Game Design Game Development Geek / Technical

Freshly Squeezed Progress Report: Slowly Complying with New Android Requirements

In my last report a couple of weeks ago, I finished automating my Mac port work and also got some valuable feedback in the form of observing a number of random strangers play Toy Factory Fixer at a local festival.

I decided to incorporate that feedback into my next update as I prepared my app for new requirements from Google Play.

Sprints 70 and 71: New player onboarding improvements; Google Play requirements

Planned and Incomplete:

  • Update Android port with new Google Play requirements
  • Make new player onboarding smoother

As has been mentioned in mobile news, both Google and Apple have policy updates that basically say something like “Update your app, or we’ll remove it from our app store.”

For games that get frequent updates and new content all the time, it’s no big deal, but for games that are otherwise considered “finished” by their developers, it’s basically forcing work to ensure the game stays available for players despite the fact that the game would otherwise run just fine.

In my case, the main update I need to do for the Android port of TFF is to change the target SDK, and I figured that I might as well use the latest SDL2 libraries as well.

There is something Google requires related to privacy policy updates, but as my game doesn’t make use of anything that requires such disclosure, it might not apply to me.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t very clear. I had emails announcing the policy changes that said one thing, an Android developer page that said something slightly different, and the actual Google Play policy that said another.

But basically, I felt that I needed to provide my privacy policy text inside the app, not just on my website linked from the Google Play store page. I could just link to the page, but it felt like an app that doesn’t require much should just be able to tell you upfront what it is and isn’t doing.

After almost two weeks, I’m almost done with that work. That’s a long amount of clock time, but it represents very little actual development time. Between going on a short weekend vacation with my family and my father-in-law passing away as we were returning, much of my time these last couple of weeks has been spent tending to family matters.

I expect that I will eventually get the main requirements done, and then I can work on making it easier for new players to know what to do, especially when it comes to hiring the first worker and knowing to command workers to craft Good Toys from parts.

What I hope is that those improvements mean that I’ll see fewer people uninstalling the app in my Google Play and itch metrics.

Thanks for reading!

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