Unity basic for Android and iOS now free!

Good news for all you other indie developers out there- Unity basic for Android and iOS is now free!

http://blogs.unity3d.com/2013/05/21/putting-the-power-of-unity-in-the-hands-of-every-mobile-developer/

Unity basic seems like it would be more than sufficient for the needs of most indie developers. This means that there will be a lot more people trying out Unity, publishing games, and making the platform stronger. Plus, the Unity developers will probably still make a good amount of money from additional purchases in the asset store.

I had been holding off developing in Unity until my current games could be generating enough income to easily justify the purchase, or for when I started going towards more 3d games, but I think I will try to publish a Unity game within the next couple months, to really test out the platform.

Mastering UDK Game Development Review

Good book to learn how to create non FPS game genre’s with UDK.

This book provides information specifically on how to start creating different types of games using the UDK, but it’s aimed at level designers, or at least someone who knows their way around using the UDK, but might not be comfortable using straight UnrealScript. A better title for the book might have been “How to create several unique game genere’s using UDK and Kismet: for intermediate users”, because for that, the book is actually pretty good.

The author walks you through everything, and you’ll be amazed at the stuff you can create with the UDK, if you’re an intermediate user, or even a beginner equipped with ‘Google’. You can then dream up ways to customize it, to make the games your own, and expand on them, and fill them out. My main complaint with the book is that although it does step you through everything nicely, there isn’t a lot of explanation about why you do stuff- you would have to go back and play more on your own to understand it better, or have hopefully already used the tools, and understand how they affect your game.

I would recommend this book for anyone who is interested in how to use UDK to setup a basic game of the genres listed in the ‘table of contents’, and who doesn’t want to delve into programming yet. But you’ll have an easier time if you have had some experience with UDK before.

You can pick it up from:
http://www.packtpub.com/mastering-udk-game-development/book

Selenium 2 Testing Tools Review

Great overview of Selenium 2, and how to get started running tests.

The author covers a good overview of what Selenium 2 is, which includes the differences between Selenium IDE, grid, RC and the WebDriver. It is basically a “cookbook”- with information on how to record tests, setup different tests, test new HTML5 features, test on different platforms, including mobile, and generally giving you the tools to create tests for a variety of situations.
If you are looking to get started with Selenium 2, and looking for a book that contains a good overview, and enough to get you setup, this is a great book. If you are looking to learn Java, this is not the book for you. Selenium is used to create automated tests of websites, so you can quickly test to make sure regular updates/changes haven’t broken your website.

You can pick it up from:
http://www.packtpub.com/selenium-2-testing-tools-beginners-guide/book

Sonar Code Quality Testing Essentials Review

If you are looking for a tool to aid with the QA of your projects this is a great book to get you setup and working with Sonar.

If you are new to Sonar, the book gets you started with an overview of how it is used, what it is capable of, and what makes Sonar valuable for project management. Once you understand what Sonar is capable of, the book then shows you how to install and set it up, so that you can begin using it. You will learn about all the different types of rule violations Sonar checks for, what type of reports you can generate, as well as how to configure Sonar for your coding rules.

If you are interested in trying to improve and track the quality of your code base, keep consistent coding rules followed, or are looking for more metrics to document the code complexity, quality, and potential problems, you’ll find lots of detailed information contained in this book.

You can pick it up from:
http://www.packtpub.com/sonar-code-quality-testing-essentials/book/book

AndEngine for Android Game Development Cookbook Review

I really enjoyed this book because it appears to be helpful both to game developers who want to start using the AndEngine, as well as people that might be new to game development in general. Every cookbook “recipe” is something that you will need to use eventually while programming games, but it’s laid out so if you are looking for a particular concept you can find it easily, or if you are a beginner to game development, you can read through the book from beginning to end, and get all the tools you will need to create pretty much any game, and get ideas on things that you can add, that you might have not otherwise thought of.

The author touches upon such a wealth of topics, from basic drawing, animated sprites, parallax backgrounds, box2d physics(with many examples), menu systems, and so much more, which makes this book valuable for the solutions that can be applied to other gaming frameworks you chose to use in the future.

The author even includes the source code for a fully professional quality game, and references which recipes were used to create each portion of it!

If you are interested in developing games using AndEngine, this is a great place to start. If you want a book that will stay a valuable reference in your library as you continue down the path of game development, get this book.

You can pick it up from:
http://www.packtpub.com/andengine-for-android-game-development-cookbook/book

Development Blog: 2d side scrolling mining game- on screen controls, basic animation


Try it here:

I got rid of it rendering tiles off screen, and increased the world size (which decreased the steepness of the hills for now).

I also added touch screen support (jumping and moving), figured out how I want to handle different resolutions, and changed in a basic guy graphic and background.

I will probably add the ability to “harvest” blocks, and put them down again, since that is the major mechanic. Some problems I have to figure out- the smallest level size in Terraria causes an “outofmemory error” on android… so I’m going to try to lean down my tiles to see if it works- or will have to generate the tiles as needed like minecraft does, and only keep the tiles loaded that are near the player…..

Also, figuring out how to tunnel out caves into the level, and branching caves.

(also- it seems to have hick ups when running in firefox, but not chrome…)

Development Blog: 2d side scrolling mining game

Reasons

I wanted to document my progress on my new game, which is a 2d side scrolling, mining type game, somewhat similar to Minecraft or Terraria, or the hundreds of other games somewhat like that out these days. I noticed that there are no good ones on the Android Market/ Google play, and I’d personally like to be able to build/ play on my Android.

I also will be using my code from another game, to have multiplayer added in from early on in the game. Looking at Terraria- the guy who made it started with a “Super Mario Bros” clone.
I’ve wanted to create a 2d side scrolling game similar to Mario Bros, and Commander Keen with decent production value for some time, so this project should help satisfy that longing as well.

Planning

Looking at Terraria, everything that is in there would take me a very, very long time to create, it’s is quite an impressive game. So, initially I only hope to have the same basic functionality as Minecraft or Terraria, which would be being able to move around in the world, and being able to harvest and replace blocks.

Then, I will start adding in crafting, and monsters, and expand from there. I would really like to add some unique elements to the game. I’ve thought from the beginning, when you can jump up into “space” in Terraria when you get too high- that it would be cool to have space stations, or even a minimum amount of space area to explore- such as a “moon”/satellite environment.

I would have also liked to have villages in the game with… “smarter” NPC’s, so that the world would become more alive. Add more RPG elements to the game as well- since both other games borrow from the genre.

Initial Progress

Well, the first step in creating any side scroller, that is tile based, is to create tiles. So I created a very small, tiled world, partially “air” and partially “dirt”.

just_tiles

Next step

The next step will be to add “character blocks” (about 1.5 width/height in hit area) to the world, and allow control, as well as have the camera following it.

LibGDX demo platformer for 2d side scrolling game like Mario!

koala_demo

Since I had seen this post: http://www.badlogicgames.com/wordpress/?p=2870 on Badlogic, about adding a new maps API to libGDX, as well as a side scrolling demo into the official source, I have really wanted to see it in action, and play around with it a bit.

So, I finally got around to downloading the source for LibGDX from Github again, finding the demo and compiling it using the basic project shown here: http://chrismweb.com/2013/03/25/how-to-start-creating-android-games-using-the-libgdx-game-development-framework-updated-with-gdx-setup-ui-jar/

I have uploaded the HTML5 demo so you can play it, and have included the source code for the demo:
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How to start creating android games using the LibGDX game development framework (UPDATED with gdx-setup-ui.jar)

NOTE: This is an updated version of a previous article, since it is now much easier+faster to create a LibGDX project using gdx-setup-ui

Why Android?

I’ve been creating games using flash/actionscript for a while now, but have really wanted to get started with android game development, since it’s an open source platform, the sky is the limit to how much you can learn about it.

The devices are usually fairly non-restrictive, being able to load custom roms, install any available software – even not directly through the market, being more practical (using internal storage as storage, not needing to install bloatware to connect to a computer), as well as having many more choices in hardware, since there is such a wide diversity of available mobile phones.

All in all, Android is very non-restrictive and flexible to it’s users, as well as it’s developers, and the market is supposed to be much easier to upload your app on, without getting turned down without a reason. It also caters more towards free apps (with ads), which is what I had wanted to offer, to allow everyone to be able to play my games.

Why LibGDX?

I have read a few android programming books, and most go into quite a bit of detail about application programming, but very little about OpenGL, not to mention I hadn’t done much programming using multiple separate threads in the past.

LibGDX takes care off pretty much all of the low-level stuff for you, so you can focus on game programming, or basic engine programming, and not about techniques for loading different image and music types, creating and handling multiple threads, or creating OpenGL surfaces to render 2d bitmaps on to.

Using it also does not take away any of the control you have, i f you wanted to or needed to program lower level stuff, such as creating surfaces and 3d objects using OpenGL. Thus, it provides an excellent platform to get started with without having to worry about creating everything from scratch yourself, but also allows you to create things later on when you need them.

And for super-icing on the cake, it is specifically made for creating games, and it also allows you to compile and test using native Java on your computer before deploying to your android device, which makes debugging and compile time so much faster! No needing to deal with the android emulator for most of your design, unless you wish to, no needing to compile the apk, move it to the SD card, install, open, and finally debug- you can do it all on your computer before deploying to your android device!

So in summary:

  • Handles a lot of the stuff that you would normally need to program from scratch, saves you time, as well as allows you to expand it if needed
  • Specifically created for games!
  • Debug, test and try out your android app without having to rely on having a device/ emulator running almost all the time!
  • Open source and free, as well as great forums for support

So Now that you know why it is a great framework to use to develop android games, lets get up and running.
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Ackmi Dress Up 2 released!!!

Ackmi Dress Up 2 has finally been released after many months of development!

You can now download Ackmi Dress Up 2 on your Android Device from the market: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ackmi.dress_up2

You can also play the game in your browser on your PC at: http://www.ackmi.com/games/ackmi_dress_up2/

Or install on the chrome store at: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/ackmi-dress-up-2/eakhdachoeaahiiioejemhnkejmlmpgl