Disclaimer: this is an automatic aggregator which pulls feeds and comments from many blogs of contributors that have contributed to the Mono project. The contents of these blog entries do not necessarily reflect Xamarin's position.

September 28

Unity Reflect beta release adds new viewer to improve user experience and workflow

New beta version of Unity Reflect delivers a user-friendly stand-alone application for the design and construction community while improving on development workflows. Unity Reflect has always provided a platform for developers to customize and build their own applications. Over the last few releases, we’ve concentrated on enhancing the user experience and making collaboration in real-time […]

The post Unity Reflect beta release adds new viewer to improve user experience and workflow appeared first on Unity Technologies Blog.

September 25

Create jaw-dropping graphics with these High Definition Render Pipeline resources

Learn how to bring your high-fidelity graphics to life. We’ve gathered the latest tutorial content to enhance your game in the High Definition Render Pipeline – plus sample projects that are available for download. The High Definition Render Pipeline (HDRP) delivers state-of-the-art graphics on high-end platforms. HDRP is best to use if your goal is more […]

The post Create jaw-dropping graphics with these High Definition Render Pipeline resources appeared first on Unity Technologies Blog.

Offload project builds with Unity Build Server

Unity Build Server is a new way to offload project builds to dedicated hardware, so studios can build projects at scale and improve team productivity. Building projects may not be the first thing people think about when they choose Unity, but figuring out how to handle project builds can be a significant problem as projects […]

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AppStore Reviews Should be Stricter

Since the AppStore launched, developers have complained about the review process as too strict. Applications are mostly rejected either for not meeting requirements, not having enough functionality or circumventing Apple’s business model.

Yet, the AppStore reviews are too lax and they should be much stricter.

Let me explain why I think so, what I believe some new rules need to be, and how the AppStore can be improved.

Prioritizing the Needs of the Many

Apple states that they have 28 million registered developers, but I believe that only a fraction of those are actively developing applications on a daily basis. That number is closer to 5 million developers.

I understand deeply why developers are frustrated with the AppStore review process - I have suffered my fair share of AppStore rejections: both by missing simple issues and by trying to push the limits of what was allowed. I founded Xamarin, a company that built tools for mobile developers, and had a chance to become intimately familiar with the rejections that our own customers got.

Yet, there are 1.5 billion active Apple devices, devices that people trust to be keep their data secure and private. The overriding concern should be the 1.5 billion active users, and not the 0.33% (or 1.86% if you are feeling generous).

People have deposited their trust on Apple and Google to keep their devices safe. I wrote about this previously. While it is an industry sport to make fun of Google, I respect the work that Google puts on securing and managing my data - so much that I have trusted them with my email, photographs and documents for more than 15 years.

I trust both companies both because of their public track record, and because of conversations that I have had with friends working at both companies about their processes, their practices and the principles that they care about (Keeping up with Information Security is a part-time hobby of minex).

Today’s AppStore Policies are Insufficient

AppStore policies, and their automated and human reviews have helped nurture and curate the applications that are available. But with a target market as large and rich as iOS and Android these ecosystems have become a juicy target for scammers, swindlers, gangsters, nation states and hackers.

While some developers are upset with the Apple Store rejections, profiteers have figured out that they can make a fortune while abiding by the existing rules. These rules allow behaviors that are in either poor taste, or explicitly manipulating the psyche of the user.

First, let me share my perspective as a parent, and

I have kids aged 10, 7 and 4, and my eldest had access to an iPad since she was a year old, and I have experienced first hand how angering some applications on the AppStore can be to a small human.

It breaks my heart every time they burst out crying because something in these virtual worlds was designed to nag them, is frustrating or incomprehensible to them. We sometimes teach them how to deal with those problems, but this is not always possible. Try explaining to a 3 year old why they have to watch a 30 seconds ad in the middle of a dinosaur game to continue playing, or teach them that at arbitrary points during the game tapping on the screen will not dismiss an ad, but will instead take them to download another app, or direct them another web site.

This is infuriating.

Another problem happens when they play games defective by design. By this I mean that these games have had functionality or capabilities removed that can be solved by purchasing virtual items (coins, bucks, costumes, pets and so on).

I get to watch my kids display a full spectrum of negative experiences when they deal with these games.

We now have a rule at home “No free games or games with In-App Purchases”. While this works for “Can I get a new game?”, it does not work for the existing games that they play, and those that they play with their friends.

Like any good rule, there are exceptions, and I have allowed the kids to buy a handful of games with in-app purchases from reputable sources. They have to pay for those from their allowance.

These dark patterns are not limited applications for kids, read the end of this post for a list of negative scenarios that my followers encountered that will ring familiar.

Closing the AppStore Loopholes

Applications using these practices should be banned:

  • Those that use Dark Patterns to get users to purchase applications or subscriptions: These are things like “Free one week trial”, and then they start charging a high fee per week. Even if this activity is forbidden, some apps that do this get published.

  • Defective-by-design: there are too many games out there that can not be enjoyed unless you spend money in their applications. They get the kids hooked up, and then I have to deal with whiney 4 year olds, 7 year olds and 10 year old to spend their money on virtual currencies to level up.

  • Apps loaded with ads: I understand that using ads to monetize your application is one way of supporting the development, but there needs to be a threshold on how many ads are on the screen, and shown by time, as these apps can be incredibly frustrating to use. And not all apps offer a “Pay to remove the ad”, I suspect because the pay-to-remove is not as profitable as showing ads non-stop.

  • Watch an ad to continue: another nasty problem are defective-by-design games and application that rather than requesting money directly, steer kids towards watching ads (sometimes “watch an ad for 30 seconds”) to get something or achieve something. They are driving ad revenue by forcing kids to watch garbage.

  • Install chains: there are networks of ill-behaved applications that trick kids into installing applications that are part of their network of applications. It starts with an innocent looking app, and before the day is over, you are have 30 new scammy apps installed on your machine.

  • Notification Abuse: these are applications that send advertisements or promotional offers to your device. From discount offers, timed offers and product offerings. It used to be that Apple banned these practices on their AppReview guidelines, but I never saw those enforced and resorted to turning off notifications. These days these promotions are allowed. I would like them to be banned, have the ability to report them as spam, and infringers to have their notification rights suspended.

  • ) Ban on Selling your Data to Third Parties: ban applications that sell your data to third parties. Sometimes the data collection is explicit (for example using the Facebook app), but sometimes unknowingly, an application uses a third party SDK that does its dirty work behind the scenes. Third party SDKs should be registered with Apple, and applications should disclose which third party SDKs are in use. If one of those 3rd party SDKs is found to abuse the rules or is stealing data, all applications that rely on the SDK can be remotely deactivated. While this was recently in the news this is by no means a new practice, this has been happening for years.

One area that is grayer are Applications that are designed to be addictive to increase engagement (some games, Facebook and Twitter) as they are a major problem for our psyches and for our society. Sadly, it is likely beyond the scope of what the AppStore Review team can do. One option is to pass legislation that would cover this (Shutdown Laws are one example).

Changes in the AppStore UI

It is not apps for children that have this problem. I find myself thinking twice before downloading applications with "In App Purchases". That label has become a red flag: one that sends the message "scammy behavior ahead"

I would rather pay for an app than a free app with In-App Purchases. This is unfair to many creators that can only monetize their work via an In-App Purchases.

This could be addressed either by offering a free trial period for the app (managed by the AppStore), or by listing explicitly that there is an “Unlock by paying” option to distinguish these from “Offers In-App Purchases” which is a catch-all expression for both legitimate, scammy or nasty sales.

My list of wishes:

  • Offer Trial Periods for applications: this would send a clear message that this is a paid application, but you can try to use it. And by offering this directly by the AppStore, developers would not have to deal with the In-App purchase workflow, bringing joy to developers and users alike.

  • Explicit Labels: Rather than using the catch-all “Offers In-App Purchases”, show the nature of the purchase: “Unlock Features by Paying”, “Offers Subscriptions”, “Buy virtual services” and “Sells virtual coins/items”

  • Better Filtering: Today, it is not possible to filter searches to those that are paid apps (which tend to be less slimy than those with In-App Purchases)

  • Disclose the class of In-App Purchases available on each app that offers it up-front: I should not have to scroll and hunt for the information and mentally attempt to understand what the item description is to make a purchase

  • Report Abuse: Human reviewers and automated reviews are not able to spot every violation of the existing rules or my proposed additional rules. Users should be able to report applications that break the rules and developers should be aware that their application can be removed from circulation for breaking the rules or scammy behavior.

Some Bad Practices

Check some of the bad practices in this compilation

September 24

Helping to set Romero Games’s Empire of Sin up for success

Hundreds of game studios – from skeleton-crew indies to big-budget AAAs – turn to Unity Customer Success Services to ensure that their projects are built on strong and stable foundations. Renowned strategy games publisher Paradox Interactive relies on a Unity Success Plan to empower its development partners to deliver amazing game experiences.   Here, we’ll […]

The post Helping to set Romero Games’s Empire of Sin up for success appeared first on Unity Technologies Blog.

Some Bad App Practices

Some bad app patterns as some followers described them

You can read more in the replies to my request a few weeks ago:

September 23

How Fall Guys defied the odds and went global

With a launch that saw 1.5M+ players logging in to take part in one of the wackiest titles of 2020, we celebrate their story – and the technology that made it possible. If you’re not already playing Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout, following @FallGuysGame on Twitter or tuning in with the millions of others on Twitch […]

The post How Fall Guys defied the odds and went global appeared first on Unity Technologies Blog.

Small Places Loosely Joined

Untitled

Over the last few years I’ve spent a lot of time helping people new to virtual worlds learn how they work. Over the next few weeks I’m sharing a series of short posts on some of the high level concepts I covered which will hopefully be useful to …

September 21

Creating an innovative online experience for gamescom 2020

We collaborated with Super Crowd Entertainment to make an interactive, MMO-inspired Indie Arena Booth experience with over 150 exhibitors. Here’s how it all came together. Since COVID-19 hit, the video game industry has had to rethink the structure of the in-person events that have fostered knowledge-sharing and community. Many events have been canceled, while others […]

The post Creating an innovative online experience for gamescom 2020 appeared first on Unity Technologies Blog.

New performance improvements in Unity 2020.2

The Unity 2020.2 release features several optimizations that are now available for testing in beta. Read on to see where you can expect to see major speed-ups and get behind-the-scenes insights into what we’ve done to make these improvements. Writing high-performance code is an integral part of efficient software development and has always been part […]

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September 18

Unity’s future starts with U

Today is a historic day for Unity as we list on the New York Stock Exchange with the stock ticker symbol “U”.  I’ve spent a few decades working in games and technology. One of the most enjoyable and surprising days I can recall was in the fall of 2013 when I attended one of our […]

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September 17

The latest news from Facebook Connect 2020

The Oculus Quest 2 is here, with full Unity support. Get all the latest news from Facebook Connect 2020, and learn more about building your next VR experience for Oculus. Unity support for Oculus Quest 2 The Oculus Quest 2 is here, with full Unity support. It’s lighter, faster, and has a better display than […]

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Training a performant object detection ML model on synthetic data using Unity Perception tools

Supervised machine learning (ML) has revolutionized artificial intelligence and has led to the creation of numerous innovative products. However, with supervised machine learning, there is always a need for larger and more complex datasets, and collecting these datasets is costly. How can you be sure of the label quality? How do you ensure that the […]

The post Training a performant object detection ML model on synthetic data using Unity Perception tools appeared first on Unity Technologies Blog.

September 16

A Tall Dark Stranger

Untitled

Over the past few years I’ve spent a lot of time helping people new to virtual worlds understand how they work. Over the next few weeks I’m going to share a series of short posts on some of the high level concepts I covered which will hopefully be …

Add Unity-powered features to your app using Unity as a Library

You can enhance your existing apps by easily adding AR, real-time rendering, mini-games and more into your native mobile experience. Unity 2019.4 LTS adds support for using Unity as a Library controlled by Android/Java and iOS/Objective C apps. As we announced last June, Unity is creating solutions for developers who want to include features powered […]

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September 15

Celebrating creators with the new Asset Store Humble Bundle

We’ve teamed up with Asset Store creators for our newest bundle of made-with-Unity games – plus the assets used to create them. Meet the teams from Five Studios Interactive and doorfortyfour to learn how Asset Store publishers use assets to create amazing games. We’re celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the Unity Asset Store with a Humble […]

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