Play-ing with Godot

I’ve finally come to a point where I have a project that is useful, and at a good enough quality (anyone with graphics skills who wants to help?) to be shared with the broader world: Mattemonster. What I’m trying to say is that I just went through the process of publishing a Godot app to the Google Play store.

There is already good documentation for how you export a Godot app for Android, and detailed guides how to publish to Google Play. This blog is not a step by step tutorial, but instead mentioning some of the things I learned or noticed.

First of all, when setting up the Android tooling, you usually have an android-tools package for your distro. This way, you don’t have to install Android Studio provided by Google.

The configuration settings that you use to export your app goes into the export_presets.cfg file. Once you put the details for your release key in, you should avoid storing this file in a public git, as it contains sensitive data. But even before then, it contains paths that are local to your machine, so I would recommend not storing it in a public git anyway, as it makes merging with others painful.

Finally, when building your apk file, a funny detail is that the switch to control if it is a debug or release build is found in the actual Save As… dialog, and not in the export settings. This was initially confusing to me, as I was looking in the wrong place.

The next step is Google Play. Here one creates all the accounts and listings as explained in the article linked to in the beginning of this blog. What is a bit unclear is that some settings are only available once an initial apk has been uploaded (e.g. Content rating).

Another of these dependencies that confused me is that even the closed alpha testing requires the app to have been published at least once. This means that you have to publish version 1.0 first, then you can use the alpha channel to push out updates quickly to your testers. As it takes up to a week (or longer…) to get the initial publishing through the system, this is a bit frustrating, as you really have to wait around for a few days before you can continue.

When you create an update, you need to remember to step the version code of the apk. This has to be done manually when configuring the export in Godot.

It is also worth mentioning that I did not opt-in to let google manage and protect my signing key. This means that I get warnings for not supporting bundles each time I try to publish, but these warnings can be ignored.

Next steps for me is to to publish to f-droid, and to provide some translations to be able to target more markets (right now the app is in Swedish, so I limited distribution to Sweden).

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  • November 2019
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