Interesting feature

>>> Starting Mobile Game Development
Issue 01/2012 (1)
Creating Games In Corona SDK Creating Games In Corona SDK Creating Games In Corona SDK
Anti-Aliasing &
Motion Blur Effect
Snake-Style Game in C#
Snake-Style Game in C#
4 01/2012
he world of game develop-
ment has become increas-
ingly popular in the past
couple years among many mobile
platforms such as iOS and Android.
A popular game engine used for
mobile game development is
Corona SDK by Anscamobile http:// It is very
user friendly and great for begin-
ning and experienced program-
mers. You will nd yourself diving
into Corona quickly using Lua as
the programming language; close-
ly compared to AS3. Corona SDK is
available to develop on Mac or PC,
so everyone can join in on the fun.
In this article, we’ll be learning how
to make a simple 2D shooter type
based game in Corona SDK from
start to nish in less than an hour.
There are a couple necessary tools
and les that will be needed be-
fore we start coding. You will need
to create a user account on Ansca’s
site to download Corona here:
ht tp://www.anscamobil
corona. It is free to test out for as
long as you like, but if you want full
access to what Corona has to oer
and submit your games to either
the App Store or Android Market,
you will have to be a subscriber.
There are a variety of subscriptions
to suit your developer needs if you
choose to subscribe later on: http://
Once you have created a user ac-
count, please refer to the Quick
Start Guide link to get you set up
in Corona SDK before we begin:
com/resources/corona- qui ck-
start-guide. Are you set up now?
Great! Let’s start coding our game!
Make sure that you have down-
loaded the project folder that is
attached to this article called Bears
Gone Wild New. The main premise
of the game is that you are a panda
bear being attacked by a swarm
of evil bears and will have to fend
them o for as long as you can.
You will learn how to transition be-
tween scenes using the Storyboard
API: http://developer.anscamobile.
com/content/storyboard. The proj-
ect le will contain some .lua les
and assets that are already set up
for you to create the mini game. So
let’s get started!
In your text editor, create a new le
called main.lua and save it to your
project folder. The main.lua le is
the rst scene Corona SDK reads
from when a project is launched
in the simulator. We’ll need to im-
port storyboard and call the load-
ing scene. See Listing 1 and add
the following lines. Save your le
(Listing 1).
Next, we’ll start adding in our
loading scene. Create a new le
in your text editor and save it as
loading.lua to your project folder
(Bears Gone Wild New). We’ll start
implementing the Storyboard
API in our scene. Refer to Listing
2 and add the following code to
your loading.lua le. Every time
you want to load a new scene
into view, require (“storyboard”)
needs to be added. local scene =
storyboard.newScene() will allow
us to call the scene events: createS-
cene(), enterScene(), exitScene(),
and destroyScene().
The main visual focus of the scene
is the image display object in
createScene(). It is included in the
screenGroup so when we change
scenes, we’ll be able to remove the
object to prevent memory leaks.
Notice that storyboard.gotoScene(
“scene1”, “fade”, 800 ) will transi-
tion to scene 1 once the chang-
eScene() function is completed
through myTimer. In the createS-
cene() function, storyboard.remo-
veScene( “scene1” ) is added and
will be applied after the rst initial
gameplay is over and the game is
restarted. When you have added
all the code for loading.lua, save
your le (Listing 2).
How to Create a Mini-Game
in Corona SDK
by Michelle Fernandez
Listing 1: Setting up main.lua
display.HiddenStatusBar )
-- require controller module
local storyboard = require
-- load hrst screen
storyboard gotoScene(
5 01/2012
How to Create a Mini-Game in Corona SDK
Figure 1: Loading screen
The main game algorithms will be
stored in a new scene. The last le
you’ll need to create is scene1.lua
from your text editor. In this le,
we’ll introduce and declare some
modules and variables that will
be called during gameplay, see
(Listing 3). There are also sound
eects we have pre-loaded that
will be applied to some of the
game assets. The great thing
about Storyboard API is that it
uses the same set up throughout
every scene change. You’ll notice
how the code is similar to load-
ing.lua. In createScene(), we used
storyboard.removeScene( “load-
ing” ) to remove the loading scene
since it is not needed anymore. In
enterScene(), we applied all the
game functions in this block. The
gameActivate() function will start
- “exitScene” event
is dispatched before next
scene’s transition begins
“exitScene”, scene )
- “destroyScene” event
is dispatched before view
is unloaded, which can be
“destroyScene”, scene )
return scene
Listing 2: Setting the loading scene
local storyboard = require( “storyboard”)
local scene = storyboard.newScene()
local image
local myTimer
-- Called when the scene’s view does not exist:
function scene:createScene( event)
local screenGroup = self view
-- completely remove scenel
storyboard removeScene( “scenel”)
print( “\nloading: createScene event”)
-- Called immediately after scene has moved onscreen:
function scene:enterScene( event)
local screenGroup = self view
print( “loading: enterScene event”)
image = display newlmageRect( “loading png”, 300,400)
image x = 160; imagey = 240
scree nGroup inse rtf image)
local changeScene = function ()
storyboard gotoScene( “scenel”, “fade”, 800 )
myTimer = timer performWithDelayf 1500, changeScene, 1
-- Called when scene is about to move offscreen:
function scene exitScenef)
if myTimer then timer.cancel( myTimer); end
print( “loading: exitScene event”)
-- Called prior to the removal of scene’s “view (display
function scene:destroyScene( event)
print( “((destroying loadings’s view))”)
- “createScene” event is dispatched if scene’s view does
not exist scene:addEventListener( “createScene”, scene)
- “enterScene” event is dispatched whenever scene
transition has hnished scene:addEventListener( °enterScene¨,
6 01/2012
out by setting gameIsActive = true
since it initially is set to false at the
beginning of the game. We’ll ap-
ply our main character movement
with moveChar() based on touch
events along the X direction. The
setScore() function will continually
update the game score when the
enemy collides with the player’s
The game is over when the main
character has zero lives remaining.
We will call the callGameOver()
function. What this function does
is activates the gameOverSound
sound eect, dims the background
image with a darker overlay, and
displays and image that says
“Game Over.” Appearing alongside
the game over screen is the nal
score of the player and a restart
button that will allow the player to
play the game again. Most impor-
tantly during this function is that
all transitions, timers, animations,
and touch events that were run-
ning during gameplay are no lon-
ger active. The heads up display is
organized into one function called
hud(). It displays the count for
number of enemies that are killed,
lives that are left, and current game
score. There is a function called
livesCount() which will decrement
lives after the player’s character
gets hit by an enemy 3 times.
When player has less than one life,
callGameOver() is activated in the
scene. The background image in
the game is placed in it’s own func-
tion called background().
The following block of code demon-
strates the collision detection with
all the objects that have a physical
body. This includes the user’s char-
acter (panda bear), the enemies (evil
bears), and the character’s weapon
(re bullets). Add the remaining
code in your scene1.lua le, see
(Listing 4).
The main character of the game
is animated through a movieclip
class that is already included in the
project le. This can be found in the
createChar() function. You will see 2
images that will alternate back and
Listing 3: Declaring variables, movement, and HUD
local storyboard = require( “storyboard”)
local movieclip = requirefmovieclip”)
local physics = require (“physics”)
local scene = storyboard.newScene()
local background
local character
local smoke
local lastX = 0
local restartBtn
local scoreText
local killText
local livesText
local shade
local gameOverScreen
local gamelsActive = false
local stopTimer
local shotTimer
local playTween
local shootTween
local gameLives = 3
local gameScore = 0
local killCount = 0
local mRand = math, random
local gameOverSound = audio.loadSound( “gameover.wav”)
local btnSound = audio.loadSound( “btnSound.wav”) local
explo = audio.loadSound(“explo.mp3”) local shot = audio.
—- Called when the scene’s view does not exist: function
scene:createScene( event) local screenGroup = self.view
—- completely remove scene’s view storyboard.
removeScene( “loading”)
print( “\n1: createScene event’)
—- Called immediately after scene has moved onscreen function
scene:enterScene( event)
local screenGroup = self.view
—- Game start
local gameActivate = function()
gamelsActive = true
—- Events for character movement along the X direction
local moveChar = function(event)
if( event, phase == “began”) then
lastX = event.x - character.x
elseif(event.phase == “moved”) then
character.x = eventx- lastX
—- Keeps character from going outside the edge of the
7 01/2012
How to Create a Mini-Game in Corona SDK
if((character.x - character.width * 0.5) < 0) then
character.x = character.width * 0.5
elseif((character.x + character.width * 0.5) > display.contentWidth) then
character.x = display.contentWidth - character.width *0.5
—- Tracks the game score
local setScore = function( scoreNum )
local newScore = scoreNum
gameScore = newScore
if gameScore < 0 then gameScore = 0; end
scoreText.text = “Score:”.. tostring( gameScore )
scoreText.xScale = 0.5; scoreTextyScale = 0.5
scoreText.x = (scoreText.contentWidth * 0.5) + 15
scoreText.y = 15
—- Calls the game over screen
local callGameOver = function() gameOverSound )
gamelsActive = false
physics. pause()
shade = display.newRect( 0, 0, 380, 570 )
shade:setFillColor( 0, 0, 0, 255 )
shade.x = 160; shade.y = 240
shade.alpha = 0
gameOverScreen = display. newlmageRect( “gameOver.png”, 300, 400 )
local newScore = gameScore
setScore( newScore )
gameOverScreen.x = 160; gameOverScreen.y = 240
gameOverScreen.alpha = 0
screenGroup:insert( shade )
screenGroup:insert( gameOverScreen )
—- Transition game over assets shade, {time=200, alpha=0.65 }) gameOverScreen, {time=500, alpha=1 })
scoreText.isVisible = false
scoreText.text = “Score:”.. tostring( gameScore )
scoreText.xScale = 0.5; scoreTextyScale = 0.5 —> for clear retina display text
scoreText.x = 160
scoreText.y = 240
timer.performWithDelay( 0, function() scoreText.isVisible = true; end, 1 )
local onRestartTouch = function( self, event)
if event.phase == “began” then )
—- Once restart button is touched, the loading screen displays and the game
is restarted
storyboard.gotoScene( “loading”, “fade”, 400 )
return true
8 01/2012
restartBtn = display.newlmageRect(“restartbtn.png”, 60, 60 )
restartBtn.x = 260; restartBtn.y = 385
screenGroup:insert( restartBtn )
restartBtn .touch = onRestartTouch
restartBtn:addEventListener( “touch”, restartBtn )
-- Stops character movieclip
—- Stops all timers and transitions when game over screen displays
if playTween then transition.cancel( playTween ); end
if shootTween then transition.cancel( shootTween ); end
if stopTimer then timer.cancel( stopTimer); end
if shotTimer then timer.cancel( shotTimer); end
—- Touch events on character are no longer active
Runtime: re moveEventL istene r(“touc h”, moveCha r)
—-Displays heads up display
local hud = function()
killText = display.newTextf “Killed: ”.. tostringf killCount), 0, 0, “Arial”, 45 )
killText: setTextColor( 150,25,180, 255 )
killTextxScale = 0.5; killText.yScale = 0.5
killTextx = (320 - (killTextcontentWidth * 0.5)) -15
killText. y = 465
screenGroup:insert( killText)
livesText= display.newText( “Lives:”.. tostring( gameLives ), 0, 0, “Arial”, 45 )
livesText:setTextColor( 150,25,180, 255 )
livesTextxScale = 0.5; livesText.yScale = 0.5
livesTextx = (320 - (livesText.contentWidth * 0.5)) - 15
livesText.y= 15
screenGroup:insert( livesText)

scoreText = display.newText( “Score:”.. tostring( gameScore ), 0, 0, “Arial”, 45 )
scoreText:setTextColor( 150,25,180, 255 )
scoreText.xScale = 0.5; scoreText.yScale = 0.5
scoreText.x = (scoreText.contentWidth * 0.5) + 15
scoreText.y = 15
screenGroup:insert( scoreText)
-- Track character lives
local livesCount = function()
gameLives = gameLives - 1
livesText.text = “Lives:”.. tostring( gameLives )
livesText.xScale = 0.5;
livesText.yScale = 0.5 livesText.x = (320 - (livesTextcontentWidth * 0.5)) -15
livesText.y = 15
print(gameLives ..” lives left”)
if gameLives < 1 then
-- Displays background image
9 01/2012
How to Create a Mini-Game in Corona SDK
forth while the character display
object is moving. For the collision
of character to work properly, it
has been assigned a name that is
respectively called “character” and
given a “static” physical body since
the player will control it through
touch events. Also, notice character.
isHit = false. This will also help us de-
tect when a collision has occurred
between character and enemy.
For all collision events, a display
object called smoke will appear and
disappear to demonstrate a poof
eect. It’s just another subtle detail
that will add more aesthetics to the
In the shoot() function, bullet is
introduced and is positioned equal
to character. The most important
part of this function is the move-
ment of bullet. It transitions in the
Y direction opposite from character
and removed from the scene from
either a collision with the enemy or
if it reaches near the top of screen
if no collision occurs. In order for
bullet to continue shooting, timer.
performWithDelay( 800, shoot, 0) is
used. The 0 at the end of the func-
tion means that the designated
function will run repeatedly until
the timerID is canceled.
When it comes to the enemy col-
lision portion of the game, there
are a couple things that need to be
assigned. There are 2 parameters
assigned for onEnemyCollision(),
self and event. Upon any collision
that comes back true, the enemy
object is removed from the stage
and a poof of smoke appears tem-
porarily. Since bullet is assigned
the name “bullet”, the count for
every enemy on the screen killed
is tracked and the score will incre-
ment 500 points every time with
the setScore() function. When char-
acter is hit, livesCount() is called
which decrements the lives of the
character. When gameLives < 1, all
timers will be cancelled.
The enemy display object will also
be animated through the movieclip
class. It is set up similarly to char-
acter. When it enters the screen,
a random function was added on
the x value of enemy to make the
evil bears appear in dierent loca-
tions in the X direction. The physical
body type of enemy is “dynamic”
and will activate collision detections
between the bullet and character.
The enemy transitions from the top
of the screen at a smaller scale to
make it appear as if they’re coming
from a distance from the player’s
character. It will appear at full size as
it reaches the bottom of the screen
during gameplay. What’s important
about enemy, is that it is assigned
a “collision” event listener which is
connected to onEnemyCollision().
Another timer.performWithDelay()
function is used to continually tran-
sition enemy while the game is active.
Lastly, a function called initVars() will
initialize all the functions we have
created and added to this chunk,
including the touch event for the
main character. This is also where
we initialize the physics properties
in the game as well. When gameplay
is over and the player presses the
restart button, all that was active
needs to be made sure that they are
inactive. If there are any other tim-
ers and transitions that were used,
be sure to cancel them and remove
all event listeners. We also have to
make sure we add physics.stop().
Try to clean out the scene as much
as possible to prevent any potential
issues when changing scenes. You
will see all the variable removals
added in exitScene().
Remember to save your scene1.
lua le and any other .lua les that
you have not saved. Launch Corona
SDK and run the project le in the
simulator. To play the game, drag
the panda bear side to side to shoot
at the evil bears and to dodge them
if they get too close. This game is al-
ready congured to run on any iOS
or Android device. You’ll be able to
play the game that you have coded
in such a short amount of time.
local background = function()
background = display.newlmageRect( “bg.png”, 320, 480)
background.x = 160; background.y = 240
screenGroup:insert( background )
Figure 2: Game screen 1 Figure 3: Game screen 2
10 01/2012
Listing 4: Sett|ng cc|||:|cn: cetween nc|n cnc|ccte| cnc enen|e:
—- Function for character and smoke
local createChar = function()
character = movieclip.newAnim({“charA.png”, “charA.png”,”charA.png”,”charA.
png”,”charA.png”,”charA.png”,”ch arB.png”,”charB.png”,”charB.png”1”charB.png”,,’charB.png”1”char
character.x = display.contentWidth * 0.5
character.y = display.contentHeight- character.height
character.myName = “character”
character: play()
physics.addBody(character, “static”, {density=1.0, friction=0.15})
character.isHit = false
smoke = display.newlmageRect( “poof.png”, 50, 50 )
smoke.alpha = 1.0
smoke.isVisible = false
screenGroup:insert( character)
screenGroup:insert( smoke ) end
¬- Function for hre bullets
local shoot = function(event)
local bullet = display.newlmageRectfbullet.png”, 8, 20 )
bulletx = character.x
bullety = character.y - character.height
bullet. myName = “bullet”
bullet. isH it = false
physics.addBody(bullet, “static”, {density=1, friction=0})
shootTween =, {y=30, time=700,
onComplete=function(self) print(“erase”);
self.parentremove(self); self = nil; end})
local shotEntrance = function()
shotTimer = timer.performWithDelay( 800, shoot, 0 )
local onEnemyCollision = function( self, event)
if event.phase == “began” and self.isHit == false then explo )
self. isHit = true
print( “Enemy destroyed!”)
self. isVisible = false
self.isBodyActive = false
smoke.x = self.x; smoke.y = self.y
smoke.alpha = 0 smoke.
isVisible = true
local fadeSmoke = function() smoke, {time=500, alpha=0 })
end smoke, {time=50, alpha=1.0, onComplete=fadeSmoke})
self.parent:remove( self)
self = nil
if event.other.myName == “bullet” then
11 01/2012
How to Create a Mini-Game in Corona SDK
killCount = killCount + 1
killText.text = “Killed: “.. tostring( killCount)
killText.xScale = 0.5; killText.yScale = 0.5 --> for clear retina display text
killText.x = (320 - (killText.contentWidth * 0.5))-15
killText. y = 465 print(“enemy hit”)
local newScore = gameScore + 500
setScore( newScore )
elseif event.other.myName == “character” then
print(“character hit”)
if gameLives < 1 then
timer.caneel( stopTimer)
timer.cancel( shotTimer)
print(“timer cancelled”)
-- Function for enemy entrance
local enemyEntrance = function()
local enemy = movieclip.newAnim({“enemyA.png”, “enemyA.png”,”enemyA.png”,”enemyA.
png”,”enemyA.png”,”ene myA.png’,,”enemyB.png”,”enemyB.png”1”enemyB.png”,”enemyB.p ng”,”enemy B.
png”, “enemy B. png”})
enemy.x = math.Hoor(math.random() *
(display.contentWidth - enemy.width))
enemy.y = 50
enemy. myName = “enemy”
physics.addBody(enemy, “dynamic”,{ bounce=0, friction=0.5})
enemy.isHit = false
enemy.xScale = 0.4; enemy.yScale = 0.4
-- Scale starts small and becomes full size as it nears the bottom of the screen
playTween =, {y=530, time=4500, xScale = 1.0, yScale = 1.0,
onComplete = function(self) display.remove( self); self = nil; end})
enemy.collision = onEnemyCollision
enemy:addEventListener( “collision”, enemy)
local enemyTimer = function()
stopTimer = timer.performWithDelay( 600, enemyEntrance, 0)
--Initializes all functions created
local initVars = function()
physics.start( true )
physics.setGravity( 0, 0 )
-physics.setDrawMode( “hybrid”)
Runtime:addEventListener(“touch”, moveChar)
print( “1: enterScene event’ )
12 01/2012
We have covered a ton of informa-
tion in this article that will give you
a taste of what game development
using physics properties in Corona
SDK is like. Be sure to go over the
comments in the code if there is any
confusion on how something was
created. You can also take a look at
the full project with all the code in-
cluded under the folder called Bears
Gone Wild Final. For more informa-
tion relating to Corona SDK, visit
Anscamobile’s website at: http:// where you
can learn more on how Lua is applied
to Corona’s easy to understand API’s.
If you are really intrigued with
Corona SDK and would like to learn
more about game development and
how to develop mobile apps with it,
please check out my book, Corona
Game Development Beginner’s
Guide, due out February 2012.
All listings and additional les are
available for download on our web-
site: in the
Downloads section
-- Called when scene is about to move offscreen:
function scene:exitScene( event)
print( “1: exitScene event”)
physics. stop()
if playTween then transition.cancel( playTween ); end
if shootTween then transition.cancel( shootTween ); end
if stopTimer then timer.cancel( stopTimer); end
if shotTimer then timer.cancel( shotTimer); end
Runtime:removeEventListenerftouch”, moveChar)
restartBtn:removeEventListener( “touch”, restartBtn )
—- Called prior to the removal of scene’s “view” (display group) function scene:destroyScene(
print( “((destroying scene 1’s view))”)
-- “createScene” event is dispatched if scene’s view does not exist
scene:addEventListener( “createScene”, scene )
¬- °enterScene¨ event is dispatched whenever scene transition has hnished
scene:addEventListener( “enterScene”, scene)
-- “exitScene” event is dispatched before next scene’s transition begins
scene:addEventListener( “exitScene”, scene )
—“destroyScene” event is dispatched before view is unloaded, which can be
scene:addEventListener( “destroyScene”, scene )
return scene
Figure 4: Game Over screen
Michelle Fernandez
co-founder of MobiDojo LLC
and author of Corona Game
Development Beginner’s
Guide. Developer for Willy
Wiener and the Tunnel of
Doom for iOS and Android.
14 01/2012
The word ‘mobile’ became very
popular in the computer world in
the last 10 years. In the last 2 years it
is ‘mobile games’.
All of us know games about birds
vs pigs, ropes cut and fruits de-
stroyed and those games are associ-
ated with the word ‘millions’.
Millions of downloads and millions
of dollars. All of us (game develop-
ers) feel really tempted to go mobile
and become millionaires with our
super duper game. It is possible.
Check these numbers.
According to Apple, the App
Store reached the mark of 15 billion
apps downloaded (data from July
2011). Google, on the other hand,
claimed 10 billion apps downloaded
from their Android Market (data
from December 2011). According to, currently 17% of down-
loads form Apple App Store are
games. For the Android counterpart,
25.6% are games. Consider also an
average price for games of $1.0 for
the Apple App Store and around
$1.7 for the Android Market. And for
the freemium lovers, according to
Flurry, consumers spend average of
$14 per transaction on freemium
games in iOS or Android.
When you see these numbers it is
impossible not to feel tempted to
go to the mobile world. And I’m not
going to tell you that you don’t have
to go that way, in fact you should go
that way. The point of this article is
to show you some of the important
aspects (at least in my opinion) of
the dierent platforms before you
jump in and start coding.
We are going to talk about two
major players here, and for smart
phones those are Android and iOS.
The new Windows Mobile OS could
be a big hit but it is still too early to
tell. At least at the beginning, you
will get more attention if you go for
Android and/or iOS.
Device Fragmentation
No, you don’t need to defrag
your iPhone but you will face the is-
sue of fragmentation if you enter
the mobile world.
Basically, fragmentation means
that your game should run on dier-
ent devices with dierent hardware
and OS (we’ll check that later).
Fragmentation is usually associated
with Android which has many ver-
sions which makes it hard to develop
an app that would run without
problems on all of them. iOS is start-
ing to show some symptoms of this
issue too. Android has a bigger
problem, as we are going to see in
this section.
Android is an open platform and
almost anyone can use the OS for
any hardware. This causes problems
with fragmentation. There is a lot of
different devices on which your
game shoul d run properl y.
Of course, you can always limit the
number of devices your game will
run on, but this could seriously im-
pact your sales on the Android
Market. If you don’t believe me, go
and check out www.androidfrag- (yes, there is a web-
site about this), you can nd a list of
all the different brands that use
Android, and you may get a big
The Android SDK takes a good
approach to x this issue. Basically,
you have dierent places where you
should put your assets that apply to
a device specic DPI and your lay-
outs’ denitions based on the size of
the screen. For example, if you want
to build an application that support
Android phones for the most com-
mon devices (in a proper way) you
must provide at least 3 (ldpi, mdpi
and hdpi) sets of assets and make 3
sets of layout (small, normal and
large). If you want to support tab-
lets, well, then you have to add one
more to each category. Of course,
you can just stick with one option
and let Android do the scaling if
it’s possible. This is highly not
recommended in most cases.
Simply speaking, games should look
really good and leaving the image
scaling to the SDK could result in
some really bad graphics. If you are
making games, you probably are
not going to use the layout stu, but
it is still an option for some not so
‘complicated’ games.
One thing that, obviously, the
SDK can’t x is the dierent hard-
ware on each device. Your game
Starting Mobile Game
by Sebastián Castro
15 01/2012
Starting Mobile Game Development
could run REALLY good on some
devices, and at the same time pretty
pretty BAD on others. This is the real
pain in the hardware fragmentation
for Android.
So, do you think Android is not a
good option and that iOS is more
simple? Well, you are wrong. Right
now, you need at least 2 sets of as-
sets for your iOS application. And
just like in Android, if you want to
support tablets (iPad) you need to
add one set of assets and probably
new UI design or at least lots of “if
IPAD” for some stu (like UI design,
positional constants, etc.), or you
can make the HD version of your
app that supports only tablets.
Yes, it is less work than creating an
app in Android, but it is not much
better option.
The good point about fragmen-
tation of the Apple devices is that
the company makes previous mod-
els obsolete when a new one arrives
and also that there is no more that
4-5 dierent hardwares to support.
This is a really big advantage over
OS Fragmentation
In the case of iOS this is practi-
cally not a problem, there are two
main versions out there, 4.x and 5.x.
Apart from the new features that
you have on 5.x, you can stick to
developing apps for 4.x devices and
reach almost whole (if not whole)
market.I think that supporting 3.x
devices is a waste of time, as almost
no one uses this version anymore
and if that is the case the device is
an old one.
The OS fragmentation is one of
the biggest issues for Android.
Although right now it is not as big as
a year ago (the older versions are
obsolete) still it causes some prob-
lems as we are going to see).
As you can see in the figure
above, most of the Android devices
are using 2.3.3 and 2.2, but be sure
that you will get many complains
about 2.1 users. Still, in my opinion,
you should stick at least to 2.2.
The problem with any new Android
version is that it takes too much
time for any to get accepted be-
cause, in most cases, the manufac-
turer of the device is in charge of
new versions’ distribution, so it de-
pends on the manufacturer to re-
lease an update and that could take
a while. So in a year or less, you will
have devices with 3.X and/or 4.X
Android versions plus the old ones.
And wait, there is a new problem:
custom versions.
Yes, some companies don’t only
make hardware that supports
Android, they also take an Android
version and change it so they can
put “their own stu” in there (pro-
prietary applications or they change
some behaviors to adapt to the
purpose of the device). This is a real
pain for developers. I’m working on
a game right now that should run
on Kindle Fire, the Amazon’s own
version of Android. So what you get
is that you don’t only need to worry
about your bugs, you also have to
worry about their bugs that could
make your life a nightmare (at least
for a couple of days and lots of
“if KINDLE” lines).
This is the biggest problem with
Android. It requires the app to sup-
port too many Android versions,
each one has some new features
that you can’t use (or you need
compatibility packages that could
make your work a nightmare), some-
times you also have to stick to some
“old” version’s behaviors or bugs,
and prey that it wasn’t changed in
“newer” versions and that it doesn’t
make your layouts looks totally
Do not reinvent the wheel...that
is my favorite phrase about software
development. If you really, really
need to get in touch with low level
API, do it, but always try to use
frameworks or game engines that
make your life easier. It’s highly
probable that someone has already
done what you are trying to accom-
plish and probably shared the code
or, even better, made a tutorial
about that. So, for me, the best
development tool is Google.
There is a lot of mobile frame-
works/engines for games. I will only
discuss some of them. A lot of books,
articles, tutorials, etc. is available for
each of those frameworks and en-
gines and I’m sure that you can nd
better info out there than from me,
but at least you’ll have some refer-
ences to look at.
One really good thing about
some of these frameworks is that
they can work on both platforms
(or more in some cases)
Figure 1: Usage of different Android versions
16 01/2012
One note about cocos, you will
nd almost a specic version of cocos
for each platform you may want to
make a game for. In fact there is año
android versión under development,
I didn’t add it to the list because it is
not ready for production but keep an
eye for it. Also there is a C version of
cocos that should work in Android
and iOS.
Development environment
Some of the engines or frame-
works named in the previous section
have their own scripting language
and you’ll need to know the basic stu
to work with these platforms.
For iOS you have to go for Xcode
and for Android for Eclipse. In Android
you can use NetBeans too but the
usual development tool is Eclipse.
As you may know iOS uses Objective-C
as a programming language while
Android uses Java.
Both SDKs have simulators. For iOS
you have simulators for each device
(iPhone and iPad) and each iOS ver-
sion (4.x and 5.x). In Android you can
customize your simulator to run
whenever you may need it. This is a
really good feature because you can
have lots of different hardware out
there so you can experiment with vari-
ous simulators. Also there are compa-
nies that are releasing their own
Android emulators to make your life
easier, one example is Samsung for
their Galaxy Tab.
The problem with Android emula-
tor is that it is not good for games, it
can’t run your games and debug your
games, so you probably need to nd a
device and test directly on it, you will
save lot of time. For iOS you can test &
debug all your work in the simulator
without problem, but still need to test
in real hardware, because there can
be some differences between real
devices and the simulator (one exam-
ple, iOS devices are key sensitive but
not the simulator, so you could end up
getting an image showing on the
simulator but not on the device).
Both markets are dierent, Android
is growing and it seems that it will
overtake iOS and that it will be bigger.
Almost every new smartphone has
Android or iOS, but iOS is restricted to
Apple products while Android is used
by multiple devices. The catch here is
that Apple users spend more money
than Android ones, so right now Apple
sounds like a better option. But
Android will be huge and you’d want
to go rst for iOS and then for Android.
This is not only my opinion, big game
companies are going that way.
One thing that they have in com-
mon is that you have to pay to get a
game in there. For Apple you need
$100 a year to publish anything.
In the case of Android you have to pay
$25. In both cases you receive 70%
of your sales.
Table 1: Ccnpc||:cn c| c|||e|ent gcne ||cnewc|k:/eng|ne:
Figure 2: Top 10 mature markets, by iOS and Android device penetration
17 01/2012
Starting Mobile Game Development
Also pay attention to the new
Windows mobile, Microsoft is trying
to enter the ght here and is trying to
mix all in one huge package: Windows,
Xbox and windows mobile, so it could
be a real option in the near future or
(why not) present because you can
start your development for Windows
mobile right now.
Do not forget about tablets.
Tablets are the jack pot in mobile
gaming. The iPad is a really good and
protable game platform so you must
release your games for iPad, you could
loose some really good players ($$)
out there.
Android tablets are not good, we
are all expecting the new versions to
see if they make some good numbers
but the truth is that Android tablets
are pretty bad at this moment.
This article is just a basic introduc-
tion to mobile game development,
there is a lot more, trust me. Still, mak-
ing games for mobile phones is really
fun, and with some luck and hard
work you can live from that. So take
this reading as a small guide for mo-
bile game development and make
lots of game about birds killing pigs.
I’m a mobile developer, most of the time I’m making games for other
ccnpcn|e: c: c pc|t t|ne enp|cyee c| c: c ||ee|cnce| |n ny cwn
“company”. My background, 5 years as C++ developer and architect
for the telecommunications industry (mobile part) building some real
time applications for mobile telephone operators. If you like, don’t like
or hate my English feel free to contact me at
8íW. tn|: |: ny ||:t c|t|c|e |n c ceve|cpe| ncgcz|ne c| :|n||c|...cut ycu
may deduced that after reading the article :)
Figure 4: U.S. Mobile app consumption, time spent per category
Figure 3: U.S. /cc||e App: v:. wec ccn:unpt|cn. n|nute: pe| ccy
The mobile gaming industry is predicted to
reach $54 Billion by 2015 ($8 billion this
84% of tablet owners play games.
70 – 80% of all mobile downloads are
Android is soon to overtake Apple in
number of total available apps.
In-game purchases should overtake pay-
per-downloads by 2013.
Developers made $87 million in ad revenue
in 2010 and will grow 10 fold by 2015.
50% of revenue from the top grossing
iPhone apps comes from in-app purchases.
58% of the most popular developers are
creating multiple platforms apps.

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