Month 3: Publishing
Some 2 months after I first started to learn Unity my first game was done. It wasn’t perfect and it wasn’t amazing, but I was proud of it. Many hours went into the development of this game. Every day of the week that I had time to work on it would be spent doing so, and if I didn’t have the time then I would go about my day thinking about every issue that I wanted to fix. Somedays I would sit down at my computer and not even get anything done because I would be so confused by what I was trying to do. Some of the gameplay mechanics and features that I wanted to create seemed almost impossible to implement, but like many obstacles in coding, they were just problems that needed figuring out. I would spend hours just sitting and staring at my code, hoping for some sort of relief, but it almost never came until much later. As I discovered during the development period, the solution to your problems is not always going to be found immediately, but it is always worth the effort to try and figure out. The best advice I can give is to not give up when things become difficult or seem impossible. That might seem cliche´, but the end result is something that trumps all of the frustration experienced during development.
After I finished development on Happy Cloud it was time for me to try and publish it. My plan from the beginning was to try and publish on Apple’s App Store, but I never realized how difficult that is until I tried to do it. Apple has very rigorous publication standards, which includes a 2-week review process during which apps can be rejected for almost any reason. Getting to the point where I could submit my app for review, however, was by far the hardest part of the publication process. When submitting an app for publication, Apple wants that app to be essentially flawless. This means that it can’t have placeholder text, bugs in the code, illegal copyrighted material, and so forth. This process of debugging my game and ensuring that I could publish without copyright infringement took about a week and a half. During this time I also made sure that my game was capable of supporting most iOS devices and versions. If it wasn’t then Apple could reject it for lacking sufficient device support. For the next few days after that, I worked on exporting Happy Cloud from Unity to Xcode which is Apple’s iOS development environment. The only way to publish a game on iOS is to submit it through Xcode, but it can be difficult to ensure that imported projects behave properly within the software. Finally, after correctly configuring Happy Cloud, taking screenshots for the App Store, and designing Happy Cloud’s various logos and icons I was able to submit it for review.
Apple is notoriously ruthless when it comes to reviewing apps, and even the smallest mistake can cause an app to be rejected. To add to that stress and tediousness, everytime an app is submitted for review it takes 2 weeks for Apple to make a decision. During these 2 weeks, there isn’t anything that can be done except worry and hope that it passes the test. Thankfully nothing I have ever submitted has been rejected, but I have expected it every time. This is especially true of the first time that I submitted Happy Cloud because I knew that it wasn’t perfect and I didn’t really believe that it was up to Apple’s design standards. This, however, proved to be false. Two weeks and a few days after I first submitted my game Apple gave its approval and it was immediately uploaded to the App Store. Of all of the things that I expected to happen, this, I thought, was the least likely – but you wouldn’t see me complaining. Looking back at that moment makes me incredibly happy. I hadn’t ever worked on a project for such a long time before, and to have it be successful really put the icing on the cake. When I first started to learn Unity I didn’t really know what my end goal was, I just knew that making games was fun and interesting. Ultimately, that is all anyone needs to make a game. They just need to think that making games is fun or interesting, and the rest will follow.