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Developing for Mobile VR pt.5 – Store Submission Article

This is it, the fifth and final part of my series of blog posts looking at developing VR for mobile. Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4 are available on Apps-World to read, looking at the why’s, how’s, considerations and performance optimisation and testing. Assuming you have read all of those and have created a stable release candidate build of your mobile VR app, now you’re ready to submit to the Oculus Store.

Store Submission Process

In order to be able to sell your app on the Oculus Store for Gear VR titles, you will need to have the app reviewed by the Oculus Store team for comfort, performance and general suitability before they will give the green light for it to be released.

This is a relatively straight-forward process but does require a bit of legwork on your behalf to get everything setup in the backend first. The amount of effort required to setup your app depends upon the features included with your app i.e. whether or not you have IAP, matchmaking for multiplayer, achievements, leaderboards and so on. Many elements you will have to setup APIs and IDs for in the backend, then go back into your app project in Unity to ensure that the appropriate values are used for each achievement unlock, IAP etc.

You should have already setup an Oculus ID, as covered in part 2 of this blog series, but if not, it’s quick to do over on oculus.com. Under ‘Developers > Dashboard’ you’ll need to ‘Create new organisation’ before you can create an app profile. Ensure that all the important information is correct for your organisation, such as address, financial banking information so that you can receive hardware but crucially, monthly revenue payments for your app once it’s on sale.

Basic

Once you have setup your organisation you can then setup your app, by going to ‘My Apps > Create New App’ and start to enter the information.

IMPORTANT! Currently, there is no way to delete an app entry as a whole once you have created it so ensure all details are correct at time of creation – you can go back and edit app information at any time but if you like a clean dashboard like me, get it right first time!

The first stage is to select the platform – we’re submitting a mobile VR app so select ‘Gear VR’ and enter the full app name to create the initial entry.

Once you have the initial app profile created with name and platform, Oculus will generate you a unique app ID which you will need to use within your Unity project to initialise any Oculus APIs, especially those that relate to IAP or licence ownership checks for the final version.

Similarly, once you have setup financial information, you can then create any IAP tokens and IDs to then call from the Unity project for each appropriate action via ‘Edit Details > Platform > IAP’.

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App Store Info

The main information that will appear on the Oculus Store for your app is under ‘Edit Details > Submission Info’. Here you will enter the full and short description, set the genre, features, peripherals supported, any age ratings and price.

Some of these elements are up to you, some like age rating might need an external body to review, or as with price, the Oculus Store team to work with you to agree on a value that is deemed appropriate. Be aware that all apps are set to ‘Free’ by default so if you want to charge for it, be sure to change this before submission!

One time consuming element, as with any store submission, is the art assets you need to create and provide to go along with the listing. There are a few different shapes and sizes of images required, depending upon where and how the listing will be displayed within the store but the guidelines are easy to follow with advice of where to place the logo, or not, to ensure dynamic
banners for sales etc don’t cover it when enabled.

One cool asset that you can provide for Gear VR titles (that isn’t yet supported for Rift titles) is a cube map image, so potential customers can view a still from your title in 360º on their Gear VR whilst in the store listing.

Builds

Of course, information is all very well but you need to upload a build to be reviewed and ultimately, available for download post-purchase. It is wise to run the Oculus Submission Validator tool against your app APK file before you submit and ensure you have done the following:

- Set the XML manifest file and install location correctly – Gear VR apps have to be set to install on the device not external storage.
- A version code set – typically if this is your first submission, 1.0 or incremented if uploading a new build post-review from a previous submission
- A signed APK so that once reviewed and confirmed ready for release, it can go live without further uploads necessary.

The build management section allows you to upload builds to a variety of different channels: Alpha, Beta, Release Candidate and Live. Note that a number of journalists have access to the Release Candidate channel and so, if you haven’t done any PR or marketing around your app before launch, be prepared for them to potentially stumble across it and release a preview article without warning. So it’s best to reach out before setting a build to this channel, so that you can preempt any issues if it’s not 100% ready for release yet!

Submission

Once you think you have everything entered, you can submit the information via ‘Submission Info > Submit’ where a handy checklist is shown with current status of each section needed. Once you have a nice row of green ticks, you have a final chance to review the full listing and details below before clicking that [SUBMIT FOR REVIEW] button. Once submitted, the Oculus Store Gear VR team will review your app information, play test it and get back in touch with any suggested amends before it will be confirmed ready for release.

THAT’S IT! You’ve reached the end — well done and good luck with mobile VR development, be sure to share apps you create below in the comments.

Useful Links

Oculus Developer Dashboard: https://dashboard.oculus.com
Oculus Store – Gear VR Art Assets Guidelines: https://static.oculus.com/documents/oculus-storeart-guidelines.pdf
Oculus Submission Validator: https://developer.oculus.com/validator/
Oculus App Publishing Overview: https://developer.oculus.com/documentation/publish/latest/

Previous parts in Developing for Mobile VR

Developing for Mobile VR – pt.1: A brief overview of the current landscape

Developing for Mobile VR pt. 2

Developing for Mobile VR pt.3 – General Best Practice & Design Considerations

Developing for Mobile VR pt.4 – Performance Optimisation & Testing

By Sam Watts

Sam Watts has been involved in interactive, immersive content production for over 15 years, from learning development and simulation to AAA and casual games. Currently employed as Operations Lead for Make REAL and Game Producer for Tammeka, he keeps busy by evangelising the possibilities and real world benefits of immersive technologies like VR and AR to anyone who will listen. Tammeka’s first VR game Radial-G : Racing Revolved launched alongside Oculus Rift in March and HTC Vive in April 2016. Make REAL are currently powering the McDonald’s “Follow Our Foodsteps” VR farming experiences at numerous agricultural and countryside shows around the UK.

Disclaimer: In the rapidly changing and advancing tech climate around VR, where things never stay still for long, this blog is written as is at this point in time of publishing. In a month or two, some elements or details may be incorrect or surpassed with new technology that now does do what I say it currently cannot.

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