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Ready to give up on C2 Mobile App Ad-based games

  • UPDATE:

    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 *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.

    Ad Monetization

    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.

    Trouble 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.

  • Iv been there before.

    For me trying to make money off my games took ALL the fun out of it. I ended up forgetting why I started making games in the first place (for my own creative enjoyment). It got to the point that I just walked away from making games all together. This is something I have regretted, and I wouldn't want to see anyone else make the same mistakes.

    It's been a few years for me now, and Iv just started making games again. This time around I'm not going to stress about monetizing my games. I'm just going to keep it simple, creative, and fun. If it happens it happens.

  • Hey op I feel your pain!!! Ive come to commiserate and join in your rant! Reading your post was like reading a list of my own experiences.

    I had a perfect workflow with XDK, then had to migrate to Cocoon same as you. Discovered there was some bug preventing data being written to localStorage on iOS, so was just unable to update my game for iOS... Apparently that issue *may* have been resolved (I just checked on the cocoon forum and some new info has been posted since I last checked) so I guess Ill go try again when I have time.

    I'm not a huge fan of Cocoon tbh (I preferred XDK). I am considering whether to move over to either C3 build service or maybe Cordova CLI, and compile on my own PC? That might be a good option.

    One thing Ive learned is you have to be meticulous with note-taking. Exactly for that situation you described where you manage to export a working apk / ipa. Then next time round you get a failure of some kind and you can't remember how you succeeded previously because there are so many bloody variables involved that its impossible to remember everything.

    Now I make certain to write down my work flow... step by step, so I can always come back to it weeks / months later and achieve the same result. Its imperative. I have a crappy memory at the best of times, so if I don't write it all down Im bound to forget. I use OneNote for recording all my game dev notes.

    Oh and I tried that Appodeal ad plugin too. I was unable to get it working how I wanted so I ditched it. The two plugins Ive had success with are the Cranberry Chartboost plugin and Verstala's adnetwork mediation plugin. But of course both took hours of fiddling and troubleshooting to make em work.

    Id say don't give up your game dev. You have to keep at it. You just gotta get a good work flow in place. Like you mentioned, once youve got a good work flow sorted out it can be reasonably straight forward to get your game built (although I agree there are waaaaay too many steps involved... its even worse for iOS!).

    I think charging a flat fee for your app is a reasonable idea, and easier obviously because u dont have to stuff around with ads and iAPs, but I think it can only work if you can figure out how to direct traffic to it. If you can generate a user base on your free games first, you may be able to persuade them to buy your paid games too. Otherwise you are relying on people finding it organically or being featured or something. Id say you have the right idea about trying to get a few f2p games with ads published first.

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  • The problem with ads is you need eyes on those ads, and the ads invariably detract from gameplay, and even performance.

    Then a lot of people say iap is the way to go, but it's an even worse sh*t show to get working.

    What I will probably do in the future is release to the portals with adequate protection, and if it does well there consider doing a free version on mobile.

    If it does well there, try to do either value added iap, or ads for bonuses.

  • For me trying to make money off my games took ALL the fun out of it. I ended up forgetting why I started making games in the first place (for my own creative enjoyment). It got to the point that I just walked away from making games all together.

    yup this is definitely a thing. hopefully it won't come to this for me. I still make games (just maybe not mobile games). I'm way too invested in gamedev to ditch it completely. I've been running game jams and teaching game design for a few years now.

    but I definitely see how mobile gamedev is it's own thing you have to be really entrenched in it to make money. Like I said, it was merely exploratory and seeing what the whole process is like (not a good one for me! or C2?).

    Glad to hear you are back at it with a positive outlook!

  • Good afternoon.

    I like to spend time drawing and creating, if there is any profit, it will be welcome but it is not my focus, I like to see my children playing and having fun with my creations, even if they are not so professional.

    I like C2 but I also go through some difficulties and I hope to persevere and overcome the obstacles that surround me.

    I believe that all creators of heart should be persistent as well.

  • Hey op I feel your pain!!! Ive come to commiserate and join in your rant! Reading your post was like reading a list of my own experiences.

    thank you! btw love your game Chuckles..(my son plays it all the time - although he's always rage quitting -haha)

    One thing Ive learned is you have to be meticulous with note-taking. Exactly for that situation you described where you manage to export a working apk / ipa. Then next time round you get a failure of some kind and you can't remember how you succeeded previously because there are so many bloody variables involved that its impossible to remember everything.

    ^^^this^^^

    I think charging a flat fee for your app is a reasonable idea, and easier obviously because u dont have to stuff around with ads and iAPs, but I think it can only work if you can figure out how to direct traffic to it.

    There's something about a f2p game though and what it's become with kids. There's a certain expectation nowadays - mobile games should be free (not all) and ads are how you play for free. Any kid will take that deal.

    I also like the idea of this "throw away" game or rather short iteration of gameplay. The idea of a game you didn't pay for because it's free and you play it while waiting at the doctor's office or in the washroom. There's definitely something there even if ads have to pay for it. I guess I find it challenging to make a good game with that limitation. Of course it's a major challenge to get it working in the first place - like Sisyphus.

  • Good afternoon.

    I like to spend time drawing and creating, if there is any profit, it will be welcome but it is not my focus, I like to see my children playing and having fun with my creations, even if they are not so professional.

    I like C2 but I also go through some difficulties and I hope to persevere and overcome the obstacles that surround me.

    I believe that all creators of heart should be persistent as well.

    that's sort of my take on it as well. I doubt I'd ever become a full time app-developer... but I guess my point is, using C2 I don't really think it's possible. The time spent getting it to work is crazy. The trial and error process you are required to do is quite large.

  • The problem with ads is you need eyes on those ads, and the ads invariably detract from gameplay, and even performance.

    I don't mind this.. I feel if you make a good game it will either catch on or it doesn't. The market is so saturated, so it requires you to be real, and make a real game that you believe in. (at least that's what I think)

    Then a lot of people say iap is the way to go, but it's an even worse sh*t show to get working.

    yeah that seems like a nightmare, but I don't have the content creation skills to keep that going on my own. but I like the idea.

    What I will probably do in the future is release to the portals with adequate protection, and if it does well there consider doing a free version on mobile. If it does well there, try to do either value added iap, or ads for bonuses.

    what portals and what protection do you speak of?

    If it does well there, try to do either value added iap, or ads for bonuses.

    you should instead make ads as a punishment for your players! haha "You Lost! now good luck watching this AD!". Or even better make a game about watching ads and how it sucks.

  • The two plugins Ive had success with are the Cranberry Chartboost plugin and Verstala's adnetwork mediation plugin. But of course both took hours of fiddling and troubleshooting to make em work.

    I'll take "hours" any day... it's weeks of trial and error I don't care for. The plugin is not free correct? what kind of support is there? (if you have a problem of it all of a sudden not working?)

  • what portals and what protection do you speak of?

    The ones with working api's we have plugs for.

    Newgrounds, Gamejolt, maybe Kongregate.

    You have to do a custom build for each one, but you also get a reliable sdk to make rewards, and that's a great experience/ setup for iap later.

    You can use other portals, but you need to make some custom control methods which requires a lot of planning.

  • The ones with working api's we have plugs for. Newgrounds, Gamejolt, maybe Kongregate.

    I wasn't aware anyone had released anything official yet. I've heard of Export for Kongregate but nothing of the others.

  • jobel

    Thanks for sharing your experience really interesting I think post like this it should be sticky so all of you that have experience with developing to Apps can share the experiences and tips and all of that, I been trying to get into the mobile development and I been making for some time a game for mobile to try it and see how it looks like the adds IAP and all of that, after reading this and many more post I'm really thinking if is the right way to go as it sounds very depressing.

    Artpunk

    So do you think is still a viable method to make money, how is been your experiences with your Apps revenue etc... I don't ask the amount you make just a general it is good worth it, you know all that to have a general view.

    Also congrats for your game I have it on my iPhone and is really fun to play

    Also, this question is for everyone:

    I'm curious as I have the C3 license but waiting that they fix the adds, So all these problems that you guys have had happened only when you export with C2 exporters or will happen the same with C3 exporters swell?? basically is the c3 exporters any better and what are the differences between (c2 & c3) exporters or they are both the same

    I'm very curious on this

  • I'm curious as I have the C3 license but waiting that they fix the adds, So all these problems that you guys have had happened only when you export with C2 exporters or will happen the same with C3 exporters swell?? basically is the c3 exporters any better and what are the differences between (c2 & c3) exporters or they are both the same

    well as far as the exporting, to cocoonIO, yes I guess that is one part of the issue.. I have one mobile game that works in canvas+ and another that only works in webview..I could not tell you the reason why! haha. But generally I can get games to work on mobile no problem. It's getting the ads to actually work (and work correctly) is the key.

    Using 3rd party plugins in C3 for Ad monetization/mediation I think you still have the same problems. I could be wrong, I don't know for sure. But I think the general reason is they are just small companies or individuals. There's not a lot of support from what I've seen. Like I said, I had it working great, went to compile one day and kept getting a compiler error. No matter what I do, it doesn't work. I emailed appodeal, they don't understand. But appodeal is free, so maybe that's the real issue?

  • This was an insightful read, and it seems I was right to fear the monetization part of development. Sigh... Does people have the same kind of negative experiences getting microtransactions to work? I'm considering ditching ads due to its invasive nature, but if I can't expect any monetization options to work, I might have to rethink my approach to KlangMs business model.

    Premium won't really fit my game though...

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