Tag Archives: Game

Android Game SDK

Posted by Dan Galpin, Developer Advocate

With over 2.5 billion monthly active devices, the Android Platform gives incredible reach for game developers. Taking advantage of that opportunity can be a challenge, particularly if your game really tries to push the limits of what mobile can do. We've spent years working with game developers to try to both capture and address the biggest issues, and we're just beginning to see the fruits of that effort with the launch of the Android Game SDK. The Android Game SDK is a set of libraries that you can use to enhance your Android game.

The first library we are launching in the Android Game SDK helps developers with frame pacing, the synchronization of a game's rendering loop with the OS display subsystem and underlying display hardware. Android's display subsystem is designed to avoid tearing that occurs when the display hardware switches to a new frame in the middle of an update. To this end, it buffers past frames, detects late frame submissions, and repeats the display of past frames when late frames are detected. When a game render loop renders at a different rate than the native display hardware, such as a game running at 30 frames-per-second attempting to render on a device that natively supports 60 FPS, the optimal display flow involves synchronization between the game render loop, the system compositor, and the display hardware.

Optimal Display Flow

Optimal Display Flow

Any mismatch in synchronization can create substantial inconsistencies in frame times. If a frame takes substantially less time to render, it can shorten the presentation of the previous frame, causing something like a 33ms, 16ms, and a 50ms sequence.

Synchronization Mismatch: Rendering too Fast

Synchronization Mismatch: Rendering too Fast

If a frame takes too long to render, a similar problem occurs. The frame will be presented for an extra frame, causing something like a 50ms, 16ms, and 33ms sequence.

Synchronization Mismatch: Slow Frame

Synchronization Mismatch: Slow Frame

In either of these two scenarios, the game player will experience inconsistent delays between game input and screen updates. Visually, things will look less smooth and polished. Both visuals and game play can be impacted.

The Frame Pacing library uses Android's Choreographer API for synchronization with the display subsystem, using presentation timestamp extensions on both OpenGL and Vulkan APIs to make sure frames are presented at the proper time, and sync fences to avoid buffer stuffing. Multiple refresh rates are handled if supported by the device, giving a game more flexibility in presenting a frame. For a device that supports a 60 Hz refresh rate as well as 90 Hz, a game that cannot produce 60 frames per second can drop to 45 FPS instead of 30 FPS to remain smooth. The library detects the expected game frame rate and auto-adjusts frame presentation times accordingly. The Frame Pacing library allows games to take advantage of higher refresh rate 90 and 120 Hz displays, while also making it easy to lock the refresh rate to a desired value, regardless of the underlying display refresh rate.

The Frame Pacing library is built into Unity versions 2019.2 and beyond. Just select the optimized Frame Pacing checkbox under Android Settings to enable smoother frame rates for your game. If you have source to your game engine, it's straightforward to integrate the library into your OpenGL or Vulkan renderer. We've just added library binaries for download at developer.android.com/games/sdk/, or you can download the source code from the Android Open Source Project.

To learn more about Frame Pacing, check out the documentation at developer.android.com, along with the Frame Pacing section of the Optimizing Android Games Performance talk from Google I/O 2019. Be sure to subscribe to our Twitter channel and stay tuned for our announcements at GDC 2020 for more on how we're working to make Android game development better, so you can bring the best game experience to billions of devices.

Nexon increases day 60 retention and monetization with pre-registration rewards

Posted by Kacey Fahey, Google Play Developer Marketing

Nexon Korea Company has published several games across PC, mobile, and console. With the launch of their mobile game FAITH, a MMORPG released exclusively in Japan, they wanted to promote the game before launch and find a way to capture early consumer demand that would help boost early installs at launch.

What they did

Nexon ran a pre-registration campaign on Google Play with a multi-channel marketing campaign driving players to pre-register and receive an exclusive pre-registration reward. Their campaign used consistent creative assets throughout TV commercials, YouTube influencer campaigns, social media, performance marketing campaigns, and more. Offering a pre-registration reward provided an incentive and benefit for players who pre-registered on Google Play during the month-long campaign leading up to launch.

Banner for mobile game FAITH, a MMORPG released exclusively in Japan

“It was very easy to run, since the steps to activate the campaign were very clear and simple. All we needed to do was prepare the store assets and APK, then set them up in the Google Play Console,” said Hyomin Kim, Head of Platform Partnerships at Nexon Korea Corporation. Their exclusive pre-registration reward of 300 diamonds (in-game currency) was set up as a unique managed product as part of the campaign. At launch, Google Play provides the reward to all players who pre-registered, allowing Nexon to consume and grant the reward to players in-game using the Google Play Billing API. Not only did this create additional value for users, but it allowed Nexon to identify those who pre-registered in-game so they could measure the cohort’s performance after launch. Once the game became available on launch day, everyone who pre-registered on Google Play received a notification to install.

Results

Nexon reported they had historically seen around 50% of Google Play pre-registrations convert to installs. By offering a pre-registration reward for FAITH, they increased their conversion rate by 20%. And not only that, the campaign drove other strong performance metrics with players who pre-registered for FAITH on Google Play having almost 50% higher day 60 retention than those who did not pre-register. This audience has also shown stronger monetization behavior, with over 70% higher ARPDAU than non-pre-registrants.

“Google Play pre-registration is now a ‘must-do’ strategy when Nexon launches games. From our previous experience, Google Play pre-registration is one of the most effective pre-registration platforms amongst all the channels we utilize, especially for organic impressions and installation conversion,” said Kim.

Get started

All app and game developers can run pre-registration campaigns and offer a pre-registration reward. Get started today!

Congrats to the new Android Excellence apps and games on Google Play

Posted by Kacey Fahey, Developer Marketing, Google Play

Join us in congratulating the latest apps and games entering the Android Excellence program on Google Play. This diverse group of apps and games is recognized for their high quality, great user experience, and strong technical performance. Whether you're interested in learning meditation or a new language, or are looking for a game about butterflies or warships, we're excited to dive in to these new collections.

Winning apps image

Check out a few of our highlighted apps.

  • Beelinguapp: Learn a new language with this unique app. Read and listen to stories with side by side text of the language you're learning, while following along with your language as a reference.
  • Fortune City: If you're looking for a fun app to help manage your personal finances, learn how Fortune City teaches good budgeting habits as you build a prospering metropolis.
  • ShareTheMeal: Feed a child in need with one tap on your phone, or create a team to fight hunger together with your friends, using this app by the World Food Programme.

Test your skills with these highlighted games.

  • Animal Crossing™: Pocket Camp: Take on the role of campsite manager as you collect items to decorate and build your ultimate dream campsite. Meet animals, build friendships and invite your favorite animals over for a fun time.
  • Cash, Inc.: Be the big boss of your business empire in this fun game. Work your way up to join a community of business elites and become the most famous money tycoon.
  • Shadowgun Legends: Save humanity from an alien invader in an epic Story Campaign spanning over 200+ mission on 4 diverse planets. Along the way, customize your character, team up with friends, and become a celebrity of the Shadowgun Universe.

See the full list of Android Excellence apps and games.

New Android Excellence apps New Android Excellence games
Beelinguapp
BTFIT
Fortune City
Letras.mus.br
LingoDeer
Memrise
PicsArt
Pocket Casts
ShareTheMeal
The Mindfulness App
Tokopedia
Trello
VivaReal
Wynk Music
Animal Crossing™: Pocket Camp
Cash, Inc.
Flutter: Starlight
Shadow Fight 3
Shadowgun Legends
War Heroes
World of Warships Blitz

Explore other great apps and games in the Editors' Choice section on Google Play and discover best practices to help you build quality apps and games.

How useful did you find this blogpost?

#IMakeApps – Celebrating app makers worldwide

Posted by Patricia Correa, Director, Developer Marketing, Platforms & Ecosystems

The Android developer ecosystem is made up of exceptional individuals with different backgrounds, interests, and dreams. To celebrate the people who make up our community, starting today, and over the coming months, we'll be meeting with developers, founders, product managers, designers, and others from around the world to hear more about their passions and discover what they do when they step away from their computers.

Watch stories featuring adventurer Niek Bokkers from Polarsteps (Netherlands), artist Faith Ringgold from Quiltuduko (USA) and chair restorer Hans Jørgen Wiberg from Be My Eyes (Denmark). You can also read more about them and their apps on g.co/play/imakeapps.

Share your story

We'd love to hear from you too. Use the hashtag #IMakeApps on your social channels, sharing the app or game you work on, your role in its creation, and an image that best depicts who you are outside of work. We will regularly select and share some of our favorites on our channels.

If you also want to get featured in an upcoming #IMakeApps film, tell us more about yourself and your app or game, by completing this self-nomination form.

Stay tuned for more #IMakeApps stories by following us on Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn.

How useful did you find this blogpost?

Android Developer Story: Big Fish Games uses open beta testing to de-risk their game launch

Posted by Kacey Fahey, Developer Marketing, Google Play

Based in Seattle, Big Fish Games was founded in 2002. Starting as a game studio, they quickly turned into a major publisher and distributor of casual games. Leading up to the launch of their hit time management game, Cooking Craze, the team ran an open beta on Google Play.

Big Fish Games found that using open beta provided more than 10x the amount of user feedback from around the world, and also gave them access to key metrics and Android Vitals in the Play Console. The ability to monitor game performance metrics pre-launch allowed the team to focus on areas of improvement, which lead to a 21% reduction in crash rate. The larger sample size of beta testers also provided more insights on player behavior and helped achieve a +7% improvement in day 1, day 7, and day 30 retention rates.

You can also learn more pre-launch best practices and strategies to improve performance post-launch at our Google Developer Day on Monday, March 19th at GDC. Sign up to stay informed.

How useful did you find this blogpost?

Android Excellence: congratulations to the newly added apps and games

Posted by Kacey Fahey, Developer Marketing, Google Play

Kicking off the new year, we're excited to welcome our latest group of Android Excellence apps and games. These awardees represent some of the best experiences and top performing apps and games on the Play Store and can be found with other great selections on the Editors' Choice page.

If you're looking for some new apps, below are a few highlights.

  • EyeEm: A great photo editor app with a full suite of filters and tools to make your pictures shine. Learn style tips from their community and even sell your images through the EyeEm marketplace.
  • Musixmatch: Check out Musixmatch's updated app while learning the lyrics to all your favorite songs. The app is compatible with many of the top music streaming services and you can even follow along with your Android Wear device or on the big screen with Chromecast support.
  • ViewRanger: Plan your next hiking adventure by discovering new routes and trail guides with ViewRanger. Check out the Skyline feature using your phone's camera to identify over 9 million sites across the world through augmented reality.

Here are a few of our favorite new games joining the collection.

  • Fire Emblem Heroes: Nintendo's popular strategy-RPG franchise is now reimagined for mobile. Fight battles, develop your heroes' skills, and try various gameplay modes for hours of exciting gameplay.
  • Lumino City: Explore the charming papercraft style world in this award-winning puzzle adventure game. The beautiful scenery is all handcrafted.
  • Old Man's Journey: Gorgeous scenery, an immersive soundtrack, and deep emotion help you uncover the old man's life stories while you solve puzzles and shape the landscape to determine his future.

Congratulations to the newly added Android Excellence apps and games.

New Android Excellence apps New Android Excellence games
1tap

Acorns

Airbnb

Blink Health

Blinkist

Clue

Ditty

EyeEm

Fabulous

IFTTT

iReader

Journey

KKBOX

LinkedIn

Mobills: Budget Planner

Musixmatch

Shpock

Stocard

Video Editor

ViewRanger

YAZIO

YOP

Agent A

Bit Heroes

Bloons Supermonkey 2

Dancing Line

DEAD WARFARE: Zombie

Dragon Project

Fire Emblem Heroes

Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow

Idle Heroes

Last Day on Earth: Survival

Lords Mobile

Lumino City

Modern Combat Versus

Old Man's Journey

The Walking Dead No Man's Land

War Wings

Explore other great apps and games in the Editors' Choice section on Google Play and discover best practices to help you build quality apps and games for people to love.

How useful did you find this blogpost?

A look back at the most read Google Play posts on Medium in 2017

Posted by Sergejs Cuhrajs, Community Manager, Google Play

Earlier this year we launched the Google Play Apps & Games publication on Medium to help developers discover best practices and insights to grow successful apps and games businesses on Google Play. As we draw closer to the end of the year we thought it's a good time to revisit some of our most popular posts according to you – our readers.

It's clear that many of you are excited by the potential of new technology, such as Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), and how it could enhance user interaction with your apps and games. You're also concerned with everyday issues including how to keep your APK size manageable, how to acquire new users, and how to monetize games without pushing away your players.

So without further adieu, here's the list of the top 10:

  1. Applying human-centered design to emerging technologies
    (by By Peter Hyer, Fabian Herrmann, and Kristin Kelly, 7 min read)
    VR, AR, and digital assistant present exciting opportunities for the future, but how can we ensure we're designing for what people really want?
  2. Shrinking APKs, growing installs
    (by Sam Tolomei, 6 min read)
    Smaller APK sizes correlate with higher install conversion rate on Google Play - we share tips for keeping your apps lean.
  3. Who plays mobile games?
    (by Allen Bevans, UX Researcher at Google, 6 min read)
    Four actionable insights for game developers based on our research into different player segments.
  4. Why the first ten minutes are crucial if you want to keep players coming back
    (by Adam Carpenter, 7 min read)
    How to analyze your retention data so you can keep players coming back again and again.
  5. Design your app for decision-making
    (by Jeni Fisher, 10 min read)
    Useful tips and strategies for encouraging desired user behavior in your apps. Also check out follow-up posts on boosting motivation through app rewards, and common pitfalls of persuasive app design.
  6. Predicting your app's monetization future
    (by Ignacio Monereo, 10 min read)
    Learn about predictive analytics and calculating your apps lifetime value (LTV) to gain practical insight into the future of your app. In the second part Ignacio shares how to calculate LTV based on five popular monetization models.
  7. Five tips to improve your games-as-a-service monetization
    (by Moonlit Beshimov, 9 min read)
    5 proven strategies to improve your game revenue without driving players away.
  8. An introduction to in-app A/B testing
    (by Gavin Kinghall Were, 13 min read)
    Learn how in-app A/B testing can drive insight into your app's future design and development, and maximise its performance.
  9. Taking the guesswork out of paid user acquisition
    (by David Yin, 8 min read)
    A simple tool to help you estimate lifetime value (LTV) of your users and what to spend to grow your audience.
  10. Rethinking interface assumptions in AR: selecting objects
    (by Aaron Cammarata, 8 min read)
    In this article for beginner AR developers we explore one of the most fundamental user interface actions: object selection.

Do you have suggestions for topics we should tackle in 2018? Let us know by tweeting with the hashtag #AskPlayDev and we'll reply from @GooglePlayDev, where we regularly share news and tips on how to be successful on Google Play.

How useful did you find this blogpost?

Android Excellence: congratulations to the new apps and games for Fall 2017

Posted by Kacey Fahey, Developer Marketing, Google Play

Android Excellence recognizes some of the highest quality apps and games on Google Play. With a strong focus on great design, an engaging user experience, and strong app performance, this set of apps and games show the diversity of content on Google Play. Whether you're trying to better manage personal finances with Money Lover or want to experience the thrill of stunt-racing with stunning graphics and real-time challenges in Asphalt 8, there's something for everyone to enjoy.

One new awardee is Bring!, a simple-to-use app that helps manage your grocery lists. Use the existing catalog of items or add your own product photos, then share your lists and message in-app to let others know when it's time to shop. If you're looking for a new game to play, Karma. Incarnation 1. is a "wonderfully weird, puzzle-filled indie adventure game." With beautiful hand-drawn art, you guide the story's hero through moments of humor and challenge to be reunited with his love.

Congratulations to the new Android Excellence apps and games for Fall 2017.

New Android Excellence apps New Android Excellence games
Agoda Asphalt 8
AlarmMon Bubble Witch 3 Saga
Bring! Castle Creeps
CastBox Crab War
Email by Edison Crash of Cars
Eve Dan the Man
Fotor Dawn of Titans
Mint Dream Defense
Money Lover Iron Marines
Onefootball Karma. Incarnation 1.
Robinhood Postknight
Viki Sky Force Reloaded
Zombie Age 3

Explore other great apps and games in the Editors’ Choice section on Google Play.

How useful did you find this blogpost?

Android Developer Story: Vietnamese games developer Divmob finds more users with localized pricing on Google Play

Posted by Lily Sheringham, Google Play team

Based in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, games developer Divmob has grown quickly from an original team of five people to 40 employees since it was founded three years ago. Divmob now has over 40 million downloads across its various titles, including the popular game, Epic Heroes War.

Watch Ngo Van Luyen, CEO & Founder at Divmob, and his team explain how introducing sub-dollar pricing in various markets resulted in a 300% increase in daily transactions, and increased the number of paying users threefold.

Find out more about local pricing models on Google Play

We recently introduced new features in the Google Play Developer Console to help you meet local expectations when setting prices, to make purchases more attractive to your users. The Developer Console will now automatically round pricing to local conventions in each market, and you can also set up pricing templates to manage pricing across multiple currencies more efficiently, and easily make bulk changes to the prices of multiple apps and in-app products in a single click. Learn more about the improved local pricing tools.