On the evening of September 18th, ‘Polarity Ball Rubicon’ version 1.30.9 was submitted to Oculus as the candidate version for initial release. And now, we wait.
Version 1.30.9 was not the first version to be submitted to Oculus as a release candidate. On September 14th, version 1.29.3 was submitted, but failed three tests: the game did not support left-handed users, the controller’s back button was not being utilized, and the game was unnecessarily prompting the user for permission to access the microphone.
Resolving the first two issues was easy enough. The addition of a couple simple “or” conditions in my PlayerRayCast script allowed for left-handed controls. Creating support for the back-button was a little more involved since it had to be written from scratch, but it came together in under an hour. The issue of asking for permission to use the microphone was a tougher problem to solve.
When I first started work on the first ‘Polarity Ball’ game over two years ago, the only way that Android would ask for a specific permission was if your Android Manifest XML file asked for it via the <uses-permission> tag. But at some point in the intervening time, a change was made to Android so that if any part of the app’s code uses hardware that would require one of these permissions, the app will ask for that permission upon installation, even if there is no reference to that permission in the manifest.
While working on ‘Polarity Ball Rubicon’, I planned on creating a multiplayer mode. Along with that, I installed many Oculus APIs and plugins that would support the social experience, including VOIP, VoiceMod, and LipSync plugins. But the creation of a multiplayer mode has so far proven to be too tall of an order for the PBR’s initial release. So, since there is no multiplayer functionality, that meant that my app should not be asking for unnecessary permissions. In order to get the app to stop asking for microphone permission, I had to remove the VOIP, VoiceMod, and LipSync, and another handful of scripts with “microphone” in the name, plus commenting out all other references to those scripts in other scripts that were themselves not removed. Finally, after four days of fiddling around, I finally got a version of the APK to build that did not prompt the user for any unnecessary permissions.
From the 14th to the 18th, I submitted three versions. Since the first two versions failed tests, I received notification of their failure after only a few hours. But after resolving those bugs and submitting a version that I knew would not fail, I’ve waited for three days in silence. Oculus’ courtesy email that follows submission explains that it may take them two to three weeks to respond after submission; so I am trying to remain patient while I await their next communication. From my memory of publishing the first ‘Polarity Ball’ game, the next stage will be to pass the Publishing Review. Unlike last time, I believe all of the image assets needed for the store have already been submitted correctly, so I don’t foresee any holdups.
Because I am still waiting to hear back, I cannot yet commit to a release date. I have a tentative date in mind that is actually coming up very soon, but I would rather have a sudden soft release than delaying the release to try to build up buzz beforehand.