First Android App – Entering week 3

Since my last post I have polished the application up made it look a little nicer and considered some additional features that will improve the game. In this time I have added sound effects and found all about the magic of the MediaPlayer and Vibrator functions to add some subtle user feedback  The difference this makes to an application is astonishing just giving the user some basic feedback when they touch a button or perform an action whether its visible,audible or touch sensitive make user experience much more fun.

As this is my first Android app and game It is a very simple game with a simple premise similar to that of Deal or no Deal, the problem I currently face is what model shall I adopt to publish my app, Hopefully some more established developers can give me some advice here are my 3 options –

  1.  Release trial version with ad’s

If  the game proves popular enough and gets decent ratings I have a full paid version of the app that I can release that has more features that will add a new dimension to the game and adding things like leaderboards.

      2.  Release demo version (without Ads)

Release demo version for free and take the feedback to improve upon in future applications

  3. Release Paid version only (Lease prefferable)

This is the least preferable method as I personally wouldn’t buy anything I hadn’t tried, but I understand that people do make apps using this model and this is there Business model.

So far I am thinking about going with option 1 but any advice from other guys would be great.

The second thing is if I do use ad’s what is the easiest ad provider to use and what ad provider would provide the best income stream for an app of this nature maybe some of you guys can give me some advice!

This app is basic I understand this and as its my first app was more of a learning experience than a quality app building exercise. But I am keen to here from other developers.

I will update about what is chosen

Thanks,

 

 

 

 

 

Android Dev Diary – Killer Week 1

Since my last post I have  started work on my first Android game!! (exciting times). I hope that by setting this dev diary up I can track my progress and document my experiences for others to learn from.

So I already had much of the game logic sorted from a previous java project and just had to get the UI sorted. As a programmer I have limited skills with Photoshop and hadn’t anticipated the problems that would come from having to make my own graphics as good graphics can be all the difference.

My game is a strategy/luck game where you have to make a serious of decisions that ultimately end with the user winning a fake cash sum. I started with a very basic UI until the game logic was solid at first it looked pretty shady as shown at end of post

Once I had this and was happy with the play through I started to work on new graphics to spruce it up slightly.This was difficult and in future would consider getting someone with more experience but as this was my first dive into games and a side hobby I thought id try myself and version 2 and 3 can be seen below.

For new Android developers something that may pass you by but is extremely useful is Parcelable which allows you to pass data between Activity’s using native type such as Strings,ints and doubles. This allows you to keep data rolling between activitys and is much better than using serializable which if Java is your native language you may be tempted to, as this comes with serious performance issue. (I Intend to add a tutorial for Parcelable soon)

Now my game has decent not great graphics and has its basic structure complete my quest to improve user feedback and get some sounds has begun and its not fun 😦

Android Game Dev – A Beginners Tale

As a Java developer and someone who is repulsed by the idea of graphics, drawing loops and all that comes with game development, It is safe to say I wasn’t holding out much hope for this latest experiment to work. I had a few ideas for games that I wanted to make and have always liked the idea of making a game (something fun) rather than utility apps. So how hard could it really be ?

Started off simple I wanted to make a basic user driven game, I could create the game logic easily in a few java classes but when faced with mapping said logic to Android project my mind whizzed in desperation. So I decided to “divide and conquer” after all this was a hobby activity my time was limited and may take me months, so achieving small goals would motivate me more than staggering to one full app.

Lesson 1 — This is my best piece of advice for any developer starting in games who has previously never done so. You are automatically more comfortable creating the menus and their functions so if you are anything like me you will be tempted to create as I did the easy bits first. Please do not do this, what I found is I spent time working on the menu’s and when I got to the game I quickly realized it wasn’t going to be an enjoyable game or work they way my head had envisioned. Unfortunately our heads seem to think certain things are good idea’s but when put in practice it isn’t always the case.

This experience taught me few fundamental lessons however, about styling and layout screens and devices. But this was something I could afford to learn at a later date.

Lesson 2 – Android Dev Guides/Forums

These resources are invaluable and so are sites like stackoverflow it is easy if you get an new error that you cant move by to become disheartened and give up, sites like these can help and provide the answer and when that error comes up again you will know exactly why and how you can solve it. In most cases knowing how specific errors are caused can be easier than trying to identify where its caused when you don’t know what the error means.

Android development guides also have source code examples that you can download and play with Lunar Lander is great for Game development and what I did was strip out all the unrelated code and now I have a base android game project complete with update thread and game view.

Final point – Find an idea that excites you, find people whether it be loved ones or friends that you can show and receive feedback from be careful and ensure that they are honest and not humoring you as tends to be case with family.

Once you have an idea break it down, start slow for instance – The game I’m currently making has 3 stages. I sat and thought with pen and paper  how will stage 1 work? I had a rough idea so I coded the game logic in Java as this is the language I’m most comfortable with. I had created a very crude text based version of the first stage of round 1 but I had now gained a clear understanding of the logic so I was able to concentrate on setting up the Activity to display and use this logic.

These are just a few tips I thought id share from problems I faced. I’m hoping to start a development diary here even though I have already started development but the project is still in basic stages so hopefully this acts as an intro into me and what I intend to do.