Change in Direction

•January 25, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Well, after months of playing around with the Android SDK and what not, I’ve decided on a sea change and moved back toward Unity 3D.  I’ve picked up a basic Android license and have been working on some projects.  One is contracted the others are personal.  On the personal side I’m building games for Android that I want to play.  Not necessarily ones that will sell.  I’m doing this to learn about the process.  With my many years of Software Dev and Engineering I feel that gives me some advantage on the scripting side.  The difficulty for me is the artwork.  I’m not artistically gifted.  Yes, I can make good meshes in Blender that work well when skinned and animated, but the textural details is where I need help.  However, with Unity’s Asset Store I find decent models already animated and textured at reasonable prices.  Saves me the hassle and lets me focus back on the game design and implementation.  And that’s what I enjoy.

Stay tuned.  Hopefully I’ll have more to say sooner than later, eh?

Cheers!

Jim (jiminthemmatrix.com)

Adding the jMonkeyEngine to the Eclipse Environment

•February 6, 2012 • Leave a Comment

jMonkeyEngine (http://jmonkeyengine.org/introduction/) is an open source Java 3D Game Engine.  They provide their own development environment, but it uses NetBeans as the IDE (http://netbeans.org/).  It is also a well supported IDE similar to Eclipse.  I decided, again for better or worse, to stay with Eclipse.  Fortunately jMonkeyEngine provides their engine and its supporting libraries as .jar files.  I downloaded these and installed them “next to” the AndroidSDK, ie C:/AndroidSDK/Android/jMonkey.  Their instructions are easy to follow:

http://jmonkeyengine.org/wiki/doku.php/jme3:setting_up_jme3_in_eclipse

They have a good list of tutorials for instructing how to use their engine in a desktop environment.  Moving that into the Android realm they provide a beta solution, but the documentation is lacking.  In the next post I will outline how I took a tutorial of theirs, and by trolling through their Android forum, came up with making that same example work on an Android device.

 

Setting up the Android Development Environment

•February 6, 2012 • Leave a Comment

This is fairly well documented environment.  Google and the Eclipse organization have made it easy to get going.  Rather than rewrite what they have online go to:

http://developer.android.com/sdk/installing.html

and follow the directions.

I have 3 different hardware setups I work from: Toshiba Laptop with Vista 64-bit, Dell Desktop with Vista 32-bit, and a Dell Laptop with Win7 64-bit.  The development environment is mostly independent of the hardware used.  However, I have had issues with the Dell Laptop (Win 7 64-bit) and getting the USB driver to recognize my Toshiba Thrive AT100 (16 MiB).  I have yet to try it on the Vista hardware.

Notes on install and other miscellaneous stuff:

  • when installing the Android SDK, keep the path simple by NOT using any spaces in the path
  • if you plan to do any OpenGLES 2.0, the emulator does not support it.  I connected my tablet to the laptop and used it in its debug mode.
  • set the environment variable, ANDROID_SDK_HOME, to the directory you installed the SDK (this is important)

Getting into Android Development

•February 6, 2012 • Leave a Comment

For some time I have wanted to get into developing for Android.  While I have some good experience in Java it has been a while and things have changed.  I hope to accurately capture the process, for better and worse, failures and success.  In searching the web for information covering basic aspects of Android Development it appears that some of the information is well constructed and some of it “… the reader is left to fill in the blanks.”

One thing I’m really interested in is 3D game development.  Cheaply!  Unity 3D (http://unity3d.com/) has a great tool set.  Of course you pay for it as well!  Basic Android game engine is $400.00 (USD).  To get the good stuff requires $3000.00 (USD).  Either is too expensive when I’m just wanting to get a solid understanding of creating a game for Android.  Another tool set is Shiva3D (http://www.stonetrip.com/).  The pricing is similar, $400.00 for “Indie”/Small Studio developers, and $2000.00 for more commercial ventures.  Additionally, to publish for Android requires installation of all the SDK’s.  I figure if I’m going to do that I might as well start at the basic setup and build upward.

To provide models for any game usually requires tools where the artist can construct the model with base meshes, possibly fine tune the model with a sculpting tool, apply materials and textures for realism, and finally build a skeleton and skin the mesh for the non-static model.  As with the game development environment these tools can be very expensive.  3ds Max by Autodesk is $3500.00; Cinema 4D by Maxon runs $2500.00 to $3700.00.  They are very expensive tools and do a remarkable job.  Again, I’m looking for affordable options.

So, I’ve decided on the following path … for now:

  • Eclipse Indigo (3.7.1) for Java
  • Latest Android SDK and ADT
  • JMonkeyEngine (a 3D game engine)
  • Blender 2.61 for Assest Generation (3d models)

In the following posts I will detail the setups and the issues I encountered (some of them were just lacking decent documentation).  Feel free to comment and ask questions, or point out/clear up my lack of understanding

Cheers!