Android or iPhone/Pad development?

Discussion in 'Game Development (Technical)' started by elias4444, May 27, 2010.

  1. elias4444

    elias4444 New Member

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    Please, please, please, please don't turn this into a flamewar!!! I'm serious about this.

    I'm considering moving to mobile devices, but I'm having a really hard time deciding which one to move to.

    First problem is, I don't even OWN a mobile device yet (closest thing is my wife's BlackBerry that she loves). Second is that both platforms seem to be mutually exclusive with their development styles (Java v. Obj-C). I have NO desire to delve deep into both. I'm already well versed in Java and get a headache trying to follow Obj-C code, but I'm willing to start from scratch to learn one or the other.

    Android seems to be coming up in the ranks quickly (and I like where it's going with Google TV and the Dell Streak). I also like how open the platform is to developers, and how much easier it is to share development apps.

    Apple has the fan fare, and I admit that I like Apple products (I use a Mac). The iPad is pretty cool (though I actually prefer the smaller size of the Dell Streak). I also admit, I'm having a tough time from a business perspective wanting to support it after their recent developer agreement fiasco.

    It should also be noted, I have NO personal experience with either type of device. And that's why I need help deciding.

    For the record, I'll probably use openGL ES (as my current games are all openGL and I prefer it over 2D).

    Let the kind, non-flaming discussion begin! Thank you!
     
  2. MrMandrill

    MrMandrill New Member

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    Windows Phone 7 Series... :p j/k

    It sounds like you have a strong background in Java, so that would cut your ramp-up time significantly with Android. Objective-C isn't hard, per se. But if you come exclusively from a managed background (which I'm not assuming), you'd probably be more comfortable on Android.

    That said, the time you save in not having to learn a new language, you could reasonably spend trying to optimize your games for the wide array of Android phone configurations. Which, now that I've said it, isn't tremendously different than PC development... probably easier since the hardware specs are uniform by device (although not across devices). You also don't need to buy a Mac to develop for Android - which can be a pretty big expense if you let it.

    Looking at the markets, my understanding is that both platforms are fairly saturated at this point. There are certainly more iPhone/Pad owners than Android owners at this point in time, but the marketplace is more crowded so it's harder to get noticed. I can't really comment on the comparative app price tolerence of each consumer, but that's also a consideration.

    In the end, there are trade-offs no matter which platform you choose to develop for. Maybe someone else here can offer a stronger argument for a specific platform.
     
  3. PoV

    PoV
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    First, check if you're one of the lucky countries that can create Google Checkout merchant accounts. If not, then going Google really isn't an option.
     
  4. Bad Sector

    Original Member

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    If i could develop for Android (Greece isn't one of the blessed countries, we stink), i would write the code in C as a library without a frontend. Then i would code the frontend in Java for Android and access the C part via the native SDK and also write a frontend for iPhone using Objective-C.

    This way i wouldn't have to choose between the two: i would support both :)

    And i would throw in a Windows Mobile version for the kicks too. Actually i have a feeling that the Windows Mobile version would be the easiest to code...
     
  5. PoV

    PoV
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    No amount of kicking will make me touch WM ever again, until they re-add C++ in some fashion.
     
  6. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Is there a particular reason you mentioned those phones?

    If you want to switch away from PC and get where the money's at, and given you're resigned to spending some money on hardware...

    Then DSi is really the no-brainer here.
     
  7. MrMandrill

    MrMandrill New Member

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    That's a great point! Nintendo portables seem to be golden these days. Although, from a dev perspective, the DSi is a bit of a PITA comparatively.
     
  8. elias4444

    elias4444 New Member

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    I probably would have tried that before, but I'm a big believer in multi-function devices (as in, more than just games). Of course, it could be fun as a hobby. Is it a C++ centric device? And does it cost a fortune to get the SDK?
     
  9. PoV

    PoV
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    The first statement makes the 2nd impossible.
     
  10. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Indeed, the devkit is around 800 quid for an older one (non-DSi features but can still develop DSIware on it iirc) but there is a problem with nintendo needing a proper biz address to send it to. Not sure if that has to be your own though...

    This probably isn't a hobbiests path tbh, but given this forum is for indies I wasn't expecting hobbiests to be asking ;)

    Yes it's fully C++, although you need to use codewarrior (free with devkit) which given it's about version 0.1 can get annoying at times.

    It also fits the small indie model in that 2D games are not just acceptable, but kinda expected.

    It will be harder to develop for than a phone too, but that shouldn't bother a professional/dedicated amateur. It's not *that* hard and unlike most other platforms a single guy can get on, will actually make you a real living. Do a good job and a retail deal might be around the corner and you'd never have to work again.
     
  11. simonh

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    Use C++ on both, and just a drop of Objective-C/Java for the essentials.
     
  12. elias4444

    elias4444 New Member

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    Thanks for the replies so far. I'm pretty sure I won't be developing for the DSi at this point though, so if we could steer the conversation back to the original question, it'd be appreciated (thanks for the original suggestion though!).

    As I understand it, C++ support is rather rudimentary on both. Is that not correct?
     
  13. electronicStar

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    Android, I can see the android distribution becoming much bigger than Iphone , although slower.
     
  14. richtaur

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    Consider that you might be asking the wrong question (see slides 4 and 5).

    Which audience interests you more? Which market is more inclined to buy the game you want to make? etc.
     
  15. Greg Squire

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    There are definitely some pros and cons of each platform. iPhone market is certainly bigger (both in terms of users and apps available), however Android is catching up. With there being less apps on the android market, it might be easier to get noticed on android, but yet there are still tons of apps there, so its still a battle no matter which platform you go with. I have heard that overall games do better in the iPhone market and apps do better on android, but I'm not sure that's a useful metric. Also they are more android phones with different configurations (which will only get worse over time), so it's a bit harder to support different hardware on android than on iPhone. (Though this is the same kind of problem for supporting all PCs versus all Macs right now)

    Android is a more open platform than iPhone OS, so I believe in a few years Android could become the dominant player in the smartphone market. It depends on how Apple plays its cards. Apple was in a similar situation in the late 70's early 80's, with its Apple II computers. Apple was the dominant player then, but then in came IBM/Microsoft with a more open platform and took the lead. If Apple is not careful, that can happen again to them.

    BTW, I'm starting learn some android development, but that's mostly because I own an android phone (T-Mobile MyTouch).
     
  16. JGOware

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    Really? I'll be making a decision soon after finishing up a wii game to do either a WiiWare title or a DSi game. I've heard a few negative stories about the DSi, that it's drying up slightly, can you expand on your comment? Thanks for your time. ;)
     
  17. PoV

    PoV
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    Is it ever a good sign when a new platform comes out (DSi), that it's successor is announced about a year later (3DS). Mind you, I'd still love to get my hands on one of those devkits. ;)

    C++ support on iPhone OS is solid. You are required to use Objective C *ONLY* to communicate with the OS (window messages, inputs). ObjC contains the entire C language, just as ObjC++ contains the entire C++ language.

    C++ works on Android, but is missing STL. You'll need STLPort if you need STL calls. Communicating with the OS is through Java. Sound and locating files requires some Java access as well.

    C++ works on NACL, but you'll have to read files from URLs.
     
  18. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    No concrete numbers, but I speak with a few guys who are on DSi and they've all made good money from games that anyone could do. And I mean good money by pro standards.

    I'm backing my opinion with a small self-funded title designed exclusively for DSi to be released asap. Also, we've started working on a GLES2.0 port of our engine wrt support DS2 which is going to be humungous in the digital download space imo. That will support a TBS sort of advance wars type game we intend to get a publishing deal for or digital on DSi2

    PSP2 is coming out soon as well, and this will have built-in appstore that can be trusted from the start, unlike the abortion Sony have made of late with their various cloudy options.

    Basically, there's never been a better time to get on the handhelds that can make life changing money. I seriously don't understand why people dick about trying to make 5 grand from an iPhone game.

    We'll be releasing our TBS game on iPhone because it's only several days work, but the important implication here is that people capable of iPhone dev should be getting on these devices instead.

    All imo of course, but at least I'm backing up that opinion with the future of my studio. Watch this space, I guess...

    WiiWare is probably another good alternative actually. I didn't recommend it simply because whilst we've done Wii titles here, we've never looked into doing our own digital stuff. Has that been worth the effort for you?
     
  19. PoV

    PoV
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    I'm a little worried about the nextgen portables market. I'm in for sure, but ordinary cellphones are becoming more and more of a compelling argument for consumers. While we don't need as large of a marketshare to survive (due to harsher entry conditions), overall we're really getting close to a system capabilities equilibrium. The phones get refreshed yearly. Crazy leaks and speculation are suggesting were getting a 960x640 iPhone soon, just so they can stay ahead of the growing number of 800x480's. I'm thinking the opposite of this generations home console market's longevity thing is about to hit. 2 year product cycles at most. Arguably, Nintendo is already on that schedule.

    If my signature is any indication, I think the safest place to be right now is everywhere.

    WWDC is about a bit over a week away, and E3 is a week or so after that. Also, I think theres one more, computex, mixed in all this too. It's been an insane year so far, and these next few weeks are about to kick the crazy up a notch.
     
  20. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Total agreement on the "everywhere" sentiment.

    Most machines run some sort of ES2.0 environment, even if they change the names as they do on PSP with 1.0 at the minute. If you get your engine tech right, supporting all the big names should be fairly doable with only the control interface being the real challenge.

    Gonna be an interesting couple of years.
     

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