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kells117

Want to make a game for android and iPhone. Where do I start?

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I want to make a pretty simple game for the android and iPhone but I am not entirely sure where to start and what I need to know so could someone point me in the right direction? Thanks.

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I want to make a pretty simple game for the android and iPhone but I am not entirely sure where to start and what I need to know so could someone point me in the right direction? Thanks.

Its simple.

Want to make games for android? Learn JAVA.

Want to make games for iPhone? Learn Objective-C.

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The problem with programming for both iPhone and Android is that Android uses open technologies, while iPhone uses apple's own breed of C, called Objective-C, that doesn't seem to be used anywhere outside of iThings.

HTML5 is a good choice, but even though it was thought as the new programming wonder, that initial hype has gone cold over problematic and incomplete implementations on most platforms; it's taking way too long to be fully supported. Still, I guess this is just a question of time.

There is the option of using Unity with C# and their JavaScript, it would enable you to export your game to both platforms, but Unity isn't free. The good news is that you can use a free version to learn, but it is missing some performance features and has an in-built ad that generates no revenue for you. If you want to break from the free version limitations, you'd need to pay a monthly subscription (Android and iPhone independently) or acquire the license (also separately, really expensive for an individual). It is worth mentioning that the Unity 2D systems are pretty new and I always avoid using brand new technology, I prefer waiting until I deem them as mature enough.

Also consider Gamesalad, Construc2, Stencyl, GameMaker and other similar, usually ignored, but one of these is what I probably would pick (personally) for mobile. They are cheaper than Unity, and you can make games just as fast. There is also http://enigma-dev.org/, and other open source alternatives.

 

You could also use Objective-C, and then port to Android using Apportable, but I personally recommend Unity and those cheaper tools over this any day.

A last option that comes to mind (and really not suited to any beginners) is programming in C and keeping a clean and thin interface; just a little portion of the code would need changes when moving from Android NDK to the Objective-C iOS API (or vice versa).

The only thing I wouldn't recommend is using Flash or Java, since you'd need to rewrite your game completely in order to release for iThings.

Edited by dejaime
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What is your real goal?

If your only goal is to make simple games on the devices, and you don't care about programming, and you aren't asking about a career, you only want to build a game, then use one of the tools just mentioned.

There are many great games that have used GameSalad, GameMaker, and the rest.

If you are thinking about a long-term career in making games, then you will certainly need to learn much more. You won't be making AAA blockbusters with them, but for relatively simple games, or for some simple experimentation and some fun times, the little engines can be great fun.
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Based on my experience, I would suggest that even if your goal is a long-term career in programming, definitely start off with GameMaker.

 

If you're a total beginner, it's a great place to start.  It has a lot of "drop-and-drag" stuff (for people who don't know code yet), but if you want to tap into its full potential, learn GML (GameMaker's own little "programming language").  That's a good way to get acquainted with programming basics (variables, arrays, loops, etc).  It is also an "object-oriented" system, so when you get into "real" programming languages you'll already understand some of the basic object-oriented concepts.

 

The other alternative (learning a "real" language from scratch) can be a total pain and hardly worth it for a simple game.  GameMaker abstracts away a lot of the annoying little micro-details needed to do basic stuff like playing sounds, drawing graphics, etc. and in my experience with Java these things are unnecessarily overcomplicated.  I think I've learned them pretty well, but if I had just gotten into Java with no previous experience, I think I would have given up a long time ago (lol).  For example:

// GML:
sound_play("boom");

This is by a longshot as easy as it gets.  It's straightforward and the intent is clear: play the sound "boom" (lol).

// Try to do the same thing in Java:

import javax.sound.sampled.*;
import java.io.*;

public class Sound extends Thread {
	public AudioInputStream audio_snd;
    	public Clip audio_clip;
	public String address;

	public Sound(String address){
		try {
			start();
			this.address = address;
			audio_snd = AudioSystem.getAudioInputStream(new File(address));
			AudioFormat audio_format=audio_snd.getFormat();
			DataLine.Info info = new DataLine.Info(Clip.class, audio_snd.getFormat(), ((int)audio_snd.getFrameLength()*audio_format.getFrameSize()));
			audio_clip = (Clip) AudioSystem.getLine(info);
			audio_clip.open(audio_snd);
		} catch (Exception e) {
			e.printStackTrace();
		}
	}
	public void playFromCurrentPosition(){
		audio_clip.start();
	}
	public void play(){
		audio_clip.setFramePosition(0);
		audio_clip.start();
	}
}
class soundPlayer {
    public static void main(String[] args){
        Sound boom = new Sound("sounds\\boom.wav");
        boom.play();
    }
}

It took me Ages to figure this out, and I still don't quite understand every bit of it.  But I made it work; that's the main thing.  But to get there, I had to learn not only the basics of Java but also how to work with all these other things (AudioInputStream, AudioFormat, DataLine, FloatControl, etc.), all just to play a sound.  I've had similar experiences with the web (JavaScript can do a lot these days, but sound is still a little tricky), and I'm sure Objective-C, C# etc. have their fair share of extra work to manage the basics as well.  And don't get me started on getting the AVD (android emulator for Java) working for the first time!  : )

 

And besides, Game Maker has a lot of potential (and apparently even more since I last used it, to the point where it can supposedly create games for every platform known to man, including Android and "iThings" (love that btw)).  I once developed an entire "console" type system - a program that ran my games from CDs (like the PS3 or or Xbox).  It had built-in joystick support, two-player games, and all kinds of cool little extras.  GM can also do multiplayer games, though I never experimented with that.  And they have a free version, so you can try it out before you go and buy the full package.  I could go on about this, but I think you get the idea. : )

 

Anyway, I hope this advice helps; I started off as a total noob, not knowing squat, and while I've still got a lot to learn, I've come a long way; and GM helped me get there.

Edited by ElGeeko7
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If you want cross-platform with the same codebase/project, you want something like Unity or GameMaker.  Unity is free, but generally harder and more complex to learn.  It is also really powerful and good for 3d.  GameMaker Studio is much simpler, though it is quite powerful in it's own right.  It is more meant for 2d though, and also much easier to learn.  I use it a lot.  The catch though is that you can't get a free version to export to mobile platforms, while with Unity you can.

 

There are other free solutions, but from what I've seen of them they either aren't as powerful, or are more difficult to work with, or are platform specific.

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Interesting question, I had a similar question.  I'm thinking of games that don't really use graphics or physics, such as my first app I created.  I have a video if you follow the link in my signature.  It's basically a quiz game, buttons and text, that's about it.

 

Will programs like Unity work for creating multi-platform apps like this, or is it really oriented for gaming?

 

Thank you in advance!

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