Home > Android, BUS4TN008-3 - Mobile application development, PhoneGap > Task 7 – Android Game Planning

Task 7 – Android Game Planning

Operating systems
Xubuntu Linux 13.04, 32-bit
Android 4.1.2, 4.2.2

Tools
Eclipse
PhoneGap
Android SDK

Testing devices
Sony Xperia S (LT26i)
HTC One X

App planning – Hot air balloon game
The idea behind the game is to develop and release a game featuring hot air balloons. The game is played by keeping the hot air balloon level, not letting the altitude get too low or too high. Game over happens at too high or too low altitudes. Ten points are rewarded for each ten seconds the player can keep the hot air balloon in the air. The difficulty level increases over time, which makes it harder to keep the hot air balloon level. The changes can include faster wind changes and stronger winds.

The player can control the altitude of the hot air balloon by tilting their phone backward and forward according to the current wind speeds, specified by a flag at the top of the screen. Using real weather data to drive the game’s environmental factors is also being investigated. Tapping the hot air balloon with a finger causes it to drops the weights, or bags of sand, boosting the hot air balloon’s altitude more quickly for a short time.

The game’s target group consists of casual gamers. Due to the increasing difficulty level, the game may not be suitable for the youngest players. The app is developed in collaboration between Janne Varis and Kim Stenberg, and will be released on Google Play by the end of the course.

Cordova API use
The game will utilize three different Cordova APIs; accelerometer, notification and splashscreen. We’ve created examples of all three in Eclipse, as demonstrated in the previous tasks (1, 2, 3 & 4) using PhoneGap 2.9.0. See Cordova 2.9.0 API documentation here.

Development tools
The development will utilize Eclipse, Android SDK, PhoneGap, HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript and jQuery. The art assets will be created in Photoshop, or acquired through sites with the proper free licensing like openclipart.org. The Android smartphones used in the development will be Sony Xperia S (Android 4.1.2) and HTC One X (Android 4.2.2).

Mockups
Splashscreen:
splashscreen

Menu:
menu

Game:
game

High score:
high score

Use case
Target group user: Smith, John A.
John A. Smith searches for “hot air balloon” on the Google Play store. He browses the search results until he happens to come across “Hot Air Balloon, The Game”. John decides to install the game to try it out, because he has an hour to kill before his flight to Los Angeles.

He starts the game, noting the splash screen, which lists Janne Varis and Kim Stenberg as the developers. After the game has loaded, John arrives at the main menu, which contains the following: play, options and high score. John clicks play and begins the game. He notices the round button in the lower left corner, and taps on it with his finger; it opens a notification asking him if he wants to return to the main menu. John elects to continue the game.

By tilting his phone backward and forward, John notices he can control the altitude of the hot air balloon according to the current wind speeds, specified by a flag at the top of the screen. By tapping the hot air balloon with his finger, John drops the weights, or bags of sand, boosting the hot air balloon’s altitude more quickly for a short time.

After less than a minute of playing the game, the wind speeds get the better of John, and the hot air balloon plummets to the bottom of the screen, crashing down. Game over. John scores 50 points; 10 points for each full 10 seconds he managed to keep the hot air balloon level, not letting the altitude get too low.

John tries the game again, this time managing to play for 90 seconds before the hot air balloon hits the top of the screen, rising too high. Game over. John scores 90 points; 10 points for each full 10 seconds he managed to keep the hot air balloon level, not letting the altitude get too low or too high.

John tells his friend Adam about the game, noting that it was a nice way to pass the time at the airport, recommending that Adam try the game next time he has some time to kill.

Competition
We began charting our competition on Google Play by searching for “Hot Air Balloon”. In the beginning we had some trouble separating the games from all the live wallpapers, of which there are many, to say the least.

After some further research, we found a few hot air balloon games (see links below). For the most part they were different than our game idea, but there were some with similar gameplay, e.g. “Red Balloon”, where a hot air balloon glided through the air, moved up and down and dodged birds. The difficulty increased the further you got, increasing the birds’ flight speed.

The other games were mostly 3D, where you could fly around detailed landscapes, or fly upward dodging bombs from airplanes. One version included shooting pirates and surviving the counter-attacks. In summary, we couldn’t find a game that would have matched our idea exactly, but as expected before we began, we did find some with similarities in gameplay.

References
Hot Air Ballooning 3D (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.timekiller.HotAirBallooning3D)

Floating Balloon (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.timekiller.FloatingBaloon)

Red Balloon (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=smokesnap.apps.redballoon)

Aerostat Reveillon 3D (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.PixSlate3.AerostatReveillon)

Escape the Pirates Game (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.marusz.airpiratesgame)

Cordova API (http://cordova.apache.org/docs/en/2.9.0/)
Openclipart (http://openclipart.org/)
Karvinen, Tero: Lessons 2013-10-10, Mobiilituotekehitys [Mobile Application Development] (http://terokarvinen.com/2013/aikataulu-%E2%80%93-mobiilituotekehitys-bus4tn008-3-syksylla-2013)

About
This document can be copied and edited according to the GNU General Public License (version 3 or newer). http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html
Based on a course by Tero Karvinen, http://www.iki.fi/karvinen

  1. 18/02/2014 at 02:17

    Very good article. I will be going through many
    of these issues as well..

  2. 13/05/2014 at 05:07

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    before but after browsing through some of the post I realized it’s new to me.

    Anyhow, I’m definitely glad I found it and I’ll be bookmarking and checking
    back often!

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