Sunday, February 5, 2012

Ads Integrated

I have been so busy that i have a number of Blog posts to write. I have finally decided what to write about first and it is the Subject that got me so excited earlier this week, and caused me to start off my week long hiatus on Blogging.

Ads, the monetization stream for my free game. Without them there is no way for my free game to repay me for asset costs and of course time spent. One great thing about Ads is that it can make the game free the player who downloads the game. An excellent thing i reckon, especially if the game is pretty good.

Now i am using Marmalade (  for my recent development foray onto Android and IOS phones and Devices. I am having a good time using this cross platform SDK and I think development was going fast for any of my tasks. With things going well I got to the point with one of my games that i really want to get Ads placed into the game. The Windows phone version I did a while back is still making money, even if it is only a dollar a day (which might be great for me if the Android market is 50 times bigger and i get the same percentage usage).

So i wanted to try and get the Ads into the game as my next task.
  1.  FIRST try was using the iAd system and I think it might have worked. Only there was a bug in the old Marmalade SDK when i had done this which could cause the iAd to not be served, or more importantly when it did, the game would crash. I debugged into this to find the cause and traced it to a problem, I then found someone else had traced and placed a thread in the forums. Marmalade had responded saying it would be fixed in the new SDK 5.2. Well it was at this time that my partner (the guy who is the iPhone dude (I do not own any iphone or iProducts at all) went AWOL on me and i haven't heard in the last month about how his development is going. But of course the iAd system is not gonna work for cross platform anyway. So more work is needed.
  2.  SECOND i tried using the AdMob Extension... This did not go so well, After a number of hours and days I could just not get this to work and got rather aggravated. So then I...
  3.  THIRD attempt was to use a new AdWhirl Extension that someone had kindly created and posted on GitHub. This had some instructions and a test app as well. Great this must be it. So i signed up for AdWhirl and tried this out. However after many more hours i was not being successful. In fact trying to get the extension to load and not error out with extension not found was a real pain. Obviously on the target machine (My Kindle Fire) the extension wasn't being included. After much trawling of the marmalade forums i found people with very similar issues, if not with my particular extension. It seems one method of including the lib (from the deploy tool, which writes it into the MKB file) breaks the mkb parser, and Marmalade had posted this would be fixed in the next minor upgrade to the SDK. YAY!.. Only by this time i was feeling rather frustrated.... again. It seems like i have spent two weeks of my dev time not working on a game, but instead working on getting an Ad into the game. Grrrr.
  4.  FOUR! This was earlier this week, Monday night to be exact. The day after my last post. Well in my wandering around the Marmalade forums I had noticed that PocketeersLtd had put out their Ads library for everyone to use. I had forgotten that they were going to do this (I have used many times for information, so i knew of it's existence). So once i saw this I knew i should try it out. It did not take me long to try out the test app they created, and then i just put the whole thing into my game. After that i had to sign up for some more Ad partners, like and then whammo I had an Ad showing!!!
  5. SUCCESS!!!! I have now signed up for 5 Ad partners, though 2 have so far refused my current game.
Let me talk a bit here about , and importantly Mat Hopwood. Mat runs the Drmop site, a place where he does tutorials, places code, answers comments diligently and generally has a lot to say about several subjects that a LOT of people are going to find helpful. Now i find Mats coding style to be very close to my own. which makes his code eminently readable to me. Thank goodness, cos in this day and age some coding practices seem to get in the way of code readability. However he doesn't stint at all. Pocketeers is the company he works for as  a coder and, judging by their creations is having a good time of it. As well as providing all this Marmalade coding insight Mat has also released his IwGame engine, which fits atop the Marmalade SDK and allows anyone to quickly get a game up and running. A great thing for first time coders etc.

As part of their IwGame Engine they have the Animated Ads Library. This is the part i am LOVING at the moment. It went in seamlessly into my game code. It works as described, and also the example works right away (big win i can tell ya!). I am sure Mat and his buddies will not get enough props for what they are doing, but i am one guy who is truly appreciating their work. Saving me dev time so i can spend it on the important things like Game development and not Ads placement.

I know those last two paragraphs might come off as sycophantic, but i was really frustrated and annoyed not getting Ads to simply work. hi system got it going as the first try should have.

Thanks Mat and the Pocketeers team.

Da Voodoochief

p.s. Animated Ads Rock, and mine now fades and twirls and scales in diferent timelines, looks fantastic.

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