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Author: Subject: Touchscreen & porting to Play Store
Mezzmer
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question.gif posted on 5-3-2016 at 08:25 PM
Touchscreen & porting to Play Store


I'm voicing a few concerns about DIV Android for the future.

Obviously people have to look at platform before they begin developing a game.

The point being touchscreen is difficult to cater for. Even when you have developed a touchscreen pad, that means about a third of the screen has your hands on it! Also it's harder to use a touchscreen pad as there is no tactile feeback, it's just a slippy surface.

But if someone wanted to produce a touchscreen game with "different" gesture controls or a point and click type of game (the best solution in my eyes for a touchscreen requirement) - is DIV already working in the best way with touch API etc, not to mention other Google/Android considerations.

Also, will we see Play Store compatibility? That means a lot of work as far as I can see (releasing in a Play Store compatible .apk with update keystores etc.)

At the moment I suspect that's difficult. Lol.

So what's the score?




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MikeDX
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[*] posted on 6-3-2016 at 01:44 PM


Right. Let's see about this:

Touch screen. Well as you say this is a tough one. For each port there are a number of considerations (key mapping, screen size, inputs) and touch is no different. On android ports this is handled with an on screen gamepad - which in vertical mode covers none of the screen.



As for tackling the tactile feedback, you're asking me to solve a problem with all touch devices. How does unity deal with it? Maybe I can just do something similar.

As for the google play keys - there are two options.

First is to republish your apk, and go through the normal upgrade route

The second is to use div-arena as an update host and have the apk check for your games updates (this is built into div-android builds, just a setting when publishing changes this), which will download the new data without having to reinstall the apk. this is the preferred option asuming you havent changed your code to require new / changed android permissions.


Hope that helps ;)


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Mezzmer
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exclamation.gif posted on 7-3-2016 at 07:33 PM


I wasn't trying to say that, I was just posing some questions any serious developer would ask before beginning to work for a touchscreen platform.

Tactile feedback is obviously a great thing so key labelling and accessibility have to be taken into account. (Though I think that's bad design, only using 1/3 of the screen for a game, but anyway it runs...)

You cannot republish a game on Google Play store and I fear the same for the App Store because nowadays you must submit a Release mode .apk using a keystore from the machine that publishes the game and therein you should obviously always password a keystore with a master key.

It's a per developer thing and you cannot go around it.

Apart from that you can install .apk if you tell your phone the install is safe (Allow Install through Unknown sources) but that's less secure. Some android games are "DRM free" and you can do this, but it makes your game freely distributable thereafter.

So anyway that's your rough guide. Though DIV DX is certainly capable of the latter.




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[*] posted on 7-3-2016 at 07:53 PM


Also bare in mind, that although I have *no* idea how to program games for an Android/touchscreen device, that the kinds of game that we are used to playing on consoles and PCs are not always compatible with touchscreen devices (or at least, they don't feel natural). Ever tried to play an FPS game on a touch screen, without some kind of third party controller plugged in? What about a platformer? Virtual gamepads often don't feel right and have real problems with sensitivity, not enough tactile feedback (or not specific enough tactile feedback) - and having to drag to look around with the mouse, or drag your character around using your fingers covers the display.

But Fruit Ninja, or Angry Birds, or Crossy Road - all FANTASTICALLY suited to a touch screen device. House of the dead Overkill: the lost reels is an example of a great first person rail shooter for android, as is Mad Bullets, a wild west themed cowboy shootout game. I guess what I'm trying to say is: if you're designing a touchscreen game from scratch, keep in mind that it's a touchscreen game - not a clunky emulation of a game using a touchscreen device :smilegrin:
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cool.gif posted on 7-3-2016 at 08:27 PM


Nice post.

I hear the nVidia Shield is going to be pretty big. First real "commercial" Android console, which actually has a gamepad, or a handheld version with controls! Yippie. Perhaps that's worth some research for the future of DIV porting.

I think the point being in MikeDX and my discussion is "Does DIV currently have release functionality for Play Store?"

There is no point beating around the figurative bush. Or discussing it further unless we know.

Until we got that answer, I guess developing with unsigned apks is fine. Though don't we want Google Play submissions from DIV - and how would that happen realistically?




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[*] posted on 8-3-2016 at 07:35 AM
Touch controls suck.


Actually I think a centralized (distribution) channel in Play Store could be a great strength, as when you release your golden nugget there without a prolific channel there's only a tiny tiny change it won't just end up under a crap load of garbage. With other people developing games for DIV-Arena's channel it would be more prolific than just one's own channel.

As I've gathered, DIV-Arena's income model is still in the works. There could also be a way for income this way by developers giving DIV-Arena a small percentage of the income when they release paid games. Plus some rules would need to be developed. Probably.

There's food for thought.
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[*] posted on 9-3-2016 at 10:09 AM


Touch controls don't suck per se. It depends how they have been implemented in the game. Games that have a virtual controller just provide a work-around. To end users this gives the idea they are not playing a game but rubbing a screen. They can't transcend into the game and that's where tactile feedback comes into play. You actually feel you are moving your character, however some other implementations allow touch screen to be able to control your game too. A more indirect approach for example. A good example is Starcraft II. RTS, but in some missions you "control" your character. You tell him where to go and what to do, and he moves on his own and takes his own actions. In this scenario you won't rely much on tactile feedback.

About an FPS game using tactile control: Metroid Prime Hunters. I have only played the demo but you stripped a band around your thumb with a "hard point" where the dumb hits the lower screen of your Nintendo DS. By moving around with your thumb your character looked around on the upper screen. It actually worked pretty well.

Like this:



But then again, on a smartphone you lack the space to do this as you only have one screen.

How about Gear VR? You mount it on your head holding a gamepad in your hands. lol.
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[*] posted on 9-3-2016 at 05:05 PM


I think the same. Touch screen can work and even has "application".

Though there have been some quite criminal examples of touchscreen games - take the DotEmu/SNK releases of some NeoGeo games. Just bolting on some really poorly designed menus and employing a touchscreen "virtual-pad" which covers most of the screen. It's uses transparency/alpha but when you use it you can't see the game. Lol.

Horrendous. I wonder how many classic games have been ruined in this way?




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[*] posted on 9-3-2016 at 05:08 PM


By the way, try Brix 3d.

That's a good example of touchscreen controls. *COUGH*




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[*] posted on 9-3-2016 at 06:03 PM


Quote: Originally posted by Mezzmer  
By the way, try Brix 3d.

That's a good example of touchscreen controls. *COUGH*


It is, but you still can't quit it. ;)
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[*] posted on 9-3-2016 at 06:18 PM


Quote: Originally posted by Mezzmer  

You cannot republish a game on Google Play store and I fear the same for the App Store because nowadays you must submit a Release mode .apk using a keystore from the machine that publishes the game and therein you should obviously always password a keystore with a master key.


It's a per developer thing and you cannot go around it.



That's a choice you have. You can either let div-arena sign it with its key and publish under the div-arena brand or sign it yourself and publish yourself. Most people who want to just get their game up will probably opt for the first option.

Quote: Originally posted by Mezzmer  


Apart from that you can install .apk if you tell your phone the install is safe (Allow Install through Unknown sources) but that's less secure. Some android games are "DRM free" and you can do this, but it makes your game freely distributable thereafter.

So anyway that's your rough guide. Though DIV DX is certainly capable of the latter.


All of these points are a bit moot at this stage - sine there is no active way to create a DIV APK from DIV itself. This will ultimately be done on the server anyway to reduce the need to download so much - if you are exporting to 10 platforms, you do not want to have to install 10 sdk packages, and on top of this, if you are a beginner and just want to get going, its just too much to take on. Let DIV do the legwork for you and when you want to go pro, do it yourself.

What I should do however is put some div games on the app store from the game over and remakes section - at least this will show how it eventually will work.
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Dennis
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[*] posted on 10-3-2016 at 08:24 AM


Quote: Originally posted by MikeDX  
Quote: Originally posted by Mezzmer  
By the way, try Brix 3d.

That's a good example of touchscreen controls. *COUGH*


It is, but you still can't quit it. ;)


Why would you want to? Haha. I bet he did it on purpose!

Another alternative control: instead of a joystick on the left, an arrow buttn to the left ON the left part of the screen and an arrow button to the right ON the right part of the screen. However, that's just esthetically speaking, because you already can by tapping on the left and right sides of the landing pad.

Btw I have this for my android phone:



It's compact so easy to carry around, easy to mount your phone, weights almost nothing, and you have tactile feedback. Ideal for emulator games and DIV games! I think every game for android should support bluetooth gamepad controls such as this.

Btw Mezzmer: Do you still play Elite Dangerous?
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[*] posted on 10-3-2016 at 03:15 PM


Does that work on Android 5.0+? I had a problem with a MOGA pocket controller that wouldn't work on my new Android equipment.

Plus wiimotes don't connect to latest android hardware practically. I think Google/Android are opting for more "official" hardware controllers like the Nvidia Shield. Sad as we don't have much choice in controller.

Yes I have Elite Dangerous. Not that I play it, I had no buddies! What do you propose? I've messaged you my Skype if you really want to team.




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