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Air apps punished on Google Play - Adobe fix required

Advocate ,
Aug 10, 2018

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Hi Adobe team,

over the last months the developer community has been discovering an issue that causes freezes (ANRs) in Air apps. Since Google recently changed the visibility algorithms for Google Play to punish apps that show high quotas of faulty behavior, all Air apps are now directly affected by this punishment.

We believe that we have been able to narrow the problem down to playing sounds in an Air application. Developers report those ANRs both for streaming sounds as well as playing sounds locally. Specifically, our company has been able to reliably reproduce the freeze by creating a bot that will play our game over a lengthy session. After 1-3 hours, the app will just freeze. If we disable the sound, the freeze will not occur. Furthermore, if we endlessly loop a single sound instance with a volume of 0, the freeze also does not occur. However this workaround causes wake locks because the device can never go to full sleep even when the user puts it into background, since the sound still plays. Wake locks are also punished by Google Play, so it is just replacing one problem with another.

Please have a look at this thread:

Input dispatching timed out ANRs & ANR rate survey · Issue #29 · Gamua/Adobe-Runtime-Support · GitHu...

You can see that dozens of developers have added their experience in hundreds of posts for this specific issue alone, and these are only those developers that actually understand that something is happening, there might be a lot of indies or studios that have not yet noticed that they have a high quota of ANRs in their Air apps that are threatening their visibility on Google Play.

There are at least 2 tickets that reference this bug:

Tracker and
Tracker

Adobe, please fix this bug as it is affecting all your developers that are using sound, is not easily noticed and is punishing Air developers on Google Play by decreasing visibility for our apps. Please reinforce your commitment to Air by making sure that bugs of this magnitude will be fixed. We are all a little worried since 2 of your engineers have been posting to above thread but have since gone silent after their first attempts of fixing the bug did not work.

Air is a great technology, lets work together to make sure it will stay healthy and efficient. We are ready to step in and help you reproducing the problem. Please let us know if you require more info to reproduce or fix the problem.

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Air apps punished on Google Play - Adobe fix required

Advocate ,
Aug 10, 2018

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Hi Adobe team,

over the last months the developer community has been discovering an issue that causes freezes (ANRs) in Air apps. Since Google recently changed the visibility algorithms for Google Play to punish apps that show high quotas of faulty behavior, all Air apps are now directly affected by this punishment.

We believe that we have been able to narrow the problem down to playing sounds in an Air application. Developers report those ANRs both for streaming sounds as well as playing sounds locally. Specifically, our company has been able to reliably reproduce the freeze by creating a bot that will play our game over a lengthy session. After 1-3 hours, the app will just freeze. If we disable the sound, the freeze will not occur. Furthermore, if we endlessly loop a single sound instance with a volume of 0, the freeze also does not occur. However this workaround causes wake locks because the device can never go to full sleep even when the user puts it into background, since the sound still plays. Wake locks are also punished by Google Play, so it is just replacing one problem with another.

Please have a look at this thread:

Input dispatching timed out ANRs & ANR rate survey · Issue #29 · Gamua/Adobe-Runtime-Support · GitHu...

You can see that dozens of developers have added their experience in hundreds of posts for this specific issue alone, and these are only those developers that actually understand that something is happening, there might be a lot of indies or studios that have not yet noticed that they have a high quota of ANRs in their Air apps that are threatening their visibility on Google Play.

There are at least 2 tickets that reference this bug:

Tracker and
Tracker

Adobe, please fix this bug as it is affecting all your developers that are using sound, is not easily noticed and is punishing Air developers on Google Play by decreasing visibility for our apps. Please reinforce your commitment to Air by making sure that bugs of this magnitude will be fixed. We are all a little worried since 2 of your engineers have been posting to above thread but have since gone silent after their first attempts of fixing the bug did not work.

Air is a great technology, lets work together to make sure it will stay healthy and efficient. We are ready to step in and help you reproducing the problem. Please let us know if you require more info to reproduce or fix the problem.

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Aug 10, 2018 8
Community Beginner ,
Aug 10, 2018

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I'm totally agree with .

We really need feedback from Adobe on such critical issues.

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Aug 10, 2018 1
Community Beginner ,
Aug 10, 2018

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Great post rewb0rn!

Indeed, the lack of support and communication on such an important issue is very worrisome. chris.campbell​ we would really need you to tackle this issue.

On a second note it would also be good to improve the communication on AIR's future and it's potential roadmap. Last year there was a great initiative by chris.campbell​ to ask the community about feature requests but I haven't seen (or am unaware of) much communication since. Feature requests are cool but as developers, what we really need is to be assured that critical issues will be fixed and have a little insight on what Adobe plans for the future of AIR. The latest communication on the topic is simply "we have no plans to drop AIR", which honestly isn't a real commitment to future support.

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Aug 10, 2018 4
Engaged ,
Aug 10, 2018

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ANR and Crashes nearly destroyed one of our apps. We dropped from 2000 installs per day down to about 500 due to punishing rules from Google. We had to remove sounds which were causing issues, and optimize to extreme levels to return back. This also mean a huge drop on revenues.

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Aug 10, 2018 1
Advocate ,
Aug 10, 2018

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Leo interesting insights, have you been able to recover in a way that you are now back to 2000 installs per day?

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Aug 10, 2018 0
Engaged ,
Aug 10, 2018

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We managed to get back to about 1700-1900 / day and we had to start paid ads, to recover faster. We dropped our crash rate from 1.91% on May to an average of 0.53% in July. However, this issues are critical and I am not sure if we have a paved road ahead of us.

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Aug 10, 2018 1
Community Beginner ,
Aug 13, 2018

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Hello Leo Kanel!

We dropped our crash rate from 1.91% on May to an average of 0.53% in July.

How do you fix it? Do you use that hack with looped sound in background?

We have an app where main sounds are from NetStream and this hack (or sound ane) doesn't works.

Adobe team, please make more attention to this issue, its very critical!

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Aug 13, 2018 1
Engaged ,
Aug 13, 2018

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Can this be avoided completely if you play sounds in a worker?

The worker will not hang the main thread.

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Aug 13, 2018 0
Advocate ,
Aug 13, 2018

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Hi chaky,

I haven't tested if workers could be used to avoid that problem, but I doubt it. From logcat it seems to be a general problem like a memory leak in the underlying framework (aka Air). We are now focusing on rewriting our game to use native calls for sounds (with the MediaPlayer ANE from distriqt) but feel free to make a test and share the results.

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Aug 13, 2018 0