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We interrupt this silence to bring you an important news flash

Man, it’s been too long since I blogged! There are many reasons for this but mainly a lack of time – which is still the case so explanations will need to wait for later.

Meanwhile, the news is that the free version of Fare City is now available in the App Store. Fare City Lite lets you play a time-limited version of the full game – hopefully long enough to get to see how addictive the gameplay is without quite satisfying the need for more. It also lacks the global leaderboard because … well, because there had to be something else missing, didn’t there.

So now I’m trying to figure out how to publicize a free application.

One lesson I did learn today is that the App Store is really dumb. The story goes like this.

When you submit an application to Apple you are invited to set an availability date. This is the date on which you hope your application will appear in the App Store. I say “hope” because Apple has to review the app first and no one knows how long that will take, so the availability date just defines the earliest date it could possibly show. When I submitted Fare City Lite I chose the date of October 28 simply because it was two weeks later and I figured two weeks was a good time to do some market warm-up. (It’s just a shame that the two weeks passed without any start to the warm-up process…)

Now, for whatever reason, Apple took slightly longer to approve than previously. To be precise, they took two weeks and one day so FCL was released to the App Store on October 29. But if you go look at its listing here you will notice that it was posted on October 28 – the original availability date.

So why does this matter? Well, it also shows in the release-date listing under October 28 too, so the day FCL arrived it was already on the second page of the listing! Apparently, the smart people correct the availability date as soon as they get the approval email from Apple; lesson learned for next time.

But I have to ask, what earthly reason can there by to have a release date that is prior to release? I just don’t get it.

Anyway, back to finding places to shout about Fare City.

Talk to you later.

Of shifting leaderboards and news of Fare City 1.1

Anyone bothering to follow my blog (you have my sympathy) will know the issue we have with Fare City’s leaderboard. Capped at displaying only the top 1,000 entries, two days ago we passed 2,000 with a slow but steady growth pattern. Clearly we need a new service, and we need it sooner rather than later.

So this week I have been having fun with alternative suppliers. To keep the story short we have settled on Open Feint as our new service. Although I will miss seeing all the different country flags on the leaderboard, OF is bringing many benefits, including multiple leaderboards, achievements, challenges (if I can figure out how to do them well in Fare City), plus all that great social gaming network stuff of friends lists, comparing games, etc.

Current timeline for all this new goodness is about two weeks, plus Apple approval time. Unfortunately that still means a probable four weeks before the players finally get it, but good things take time.

However, a new leaderboard is not the only thing to look forward to in 1.1. I can now confirm that there will definitely be a new map that will bring some new challenges to the game. We are also hoping to squeeze in some other goodies, but only if it can be done in the two-week timetable.

Before then, the lite version is nearly ready for submission to Apple. We hope this will allow us to reach a much wider audience for the game (and result in lots of upgrades to the paid version!).

In other non-news, there is still no word from Apple on 1.0.2. Hopefully they won’t take much longer. I’m sure everyone will be glad to see the back of the parsing error message!

Another Friday, another release

Version 1.0.2 of Fare City was submitted to Apple today. Hopefully this brings an end to the problems we’ve had with our leaderboard. Basically we have restricted the leaderboard to the top 1000 entries, though you can still see your own ranking using the “My Scores” filter. It all looks very nice and I think provides a great solution for the time being.

Next week I expect to get back to work on version 1.1. One of the central features of that release will be a new high-score service. At the moment we are evaluating the different options, with Open Feint and Scoreloop as the front runners. If any players have strong opinions on which is better you can drop us an email through the support page. Thanks.

Fare City continues to get great reviews from players and review sites, overwhelming 5 stars. This is a great encouragement as it is quite a slog as an independent developer to get the word out there. We also monitor Twitter and it is exciting to find people posting about the game.

OK, this is becoming an end of the week ramble. Time to stop.