I’ve Been Completely BANNED From the Android Market

In case you were wondering where all of my applications went, Google decided to suspend my entire account and all applications on it on December 29th, 2010 at 8:46 PM (UTC). This is very disappointing, frustrating, and depressing, especially since I am no longer allowed to upload any new Android applications. I believe that Google went too far and should have only suspended the infringing applications instead of banning my entire account, since I had many legitimate, non-infringing applications on it, such as EliteGuard, Currency Converter, Simple Dice, Find the Mouse, and InfiniteSMS (I don’t believe simply removing the SMS sending limit qualifies as infringement). Here is the message I have received from the Android Market Support Team:

Hello Dylan,

After a regular account review, your Android Market Publisher account has
been suspended due to multiple violations of our Terms of Service. You may
view these terms here:

http://www.android.com/us/developer-distribution-agreement.html (Section
4.4).
http://www.android.com/market/terms/developer-content-policy.html

Please note that Android Market Publisher suspensions are associated with
developers, and may span multiple accounts.

We are not inclined to reverse this decision.

Regards,
The Android Market Team

An hour after receiving this message from Google, I decided to try to appeal the ban, with an apology letter directed toward the Android Market team. As of January 3rd, 2011, I have not received any reply from them at all. A copy of my response to them is below:

Dear Android Market Support,

In addition to the applications that infringe upon your terms of service, I had many ‘legitimate’ applications listed that cause no harm to any devices or networks, or infringe on your terms of service in any way. I would like to appeal your decision to suspend my account, and I would like to request a specific list of infringing applications and how they infringe upon your terms of service so that I can remove those particular applications from the market if I am given another chance to distribute my applications on the Android market. Although you say that I have multiple violations of your terms of service, the only application I wrote that I am aware may potentially infringe on your terms of service is “EliteBomb”, my text-bombing application, of which I had multiple versions listed. When I uploaded this application, I was not aware that it was against your terms of service, and I would like to apologize for any misunderstandings. I realize that you don’t have to unsuspend my developer account, but given another chance, I would like to keep my applications that do not infringe on your terms of service listed, and upload more applications in the future. I have no intention of abusing the privilege of uploading Android applications. I will not upload another text bombing application, given the chance, without your prior consent.


Dylan Taylor
http://www.dylanmtaylor.com/

Unfortunately at this point, it doesn’t look like I will be able to get my Android market developer account back, and this is really frustrating and depressing. I truly would like to continue to develop and support my applications for Android, but it does not look like Google will allow me the privilege of doing so, so I shall begin to look into alternative means of distribution. This is a truly disappointing and sorrowful moment for me. :-(

Thoughts on Catch The Ball

I haven’t written very much about Catch The Ball lately, so I thought I’d take some time to do so. The project is not dead, and I have several plans for what I’m going to change when I resume working on it. I want to make the game more fun and exciting, so here is a list of several improvements that I have been planning:

  • When the user successfully catches the ball, I want to display an animated image of the ball exploding, or something more interesting.
  • I plan on getting the difficulty selection to work properly
  • I’m going to add an options menu, which will allow you to toggle the “guides” on and  off
  • I will also have a set difficulty preference, which will allow the user to change the difficulty. This will allow me to clean up the main menu a bit, since I won’t have to have the difficulty selection there.
  • I will allow the user to choose whether the game will be rendered horizontally or vertically. Based on this decision, I will display the game’s status on the “top” of the screen.
  • I plan on adding sound effects. Since I don’t really have any means of producing these myself, I will probably incorporate public domain sounds. In particular, I want to have sound effects when the ball is successfully caught, and when the ball bounces off of the walls.
  • I will finally get the game’s timer working, and have the current level and time remaining displayed on the screen. I will also make adjustments to the time given to the player, in order to make it possible to beat the game on all difficulty levels, and provide a pleasant experience.

I’m currently busy working on Clippy, but look forward to seeing an update to Catch The Ball in the future. After all, it is an open source project, so even if I completely abandon it, someone else can take over the work.

Catch The Ball Now Compiles Again!

If you checked out the source code for “Catch The Ball” lately, you might have noticed that the source code wasn’t compiling. The reason for this is because even though I tested the code to compile and run before committing it to the repository, I added comments to the XML files, stating that the file is a part of “Catch The Ball”, and that it’s licensed under version 3 of the GNU General Public License. What I didn’t realize, however, is that the line “<xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>” needs to come first in the XML file, before any comments, or else the compiler will produce error messages. I pushed the code to the repository without realizing this, and then started working on fixing issues with Clippy, so I didn’t find out about the problem until I tried to compile the Catch The Ball code again, at which point, I became extremely confused, as I knew I tested the code before committing it to git, and the only changes I made involved adding internal documentation to the code, which shouldn’t affect the application at all. Anyways, it’s fixed now, and I just wanted to let you know.

Catch The Ball Resource Licensing

As you may or may not know, I licensed the source code of Catch The Ball under version 3 of the GNU General Public License. This is a free and open source license in the truest sense of those words. However, I completely forgot about the images and other resources used in the game, which are necessary in order to compile and play the game. Of course, it’s really easy to create similar images from scratch, but I decided to allow everyone to use and modify the images included with the game however they want to. Therefore, I am now licensing all images and other resources that I created under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License, which is also an extremely lenient content license. Although I’m not exactly sure what “Unported” means, the license is free, and I’m glad to let others use my work however they want to. If anyone with a legal background wants to clarify that, that would be great. Although I have a link to more information in this post, I’m going to attempt to summarize the license anyways. Basically, the license allows you to copy, distribute, modify, and transmit any of the resources in “Catch the Ball”, and you don’t have to pay me anything, what-so-ever in order to do so, as long as you give me credit for creating the resources. Giving me credit could be as simple as posting a link that looks something like “Dylan Taylor / CC BY 3.0” in a spot where users of the application that incorporates my work will see it, or simply mentioning that your application uses artwork by Dylan Taylor that is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License in your “README” file or included documentation. Anyways, here’s a Creative Commons badge that links to the full-page describing the license in more detail:
Creative Commons License

Catch The Ball, My Not-So-Secret Android Project

So lately I’ve been working on something pretty major — a fully animated 2D game for the Android mobile operating system. The object of the game is simple: Catch the ball. So what makes this challenging you might ask? Well, as you progress through levels, the ball gets increasingly faster. In fact, at the moment, I have it moving at 7X the starting speed at the hardest difficulty. You have to catch the ball within a certain time limit, or else you lose. The amount of time you have depends on the difficulty level. Also, every time you miss the ball, you lose a second. This game is very simple, but it’s my first Android game, and I decided I’d share it with you guys before it’s done. Because it’s so simple, it will probably be 100% free in the Android market, and right now, I have no plans to put any advertisements in the game. However, that may change in the future, depending on how much money I make from my other applications. Did I mention this game is open source software? That’s right… not only am I releasing this game for free under version 3 of the GNU General Public License, but the full source code is already available on github! This is my first open source Android project, and others are more than welcome to help with the development process! Keep in mind that the code is in a relatively early state, and there are still a few bugs to be worked out before this game reaches a state where I feel comfortable shipping it. The difficulties are subject to change, but right now, here’s what I have planned:

Easy Mode: 12 seconds

Medium Mode: 9 seconds

Hard Mode: 6 seconds

Insane Mode: 3 seconds (!!!)

Also, I have the NullWire Trace.jar file included in the project by default. Basically, if the program crashes on anyone’s device, logs (stack traces) will be sent to NullWire’s servers, to help fix bugs and crashes. These logs are available on the page for the catch the ball package at trace.nullwire.com. In addition to updates about my other projects, check back often, as I will be posting news and screenshots of Catch The Ball as I develop it further.