Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Jekyll and Hyde of App Review - Part II

...Continued (now that you've downloaded the apps we developed for eoz games during yesterday's free AppFest, continue reading the sinister story behind the scenes)

A Surprise

I'm stunned.


Not only do I have a client app, Word Cracker, crashing in the App Store, but I've also got another app, Roman Backgammon 1.0, Rejected by Apple App Review - for the same client!

And that's not all.

Did I mention our dynamic developer and engineer extraordinaire, Steve, was in Mexico on vacation?

That's right, Mexico.

We could open up the Xcode project and start tinkering without him but that wasn't high on my list of best path forward options.

I know how it goes.

What takes the rest of us mortals a day to do, usually takes Steve half the time.
And I knew, based on our contingency plan, that he wouldn't be available until later in the evening.

In the meanwhile, I've got to cut through the underbrush of uncertainty to give Steve a head start.

Introducing...Dr. Jekyll

My Word Cracker mission - minimize damage.

When an app is first released, it's a lot like a baby deer, taking shaky, tentative steps in the big scary world and that little app needs all the help it can get.

Word Cracker had only been in the App Store for a week before the update, so it was still a newborn, and eoz games was busy trying to help nurture and nurse it along, with various marketing efforts in motion.

There is no break glass in case of emergency option to revert the app state to a previous build.

And you can't simply resubmit the previous build without rebuilding and updating the version and resubmitting the app to Apple and...waiting another week for their approval.

I took one look at our little Word Cracker and just knew, there's no way this doe-eyed app will make it another week.

As the grey swirling sky took on a decidedly more ominous tone, I reached mom.

Well, "Moms" actually.

I called upon my friends at Moms With Apps, to help us find our way in these murky and dangerous waters.

And with a simple suggestion from another MWA member, "rebuild, submit and request an Expedited Review," the clouds part just enough to let a sliver of light through.

"Expedited" is exactly the kind of word I was looking for.

Now, I have a clear plan to discuss with Steve when he resurfaces.

I turn my attention back to the Roman Backgammon Rejection.

Introducing...Mr. Hyde

I open iTunes Connect and scan the rejection details noted in the Resolution Center:

"We found that Game Center has not been fully enabled for this version of your app. Though Game Center has been enabled on the Manage Game Center page, it must also be enabled on the App Details page in iTunes Connect."

I flip to the App Details and there's a big green "ENABLED" button shouting at me from the page.

I take a picture of the button, along with a note indicating that I don't see a problem, and send it back to App Review via the Resolution Center.

This, at least, seems like a simple misunderstanding - should be cleared up in no time, I tell myself.

And I wait, for a reply...

No time at all...

The clock ticks.

Day turns to night.

And I think to myself, "I bet it's nice in Mexico."

To Be Continued... 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Eoz Games Celebrates App Trio Launch With Huge Sale!


Yes, you.

Do you like free stuff?

Well, I'm gonna let you in on a little secret...

Roman Backgammon ($2.99), Ticker Quiz ($1.99) and Word Cracker ($1.99) will be free to download from the App Store tomorrow, 4/24 (EST).

Yes, I said free.

Yes, it sounds just like "tree."

Yes, they will work on your iPad and iPhone.

I guess they just want to share the fun.

Just go download them and tell your friends.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Jekyll and Hyde of App Review - Part I

Today is a good day.

We've successfully launched the app trio of Ticker Quiz, Word Cracker, and Roman Backgammon for eoz games.

We're working on interesting website projects.

And I stayed up last night, testing our next homegrown education app and I'm really impressed with the gameplay.

When I got out of bed this morning, there was a distinct bounce in my step and a genuine eagerness in my work commute as I considered the day ahead with hope and excitement.

But last week at this time was an entirely different story.

I shudder to think of the nightmare my waking life had become.

Heed this, my fellow developers, as a cautionary tale that dives into the deepest pit of darkness, before restored.

You too, can survive the mad science of Apple's App Review.

I know this, because I did just that.

And along the way, I met two very different characters.


Two weeks ago, we submitted a minor update to the App Store to fix a broken link for both Ticker Quiz and Word Cracker.

We also wrapped and submitted Roman Backgammon 1.0.

I was happy.

Eoz games was happy.

And love was in the air, along with various marketing efforts, including press releases and active app reviews.

We've developed many apps for ourselves, and for others, and we know the routine - app approvals and updates typically take a full week from the time they are submitted to the actual review and approval, so I kicked my feet up and set my cruise control.

At the time, I didn't even consider that anything could go wrong with Ticker Quiz and Word Cracker - my only concern with eoz games was Roman Backgammon because the first approval is always a bit uncertain.

A week passed, and I got notice from eoz games that Ticker Quiz and Word Cracker had passed review and both updates were available for sale in the App Store.

All according to plan, or so I thought.

I approached work the next day with only Roman Backgammon on my mind.

And then came the call from eoz:

"The Word Cracker update is crashing."

"No way" I thought, but I said (calmly) "Let me have a look and I'll call you back."

I hadn't even downloaded the update from the App Store yet - but I did.

And sure enough, the app crashed in Solo mode, upon completion of a game - every single time.

My first thought struck like a poison dart - we're going to have to live with this app crashing in the App Store for an entire week while Apple reviews it.

Before I could even mobilize the team to formulate a plan of action, I got an email from eoz:

"Roman Backgammon 1.0 - REJECTED!"

To Be Continued...