Update: apparently this has also been discussed in the Unity forum and they reached about the same conclusion. It also shows more evidence that Unity Apps are hit pretty severely by the loss of compression due to the encryption process, 4-5 MB was what most users reported with some even much more than that.


I’m working on a calculation to at least determine the upper size of an App after Apple has had a go at it after a successful approval.

First of all we need to understand what Apple adds to the .app bundle after approval. I found a post that sums up the files that are added by Apple:

“additions are the iTunesArtwork file (70k), iTunesMetadata.plist (2k), files in the new SC_Info folder (12k) and the updated CodeResources file (9k)”

All in all about 100 KB in additional files. So where’s the rest of the bloat coming from? After all, some people even report an increase in size after approval of several Megabytes!

The answer is surprisingly simple: Apple is encrypting the executable file. By doing so its size doesn’t change much but its contents do which usually can no longer be compressed as much as before. By putting all this together i came up with a way to calculate the maximum size of your App in the App Store (it will most likely be less than this):

  1. open the .app bundle via right-click -> Show Package Contents (on Mac)
  2. locate the executable file and remember its (uncompressed) size (Size “A”)
  3. delete the executable from the bundle
  4. zip the bundle and remember the bundle’s compressed size (Size “B”)

Size “C” are the 100 KB from the additional files added to the bundle by Apple. The final calculation for the maximum size of your App is as follows:

A + B + C = maximum size of your App after approval

The calculation put in words:

(uncompressed executable size) + (app bundle compressed but without executable) + 0,1 MB = maximum size of your App after approval

I only have one App (51 Japanese Characters) in the App Store right now, so i can only test it with this App. The submitted App is 3,9 MB zipped and 4,3 MB on the App Store. The executable file is 1,0 MB and the App compressed without the executable is 3,6 MB. By my calculation i get:

1,0 MB + 3,6 MB + 0,1 MB = 4,7 MB

That is more than the 4,3 MB the App’s actual size on the App Store but remember: we calculated the maximum size the App might have. Depending on your code and more likely the engine you use (i use cocos2d exclusively till now) the amount of compression lost by Apple’s encryption varies greatly. Especially if assets (images, sound, music) are embedded in the executable (so don’t do that!). I hear that Unity iPhone applications can suffer a great deal more, however i don’t know if there was anything particular about the App nor which version of Unity iPhone was used, so take it with a grain of salt.

Now, how can we get closer to reality with this calculation? By introducing a good (upper) value for how much the executable file can still be compressed after encryption. In the case of 51 Japanese Characters it amounts to about 60%. So if we modify the calculation with a compression factor “F” we get:

(A * F) + B + C = maximum size of your App after approval

In the case of 51 Japanese Characters F would be 0,6.

I would very much appreciate it if you could do the calculation with your app(s) and post your results here. I’m most interested in your value for F, the more reports we can get the closer to the (mean average) compression factor for the encrypted executable. At this point i can only say it’s 0,6 in this particular case but it might as well be 1,0 for other Apps. Please post your results here!

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Indie Game Developers, listen up and read this!

On March 7, 2010, in Good Advice, by Steffen Itterheim

Kieron Gillen writes about the game press and how you can game them to get your game covered and loved by the press.

It is a remarkable summary (although in many entertainingly well-written words) of how you, as Indie Game Developer, can get your game in the press. They’ll love you for it. Use your power as an independent mind. Don’t let the press believe one second that you’re just trying to copy good PR as it’s done in the big houses. Be personally invested. Be opinionated. And contact the right people.

That would be my summary but of course, i have no idea. Never done it before. But i’ll certainly remember that article when i have to.

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What are you getting, Mr. Game Developer?

On March 4, 2010, in Business & Industry, by Steffen Itterheim

This question has been answered in the Salary Survey from Develop. Note that the currency is GBP, British Pounds. The Game Developer magazine offers a comparative survey for the US but keep in mind that it’s from last year.

Develop’s article has some interesting graphs, and the one that struck out to me is the one that clearly shows the Top 3 reasons for game developers to change jobs:

The Top 3 Reasons for changing jobs are:

  1. Looking for a new challenge
  2. Salary increase
  3. Limited opportunities for growth at current company

Indeed, those would have easily been my picks. I certainly have switched companies once for number 3 closely followed by number 1 while actually earning less (number 2). Now that i have left my last full-time employment, i can say that it was again – by far – number 3 followed by number 1 with number 2 not being a real issue – again.

Yes, overall game developers don’t earn as much as the database system engineers at SAP do. Or the Citrix consultants for steam-powered robots. Or what have you – yup, i’ve actually registered once for a freelancer job site that lists all those weird jobs that sound totally fricking, err, boring but also sound like they make a ton of money from that (why else would you want to do such a job, ey?).

Money isn’t really the issue. If you can grow in your company (and it doesn’t even have to mean making a career) and the challenges are satisfying while pushing your boundaries and learning new skills without neither feeling lost in a sea of technology mumbo-jumbo or getting bored and frustrated by assembly-line work with broken tools – if that all works out for you, you’re better off in the game industry!

Ok, that is, unless you have to crunch.
Note: the above link searches my blog for “crunch” – if this post just re-appears simply scroll down…

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