My games on my phone!!!

The first step was to install the games from my book on my new handset.

This was a pretty simple exercise — the only glitch was that some of the built jar files I had lying around on my machine were earlier versions (with a bug, unfortunately), so it took me a couple of tries to get the correct version built, uploaded to my website, and from there downloaded onto the phone.

I had of course already played my MIDP 1 games (Maze and Car-Voiture) on my old Nokia 6100. Here’s what they look like on my new Sagem:

Now I hate to admit this, but I didn’t get a chance to test my MIDP 2 games on an actual handset before the book went to press. This is because at the time MIDP 2 handsets weren’t available on the market. There was one Nokia that almost came out in time for me to buy it as my game-prototype handset (but didn’t quite make it). And though I was working for a mobile gaming development firm during the corrections phase, I was working with the simulator myself, not actual handsets. Of course I’ve had my hands on tons of MIDP 2 handsets since then, so I suppose the fact that I never bothered to upload these games on any of them shows a deplorable lack of curiosity. But I’m here to make up for it now!!!

I feared the worst, especially since another blogger who said some nice things about my book here noted that the screen-size restrictions I’d placed on my game prevented it from running in his environment. I assumed I’d run into the same problem and have nothing to see. So I was pleasantly surprised when my Dungeon game ran great on my Sagem, and was more fun than I’d remembered it (if I do say so myself 😉 ).

I ended up just sitting around playing this one for a bit. I’d forgotten how much care I’d put into designing these boards to be built of simple building blocks and described by a very small amount of data, yet tricky enough that you always need to use at least two keys to solve each board and not always obvious which key will be useful when. That’s my excuse for why I limited the screen size by the way — if you see the whole dungeon at once the solution is obvious. (That’s my excuse for this game anyway — I don’t remember what my excuse was for doing that on Tumbleweed.)

Here’s Tumbleweed:

This one really is kind of an absurd game, but the animated jumping cowboy and waving grasses are entertaining. The music track I invented for it is a bit less amusing. My husband stopped by the computer room to tell me how annoying the music is, but it was hardly necessary to point it out. So we learn that while it’s possible to write music for a game using a tone sequence, it is a pretty rudimentary tool — it’s difficult to get something that sounds professional from it. I’m pretty sure all of the games produced by the company I work for use real sound files.

I’ll test the Checkers game later because of the networking involved…

You can download these games onto your handset at the following address: http://www.frog-parrot.net/hello.wml

I normally think of myself as a person with very little graphic design ability, and I’d set these games aside on the shelf for the past few years while working exclusively with games produced by studios that have at least a few graphic and game designers in addition to just programmers, so I kind of expected to find these absurdly clunky — just prototypes to illustrate programming techniques. I was pleasantly surprised to see they’re actually not too bad as games. The thing is that even as these devices increase in computing power and memory, you’re still fundamentally limited by screen size an ergonomics, which means that often a simple game ends up being more fun and popular than something more complex.

That said, there are some fairly simple things you can do to take your game up a notch from the design level illustrated by these examples and turn it into something that looks polished and professional (in addition to the obvious “be a good artist or hire one” 😉 ). That’s one of the topics I hope to discuss in this blog.

First things first, though. My next installment will be setting up the latest wireless toolkit and maybe some other emulators as well.

Advertisements

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: