With the urging of good people in these forums I've given the whole process a second (actually 4th) chance. And as of right now I actually have everything *working.
* = C2(CocoonAds plugin)>ExportCordova>UploadCocoonIO>AndroidCanvas+
keys to making this work:
-Sign up to Google AdMob (at least this is what I did)
-Add your app name and generate an 'Ad Unit' then copy the 'keycode' to the clipboard
-download CocoonIO plugin for C2
-add CocoonAds object to your C2 project (add the AdUnit 'keycode' to the properties)
-use Canvas+ as it made my game run WAY faster/smoother
-in order to use Canvas+ 'minify script' on export must be UNCHECKED (this prevents black screen)
-C2 LoaderStyle to 'Nothing'
-make 100% sure you always delete the config.xml file when exporting C2>Cordova before zipping & uploading to CocoonIO
-when zipping your C2 project use Winrar AddTo>ZIP (normal windows compression fails)
-In CocoonIO select Canvas+ for engine
-In CocoonIO remove 'whitelist' plugin
-In CocoonIO add 'Native Admob Cocoon'
-In CocoonIO under Settings>Android I set Multidex to 'Yes' (no idea if this did anything, but it's currently working)
-In Google AdMob, make sure your payment is setup properly *or else ads won't show up
-To test that your ads are not setup up properly use Google Test Ads https://developers.google.com/admob/android/test-ads *if that works, then it means your AdMob account needs attention as you probably haven't filled out everything they need.
I've just about had it...
I've taken the summer to delve into app development thinking I could create some small games, throw some ads on them and see what kind of money that could generate.
Wow, what a headache! I started with XDK in the spring, but then that was discontinued so I had to jump to CocoonIO. Making a mobile app is pretty straight forward although with tons and tons of hoops you must go through to get it physically on a device (nevermind iOS, only talking Android here). There's a lot of trial and error; do I use Canvas+? do I use Webview or Webview+? Do I set Multidex to 'Yes'? etc...But once setup, you can pretty much count on it working.
I read here on the forum Appodeal was the way to go. So I did all the paperwork, account setups, downloaded, lots and lots of preamble, plugins etc. After a few days got it to work and a Banner Ad showed up. I felt like I achieved something. I was having an issue with the same banner ad showing up - it was not refreshing despite auto-cache and setting up Segments etc...(a whole other week trouble-shooting that to no end). Emailing people at Appodeal was no help, they didn't seem to understand what I was saying - a definite disconnect there. But the Reward Videos were working and all was okay.
The First Sign of Trouble
Then I went on vacation and when I came back I started making changes. The workflow of putting a change into C2 to then seeing it on the device is very micro heavy - lot's to do. So I must have forgot some step. Needless to say, I did something and it would not compile. How I got it to work in the first place was beyond me.
Reading on Construct forums and CocoonIO forums; everyone had their own way to fix a compile error. Some say, "oh you set Multidex to 'Yes'. Other's say oh you have the wrong plugin from appodeal, you need one with a 'path-fix' parameter...one person even suggested you just keep compiling it and eventually it will work...ugh. There is simply no place where all the 'correct' information is centrally located. And probably the reason why is because there are so many variables: cocoonio, admob, appodeal, cordova, canvas, webview, android, ios and the list goes on. Somehow I stumbled on the same plugins that I had originally used (I would assume). But after a week of trial and error of an incredibly painful workflow somehow I managed to get it working again.
This past Monday morning, I added some changes to the game and recompiled for testing. And out of nowhere I get a compilation error. I was very confused. After that first mishap, I made sure to screen grab every lib, every setting to make sure I had the correct information. After checking everything and recompiling at least 20 times. I thought maybe it was something in my code. So I took a previous version of my capx from the previous week (actually had the apk of that one working fine) and recompiled that....COMPILER ERROR. This time it was definitely NOT my fault, I didn't change anything. Something just stopped working. And that was my last straw with Appodeal.
Other Ad plugins
So then I figured why not try just regular AdMob? it looks like it's built into C2. Nope, totally outdated doc, cranberry libs don't work anymore... okay, okay, take that out. What about CocoonIO's Ad plugin. Cool! let's try that out..seemed simple enough, setup AdUnits in Admob etc...compile, good and..... BLACK SCREEN. Change literally every option. Still get the black screen. Once I take out the 'Native Ad' libs, it works fine (with no ads of course). Searched high and low for some central doc.. it's all outdated. For some people it works, for others it doesn't. It's just a giant mess.
Then it occurred to me that there was no way I could release something with this kind of dependency. Look at what happened to XDK, nevermind 3rd party plugins ceasing to work for no apparent reason. I know there are people on here making money from their apps. It just seems like an incredible PITA.
I know people are waiting on C3 to take over the reigns... but it's the 3rd party Ad-stuff that is so finicky to get working. I don't know what else to do, other than give up and make my mobile game not f2p and charge a flat fee.
I know there are serious app-developers out there, and this is how they pay the bills. I guess I was looking at this whole thing as low-risk f2p option. Just to see how something performs (financially). I only spent a few months on the game, it's nothing earth-shattering. But it's a really fun little game to play while you are waiting for something..I play it all the time, I would never make a game I didn't like.
end of rant.