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Which mobile platforms have best developer support?

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#1 mgalks   Members   


Posted 14 May 2012 - 03:50 PM

Who has the best developer support? Android, Apple?

Have you ever used Unity to develop mobile apps? How good was their support?

To specify, how do the following compare:

1) Quality of documentation
2) Quality of community forums/ engineering support
3) Tools (debugging, etc.)

Edited by mgalks, 15 May 2012 - 09:27 AM.

#2 daviangel   Members   


Posted 14 May 2012 - 06:24 PM

You'll probably have to get more specific if you want a better answer since you ask a pretty generic question IMO.
For example, one of the books that covers IOS and Android game programming in a single book has this to say in the first chapter:
For iOS Developers
To use this book for iOS, all you have to do is to grab a copy of the latest iOS SDK available at
http://developer.apple.com, and install it on your Mac.
Out-of-the-box the iOS SDK provides a simulator with full GLES v2 support, so even if you do not
have an iOS device, or do not have an official iOS Developer Certification from Apple, you can still
make full use of this book.
For Android Developers
To set up your environment for Android, it is unfortunately not as easy as for iOS.
Personally, having developed for both I can say it's pretty near impossible to develop for Android without actual hardware device Posted Image
This is only one of the many advantages Apple currently has over Android Posted Image
Don't talk about writing games, don't write design docs, don't spend your time on web boards. Sit in your house write 20 games when you complete them you will either want to do it the rest of your life or not * Andre Lamothe

#3 Promit   Senior Moderators   


Posted 14 May 2012 - 06:38 PM

What exactly are we referring to as developer "support" ? Documentation, community, tools, money?
SlimDX | Shark Eaters for iOS | Ventspace Blog | Twitter | Proud supporter of diversity and inclusiveness in game development

#4 lmbarns   Members   


Posted 14 May 2012 - 06:52 PM

Depends what you mean by support.

Apple has a handful of devices and if your game runs on ipad 2, it likely runs on ipad3.

Apple charges $100/year for a developer membership, and you must compile your game on a mac, even with Unity. Using a hackintosh violates Apple's TOS. So you have to own a mac that you can develop on, and have at least 1 device to test on.

Android has some 500+ devices and your game won't run on some of them. If you release your game and it doesn't work for people you get a 1 star rating and spend your time chasing refunds and patching random problems people experience on random devices that aren't present on majority of devices.

You can read why 1 indie team (who uses Unity) stopped supporting android after a year on the android and apple stores with six figure sales for the year: http://mikamobile.bl...th-android.html

And secondly, as I mentioned on Twitter, our Android apps aren't making money. A few people took offense to the bluntness of this statement, so I'll clarify in more delicate terms.

There's a big difference between generating revenue, and "making money" - It's not that they haven't generated income, but that income is offset by the additional support costs the platform has demanded. Where did your dollar go? We spent about 20% of our total man-hours last year dealing with Android in one way or another - porting, platform specific bug fixes, customer service, etc. I would have preferred spending that time on more content for you, but instead I was thanklessly modifying shaders and texture formats to work on different GPUs, or pushing out patches to support new devices without crashing, or walking someone through how to fix an installation that wouldn't go through. We spent thousands on various test hardware. These are the unsung necessities of offering our apps on Android. Meanwhile, Android sales amounted to around 5% of our revenue for the year, and continues to shrink. Needless to say, this ratio is unsustainable.

I'm building for android with Unity and love it. I have a kindle fire and samsung exhibit II 4g, both of which run it well.

Eventually I will port it to iOS when I have it completed and purchase the apple app developer membership. I have 2 old mac laptops too slow to use for normal development but I can transfer my build to it, convert my inputs and iOS specific settings and publish from there when the time comes. I grabbed both licenses when they were free Posted Image

It's a lot harder to develop for mobiles than other builds with Unity. You have to do a custom GUI, the build in one is too slow on mobile, you have to do a lot more optimizations (using meshes instead of built in terrain tool, culling objects, shorter camera frustum, smaller textures, less draw calls, less polygons, etc)

It also becomes a pain on android when your app gets above 50mb.

If by Support you mean people to hold your hand and do everything for you, no, you have to put hours into reading documentation to understand and work around your limitations.There has been an influx of new users asking trivial questions on Unity's android forum, that are covered in the docs, you'll be treated poorly and trolled if you ask before doing a proper search when you post questions.

Edited by lmbarns, 14 May 2012 - 06:59 PM.

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