests, without them you wouldn’t get paid, so ensure that you sign up with any ad network that you are planning on usng and get your Application ID. Each ad p[rovider may call the application ID something different, such as site ID or vendor ID etc.. No matter what they call it, we call it the Application ID and it must be supplied to IW_GAME_ADS_VIEW->Init(Application_ID_String);. Note that the current example will show House Ads from inner-active even with no Application ID (this is just to show you it working).

Note that you can change your Application ID in-between requests as well as which provider you are using, this is a good way to ensure that you get a close to a 100% fill rate maximising your revenue; if one ad provider does not return an ad then request one from the next ad provider. We will add support to automate this at a later date.

Whats Changed in Our Code

Firstly we added the following headers:

#include “IwGameAdsView.h”
#include “IwGameAdsViewAnimator.h”

Then we added an initialisation function to initialise the ads system:

void AdTest_Init() { int width = IwGxGetScreenWidth(); int height = IwGxGetScreenHeight(); // Create ad view CIwGameAdsView::Create(); // Initialise with Application ID (you get this from your ad provider) IW_GAME_ADS_VIEW->Init(""); // Set ad provider IW_GAME_ADS_VIEW->setAdProvider(CIwGameAds::InnerActive); // Set ad request interval in seconds IW_GAME_ADS_VIEW->setNewAdInterval(30); // Force a request for an initial ad IW_GAME_ADS_VIEW->RequestNewAd(CIwGameAds::InnerActive); // Set total number of ads visible in the ads view IW_GAME_ADS_VIEW->setNumAdsVisible(1); // Tell animators to loop IW_GAME_ADS_VIEW->setLooped(true); // Create and attach an animator that fades the ad in over 1 second, pauses for 7 seconds and then fades the ad back out CIwGameAdsViewAnimator* anim = new CIwGameAdsViewAnimator(); anim->Init(); anim->setAdViewDataIndex(0); anim->setCanvasSize(width, height); anim->setInAnim(CIwGameAdsViewAnimator::AnimFadeIn, 1000); anim->setOutAnim(CIwGameAdsViewAnimator::AnimFadeOut, 1000); anim->setStayDuration(7000); IW_GAME_ADS_VIEW->addAnimator(0, anim); // Create and attach an animator that sweeps the ad in from the right the over 1,2 seconds, pauses for 7 seconds and then sweeps back out anim = new CIwGameAdsViewAnimator(); anim->Init(); anim->setAdViewDataIndex(0); anim->setCanvasSize(width, height); anim->setRestingPosition(0, -height / 8); anim->setInAnim(CIwGameAdsViewAnimator::AnimRightSweepIn, 1200); anim->setOutAnim(CIwGameAdsViewAnimator::AnimRightSweepOut, 1200); anim->setStayDuration(7000); IW_GAME_ADS_VIEW->addAnimator(0, anim); // Create and attach an animator that scales the ad in over 1.5 seconds, pauses for 7 seconds and then scales back out anim = new CIwGameAdsViewAnimator(); anim->Init(); anim->setAdViewDataIndex(0); anim->setCanvasSize(width, height); anim->setInAnim(CIwGameAdsViewAnimator::AnimScaleIn, 1500); anim->setOutAnim(CIwGameAdsViewAnimator::AnimScaleOut, 1500); anim->setStayDuration(7000); IW_GAME_ADS_VIEW->addAnimator(0, anim); // Create and attach an animator that rotates the ad in over 1 second, pauses for 7 seconds and then rotates back out anim = new CIwGameAdsViewAnimator(); anim->Init(); anim->setAdViewDataIndex(0); anim->setCanvasSize(width, height); anim->setInAnim(CIwGameAdsViewAnimator::AnimSpinIn, 1000); anim->setOutAnim(CIwGameAdsViewAnimator::AnimSpinOut, 1000); anim->setStayDuration(7000); IW_GAME_ADS_VIEW->addAnimator(0, anim); }

Don’t be alarmed and think OMG this is much harder than using AdMobs or iAds, most of this code is simply for setting up animations. In fact, yuo can just strip out the animation code (marked in orange) and remove it, the adw ill simply sit in the middle of the screen quite motionless.

Now lets take a look at how we update the ad system:

void AdTest_Update() { // Update the ads view IW_GAME_ADS_VIEW->Update(GAME->getCurrentScene(), 1.0f); // Draw the ads view IW_GAME_ADS_VIEW->Draw(GAME->getCurrentScene()); }

Nice and super simple. if you are wondering, the underlying rendering is taken care of by Iw2D.

And finally our Ad clean up code:

void AdTest_Release()

All nice and easy stuff. Now you can run ads across all Marmalade SDK platforms, depending on the Ad Providers support for those platforms. Thus far we have tested on iOS, Android, Blackberry Playbook and Bada and ads are delivered and clicks registered.

Hiding and Showing Ads

If you are using CIwGameAdsView to display  ads then you can call IW_GAME_ADS_VIEW->setVisible(ad_visibility) to change ad visibility. Note that, if you make the ads view invisible then it will stop requesting and updating ads.

Displaying Multiple Ads

CIwGameAdsView currently supports display of multiple cached ads simultaneously. To enable this feature simply call IW_GAME_ADS_VIEW->setNumAdsVisible(ad_count); This will tell ads view to draw the last ad_count ads that have not expired. You will need to set the screen positions, scales, rotations etc for each separate ad unit by calling setPosition(), setScale(), setAngle() etc methods of CIwGameAdsView. The first parameter is the index of the ad slot you want to change. You cam do this manually or attach animators.

Which Ad Providers Are Supported?

We’ve spent most of the last few weeks trying to integrate with ad providers network API’s, which is made more difficult than it should be because some providers are a bit lax and even unhelpful when it comes to providing integration support, some have been pretty good though, especially Inner-Active, they are very on-the-ball.

We went ahead and left all of the code in there for all providers that we have attempted to integrate this far in case any of you want to pick up on where we left off.

The current list of providers we have attempted integration with includes:

  • Inner-Active – Works incredibly well across all platforms
  • AdFonic – Works, now has full support for carrier and WiFi
  • MobFox – Ads wont deliver over WiFi or carrier, trying to fix
  • InMobi – Ads wont deliver over WiFi or carrier, trying to fix
  • Madvertise – Registering impressions but never returns any ads
  • Mojiva – Awaiting app approval before we can test, so potentially works

We plan to ad support for most of the other major Ad players, once we find details of the REST based API’s

What Information Do I Need to Supply?

You should provide at least the following minimum information to the CIwGameAds class before requesting ads:

  • Application ID

If you want more targeted ads then you can also supply other information such as:

  • Users Age
  • Users Gender
  • Users Location
  • Application Category
  • Users Mobile Number
  • Keywords associated with the user

Note that not all ad providers will use all of the above.

Marmalade SDK Tutorial – Apple iPhone and iPad Deployment and Submissions

This tutorial is part of the Marmalade SDK tutorials collection. To see the tutorials index click here

Its been a while since I posted any new Marmalade SDK tutorials because I have been so incredibly busy, I’ve also been focusing a lot of time lately on the soon to be released IwGameAds update to the IwGame engine (should be up on the blog today). Well, I’m now project free, nothing to work on for clients at the moment, so I have free time to blog.

Ok, lets move into the subject of the blog, debugging, deploying and app store store submissions for iOS devices (iPhone, iPod and iPad). I felt an urgent need to cover this subject as I have noticed many problems popping up on the Marmalade forums relating to iOS provisioning and app store submissions, so my insane desire to help out has got me caught up in an afternoons work of creating this useful guide.

iOS Development on Marmalade Introduction

The great thing about developing iOS apps with Marmalade is that by following a few simple rules your aop will run on any supported device as long as it runs on the Marmalade SDK x86 / Arm simulators. If you have come from a Cocoa / Objective-C background there are a few things to note when devloping with Marmalade SDK:

  • C/C++ is the primary language for development
  • You don’t have access to interface builder, instead Marmalade provides UI and font builder applications for creating complex user interfaces and fonts
  • Development can be done on both PC or Mac.
  • You can add code that has been developed using the iOS SDK / Objective-C via Marmalades extensions developer kit (EDK), but this code will not be cross platform compatible, so will only work for iOS deployments
  • Marmalade now supports native UI via IwNUI allowing you to create UI layouts that use native IOS controls (currently supported on iOS, Android, other platforms will fall back on Marmalade’s generic UI API IwUI)

For the duration of this article we are going to use a fictional app called “iScream Candy” that we are going to fictionally provision, develop and distribute.

iOS Provisioning Introduction

Well, I don’t accuse Apples account set up and provisioning process to be impossible but is has had me in tears before, fortunately in this article I am going to hopefully save many of you a bucket load of tears by providing a nice list of steps showing how to sort all this our quickly and quite painlessly,

What is provisioning and why is it needed by the way? In general terms. provisioning is the process of enabling development for a developer, allowing them to build and deploy apps to Apples devices and limiting access to those apps. This is needed to a) prevent software piracy and b) keeps control of who can develop apps on Apple devices.

The first thing you are going to need is an Apple Developer account. Go to and create one.

Once you have your developer account, you need to click on “iOS Dev Center” to gain access to iOS developer resources. You will be asked to log in again. once logged in you will be presented with the iOS Dev Centre front page, you should note the “iOS Developer Program” menu down the right hand side of the screen

Here you will see 4 options, but we are only really interested in the first one for now “iOS Provisioning Portal”, click on it to go the provisioning portal.

Now take a look down the left hand side of the screen, you will see quite a few options. These options allow us to generate developer and distribution certificates, add devices that are allowed to run our apps, create app ID’s and provisioning profiles.

iOS Development Certificates

In order to develop and distribute products on the iOS platform Apple needs to know that our app is made by us and that our apps code is reliable and if something should go wrong Apple know where to go knocking. Security certificates allow developers to sign applications using their identity showing that they are “trusted” and not some malicious software developer that’s creating apps to destroy iOS devices or steal users personal details.

There are two kinds of certificates that you are going to need:

  • Development certificate – You need this to deploy your app to iPhone. iPad and iPod
  • Distribution certificate – You need this to deploy your app ro the Apple app store

Creating an iOS Development Certificate

In order to deploy our cool iOS apps to our iPhone, iPod or iPad we need to create a development certificate. This process starts with the Marmalade SDK. Here are the complete instructions:

1. Run the Marmalade iPhone Sign Request tool, this will launch Marmalades signing request tool which will create a developer key and a signing request for you
2. Click “Browse” and select a folder where you want Marmalade to save the signing request
3. Select “developer_identity.key” from the Key File drop down
4. Now enter your developer company name into the “Common Name” box
5. Enter the email address that you have assigned to your Apple developer account into the Email Address box
6. Finally hit the “Run” button

The tool will now generate a file called signing_request.csr in the folder that you selected in step 2. It will also generate a developer_identity.key key file in the \Marmalade\5.x\s3e\deploy\plugins\iphone\certificates folder (make a backup of this file)

Now over to the Apple side of things:

7. Go to the “iOS provisioning portal”
8. Click on the “Certificates” menu
9. Click on the “Development” tab
10. Click on the “Request Certificate” button
11. You will see a button at the bottom of the screen called “Choose File”. Click that button and select the signingrequest.csr file that you exported from Marmalades signing request tool
12. Click the “Submit” button. The certificate will be marked as “issued”. Click on the “Development” tab again to refresh the page (sometimes you need to refresh few times), this will add a button called “Download” to the right of the screen
13. Click on the “Download” button, this will download a file called “ios_development.cer”, save this file
14. Make a backup of this file and also copy and rename the file as \Marmalade\6.x\s3e\deploy\plugins\iphone\certificates\developer_identity.cer
15. Marmalade will now use the developer_identity.key and developer_identity.cer to sign your apps for deployment during development

Creating and Provisioning an iOS Application for Development

You probably already have test app or even a full app that you are waiting to test out on an iOS device, but before you do, there are a couple of changes you need to make.

The first thing you will need is an Application ID (App ID) which uniquely identified your app to the world. To create one we need to head back over to Apples iOS provisioning portal and carry out the following steps:

16. Click App ID’s option on the menu
17. Click “New App ID” button
18. Enter “iSCream Candy” as the app description
19. Enter “com.yourcompanyname.iscreamcandy” as the Bundle Identifier
20. Click the “Submit” button which takes you back to the App ID’s list

In order to deploy to an actual device we need to add our Apple device to the provisioning portal like this:

21. Click on the “Devices” menu
22. Click the “Add Devices” button
23. Enter a name for your device (anything you like)
24. Enter your devices Device ID. To get your devices ID carry out the following steps:

  • a. Plugin your device into the USB
  • b. Run the iPhone Configuration Utility
  • c. Select your devices in the left hand menu
  • d. In the summary tab you will see an “Identity” field, the long hexadecimal string is your Device ID
  • e. Keep the configuration tool open because you will need this in a moment to install your provisioning profile to the device

25. Click the “Submit” button

You will also need a developer provisioning profile, so head back to Apples provisioning portal and carry out the following steps:

26. Click on the “Provisioning” menu
27. Click “Development” tab
28. Click “New Profile” button
29. Enter “iscream_candy” as the Profile Name
30. Tick the box next to your certificate name to associate the certificate with this profile
31. Select “iScream Candy” as the App ID
32. Tick the checkbox next to your iOS device that is in the list of devices
33. Click “Submit” button
34. Click on the “Development” tab to refresh the screen
35. Click the “Download” button at the side of the “iscream_candy” profile name and save the file (will be called “iscream_candy.mobileprovision”)
36. Drag the provisioning profile file “iscream_candy.mobileprovision” onto the iPhone Configuration Utility
37. Select your iOS device in the left hand menu in the the oPhone Configuration Utility
38. Select the “Provisioning Profiles” tab
39. Locate “iscream_candy” and click the “Install” button that is shown next to it

Now we go back to the Marmalade side of things. We need to let the Marmalade deployment tool know a few things about your app before we deploy:

40. Open up your projects MKB file
41. Add a section like this:

deployments { [“iPhone”] name=’iScreamCandy’ caption=’iScream Candy’ manufacturer=’Company Name’ provider=’Company Name’ version-major=1 version-minor=0 iphone-appid=’com.companyname.iscreamcandy’ }

This deployment section will allow us to auto fill in the information that we provided when we use Marmalades deployment tool to deploy our app to our iOS device.

We are now ready to build and deploy our app to the iPhone, iPad, and iPod.

Building and Deploying our App to an iOS Device

Ok, now we have provisioning for development and we have a deployment section added to our MKB project file, lets get our app installed to the device for testing.

42. In Visual Studio / XCode change the build type to GCC (ARM) Release and hit go, the project will now build. Once built, Visual Studio will launch the Marmalade Deployment Tool.
43. Select “ARM GCC Release” as the Build Type then click the Next button
44. Select “iPhone” as the deployment configuration then click the Next button
45. Select “iOS” as the platform to deploy to then click the Next button
46. Click the “Deploy All” button
47. When the deployment tool is finished it will create two files in our iPhone release deployments folder (the deployments folder is located in our build folder build_iscreamcandy_vc10\deployments\iPhone\iphone\release

Its worth noting here that you should check the deployment log to ensure that all went well, to do this click the “Log” button

48. Drag the iscream_candy.ipa file from that folder onto iTunes
49. in iTunes select your phone on in the menu on the left of the screen
50. Click on the apps tab and tick the checkbox next to our iScream Candy app then click on the Sync button to install the app

All being well the app should now appear on the iOS device.

Word of caution, delete your existing app from the iOS device before redeploying. Unless you change the version number of your app in the MKB file, iTunes will not install the same version number of an app if it already exists on the device.

Creating an iOS Distribution Certificate

So now you have a finished product and you want to submit it to the Apple app store for approval. The first thing you are going to need is a distribution certificate

In order to deploy our cool iOS apps to the app store we need to create a distribution certificate. This process starts with the Marmalade SDK, here are the complete instructions:

51.. Run the Marmalade iPhone Sign Request tool, this will launch Marmalades signing request tool
52. Click “Browse” and select a folder where you want Marmalade to save the distribution signing request
53. Change the name to “distro_signing_request.csr”
54. Select “distribution_identity.key” from the Key File drop down
55. Now enter your developer company name into the “Common Name” box
56. Enter the email address that you have assigned to your Apple developer account into the Email Address box
57. Finally hit the “Run” button

The tool will now generate a file called distro_signing_request.csr in the folder that you selected in step 2. It will also generate a distribution_identity.key key file in the \Marmalade\5.x\s3e\deploy\plugins\iphone\certificates folder (make a backup of this file)

Now over to the Apple side of things:

58. Go to the “iOS provisioning portal”
59. Click on the “Certificates” menu
60. Click on the “Distribution” tab
61. Click on the “Request Certificate” button
62. You will see a button at the bottom of the screen called “Choose File”. Click that button and select the distro_signingrequest.csr file that you exported from Marmalades signing request tool
63. Click the “Submit” button. The certificate will be marked as “issued”. Click on the “Distribution” tab again to refresh the page (sometimes you need to refresh few times), this will add a button called “Download” to the right of the screen
64. Click on the “Download” button, this will download a file called “ios_distribution.cer”
65. Make a backup of this file and also copy the file as \Marmalade\6.x\s3e\deploy\plugins\iphone\certificates\distribution_identity.cer
66. Marmalade will now use the distribution_identity.key and distribution_identity.cer to sign your apps for distribution to the app store

Creating and Provisioning an iOS Application for Distribution

We need a fair few bits and bobs in order to create an app that is ready for distribution to customers that are foaming at the mouth ready to spend their hard earned dollars on your new masterpiece (I wish lol). The first thing we need is a distribution provisioning profile that we can include with the app during submission, here’s how to generate it:

67. Click on the “Provisioning” menu in the iOS Provisioning Portal
68. Click “Distribution” tab
69. Click “New Profile” button
70. Ensure that “App Store” is selected
71. Enter “distro_iscream_candy” as the Profile Name
72. Select “iScream Candy” as the App ID
73. Ensure that the “Distribution Certificate” says “Company Name (expiring on {Some date in the future})”
74. Click “Submit” button
75. Click on the “Distribution” tab to refresh the screen
76. Click the “Download” button at the side of the “distro_iscream_candy” profile name and save the file
77. Copy the saved distro_iscream_candy.mobileprovision file to the Data folder in your build

Now over to the Marmalade side

78. Open up your projects MKB file
79. Update your deployments section to look something like this

  caption=''iScream Candy'
  manufacturer='Company Name'
  provider='Company Name'

You will notice a few other extra pieces of information have appeared in the MKB file. As we are getting ready to distribute our app we also need to provide icons and splash screens. If you app is a unified iOS app (compatible with iPhone and iPad) then you need to supply splash screens and icons for both platforms.

Getting ready for iOS App Store Submission

Before we can submit our super cool but hastily named game to Apple for approval we need to create app icons, splash screens, screen shots and text / keywords etc..

80. The iOS expects the following sized icons (see above MKB deployment section to see how to include them)

  • iphone-icon – Standard iPhone icon (57 x 57 pixels)
  • iphone-icon-ipad – Standard iPad icon (72 x 72 pixels)
  • iphone-icon-high-res – iPhone with retina display (114 x 114 pixels)

81. In addition, you need to supply 3 different splash screens that need to have specific names:

  • Default~iphone.png – Standard iPhone splash screen (320 x 480 or 480 x 320)
  • Default~ipad.png – Standard iPad splash screen (768 x 1024 or 1024 x 768)
  • Default@2x~iphone.png – iPhone with retina display (640 x 960 or 960 x 640)

To ensure that these files get included in your build you need to add them to the assets section of your MKB file like this:

assets { (data) “Default~iphone.png” Default@2x~iphone.png “Default~ipad.png” }

82. You also need the following additional graphical items:
* 512 x 512 iTunes Artwork Icon – This is a hi-resolution version of your app icon
* At least 3 iPhone screen shots (320 x 480 or 480 x 320)
* At least 3 iPad screen shots (768 x 1024 or 1024 x 320)

iOS App Store Submission

We are finally there, woohoo, I’m so glad because my fingers are starting to break!

83. To submit an app to Apple you need to log into iTunes Connect (menu option beneath Provisioning Portal) on the iOS dev web site
84. Click on “Manage Your Applications”
85. Click on the “Add New App” button to create a new application
86. Enter “iScream Candy” as the App Name
87. Enter SKU number (put anything you like or that’s relevant to how you track apps)
88. Select “com.companyname.iscreamcandy” as the Bundle ID
89. Click the “Continue“ button
90. Select availability date to some point in the future (choose 2-3 weeks from now, you can change this when the app is passed)
91. Select price tier (to find out what the tiers mean in dollars click the “View Pricing Matrix” link)
92. Click the “Continue“ button
93. Fill in the app information, add app icon and screen shots etc..
94. Click the “Save” button
95. Click on the View Details for your app
97. Click on the “Ready to Upload Binary” button at the top right of the screen
98. Select “No” when asked about export compliance (unless you are using encryption) then click the “Save” button

The next screen will tell you how to download and install XCode so you can gain access to Application Loader (a small app that lets you send you binary to apply for certification)

99. Click “Continue”
100. Locate and run “Application Loader” on the Mac (Minimum version Mac OS X 10.5).This should be located in /Developer/Applications/Utilities/Application if not then you will need to download and install either the latest version of XCode or iOS SDK 3.2
101. Click “Next” on the application loader welcome screen
102. Log in with your iTunes Connect log in details
103. When asked to “Choose Application” select the iScream Candy application from the drop down list and click “Next”
104. Check that the application metadata information is correct then click “Choose” to browse and select your applications binary zip file
105. Click the “Send” button to send the application binary to Apple
106. Once the application has finished uploading you will see a thank you screen, click the “Done” button to close it. If the application was not signed properly you will be notified here

Enabling Push notifications

For some odd reason Apple knocks all our apps back that are not push enabled (even though we do not use it), here’s the additional steps you will need to carry out to enable it.

107. Click “Configure” link next to the app ID for iScream Candy
108. Tick the “Enable for Apple Push Notification service” check box
109. At the side of the “Production Push SSL Certificate” click the “Configure” button
110. A window will pop up, click the “Continue” button
111. Click the “Choose File” button and select the signing_request_dtstro.csr file from earlier
112. Click the “Generate” button
113. Click “Continue” button then the “Done” button

And that’s it, you’re app is now in Apple heaven. It usually takes between 7 and 21 days to get approval, less if it is an update.

A few Additional Notes

  • I asked you to back up your certificates as you generate them earlier because when you install a new version of the Marmalade SDK you may lose them as you uninstall the previous version of the SDK. If you back them up you can simply copy them back into the \Marmalade\5.x\s3e\deploy\plugins\iphone\certificates folder
  • Provisioning profiles expire so you need to renew them now and again. Your IOS device will usually remind you when you need to renew a provisioning profile.

Well that’s its for this article. With any luck I have saved some of you much pain and suffering and hopefully a few buckets of tears

Marmalade are Having a Christmas Sale!

Whilst I’m not much keen on Marmalade on my toast, it certainly tastes nice when it comes to cross platform game and app development. Not only can I write code in a single language, but I can also deploy to over 10 platforms with ease, including iPhone, iPad, Android, Bada 1.0 / 2.0, Blackberry Playbook, LG-TV, Symbian, Windows Mobile, WebOS, Mobile Linux, Windows and Mac OSX!

The people behind the best cross platform native SDK (that’s the Marmalade SDK for all you inter-galactic new arrivals) are now having a Christmas license sale. All licenses are now 20% off! If you have been toying with the idea of buying a license then I suggest you get it now and save yourself 20% off the usual price, bringing the basic license down to $134 and the pro license down to $399.

Don’t forget you can also get yourself a free license by getting accepted into Marmalade’s apps program or by contributing code to the community.

So go to Marmalade’s web site and grab a license whilst prices are stupidly cheap.

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Our client just released their Marmalade SDK powered HD adventure title “Murder Detective – Hampton Bridge Murder” on Blackberry Playbook, iOS and Android coming very soon.

Games Description:

Murder Detective – The Hampton Bridge Murder. Join Detectives Phil McDermott and Dave Stanton as they try and solve the mystery of a woman found murdered on the banks of the Hampton River. Unravel the complex crime story and choose your path. Your choices will determine how the story ends. An interactive mystery where you control the adventure. Gather evidence, interrogate suspects, follow the clues and catch the murderer. You will be given a detective ranking at the completion of the case based on your attention to detail.

An Interactive Detective Mystery. Be Part of The Adventure. Play as Detective McDermott. Choose Your Path. Catch The Killer. Solve The Crime.

Screen Shots