14 February 2013

How to make simple game in Android part 1b. - My Challenge

Few honest informations.  
I have a few years experience in software developer BUT  I am NOT a game developer! I am NOT an expert. 
This guide was written by person who want write game as part of hobby and make dreams come to true (As I want to write simple RPG game in future).   
 I put best efforts to write  accuracy informations, but I cannot guarantee the perfect accuracy of all content in this  articles  on this blog.
I do not take any responsibility or liability for any error, omission, inaccuracy or destructions!

How to make simple game in Android



Part 1b 

In this part, I will talk about challenge “Write a game in one weekend”.If you are just interesting how I wrote this game. Go to part 2 {link coming soon}

1. I already collect all graphics. I used: 
  • Flags from  http://www.free-country-flags.com/  with few exception when I used flags came from en.wikipedia.org or official country website, if was allowed
  • Icons from http://www.famfamfam.com/ made by   Mark James

2. My design was heavy based on 
my application Doms learn Chinese (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=dms.pastor.chinesegame)

3. My algorithms based on Doms learn Chinese, but during development I discover mu current algorithm is rubbish, so I need it to improve for quiz game otherwise it will cause out of memory error bug.

  1. Time frame from Friday 18.00 to Monday 2.00 (my original plan was Sunday 22.00, but due my plan to attend to drum workshop on Sunday, I moved deadline to 2 am).
  2. At Monday 2am  game must be published.
  3. Game must be playable at end of time (it means no crashes allowed)
  4. It must contains 3 modes countries of the world, capital of the world and flags of  the world.
  5. High score should works at least for highest score but top 10 will be welcomed.


Friday evening

Plan for Friday: UI, menu, prototype, add all countries data 

I back from work and  I started at 18.00 from UI.
It was very easy as I used simplified design from Doms learn Chinese application.

Main menu has 4 options:
  New Game  - where user can select 4 game types:
  • Country of the world,
  • Capital of the country,
  • flag of the country,
  • Saper mode
  High score – it contains info about best results for all types of game
  Tutorial – that explains how game works.
  About - I have template for that,so it was copy and paste. Except for about game, where I need to write description.

I implemented UI and some code  for display About and Tutorial  stuff.

As I felt hungry, so it was a  time for quick dinner at 20.00

Dinner  over and at 21.00 with support of my friends red Porto wine and snacks I start to implement UI for level and results.
I created test file with 10 countries . I create a classes for basic flow level and result. I implement loading countries from file into memory and add validation to check is all data is correct. Everything went smoothly.
Around 2.00 I need to fix few... several mistakes with data. I start implementing prototype for capital of the country'  and I copied all graphics (countries flag and etc.). I added 193 countries to file with all date and check can I play. Well I can play but glitches needed to be fixed.
Just before 4.00 I finished prototype works and I went to sleep.

Plan result: UI(done), menu (done), prototype (done), country and add all countries data (done).
I have done everything what I planned. So far, so good.


Plan for Saturday: country of the world, capital of the world and flag of the world are done, prototype  of saper mode(if time allowed),

At 10.00 I get up and I was almost ready to action. Well, I needed to go to for a food can be useful for rest of the weekend.

At noon start and  implemented 'final version' of country of the world game and test it. I implemented a result page. As it works after another few fixes and then, so next game type capitals was straightforward.

At 15.00, I start implementing 'flags of the world' but I had a bit a  problem with how to add name of resource dynamically but  quick search on stackoverflow.com and few searches later this line...

decodeSampledBitmapFromResource(this.getResources(), this.getResources().getIdentifier(answerCountry.getFlagId(), "drawable", getPackageName()), 240, 160);

 ...I solved my problem quickly and then I smoothly implement flag of the country game.

At 17.30 I decided to do extra game mode  called "walk-trough".  Idea was simple.. .User need guess all countries available in game. I implemented,but during test I discover a problem .... a big problem... .Game start crashes around 75% of test during out of memory issue.
I attempt to solve problems in many ways:
I tried set flags:
I tried use: 
and many more things but problem stills exist.

More details can be found in  part 5 (Implementation), where I describe more details about set image and how I solve  problems related to flag of the world problem.

At 23.00 I gave up to solve this problem for now. I to implement other minor things like simple high score(where only highest score will be remembered), decided to resize some flag to one size, make other adjustment.

Near 1.45 am EUREKA! I realised that I need only activity  for all levels, but  as was late late to start re-design and re-implement level. I decided to continue to implement all little bits.

Around 3.00 I feel tired, but I have done almost all little stuff and some tests. I was bit worried about bug. I feel that's middle of the night is not best time to re-design stuff, so I I decided go to bed.

Plan result: country of the world(done), capital of the world(done) and flag of the world are done (not finished due serious bug), prototype  of saper mode(not started), re-design of  algorithm  for level(work in progress), walk-through mode (work in progress).  
As You can see I didn't do everything, what I planned, as  I spent too much time to solve 2 bugs (image issue and out of memory error), but at least I discover that my level/activity approach is rubbish, so I am happy with what I learn.

Plan for Sunday: test, saper mode, countries and continents mode, high score, add project and released it, test  re-design of  algorithm  for level, walk-through mode.

I expect, that workshop will take 3 hours but in fact First half of the day  spent on drum  workshop, where apart of learning basics of  play on drums (or revision in my case) I had idea how to re-write my code.

I start development on 5 o'clock (17.00).  Not too much time left. Time pressure – a one of the best friend of software developer before deadline – is with me. Let’s fun begin. I rewrote code for level and... which works and solved my problems. All test passed. I allowed myself to eat quick unhealthy dinner.

19.45. Implement Saper mode, in only 1,5 hour. It was time now for implement country and continents mode, which takes another 2 hours.

23.15 Final Testing, refactoring and improvements begins.
During final tests, I discover few problems:
  • Some countries  are not on specific continents, but they are rather in specific regions, so I renamed continents to regions /
  • Region issue... Russia belong to 2 regions, but my program assumes that Russia belong to Europe, so answer that Russia belong to Asia is assumed as incorrect as it require some changes to code and I decided to ignore that (or implement in far away future)  .
  • Some countries has no official capital, some has 2-3 capitals. I arbitrary decided to choose one, but my code should randomly select one. I decided to ignore that (or implement in far away future) 
  •  I discover that my program theme looks very oldschool, then I realise that I forgot about ad  android:targetSdkVersion="16" in all my programs. WHAT A FAIL!: P. I fixed in 15 seconds. LOL;)
  • Few minor glitches and bugs, but nothing excited to wrote about it.
Near 0.30  ....  all test passed, so  release v0.4 was ready to put on google play. I added title, description all marketing bla bla bla and DONE! I pressed publish.

At 1 am. I am happy I have done it! I can go to sleep I really  needed  go to sleep as I work on Monday!

Plan result: All done!

You can download my game  https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=dms.pastor.cccfQuizGame (It changed a lot since, then I decided do few “little bits” here and there.)

I have a great fun to do this challenge. I learn few little interesting bits about Android and more, but if you are interesting in summary and more details conclusion about this project, go to part 10.
For folks who want learn how I wrote very simple game as part of learn android development.. .Please go to part 2, I will write what is good to learn and know about Android and Java to be able to writing program for Android or part 3,if you already familiar with programming in Java, as in part 3, where I describe my planning stage.
Link to part 2: What You need to learn
Link to part 3: Planning
Link to part 10: Summary 

Thanks to:
- My colleague for inspiration to do this challenge. His experience can be found in his blog entry: http://theinvader360.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/make-a-game-in-a-weekend.html
- for flags http://www.free-country-flags.com/ 
- for icons   http://www.famfamfam.com/
- for music that was my main entertainment over weekend with  great drum and bass mixes http://www.bassblog.pro/