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Learning Android Game Programming: Mobile Games

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Richard A. Rogers discusses the mobile game market, AndEngine examples, and the world of computer games.
This chapter is from the book

Perhaps nothing is as universal as the spirit of play—almost everyone likes to play games of some sort. Furthermore, if—as the cliché goes—everyone has at least one good novel in them, it's fair to say that everyone has at least one good game idea as well. You probably have an idea for a mobile game, or you wouldn't have picked up this book. The aim of the book is to show you how to write your own game to run on Android mobile phones. Whether your game is very similar to the example game or quite different from it, this book will show you how to use the popular AndEngine game engine1 to produce your very own 2D mobile game and publish it on Android Market.

For many of us, writing software itself is also a game—an endless puzzle in which we try to figure out the best way to implement application ideas, and more puzzles in which we debug what we wrote initially. When the application is itself a game, we enjoy the process at multiple levels. Come and play the software game, and develop that idea that's been burning in the back of your mind all this time.

The Mobile Game Market

Games are the killer applications for smartphones today. According to one analyst,2 more than 23% of all mobile phone users older than 13 years of age in the United States play games on their phones—and that percentage is increasing, especially for the 60 million-plus smartphone users. According to another analyst,3 65% of smartphone users have played a mobile game on their phones at some point. Doing the math, that means approximately 40 million people today play games on their smartphones.

Creating mobile games can be a very profitable business. It's very difficult to predict which games will be hits, but a quick scan of Android Market shows that hundreds of thousands of users have downloaded certain games. Even at a few dollars per download, that adds up to serious money. People also tend to get tired of games once they've played them for awhile, opening up opportunities for new games.

I'm part of the games-loving public: Games are some of my favorite mobile applications. Whether I'm killing time waiting to see someone, riding public transportation, or just in the mood to escape for a few minutes, playing a game on my mobile phone can be an enjoyable way to pass the time.

I think every game should be fun, but that doesn't mean games cannot be instructive as well. Games are often used as instructional or advertising vehicles—and why not? If students or potential customers have a good time playing a game that teaches them something valuable, that's a good thing.

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