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OmniTech

Cellphone Games - Where to Begin?

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Sorry if this has been posted before, but I couldn't find a similar post. I'm not totally new to programming, I've made a couple games in C/C++/C# but I'm interested in producing something for my cell phone (NTT DoCoMo FOMA P900i). I'm just not sure where to begin. I've seen lots of people mention J2ME, and NetBeans with the Mobility Pack, but are they the best place to start? This'll be my first time programming in Java (although I've done some javascript work for webpages) so I was wondering if there are some good reference sites for game development. Also, does anyone know what is required to produce games for Japanese cell phones? Are they also using Java, or will I require something else?

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Just did a real quick search of the phone and it looks like it supports java. You should be able to get your java specs from the phone. Start playing around with settings and you should find something on Java. I don't know any great sites for java game programming.

Free book on the subject:
online text

The is a very 'intro' book that I found somewhat helpful.
Beginning Mobile Phone Game Programming

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The link that Stake provided is a very good book. Also the best forum for J2ME development is probably http://www.j2meforums.com/forum/. This site includes a very useful wiki.

The hardest part of cell phone game programming is getting the game to work on a range of phones. This is because there are a range of screen sizes, some phones support MIDP2.0 while others only MIDP1.0 and most phones have their own little bugs that need to be worked around. You should be able to develop something and get it working on your phone quite easily though.

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Thanks for the info guys. I appreciate the swift response. After reading some other sites about cell phone games, it seems rather annoying. I guess the best place to start would be to find out which style of phone seems to be the most popular and produce something for that one first.

There's no way I'm going to be able to buy a phone of every type to find out if my game will work on it or not. Are there any emulators for these chipsets that I could use to test the code?

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Emulators: Yes there are emulators for most of the major phones. Have a look in the wiki I mentioned above. There is a page that links to some of the emulators. Basically all the major phone makers (eg Nokia Sony Ericsson etc) have a developer webportal which allows you to download emulators, whitepapers, technical specs and often have a forum where bugs and problems are discussed.

GetJar is a good website for beta testing your game and getting feedback on whether it works on other phones.

A good phone to go for is the Nokia Series 60 phones. Or something that supports 176x208(or 220) screen size and MIDPP2.0 support. This will give you a bit more freedom. This is what I have developed my games for so far. If you go to my website and look at the 'availablity' of one of the games you'll see how many phones can be supported with the above restrictions.

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Make sure you can actually download java to your phone before you do too much. Some carriers restrict such things. This can be gotten around by hacking your phone, but be careful before you do something like that. Here in the US verizon is bad about blocking access on phones, and even cingular blocks java download on the razr without a hack..and these hacks technically are illegal which really isn't a problem, but makes finding the software to hack the phone a bit of a pain.

A popular forum for everything cell phone related..
yHowards Forums

I don't know your phone, but the size of the hacking community depending on its popularity. Just do your research before you break your phone.

As far as emulators goes, you can start with sun wkt as it is ok. Once you get a hang of the coding then i suggest moving to something closer to your final dev environment(you got a month or so to probably start getting good and needing more tools). Look at vendors sites...i don't know japan, but docomo probably has something to emulate its phones, or possibly the phone maker itself.

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