The Nexus One and the Future of Android Gaming

With the launch of the Nexus One, the future of mobile gaming on Android looks bright.  Sporting a 1GHz Snapdragon processor from Qualcomm that has on-chip graphical capabilities, the Nexus One is packing some promising 3D potential.  Future Android phones are likely to match or upgrade the speed to compete with HTC‘s newest phone. In addition, the 3.7 inch OLED screen is very nice and has incredible contrast ratios.  Furthermore, it has about 25% greater pixel density than Sony’s beautiful 11-inch 1080p OLED screen.

On the other hand, one of Android’s advantages, namely backgrounding apps, could come to the rescue.  We’re starting to see hardware accessories for the iPhone go hand-in-hand with a software package on the device, but this only works when that app is open.  On Android, we might see third-party accessories that hook into games via a backgrounding “connector” app.  If a company like MadCatz made a slick controller that went along with an API to control games, and that became an industry standard, it could give Android gaming a major edge.

Ultimately, I think the direction Android is going will attract some great games.  It’s a powerful platform, and the upcoming devices are, as Google coined, “superphones.”  There’s a problem with the fractured versions of hardware and Android revisions, but if the market is fertile enough, developers will bite the bullet.

Source: MediaPost
  • I have compiled all materials related to google nexus one for easy reference.
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  • Android seems to be poised to get some great games like those found on the iPhone / iPod currently. Now all Google needs to do is attract the big name developers. At CES Palm was showing off some pretty decent titles from EA. Let's hope that EA shows Android some love soon.

  • roy

    I like the backgrounding connector app idea!

  • tony

    I’m sorry, but only when the developer’s GUI / SDK is as good as the iPhone’s I think there won’t be much games on Android.

    The other way would be if an independent dev group creates a specific tool to ease things.

    Here are some developers that are trying to make a tool for creating games, but they stopped updating their page some months ago:

    A pity.

  • Yo folks… I'll be putting out a significant framework/API via a slightly modified MIT license to assist in real time app/game development for Android and here is the kicker it's a project ported from the desktop, so it runs on Linux, Mac OSX, Windows and Android. It is component based and ultimately will be using OSGi/Apache Felix, but the first few betas will just release the raw components, just jar files, of which only ~5% are Android specific. The rest you can use cross platform. One neat feature is the configuration facilities of Typhon as there are ways to provide key defaults and other defaults by OS version, device family, specific device and automatic key/input configuration tools for the user and developer alike with built in crowd source features that allow end users to send key control suggestions to a database where the best one for a given device can be added to a global configuration file for any developer to add to the configuration of their app using Typhon. Since Typhon is a runtime engine another crowd source feature is the ability to capture errors/exceptions at the Typhon runtime level for a Typhon based app and display to the user a custom error dialog with the option to email or submit the issue including relevant device info via web service directly to the developer thus greatly aiding in the user experience and ability for the developer to respond to specific errors on a given device. In addition to a lot of detail spent on combating fragmentation Typhon is compiled with 1.5, tested on all OS versions, and while not tested on the plethora of Android devices in the wild and soon to be there it runs on the Cliq/Hero to the G1/Ion to the Droid and N1. In addition for devices that do not have a physical keyboard there are automatic 2D/3D navigation overlays for Typhon based apps/games thus enabling a coherent experience across the ecosystem. There will be an extensive set of tutorials, demos, and source code showing the dark arts and beyond so to speak that are geared at developers and students who have taken an intro to programming preferably in Java, but the goal is to inspire anyone to start developing fun games and apps on Android. The star demo is the Auriga3D engine (yes, I need to update the web site!) which runs on the desktop and Android from practically a 98% shared source code base and can load Quake 3 assets. There is a whole lot more too, but those are some highlights. I want to see gaming blow up for Android and Typhon will greatly assist this starting in Q1 '10.

    I've yet to launch the teaser, but since I've registered the domain bookmark

    I'll have a teaser video up soon and info on a closed beta that will attempt to seed the device database with info on as many Android devices as possible before wide public release.

    If you wish to take an early peep on more detail on Typhon the main project website is

    and I have a _very rough_ video demo of practically the moment after I got Auriga3D running on Typhon on the G1 for the first time back last April. There have been lots of performance gains since then even on the G1 and it runs great on the Droid/N1, so be on the lookout for a teaser soon on!

  • Jas

    Surely the issue is the very limited amount of memory in which apps are permitted to be stored on Android phones. 256MB is not enough for many, if any, high quality 3D games. Until this stumbling block is resolved gaming wont get significant traction. No matter what the processor speed.

  • @Jas… Oh yes.. I forgot to mention that one of the components for Typhon is a file manager tool that makes it possible to store data on the SD card in a reliable way with MD5 checksums to detect if data is incomplete and/or missing. If so the user may be prompted to download the data again. I'm looking into using Amazon S3 myself to distribute the resources for the Typhon tutorial demo suite which will include user generated Q3 levels (~20-30 megs of potential downloads). Beyond graphics for a nice splash screen everything else can be stored on the SD card, preferably as zip files or the like for additional bundling.

    So Typhon will free developers from having to each custom code this functionality.

  • I was kind of disappointed with the Nexus One. It seemed like it would be a more robust phone in terms of features. Compared to the Motorola Droid and Apple Iphone it doesnt seem to be that much better at all. What's the big deal? Just because its Google?

    John R. Carlisle

  • There IS native multitouch in non-rooted 2.0 and (I assume) 2.1 devices. It’s the specific apps themselves that don’t use them. IE the stock browser, the maps app, the stock image gallery apps don’t support multitouch for pinch zooming. But other apps, such as Dolphin Browser or XScope or Picsay allow for pinch zooming, because the apps were written with that support in mind. Again, this is all in non-rooted devices.

  • like the backgrounding connector app idea too!

  • Yes, it still pretty hard to develop games in android because the IDE'S GUI for game development is pretty low.. It is kind of hard if we develop games with such IDE.. We need to develop the Game-Programming-Supported IDE special for android..

  • Alex

    I tried developing on android also but its not that easy as on the apple system, just too hard to learn. wga premie