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Some good places to start Android game programming.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010
I won't recommend Java for writing Android games. Not only because C++ is my native language, but also because of performance concerns and easy portability. However, existing documents about developing Android applications with C++ are rare and brief. Here are some good resources I found:

The official NDK doesn't support many C++ features, such as exception and STL. Although you can solve this problem by compiling STLPort, you may also want to check out CrystaX NDK. This one has everything you need to write a C++ program for Android. http://www.crystax.net/android/ndk-r4.php

Game related libraries can be found here http://code.google.com/p/rokon/ and here http://www.badlogicgames.com/wordpress/. The Rokon engine was the one I used to write the first version of Tower Commander. But at that time, this Java engine was buggy. Later, I quit using it to embrace C++. Badlogic Games seems to be the official site of the game engine libgdx. That website has a lot of things about Android game developing. At least the physic engines of these two libraries are now using C++.

To use Android NDK, you will have to get yourself familiar with jni. There are few good open source projects out there that has examples for almost every jni features. The first one is the SDL port for Android: https://github.com/pelya/commandergenius . You can learn how to write Android.mk from this project. And of course, if you are familiar with SDL, starting your game from this project is a good idea. Also, the kwaak3 project http://code.google.com/p/kwaak3/ is a quake 3 port to the Andorid platform. It is also a very good textbook of learning jni and the NDK.

Replica Island is also worth mentioning, if you intend to start your game with Java. http://replicaisland.net/  This is so far a very good, if not the best, platform game on Android.

First post and First demo

Monday, November 29, 2010
As required by the Android Market, I need to maintain a web site about the app. So this is it.

I have released mya first test of the game "Tower Commander" to the Android market last weekend. I wasn't really sure about releasing it at its early stage, because if the rating gets too low, it's hard to get back. Although I stated that it is just an inner test and not recommend for players to download, I have gained 400 new users in the first two days. Some warmhearted people even emailed me suggestions and bug reports. Thanks to all of you who downloaded the game!

I know that there are a lot of issues that I need to solve. There is a white screen problem if the game gets interrupted by a text message. And there is no sound effect inside the game. And, of course, the level design is too simple to be challenging. I planed to release a final version by the end of this year. So a lot of things need to be done during the next month. For the final release, I also though about improving the AI. I don't know if I can make it within a month, but I will try.

I'm attaching some screenshots of the main game menu and the game play.

I'm inviting you to check it out by searching "tower commander" inside the Android Market. :)