Posts Tagged ‘Android’
Before starting development of the game the 1st thing one should decide is: “What engine should I use?”
In this article I would like to present a brief overview of the 3 the most powerful engines, in order to clarify their key differences, advantages and disadvantages.
Nowadays Unreal Engine 4, Unity and Cry ENGINE are rightfully considered to be the most popular and powerful among game engines.
Unreal Engine 4:
Unreal Engine 4 (UE4) is the brand new engine developed by Epic Games (its predecessor is Unreal Development Kit, or UDK the free edition of the Unreal Engine3. It was used in a huge amount of AAA games including Gears of War).
UE4 possesses amazing graphical capabilities including:
- photorealistic graphics;
- advanced dynamic lighting;
- innovative particle system (handles up to a million particles in a scene at ones).
The Unreal Engine 4 got some changes and differs from UDK, so you will have to get used to them if you have had an experience in UDK. Still the ease of the UE4 makes it quite appealing for the new game developers who will do justice to such notable changes as:
- UnrealScript is completely replaced by C++;
- Kismet is replaced by the more intuitive Blueprint.
Unreal engine 4 could be used for development games for PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Nevertheless, it is impossible to make a previous generation consolee game on UE4.
UE4 is available for the developers at $19 per with a 5% royalty. Furthermore Epic Games gave free access to the engine for schools and universities as well as to the source code.
Unity is the game engine with an extensive range of features, comfortable and user-friendly interface. Its cross-platform integration makes it prior while choosing software for mobile games development. Unity allows to port games quickly and easily onto iOS, Android, Win Phone, Blackberry. In addition the engine could be used for PS3, Xbox360, and Nintendo Wii U games development.
This engine could be easily integrated with any 3D-editor (like 3ds Max, Maya, Softimage, CINEMA 4D, Blender, etc.). It also has capabilities for the 2D game development, supporting sprites and 2D physics. That makes Unity great for development of both 3D and 2D games.
Still, its own inside editor can perform a limited set of operations. It has no modeling or building features outside of a few primitive shapes, so everything has to be created in a third party 3D application. Nevertheless it has a huge asset library, which could be either downloaded or purchased.
For the developers 2 versions of Unity are available: free and Pro. Annually Pro version costs $1,500 or $75 for monthly subscription, also it is possible to download 30-days trial.
Pro version greatly differs from the free:
- global lightning;
- custom splash screen;
- IK Rigs, etc.
Also, the developers at Unity are preparing to enter the new generation with the release of their Unity 5 and continue the race with UE4 and CryEngine.
CryEngine is an extremely powerful tool, developed by Crythek Company. Firstly it was presented in the 1st Far Cry game. This engine allows creating games for PC, PS4 and Xbox One. It obviously surpasses Unity in graphical capabilities:
- state-of-the-art lightning;
- realistic physics;
- advanced animation, etc.
CryEngine is quite intuitive and possesses powerful level design features and could be put on the same level with UE4.
Still, it could be quite challenging and take a while to get used to it and start using the engine efficiently in case you’ve never dealt with game engines before. So, if you do not require your game graphics to compete with games like Crysis 3 you’d better choose a more user-friendly engine.
For developers CryEngine is available at $9,90 per month with no royalty commitments. Also it offers commercial developers full source licensing for larger and longer term projects that benefit from a real partnership with Crythek. Platinum support is also available, with dedicated support staff, increased on-site presence and even co-development of features.
Thus, Unreal Engine 4 is a good match for games with photorealistic graphics, Unity is better for development of 2D, 3D games and CryEngine has amazing graphics capabilities along with the most appealing pricing. Still, I suppose that one should try each engine in order to define, which one suits his purposes in the best way.
To sum it all up I would like to notice that all these 3 engines are extremely powerful tools for the game development. Still, I suppose that one should try each engine in order to define, which one suits your purposes in the best way.
And what do you think? To what engine would you give your preference?
Look forward to your comments!
Skype ID: ognewatatyana
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development
The mobile world is continuing its rapid growth while we are becoming more and more reliant on our mobile devices in everyday life.
By 2016, it’s expected that there will be more than 10 billion mobile Internet devices in use, so the mobile application industry will grow tremendously to match the demand and keep up with ever evolving technologies.
Let’s have a look at obvious technologies trends continuing to influence the mobile world nowadays.
Three main platforms and architectures
In a short period of time a majority of big companies will need a special set of development tools to support three key platforms – iOS, Android, Windows and three application architectures – native, hybrid and mobile Web. Tool selection won’t be that easy, rising up technical issues and nontechnical ones such as productivity versus vendor stability. Undoubtedly most big organizations will need several tools to deliver to the architectures and platforms they require.
Being fragmented, immature and thus possessing many implementation and security risks, HTML5 won’t be a simple solution for mobile application portability. However as it matures, the mobile Web and hybrid applications will become more and more popular. So despite many challenges HTML5 faces, we could expect that it will be rather essential for organizations delivering applications across multiple platforms.
Advanced mobile user experience design
A vast majority of new techniques and methodologies such as motivational design, “quiet” design and “playful” interfaces contribute to exceptional user experiences most leading mobile apps have. Designers are also creating apps that can accommodate mobile challenges, such as partial user attention and interruption, or that can exploit technologies with novel features or “wow” factors, such as augmented reality. Leading consumer apps are setting high standards for user interface design, and all organizations must master new skills and work with new partners to meet growing user expectations.
High-precision location sensing
Knowing the location of a person to within a few meters is a key factor in the delivery of highly relevant contextual information and services. Applications that use the precise indoor location currently exploit such technologies Wi-Fi, imaging, ultrasonic beacons and geomagnetics. Such technologies as smart lighting will also become important. Precise indoor location sensing in combination with mobile applications will create a new generation of highly personalized services and information.
Mobile phone as a universal remote
Some time ago we had to stay in front of TV in order to turn channels. Later remote controls were sold with every TV and stereo on the market. Nowadays, our homes have become smarter and many people manage their homes with the help of a smart phone. In 2015, mobile applications are expected to move to the next level, becoming a universal remote control for your life. Air conditioner controls and alarm systems are heading the list with cars and door locks to go behind soon. With all the different data including financial, electronic, home and automotive deeply embedded in your phone, the general remote seems to be a usual extension.
Apps will start thinking for you
Artificial intelligence is going to influence mobile applications in 2015, initially with smarter apps that think for you. The ability of apps to forecast behavior and lessen manual work is amazing. In the year 2015, apps will begin to foresee where you are going, what thoughts you are having and the types of information you might require. Imagine future applications less of a tool and more of an associate.
The smartphone will become the center of personal-computer network consisting of wearable devices such as on-body healthcare sensors, smart jewelry, smart watches, display devices such as Google Glass and different sensors embedded in clothing and shoes. These gadgets will communicate with mobile applications to deliver information in new ways and include a wide range of products and services in such areas as sports, fitness, fashion, hobbies and health.
What are your predictions on mobile technologies trends for the upcoming time? Eager to hear your thoughts :)
The infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) market has exploded in recent years. Google stepped into the fold of IaaS providers, somewhat under the radar. The Google Cloud Platform is a group of cloud computing tools for developers to build and host web applications.
It started with services such as the Google App Engine and quickly evolved to include many other tools and services. While the Google Cloud Platform was initially met with criticism of its lack of support for some key programming languages, it has added new features and support that make it a contender in the space.
Here’s what you need to know about the Google Cloud Platform.
Google recently shifted its pricing model to include sustained-use discounts and per-minute billing. Billings starts with a 10-minute minimum and bills per minute for the following time. Sustained-use discounts begin after a particular instance is used for more than 25% of a month. Users receive a discount for each incremental minute used after they reach the 25% mark.
2. Cloud Debugger
The Cloud Debugger gives developers the option to assess and debug code in production. Developers can set a watchpoint on a line of code, and any time a server request hits that line of code, they will get all of the variables and parameters of that code. According to Google blog post, there is no overhead to run it and “when a watchpoint is hit very little noticeable performance impact is seen by your users.”
3. Cloud Trace
Cloud Trace lets you quickly figure out what is causing a performance bottleneck and fix it. The base value add is that it shows you how much time your product is spending processing certain requests. Users can also get a report that compares performances across releases.
4. Cloud Save
The Cloud Save API was announced at the 2014 Google I/O developers conference by Greg DeMichillie, the director of product management on the Google Cloud Platform. Cloud Save is a feature that lets you “save and retrieve per user information.” It also allows cloud-stored data to be synchronized across devices.
The Cloud Platform offers two hosting options: the App Engine, which is their Platform-as-a-Service and Compute Engine as an Infrastructure-as-a-Service. In the standard App Engine hosting environment, Google manages all of the components outside of your application code.
The Cloud Platform also offers managed VM environments that blend the auto-management of App Engine, with the flexibility of Compute Engine VMs.The managed VM environment also gives users the ability to add third-party frameworks and libraries to their applications.
Google Cloud Platform networking tools and services are all based on Andromeda, Google’s network virtualization stack. Having access to the full stack allows Google to create end-to-end solutions without compromising functionality based on available insertion points or existing software.
According to a Google blog post, “Andromeda is a Software Defined Networking (SDN)-based substrate for our network virtualization efforts. It is the orchestration point for provisioning, configuring, and managing virtual networks and in-network packet processing.”
Containers are especially useful in a PaaS situation because they assist in speeding deployment and scaling apps. For those looking for container management in regards to virtualization on the Cloud Platform, Google offers its open source container scheduler known as Kubernetes. Think of it as a Container-as-a-Service solution, providing management for Docker containers.
8. Big Data
The Google Cloud Platform offers a full big data solution, but there are two unique tools for big data processing and analysis on Google Cloud Platform. First, BigQuery allows users to run SQL-like queries on terabytes of data. Plus, you can load your data in bulk directly from your Google Cloud Storage.
The second tool is Google Cloud Dataflow. Also announced at I/O, Google Cloud Dataflow allows you to create, monitor, and glean insights from a data processing pipeline. It evolved from Google’s MapReduce.
Google does routine testing and regularly send patches, but it also sets all virtual machines to live migrate away from maintenance as it is being performed.
“Compute Engine automatically migrates your running instance. The migration process will impact guest performance to some degree but your instance remains online throughout the migration process. The exact guest performance impact and duration depend on many factors, but it is expected most applications and workloads will not notice,” the Google developer website said.
VMs can also be set to shut down cleanly and reopen away from the maintenance event.
10. Load balancing
In June, Google announced the Cloud Platform HTTP Load Balancing to balance the traffic of multiple compute instances across different geographic regions.
“It uses network proximity and backend capacity information to optimize the path between your users and your instances, and improves latency by connecting users to the closest Cloud Platform location. If your instances in one region are under heavy load or become unreachable, HTTP load balancing intelligently directs new requests to your available instances in a nearby region,” a Google blog post said.
Taken from TechRepublic
Skype ID: lina_deveikyte
Marketing Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development
The iPhone 6 is here. The world is excited. But should you be? For now we’re just going to look at the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 compared to the old model.
The 2014 iPhone is here, and Apple has made some pretty big departures this year, including changing the shape of the phone.
Angular is out, the sharp-ish edges of the iPhone 5S replaced by much curvier lines. The iPhone 6 is also a fair bit slimmer than the old model at 6.8mm to the iPhone 5S’s 7.6mm.
Of course, the iPhone 6 is also a fair bit bigger than the 5S thanks to its larger screen. To help out, the power button has moved to the side from the top, making it easier to reach.
Although there are optimisations, the basic construction of the phones hasn’t changed a huge deal. Both the iPhone 5S and 6 have aluminium backs and toughened glass fronts.
They also share the same TouchID sensor.
The one big hardware extra this year is NFC, which lets you make wireless payments with an iPhone 6. iPhone 5Ss do not have NFC.
The big display news for this year is that the iPhone 6 has a much larger screen than the iPhone 5S. You get bumped up from four inches to 4.7.
In Android terms that’s still a pretty small display, but if you want more you can now upgrade to the iPhone 6 Plus, which has a 5.5-inch display.
The display architecture has slimmed down a bit in this 2014 generation, but the core technology remains the same. Both phone have IPS LCD screens, as used in iPhones for years. We’re pretty glad this is the case – iPhone displays generally look fantastic.
To compensate for the added screen inches (well 0.7 inch), Apple has increased resolution in the iPhone 6 display. Where you get 1136 x 640 pixels in the iPhone 5S, the iPhone 6 gets you 1,334 x 750.
It’s 38 per cent more pixels, but how much sharper is it? No sharper at all, in fact. Both phones have, rounding-up, 326ppi displays.
Of course, a larger display with the same sharpness is always going to be a bit more satisfying for browsing, gaming – most things in fact.
Apple has not changed a great deal in the camera of the iPhone 6. It still has an 8-megapixel sensor, still has an f/2.2 lens and sensor pixels 1.5 microns a piece in size. This is what the iPhone 5S has.
While Apple claims the sensor is new, we don’t expect to see any radical changes in image quality beyond what is provided by processing.
However, there is a new feature – phase detection autofocus. This is used in the Galaxy S5 and many top-end dedicated cameras to provide faster focusing, and it should perform the same trick here.
Both phones have Apple’s TrueTone flash, which uses two different LED to colours to avoid washing-out people’s faces.
The front FaceTime camera seems to have been given more of an overhaul in the iPhone 6, though. It apparently lets in 81 per cent more light for better shots, and has more selfie-centric features. These include one-shot HDR and a burst mode. Selfie. Tastic.
CPU and RAM
The iPhone 6 introduces a new generation of processor called the Apple A8, taking over from the Apple A7 of the iPhone 5S.
It’s not a world-changing upgrade, but it does seem to supply the goods. Apple has changed the system architecture from 28nm to 20nm – meaning it uses absolutely tiny transistors – to make the new CPU more efficient. That should also mean it’s able to run cooler.
Apple claims the Apple A8 provides 20 per cent more CPU power and 50 per cent more GPU power. Some of that improvement is gobbled-up by the increase in resolution in real-life terms, but we should see a few nicer visual effects in a handful of games in the iPhone 6.
We’re still waiting on some more in-depth figures on the Apple A8 CPU, but it’s a solid generational upgrade.
As we expected, Apple has chosen to make the iPhone 6 slimmer rather than significantly adding to the battery life.
Even the official figures show that stamina should be roughly the same as it is in the iPhone 5S. You’ll get 11 hours of video playback in the iPhone 6, to 10 in the iPhone 5S.
By Android standards, that’s good, but not great. The best phones from Sony and LG manage numbers will into the teens in our own testing.
For the past few years iPhones have been stuck offering 16GB, 32GB and 64GB versions. Only the iPad has offered a 128GB option. That all changes this year.
You can get a 128GB iPhone 6. It’ll cost a bit, naturally, but is perfect for those who want to dump a lot of music or video on their phones.
There’s no 32GB version this year, though. You have to pick between 16GB, 64GB and 128GB models.
The iPhone 6 is quite a departure in some core ways, but it’s also pretty conservative in others. Apple has not significantly improved the camera hardware, and while the screen has gotten bigger, display quality is unlikely to improve all that much. There isn’t an objective reason, at this stage, to upgrade from an iPhone 5S. Perhaps the trickier question is whether you should upgrade to the iPhone 6 Plus instead?
Source – Trusted Reviews
Skype ID: kristinakozlova
Marketing Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development
There has been a lot of talk about the dirge sounding for the Firefox browser. With a marked nosedive in market share (roughly 15%), the one-time king of the browse war has now fallen into third place (behind Internet Explorer and Chrome). As most pundits are scratching their heads, I’m fairly certain that there’s a clear reason for this change:
The 15% market share applies only to desktop browsers. Once you move to mobile… all bets are off. But why? What has shifted to cause Firefox to drop so sharply? Is it a bad product? Honestly, to the majority of users (I’m talking “average user” here), a browser is a browser is a browser. The biggest difference to the average user is the use of “Favorites” over “Bookmarks.” Since most users wouldn’t even know Firefox from Internet Explorer, how could this change have happened?
Again, I say… Google.
Actually, I should be more specific and say Chrome — or even better, Chrome OS and Android.
From November 2013 to the end of the year, a reported 21% of all laptops sold were Chromebooks. Worldwide, Android takes nearly 81% of the mobile market share. That’s a LOT of Google-based browsers out there. I don’t think it’s a huge leap of logic to assume a vast percentage of those users would have been, otherwise, using Firefox.
Let me present myself a case in point. For the longest time, I was a devout Firefox user. But then I discovered a few of the Chrome apps/extensions (such as Tweetdeck) and added Chrome to my Linux desktop. Then I adopted a Chromebook as a laptop. Since I really only do two things on a laptop (write and browse), it made perfect sense. Add to this the fact that my smartphone platform has been Android for what seems like forever, plus the mobile version of Firefox is dreadful, and you have the makings for a typical migration from Firefox to Chrome.
Let’s be honest — as long as the browser gets the job done, it doesn’t matter which browser you use.
- Unless you’re on a Chromebook
- Or on Android
- Or you depend on Google Apps
You can see the pattern here, right? It’s like third-party politics in the United States. Many people don’t vote for third parties because it takes away votes from the party they once championed. In this case — every person using Chrome is one less person using Firefox. Why?
Caution: generalization coming…
Most people who use Internet Explorer simply don’t know that the product they’re using is inferior to every other product of its kind (either that or they depend on a site that was written ONLY for IE). So, there’s little to no chance they’ll jump ship to either Firefox or Chrome.
So, what is Mozilla to do? Well, they’re busy focusing on the Firefox OS, which is akin to Ubuntu focusing on the Ubuntu Phone — it’s detracting from what they’ve always done really well in exchange for jumping into a ring with two of the heaviest hitters in the history of the game — Android and iOS.
And then there’s that advertising deal with Google that’s about to expire. The majority of Mozilla’s income is from that deal, and Google has less reason to continue on with that search agreement. Google no longer needs the advertising real estate from a browser suffering from a possible slow death. Should Google pull this, Mozilla will have to pull off a miracle to stay in the fight.
However, there’s good news. You can’t forget that Firefox is an open-source browser. That means, even if Firefox were to die, another batch of forks would appear. So, even if Google Chrome were to knock Firefox out of the ring, more contenders will appear to take up the gloves. But even a horde of forks are not likely to pull Firefox from the slow Chrome burn. Google isn’t going anywhere but up. As Chromebooks and Android continue to take over the mobile planet (and users become less tethered to their desks), Firefox will continue to suffer.
Firefox is still a quality product. But like Internet Explorer, it’s facing a foe that’s stronger, faster, and more agile. That new opponent is poised to take over nearly everything it touches. Fortunately (for users, not the competition), that new foe offers a stellar product on every platform (Linux, Windows, Mac, Chrome OS, Android, and iOS). Chrome is the only browser on the planet that can make that claim (as Chrome is the only browser that will run on Chrome OS) – a claim that’s becoming ever more important in a world gone mad for mobile.
I don’t have a prediction for Firefox. Will it die? Will it become an “arm” of Google? Will it get a second wind and, thus, a second life? No one really knows at this point. If I had to make a guess, I’d say both Firefox and IE will fall to Chrome. The difference is that IE is embedded into the psyche of many users, so it won’t suffer as much as Firefox.
The gloves are off and Chrome is set to rumble. How do you think this fight will end? Share your opinion in the discussion thread below.