Friday, 30 August 2013

Friday, 16 August 2013

Android for Games Developers Talk


Yesterday I attended the Android for Games Developers with Google at Skills Matter in London.

The Google tech guys talked about Android 4.3 and it's new features and Google Play Games. Most of it was presented from a back end point of view so there was a lot of Java that went over my head, but I did pick up some key points.

Android 4.3 now allows you to connect to low energy devices via Bluetooth LE. They even gave out bluetooth controllers during the event (No, I didn't get any. Prizes went to the geekiest members of the audience). However, there is no bluetooth android to android connectivity as yet.

Another key feature of 4.3 is Restricted Profile which is music to the ears of parents that want to prevent their children from making unauthorized in-app purchases. This is currently only available on android tablets though. Developers can add restriction options in the back-end of their game and there are new class of restriction entries: Boolean type, Choice, and multi choice.

Google TV now supports latest version of Android so we are advised to make sure our apps are TV ready. I think this is an important development, especially as the latest market research shows that a majority of users are playing mobile games in their living rooms.

Next hot topic was there recent release of the Google Play Games service. There are no two ways about it, you need a Google+ account to utilise this service but once you have that, all the features GPG offers are quite exciting.

The obvious benefits are sharing Leaderboards and Achievements with specific Google+ circles. There is also Cloud Save, which allows the player to save level progress and for that to be synchronized across all their android devices. PGP is cross-platform so you can view achievements on iOS as well. However, my favourite feature must be Real-Time Multiplayer where you can have 4 player P2P action. With that there is automatic or invitation based matching. Other features were Custom Libraries, Anti-Privacy and Badging (based on usage). One tip for developers was NOT TO USE API CONSOLE when setting up your game for GPG.

At the end of the conference, I asked if they had any tips for promoting the game. Creating YOUTUBE video seems to be the best way of making a wider audience aware that you have a great game in the play store. They also said that using Blogs to promote the game and Ad spending would be beneficial.

If you have any questions or would like to share your game with the google guys here are there google plus accounts :) :

+DanGalpin
+BrunoOliveira

Also for sample code, go here: 

https://github.com/playgameservices





Thursday, 15 August 2013

FPS Gesture Controls: The Drowning

The Drowning's clever control system creates a more intuitive and smooth FPS experience on the iPad.

I'm not sure these controls would translate so well on the smaller phone screens though. Sniping accurately with a two-finger gesture would be more difficult to pull off and probably frustrating.




Wednesday, 7 August 2013

The Evolution of Game Tutorials

A collegue at work linked me to this interesting article about how in-game tutorials have changed over the past 15 years:


They Don't Make Tutorial Levels Like No One Live Forever Anymore


From my experience, most gamers are too impatient to follow games tutorials unless they're forced into one. Like intro cutscenes, they are more likely to skip them, get straight into the action and use trial and error.

I like how many games nowadays integrate tutorials into the gameplay more seamlessly without it feeling boring or disjointed. Gestures or button graphics will flash up on screen to aid the player through the beginning of the first level and not bombard them with too many instructions. That's how it should always be. But it can be difficult to balance, especially in this new world of casual app gamers where attention is short and gaming trends change like the seasons.

In recent memory, Portal 2's tutorial was so seamless and playful that you hardly noticed it. All the best teachers have a sense of humour!


Friday, 2 August 2013

Canabalt HD: Desperado


The Godfather of endless runners, Canabalt HD, has a new update which includes new levels, two player competition and a female character.

I've just had a play and 2-player mode is ace but the female character, apart from longer hair, is void of femininity and looks like Antonio Banderas in Desperado.