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Introducing presskit() 2.5 & distribute()

Vlambeers' Rami Ismail introduces a recommended update to presskit() and the alpha for distribute(), a powerful new free tool to manage press contacts and build distribution.

For the last few months, my studio Vlambeer has funded work on a project called distribute(). distribute() is a free developer service that allows independent developers to easily handle their press contact list and (p)review build distribution. It's created to inform and assist developers in creating a good (p)review build strategy, maintaining relationships with the press and verifying that press requests come from verified sources.

distribute() has been in an early alpha state, with about half the functionality live at the moment. It has been a tremendous success - we have several hundred projects actively using distribute(), including Vlambeers' own Nuclear Throne, and already a dozen full commercial international releases have run their launch using distribute(), and those releases have reached more than a thousand unique members of the gaming press already - be it written, video or livestream. It's been wonderful seeing the service grow as we work on new functionality.

presskit() changelog
Today, I also want to announce presskit() 2.5, which silently launched yesterday night. presskit() 2.5 removes a security vulnerability related to e-mail, introduces translations for those of you targeting more than just English-speaking press and establishes a way for presskit() to communicate with distribute(). This is a recommended upgrade for all presskit() users.

Upgrading presskit()
To upgrade, you'll need to reinstate the install.php file that is in your root (the installation recommend you to rename it to _install.php, if that file is there just rename it install.php). If that file does not exist, just download a new installation of presskit() from the website. In both cases, your presskit() data will not be modified by any of these steps.

After reinstating install.php, just head for your presskit() installation and the update should be completed automatically by following the steps on screen. It shouldn't take longer than a few seconds to go through the entire process. You might see a few debug messages at the top of the screen after your presskit() goes live again, but these should disappear after a refresh.

To enable translations, look in the /lang/ folder available in the root of your presskit() installation. In it, you'll find en-English.xml, which you can save as any other language (ie. nl-Nederlands.xml or ar-Arabic.xml). Edit the new language file, keeping the base lines intact, but modifying the local lines. For languages that are right-to-left, change <local> to <local direction="rtl"> in the local tags.

Save and upload the new file to the /lang/ folder. It should show up immediately in your presskit. If you want to localise the content of the presskit() at well, duplicate the data.xml file and rename it data-nl.xml, replacing nl with whatever you put before the hyphen in the language file. You can do this for both the root data.xml as well as for project data.xml.

distribute() integration
To enable distribute() integration, log into your distribute() account, click games and the game you wish to integrate. If you've got presskit() linked, you should see a download key file option. If you don't have presskit() linked, please edit the game and use the load from presskit() functionality.

Click the download key file button and you should receive a file from distribute(). Upload this file to the appropriate project folder in your presskit() installation and you should be done. Visit the page, and you should see a new section named Request Press Copy. If there is a warning message instead, follow the instructions in that warning - if the error mentions it, for security purposes, you'll have to delete <press-can-request-copy> tags from your project's data.xml.

distribute() plans
distribute()'s secretary mode is getting large improvements over the next few weeks, along with SSL-security and e-mail digests for both developers and press. Press will be able to opt-in to a daily, weekly or monthly newsletter with new games, while developers will be able to receive digest about activity on their projects. The verification system will be limited to sites with High or above Reach. Based on user feedback we'll also be introducing a Event Mode that allows developers to easily let press sign up while at events.

As presskit() and distribute() mature, I continue to look for ways to improve both systems. If you have any feedback, thoughts or ideas, the full source to presskit() is available on github. For ideas on distribute(), please just drop me a line on e-mail.

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