For my upcoming Android game I’m going through quite some new experiences. Although I have been a software developer for over 15 years, this was the first time I created software for an Android phone. Also this was the first time I used graphics make by real designers for one of my privately developed applications.
Somehow my attention was drawn to a new feature which was being offered by Google. The appinventor. You needed to complete an online application form to get access, which I did, and a few weeks later I received an email that I was granted access. After this I started playing around with the tutorial, the example apps and the Android emulator. The appinventor itself was very easy to use. It reminded me of the tool that was supplied by Lego with their Mindstorm set a lot of years ago. The appinventor consists out of three parts:
- Appinventor. This is where you select the functional items that your application will have. You define textareas, labels, buttons, add graphics, set alignment, font sizes, etc.
- Block Editor. From the appinventor you can start the block editor. Here you see all available programming, and you can use this to define variables, procedures, loops, etc. The entire process of creating the logic for your application you do here, in the Block Editor using drag and drop. After you get used to the concept it is very easy.
- Emulator. From the block editor you can send your program to a connected Android phone, or to the emulator, and test to see how it will work.
In an early stage I was thinking about how to make a game that would be appealing to play, but which also would not require a lot of time. Still, I wanted it to be a game that people would like to play over time. It was easy to think about how I would like to see a nice and easy game, and it was clear I do not possess the ability to create nice graphics. I went to search online and found some images I like on the fasticon.com website. I needed to pay around 20€ to be able to use a number of icons I liked, without risk of legal problems. The images looked very professional, and they fit perfectly in the game I had in my mind. 20€ sounded like a good deal, and I was hoping I would somehow get the money back selling the game online.
For publishing my app on the Android market I needed to create a developer account. This set me back another 20€ and I needed to register my credit card details, my bank details and a lot of personal data…. a bit tricky but after a small evaluation I thought it was worth it. This meant that I was now able to publish as many apps as I liked, and maybe my game would sell enough to get this investment back, although I doubt this.