Mobile Game Development Tools Worth Having

By 2020, it’s projected that global gaming industry will likely be valued at 128.5 Billion.

The popularity of mobile technology has rapidly risen over the past few years. Almost every one owns a smart phone now. Aside from the availability of smartphones, the improvement of augmented reality and virtual reality has also paid their contribution to the development of mobile gaming. Many innovations have been made which resolved or drastically improve the ongoing mobile problems such as limited storage, heating issues, battery issues, processing limits, etc.

If you’re a thriving businessman, mobile game development is a good investment. Many are trying their hands on this field of business in the hopes of scoring it big. Bear in mind though that this is not an easy market to get into, especially if you don’t have any background with technical stuffs.

No worries though, there are tools that you can use to help you. Below are some of the mobile game development tools that you can use to begin your project.

  1. Unity

This intuitive game development engine offers many features for both 2D and 3D game development. If you want to easily and quickly port games into Windows Phone 8, iOS, Android and BlackBerry platforms, this is your best pick. It supports assets from major 3D applications like Maya, 3ds Max, CINEMA 4D, Softimage, Blender etc. A new version Unity 4.3 was released with features like supporting sprites, native 2D capabilities and 2D physics added to its design capabilities.

Though Unity can integrate with all major 3D applications, it has some limitations specifically with its editing capabilities inside the engine editor. You would need to use a third-party 3D application, apart from some primitive shapes. You also have the alternative to purchase assets from the asset library. Undeniably, Unity is a strong contender among the mobile game development engines.

This engine comes with many pricing options. You can get the Pro version at $1,500 or $75/monthly per seat and per platform. You can also get your hands on Unity 5 Personal Edition which includes many common features like Physically-based shading, Profiler, Reflection Probes etc.

  1. Unreal Engine

Released by Epic Game, UE4 is the next version of UDK (Unreal Development Kit). It comes with immense options for console, PC as well as mobile game development. It carries graphical capabilities like advanced dynamic lighting and a new particle system that can handle up to a million particles in a scene simultaneously. It’s an absolute heaven for any 3D game developer.

The new Unreal Engine 4 has been made better compared with its predecessors. It replaced the popular UnrealScript with C++ as the scripting language. More user-friendly Blueprint system also replaced Kismet. Because of these many changes, it’s normal to go through a learning curve before you can master the updated version.

Apart from Android and iOS, you can also use Unreal Engine 4 for Mac, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One game development. It’s also great that it comes with tools for leveraging augmented reality technologies and virtual reality for mobile game development. Development of stunning games of any size is now possible, plus making it in superb quality is another advantage.

  1. Lumberyard

This free AAA game engine can be used for iOS, Android, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The developer used CryEngine – a game development kit developed by Crytek – as the basis of this tool. You can create AAA quality games thanks to its cross-platform functionality.

It comes with great features like networking, full C++ source code, seamless integration with AWS Cloud and Twitch API and Audiokinetic’s feature-rich sound engine. The graphics are made better with acceleration in character, range of terrain, rendering and authoring tools which help with the creation of photo-quality 3D environments at scale.

What makes Lumberyard a competitive advantage is its pricing. You don’t have to pay any licensing fees or royalties. Instead, you would only be paying the e necessary usage of AWS Cloud for online multiplayer games. It’s definitely worth the cost because it comes with an advantage of faster development and deployment.

  1. Corona SDK 

This cross-platform 2D game development kit is perfect for games development for mobile platforms as well as Android TV and Apple TV. Lua, a popular scripting language, is used which ensures that you will have a short learning curve.  It comes with over 500 APIs for a range of functions from networking to animation. You can conveniently code, ideate and have your validation in one go. Corona SDK is available for Windows operating system as well as Mac.

What makes Corona a good choice for mobile game developer is its pricing. The basic version is free which makes it a popular choice among many developers. It also comes with an enterprise solution for $79 per month while another version priced a little higher at $199/month.

On the downside, Corona is only applicable for 2D game development. It has limited to no capabilities in VR, AR or 3D gaming. This platform is not ideal if you are planning to create AAA game.

  1. Cocos2D-x

Just like what it says on its name, Cocos2D-x is a 2D game development kit for iOS, Android, OS X, Linux and Blackberry mobile phones. It’s a highly efficient resource tool because you can make games of a size as low as 1.5 MB. To create optimized 2D graphics, it utilizes OpenGL. Cocos2D-x is a great choice because it comes with detailed documentation and community support.

Over the past few years, this platform has improved dramatically which is why many developers around the world prefer to use this application. Amongst the popular games that use this platform are Clash of Kings, Badland, Contra: Evolution and Hardest Game Ever 2. It’s a good competitor for 2D game development due to its library of existing resources and free pricing.

Take note that it has limitation in 3D game development though. Apart from this, it is a superb game development SDK for a small to mid-size project.

Click here for more interesting articles about mobile game developing.

What You Need to Consider When Choosing iOS or Android

If you compare the latest models of Android and iOS, such as Galaxy Note 8 and iPhone X, there’s not much to choose from anymore. Both of these gigantic mobile phone companies offer the same apps with almost the same approaches to quick settings and notifications. Even the appearance looks identical; you can easily confuse one with the other.

Because of so many identical features that they borrowed from one another, you might think that choosing iOS over Android (or vice versa) does not seem to matter anymore. After all, why bother when they almost have the same features?

This may seem rational, but if you take a closer look there are three main ways where the mobile platform of Apple is different from Google. Let’s take a look at these factors and see why your choice of smartphone OS is still important.

  1. Privacy

Over the last few years, Apple has been proud to introduce the user privacy advantages if you go with iOS. According to Apple, more of your data gets stored securely on your device and less is sent to the cloud. In the first place, Apple does not want to collect as much of your data as possible. You can click here to know more about the privacy policy of Apple.

A lot of data that are sent to Apple are made anonymous and aggregated, including map locations and search queries. Your anonymity is not applicable to all of their apps and features though. For example, if you want to use “Find My iPhone”, Apple would require you to enter your details such as your name and phone location so that it can help you reunited with your phone.

This is called “differential privacy” where Apple scrambles all the data collected so that it can’t personally identify a person. According to Apple, this means “we see general patterns, rather than specifics that could be traced back to you.”

Google, on the other hand, wants to gather as much personal information as possible to create much more personal services. You can learn more about Google’s Privacy here.

Though Google collects as much data that can be linked to you personally, they claim that these data are used responsibly and only in a helpful way. According to Google, “We collect information to provide better services to all of our users—from figuring out basic stuff like which language you speak, to more complex things like which ads you’ll find most useful, the people who matter most to you online, or which YouTube videos you might like”. In other words, Google needs to get to know you better so that they can provide a more personal service or help generate more relevant results if you use Google search. It’s up to you if you want to trade off your privacy over more personalized service.

Apple has a firmer stand for user privacy while Google promises to handle your data responsibly. The decision boils down on how much trust you have for these giant tech companies.

  1. Compatibility

Apple really wants its users to use Apple software and hardware and nothing else – as evident to its latest product which is the HomePod. This Siri-powered smart speaker offers no support to Android or Spotify (unless you use Airplay). If you don’t like variations or choices, iOS is fantastic for you.

Rather than specifically focusing on iOS and Android, let’s take a look at the whole ecosystem. Once you’ve started investing in Apple devices, such as Apple TVs, HomePods and iCloud, you would be having a hard time getting out. Google on the other hand, enables you to easily jump between platforms, whether that’s Windows, macOS, iOS, Android or Chrome OS. If you make a switch from Android to iOS with a Google account, you can only get your calendars and emails set up on Android but Apple Photos, iCloud or iTunes are not supported.

Your choice of getting compatible devices actually ends up bigger with iOS as other manufacturers have to offer their support. If you have iOS, you can have beam content to your Apple TV or Chromecast, choose an Android Wear or Apple Watch for your next smartwatch or send audio to an Amazon Echo or HomePod. These devices are not on your options if you go for Android.

If you’re currently on iOS and think that there is a possibility that you change your sides to Android, it’s a smart idea to use Google for your services and apps.

  1. Security

When it comes to security, more favors are stacked heavily in Apple. Android devices don’t only attract more malware but they get through more often. Also, security updates are slower in rolling out.

Though iPhones don’t have invulnerability when it comes to hacking attempts, they are more secured and tightly locked down. Though there are some restrictions with using some apps, the downfall of this limit is outweighed by its benefit of malicious apps not having control over your device so easily.

If you’re using Android and wants maximum security, it’s important that you take extra caution. Stick to the Google Play store and buy from a reputable vendor only.

A little bit of a bad news to Android users though – malware authors are more likely to target the operating system of Google. This is probably because there are more devices to attack, fewer hoops to jump through and more devices are running on an outdated software version. These security vulnerabilities offer so much potential for hackers to target Android.

Android is working on how to improve their security feature. This is evident in a recent update where apps are now scanned automatically from the Play Store appp, with any suspicious activity being flagged and stopped. According to Google, there’s an improvement in lowering the percentage of Android devices that had potentially harmful apps on them. 0.05% may seem to be an improvement from the previous year but this number is still too many.

iOS still remains to be on the lead when it comes to their security feature.

Click here to read interesting facts about Playdom.

Factors that Contribute to the Success of Mobile Gaming

Mobile games have tremendously come to full rise in the late 2000s and early 2010s. Just as everyone started to own a smart phone or tablet, mobile gaming has turned from a non-existent market to a $17.5 billion industry as of 2013.

From being difficult to access and complicated to navigate, mobile games have dramatically improved in terms of mechanics and graphics. It also gave birth to many genres as target audiences have doubled. Anyone with a mobile phone, regardless if its iOS or Android, has installed and played a mobile game at one point of their life. As the time progresses, it’s clear that mobile games are here to stay.

What could be the reasons why mobile gaming has been this successful? The factors below are contributors to the rise and popularity of mobile games.

  1. Evolving Technology

Mobile devices such as PDAs and Blackberries were the first models designed that could actually handle mobile games. On the downside, they were marketed as business tools rather than for entertainment which is why there was limited potential for game developers. This perception was totally changed when iPhone was introduced by Apple in 2007. The iPhone was a massive success, as its entertainment systems were highlighted on top of its phone capability.

iPhone has changed the perception of phones. With its features, it has made mobile phones not just for businessmen or professionals but for everyone. With the rapid success of iPhone and development of competitors, the future for mobile games has become brighter. In a quick span of time, traditional gamers were outnumbered by new potent players. According to a 2013 US market statistics, only about 70 million own PS3s while 200 million have iOS and Android devices. Learn how iPhone mania has ruled the world by reading here.

Because of its portability and accessibility, a lot of players preferred to play their games while they are on the road instead of being tied into their living room TV set.

Second, producers have saved huge amount of money with the new distribution mechanisms of smart phones. Developers realized its full potential when App Store was opened by Apple in 2008. Game distribution has now transitioned into simple and inexpensive way.

Not only mobile games are easier to publish, it’s also easier to obtain wider audiences. It costs more money to copy and transport physically distributed games while there is a tough restriction from established publishers for the digitally-distributed console or PC games. The distribution potential as well as low cost made the production and distribution of mobile games so much easier.

  1. Early Mobility

Do you remember the game Snakes?

This popular game in the ’90s was the first mobile game cited by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the governing body of video game industry. For those who weren’t born yet when almost everyone was crazy over Snakes, this game only existed on Texas Instruments graphing calculators. Player would need to use the arrow keys to navigate a small snake around the screen. You would also need to avoid walls, obstacles and running back into the snake itself if you don’t want the game to be over. The snake has to eat numbers that randomly appeared across the screen and grew as it eats.

Though the popularity of snake was unquestionable, graphing calculators were very expensive which is why portable game had limited potential. Games stayed limited to specific portable systems such as PlayStation Portable or Nintendo Gameboy.

It was only until 200s that game development purposes have been leveraged for both entertainment and technology.

  1. Costs and Funding

Another factor that contributed to the rapid success of mobile games is the cost of production. Aside from the fact that mobile games have easier contribution compared to traditional games, they also cost less to develop.

Mobile games don’t need detailed cinematic graphics. Developers draw in their audience by creating great characteristics and innovative mechanics. These appealing traits are easier to code than detailed graphics hence small teams are only required to develop the game. It means lower overhead and cost of the company.

Aside from that, less overall codes are required in mobile games which speed up the production time. There’s a bright future for small developers as investment only costs a few hundred dollars compared to about $50 million in traditional games.

Another contributor to the rapid growth of mobile industry is the development of funding patterns. Crowdfunding sources such as Indiegogo and Kickstarter have helped insure that development of mobile games is continuous. The interested parties can donate small amounts of money to support a certain project. If you have a creative and innovative idea but don’t have enough budgets, you can simply turn to crowdsourcing for help.

  1. Traditional Games Stagnation

Mobile industry remained strong and stable thanks to available funding and low developmental costs. While traditional games are having difficulty adapting on these factors, it proves to be an advantage for mobile games.

Mobile games have made a huge competitive leap against console interface. Console makers are stuck with improving decades-old mechanics and graphics while there’s a consistent upgrade of mobile devices every year. The innovation of new products and improvement of new phone features make the life of mobile games developer easier.

In addition, traditional games cost more than mobile games – from its production to its distribution. This limits the developers when it comes to taking a risk. Many large studios rely on a few popular blockbuster titles as their primary source of income. Almost all of these blockbusters are established franchises or sequels. If you’re someone who is looking for new game experiences, traditional games may meet this need. Whereas in mobile games, upgrades and innovations are not uncommon.

Mobile gaming is here to stay. It appeals to many potential gamers because it is innovative, low cost and accessible. As long as there is a demand from consumers, developers will continue to create new and exciting features. In conclusion, we can say that the future of mobile gaming has never looked this brighter.

3 common mistakes a mobile game developer should avoid

With so many competitors in the mobile game market, the game developers are always trying to attract the users with great features, stunning animation, and attractive storyline. Yet, many game developers cannot be successful in the market. There are some common mistakes that many game developers make and these prevent them from being successful.

Not considering the target group

You should have a target group for your game. That way, it will be easier for you to add the different features to your game. You can make the difficulty levels of the game according to your target group. If the game you develop is not appropriate for the users, then they will lose interest in the game. So, it’s very important to choose your target group first.

Not having a proper business goal

You should have a solid business plan. You should decide what kind of strategy you will adopt. You can make your game a premium one and put a high price tag on it, or you can release it as ‘free to play’. You should have a good monetization plan. If you are releasing the game as ‘free’ then you should decide whether you are going to make money from advertisements, in-app purchases or other means.

Not testing the game properly

Many game developers don’t become successful, because after release they get many flaws in the game. Bugs and other problems can make you lose your customers. You should vigorously test your game before releasing.

Mobile game developers must try to avoid these mistakes to increase their chances of being successful in the market. No matter how brilliant your game looks, if you make any of these mistakes, you may not get the result you had expected after the release of the game.

5 useful tips for developing mobile games

The mobile game development market is growing fast. Many companies have developed some awesome games. If you are a mobile game developer and want to be successful in this field, then here are some tips for you.

Create a story

Having a story behind your game is always compelling. So, instead of having meaningless objects, try to create a good story to attract the gamers. Your story should instigate curiosity that will make the user come back to your game.

Choose your platform

The first step of mobile game development is to come up with a unique game idea. Once you have done that you need to identify the appropriate platform. You can either limit yourself to the Android and iOS platform or even go beyond and include Blackberry, Symbian, etc. There are lots of game development tools available that can help you to develop games on these platforms.

UI/UX is very important

You should create excellent UI/UX. This makes the game engaging. The more your game is engaging, the more users you will have. Don’t introduce too many controls to the user; it will make the game complicated. You should include tutorials to give a better user experience. The ideal way is to create graphics for the largest screen size. This way you will get the best resolution.

Continuity of the game

You should bring in new updates for the game on a continuous basis. By adding new features, characters, and contents, you will motivate the customers to play your game again and again. You can add new levels of the game in your later versions to encourage gamers to play more.

Marketing is crucial

Having great idea and design are not enough for a game to be successful in the market. You should come up with a brilliant marketing plan for your mobile game. You can write a blog where you can discuss the various features of the game. You can also include a demo of the game on your blog. You can include in-app ads to increase the number of downloads. You can use social media to promote your game.

Many mobile game developers don’t become successful for making the game too complicated or not using the budget properly. You should have a proper plan and budget for your game. The tips just discussed can help you to become a successful game developer.

Top 3 mobile game development tools available today

The gaming industry is growing and it is now more popular than the Hollywood movies. The technology is improving and now we have virtual reality and augmented reality, making the gaming experience even better. Mobile technologies have evolved and people are now more comfortable playing games on mobile phones rather than PCs or other devices. The developers now use various development tools to create games. Here are the most popular tools available today.

Unreal Engine

This game development tool has various options for mobile, console and PC game development. The graphical capabilities are simply stunning with new particles system and advanced dynamic lighting. It is very useful for the 3D game developers.

Corona SDK

It is a cross-platform development tool for 2D games. The scripting language it uses is called ‘Lua’, and it is very easy to learn. It has more than 500 APIs that have various functions. However, the augmented and virtual reality functions are limited in this tool.

Unity

This tool offers various features for developing 2D and 3D games. For developing, cross-platform mobile games, this is the best option. Porting games to your mobile devices are very convenient using this tool. It supports various 3D applications like Maya, 3Ds Max, Blender, etc.

These development tools make the process of mobile game development very quick and easy. You don’t need to spend too much time on learning about them. Before you choose a development tool to develop your game, you should read their reviews.

Tennis Star Cup: 3D Tennis

If you wanted to play tennis without going out, feeling the scorching sun, dressing up in sports attire, and holding the tennis racket and ball, then this game is the answer to your wants. Tennis Star Cup is an online game developed. The game is created using the Unity 3D engine. It is a 3D tennis game created to allow players to play tennis without going outside. Play tennis using simple controls. What is important in controlling the game is that you know how to handle the mouse well. Since the game is controlled using the mouse, you need to have a good grip and timing. Good grip and timing are used in the real tennis game, so Tennis Star Cup is as good to play as the real tennis game. It ensured that even if the game is played on the screen, it would still make the player feel like playing it in real life. The details of the movements of the players, the audience, and the chair umpire are all elaborate and consistent. The game uses the top-down style so that the players could get a good view of the game.

How to Play the Game

There are three modes offered: Warm-Up, Tournament, and Challenges. If it is your first time playing the game, then you should hit the Warm-Up mode first to familiarize the controls and the game in general. You could also use the Challenges mode for the same purpose. If you feel that you are ready to take on the Tournament mode, then you are good to go. You will know where the ball will go because the spot where it is about to fall will become lighter than the rest of the ground. Your score will be displayed on the monitor located at the upper left of the screen. On the other hand, the score of the opponent will be displayed on the monitor located at the upper right of the screen. You could only select one character per match, so choose well.

Characters in the Game

Before the start of a match, you get to choose among the four characters available to use in the game. The characters are Andy, James, Gabriela, and Steffi.

If you want to watch the video of the walkthrough of Tennis Star Cup, then please click here. You could also read about Playdom by clicking this link.

Animal Planet: Orangutan Island Adventure, How an Orangutan Survives in the Wild

Animal Planet: Orangutan Island Adventure is a game which promotes the awareness of how animals live in the wild. You could create an account by signing in to save your progress and settings. If you have an account in the game, then your name could be displayed in the Leaderboards if you get one of the best scores. However, if you do not want this, then you could opt not to create an account and just play the game.

The life of an animal is different in a zoo, in a rehabilitation center, and in the wild. Life is much harder in the wild compared to other places to stay because survival is extremely important there. If an animal is in a zoo or in a rehabilitation center, then it is fed and protected by humans. However, if an animal is in the wild, then it is exposed to predators and needs to fend for itself. You will be given three chances to finish the task of the level. The yellow bar at the lower left of the screen reflects the energy of the orangutan.

The game is centered on an orangutan that learns how to survive in the wild. It will learn foraging and other survival skills with your help. The objective of the game is to collect the needed fruit points before the night falls. Aside from the random predators hidden in the area, there will also be other challenges for the orangutan such as spines and the need to transfer from tree to tree or branch to branch using the dangling vines. The orangutan must be able to return safely to its nest before the night falls because there will be more dangerous predators that lurk and are more active at night.

Basic Instructions in the Game

You will use the left and right arrows on your keyboard to make the move the orangutan horizontally in the game. The up and down arrow keys are used to make the orangutan move vertically. Hold the down arrow key to drop the orangutan straight down. Be careful when using this key because you might fall straight to predators below. Use the spacebar to jump and to transfer from vine to vine or branch to branch.

If you want to watch the demo of the Animal Planet: Orangutan Island Adventure, then please click this link. Click here to know more about Playdom.

Fluid: Can you play with circles strategically?

Fluid is a game developed for MTV. The game has two modes to offer. The modes are Normal Mode and Scenario Mode. You will be given five lives at the start of the game. You should be able to accomplish your task within a minute and a half. There is a limit on how many circles you are allowed to make.

How to Play the Game

You could navigate through the game with the use of your mouse. The objective of the game is to fill in the shape with circles within the time limit. There will be a different shape to fill in every level. The percentage at the bottom part of the screen shows how much of the space is filled in by the circles. The challenge in the game is to avoid the thorn-like obstacles that move randomly inside the shape. Aside from moving randomly, the thorns also move fast which means that you should make your circles as fast as you can while avoiding them. Once you have finished inflating a circle, it cannot be burst anymore. This means that you could use the circles to trap the thorns to make the game easy for you. This game requires strategy and fast hands. Even if you know how to play the game but cannot control the mouse well, then you will still have a difficulty in playing the game. You also need to know when to stop inflating the circles before it bursts. The difficulty of the game increases as you progress through it. To get a big score you must not use all of the circles, not use up all your hearts, and finish the game as quick as you can.

You could also see the scores of others through the Leaderboards. It shows the names of the players with the best scores in the game. Aim to be included in the list. You could do this by frequently practicing until you can perfectly get the highest score possible. The game only requires you to play using the mouse. It is easy to understand and could make you sit in front of the screen for a long time. You could watch how to play the game by watching its gameplay that is available on Youtube by clicking this link. To know more Playdom, please click here.

Playdom History and Games

If you have used Facebook, Google+ and MySpace you will surely have come across the games of Playdom.

It was founded on December 6, 2008 and was a part of The Walt Disney Company. Some of their popular games were:

Disney City Girl (now renamed “City Girl Life”)
Disney Words of Wonder (now renamed “Words of Wonder”)
Gardens of Time
Kitchen Scramble

As well as:
Guardians of the Galaxy: The Universal Weapon (GotG)
Social City
Armies of Magic
Big City Life
Blackwood & Bell Mysteries
Bloodlines
Bola
Botkin’s Hidden Cove
City of Wonder
Deep Realms
Disney Animal Kingdom Explorers, Ghosts of Mistwood, Gnome Town, Hidden Worlds
ESPNU College Town, Return Man, Sports Bar and Grill
Fish Friends
Full Bloom
The Incredible Machine
(Lil) Farm Life, (Lil) Green Patch
Market Street
Marvel: Avengers Alliance, 2, Alliance Tactics
Mobsters – Facebook, MySpace, Overdrive, 2: Vendetta, Criminal Empire
My Vineyard
NBA Dynasty
Pet Resort
Pirates of the Caribbean: Isles of War
Poker Palace
ScribbleMix
Sorority Life – Facebook and MySpace
Threads of Mystery
Tiki Farm, and Resort
Verdonia
Wild Ones

There are a lot of things to consider if you are a mobile game developer. As you can see from the Playdom example, a lot of games can be produced.  For more interesting news click here.