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InfoQ Homepage News Google Launches the Android Game Development Kit

Google Launches the Android Game Development Kit

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The Android Game Development Kit (AGDK) aims to make it easier to develop, optimize, and deliver Android games. Composed of both existing and new tools and libraries, the Android Game Development Kit is built using C and C++ APIs to maximize performance.

One of the main goals of AGDK is enabling the creation of games for Android, reducing the necessity of using Java to a minimum. This is motivated by the fact that most games and game engines are written in C or C++ for performance reasons and bridging C/C++ and the Java Android platform using JNI is usually a complex task. So, AGDK will provide such bridging and take care of all the inherent complexity of using JNI to ensure interoperability.

The initial release of AGDK will include the existing frame pacing and high-performance audio libraries, as well as a few new components, such as Game Activity, Game Text Input, and Game Controller.

The Game Activity class replaces NativeActivity as the recommended activity class for games. The advantage of using Game Activity over Native Activity is it is compatible with Jetpack and fragments and can be extended to support most game engines. Most notably, it is able to handle all Android activity events, including device rotation and app life-cycle.

The Game Text Input library provides an API to show and hide the soft keyboard, set or get the currently-edited text, and receive notifications when the text is changed. While supporting advanced input method editor features such as spell-checking, completions, and multi-key characters, this library is not meant to be used for full-fledged text editors.

The Game Controller library helps implementing support for game controllers, including connection and disconnection, controller description, input data reading, and so on.

Google AGDK will also focus on performance optimization tools, including an improved Android GPU Inspector to detect any GPU-related issues, and new Android Studio profilers for CPU, power, network, and memory usage. Given the huge variety of Android devices, Google is also extending support for user telemetry through the updated Android Performance Tuner. This will help developers better understand loading times, graphical fidelity, and abandonment.

Another area where AGDK tries to improve developer experience is with support for integrated workflows:

We will focus on the bits of workflow where Google can add unique value and solve Android specific problems, while being compatible with whichever parts of your existing workflow you are comfortable with.

AGDK's first release will therefore include the Visual Studio Android Game Development Extension, which makes it possible to integrate Android as a platform in existing Visual Studio projects. Additionally, Google says it will work with game engine makers to ensure AGDK is directly integrated, or create plugins to make the integration easier.

The Android Game Development Kit can be downloaded from Google developer website.

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