For many months now, many of you have been asking us when the game will be available for iOS users as up until now it was only available on Android and more recently in your web browser. For many of you, we responded with "soon" because at the time, that's all we knew. But now, it's finally here!
There's no hiding that we're no hot-shot game development studio (yet). In fact, Jadoku is merely a 2-man team (soon to be 3!) and we work on this game in what little spare time we have outside of our full-time jobs. What this meant for the development of Frogar.io is that all of this is very new to us. Releasing the game on Android was as simple as uploading the game and waiting roughly 24 hours for it to be available in the Google Play store. We made the mistake of assuming the same would be the case with Apple. Oh, how we were wrong!
The first stumbling block that we came across was the networking side of the game that powers the multiplayer capabilities. Although Google Play had no concerns about the networking of the game, Apple were concerned about the connectivity of users that were on IPv6 networks (read more about IPv6 here). Admittedly, we hadn't even thought about IPv6 or even considered that there would be any issues with it, but there were and Apple weren't going to approve the app until we implemented support for IPv6.
This wasn't a simple task. At the time the web server and game servers that run the back-end of Frogar.io were hosted within the Google Cloud infrastructure. When we started looking into how we could support IPv6 within Google Cloud however, we started to realize just how little support there was for IPv6 in general. In fact, Google Cloud, being one of the major competitors in the cloud service providers didn't support IPv6 at all for UPD transport (what is UDP?), which is ultimately what we needed!
So setting off on an adventure of our own to try and solve this problem (literally just to get the game on the iOS app store!) we weren't expecting a long and ardious journey, but boy did we get one! We first set out trying out a few different cloud service providers such as Microsoft's Azure and Amazon's AWS. Azure unfortunately were the same as Google Cloud in that IPv6 support did not exist for UPD transport. AWS was slightly better in that some server instance types did support IPv6 for all transport types, but AWS was just too expensive and we faced other issues that just made the service un-usable for us.
Eventually we came across vultr.com, a name that we had never heard of, but literally 5 minutes after signing up with them we had a working web and game server, all IPv6 ready and super cost effective. We were blown away!
So what's the lesson here? Don't be scared to try something that isn't a well-known name! We managed to find an absolutely excellent service in a name that we had never heard of, that ticked boxes that some of the big names didn't!
Having sorted the IPv6 issues, we were excited to submit the game again to Apple, fully expecting them to approve it this time. Did they however? Of course not.
Being our first time having experience with Apple as developers, and considering how simple it was to release the game on Android, we made the mistake of thinking that it would be a fairly smooth process. Being also that we love our little game, we assumed they would too and that they would be delighted to have our game in their app store. We were just so, so wrong.
Over the next few months, Apple took their time to respond to us after each submission that we made with something new that they didn't like about the game. Admittedly, a lot of what they didn't like about the game was in their terms and regulations, such as not allowing the use of in-game promo codes (that's right, you can only use our promo codes on the Android and web version. Why? ... no idea!), but who reads those things, right?
Anyways, after submitting the game for what felt like the 100th time, Apple were finally cottoning on to the fact that we weren't going to give up, and they arranged a personal call with us to go over the final steps. They were actually pretty helpful this time. They explained that the final step was to ensure that purchases of the "remove ads" option had to remain on an iTunes user's account, so that if they uninstall and re-install the game they wouldn't have to buy it again (even though we had already implemented user accounts into frogar.io, where you only have to buy the "remove ads" option once per account...). They also said that if we did this, it would be very likely that our next submission would be approved.
Hearing that last part motivated us enough to cross the finish line. After spending the last few weeks tweaking the way that the in-game store works so that it adheres to Apple's requirements, we submitted the game again. We were delighted to finally see it get approved!
So to celebrate the release of Frogar.io on iOS, iPhone and iPad, here's a little promotional video!
Frogar.io is a fun, casual & competitive online game that you can play in your web browser and on your mobile. Play with thousands of players from all over the world, all competing to be the biggest and baddest frog in the bog!
Don't forget to share this post with your friends and family to let them know that the Frogar.io is finally available on iOS!
Much love, and thank you for your patience,