How to make a Game on Android: 5 Essential Programs for Beginners

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Developing Android games is a rich and sometimes very complex process, especially for beginners. Therefore, every expert who has achieved high success will answer the question “How to make a game on Android” by saying that you need to start with simple steps. One of these steps is familiarizing yourself with a basic set of tools for game creation. Initially, it’s crucial to choose a game engine. A game engine is the foundation on which a game is built: rules are written, the interface is constructed, and the game’s physics, sound, animation, and much more are developed.

The engine brings all the game components together like a puzzle, resulting in a single, functioning product. Some game engines require programming knowledge, while others do not. The latter operate on the principle of visual programming, and the development process in such environments resembles assembling a construction set, where blocks represent code. The good news is that you can try your hand at creating the simplest game even without deep programming knowledge. Today, we will discuss the most popular and time-tested engines, so you can test and choose the one that seems more convenient and easy to use.

How to make a Game on Android

The top five most popular engines for game development

Game Maker Studio 2 is often deemed the best game engine for Android by many developers, making it ideal for beginners. Working with it allows you to grasp the basic logic of creating a 2D game without learning programming languages. Game Maker features a “Drag and Drop” mode, which turns game creation into a kind of construction assembly. There’s no need to write code; you simply drag and drop blocks that represent specific parts of the code. The program allows uploading pre-made character images. Thematic forums are a treasure trove of object libraries, various heroes, and environmental items for your first game.

Clickteam Fusion is another constructor engine for visual programming. Like Game Maker, it features a bug-tracking function that simplifies the error search process. This engine is suitable for creating simple arcades but not for large projects. Game Editor shares similar features.

Stencyl also allows you to create games without delving deep into programming. Its “Drag and Drop” principle, free version (though with strict limitations), and straightforward settings for physics and animation make this software a good option for independent learning of game development basics. Stencyl enables you to create games for Android, iOS, as well as Mac, Windows, Linux, and even Flash games.

Unity and Unreal Engine 4

Among the engines suitable for small startups, Unity and Unreal Engine 5 stand out. Most beginners interested in “How to create a game on Android?” will find a wealth of information about these two programs. Let’s explore their pros and cons in detail.

Advantages of Unity: Allows development with little to no programming knowledge. Even a schoolchild can assemble a simple game; it includes many ready-made assets and plugins that can be used; distributed as freemium, with plenty of literature and manuals; vast community — there is always a forum to answer your queries.

Disadvantages of Unity: Becomes very slow with the emergence of cumbersome scenes, and launching a large game with many characters and complex logic on a simple device is not easy; lacks ready integration with external services and libraries (e.g., Facebook), requiring developers to set this up manually, which is quite labor-intensive.

Advantages of Unreal Engine 5: All code is written in C++, includes an integrated graphic editor Blueprints; very stable, almost completely bug-free; low cost of use (free until your product earns $1 million, after which you must pay 5% of the revenue).

Disadvantages of Unreal Engine 5: Quite large engine size (about 100 GB); requires a larger team for full-scale development.

Additional software for preparing game content

Which additional software will make work much easier?

There are more and more people wanting to know how to make a game on Android, so it’s worth taking a closer look at another important issue. In addition to the essential component — the engine — developing games on Android requires additional software for preparing game content. Adobe Photoshop is indispensable for art creation, providing robust tools for image editing and texture creation. After Effects is used for animations, allowing developers to create sophisticated motion graphics and visual effects that enhance the game’s visual appeal. Bfxr Standalone is a handy tool for generating sound effects, particularly useful for indie developers needing custom audio without a large budget.

For 3D game development, 3ds Max is a powerful software used extensively for modeling and animating 3D assets. It features a wide range of tools that can handle complex animations and detailed character models, making it a favorite among professional game developers.

Additional software

Another crucial tool for those incorporating 3D models into their games is Blender 3D. Blender is a free and open-source 3D creation suite that supports the entirety of the 3D pipeline — modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing, and motion tracking. Its versatility and zero cost make it a popular choice for startups and independent developers.

In addition to these, developers might consider Unity and Unreal Engine as they both provide extensive support for Android game development. Unity offers a user-friendly environment with the ability to import assets from popular software like Photoshop and Blender directly. It’s particularly well-suited for developers who want a balance between ease of use and powerful features.

For audio editing and creation, tools like Audacity or FL Studio can be crucial. Audacity is a free, open-source, cross-platform audio software that is perfect for multi-track editing and recording. FL Studio is a complete software music production environment, equipped with everything you need in one package to compose, arrange, record, edit, mix, and master professional-quality music.

Substance Painter and Substance Designer are also becoming increasingly popular for texturing game assets, offering a more modern approach to creating textures and materials that react realistically to various lighting conditions.

Incorporating these tools into your development workflow can significantly enhance the quality and efficiency of your game production process, especially when working with complex graphics and animations for Android platforms.

5 Terrible Mistakes a Beginner Might Make in Development

To understand how to make a game on Android, it is important to know how to avoid common mistakes. When developing games for Android, beginners often face various challenges that can affect the game’s performance and user satisfaction. Here are five common mistakes that novice developers might make, simplified to address more general concerns. Understanding these mistakes can help in creating a smoother and more user-friendly gaming experience.how to make a game on Android

  1. Overlooking Device Variability
    • Many new developers forget that Android operates on a multitude of devices with varying specifications. Designing a game on Android that only looks good on the latest models might alienate users with older devices.
  2. Ignoring Performance Optimization
    • It’s crucial to optimize game performance to ensure smooth gameplay across all devices. Failing to optimize can lead to slow load times and laggy gameplay, which can frustrate users.
  3. Underestimating Battery Consumption
    • Games that drain battery quickly can turn off users. Efficient use of resources and minimizing background activities can help in reducing battery consumption.
  4. Neglecting User Interface Design
    • A complicated or non-intuitive user interface can make even the best games fail. It’s important to design interfaces that are easy to navigate and accessible to all users, regardless of their familiarity with gaming.
  5. Limited Testing
    • Skipping thorough testing across different devices and Android versions can lead to bugs and issues that degrade the user experience. Comprehensive testing ensures that the game works well in various scenarios and devices.

Avoiding these common pitfalls involves a strategic approach to game on Android design and development. By focusing on comprehensive testing, user-friendly design, performance optimization, and efficient resource management, developers can significantly enhance the quality of their Android games. This proactive approach not only improves the gameplay but also boosts overall user engagement and satisfaction.

The best tips you can give a beginner

How to make a game on Android: best tips for a beginner

Our game development gurus were happy to share a few recommendations for those just starting their journey in mobile game creation.

  • Don’t try to implement all gameplay features at once. It’s better to start with the simplest things. For example, first teach the character to walk around the map, then to shoot, and later to interact with objects and so on.
  • Preparing art/resources takes up more than 50% of the total time allocated for game development. For startups, it’s advisable to use free art from the internet or to purchase a few ready-made sounds/models at a low cost from relevant stores. This not only saves time but also allows for game development with a small team (1-3 people).
  • Equip yourself with a computer/laptop of sufficient power for comfortable work. Trying to start a business on an old “calculator” with constant freezing will definitely not bring pleasure. On the contrary, it’s likely to become one of the reasons for the quick folding of the project.
  • Be patient. Before the launch, creating a simple game might seem like a matter of 2-3 days, but in reality, from the start of work until the day the game can be shown to the world, it almost takes an entire year. Sometimes, fine-tuning details takes even longer than creating the core gameplay.

In summary, programming games for Android should start with a prototype of a simple game and an engine that matches your programming knowledge. This way, you’ll gain initial experience, test engines and auxiliary software, and figure out whether you need libraries of ready-made objects or want to create your own. This article was meant to help you learn how to make a game on Android, so we would appreciate your sharing it.

FAQ

What programming language should I learn for Android game development?

The primary language used for Android development is Java, but Kotlin has also become a popular choice due to its concise syntax and interoperability with Java. For game-specific development, knowing C++ can be beneficial, especially if you plan to use game engines like Unreal Engine 4.

Which game engine should I use for developing Android games?

Unity is one of the most popular game engines for Android game development due to its user-friendly interface and vast resource library. It supports both 2D and 3D game development. Another good option is Unreal Engine, which is known for delivering high-quality graphics and is also quite popular among Android developers.

How can I make my Android game stand out in the crowded market?

Focus on original content, engaging gameplay, and high-quality graphics. Conduct market research to see what games are currently popular and find a niche that is underserved. Additionally, integrating elements like social media sharing and competitive leaderboards can enhance user engagement and retention.

What are some common challenges in Android game development?

One of the biggest challenges is dealing with the fragmentation of Android devices, as there are many different screen sizes, resolutions, and hardware specifications. Performance optimization across various devices and managing memory usage efficiently are also critical challenges. Additionally, securing a game against piracy and cheating is an ongoing concern.

How do I monetize my Android game?

Once you know how to make a game on Android, you can begin to study the issue of monetization. There are several strategies for monetizing Android games, including in-app purchases, advertisements, and offering a premium version. In-app purchases allow players to buy something directly in the game (like coins, extra levels, or character upgrades). Advertisements can generate revenue through ad networks that pay per impression or click. Lastly, offering a free version of the game along with a paid premium version can attract a larger audience while still generating revenue from serious players.

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