Some info about macOS Catalina and what it means for our games. Thumbnail sketch from a skribbl.io game played during the past weekend’s community event.
MacOS Catalina is Apple’s latest update to its desktop operating system. It’s a fairly big update that drops all support for 32-bit software. It also makes it much more difficult (or almost impossible?) to run applications that haven’t been notarized, or signed off by Apple as having been created by a verified developer.
If you’re on Mac, you may have seen the above warning on many games, especially indie games. There are (at least) two possible reasons for this warning: the game is 32-bit, and/or the game has not been notarized.
Ren’Py games are already 64-bit, so the reason you’ll see that warning on our game pages is because the games haven’t been notarized. Unfortunately, notarization is not a simple, straightforward process. Notarization requires setting up many dev tools, formatting various packages, submitting it all to Apple to be checked, then making any further changes and repeating the process until it’s approved. It also requires an Apple developer account (100USD/year), and any future updates to the package must repeat the notarization process.
We want to update our games to support Catalina, but it’s also a lot of extra work, time, process, and organization to figure out how to do so sustainably for our small team. We’re watching the indie developer landscape to see how others react (and maybe they will have figured out good ways of adapting to these new restrictions and headaches) and hope we’ll be able to have Catalina support in a reasonable timeframe.
Some reading if you want to learn more about notarization and other indie game dev opinions:
No questions in our Ask Box this week! Feel free to send in your queries about anything RE:H or AG related.