Tag Archives: Game

#WeArePlay | Meet Sam from Chicago. More stories from Peru, Croatia and Estonia.

Posted by Leticia Lago, Developer Marketing

A medical game for doctors, a language game for kids, a scary game for horror lovers and an escape room game for thrill seekers! In this latest batch of #WeArePlay stories, we’re celebrating the founders behind a wonderful variety of games from all over the world. Have a read and get gaming! 

To start, let’s meet Sam from Chicago. Coming from a family of doctors, his Dad challenged him to make a game to help those in the medical field. Sam agreed, made a game and months later discovered over 100,000 doctors were able to practice medical procedures. This early success inspired him to found Level Ex - a company of 135, making world-class medical games for doctors across the globe. Despite his achievements, his Dad still hopes Sam may one day get into medicine himself and clinch a Nobel prize.


Next, a few more stories from around the world:

  • Aldo and Sandro from Peru - founders of Dark Dome. They combine storytelling and art to make thrilling and chilling games, filled with plot twists and jump scares.


  • Vladimir, Tomislav and Boris from Croatia - founders of Pine Studio. They won the Indie Games Festival 2021 with their game Cats In Time. 


  • Kelly, Mikk, Reimo and Madde from Estonia - founders of ALPA kids. Their language games for children have a huge impact on early education and language preservation.


Check out all the stories now at g.co/play/weareplay and stay tuned for even more coming soon.


How useful did you find this blog post?


#WeArePlay | Meet Sam from Chicago. More stories from Peru, Croatia and Estonia.

Posted by Leticia Lago, Developer Marketing

A medical game for doctors, a language game for kids, a scary game for horror lovers and an escape room game for thrill seekers! In this latest batch of #WeArePlay stories, we’re celebrating the founders behind a wonderful variety of games from all over the world. Have a read and get gaming! 


To start, let’s meet Sam from Chicago. Coming from a family of doctors, his Dad challenged him to make a game to help those in the medical field. Sam agreed, made a game and months later discovered over 100,000 doctors were able to practice medical procedures. This early success inspired him to found Level Ex - a company of 135, making world-class medical games for doctors across the globe. Despite his achievements, his Dad still hopes Sam may one day get into medicine himself and clinch a Nobel prize.


Next, a few more stories from around the world:
  • Aldo and Sandro from Peru - founders of Dark Dome. They combine storytelling and art to make thrilling and chilling games, filled with plot twists and jump scares.

  • Vladimir, Tomislav and Boris from Croatia - founders of Pine Studio. They won the Indie Games Festival 2021 with their game Cats In Time. 

  • Kelly, Mikk, Reimo and Madde from Estonia - founders of ALPA kids. Their language games for children have a huge impact on early education and language preservation.

Check out all the stories now at g.co/play/weareplay and stay tuned for even more coming soon.


How useful did you find this blog post?


Things to know from the 2022 Google for Games Developer Summit

Posted by Greg Hartrell, Product Director, Games on Play/Android

Google for Games Developer Summit 

Over the years, we’ve seen that apps and games are not just experiences - they’re businesses - led by talented people like yourselves. So it's our goal to continue supporting your businesses to reach even greater potential. At our recent Google for Games Developer Summit, we shared how teams across Google have been continuing to build the next generation of services, tools and features to help you create and monetize high quality experiences, more programs tailored to your needs, and more educational resources with best practices.

We want to help you throughout the game development lifecycle, by making it easier to develop high quality games and deliver these great experiences to growing audiences and devices.


Easier to bring your game to more screens
To enable games on new screens and devices, we want to help you meet players where they are, giving them the convenience of playing games wherever they choose.

  • Gameplay across tablets, foldables, and Chromebooks is on the rise and offers the opportunity to be more engaging and immersive than ever before. In 2021, Android usage on CrOS grew 50% versus the previous year, led by games.
  • Google Play Games for PC Beta rolled out in January to South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. This standalone Windows PC application built by Google, allows users to play a high quality catalog of Google Play games seamlessly across their mobile phone, tablet, Chromebook, or (now) their Windows PC. Learn more and start to optimize your game for more screens today.
  • Play as you download beta program was announced last year and we will soon open it up to all Android 12 users. PAYD allows users to get into gameplay in seconds while game assets are downloaded in the background. and can happen with minimal developer changes to your underlying implementation. Sign up for the beta.

Easier to develop high quality games

We’re committed to supporting you build high quality Android games, by continuing to focus on tools and SDKs that simplify development and provide insights about your game, while also partnering with game engines, including homegrown native c/c++ engines. Last year, we released the Android Game Development Kit (AGDK), a set of tools and libraries to help make Android Game Development more efficient, and have made several updates based on developer feedback.

  • Android Game Development Extension allows game developers to build directly for Android from within Visual Studio. To make debugging easier across Java and C, AGDE will now include cross compatibility between Android Studio and Visual Studio so you can open and edit your AGDE projects in Android Studio’s debugger.
  • The new Memory Advice API (Beta) library added to AGDK helps developers understand their memory consumption by combining the best signals for a given device to determine how close the device is to a low memory kill.
  • We’ve fully launched the Android GPU Inspector Frame Profiler to help you understand when your game is bottlenecked on the GPU vs. CPU, and achieve better frame rates and battery life.

More tools to help you succeed on Google Play

The Play Console is an invaluable resource to help in your game lifecycle, with tools and insights to assist before and after launch.

  • We continue to invest in programs to help developers of all sizes grow their businesses with Google Play. For our largest developers, we launched the Google Play Partner Program for Games, offering additional growth tools and premier services, tailored for the unique needs of developers at this scale.
  • Reach and devices helps you make foundational decisions about what devices to build for, where to launch and what to test, both pre-launch and post-launch. It already shows your install and issue distributions across a range of device attributes. Today, we’re launching Google Play revenue and revenue growth distributions for your game and its peers, so you can build revenue-based business cases for troubleshooting or device targeting, if that suits your business model better than using installs.
  • We recently launched Strategic guidance in Console, which provides an intuitive way to help you evaluate how well your game is monetizing, and see opportunities to grow revenue. You can think of Reach & devices as helping you to understand revenue opportunities from a technical perspective; strategic guidance does the same from a business perspective, so you can use them together to provide a holistic picture of your IAP revenue drivers.
  • Android vitals is your destination to monitor and improve your game’s stability on Google Play. For those of you who have games with global presence, we’ve just launched country breakdowns and filters for Vitals metrics, so it’s easier for you to prioritize and troubleshoot stability issues. In addition, today we’re launching the Developer Reporting API which gives you programmatic access to your core Android vitals metrics and issue data, including crash and ANR rates, clusters, and stack traces.

Learn more about everything we shared at the Google for Games Developer Summit and by visiting g.co/android/games for additional resources and documentation. We remain committed to supporting the developer ecosystem and greatly appreciate your continued feedback and investment in creating high quality game experiences for players around the world.

Google for Games Developer Summit returns March 15

Posted by Greg Hartrell, Product Director, Games on Play/Android

Image with Google for Games castle, rocket, volcano, and racetrack

With over three billion players showing strong engagement worldwide, the games market continues to remain resilient and grow beyond expectations. As we look ahead this year, the influx of new and returning players creates a great opportunity for developers to scale their games businesses.

The Google for Games Developer Summit returns virtually on March 15, 2022 at 9AM Pacific. From mobile to cloud, learn about our new solutions for game developers that make it easier to build high-quality games and reach audiences around the world.

Join us for the keynote at 9AM Pacific followed by over 20 developer sessions on-demand. We’ll share deep-dives and updates on the Android Game Development Kit, Google Play Games beta on PC, Play Asset Delivery, Play Console, and more. The summit is open for all. Check out the full agenda today at g.co/gamedevsummit.

Grow your game’s revenue with Google Play Console’s new strategic guidance

Posted by Phalene Gowling, Product Manager, Google Play

light blue illustration with coin bouncing

Last year, mobile game consumer spending grew 7.3% to $93.2 billion with no signs of slowing down. In this competitive, growing market, effectively monetizing your audience has never been more important. But without access to a strategy consultant, how can you know if your monetization strategy is as strong as it can be?

That’s why we’re expanding the suite of tools available in Play Console to help it be exactly that. Last year, we released new engagement and monetization metrics on the Statistics page to help you grow your business, and now we’re pleased to announce new strategic guidance tools to help you drive successful monetization.

In this new section, you’ll see our metric-driven guidance to help you better monetize your game by:

  1. Contextualizing your topline revenue: Understand how your game’s revenue metrics contribute to your overall business goals, and learn when to prioritize optimizing for one metric over another.
  2. Identifying opportunities: Find out where there is an opportunity to improve a metric by benchmarking against peer groups, and explore insights by country.
  3. Recommending next steps: Learn how to take advantage of monetization opportunities with specific actions you can take right away.
screenshot of strategic guidance for monetization webpage in Google Play Console

The strategic guidance metric hierarchy. (Learn more or visit our Play Academy for specific courses like monitoring KPIs.)

We’ve spent the last couple of years perfecting our guidance, and testing the dashboard with selected partners. Feedback on our strategic guidance has been positive — and we hope you’ll find it useful, too.

“This is extremely useful! These type of insights are actually what we expect from Google, because this is something that really can help us to scale our business.”

- Product Manager at Gameloft


Understand key monetization drivers and their relationships with the metric hierarchy

Strategic guidance can be found in Financial reports within Play Console. In partnership with experts in mobile games growth, we’ve included primary monetization metrics (including new metrics) and their relationships to help you easily assess your performance and measure against your peers. You can see all the metrics in this Help Center article.

The metric hierarchy is a tool to help you understand how you and your teams can directly influence the lower-level metrics of your games performance, like buyer conversions, which contribute to your overall top-line business performance. Using peerset comparisons and per-country breakdowns, you can quickly identify your biggest growth opportunities: what markets are underperforming and where you are a market leader.


Explore metric analysis to turn insights into action

Select a metric and explore it in detail to track your performance over time. Strategic guidance shows you a breakdown of your chosen metric by location to help you spot opportunities to expand your game globally. The detailed metric analysis also helps you identify where a small investment has an outsized return.

Strategic guidance metric recommendation example for returning daily buyer ratio.

Strategic guidance metric recommendation example for returning daily buyer ratio.

Whether you’ve created a casual game or an RPG, the metric-specific recommendations are designed to be insightful and relevant to a variety of game developers. They can be used to help you diversify your promotional content, refine your game mechanics, or test new price points that enable purchasing power parity.


Get IAP monetization guidance today, with more insights to come

With an increasing number of developers shifting focus from an ads-only monetization business model to include in-app purchases (IAP), we’ve developed strategic guidance to be most relevant for developers that include IAP-monetization as part of their overall strategy. With this launch, we’re excited to bring growth consulting opportunities to these game developers at scale. Stay tuned for more launches this year to help you successfully drive your revenue growth.

Google Play Games beta launches on PC in Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong

Posted by Arjun Dayal, Group Product Manager, Google Play Games

 Google Play Games Logo

In December, we announced that Google Play Games will be coming to PCs. As part of our broader goal to make our products and services work better together, this product strives to meet players where they are and give them access to their games on as many devices as possible. We're excited to announce that we’ve opened sign-ups for Google Play Games as a beta in Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.

Introduction video of Google Play Games beta

Users participating in the beta can play a catalog of Google Play games on their Windows PC via a standalone application built by Google. We’re excited to announce that some of the most popular mobile games in the world will be available at launch, including Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, Summoners War, State of Survival: The Joker Collaboration, and Three Kingdoms Tactics, which delight hundreds of millions of players globally each month.

Google Play Games beta PC application

This product brings the best of Google Play to more laptops and desktops, enabling immersive and seamless gameplay sessions between a phone, tablet, Chromebook, and Windows PC. Players can easily browse, download, and play their favorite mobile games on their PCs, while taking advantage of larger screens with mouse and keyboard inputs. No more losing your progress or achievements when switching between devices, it just works with your Google Play Games profile! Play Points can also be earned for Google Play Games activity on PCs.

Google Play Games gameplay on multiple devices including a phone, PC, and tablet.

We’re thrilled to expand our platform for players to enjoy their favorite Android games even more. To sign up for future announcements, or to access the beta in Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, please go to g.co/googleplaygames. If you’re an Android developer looking to learn more about Google Play Games, please express interest on our developer site. We’ll have more to share on future beta releases and regional availability soon.

Windows is a trademark of the Microsoft group of companies.
Game titles may vary by region.

Answering your top questions on Android Game Development Kit

Posted by Wayne Lu, Technical Lead Manager, Android DevRel

hand holding a phone with game and chat

We launched the Android Game Development Kit (AGDK) in July, and have collected some top questions from developers - ranging from AGDK libraries and tools, optimizing memory in Android, and implementing graphics.


AGDK and game engines

Firstly, we’ve heard questions from early, rising game developers on how to use our set of AGDK libraries and tools. We have the following recommendations depending on your setup:

  1. For game developers using popular game engines such as Defold, Godot, Unity, or Unreal - you can follow our guides to learn how to develop apps on Android. Using these game engines lets you focus on building gameplay instead of the entire technology stack.
  2. If you're using Unreal Engine and targeting multiple platforms such as PC or consoles, Android Game Development Extension (AGDE) may be a great addition to your workflow.
  3. We also support developers who want to customize and write their own game engine - you can learn more about this with our C or C++ documentation.

After choosing your game engine and workflow, you should look into our tools such as the Android Studio Profiler to inspect your game, Android GPU Inspector to profile graphics and Android Performance Tuner to optimize frame rates and loading times.


Game Mode API and Interventions

Following this, we’ve received questions on developing for Android 12. While you don’t have to do anything special for your game to run on Android 12, we’ve introduced Game Mode API and interventions to help players customise their gaming experience.

  1. Read more about the Game Mode API, and find out how to optimize your game for the best performance or longest battery life when the user selects the corresponding game mode.
  2. Learn about the Game Mode interventions - these are set by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), to improve the performance of games that are no longer being updated by developers. For example: WindowManager backbuffer resize to reduce a device's GPU load.

Memory Access in Android

Secondly, you’ve asked us how memory access works in Android game development versus Windows. In short, here are a couple of pointers:

  1. Games need to share memory with the system. Some devices have less available memory than others, so testing is needed to check for low memory issues on a range of supported devices. Testing should be done on devices with typical apps that a user would have installed (i.e. not a clean device).
  2. The amount of memory a game can allocate depends on various factors such as the amount of physical memory, the number of dirty pages, and the amount of total zRam (for compressed swapping)
  3. Symptoms of low memory can be: onTrimMemory() calls, memory thrashing, or termination of the game by the Low Memory Killer. Use bugreport logs to check if the game was killed by the Low Memory Killer, or on Android 11 and later check the ApplicationExitInfo to see if the game was terminated because of REASON_LOW_MEMORY.
  4. Avoid memory thrashing: this occurs when there’s low but insufficient memory to kill the game. You can detect this via system tracing, and should reduce the overall memory footprint to avoid this issue.
  5. Use the Android Profiler and other tools to inspect your memory usage.

Implementing Graphics in Android

Thirdly, we’ve received questions about implementing graphics in Android. You have the following options: OpenGL ES or Vulkan graphics APIs:

  1. Learn how to configure OpenGL ES graphics for your C++ game engine by initializing variables, rendering with the game loop, scenes and objects.
  2. Read our Vulkan guides to learn how to draw a cube, compile shaders, setup validation layers, and other best practices.

Check out the Q&A video to view the top questions on AGDK and visit g.co/android/AGDK for our latest resources for Android game development.

Android Game Development Extension is now available to all Android game developers

Posted by Lily Rapaport, Product Manager

After more than a year in closed beta, we are happy to announce that Android Game Development Extension (AGDE) is now available for all game developers to download. This milestone release of Game Tools from the Android Studio team meets game developers where they are; AGDE adds Android as a platform target to Microsoft Visual Studio, making it easier to target Android with existing multi-platform Visual Studio game projects.

AGDE is part of the Android Game Development Kit, which includes both libraries and tools that support making great games on Android. AGDE is best suited for game developers that develop primarily on Microsoft Windows using Visual Studio to write C/C++ code. Game developers that do not fall under these criteria, but are using C/C++, should use Android Studio to develop for Android.

Alongside the release of AGDE 2021.1, we recently published case studies on how our partners, Epic Games and Electronic Arts found success using AGDE.

We built AGDE as part of our effort to address game developers facing issues in targeting Android with their cross-platform workflows. At the top of the list of issues was developers’ preference to remain in a single IDE instead of maintaining multiple projects for different platforms. AGDE enables this for game developers using Visual Studio by removing the need to switch between IDEs when switching between platforms. In addition, we wanted to solve pain points around existing Visual Studio tools for Android that are often dated or suffer from integration issues. Our team is committed to having AGDE support the latest versions of the Android SDK, and NDK as well as providing updated tools easily accessible from Visual Studio. Finally, we wanted to bring you quick access to some of the most useful Android Studio capabilities, built into AGDE. Therefore, we invested in creating seamless integrations to our most popular tools, such as Studio profilers, logcat, and the Android SDK and device manager. Overall, these features are designed to make you more productive in your day-to-day game development workflow.

Build with AGDE

After downloading and installing AGDE in a Visual Studio project, you can treat Android development as you would any other platform.

  • AGDE integrates with MSBuild to compile and link C++ code for Android.
  • Project build settings are configured using the standard Visual Studio property system. After the MSBuild process, AGDE uses Gradle to complete the build and package the project. This Gradle stage can be used to integrate Android libraries containing Java or Kotlin code into the final application bundle.
  • The Android SDK manager provides access to additional tools and frameworks to assist with building Android games.
  • The Android Virtual Device (AVD) manager allows you to launch directly into emulator snapshots so that you can have a repeatable test environment.

Debug with AGDE

AGDE supports deploying to, running on, and debugging with both an Android emulator and a physical device. Debug sessions run inside Visual Studio, using its standard interface for breakpoints, tracing and variable inspection.

  • AGDE interfaces with LLDB for debugging support.
  • Register views, and disassembly of native code allow you to set a breakpoint, and step right into the disassembly of your OpenGL. The assembly view shows the assembly in-line with the current C++, allowing you to step into or over each instruction as they are executed. This is useful for building context and understanding what is running on your device.
    gif demonstrating AGDE supports deploying to, running on, and debugging with both an Android emulator and a physical device.
  • The memory view shows the current values within a block of memory. As we step through the running game, AGDE in Visual Studio automatically highlights the areas of memory that have changed. In the screenshot below we show where in memory the view matrix has changed, as indicated by the red text.
  • Sometimes when debugging isn’t enough to figure out what is going on, we know that having access to the logs can be helpful to dig deeper. The logcat tool allows for searching and filtering logs to pinpoint exactly the data you want.

Profile with AGDE

AGDE integrates with a standalone version of Android Studio Profilers. This profiler can be launched from Visual Studio and attached to a running game session.

  • The Android Studio Profilers display real time usage statistics for CPU, memory, network, and energy.
  • We added support for native memory sampling. Now you can better understand where your memory is going and how to optimize your game for a broader reach of devices.
gif demonstrating how AGDE integrates with a standalone version of Android Studio Profilers.

Integrations

We know everyone has a unique build setup and there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution. That is why we are investing in making AGDE compatible with various tools commonly used by game developers.

  • We partnered with Epic Games to integrate with Unreal Engine (UE 4.26.1+) to provide a seamless Android experience for Unreal Engine game developers.
  • We are working with Sony Distributed Build System (SN-DBS) to enable SN-DBS users to leverage the power of distributed builds for Android with AGDE (coming soon)
  • AGDE is compatible with Incredibuild, a distributed build tool.

Getting started

Download AGDE 2021.1 and see our documentation for additional details. To help you get to know AGDE quickly, we put together a few samples that demonstrate different ways you can use AGDE to configure your project.

Visual Studio IntelliSense features are compatible with AGDE. All current Android CPU architectures are supported: both ARM and Intel in 32-bit and 64-bit.

We appreciate any feedback on things you like, and issues or features you would like to see. If you find a bug or issue, feel free to file an issue. Learn more about Android game development, and follow us -- the Android Studio development team ‐ on Twitter and on Medium.

Microsoft and Visual Studio are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies.

Android Game Development Extension is now available to all Android game developers

Posted by Lily Rapaport, Product Manager

After more than a year in closed beta, we are happy to announce that Android Game Development Extension (AGDE) is now available for all game developers to download. This milestone release of Game Tools from the Android Studio team meets game developers where they are; AGDE adds Android as a platform target to Microsoft Visual Studio, making it easier to target Android with existing multi-platform Visual Studio game projects.

AGDE is part of the Android Game Development Kit, which includes both libraries and tools that support making great games on Android. AGDE is best suited for game developers that develop primarily on Microsoft Windows using Visual Studio to write C/C++ code. Game developers that do not fall under these criteria, but are using C/C++, should use Android Studio to develop for Android.

Alongside the release of AGDE 2021.1, we recently published case studies on how our partners, Epic Games and Electronic Arts found success using AGDE.

We built AGDE as part of our effort to address game developers facing issues in targeting Android with their cross-platform workflows. At the top of the list of issues was developers’ preference to remain in a single IDE instead of maintaining multiple projects for different platforms. AGDE enables this for game developers using Visual Studio by removing the need to switch between IDEs when switching between platforms. In addition, we wanted to solve pain points around existing Visual Studio tools for Android that are often dated or suffer from integration issues. Our team is committed to having AGDE support the latest versions of the Android SDK, and NDK as well as providing updated tools easily accessible from Visual Studio. Finally, we wanted to bring you quick access to some of the most useful Android Studio capabilities, built into AGDE. Therefore, we invested in creating seamless integrations to our most popular tools, such as Studio profilers, logcat, and the Android SDK and device manager. Overall, these features are designed to make you more productive in your day-to-day game development workflow.

Build with AGDE

After downloading and installing AGDE in a Visual Studio project, you can treat Android development as you would any other platform.

  • AGDE integrates with MSBuild to compile and link C++ code for Android.
  • Project build settings are configured using the standard Visual Studio property system. After the MSBuild process, AGDE uses Gradle to complete the build and package the project. This Gradle stage can be used to integrate Android libraries containing Java or Kotlin code into the final application bundle.
  • The Android SDK manager provides access to additional tools and frameworks to assist with building Android games.
  • The Android Virtual Device (AVD) manager allows you to launch directly into emulator snapshots so that you can have a repeatable test environment.

Debug with AGDE

AGDE supports deploying to, running on, and debugging with both an Android emulator and a physical device. Debug sessions run inside Visual Studio, using its standard interface for breakpoints, tracing and variable inspection.

  • AGDE interfaces with LLDB for debugging support.
  • Register views, and disassembly of native code allow you to set a breakpoint, and step right into the disassembly of your OpenGL. The assembly view shows the assembly in-line with the current C++, allowing you to step into or over each instruction as they are executed. This is useful for building context and understanding what is running on your device.
    gif demonstrating AGDE supports deploying to, running on, and debugging with both an Android emulator and a physical device.
  • The memory view shows the current values within a block of memory. As we step through the running game, AGDE in Visual Studio automatically highlights the areas of memory that have changed. In the screenshot below we show where in memory the view matrix has changed, as indicated by the red text.
  • Sometimes when debugging isn’t enough to figure out what is going on, we know that having access to the logs can be helpful to dig deeper. The logcat tool allows for searching and filtering logs to pinpoint exactly the data you want.

Profile with AGDE

AGDE integrates with a standalone version of Android Studio Profilers. This profiler can be launched from Visual Studio and attached to a running game session.

  • The Android Studio Profilers display real time usage statistics for CPU, memory, network, and energy.
  • We added support for native memory sampling. Now you can better understand where your memory is going and how to optimize your game for a broader reach of devices.
gif demonstrating how AGDE integrates with a standalone version of Android Studio Profilers.

Integrations

We know everyone has a unique build setup and there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution. That is why we are investing in making AGDE compatible with various tools commonly used by game developers.

  • We partnered with Epic Games to integrate with Unreal Engine (UE 4.26.1+) to provide a seamless Android experience for Unreal Engine game developers.
  • We are working with Sony Distributed Build System (SN-DBS) to enable SN-DBS users to leverage the power of distributed builds for Android with AGDE (coming soon)
  • AGDE is compatible with Incredibuild, a distributed build tool.

Getting started

Download AGDE 2021.1 and see our documentation for additional details. To help you get to know AGDE quickly, we put together a few samples that demonstrate different ways you can use AGDE to configure your project.

Visual Studio IntelliSense features are compatible with AGDE. All current Android CPU architectures are supported: both ARM and Intel in 32-bit and 64-bit.

We appreciate any feedback on things you like, and issues or features you would like to see. If you find a bug or issue, feel free to file an issue. Learn more about Android game development, and follow us -- the Android Studio development team ‐ on Twitter and on Medium.

Microsoft and Visual Studio are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies.

Android Game Development Extension is now available to all Android game developers

Posted by Lily Rapaport, Product Manager

After more than a year in closed beta, we are happy to announce that Android Game Development Extension (AGDE) is now available for all game developers to download. This milestone release of Game Tools from the Android Studio team meets game developers where they are; AGDE adds Android as a platform target to Microsoft Visual Studio, making it easier to target Android with existing multi-platform Visual Studio game projects.

AGDE is part of the Android Game Development Kit, which includes both libraries and tools that support making great games on Android. AGDE is best suited for game developers that develop primarily on Microsoft Windows using Visual Studio to write C/C++ code. Game developers that do not fall under these criteria, but are using C/C++, should use Android Studio to develop for Android.

Alongside the release of AGDE 2021.1, we recently published case studies on how our partners, Epic Games and Electronic Arts found success using AGDE.

We built AGDE as part of our effort to address game developers facing issues in targeting Android with their cross-platform workflows. At the top of the list of issues was developers’ preference to remain in a single IDE instead of maintaining multiple projects for different platforms. AGDE enables this for game developers using Visual Studio by removing the need to switch between IDEs when switching between platforms. In addition, we wanted to solve pain points around existing Visual Studio tools for Android that are often dated or suffer from integration issues. Our team is committed to having AGDE support the latest versions of the Android SDK, and NDK as well as providing updated tools easily accessible from Visual Studio. Finally, we wanted to bring you quick access to some of the most useful Android Studio capabilities, built into AGDE. Therefore, we invested in creating seamless integrations to our most popular tools, such as Studio profilers, logcat, and the Android SDK and device manager. Overall, these features are designed to make you more productive in your day-to-day game development workflow.

Build with AGDE

After downloading and installing AGDE in a Visual Studio project, you can treat Android development as you would any other platform.

  • AGDE integrates with MSBuild to compile and link C++ code for Android.
  • Project build settings are configured using the standard Visual Studio property system. After the MSBuild process, AGDE uses Gradle to complete the build and package the project. This Gradle stage can be used to integrate Android libraries containing Java or Kotlin code into the final application bundle.
  • The Android SDK manager provides access to additional tools and frameworks to assist with building Android games.
  • The Android Virtual Device (AVD) manager allows you to launch directly into emulator snapshots so that you can have a repeatable test environment.

Debug with AGDE

AGDE supports deploying to, running on, and debugging with both an Android emulator and a physical device. Debug sessions run inside Visual Studio, using its standard interface for breakpoints, tracing and variable inspection.

  • AGDE interfaces with LLDB for debugging support.
  • Register views, and disassembly of native code allow you to set a breakpoint, and step right into the disassembly of your OpenGL. The assembly view shows the assembly in-line with the current C++, allowing you to step into or over each instruction as they are executed. This is useful for building context and understanding what is running on your device.
    gif demonstrating AGDE supports deploying to, running on, and debugging with both an Android emulator and a physical device.
  • The memory view shows the current values within a block of memory. As we step through the running game, AGDE in Visual Studio automatically highlights the areas of memory that have changed. In the screenshot below we show where in memory the view matrix has changed, as indicated by the red text.
  • Sometimes when debugging isn’t enough to figure out what is going on, we know that having access to the logs can be helpful to dig deeper. The logcat tool allows for searching and filtering logs to pinpoint exactly the data you want.

Profile with AGDE

AGDE integrates with a standalone version of Android Studio Profilers. This profiler can be launched from Visual Studio and attached to a running game session.

  • The Android Studio Profilers display real time usage statistics for CPU, memory, network, and energy.
  • We added support for native memory sampling. Now you can better understand where your memory is going and how to optimize your game for a broader reach of devices.
gif demonstrating how AGDE integrates with a standalone version of Android Studio Profilers.

Integrations

We know everyone has a unique build setup and there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution. That is why we are investing in making AGDE compatible with various tools commonly used by game developers.

  • We partnered with Epic Games to integrate with Unreal Engine (UE 4.26.1+) to provide a seamless Android experience for Unreal Engine game developers.
  • We are working with Sony Distributed Build System (SN-DBS) to enable SN-DBS users to leverage the power of distributed builds for Android with AGDE (coming soon)
  • AGDE is compatible with Incredibuild, a distributed build tool.

Getting started

Download AGDE 2021.1 and see our documentation for additional details. To help you get to know AGDE quickly, we put together a few samples that demonstrate different ways you can use AGDE to configure your project.

Visual Studio IntelliSense features are compatible with AGDE. All current Android CPU architectures are supported: both ARM and Intel in 32-bit and 64-bit.

We appreciate any feedback on things you like, and issues or features you would like to see. If you find a bug or issue, feel free to file an issue. Learn more about Android game development, and follow us -- the Android Studio development team ‐ on Twitter and on Medium.

Microsoft and Visual Studio are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies.