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Danielle Cassley
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 Latest On AF Missing From App Store
« Thread Started on Jul 23, 2008, 3:51am »

**** I would like to clarify that we do not know why our application was removed from the store. We submitted an update hours before being delisted. Apple has not contacted us and their policy is to contact developers when an app is removed. It's possible there is a bug in their update system. We have been trying to figure out a way to contact someone at Apple who can give us more information. All media reports that we were removed due to "lousy security practices" are pure speculation.

**** I would also like to add that as soon as we realized we were becoming popular we deleted all personal information from our servers in preparation for releasing a secure update. Even if you are currently playing the game and type in your info, we do not store it. In other words, the community feature has been disabled since Friday, July 18th.

**** We would like to clarify that your contact list was not, is not, and never will be stored on our servers. The only data we stored is what you typed in on the community page so other people could find you.

---------------------------------------------

Recently there's been a lot of buzz around the community feature that Jason and I implemented in Aurora Feint. We want everyone to know that we are just trying to make a great MMO game for the iPhone. There's no super secret motive here. Sure we'd like to make it big one day, and we're kind of hoping this might take us there. But Aurora Feint is just us being passionate about games and the iPhone.

Sadly, Aurora Feint has been removed from the app store as of 6pm PST. We think this is due to the publicity that has been around the community feature.

We'd like to
a. explain why we implemented the community feature the way we did,
b. ask for your thoughts on how you'd like it to be implemented, and
c. ask for your support in bringing the product back on the app store

When we discovered that the Apple SDK allowed us to look through your contact list we thought it would be a great idea to automatically show you which friends are playing the game. Why automatically? Well, everyone always complains about the keyboard on the iPhone and how annoying it is to type on it. So we thought, "Hey, why don't we make this feature REALLY easy to use – no typing!" And such, the community feature was born. Some people have said that it would have been ok if we had a better notice explaining what was going on. I agree! We weren't trying to be sneaky about how this worked. It was just overlooked. No one we showed it to even asked a question about it – nor did we. It just simply never came up as a potential issue when we beta tested the game with early users.

In the 1.0 version of the game we just didn't get around to doing everything we wanted to do in time for the launch: remember we tried to do a high quality game in 10 weeks flat. So, if you opt-in to the community feature, when you refresh your friends, the data is sent unencrypted to our web servers. Before you freak out though, let me explain why this was done. We just thought that it was a cool feature and that we'd implement security stuff if we became popular. To that end, the web server we launched with was a teeny box with almost no power. We spent the first few days scrambling to scale our servers. We really had no idea how popular we were going to be. We added this feature in near the end of our development cycle and simply decided that we didn't have enough time to spend to make it secure in advance of knowing if it was even going to be a hit.

As for the iMmoAccountData file, that is where we store the details of your account. Like all video games, we need to save information about what you are doing so that you don't start from scratch every time. Some of this data includes a unique identifier that your phone has which we use in our database for tracking your progress. We also store the e-mails and phone-numbers in your contact list so we can keep track of who has the game and optimize finding them again. This file is always written to your hard drive, but it is not sent over the wire unless you explicitly use the community feature. Remember, the data on your phone's hard drive is pretty much as secure as the contact list in your phone. The only way to access it is to break your EULA with Apple and Jailbreak your phone – or potentially from a backup of your entire device on your desktop or laptop computer.

We want you to be comfortable using and playing AF with your friends. So now I am asking you, as a member of our community, how would you like this feature to work in Aurora Feint? We want to make everyone feel comfortable so we intend to change the community feature in another update very soon. We'll take the idea that most people like here, and that seems to make the most sense, and change the community feature accordingly.

In the mean time, we have submitted an update to apple that uses HTTPS to send your data over the wire encrypted. Our update is in the queue marked as In Review. We are also preparing another update with the community feature completely removed. We are trying to get in touch with Apple to work with them on how to move forward so that everyone can continue to enjoy our game and feel comfortable about applications on their phone. If you work at Apple or know anyone who does, please contact me and Jason directly via PM on this forum.

Thanks for all your support and help,
Jason and Danielle
« Last Edit: Jul 25, 2008, 12:27am by Jason Citron »Link to Post - Back to Top  IP: Logged
Poleeko
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 Re: Latest On AF Missing From App Store
« Reply #1 on Jul 23, 2008, 4:03am »

My recommendation would be to add the encryption and keep the community feature. The way I see it, if the data is given over freely, and transmitted securely, it should not be an issue as long as it does not violate the SDK.

The multiplayer aspect of the game is one of the best features it has. Sadly, if that is taken away (even though we haven't seen it bloom yet), it would be detrimental to the continuation of your project.
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maeby
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 Re: Latest On AF Missing From App Store
« Reply #2 on Jul 23, 2008, 4:07am »


Jul 23, 2008, 4:03am, Poleeko wrote:
My recommendation would be to add the encryption and keep the community feature. The way I see it, if the data is given over freely, and transmitted securely, it should not be an issue as long as it does not violate the SDK.

The multiplayer aspect of the game is one of the best features it has. Sadly, if that is taken away (even though we haven't seen it bloom yet), it would be detrimental to the continuation of your project.


ditto

:D
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turtle
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 Re: Latest On AF Missing From App Store
« Reply #3 on Jul 23, 2008, 4:13am »

I'm still a little hazy on what exactly the community feature does. Could you explain in more detail exactly what data gets sent where, and why? Also, did you pull the game from the app store, or was it taken down by Apple?
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mon mon
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 Re: Latest On AF Missing From App Store
« Reply #4 on Jul 23, 2008, 4:25am »

"sadly, Aurora Feint has been removed from the app store as of 6pm PST. We think this is due to the publicity that has been around the community feature."

This implies that apple removed it from the app store
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 Re: Latest On AF Missing From App Store
« Reply #5 on Jul 23, 2008, 4:57am »

The community update doesnt really affect me as I dont have a wi-fi connection. I can see where the concern is coming from, alot of really computer savvy ppl have a tendancy to freak out about not having data encrypted blah blah even if it is phone numbers. The sad thing in this world and something I stand by is - If someone can build it, someone can un-build it. If someone really wanted data they could get it.

Hopefully with this update fixed up with apple know, I'm assuming and praying that the update will be in another 2 days??
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bandris
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 Re: Latest On AF Missing From App Store
« Reply #6 on Jul 23, 2008, 5:05am »

I think that feature of the game could be better if it would be announced. I am really said , because I like the game, I checked every day many-many times the update to get a playable version, not to reinstall every single time to play. The community feature have to be removed or modified only for those contacts which i would like to send to the server to see if they online.

I hope you can manage this issue and it will be on the appstore the game again soon as possible.

Good luck :D
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galfin
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 Re: Latest On AF Missing From App Store
« Reply #7 on Jul 23, 2008, 5:10am »

Thank you for being so open about what is going on here.

Personally I couldn't care less about this issue - I'm on aniPod Touch and have no contacts synched. What I am really concerend about is do you think the update currently with Apple under eview will be appearing anytime soon? What are the chances that it will be approved/rejected?
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808ethan
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 Re: Latest On AF Missing From App Store
« Reply #8 on Jul 23, 2008, 5:10am »

I personally prefer 'hands off' my contact list. I'm not worried about anything evil happening, however, EVERY facebook app I use is like a virus 90% bent on replicating and 10% actual game.
I'd be simply worried about being nagged to invite everyone I know. Even if it was tastefully done, I've been soured by people who abused that tactic and people like me would probably dislike it.

However, I can promise if anyone I know got AF, I would definately know about it, and would play with them 'online'. I'm pretty much convincing friends to get iphones just so we can do this!
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dialogical
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 Re: Latest On AF Missing From App Store
« Reply #9 on Jul 23, 2008, 5:30am »


Jul 23, 2008, 5:10am, galfin wrote:
What are the chances that it will be approved/rejected?


If the reason for the removal is indeed Apple receiving word of concerns about privacy/spyware issues with one of the apps most likely they'll probably want to make absolutely sure themselves nothing malicious is going on. Which could very well take quite some time I'm afraid.
I've no doubt it'll get sorted out in the end, but on how long it will take that could be dissapointing. No use in speculating about possible release dates, but I guess it's not unlikely this will take days/week(s?)...
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 Re: Latest On AF Missing From App Store
« Reply #10 on Jul 23, 2008, 5:32am »

It would be good to be able to alter your phone and e-mail information, people change their email addresses quite frequently i have found. It would also be nice to be able to search for friends.
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 Re: Latest On AF Missing From App Store
« Reply #11 on Jul 23, 2008, 5:33am »


Jul 23, 2008, 4:57am, Hughdogg wrote:
The community update doesnt really affect me as I dont have a wi-fi connection.


What does wi-fi have to do with anything?

Personally I don't care too much about my contacts being used. However it would be nice if there was some kind of notice in the game, not on the website. I didn't even know there was a website until I randomly found the forum while trying to figure out how to play the game.
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 Re: Latest On AF Missing From App Store
« Reply #12 on Jul 23, 2008, 5:57am »


Jul 23, 2008, 5:33am, philnolan3d wrote:

Jul 23, 2008, 4:57am, Hughdogg wrote:
The community update doesnt really affect me as I dont have a wi-fi connection.


What does wi-fi have to do with anything?

Personally I don't care too much about my contacts being used. However it would be nice if there was some kind of notice in the game, not on the website. I didn't even know there was a website until I randomly found the forum while trying to figure out how to play the game.


I have a touch not an I-phone and therefore none of this affects me
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 Re: Latest On AF Missing From App Store
« Reply #13 on Jul 23, 2008, 6:01am »

Danielle & Jason. Thank you for being direct, open and honest about your programme. You're trying to "showcase" Apple's new technologies as well as your own creativity. And have done an excellent job in a fantastic game.

I visited the AF Web site and this forum _before_ downloading AF. You provided documentation and answered questions on how Community functions. If Apple's editors didn't take time to read the documentation then the onus isn't on you.

So...Apple took AF down even after working with them, re-programming, responding to articles, etc. Do you have to option to recall AF yourselves? Do you own the programme? Can you release it through another portal as self-publish?

There are quite a few of us who would gladly pay to help keep artists functioning and independent. Patronage...old concept, new application.
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jimmerz28
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 Re: Latest On AF Missing From App Store
« Reply #14 on Jul 23, 2008, 6:47am »

I like not having to search for friends, allowing the game to access my contacts list and making it freaking easy to sync up and check to see if anyone else is playing works for me.

Encryption is nice, but honestly I never gave it a second thought and neither did anyone else it seems until a few attention seeking people wanted to spread some FUD. If I wanted to know I would have checked and read for myself in the documentation, but I'd rather spend time playing a fun game with myself/friends.

Once you comply with whatever Apple is making you do (upping security I'm guessing) I suggest making this a pay to play game, I'll gladly dish out the $9.99 for this and I think it'll take away most of the downy people.

I love the game and can't wait for the update which hopefully includes the community feature intact.

Props on making such a hit you guys, developing is a process so making mistakes is part of the game. Users don't always understand that, especially when they think you owe them something.
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