Announcing SOOMLA Profile module!

We are happy to announce the brand new Profile module, now available to the SOOMLA community.

The Profile Module

SOOMLA is always looking for new ways to help game developers make their games better. One of the key elements in modern game development is social network visibility, game developers want their games to interact with social network, this way the players become the evangelists of the game, and the game gets noticed, which leads to more players.

The Profile module helps game developers connect their game to the social web. With Profile integrated into your game, you can easily authenticate players using various social networks, allow the game to post on players’ feeds, get information about their friends, and much more!

Player Motivation

What is the player’s motivation to grant your game access to their social network? one word… Rewards!

Players love to get rewarded for preforming social interactions within your game, with Profile it’s easy to do so. The module allows the developer to attach a reward to almost every social interaction within it, when players preform it they get rewarded. Since Profile is a part of the SOOMLA framework, it’s easy to attach a reward which is bound to your Store virtual economy, meaning the player can get virtual item rewards for his/hers social interactions.

Get It Now!

As with all SOOMLA modules we try and cover as many platforms as possible, the Profile module is currently available for iOS (ios-profile), Android (android-profile), Cocos2d-x (cocos2dx-profile), and Unity3d (unity3d-profile).
Much like our other modules, this module is open-source, so there’s no reason for not getting it right now, and if you wish you can even contribute to the project.

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SOOMLA Store is now available for Windows Phone developers !

Store-Windows-Phone-04Good news for the SOOMLA developer community: Windows Phone is supported by SOOMLA Store.

Windows Phone need is now satisfied

We’ve been hearing a lot of developers asking for Windows Phone integration as part of their attempt to release games to more app stores and we just couldn’t stay indifferent to all the requests. We were looking for ways to get Windows Phone support to the community and it was with a lot of luck that we found Guillaume and Fabrice and the rest of the guys from Shinypix, a great indie studio from France, who were already doing it and agreed to polish it and release it to the SOOMLA community. We LOVE contributors! Thank you guys.

wp-store is actually a pretty big thing for us. We wanted to support Microsoft’s great mobile platform for a long time now and we’re very happy it’s here now. It won’t take long until we get it connected to Unity and Cocos2dx (as we do with all native platforms we support).

Same conventions through all Store modules

When you’ll look into the code of wp-store, you’ll see that the features are identical to all SOOMLA Store modules. It includes all the main classes you already know like StoreInventory and StoreInfo as well as the the storage and connections to IAP. We will soon also add detailed docs and articles about wp-store into the new knowledgebase at http://know.soom.la.

Contribution is key for success

We encourage everyone from the SOOMLA community to contribute. Contribution is the key for the success of any open-source community and at the end, you’ll be the ones benefiting from that. It can be more platforms, solving technical issues and answering others on forums. Whatever you can do to get the community forward will bring you respect and will drive technology forward.

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SOOMLA now available in Unity Asset Store!

If you’re a Unity3d game developer, you’re probably familiar with Unity’s Asset Store, which looks like most app stores only that instead of apps it provides pre-built assets that you can import directly into your project. The SOOMLA team is excited to announce that SOOMLA is now available in Unity’s Asset Store! This means that with a few short clicks  you can have SOOMLA’s unity3d-store integrated into your project. You no longer need to clone the project from Github and drag the SOOMLA prefabs into your scene – you can just download and import from the Asset Store.

SOOMLA on Unity Asset Store

 

So why is SOOMLA so great and worth downloading?!

All Free to Play games use in-app purchases to monetize. SOOMLA offers game developers a free and easy way to do this. SOOMLA’s Unity in-app purchase plugin is the best tool to model your virtual economy and integrate IAP into your game. In addition to modeling and easy-to-use IAP this plugin will provide you with encrypted on-device storage and a single API to do all your virtual economy operations. SOOMLA for Unity is available for iOS / Android / Amazon. You can read more documentation and other articles at http://know.soom.la.

Easy as 1, 2, 3

To download SOOMLA from the Asset Store all you have to do is:

  1. Open the Asset Store in the Unity editor & search for “Soomla”.
  2. Click the “Download” button.
  3. Once the download is done, click the “Import” button to bring SOOMLA into your project.

Import SOOMLA

If you like SOOMLA, please rate us or write a review in the Unity Asset Store.

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Announcement, Open Source, Video

New Videos Page in SOOMLA’s Knowledge Base

SOOMLA Knowledge Base

SOOMLA recently went live with an informative Knowledge Base, created so that game developers can quickly and easily learn how to use SOOMLA. Currently the Knowledge Base provides documents with explanations and examples, written tutorials, and new video tutorials. Game devs can navigate their way through the user-friendly main menu of the Knowledge Base to find whatever materials they need.

Our most recent addition to the Knowledge Base is the Video Tutorials page that can be opened by clicking the “University” button in the main menu. While our tutorial collection consists of only four videos as of now, we are working hard at creating more for the benefit of the community.

The videos that are currently available are:

  • Getting Started with unity3d-store for Android
  • Getting Started with unity3d-store for iOS
  • Integrate unity3d-store into an example app for Android
  • Integrate unity3d-store into an example app for iOS

We are working on widening the scope of the Knowledge Base with more documents and explanations about the different modules that SOOMLA provides, including the new modules that will be available in the near future. Of course there will also be more examples, tutorials, and videos to complement the docs. We believe that information will strengthen our already solid community, and that’s the reason why we’re constantly improving and adding more to the Knowledge Base.

Enjoy!

 

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Congratulations … SOOMLA is 2 years young!

Birthday-botSOOMLA is 2 years young. It might sound like a long time but we felt it just went by in a 2 seconds.

We started 2 years ago with a mission to create valuable solutions for developers. When we looked at different kinds of developers we found that game developers have some areas where we can step in and create some interesting tools that will improve their productivity. We are developers ourselves. The kind of developers who appreciate open-source, community and culture. We always looked up to companies like Parse, Kinvey or Github because they always strive for perfection and want to provide cutting edge technologies to developers without compromising on quality or coolness.

So… Why In App Purchases?!

Try to go 2 years back. Try to remember how mobile games were making money that time. Do you remember those times where you had to pay 1$ to download a game from the App Store? Around the time when we started SOOMLA we found a trend that was emerging. It was (and still is) called Free To Play (F2P). In this model you download a game for free and you can play (try) it for free. The “problem” is that you only get a taste of the game and if you really want to succeed (or sometimes even to continue play) in it you’ll need to buy something. This is In-App Purchases and it was proven to be the better way to monetize a mobile game. We weren’t the only ones who realized that though. Apparently, a handful of gaming studios realized that and started creating games that operate in the F2P model. From “Candy Crush” to “Make It Rain”, from “Clash of Clans” to “Cut The Rope” (that has both paid and IAP versions), Tens of Thousands of games were converted to F2P or created as F2P.

As I said before, we’re developers for developers. So we thought what we can do for developers that’s related to F2P. How we can make game developers’ lives easier when they build their virtual economies or integrate with the on-device stores for IAP. This is how our first open-source project android-store was born. Not long after that, his brother ios-store came along and because we always have game developers in mind we had to create the native game-engine plugins unity3d-store and cocos2dx-store. Those plugins were the building blocks for the “SOOMLA Framework”.

The In-Game Store came and left …

So the SOOMLA open-srouce Framework was underway. The attention it got was increasing exponentially month after month and we started thinking “what’s next?”. We thought about an interesting concept that came naturally after we had a whole technology revolving around virtual economies: “In-Game Store”. It was a smart store that every developer could customize to his \ her needs and easily plug into a game. When the game was published, that store would send information related to the game economy to a server so developers could see analytics and analyze the performance of their virtual economy. We synchronized all virtual economy related assets such as: store images, coin balances, events and more.

As great as this solution was, we couldn’t fulfill the requirements of each and every single studio. After a while, we understood that the product that we planned to be dynamic and applicable for many games was only useful to a handful and we decided to “kill” it. Although it wasn’t easy to close the In-Game Store (we still think it’s a great product), we found something better that game developers can greatly benefit from.

Back to the future

The SOOMLA open-source Framework has became the de-facto way of creating game economies. Thousands of games that are played by hundreds of millions of users have SOOMLA inside. We looked back to the framework and realized that there’s something in this open-source solution that brings the value we want to bring. We know that we need to concentrate on that and make it better and richer. SOOMLA is going to provide more and more open-source solutions under the umbrella of the SOOMLA Framework.

The Store modules was the first one in SOOMLA. We’re on the verge of releasing 2 new modules: Profile and LevelUp. These modules concentrate on making the game design creation process simpler in addition to improving the way you socially engage users to your game. Like Store, these modules are developed to the major mobile platforms and game engines. We showed the new modules to studios that use SOOMLA and the reaction we got was amazing. Game developers really need these tools and we’re happy to provide them.

We’re not stopping there… SOOMLA is preparing more goodies. From Windows Phone integrations to a brand new game analysis services. All fro free, and open source. All for game developers.

2 years and counting…

We’re proud to be doing what we do. Every day in SOOMLA we’re fulfilling this company’s mission. Our products stands for themselves, we provide great value and we do it with flare and enthusiasm. This is what we’re going to continue be doing in the years to come.

We’ve just launched new websites to better explain what we do, what we plan to do and how we’re going to do it. Check them out:

 

Congratulation SOOMLA on your 2 years birthday 🙂

 

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Announcement, Events

Viral Installs – Getting Users to Share and Rate Your Game

Next week, I’m giving a session at Casual Connect in San Francisco. For those if you who can’t make it to the conference – I’m going to share a link to the recorded session as as the conference team uploads it to YouTube. For those of you who are coming, feel free to check the slides in advance and even download them.

I’m going to talk about 3 key elements of getting more social interaction:

  • Designing game narrative around virality
  • Choosing the best timing to pop the question
  • Making the sharing flow as smooth as possible

The session will take place at the Franciscan Ballroom in the 2nd floor and will start at 3:30pm on Wednesday, July 23rd. It’s part of the Game Design track. Here is a link to the conference agenda and more details.

Hope to see all of you there.

Here are links to previous lectures I gave at Casual Connect:

  • Why publishing is broken and how we can fix it – Watch Video
  • How to make addictive games – Watch Video
  • The perfect store – how to engage users in your game store – Watch Video

 

 

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Video tutorial: Integrate unity3d-store into a “No Ads” sample app

New video tutorial

Many game developers that want to use SOOMLA’s unity3d-store turned to us for help with the integration of the store into their app. So, we decided to create a video tutorial on how to do that. The steps in the tutorial are:

  1. Create a demo app with a “No Ads” button.
  2. Integrate SOOMLA’s unity3d-store into the app.
  3. Initialize the SOOMLA SDK.
  4. Create our version of IStoreAssets.
  5. Implement functionality for the “No Ads” button.
  6. Run the app on a device.

For Android:

For iOS:


 

SOOMLA’s Knowledge Base

Recently SOOMLA’s Knowledge Base went live with lots of documents, tutorials, and examples. You can check it out here.

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Making the Nokia Store IAP plugin for Soomla

Nokia-Store-IAPThe making of a new billing plugin

It’s not everyday that a developer gets a chance to contribute on a big FLOSS project like Soomla but thanks to my current employer Studio V2, I was able to help this great project gain a new billing plugin for the Nokia X platform.
Our first project that implemented in app purchases used Soomla, mostly because it’s cross-platform, free as in free beer and easy to use. But when we were asked if we could port our apps to Nokia X, the Free and Open Source aspect of the Soomla project was a big advantage.

With any commercial API that would have been a chore to ask the developers for a new billing option, but since Soomla is entirely Open Source I decided that maybe I could do that by myself, both on company time and on my free time. With the help of the Soomla core developers and the great documentation they provided, it wasn’t too difficult to get a Nokia Store billing plugin developed! Anyone interested in creating a new billing plugin for Soomla should check out the Google Play billing plugin, it’s a great starting point!

Introducing the Nokia Store billing plugin

The Nokia X device family is still young, but it offers a new market place for your games and apps. Since the in-app API differs from the one used by Google Play, a new billing plugin was required to get it to play nice with Soomla.
With the help of this new billing plugin, you can compile your existing games using Soomla to support a brand new market place with little to no modifications to the codebase !
If you’re interested, I invite you to check out the Nokia Store billing plugin for Soomla right here.
If like me you’re interested in using it in Unity3D, then this fork of Soomla for Unity3D integrates the billing plugin directly into the Unity3D version of Soomla so it can be used right away !
While I did my best to test the plugin, it’s is very recent, bugs may still be present, so if you find any, don’t hesitate to create a ticket on the plugin’s repository or drop me a email.

Working with the Soomla team

If you’ve ever skimmed thought the repositories of the Soomla projects you may have noticed that every project’s README.md includes a line or two about how they have “deep respect for contributors”. I didn’t really know what it actually meant until I actually got involved and saw first hand how true it was. The core developers and contributors are both incredibly helpful and 100% invested in the project!
As a final note I’d like to thank everyone at Studio V2 for allowing this, and Refael Dakar for his help and support along with all the people involved in the Soomla project !

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Announcement, Open Source, Plugins, Tech Resources

SOOMLA makes Amazon IAP available for game developers

Amazon in-app purchasing is now fully supported by SOOMLA. Feel free to publish your free to play games on Amazon and rest assured SOOMLA will handle the transactions.A couple of months ago we announced our new direction to add more billing services and allow game developers to use SOOMLA on multiple Android stores. It took us a while to figure out the best way to do this and prepare a scalable and modular architecture but it’s finally ready.

Amazon Store was the most requested feature on SOOMLA

The first billing service plugin we provided was Google Play. It is the default billing service for android-store and the code is maintained in a dedicated Github repo called android-store-google-play. We wanted the second billing service to be something most of SOOMLA developers need.We have being asked for new plugins and features a lot, but Amazon IAP integration was certainly the most frequent feature request. This is why we decided to add Amazon billing service to android-store  which will be SOOMLA’s second android billing service. We open sourced  it on its own repo.

SOOMLA makes IAP easy for developers

It’s now easier than ever to add In App Purchases into your Android game using Google Play or Amazon. The integration instructions are different for the different platforms:

If you need the native android integration (for Cocos2dx or AndEngine) you should take a look at the instructions on android-store: https://github.com/soomla/android-store#amazon

For Unity3D, just take a look at the new SOOMLA Settings panel after you add unity3d-store’s unitypackage into you unity project. In that panel you’ll see the option to select between Google Play and Amazon. Easy as pie 🙂

We’ll keep on working with the community on more and more additions to SOOMLA. We see people from the community asking questions and solving problems and we’re very happy with that. We don’t see any other way indies can become bigger other than joining forces and doing things together.

 

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SOOMLA Highway – FAQ

Last week we re-launched our dashboard with a new option – the SOOMLA Highway. We limited the access to this option to games that are already live with the SOOMLA framework which raised quite a few questions so we would like to address them here:

Why is the Highway only available for games who use the framework

A: The new service is an extension to the SOOMLA framework – it allows controlling certain aspects of the game economy remotely but it can only be used if your game is already built with the framework inside.

Why do you require games to be live to use the Highway

A: The main feature of the Highway is that it allows controlling the game economy remotely. This is valuable only for live games.

Ok, but why not let people play around with it?

A: As the new product is still evolving we need to learn how it’s being used by live games so we can improve the value it brings. In the future we might remove the limitations.

What if I want to test the service before going live

A: If you are going live soon and have already implemented the framework, you can ask us for an access code through the same form.

I just started a game and want to use the Highway when it goes live

A: GREAT,the first step is implementing your game economy based on the SOOMLA framework.

 

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