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  What are good game genres for Android?  (Read 2724 times)
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Offline erikd

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« Posted 2010-05-06 20:23:45 »

Ok, I'm a bit new to phone development and 'testing the water' so to speak, so I'm wondering what you think are genres especially suited to android phones (or phones in general). My own android phone is a Legend (i.e. an iPhone clone running on Android, so mostly depending on touch screen input) and thus far I found it severely lacking in the gaming department.

I've been busy porting my 'Hyper Blazer' game to Android, but I fear it might turn out not as playable as the 'real' desktop version. It seems more and more obvious to me that phones are not very suitable for arcade action games that require precise controls and timing, or even a stable frame-rate. And after downloading and playing almost a hundred of android games, my favorite game on Android has been a game called 'Build-a-lot'; a casual point-and-click property buying/selling game, which is really not that fantastic but the best I found so far. Basically all 'high profile games' that require traditional controls fail miserably on the phone (tried pacman, spore, prince of persia etc).

The thing is, I'm so used to traditional game controls (like cursor keys, dpads, mouse etc) and the ability to create stable 60fps games that I feel a bit lost for ideas that might really work on phones with just touch screen and/or tilt sensors.
Right now, I think what phones need (and what might actually work) is a really great RPG, for example a Final Fantasy type game or Dungeon Master or something. Or a point-and-click adventure (which is kind of out of my league to pull off alone).

So what are your views about this?

Offline strategy
« Reply #1 - Posted 2010-05-07 10:13:55 »

Not so suggest that you build a clone, but if you take a look at the games that top the lists as well as the games popular on the iPhone, you should get a pretty good ideas about what kind of games are suited to the phone format.

Personally, I have so many ideas on the backburner now that I don't know how I will ever get time to work on them all - but then again I'm into niche games (strategy/role-playing games) that do not see a lot of developer effort. Ultimately, it all depends on what your goal is.

 If you're looking to build something popular that will generate a lot of sales and stuff, you need to look to MMO and casual puzzle/arcade/card games.

Otherwise, the world is your oyster. Pick your favorite game-type/theme and think about how you can distill that experience down into something intuitive and fun on the small screen with touch/tilt controls. Just looked briefly at Hyper-Blazer, and off-hand I don't see why it shouldn't be possible to port the game idea to Android. Of course, you may need to tweak stuff (e.g., slowing it down, making levels easier, etc) to make the game experience fun on the phone, but off-hand, why not?


Offline polyclef

Senior Newbie





« Reply #2 - Posted 2010-05-07 13:46:11 »

Ok, I'm a bit new to phone development and 'testing the water' so to speak, so I'm wondering what you think are genres especially suited to android phones (or phones in general). My own android phone is a Legend (i.e. an iPhone clone running on Android, so mostly depending on touch screen input) and thus far I found it severely lacking in the gaming department.

I've been busy porting my 'Hyper Blazer' game to Android, but I fear it might turn out not as playable as the 'real' desktop version. It seems more and more obvious to me that phones are not very suitable for arcade action games that require precise controls and timing, or even a stable frame-rate. And after downloading and playing almost a hundred of android games, my favorite game on Android has been a game called 'Build-a-lot'; a casual point-and-click property buying/selling game, which is really not that fantastic but the best I found so far. Basically all 'high profile games' that require traditional controls fail miserably on the phone (tried pacman, spore, prince of persia etc).

The thing is, I'm so used to traditional game controls (like cursor keys, dpads, mouse etc) and the ability to create stable 60fps games that I feel a bit lost for ideas that might really work on phones with just touch screen and/or tilt sensors.
Right now, I think what phones need (and what might actually work) is a really great RPG, for example a Final Fantasy type game or Dungeon Master or something. Or a point-and-click adventure (which is kind of out of my league to pull off alone).

So what are your views about this?

I think your analysis is basically sound. If you think about the constraints of the platform: smaller screen size, fewer computing resources, and smaller controls. It becomes clear that high-end games that require precise controls/timing are going to be more difficult to both implement and play. That doesn't mean it can't be done...but I think you're right that certain types of games are a better fit for the mobile smartphone platform.

So far I've stuck with simple, casual games: solitaire, dominoes, etc., and I'm having good success.

You might also want to think about how and when people are going to play your game on such a platform. I tend to think that gamers on a mobile platform are going to want to play in time chunks of 5-10 minutes, waiting in line, or at the doctor's office, etc. Unlike console or PC gaming where you might want to plop down and play for a couple of hours straight.

Right now my design philosophy for Android is simple, casual gaming with an entirely touch-screen interface, with no time constraint or need for precise controls. But depending on your goals/technical skills, you may want to implement that 3D real-time MMO.  Wink


<a href="http://polyclefsoftware.com/">Polyclef Software</a>
Games published by our own members! Check 'em out!
Legends of Yore - The Casual Retro Roguelike
Offline erikd

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Medals: 16
Projects: 4
Exp: 14 years


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« Reply #3 - Posted 2010-05-07 13:59:02 »

Quote
..I don't see why it shouldn't be possible to port the game idea to Android.

Well, it is possible (and it's actually close to finished), and the result so far is kind of cool but I found that at the end of the day, the platform is not very suited to the type of game (or any game I've done so far).
For example, an important aspect of it is that it *needs* to have a stable and high frame rate, but that is something that's kind of impossible to achieve (there are all kinds of hiccups due to background processes on the phone).


Offline erikd

JGO Ninja


Medals: 16
Projects: 4
Exp: 14 years


Maximumisness


« Reply #4 - Posted 2010-05-07 14:03:23 »

Quote
But depending on your goals/technical skills, you may want to implement that 3D real-time MMO.

Hehe, no thanks  Smiley

But thanks for your input. Even though I'm not really interested in such casual games myself, it's good to read a real world experience of something that definitely works on the platform.

Offline strategy
« Reply #5 - Posted 2010-05-07 17:24:27 »

For example, an important aspect of it is that it *needs* to have a stable and high frame rate, but that is something that's kind of impossible to achieve (there are all kinds of hiccups due to background processes on the phone).

Yep - those are big issues on Android  You will need to look for ways to keep the game fun in spite of these problems.

Polyclef is no doubt right that a lot of mobile gamers are looking for 5-10 minutes of entertainment, but it's worth noting that the market for longer game experiences also exists (even if not as large). Pirates & Traders, for instance, has average game sessions lengths > 20 minutes. I imagine that a lot of those gamers are people like myself who commute distances - in that context, being able to spend time on a lengthier game can obviously be interesting. It just becomes important that as a player you can drop it and pick up the game easily.

An example of an otherwise excellent game (IMO) that has this problem are the Choice Games - mobile choose-your-own-adventure books. They are very well written and quite fun to play a couple of times, but I find that if I come back to a game after a day or so, I no longer recollect which actions I took leading up to my savegame point. This keeps me from playing unless I think that I have time to finish a game, which is a pity. I think this is something one really needs to pay some attention to when designing adventure/RPG games on the mobile platform.

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