Battle pong #8 – APK deployment and game design mistakes…

Today is a big step in the Battlepong development…. It’s time to finally generate an APK and try it on the Galaxy S ! I will not cover the APK generations since it is detailed in the documentation (and it is very easy) but I better talk about what I found out once I installed the game on the device.

Invisible walls and particles

I plead guilty of this, I did an invisible wall for the top border… Once I started to play I expected the ball to bounce at the top of the screen and it felt really strange to see it bounce “randomly” next to the pause button. I added a sprite to the wall so the player can visually have a clue of the field border.

Another thing is that on mobile it is still a little bit hard to see where is the ball. In order to give more clues I added particle effects on wall impacts to give more clues about where the ball is.

particles.gif
Displaying the wall and particle effects on the wall impacts

Thumb size

One thing you don’t have to care about when developing a game on PC is the input size. The mouse acurately only points at one pixel all the time. In the other hand on a mobile phone the main input device is your finger. Problem : people have differents finger sizes !

It feels easy to overlook this problem during the development (rookie mistake but that’s also why I’m doing this project !) and I guess it can have big consequences on the game design. Fortunately, I only have one interactive element on the game (the player bar) so I will have just to add an offset to the player shield and it should be good.

I also found a very interesting article in Internet.com (there’s really a website called internet.com….) explaining the design for mobile. It’s big so I will sum up what I understood there :

  • The MIT Touch Lab ranges the average width of a pointing finger betwen 16 and 20 mm (45-57 pixels)
  • The wikipedia average thumb size is 25 mm (72 pixels)
  • Something to care about is the resolution since it can change the pixel size of the finger

So I think I should give an offset of 36 pixels (half of thumb size) and add some more distance for the shield sprite, let’s say 14 pixels which will give an offset of 50 pixels !

NormalCursor Offset

As you can see there is not much difference but on mobile it is a great improvement.

To sum it up

What I learned ?

  • In mobile applications you have to consider the thumb size in your user experience
  • APK deployment is fast and easy
  • Forcing the camera ratio (in the precedent post) definitely made my job easier
  • Now that I tested many times it’s stressful to wait for the game to start

What are the next steps ?

  • Distribute the APK to some people to have their feedbacks
  • Add some texts or notifications at the begining and the end of each round to help the player to understand when will the game start
  • Find new ways to give player visual clues
  • Find new ways to activate the bonus (that timing thing was really a bad idea…)

Thanks for reading and happy easter !

Battle pong #8 – APK deployment and game design mistakes…

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