Read on for random ramblings about Android and my experiences porting the game…
I’ve had a Unity Android license for a while – what’s been holding me back was the lack of an Android device to test on. So I finally got a Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 and had NEW ORBIT running on it in about an hour! Yes, thinking ahead in regards to screen resolution independence and retina/non-retina-graphics-loading code did pay off, but it’s also just so much easier to get something to run on an open platform! No developer certificates, no app ids, no provisioning profiles, just check a few boxes in the settings, build and run! Okay, installing the Android SDK was interesting (Really Google? I need to open the Terminal to start the installer?) and I did have to join the Google Play Dev Thing and Checkout and figure out that keystore thing, but it’s nothing compared to the hoops you have to jump through with Apple’s system… Oh and uploading an unsigned app to the Amazon AppStore to have them sign it for me almost brought a tear to my eye… ;)
So all in all porting was easy and I do like the Galaxy Tab and Android a lot (even though it’s a bit of a mess compared to clean and shiny iOS)
There are a few negative things though that you have to be aware of when developing for Android…
1) There’s different texture compressions and not all devices support all of them. Unity lets you select between DXT, ECT, PVRTC and ATC – ECT is the only one supported on all Android devices but it doesn’t support an Alpha Channel, so it’s useless for GUI, etc. If you choose another format and it’s not supported by the hardware Unity will decompress it automatically into uncompressed RGB(A) – that can’t be good for your game’s memory footprint, but the alternative would be to have every file in all the formats check the hardware and selectively load the matching file. And that’s not gonna do for the following reason:
2) The Google Play Store has a 50MB limit – I had to do bad things to my Audio-files to shave 10 MB off my game… Luckily there’s no such limit on the Amazon AppStore though!
Feature-wise NEW ORBIT is the same as on the other platforms, with one exception: It’s the first version to add a bit of Localization! You can now switch between English and German menus and subtitles – Audio is English only.