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Kevin Baker
Worked at Activision
Lives in Portsmouth, United Kingdom
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Kevin Baker

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Listen up people! If you have an Android phone please download this great free game. You won't regret it!
Sinister Planet is a retro gaming experience that will remind you of all yo...
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Kevin Baker

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My mission is to avoid using Google for any online money-making opportunities now. Simply because they have screwed me over so many times.

To that end, I successfully integrated Amazon Ads into my game app - the version on Amazon AppStore of course. Don't do this on any Google Play app or Google will likely suspend your account (see above).

The main point of this post however, is the highlight the fact that there are a lot of cool guys around.

I was investigating how to integrate Amazon ads into my Unity project (Amazon don't make a unity plug-in) and a search brought up several possibilities. A lot of them were plug-ins that cost a few dollars, and I was fully prepared to spend a bit of money to save some time.

Then I stumbled on this little project:

https://github.com/majidkh/Unity3d-Amazon-Mobile-Ads-Plugin

Totally free thing, simple to integrate and works like a charm. I did find one small bug, which I fixed, still I totally recommend it.

If you want to try this and are having trouble, hit me up and I'll try and help out.
Unity3d-Amazon-Mobile-Ads-Plugin - Unity3d Amazon Mobile ads plugin which supports both Banner & Interstitial ads
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Kevin Baker

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Baaa, just found a bug in Sheep Snagger! None of the enemies ever get destroyed, no wonder the thing slows down after a few minutes!
It seems that the local wolf population has figured out helium balloon tech...
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Kevin Baker

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How did they manage to write that whole article without mentioning C#? One can only assume its for political reasons.  
Andrei Alexandrescu didn’t stand much of a chance. And neither did Walter Bright. When the two men met for beers at a Seattle bar in 2005, each was in the midst of building a new programming language, trying to remake the way the world creates and runs its computer software. That’s something pretty close to…
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I haven't checked in on D for quite some time. Curious how far the libraries and tools have progressed.

I'm surprised by the lack of C# mention as well, but D's target has always been C++. Could be a side-effect of that.
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Kevin Baker

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Free! Enjoy!
It seems that the local wolf population has figured out helium balloon tech...
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Kevin Baker

commented on a video on YouTube.
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Flatty Bird on Android and iPhone.
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Kevin Baker

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Camera test Sony Xperia Z1 Compact. Its got a 20mp camera, despite that the jury is still out on how good the camera is for me. Its probably one of the better camera's available, I took some pictures in low light and they are pretty bad.The cropped picture shows a lot of detail.
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Have him in circles
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Kevin Baker

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Nice little drink with the wife at The Churchillian. Really like the new house they're building there. 
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Kevin Baker

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This is Herbie, he's a cleaner shrimp. 

Last week a got a concerned phone call from my wife, that Herbie looks sick. Maybe dead. He's not moving much.

I said, try and feed him see if he moves? Apparently he didn't move much, which made me sad.

When I arrived home I was pleased to see Herbie moving about in the tank as ever, he looked pleased with himself, smiling even.

Happy to say, my wife was trying to feed Herbie's old shell. I did not know they did this! If you look at the pictures its quite surprising someone could mistake that for something "alive", I think my wife was trying to break it to me gently. I mean, its not even got any eyes!

Since then we are now onto Herbie v3. I didn't much like Herbie v1. He was very shy and didn't come out much. Since then, he's come out of his shell, both literally and figuratively.

Hoping to add some more critters to the tank soon.
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Kevin Baker

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It seems that the local wolf population has figured out helium balloon technology! And you thought your favourite sheep was safe from them up on that clifftop. Guess not!
Grab your trusty catapult, and burst the hungry wolves' bubbles before they snag your sheep!

Try it now free on Google Play
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Kevin Baker

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This is about apps getting suspended. I've discussed this before it's really a bone of contention with me, and a lot of other people I know. Please share this post so everyone can see the how badly us indie developers are being treated by Google.

Some background: my app recently got suspended for including the word 'Flappy' in the title. Despite in itself being an accurate description of the game. WTF, I can't even describe my own app now? You mean I'm not allowed to mention the name of an app that doesn't even exist anymore? Seriously. Here is the web chat about the issue. By the way the (new re-uploaded) app is called Flatty Bird. Please download it and rate it, and stick one to Google. Its free and you'll probably have about 10 minutes of fun as well. 

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.neosoft.birdsmash


Google 22:02
You are now connected to Ed. Please type your message and hit 'Enter' to send.
This Chat is no longer off the record
me 22:03
Hey Ed
Ed 22:03
Hi Kevin, thanks for contacting Google Play Developer Support! 

There will be a short survey at the end of our chat so you can provide feedback on the service I'm providing. 

Please give me a moment while I review your issue.

I understand you're trying to get your app unsuspended. Have you visited our troubleshooter?
me 22:04
I've done all that, but I was told it won't be unsuspended
Do you think that is it?
My appeal was rejected
Ed 22:04

Let me look into the communication. Could you give me a minute?
me 22:04
Yes of course
Ed 22:04
And which app are we talking about Kevin?
me 22:05
com.neosoft.flattybird
It was called 'Flatty Flappy Bird'
See what the problem is
Ed 22:06
Got it, thank you.

It looks like you received a notification on 21 May.
me 22:06
Yes I did
It made me really sad
Ed 22:06
I'm sorry to hear that Kevin.
me 22:07
I made $200 that day
Ed 22:07
I see that you appealed also.
me 22:07
I did appeal, but I don't think any common sense was applied
Ed 22:08
I see my colleague reviewed your appeal and made the final decision to not reinstate it.
me 22:08
Can you find your colleague and tell him he was wrong :)
Ed 22:09
I wish I could, but it is our policy to defer to the judgment of our team members.

It looks like the appeal was denied was that the app continued to contain "Flappy Bird" in its title.
me 22:10
The app is called Flatty Bird
Because you are squishing a little bird...
Ed 22:10
The title on our end is "Flatty Flappy Bird".
me 22:12
I want to change the title
It was set to Flatty Flappy Bird a few days ago, and I tried to change it back but my developers console didn't sync with the Play Store
I'm really upset by that
If you look at the history you can see it been called Flatty Bird since Feb
Ed 22:13
I'm sorry we cannot reverse a final decision. At this point the best option would be to publish a new app that is in compliance with the policy.
me 22:13
I've published a new app, my previous app had 142k downloads
my new one has 100
Ed 22:13
Sorry Kevin, there isn't much I can do here.
You are now off the record
Learn more Cancel
Ed 22:13
I wish I could help, but the appeal decision was final.
me 22:15
Is there really no chance of it being unsuspended over something so trivial as having the name of a game that doesn't even exist in its title for a few days?
Ed 22:16
I'm afraid that's correct, Kevin. There is no chance of this particular app becoming unsuspended.
I apologize for this.
me 22:16
Ok, can you tell me why is putting Flappy Bird in the title not allowed?
Ed 22:17
As the notification states, that term is considered keyword spam.
me 22:17
Whose IP is it contravening?
Ed 22:18
I'm now equipped to comment on whose intellectual property it is contravening, sorry Kevin.
That seems like more of a legal question to me.
me 22:18
Because the game was removed from all the app stores and doesn't exist anymore
Ed 22:19
I would guess that even if the original game was removed from the app stores, that would not mean the intellectual property did not exist anymore.

I don't quite know the legal ramifications of it, but I do know that our team made the correct decision based on our Google Play Policy.

Is there anything else I can help with today Kevin?
me 22:19
Well it is a legal question and i am just questioning why months of my promotion and developing my app was just wasted because someone decided unilaterally to remove my app based on that
Ed 22:19
I understand your concern.
me 22:23
I don't think the team made the correct decision
Futhermore, your web app prevented me from updating my app details
Man, this is my mortgage being paid we are talking about
Don't you have anyone with any empathy working for you
I've been an advocate for Android since 2010
Its just a flag for you on a database can't you flip it back so I can fix the problem?
Ed 22:24
I feel for you Kevin, I really do, but I simply don't have the power to reverse the final decision.

I personally cannot flip the flag back. I'm sorry.
me 22:24
I'm not asking you to do it, but you must know someone that can reconsider the decision. There is always someone there that can do that.
And I'd be in your debt man
Ed 22:25
Actually, in this case, there isn't. The final decision was with the person that sent you the appeal decision.
I truly am sorry, and hope you're able to achieve similar success with your new app.
me 22:25
Do you have that guys emails address?
Ed 22:25
I'm looking at the appeal notification email now, and it seems like our alias (googleplay-developer-support@google.com) was used.
me 22:25
I'll buy him a car
lol
Ed 22:26
So unfortunately I do not have his or her email address.
me 22:26
Heck I'll buy you a car
Ed 22:26
I appreciate the humor, Kevin. I really wish I could help.
Unfortunately, I hope you understand that I cannot.
me 22:26
I'm not kidding man
Ed 22:27
I don't doubt that you are, but it was still humorous.

Is there anything else I can help with today?
me 22:27
If you wanted a Prius it would be
Ed 22:27
Nice.
me 22:27
So what you are saying is, I need to go and get drunk. Then come back tomorrow and rise like a phoenix from the flames?
Ed 22:27
I do feel for you Kevin, and wish I could do more. I'm sorry that we can't change this decision.
me 22:28
Ed. We can all do more.
Ed 22:28

I agree with the general sentiment of that - I recommend moving forward after this final decision.
In this case, I simply don't have the power to do anything more.
Is there anything else I can help with Kevin?
me 22:29
I might go for a job at Google developer support. Work my way to the top. Then I'll look back at the history and find out who did this and give them the bullet. Hehe.
That would be justice for me :)
Hey I'm sorry Ed
You're cool
Ed 22:29
Thank you for the compliment Kevin.
me 22:30
I dont think an app about squashing Flappy Bird is gonna be popular now, it was only good because of the press at the time
Despite being more fun than the actual game lol
Ed 22:30
You might be right about that. The talk about Flappy Bird has seemed to decrease significantly.
me 22:31
My point exactly. I thought Google had got cool about Flappy Bird, thats why I'm shocked this occured
If you search for Flappy Bird in the Play Store, its ridiculous whats going on
Ed 22:32
Right. Apparently while the hot topic went away, the rules stayed the same.
Correct, but please remember that any perceived non-compliance of other apps has no bearing on yours or any other apps.
me 22:33
I know that already.
But applying the rules in such an inconsistent manner doesn't help the developer
What you need to do is having a warning system, where minor transgressions are reported and you have 2 days to fix it
Then we wouldn't be discussing this
Ed 22:34
That's good feedback. But weren't you allowed to fix the issue?
me 22:34
No way!
Ed 22:34
You mentioned earlier that you didn't have time sync with the developer to change the title.
me 22:34
It got booted and no chance to fix it
Ed 22:35
That's right.
me 22:35
This is what happened. I changed the title a few weeks ago, to try and gain some traction in the Play Store. My update didn't even take effect, the app was called 'Flatty Bird' in the store all the time
Ed 22:36
Sorry Kevin, that's how out of touch I am with the policy aspect of this.
This chat channel is for developer console support, not about policy questions.
me 22:36
..then last week, I did an APK update, and the title I set (and i forgot about it) took effect
Ed 22:36
Is there anything else I can do today?
me 22:36
Then I tried to revert it, but it didnt work
Ed 22:36
As you've noticed, my knowledge about the policy consideration is lacking.
me 22:37
Do these people that suspend the apps sit near you?
I mean, you dont do it do you?
Ed 22:38
No Kevin, I don't take the action.
me 22:38
There a specific group of "experts" that decide on it then?
Ed 22:39
There is another team, yes.
me 22:39
Are those guys contactable? Like this really awesome chat client but for those guys?
Ed 22:39
I don't mean to be abrupt Kevin, but if there's nothing else I can help you with, would you mind if we ended our chat?
me 22:39
Okay Ed
Ed 22:40

Unfortunately they don't have a contact channel like us.
me 22:40
I'm sorry for taking your time
Ed 22:40
No worries, I understand your frustration.
I really wish I could help.
me 22:40
I'm from the UK I think we are more interested in customer support
Ed 22:40

Best of luck with your new app.
me 22:41
And you really don't want a new car
Thats a shame, man.
Ed 22:42
I like my current car, but thanks for the offer.
I hope you have a good rest of the day. I look forward to seeing you rise from the flames and move forward.

Take care, Kevin. It was a pleasure chatting with you.
Google Support 22:42
Thanks for chatting with Google Play Developer Support today! Your chat session is now complete.
me 22:42
Okay, Ed. I'm going to put a house ad on my old app asking people to update with a link to the new app, what do you think does that contravene any rules you can think of?

#flappybird   #flattybird   #android #googlesucks
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Kevin Baker

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How borked is the Google Play ranking system? Answer: totally and utterly!

Here's an example. Do a search for 'Bird'  in the Play Store.

1. Clumsy Bird. Downloads 10m-50m. Rating 3.8

2. Fatty Bird. Downloads 500K - 1m. Rating 3.8

3. Floppy Bird Fly. Downloads 50K-100K. Rating 4.0

9. Unflappy Bird (really?) Downloads 50k-100k. Rating 3.6.

Might seem reasonable, until you start to look further down the list:

20. Squashie Bird. Downloads 100k-500k. Rating 3.5.

61. Flatty Bird. Downloads 50k-100k. Rating 3.7 (my app)

81. Meany Birds. Downloads 100K-500k. Rating 4.0

Now I'm not saying any of the apps above are good or bad, I've not tried any of them. But if you look at any search ranking page you can easily pick out apps that should obviously be higher up the list. There are some apps with rankings of 4.5 and 100K downloads skulking about undiscoverable. Meanwhile some really poor apps inexplicable always come out at the top of the search. Once cannot help but suspect "foul" play :)

Another thing. Rankings change suddenly for no explainable reason. For example, my app Flatty Bird suddenly was thrust up into 11th place for 4 days, with no reason I could find out. And then during Sunday evening, sank back down to 60th place. 

And when are Google going to get some consistency in upholding the rules? Thanks to an amazing stroke of luck I released my Flatty Bird app on the day Flappy Bird was taken down from the Store. As a result, I got a great review and got 70k downloads in a few hours. Next morning I discovered Google had pulled my app down for (probably) IP infringement. It wasn't even a Flappy Bird clone, the game mechanic was totally different. Still, there were hundreds of Flappy/Flippy/Crappy Bird games selling and Google clearly didn't give a shit. Just decided to victimize me!

When I released the app with slightly reskinned graphics, it never done nearly so well. 

Come on Google take a look into your searching algorythm, because its clearly geared towards keeping already popular apps at the top of the search lists. There are so many great games with <1000 downloads. Everyone deserves an equal chance of doing well without having to invest millions in marketing.

And a shameless plug.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.neosoft.flattybird&hl=en_GB
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We've been victimized! There are actually games called Flappy Bird - doing quite well too - that seem immune to Google's rules and regulations. I'm wondering if they just target the small developers to keep the big-boys happy.
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Portsmouth, United Kingdom
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Introduction
I just about love programming on all levels. I love retro games, and retro computing (emulations). I programmed 8-bit games in the 80s. I love learning new stuff and consequently have programming knowledge in (chronological order) Basic, 6502, Z80,  Pascal, COBOL, Perl, DBase III(lol), 68000, C, Java, Javascript, C#, Actionscript, Mono (Second life). 
Bragging rights
Created Sinister Planet on Android. Owner of Slither Designs in Second Life, and creator of Slukebox in Second Life. Completed the Rubik's cube in 34 seconds. Used to work freelance for Activision in the 80s.
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Web Developer, Android Developer
Employment
  • Activision
    Games programmer, 1988 - 1990
  • Portsmouth and Sunderland News
    Systems Programmer, 1990 - 1999
  • Abacus E-Media
    Web Developer, 2000
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