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      Download the Game Design and Indie Game Marketing Freebook   07/19/17

      GameDev.net and CRC Press have teamed up to bring a free ebook of content curated from top titles published by CRC Press. The freebook, Practices of Game Design & Indie Game Marketing, includes chapters from The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, and An Architectural Approach to Level Design. The GameDev.net FreeBook is relevant to game designers, developers, and those interested in learning more about the challenges in game development. We know game development can be a tough discipline and business, so we picked several chapters from CRC Press titles that we thought would be of interest to you, the GameDev.net audience, in your journey to design, develop, and market your next game. The free ebook is available through CRC Press by clicking here. The Curated Books The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Second Edition, by Jesse Schell Presents 100+ sets of questions, or different lenses, for viewing a game’s design, encompassing diverse fields such as psychology, architecture, music, film, software engineering, theme park design, mathematics, anthropology, and more. Written by one of the world's top game designers, this book describes the deepest and most fundamental principles of game design, demonstrating how tactics used in board, card, and athletic games also work in video games. It provides practical instruction on creating world-class games that will be played again and again. View it here. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, by Joel Dreskin Marketing is an essential but too frequently overlooked or minimized component of the release plan for indie games. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing provides you with the tools needed to build visibility and sell your indie games. With special focus on those developers with small budgets and limited staff and resources, this book is packed with tangible recommendations and techniques that you can put to use immediately. As a seasoned professional of the indie game arena, author Joel Dreskin gives you insight into practical, real-world experiences of marketing numerous successful games and also provides stories of the failures. View it here. An Architectural Approach to Level Design This is one of the first books to integrate architectural and spatial design theory with the field of level design. The book presents architectural techniques and theories for level designers to use in their own work. It connects architecture and level design in different ways that address the practical elements of how designers construct space and the experiential elements of how and why humans interact with this space. Throughout the text, readers learn skills for spatial layout, evoking emotion through gamespaces, and creating better levels through architectural theory. View it here. Learn more and download the ebook by clicking here. Did you know? GameDev.net and CRC Press also recently teamed up to bring GDNet+ Members up to a 20% discount on all CRC Press books. Learn more about this and other benefits here.

Strategy

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  1. Horses for courses, I suppose; of the many development platforms I've worked with, Android is certainly one of the easier ones. Dialing back the hyperbole is a good idea, if you're asking for help.   If you are intending to work with native Android, then there is really only one answer: Android Studio.   I assume you have a good reason for working in the NDK, in which case, you should of course use the 1.3 beta, perhaps even look to the canary build to see if there is some useful new stuff in it, though I suspect that at this point they've ceased adding new features to it. If Android Studio does not include the specific debugging tool that you want; use the ones that it does have: logging of everything and use ndk-gdb and adb for more advanced needs (getting ndk-gdb to work with gradle requires jumping a few hoops, but isn't really all that difficult: google/stack overflow it). The terminal is there for a reason.   Google no longer supports Eclipse, so while I love what Eclipse offers (I use it extensively in my day job), I wouldn't recommend it for Android development anymore. At this point, AS is the superior solution, and the functionality gap is just going to continue to grow. If you're working on anything that you plan to support for a while, you don't want to be stuck on an old IDE for an ecosystem that changes as rapidly as Android still does.   The only reason I can see for going with Visual Studio is if you're working at a Microsoft-only tools studio.
  2. Olof and frob have already answered your question, I think.   Just want to mention that for an existing Android Java project, I would look towards RoboVM + libGDX. You won't get away with still having to reimplement the UI and stuff like that using RoboVM/libGDX bindings, but - depending on your code, of course - you should be able to reuse most of the actual game engine.
  3. Take everything Oluseyi just wrote, and frame it on a wall. So much truth that it hurts.
  4. Definitely go for Mercurial and use Bitbucket. It's a DVCS like Git, but with an interface that is (by design) almost as simple as subversion.   Subversion really isn't worth it, IMO, at this point.   I use Git for everything these days because of Github - simply easier to standardize on one VCS, rather than maintaining separate VCS for public and private code (which is where Bitbucket shines -> free private repos). But Mercurial was my gateway to DVCS's back when, and IMO it is really not all that much more complicated to explain and use than SVN, as long as you don't insist on doing overly complicated stuff. If you think your people can handle SVN, then they should be able to handle Mercurial as well.   That being said, we've recently started moving the researchers at my place of work over to Github, and that has actually gone pretty well. Git isn't that hard to use, if you stick to a simple workflow, and Github has pretty excellent documentation.
  5. Unless you're doing some advanced stuff, version incompatibilities should usually not be the first thing to suspect. In 5+ years on Google Play, I think I can count on my hands the number of issues caused by new versions of Android - as opposed to simply caused by my own stupidity (i.e., bugs).   Also, I'd strongly recommend moving to Android Studio. I stuck with Eclipse for a long time myself because it's what I use at work, but at this point AS is the clearly superior IDE for Android. After Google ceased support for the Eclipse SDK, I don't think sticking with Eclipse is worthwhile for Android development. Potential cause of issues, with few upsides.
  6.   I'm not sure where you get this from, but you couldn't be more wrong. Everyone on native Android uses G+. Having a Google-ID to use for your phone basically makes you an automatic citizen of G+, because elements of G+ drive so much of the backend. Hangouts? Is a part of G+. Do you backup your photos via Google's automatic services? You're using G+ (now split out to Photos). In a sense, G+ is the glue which ties together all of Google's services.   In another sense, G+ doesn't really exist any more. Hangouts for business no longer requires a G+ id. Photos has just been split out into a stand-alone App. Streams (the feeds aspect), is in the process of being split out. I suspect that in future, using Google services probably won't require a G+ Id (following the lead of Hangouts for business). But you'll still have an ID with Google which is really all that they need - and which will tie together all of your Google services.   Google Play games is just one of those services, and it has little to nothing to do with G+, other than using your G+/Google ID.     The question is rather, why would you waste time implementing this for yourself, when you can get the entire thing - including backend services - essentially for free?
  7. Android Studio has its own Android version; whatever you have installed previously is irrelevant.   However, if you're not experienced with Android/IntelliJ, don't bother with this. Android Studio is really not ready for produciton-use at the moment. 
  8. You still have MainActivity defined as your MAIN intent. Read Intent.   That aside, Splash Screen are EVIL. Do not use them.
  9. Learn Java, develop for Android.   Android is the low-threshold mobile environment, where you can get started with $25 and pretty much any PC hardware you can think of.   If you want to develop for IOS, you need a Mac. Case closed. If you do not have one, and don't want to invest in one, then there's no point in even getting started on IOS development.
  10. That's kind of the point. Look - it's really not my problem how you (or anyone else) chose to spend their money. Just be aware that the only thing the $400 buys is a fancy title and access to the private cheerleading section of their game forums. This is not a small indie team - that makes them very unlikely to be interested in the opinions of random internet people. Even if they were, it would be the dumbest focus group strategy ever to limit input to a group of people who've spent a significant sum of money (i.e., people already guaranteed to be positive to whatever Garriot creates). Though perhaps that is how the developers think (cf. Treleaven's quote above), in which case the project is sure to crash and burn. Working within an echo chamber is never a good idea. To get back to the OP, I'm not quite sure what you hope to gain by this. It is your dream to become a developer; what makes you think this will help? You don't want something like this on your CV: a prospective interviewer would ROFL, before binning the application. You are not going to get any development experience. You are not going to get any design experience (unlike Jon Shafer's recent KS project, there is not even the promise of getting a sneakpeak at their design docs). There is - as far as I can tell - nothing here that helps you along the path to being a gamedev. The only reason to spend that kind of money that I can see, is if one is an Ultima fan(atic). If you want to pursue that dream, you have to keep in mind the golden rule: finishing is all that matters. Go and build something - even if it is just to mod an existing game. Having something - anything - to show that you have had a significant hand in building and completing, is infinitely more useful on your CV than listing games on which you are a beta tester. Build a game (something small) - and you will learn a lot more about what it takes to be a game developer than you will ever learn from a thousand forum posts by Garriot. Incidentally, the Jon Shafer mentioned above started out modding Civilization III and ended up as lead designer and developer on Civilization V).
  11. Any sensible indie developer will listen with attention to any reasoned feedback from their fans - and won't charge $400 for the privilige.   And seriously - an exclusive group of 2000+ is not exclusive.
  12. Synchronous multi-player... meh. If this was asynchronous multi-player capable, I'd be all over this. Sadly, no one seems interested in building anything like that. Granted, it's not too hard to set up oneself, but the match-making, account-creating, and similar services that one needs would really benefit from a common framework.
  13. As jbAdams says, the smart way into Android development is Java. Java is the native language of the platform, and using it means that you'll be programming to the strengths of the platform, rather than fighting its peculiarities.
  14. Android is not IOS, you don't need to worry about anyone bricking your phone (though depending on your manufacturer/carrier, rooting can be extremely easy or harder to do). Advertising an app is the same as any other software; either pay for ads (though I wouldn't recommend it), or find places where people announce/use your kind of apps and do the same (following the rules of the place), and get listed as many places as possible. Discoverability is a problem for all starting app developers.
  15. This is covered pretty well here: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/8774317/handling-the-missing-menu-button-in-new-versions-of-android-3-x-and-up