SOOMLA is Leaping Forward – What to Expect?

Hi there, Yaniv from SOOMLA here. If this is the first time you are visiting SOOMLA, you might be asking yourself what is Einstein bot is working on new inventions for mobile game developers. In app purchase stores will become more open, flexible and data driven SOOMLA about? But, if you’ve been here before, at least I can give you some explanation about what’s going on lately. This post will try to answer both questions. SOOMLA is and has always been about helping mobile developers do more together. We are doing exactly that with the virtual economy framework for mobile games we’ve developed, and we would like to do the same with the dynamic storefront. The feedback we’ve received lately from some of the 2,000 developers that use our store platform, is saying that we need to add more flexibility around the design of the stores. The way we are planning to answer this requirement is by changing two things:

  • Allow games that use the Virtual Economy Framework (project.soom.la) to seamlessly connect to a server. We are planning to offer that in two flavors: self hosted on your own server and free hosting by SOOMLA.
  • Open the storefront as an open source project so that developers can extend, modify and add themes.

Exciting Times for The Virtual Economy Platform Developers

This is great news for the store platform users but it’s actually even better for the Virtual Economy Framework users. The community around the SOOMLA framework is growing rapidly and we’ve seen more than 1,500 downloads in the last 30 days. Many of the framework users have also told us they would like to be able to leverage our server services and the change will allow exactly that.

Platform Support During the Change

Now, as you can imagine, this is a major change in the architecture or our platform. We want to do it very quickly, which means we have to limit support to the In-App Purchase Store solution in the meanwhile. More specifically:

  • We are not allowing new accounts to be created for the Store platform.
  • Anyone that already has an account can continue to work with the store solution.
  • The SOOMLA Project – the Virtual Economy Framework is a great way to save time if you are building In-App Purchasing into your design. It is community supported and we monitor issues and offer additional support as needed. We just added Cocos2d-x JS bindings and there are more goodies coming soon.

FAQ about the new storefront platform architecture

Q: When will the store solution come back online?
A: The store solution as it exists today has 3 parts: The storefront, the store editor and the store dashboard. As part of the change we are separating these out so developers have more options. We are going to have most of it ready by April 20th and the rest in the first week of June. More specifically:
  • The Store dashboard will be available in April along with a server solution.
  • The Store editor will be available in April with the ability to edit the in-app economy, prices, goods and item images. In June we are going to add the ability to edit the UI look and feel.
  • Storefront as an open framework – the code is already available on Github – https://github.com/soomla/storefront-themes but it’s still not documented well enough. We are planning to have it fully open in the first week of June with community generated themes, full documentation and much more.
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Q: What are all these solutions going to cost?
A: Everything described above will be offered for free.
Q: Is SOOMLA running out of funds?
A: Quite the opposite. SOOMLA’s financial situation has never been better. We were able to convince many people that allowing developers to do more together is a great mission to support.
Q: I already use the SOOMLA store solution. How does the change affect me.
A: It doesn’t, we are changing the architecture a bit and opening a few things up. You will have a bit more flexibility in the future and in the meanwhile receive full support like we have been giving all along.
Q: I just started using the store platform. Should I continue or wait for you guys to finish?
A: It depends. If you are happy with the design you were able to achieve, you can integrate it in your design and go live. If you feel that you need a bit more flexibility you can wait, or go live and switch later.
Q: I was planning to use the store editor and now I can’t sign up. What can I do?
A: If you believe the existing themes were a perfect fit for your needs and are planning to go live in the next month or two – you can shoot us a line and we will open an account for you. If you are not sure about the existing themes or can wait a bit longer, the best thing to do in the meanwhile is go to The SOOMLA Project and already start using it as your virtual economy infrastructure. Switching from there will be as easy as clicking a few buttons.
Q: What kind of flexibility will the new storefront architecture allow?
A: Developers will be able to create new templates, edit existing ones and contribute templates back to the community
Q: Where will I be able to find templates for my store?
A: We are planning to have a gallery of templates for different types of stores and genres. We are hoping that this will become a community resource where developers can also share their work back.
Q: Do you have any plans to support native storefront templates?
A: All the templates are coded in HTML 5 and wrapped in native code so they fit seamlessly in your design. The HTML 5 stores allow them to be cross-platform and dynamic. The new architecture will be however more open and so completely native stores will be supported with some limits on what you can change remotely.
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10 COMMENTS

  1. I can’t help but notice that April 20th has come and gone, and there doesn’t appear to be any more on the soomla site than there was before. According to this post, the new Store editor and dashboard should be there now, correct? What’s the status on these? We would like to use soomla in our project, but as we’re moving forward on the store aspect of it within the next couple of weeks, we need to make a decision soon.

    • You are absolutely right and we do apologize for the delay. We have been working hard on the release and it’s nearly ready. Have a few more buttons to add and a few more tests to run but it’s coming real soon. We are going to finish by April 30th at the very latest and will send an email when it’s out. If you absolutely need something before that – email support@soom.la and we will open an account for you.

  2. Hi,
    I am looking around for an in-game purchasing plugin for Unity3D 4.5+ and came across SOOMLA. Was wondering if there are any good video tutorials. Also, will you expand the range of platforms that you are supporting to maybe Windows Phones, etc.?

    Thanks

    • Hi Andrei, I don’t think there are any video tutorials available today. If you want to make one as you go through your first experience integrating SOOMLA, that would be awesome. You can also post on answers.soom.la the same questions and one of the community members might decide to make one. As for windows, I haven’t seen any activity in that direction but you can try organizing a group that will develop this together and share the work. We will obviously support this effort if it happens. With regards to other phones – Amazon was just released, there is one community member working on Nokia integration and I Open IAB are looking into making a plugin for SOOMLA.

      • Hey Yaniv, thanks for getting back to me. One more question. How does the model work or how does the different parts work together. You have the Front Store which I guess gets updates from the actual; game on the device about things purchased. Then the game gets latest changes from the Front Store and then changes the Google Play Store inventory for that game? I guess Google still handles all the financial transactions? Just wondering about the way the different parts hold together.

        • Hi Andrei,

          It’s actually better if you post these questions on answers.soom.la. Do you mind posting future questions there? To answer some of the questions (not sure I got all) – all transactions are being handled by Apple/Google/Amazon and you will see them in your developer account in the respective store. The best place to start would be at http://project.soom.la and github.com/soomla. Choose your platform and go over the getting started instructions.

          Hope this helps

          Yaniv

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