Saturday 19 October 2013

LibGDX Google Play Game Services Tutorial

Google Play Game Services offers cross platform social leaderboards, achievements, and much more (realtime multiplayer, cloud saves, anti-piracy...). I've started implementing google play game services leaderboards and achievements in my LibGDX Android Games, and the purpose of this blog article is to walk through the process so you can do the same!

  • I've published an example project on Google Play check it out!
  • The example project is freely available on GitHub check that out too!
  • You can also get the complete (free) version of Super Jump a Doodle here!

Continue reading after the jump to find out how to add these features to your own games!

Saturday 22 June 2013

Fruit Run FREE Slot Machine - featuring google play game services!

Monday 10 June 2013

One million installs!

1,066,345+ users have installed my LibGDX Android games :)

Due to reporting lag that number is a few days out of date, and it doesn't include installs from third party scraper style stores, so the real number will be a little higher, but I can safely say I have over a million installs in total. Awesome :)

So, how do the various markets stack up?

Sunday 26 May 2013

Street Race Swipe LibGDX Scene2D Tutorial

I have been meaning to write a LibGDX Scene2D tutorial for some time now (ever since my Quack Attack FREE Duck Hunt Game got ridiculously popular). The problem has been finding the time, instead of writing blog entries I've been making games!

I had a great idea for a multitasking game, play four independent games at one time to train your brain and test your ability to multitask. The result was my 4 Games 1 Screen FREE Brain Training Game. I built this game as four separate games from the outset, with the intention of possibly building further on each minigame and releasing as standalone apps. The first of these standalone apps is Street Race Swipe Racing Game, which brings us neatly to the point of this article...

Street Race Swipe Racing Game is such a simple game at its heart that it seems like an excellent candidate for a tutorial article :) I remember being massively impressed by the example SimpleApp on the LibGDX wiki when first starting out, there was so little to it but it touched on all the basics of what is needed to make a game. I'm hoping this mini project will be almost as simple and just as helpful to others!

Wednesday 15 May 2013

4 Games 1 Screen - Musings on mobile game control

So often I hear that players hate onscreen controls on touch devices. No physical button means no tactile feedback to let you know you are 'touching but not pressing' a button. This fundamentally different interface means the traditional joystick / d-pad control scheme can no longer be the de facto standard for gaming controls across all platforms - replicating "up down left right a b start" on a phone or tablet is far from ideal (but an ouya or gamestick is another matter entirely ;)).

In my latest game, 4 Games 1 Screen, I try to make the most of a tricky situation. I've embraced the android mobile platform and the control options it offers. Our phones and tablets have accelerometers and touchscreens, the old nintendo and sega machines did not, it's time to think outside the box and make the most of these features.

4 Games 1 Screen is a challenging brain training game, the aim is to multitask by playing four games at one time, and avoid making too many mistakes. Make too many mistakes and it's game over. Each game is kept relatively simple for two reasons - first the game has to have a single objective and control method, second you have to be able to play four of these things at once so too much complexity would be too distracting for the player.

The mini games are:

  • Asteroid Attack - Tilt to steer your ship, asteroid collisions damage the shields, and when the shields are gone - gameover man, gameover!
  • Tap Jump Cowboy - Classic infinite scroll platform game (like canabalt, and gemserk's excellent vampire runner) tap the screen to jump, save the cowboy from running into the campfires!
  • Speedy Sums Math Master - Fully engage the left side of the brain, evaluate the math problem and mark it as correct or incorrect... You not only lose a life when you get it wrong, but also when you run out of time - so think fast!
  • Street Race Swipe - Swipe up or down to change lanes in this fast and furious racing game, avoid crashing into the other sports cars, too many bumps and your car will explode!

Each game can be played independently (full screen) in practice mode, but the real aim of the game is to play them all at once - the game is called "4 Games 1 Screen" afterall :) I find it fun, addictive, frustrating and challenging. The frustration is what makes it so addictive haha, I see gameover and immediately try again to "do it right this time" :)

No onscreen controls, and a game that would not really be possible on traditional gaming platforms, this is truly a mobile game designed for mobile devices. I hope you go on to check it out (it's FREE, so why not!) and if you also like making your own mobile games that you might consider some of the thought behind the concept - don't lament the lack of physical controls, instead make the most of what is available!

Finally, does this mean that I won't ever release a mobile game with onscreen controls? No. Definitely not. A future project will be a traditional platformer, with android enabled consoles like the ouya and gamestick firmly in mind. I will no doubt make a mobile version of this game with onscreen controls (it would be silly not to). I'm not against onscreen controls, I'm against not thinking up interesting ways to make the most of what the mobile platform offers. I believe a platformer will only work well with traditional controls, but we don't always have to make traditional games :)

Happy gaming boys and girls!

Thursday 11 April 2013

Try before you buy (or in this case, try before you download for free!)

How awesome is this!? You can now try playing Quack Attack in your browser :)

The game plays a lot faster and smoother on a real android device (I think the slower your internet connection, the worse the appsurfer gadget performs), but I still thought this cool idea was worth sharing here.

Something tells me I'll be using AppSurfer to help promote my next game, the fact that tilt is simulated is especially cool :)

Sunday 10 March 2013

Scene2D Investigation... Result: Quack Attack Free Duck Hunt Game!

I started looking into LibGDX Scene2D recently. No real reason, other than it looked like it could be something interesting to learn, so why not! :) Best way for me to learn is to just get stuck in, so I got to work on a Duck Hunt tribute, and learned as I went along...

It's clear that Scene2D UI is the way to go for menus and the like, so much cleaner than my past approach. Scene2D UI combined with table-layout makes setting up menus and HUDs a breeze. Even better, tweaking layouts becomes pain free, a real bonus! I'll certainly be using it again in future games.

As for making use of Scene2D in the game itself (over and above the HUD), it was tricky to start with... All the tutorials I've read so far have advocated the MVC approach, and it seems that MVC is not really possible when using Scene2D (the model and view are tightly coupled). Still, I've not been doing this long enough to be stuck in my ways, so I figured I could just ignore some of what I'd learned in my earlier projects and just go with the Scene2D flow.

I was surprised that there aren't more tutorials available on the subject to be honest, but I muddled through with various bits and pieces I could find. The most valuable resource when getting started was the LibGDX suite of tests, they are always a good starting point when looking at something new. The official wiki was helpful too. It's a bit presumptuous to think that I'm in a position to write tutorials on the subject (due to me being a newbie myself), but I think I'll post a few code snippets in the coming weeks to share some getting started tips, maybe even an open source step-by-step mini game "how to" if I have the time.

I like how Scene2D lets you encapsulate Actor behaviour in its own act() method, it's pretty cool just instantiating an Actor and then just leaving it to its own devices. My first Scene2D game (Quack Attack) has the game logic class spawn a Duck object at various intervals, the Duck class itself keeps track of how it should behave (overridden act() method sets various actions for the duck to perform dependent on its current state), and it also takes care of drawing itself via the overridden draw() method. It's really nice to be able to look at that single Duck class and immediately "get" exactly what a duck will do in the game, without having to look at various other classes. I guess this is one of the main Scene2D strengths, but on the flipside it's what makes MVC impossible...

I'm sure the coupled view and controller will make things difficult on larger more complex games, but for simpler games I don't think it's a big problem. I guess if I were ever to try porting a Scene2D heavy game to a different platform it'd be a problem too, I am pretty sure porting Racing Game or Evil Monkey Touch Defense or Zombie Game to XNA would be pretty straightforward (if we ignore the tilt/touch control issue), but porting Quack Attack to a library without a similar scene graph implementation would not be so straightforward (would probably have to port the whole of Scene2D too!). Again I don't really care about that right now as I'm focusing on Android only, so I think it's quite likely that I'll be using in-game Scene2D in the future.

I've just published my first Scene2D game on Google Play, it's totally free (ad supported), so feel free to install and check it out. If you like it, I always appreciate a nice rating/review :) Check it out here:

I think it turned out quite well, and am pleased with what was achieved in a relatively short amount of time. Keep an eye out for future blog posts featuring mini Scene2D tutorials if you're interested in that kind of thing :)

Until next time - happy gaming, and happy game developing!

Sunday 27 January 2013

Monkey Magic!

UPDATE - As a result of a request from Fox, this game has been removed from the Google Play market. I may create a new version at some point using all original graphics (i.e. not the Family Guy monkey), but in the meantime why not check out one of my other games?

I released a new free game recently - Evil Monkey Touch Defence. You control a "good" Evil Monkey / King Kong type character, his job is to try and protect the tower from incoming missiles!

This was an experiment in creating the simplest possible control scheme for a casual game, while still making a game that's good fun to play. When you touch the screen the monkey starts dropping his aim, when you release the screen he fires. No buttons, no tilt, no nothing, just touch and release anywhere on the screen to control the game - it couldn't get any simpler! The longer you survive the faster the missiles get, and the more missiles you destroy the higher your score, simple and addictive fun...

You can check out Evil Monkey Touch Defence here. I'd love it if you would leave a nice rating or review if you like the game :)

On the subject of free monkey based casual games for android... A friend of mine recently released his first game, you can check out his Monkey Game here - it's a fun casual physics game that uses Box2D behind the scenes. There's nothing in the least bit evil about this monkey, he just wants to eat his fruit (and not get eaten by a croc!)