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Making Android Apps


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#1 Cryptiik   Members   -  Reputation: 416

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Posted 23 September 2012 - 06:22 PM

I've been interested in making my first android game lately but I've got a few questions regarding it. Hopefully someone who is experienced and went through a similar situation can help me out.

First those who are interested to know I've been mainly programming games in C++ for about 3 years and also a bit of java. However I'm not as comfortable in java as I am in C++ so I've been reading up on it lately. Hopefuly sometime soon ill feel comfortable enough to begin android programming.

Now my questions are: What are some good API's to use to make 2D games? What makes a game successful? How much money do developers make from their apps? Is it better to make a game free and put ads in it or is "freemium" better (or just straight upfront payment)? What are good ways to advertise apps and gain recognition?

I'm sure ill think of more questions but so far its just these. Thanks in advance

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#2 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 18853

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Posted 23 September 2012 - 08:10 PM

1. What are some good API's to use to make 2D games?
2. What makes a game successful?
3. How much money do developers make from their apps?
4. Is it better to make a game free and put ads in it or is "freemium" better (or just straight upfront payment)?
5. What are good ways to advertise apps and gain recognition?

Those are rather generic questions.


1. There are many good game libraries out there. LibGDX immediately comes to mind as a good one, but it is certainly not the only one.

2. "Successful" means different things to different people; a game that sells a million copies can still fail to make a profit, a product that sells only ten copies could still be a success by some definitions. Define what it means to be a success to you. Your are unlikely to have your first game become a top-ten application, if that is your definition of "successful". Statistically you are unlikely to even finish your first game. For your first app, it is likely that simply completing and polishing the project will be enough to qualify as a success, regardless of actual copies sold.

3. It varies widely, mostly based on the product's popularity. A game that sells a million copies in the store will obviously make more money than a game that only sells one hundred copies. Subtract their costs from their revenue, and that's how much they make.

4. That is a business decision. There are pros and cons to each funding method. The benefits of each are generally well understood and published all over the web.

5. It depends on your budget. $50 on AdWords is one way to advertise, a $3M media blitz is quite another way to advertise. Both forms have their place. Considering that you have to ask, I'm thinking the small Google advertising campaign is more in your range. Also consider the power of posting videos and social media posts directly from the game, which tend to annoy annoy but also tend to bring new players. Your imagination is the limit.
Check out my personal indie blog at bryanwagstaff.com.

#3 Strategy   Members   -  Reputation: 187

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 07:46 AM

I'll use frob's short summary of your questions to respond:

1. What are some good API's to use to make 2D games?
2. What makes a game successful?
3. How much money do developers make from their apps?
4. Is it better to make a game free and put ads in it or is "freemium" better (or just straight upfront payment)?
5. What are good ways to advertise apps and gain recognition?


1. For simple 2D, the best API is simply to use the built-in Java stuff. Unless you are familiar with OpenGL, or you require 3D/physics, using anything more advanced is generally not worth it.

2. As frob says. No one can says what is a success, other than yourself.

3. As frob says. Graphics and music are expensive if you want quality, so it can be very hard for games to even just break even.

4. It depends on the game. Though I'll say that there are two things I'd always recommend; firstly, to always have a way for the player to try the game (whether this is with a free/lite version combined with a paid version or freemium), and secondly, to be careful of the race to bottom pricing. Once you're at 99c, you have nowhere left to go but free - and you need a lot of sales at 99c to make any sort of money - sales that you are not likely to see.

5. Make a good app that brings something new to the market. No realistic (for an indie) amount of marketing for the The 100th scrabble game (Wordfeud), physics puzzler, or tower defense game is ever going to make any difference to the popularity of that app. As for recognition - forget about that. Set your own - small - goals for each app and try to achieve those.

Also - if you know C++, quit waiting and start coding. I jumped straight from C++ to Java a few years back, and - apart from having to learn which classes existed (something the Android Developer docs cover very well) - it took only a forthnight or two before I had a working demo of my first app. Learn by doing.

Edited by Strategy, 24 September 2012 - 07:48 AM.

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#4 HappyCoder   Members   -  Reputation: 2249

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 10:27 AM

2. What makes a game successful?
3. How much money do developers make from their apps?
4. Is it better to make a game free and put ads in it or is "freemium" better (or just straight upfront payment)?
5. What are good ways to advertise apps and gain recognition?


2. A game needs to start with a good idea, have a consistent art style so it looks good, needs to be well polished so the game plays right, get done, then get lucky. Be sure to think through the process of how people are going to come into contact with your game. Your first customers are going to come into contact with your app buy browsing the android market or possibly seeing an ad. This means having a good looking icon is huge. If your icon looks like crap most people aren't going to even view the game details. Once you get their attention with the icon you need to make sure you have screen shots that best show what your game is like. These screen shots need to look fun, appealing, and need to correctly represent your game. Once you start getting downloads you want to make sure your customers are getting what you promised them. If your game if fun and well polished you will get better user retention and they will be more likely to recommend the game to their friends.

3. Unless your game goes to the top of the charts there isn't much money to be made in mobile game development.

4. Freemium done well is a good route to go. Free games are downloaded far more frequently than paid games so this gives your users a taste of your game, then with easily accessible in app purchases, it makes it more likely for users to spend money on your game.

5. The fastest way games spread is if people who get the game tell their friends about it meaning you can dump as much money you want into marking but unless people are excited enough about your game to tell their friends, it will be hard for the game to pick up momentum.

#5 Pointer2APointer   Members   -  Reputation: 283

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 02:07 PM

1. What are some good API's to use to make 2D games?
2. What makes a game successful?
3. How much money do developers make from their apps?
4. Is it better to make a game free and put ads in it or is "freemium" better (or just straight upfront payment)?
5. What are good ways to advertise apps and gain recognition?


1.SDL/OpenGL, SFML, Allegro.

2.Successful to you, or successful to who? Usually, a successful game is one that exhibits good gameplay, good user-interaction, good plot, gameplay antics, controls, and many other things I couldn't even start to think of.

3.Depends on what app they make, and how far it goes. You probably would make nothing near enough to live entirely on from app development itself, but that's just an average, and you can always be an exception.

4.That's up to you to decide.

5.Start a blog, post comments on YouTube, start some advertising campaign online (like on YouTube), upload videos of your games, get fans, do paid advertising on billboards, etc. You can do remotely anything that's feasible to advertise any way you want, pretty much.

By the way, to add, if you've been using C++ for years, Java will come very easy. Just keep reading up on it. I got the basics of Java down in less than a few days - classes, methods, data types, inheritance, polymorphism, etc. - all with prior working in C++.

Good luck.

Edited by Pointer2APointer, 24 September 2012 - 02:12 PM.

Yes, this is red text.

#6 SimonForsman   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 5770

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 02:24 PM

I've been interested in making my first android game lately but I've got a few questions regarding it. Hopefully someone who is experienced and went through a similar situation can help me out.

First those who are interested to know I've been mainly programming games in C++ for about 3 years and also a bit of java. However I'm not as comfortable in java as I am in C++ so I've been reading up on it lately. Hopefuly sometime soon ill feel comfortable enough to begin android programming.

Now my questions are: What are some good API's to use to make 2D games? What makes a game successful? How much money do developers make from their apps? Is it better to make a game free and put ads in it or is "freemium" better (or just straight upfront payment)? What are good ways to advertise apps and gain recognition?

I'm sure ill think of more questions but so far its just these. Thanks in advance


1. Just use the standard Android APIs or OpenGL:ES (There are a bunch of third party libraries aswell but i'm not familiar enough with them to make a recommendation, in general those tend to be more beneficial if you intend to go cross platform(Which is a really good idea, iOS is a very important market))
2. Marketing. (If you don't get noticed it doesn't matter how good your game is)
3. Usually, not enough Posted Image You can make a living if you work hard. Don't go into it expecting to make one game and get rich, few people are so lucky, hard work is the key to success in any field. (You're very likely to spend far too much time on your first game to make a profit but once you got a base to build from and a good workflow going things get a lot easier. (You can also use your existing games to market your new games)
4. It depends on too many factors to count, (Target audience being probably the most important factor).
5. Ugh, this is hard, apart from using social media your best bet really is to pay for advertising, Also, send free review copies of your game to people/magazines/websites, a positive review is worth more than a bunch of ads. (Try to pick your reviewers carefully)

Edited by SimonForsman, 24 September 2012 - 02:27 PM.

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#7 Cryptiik   Members   -  Reputation: 416

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 03:43 PM

Thanks for the input guys. I'm not really expecting to get rich off my first game or anything (that would be nice lol), successful in my mind is getting at least 1000+ downloads, if I can accomplish that I'll be a happy man :)

Also I have another question: If I do decide to go "freemium" and allow people to purchase in game items, does Google take their 30% cut out of that or does all the profit go directly to me? And also, just to verify, the cut that Google takes out of paid apps is still 30% right?

#8 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 18853

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 04:13 PM

If I do decide to go "freemium" and allow people to purchase in game items, does Google take their 30% cut out of that or does all the profit go directly to me? And also, just to verify, the cut that Google takes out of paid apps is still 30% right?

If it goes through Google's store (which it almost certainly will) then Google will take their cut.

If you want to avoid Google's services you will probably end up needing to implement your own e-commerce solution, which is probably not going to be cost effective.
Check out my personal indie blog at bryanwagstaff.com.

#9 Strategy   Members   -  Reputation: 187

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 06:09 PM

If you want to avoid Google's services you will probably end up needing to implement your own e-commerce solution, which is probably not going to be cost effective.


One can always go through Amazon, but then Amazon simply take their cut. And it simply isn't a sensible option to not be on either Google or Amazon. People in the Western world do not download Anroid apps from other services in any significant numbers.
Michael A.Designer/Developer
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#10 TechnoGoth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2205

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 06:30 AM

Ya google charge 30% after tax, the sale prices include tax.
The only other platform I known of is the paypal mobile payment platform but I don't know examples of apps that use it.

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#11 Strategy   Members   -  Reputation: 187

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 03:06 AM

Ya google charge 30% after tax, the sale prices include tax.
The only other platform I known of is the paypal mobile payment platform but I don't know examples of apps that use it.


The reason is that if you're charging through Paypal and have put your application on Google Play or Amazon, you are violating your contract with Google/Amazon. The only use for something like Paypal is if you "sell direct" (or through a portal without a payment service of its own), but the next Android developer who does that with success will be the first.
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#12 John Farrell   Members   -  Reputation: 98

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 12:35 AM

1. What are some good API's to use to make 2D games?
Ans: Unity
2. What makes a game successful?
Ans: attractive look, smart functionality, stratagic promotion campaign and luck
3. How much money do developers make from their apps?
Ans: Depends
4. Is it better to make a game free and put ads in it or is "freemium" better (or just straight upfront payment)?
Ans: It will also depends on your promotion program
5. What are good ways to advertise apps and gain recognition?
Ans: Google Play Store and register on review sites.

John Farrell

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Rapidsoft Technologies Pvt. Ltd.

Website: http://www.rapidsofttechnologies.com/


#13 6677   Members   -  Reputation: 1058

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 02:21 PM

Ans: Unity

I disagree, its expensive for a newcomer to android development ($400 for the basic edition, $1500 for pro), its misrepresentative of android development and its mostly suited to 3d work not 2d (of course it is possible to do 2d in unity)




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