The mysterious case of Gateways

We liked gateways.  It was a tricky game, but very playable.

Above all it was a novel idea and very well executed.

Well, we noticed a new version appearing on the marketplace and were keen to have a look.

Hold on – this has the same “cover” and it looks in every way the same game.  Time for some investigation.

We went to the developers site.  Nothing about a new version there.  We then had a look at the developers blog page.  AHA, the mystery is solved.

We have been give permission to use this by the developer and you can find it here http://www.smudgedcat.com/blog/?p=65

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I received a curious email this afternoon from the XNA Team. It was the automated email you receive when an Xbox Live Indie Game has passed peer review. It told me that Gateways had passed peer review. This left me feeling a bit puzzled because I didn’t have Gateways in review at the time. I decided it was a weird glitch and didn’t think more about it.

However, I got a tweet from the good folks over at CSR Studios telling me that Gateways was back at the top of new releases. I fired up the Xbox and had a look, and sure enough there it was as a new release. It then suddenly dawned on me what had happened, there were two copies of the game on the system, ‘Gateways’ and ‘Gateways’!.

I was ready to release Gateways about this time last year, it had passed peer review and I was getting ready to push the button to make it appear on XBLIG. Then the guys from the Indie Uprising got in contact with me and asked if I’d be interested in joining them for the next uprising. I thought that sounded like a great idea (and it was) so I held off releasing the game.

As I waited for the uprising to kick off I started making a few changes to the game. A few tweaks here and there and a few bug fixes. Obviously I wanted to get these new changes into the release but there didn’t seem to be any way to do this if the game hadn’t been released on the system. The only option I had for ‘Gateways’ was to release the game.

It seemed the only solution was to create a new project called ‘Gateways!’ and use that. I would simply write off the ‘Gateways’ project (there didn’t seem to be a way to delete the project) and never release it. It would seem that today Microsoft have made that decision for me and it got released. I can only presume there is a time out of a year on all projects that have passed peer review.
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The upshot of this is that if you have a QA and release system that doesn’t have anyone [from Microsoft] taking an overview then stuff like this happens.

There must be more examples of this type of glitch – email us with any you spot.

4th July 2013