How to Make Mobile Phone Games

By Anthony Markesino

The Mobile game market is a multi-billion dollar industry that shows tremendous signs of growth over the next 10 years. Also with new SDK's (software development kits) being released on most major platforms and millions of potential customers it is easier then ever to make your own mobile game. For the purpose of this exercise we will concentrate on the Android SDK (for all those android/google phones out there including the G1 and palm-pre).

Things You'll Need

  • Proper SDK for Android
  • Computer
  • Compiler program (visual basic 5 is free)
  • 2ME compliant engine (aIso engine is a great free one)
  • Art program capable of producing JPEGs (MS Paint works just fine)
  • Google email account (this will become your developer account)

The Idea

Step 1

The first step to making your own game is the idea phase. You can still make games even with limited programming skills if you plan out your idea and see what is available for you to work with. On the android help site are frameworks for games and applications that you can use free of charge to create your first game in under an hour. Take the time to browse them as well as to test out their applications to see what you like.

Step 2

Once you have your idea, you will need to create artwork. The standards for cell phone games are images in the sizes of 128x128 (for backgrounds and tiles), 16x16 (characters) and everything in between those two ranges for special effects. Try to use less then eight colors in each jpg to keep size costs down; your entire game needs to be small.

Step 3

Your next step will be to create the game play for your new mobile game. Your first game you will want to keep very linear in the decision-tree process so as not to leave any dead ends. Give the player some flexibility but keep him moving towards the conclusion of your game.

Step 4

Integrate your artwork with your game play and finally you get to compile your engine using visual basic (VB). Make sure you have installed the Android SDK and libraries. Then open VB, load your project file (what you saved your game as in the ISO engine) and click quick compile J2ME. You should be able to test your game at home, and once it is working to your satisfaction you are ready for the final step.

Step 5

From your Google email account, sign up as an Android Developer. This will allow you to submit your applications and games to the android market so people may download and play your games. Make sure to set a reasonable price for your game. If you still want people to test it, set it for free and an expiration on the download, usually 60 days. If your application is approved for sale, you will receive weekly dividend checks based upon your games sales.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep things as simple as possible at first. You can always go back and make improvements
  • Never pay for distribution or enhancement SDKs for Android. Everything is open source or OGL license, and it is a violation of that to charge for it.