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vanhensbergent

Need Help With Beginning Mobile Development

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I have been a software developer for five years now. I have mainly worked with C++ and java. While I have no profesional game development experience, I have worked on quite a few indie projects. However, lately I have been intrested in starting my own mobile game company. I have some great ideas however I am unsure of how to implement them. What companies publish mobile games? Which are the most reliable. What will these publishers expect out of my prodect. Whats the best IDE for mobile development. How will I be able to support the most ammount of phones. I know I will have to program in J2ME, are there any good books for this? Any good starting information would be greatly appreciated. Also, how do I test applications I create?

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Original post by vanhensbergent
I have been a software developer for five years now. I have mainly worked with C++ and java. While I have no profesional game development experience, I have worked on quite a few indie projects. However, lately I have been intrested in starting my own mobile game company. I have some great ideas however I am unsure of how to implement them.

Good luck, the mobile industry is a great place for small developers to get their feet wet. The development cycles are significantly less than PC/Console (usually 6-10 months), also the costs are significantly lower as well. Although, the major cost for most publishers/developers is the cost of the handsets they need to test on.

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Original post by vanhensbergent
What companies publish mobile games? Which are the most reliable.

Here is a good article from Telephia regarding the mobile industry, it shows how much revenue there is to be made. Also, in the article is a list of the top 10 publishers in the United States.

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Original post by vanhensbergent
What will these publishers expect out of my prodect.

That depends highly on the publisher, although there will be a few consistencies. The main thing is that the game is good, fun, and portable. Portable IMO is the most important feature that any good developer should build there games with in mind. A good portable game will take less time and effort to spread it across the number of handsets you will undoubtedly cover.

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Original post by vanhensbergent
Whats the best IDE for mobile development.

This depends highly on the type of games you are developing, whether you choose to develop games for J2ME or BREW can affect this decision. Here is the gamedev sticky that has a lot of good information for tools in mobile development. For BREW, Visual Studio and its tools are the best you can get and can be very easily integrated into the toolset. For J2ME, I recommend Eclipse w/eclipseme but any good Java IDE will work. Netbeans w/ mobility pack is also regularly used.

Quote:
Original post by vanhensbergent
How will I be able to support the most ammount of phones. I know I will have to program in J2ME, are there any good books for this? Any good starting information would be greatly appreciated. Also, how do I test applications I create?


Supporting the most amount of phones is the trickiest, and often the most difficult part of developing mobile games. Generally, you will develop games to a subset of master handsets that can then be taken to port to the rest of the spread of phones. Also, There are a number of companies that do porting for you, or have porting solutions that can help.

Regarding J2ME, I would say the MIDP API documentation and Sun documentation of the Java standard and the J2ME specifications are good, and necessary reads. Also, the gamedev sticky has some good info too.

Testing is another part of the development cycle that you can adapt to your needs. You can obviously use in house testing for your games, you can go to outside testing houses, or you can do a combination of both. The last step in testing is with either a certification house, or the carrier itself who has its own set of stringent requirements you must follow before the games can go live.

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The cell phone market can be a tough nut due to the sheer variety of hardware out there. J2ME and Brew are helping, but its still nowhere near a consistant platform, as features, performance and even the underlying processors can all be very different from one phone to another.


Have you considered targetting Windows Mobile-based phones? The platform as a whole is more uniform as the vast majority of core features are set in stone and the underlying architecture is limited to ARM processors only -- allowing for native-code performance and, if need be, assembly optimization. As of Windows mobile 5, both DirectDraw and Direct3D mobile are required features for all Windows-mobile phones so there are very consistant and well-known APIs available to you.


I'm working on a Windows Mobile game right now (I'm actually working at Microsoft creating a Windows Mobile Game Starter Kit to help people such as yourself get started.) and I've found the experience to be incredably close to PC development. The APIs I've been dealing with, mostly Win32 and DirectDraw are essentially the same as their desktop counterparts, with only minor deviation. Its been a very comfortable transition.


I'm not entirely sure what the Windows Mobile market is like in comparison to the Brew or J2ME markets, but I do know that ISVs and hobbyists alike have been clamouring for more information on how to build games for Windows Mobile.

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