App Reskinning Tutorial: Initial Setup

3 videos of the first 3 sections of this App Reskinning Tutorial Initial Setup can be found at the bottom of the page, click here or continue reading.

How to get the Apple Developer License

Register Apple Developer

In order to make games and apps for iOS, you will need an account with Apple. First thing you do, is to go through the registration process at: https://developer.apple.com/register. Once there, there are actually 2 ways. If you already have an iTunes account, just sign in with it. That will automatically turn your account into a developer account. If you don't have one, create an Apple ID from scratch.

iOS Developer Program

Once you have your account, you need to become an iOS developer. Navigate to https://developer.apple.com/programs/ and make sure you pick the iOS Developer Program, which is going to be $99/year, but you can create as many games and apps as you want on one account. There are other types of licenses such as for Mac or Safari, but right now, you should only focus on iPhones and iPads. Click on "learn more" from within the iOS Developer Program area and you'll land on https://developer.apple.com/programs/ios from where you will need to click on "Enroll Now". This will then take you to the form, fill it and get your license.

How to get your Apple Developer Certificate for distribution

Mac Dev Center Certificates

In order to build your app and publish it to the App Store, you need to create a bundle ID and have a certificate that makes sure you're the one who owns the game. Now go to your developer account at https://developer.apple.com, preferably with the safari browser, click on "iOS Dev Center" and sign in. On the right hand side, click on "Certificates, Identifiers & Profiles". Click on "Certificates" again, and locate the "plus" sign (+) below your name on the right. On the next screen, what you will want to do is select "App Store and Ad Hoc" under the "Production" area. At the bottom, make sure you download the "Intermediate Certificates" by clicking the link "Worldwide Developer Relations Certificate Authority".

Ad Hoc Intermediate Certificates

Locate the downloaded file, open it, double click on it, and it will get opened within the "Keychain Access". It should then show a "This certificate is valid" right below your certificate. Then head back and open your browser where you left off at the "Worldwide Developer Relations Certificate Authority" link and click "Continue". It will show you next how to create the CSR file (Certificate Signing Request). Go back to "Keychain Access", and at the top menu bar on the left, click on "Keychain Access", hover over "Certificate Assistant" and select "Request a certificate from a Certificate Authority".

Mac Keychain Access

A "Certificate Information" box will pop up for you to fill with your User Email Address (email from the developer account), enter a name (a good idea would be your first name, last name + DEV), then the "Request is" field by selecting "Saved to disk". Leave the "CA Email Address" field empty and click "Continue". Save your CSR to a specific location of your choice, then click "Done".

Creating CSR File

Now, go back to your browser where you left off where you were creating your CSR file and click "Continue". On the following screen, upload your CSR file, locate it, click "Choose" and finally click on the "Generate" button. Then just wait till it creates the certificate. You should now see "Your certificate is ready". Click on the "download" button within the Certificate box, locate the file and install it by double clicking on it. It will then be added to your "Keychain Access". We will now be able to connect the certificate to our game.

How to get and install Xcode

what is Xcode

To build the game and publish it to the App store, you need a tool that takes all the game's files, puts them together, and creates an executable file. That tool is called Xcode. That's where programmers get to write the code and put the assets. Xcode is free to use and you're going to need to download it. What matters is that you have the iOS Developer license. Now go to https://developer.apple.com/xcode to download it. Click on "View in Mac App Store", if you already have it, you may see an "Update" button to upgrade to the latest version, or you can search for it by typing xcode in the search box at the top right. It's very important to always have the latest version of Xcode because otherwise, you may have some issues when you build a game. Once the installation is complete, you should see "Installed" right below the Xcode icon. Now, you wanna make sure everything was install correctly. Load Xcode through your Applications or activate Spotlight by pressing "command-space" and type Xcode.

How to check that your game works in Xcode and on the iPhone Simulator

Gamefree iPhone Simulator

That's the part where you things get interesting. Get your game source code (zipped). Press command-tab or go to wherever your source code is located, unzip it and double click on the folder that's been created. Locate the folder with the extension ".xcodeproj" and double click to open it in Xcode. Run the game and make sure the game is working by clicking at the top right menu next to "Iphone" and dropdown select to "GameFree", and select Iphone under "iOS" Simulator. You can always download other simulators by going to Xcode-> Preferences-> Downloads Tab and you'll find some more simulators there. Once this is set up, click on the "play" button at the top and let the game gets built and an executable app will be built. The iPhone simulator will then launch and you'll be able to see the launch/splash screen image and see the game running when you press "play".

How to create a Provisioning Profile and a bundle ID

You will now need to go to your developer account and add the App ID to create a provisioning profile and distribute the game in the App Store. Everytime you create a game or an app, you need to make sure you have an App ID which makes your app unique in the App Store. You will also need it when you build your game at the end when you give it to Apple for review.

Now go to the Apple Developer website, click on the iOS Dev Center and sign in.

Certificates, Identifiers, Profiles link

Right after, click on "Certificates, Identifiers & Profiles" then click on "Identifiers" and "production". On the next screen, locate the "+" sign and click on it. Fill in the "App ID Description" as well as the "Bundle ID" for which you may use any name you want as long as you copy/save it somewhere. You can leave the rest of the settings as they are and click "Continue" to get the the confirmation page. if everything looks fine, just click "Submit" then your registration will be complete.
On the left sidebar, under "Provisioning Profiles", click on "Distribution" then on the "+" sign. Select "Distribution": App Store. You should see in the dropdown the App ID you just created, look for it, select it and click "Continue". Select then your certificate and click on "Continue" (If you do not see it, repeat the step from which you click on production within the "Certificates" section on the left sidebar). Fill in the "Profile Name" field, click on "Generate" to have your provisioning profile ready and download it.
Once it's done, locate it and install it by double clicking on that file. When you do that, Xcode should open without noticing any changes to it, but since Xcode opened, it means that it worked (provided you have Xcode installed obviously).

How to create your app in the iTunes Connect Dashboard

The reason you wanna do this is because it's the main panel that controls your game structure such as the game name, the description, the iTunes keywords and all the screenshots that are gonna be on the App Store. All of this needs to be set before you publish your game.
Proceed by going to https://itunesconnect.apple.com/. You will be asked to sign in, therefore, do so with your Apple Developer account's credentials. Some of you may have some yellow warnings/notifications at the top. You will need to click through the "Payments and Financial Reports" area and also click through the "Contracts, Tax, and Banking" area. Make sure that section is filled out otherwise Apple doesn't know who you are and won't be able to pay you! (In-app purchases, ad banners...).

Once all this is taken care of, click through the section "Manage Your Apps".

iTunes Connect Manage Apps

If it's a brand new account, this area should be empty. Click on the button "Add New App" below the iTunes Connect logo and start filling out the App Information. If you don't know the name of your app yet, no worries, you can come back and do this later. The "SKU Number" field is a unique ID for your app.
Some give it the same name as the one you have within the "Bundle ID" field. Open the dropdown menu in "Bundle ID" and verify that the App ID you created earlier within the Apple Developer account is present in the list. If you don't see it, go back to Apple Developer website and make sure you create the App ID and the provisioning profile (Scroll up if you don't remember or watch the video). Finally, click on "Continue" and fill in the app availability date, which is the date when you want your app to be available on the App Store. You can change this anytime. Even if your app is already on the Store, you can always change it to remove it from there and put it back at a later date.

iTunes Connect Price Tier

Select a "Price Tier". It's a good idea to select "Free" to have a lot of people download the game, or you can simply select paid game as well. You can then uncheck the box "Discount for Educational Institutions" if you don't intend to. Click "Continue", then on the next screen, you'll have to input the "Version Number" which must match the number you have in Xcode. In the "Copyright" field, you may input your company name. "Primary Category" will be games for our purpose. For "Subcategory", pick the one that fits your app. You may also select a "Secondary Category" of your choice, this is optional. The "Rating" section will determine who's gonna be able to play your game or not according to your selections through the "Apple Content Descriptions". Once everything is selected, you'll be shown an "App Rating" with some explainations and warnings right below the number. Apple needs to know exactly what's going on with your app.

Apple Content Descriptions Ratings

In the "Metadata" section, fill in the fields. Write the description of your app (You could look on the App Store at similar games and inspire yourself). "Keywords" are very important which are hidden metatags, not visible on your app, but this is how users will find you on the App Store when they search for a particular name, word or combinations of words. For "Support URL", you may enter your website or a facebook page you create. "Marketing URL" and "Privacy Policy URL" are optional. Fill in your Contact Information. Within the "Uploads" section, upload your "Large App Icon", this can any .png file that is 1024x1024 pixels. Then upload your 3.5-Inch (640x960px) and 4-Inch (640x1136px) Retina Display Screenshots which are mandatory. Ipad Screenshots is not mandatory. Click "Save". You'll be then presented with the details of your app information. Right now, we just need to make sure everything is set and correct. head back to https://itunesconnect.apple.com/ and click on "Manage Your Apps". You should now see your app with its icon in the "iOS App Recent Activity" section... Well done!

How to set up iAd and Leaderboards

Now that you have your iTunes Connect account set up, go back to https://itunesconnect.apple.com/. You will edit some setting for your app and make sure the Game Center works. For the app you're building, you might find yourself needing leaderboards, which gathers top players with the best scores.

Set up iAd Banner

You might also want to enable the iAd banner on top of your app. Once on Apple Itunes Connect, sign in, click on "Manage You Apps" and you should see the app your created a moment ago. Click on your app icon to get to the "App Information" section. Copy/write your Apple ID on a text file because you're gonna need it in a bit for the app ratings. Next, let's set up iAd by clicking on "Set Up iAd App Network", then Click on "Enable iAd Advertising" and "Save".

iAd Banner completed

Now let's create the Game Center leaderboard. In the "App Information" section, click on the first button "Manage Game Center" and click on "Enable for Single Game".

Add Leaderboards

Now scroll down to the section called "Leaderboards", click on "Add Leaderboard" then choose "Single Leaderboard". On the next screen, fill in the information. The most important part is the Leaderboard ID, choose a unique name and copy it to a text file for future reference. Below, you'll see "Score Format Type" which lets you choose a type for scores (integers, decimals...), pick your "Score Submission Type" (Best score for example) and in which order you'd like your scores to be sorted out on your app screen. You can set the "Score Range" as an option as well (from 0 to some gigantic numbers).

Add Language Leaderboards

In the section "Leaderboard Localization", add the "Language", the "Name" which will appear on the leaderboard in the Game Center (Best Score for i.e). Select the "Score Format", you'll notice the format differs with dots or commas. Fill out the "Score Format Suffix" singular and plural (point and points for i.e). You might also wanna leave an empty space (1 character: press space bar) before writing point/points, just in case, so that the score doesn't stick to the word point/points. Click "Save" and you're done.

Apple Developer License

Apple Certificates

Get Xcode running

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