By Werner Ruotsalainen on Tue, 11/22/2011
You may have heard of the Tron clone Hard Lines, one of the best games in AppStore.
It has some days ago received iCade (and, naturally, iControlPad) compatibility, and, because of that (and its quality), has quickly become one of my favorite titles and will definitely be in Part II of my “iCade / iCP best games” article series (Part I HERE), along with Flashback (which has just received iCade / iCP support), the C64 emulator (of which the iCade-compliant version will be, hopefully, approved by Apple this week) and the ZX Spectrum emulator Spectaculator, which, in addition to have been supporting iCade for quite long, is also hackable (read: you can load any game into it; see tutorial HERE; I'll present a more up-to-date one in the forthcoming Part II of the series).
I've played several hours with the game (did I say I love the iControlPad?). After a while, the game starts displaying the "Rate me in iTunes" dialog box. Independent of what you select, the app will crash. After killing it and restarting, it'll continue displaying the dialog after every single game, also resulting in crashes.
Tested under iOS 5.0.1 on the iPad 2 (not jailbroken; with the latest version of the game). Other users have also reported the same (an example).
Unfortunately, rating the game in iTunes doesn't help - the game continues asking for rating.
As there has been absolutely no input on the developer's part after my posting the bug report in two TouchArcade threads, I, an experienced iOS programmer / lecturer on iOS (and Windows Phone 7 / Samsung Bada / Java) programming, took the liberty to look into it myself.
As you may have guessed, I've managed to fix the problem. And all this can be done on a non-jailbroken device!
You need to do the following: get either the free iExplorer or, if you don't mind paying, Phone Disk (both developed by Macroplant; I recommend the latter, you'll save a lot of time with its integration into the operating system. The rest of this tutorial only discusses Phone Disk. An additional article on them is HERE). After connecting your iDevice and starting the app, navigate to the home directory of Hard Lines by right / Ctrl-clicking the app icon of Phone Disk, selecting <devicename> / Change Connection Root / Hard Lines.
Now, click the device name in File Explorer (Windows) / Finder (Mac) and navigate to the directory Library / Preferences.
If your system has a plist editing-capable app (BBEdit, Xcode etc. on Mac), double-click the file com.SpiltMilkStudios.HardLines.plist. If it doesn't, and you're under Windows, get plist Editor for Windows (it worked just fine with this game), install and start it and drag the file into it.
After loading the file, look for the entry “ReviewRequestNextTimeToAsk”. It'll have a real number like “343635807.98413998” under it:
(you'll see another number!)
Just change the number to, say, 999999999999.999:
- if you've used double-click to invoke the plist editor app, just commit a save
- otherwise, overwrite the original file with the new one by copying / moving back. Note that if you're presented a “can't overwrite read-only file” error message, just restart Phone Disk.
Voilà – the bug is fixed and you're no longer asked about rating the app :)
Don't forget: if you don't want to do the above, you can just wait for the official bugfix. Knowing that Apple's AppStore approval process can be quite lengthy, I wouldn't expect anything in the next 5-8 days, though.