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Picking directions for making a little (mobile) game app

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#1 spek   Prime Members   


Posted 28 February 2014 - 01:37 PM

I bet many have an answer for this one


For fun, I'd like to make a little game app. But I've been using ancient programming languages so far mostly (Delphi 7, Visual Studio 2008, Qt), plus I'm ancient myself meaning I have little idea about the (mobile) platforms out there, other than  "Windows, iOS, Android".


Anyhow, before just picking a random language or platform, I'd like to ask some advice. For example, is there a (multi-platform) gamedevelopment such as XNA, suitable for mobile platforms such as Android or Apple tablets? As far as I know, Android apps are often made in Java with Eclipse, and probably it has some gamedev or rendering libraries too. But would that be easy to port to iOS or Windows?




While googling, I also saw a new version of Delphi, XE5. I always LOVED Delphi (see my little Tower22 baby) but I'm realizing I'm getting more and more in the past with D7 (2002!!). Delphi XE5 seems to be capable of compiling Windows, iOS and Android programs though, so maybe that is a good excuse to FINALLY make a step forward. But since Delphi isn't exactly cheap, and always had a bit of an underdog position -thus less support for popular (gamedev) libraries- I'm not so sure if it would be the wisest decission to head that way. As for the "game app" idea, I just want to make a little game without too much hassle, so having some "ready to go" libraries for rendering (2D) graphics, sound and pysics would be very nice.


Well, I'm sure you guys can give me some directions or share experiences on Delphi XE5.

Merci beaucoup!




#2 frob   Moderators   


Posted 28 February 2014 - 05:46 PM

There are many cross platform libraries and utilities out there.

Right now two of the more popular cross platform libraries are LibGDX (mostly Java) and Cocos2d-x (mostly C++), both are free and have very active, supportive communities. Both Marmalade (C++) and Xamarin (C#) are paid products that also seem to have a following and some support. There are probably hundreds of others out there as well, pay attention to their quality, community support, and lists of customers and finished products before investing too much in any of them.

If you are looking for a bigger engine, you might consider GameMaker:Studio (they are having a huge discount sale right now, see the first post at the top of the For Beginners forum), GameSalad, and Unity3D, just to name a few. Also like above, there are many more and their quality, support, and general usage are also widely varied. Study them carefully before jumping in.

I'm not aware of any Delphi / Pascal based libraries on mobile, but considering how many individuals and groups build their own little projects and cross-compilers, it wouldn't surprise me if some exist. I'm sure you realize that the language is out of favor and is in the holding pattern of slow decay and eventual death, but there are still some supporters out there. Of course, there are supporters of languages like Snobol, Algol, and so many other languages; programming languages are still new enough creations (within the past sixty years or so) and so many of their creators and fans are still living that the languages don't really die, they just asymptotically approach zero.

Edited by frob, 28 February 2014 - 05:48 PM.

Check out my book, Game Development with Unity, aimed at beginners who want to build fun games fast.

Also check out my personal website at bryanwagstaff.com, where I occasionally write about assorted stuff.

#3 kburkhart84   Members   


Posted 28 February 2014 - 07:52 PM

Many people have had success with GameMaker Studio and many more people with Unity3d as well.  Which you prefer depends on what your project requires and what kind of budget you have.  As far as actual viable exports, I'm going to call them about the same.  There are a couple of differences, but generally they both have the important stuff covered.


GameMaker Studio is more focused on 2d games.  It has some minimal 3d capabliity, and can use custom shaders(OpenGL ES) for both the 2d and 3d.  For 2d games, it makes things much simpler than other game engines, including Unity.  The GML scripting language is also quite handy.  You can do almost anything you want with it.  The catch is that it is not useful outside of gamemaker.  But is has similarities to C-like languages so isn't really difficult to pick up if you have any experience coding.  The thing about GMStudio is that there isn't a free version that can export to mobile platforms.  The free version has too many limitations to be useful.  On the other hand, the master collection is normally $799.  It contains all the exports, and all of the features it has for this one price.


Unity is more focused on 3d. It has much higher end features than GMStudio provides.  By the same token, it tends to be more difficult to learn and use, but that also depends on the person.  For scripting, you have a choice between 3 languages, Unityscript, C#, and Boo.  Unityscript has similarities to Javascript, but it isn't the same.  C# is the same everywhere, except the specific Unity stuff, and Boo is pretty unique and is a sort of Python.  About the budget, Unity has a free version, but it is much less limiting than GMStudio's free version.  The features that are missing are mostly high end features, like unlimited shadows, dynamic batching, rendertextures, and some other things.  most games really don't need many of these features though.  Also, the free version can also still export to pretty much all of the mobile platforms.


I've mentioned these two engines, because they are the ones I know best.  There are many other options, for example Shiva3d, and the UDK can do iOS, but not Android, at least not in the free version.

#4 spek   Prime Members   


Posted 01 March 2014 - 02:30 AM

Never really used Java, so I favor C++, I'll have a lookt at Cocos2d-x to begin with. Just red it supports Android, and you can use it in Qt (which won my heart last year) so that sounds good.


Not sure if I would go for a more complete package such as GameMaker or Unity. I know I said "just make a game without too much hassle", then again I always like to keep control on some stuff and learn how it works, Made the whole engine from the ground up for my other "hobby project", so chosing Unity or the likes feels a bit unnatural. Might be a stupid argument though ;) Not sure how far those libraries (Cocos, Marmelade, ...) go. If they can just perform the deep level API stuff, I'm helped much already.




you realize that the language is out of favor and is in the holding pattern of slow decay and eventual death,


I'm afraid so. It's really a shame, although they may have to blame themselves as well. The environment is great, but WAY too expensive. While Visual Studio has free Express editions to try out, newcomers will never get in touch with Delphi, and thus never recommend it on their work either. Anyhow, I'll still look around in that corner, and I'm curious if anyone here actually my an Android game-app with Delphi here.



Well, a first quick thought is to make a combi between Android -- Qt -- Cocos2d-x. Does that make sense?

Edited by spek, 01 March 2014 - 03:42 AM.

#5 spek   Prime Members   


Posted 01 March 2014 - 10:23 AM


Instead of Qt / Cocos2d-x, I made a start with Eclipse & libGDX, using this nice step by step tutorial:



And the nice part is that libGDX comes with a setup that already generates your project/framework for multiple devices if you like (Android, iOS, PC, webbrowser). With minimum programming, I already had some sprites flying around on the (Android) phone. I know that's still a far throw from an actual game, but being used to making harsh engines for years before you could see something nice on your screen, that's a real relief!


Thanks for pointing me here guys!

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