How to Get Started With Mobile Game Programming

Mobile Game Apps

 ullstein bild / Getty Images

There are many developers who nurture ambitions about developing mobile gaming apps. Mobile game programming, as you are all well aware, is a different kettle of fish and requires detailed coding for all aspects of the game, at each and every stage.

While it is very difficult to develop code for mobile games, it is also a very rewarding experience for the developer. Keep reading to learn how to get started making your first mobile game.

Which Type of Game Will You Make?

First off, decide on what kind of mobile game you want to develop. There are many categories of games as you know. Choose the category and the kind of audience you want to target with the game. Would you prefer action, RPG, or strategy? Are you looking to attract the teen population or a more intellectual set of corporates?

Only if you choose your type of game will you be able to research the resources available to develop software for the same.

Programming Language

You should then decide on the programming language for your mobile game. Usually, J2ME or Brew can help you vastly in your ambitious venture. J2ME offers many more resources for mobile programming in general and mobile game programming in particular.

Get conversant with the language of your choice and understand all its intricacies, functionalities and device support that it offers. Try to work with the APIs that the language offers.

If you are interested in developing a 3D type of game, you could maybe try out JSR184 and so on. Experimenting is your key to success.

Device Specifications

Get to know the device you want to develop your game for. It is essential that you understand all the specifications of the mobile device, such as processor type and speed, screen size, display type and resolution, image format, audio, and video format, and so on.

Game Design

The game design is a very important factor in developing a mobile game. You have to first plan out the general game design and architecture and think of the multifarious aspects your game will include.

You start by designing the architecture for the game engine class. If in doubt, do go to online mobile gaming forums and present your question there. Even the smallest lapse will need you to get back to starting from the roots.

Gaming Knowledge

Learn up all you need to know about mobile game programming. Read books and take an active part in gaming forums. Talk to experts in the field, in order to gain a better understanding of the system as a whole.

Also, be prepared to fail at the first few attempts. Know that there are very few game developers that succeed in their very first attempt at coding. You will most probably have to rewrite the code several times over before you can be sort of satisfied with your work​

Tips for New Game Developers

  1. Developing a detailed storyline and the different play modes for your game earlier on will help you plan the intricate details of your game at all later stage. So never neglect this stage.
  2. Build a program skeleton with game programming tools such as GameCanvas. This one comes with an efficient base class, which is especially helpful for 2D game developers using J2ME.
  3. Try to use an emulator to test your game, before you actually release it. Of course, you cannot always depend on the emulator alone. In such cases, you need the exact same mobile device model to check the game on. You could also outsource it to some other company to test your game. Generally speaking, it would be a good idea to learn mobile game programming on a Nokia Series 60 phone.
  4. In spite of your best efforts, there will be times when you will want to throw your hands up and quit programming. Analyze where the coding went wrong and break up the problem into smaller bits, so that handling it becomes easier for you. Just stick on through the tough times and you are sure to succeed soon enough.

What You Need

  • J2ME Eclipse
  • BREW C and C++ Visual Studio
  • Python Eclipse plus plugins
  • Flash Lite ActionScript
  • Macromedia Flash
  • Emulator or device to test the game