This one could have been a lot easier than it was but things happened. The first time uploading a game to the play store was a bit of a hassle but it was an eye-opening experience that should make the next time uploading a game much easier.
To start out you will need a development account for google, this will cost you around $25 USD as a one-off cost though. Head on over to google and search for console google play store or click this link here. Make your way through the forms to complete setting up an account.
After the account is made we can make a build of our game that we can upload to the play store. Here are some things that I didn’t know and wasn’t told about though.
- Your app must be built as a .aab file, not a .apk
- Your app must support 64bit.
- Your app must target at least API 30+
- Each time you upload the game, even if it fails, you will need to increase the build number.
So let’s sort out those must-haves.
1. Your app must be built as a .aab file. This one is simple and can be done in unity after version 2018.3, when you go to build the app in unity, there is an option to build as an App Bundle, select this option.
2. Your app must support 64bit. Unity has only 32bit enabled by default but this is easy to change as well.
Click on the Player Settings in the bottom left of the build settings.
Scroll down till you get to where it says “Configuration” in bold text.
As you can see ARM64 is greyed out, to change it so we can select it, change the Mono to IL2CPP
After that is changed, we can now select the 64bit support.
3. Your app must target an API of 30+. This one is just above the Configuration under the Identification.
Normally it has automatic (Highest installed) selected, if you have 30+ installed you will be fine (I only had 28 installed)
After selecting 30+ or having 30+ installed that’s another one marked off.
4. Each change you need to increase the build number. This one is in the same place, as you can see it took 7 builds to get the game up for the first time.
Each time you make a new build or try to resubmit an attempt to get the app accepted you will need to change this number.
This is all stuff that is nice to know beforehand so you don’t have to keep submitting to get another error message that you did something wrong. When I was doing this, it was showing 1 error message at a time and then I would have to work out how to fix it. Would have been easier if I had gotten them all in 1 go.
Now that is all done we can now go back to the google console and upload our first game!
Click on the All Apps on the left then click the blue Create app button.
Next, you can fill in some details about your app.
After that’s done click the create app in the bottom right.
Now the real headaches begin…
First, you are going to want to add the game for release, we can start this off with internal testing. From the Dashboard, you can click the View Tasks on the “Start testing now” to show what is needed to release the game to internal testing.
If you have some testers, you can add them here, if you don’t, click on the create a new release.
It should move you to another page with No releases, Create new release. Here we can click the create new release to be able to upload our game.
Next, it will ask for the aab file to be upload, a name for the game, and some release notes.
From August 2021 you will also need an app signing key as well, you can set up your own or use google to make one for you. To let Google do this for you, you can select the “Change app signing key” in blue just above the app bundles.
Another window will open, then select the blue button to let Google take care of the app signing (missed getting a picture of this, the habit of clicking-through too fast).
After uploading the file, putting in a name for the app, and added in some release notes, we can move onto the next page. Click the review release button in the bottom right.
On the next page, you will see some errors (if there is any) and some warnings that might come up
You won’t be able to release the app until all the errors are taken care of but warnings can be as minor as, “won’t show button properly on a smaller screen” and can be taken care of at a later time.
After taking a note of the warnings so we can fix them before release, we can roll out a release to be able to be tested.
With there being a release of the game we can now start on everything else that comes with uploading a game.
To get back to that page you can click on the dashboard on the left-hand side and then scroll down till you find the Set up your app. Click on the View Tasks to show them all, from here we can click on each section and fill them out.
- App Access: This one explains itself.
2. Content rating: This is a questionnaire to find out what age rating your game is going to be set at.
After starting the questionnaire it will ask for an email to send the report to, and a type to select. Next, it will ask you a lot of questions about what is in the game.
After finishing the questionnaire, we can move onto…
3. Target audience and content: You will need to finish the ads section to be able to do this one.
After click on “Go to ads” it will bring you to a new page.
After selecting if you have ads or not click the save button in the bottom right.
Now we can head back to the dashboard and go back into the Target audience.
Here you can select what age group your app/game is targeted at. After filling out that form we can now move onto…
4. News Apps: self-explanatory.
5. Covid-19 contact tracing and status apps. Also self-explanatory.
If you are still here after this long, you can see why it is called headaches ensued. Almost there though.
6. Select an app category and provide contact details: Here it will ask some more details about your game/app, like what kind of game it is, and add in some tags so people can find it easier. Also some details for where people can find your website and an email address for when they might have troubles with the game or suggestions for what to add etc.
7. Set up your store listing: This includes a little intro for your game and adding in all the imaging for the game, screenshots and videos will help it stand out more.
After adding in all the visuals and hitting the save, you can now take a break. For the most part, everything you can do for now is done. Your testers should have received a link to try out the game and until your game gets its review from number 2. Content rating. After you have received that you can move on to opening up testing for more people or even release the game.
This really was a long one and can take some time to get right but after you finish one app/game, it only gets easier from there! See you in the next one where we will have a little wrap-up of the game. See you there!