I am happy to announce that I’ve just published my first mobile game on the Android Market. I have experimented with creating games earlier, especially targeting the PC platform, however I never accomplished to release such one due to lack of resources, especially in the domain of artwork. Hence I turned to mobile platforms as there even a one-man-show game can bring loads of fun time to the players. So here we are now: after loads of abandoned PC projects, here I have my first published game called “Pocket Soccer”.

The game itself is a reinterpretation of a classic board game called button football that is very popular in my home country. The key difference is that the game does not contain the many rules like the original one to provide a smoother and more fast-paced game-play. Each player has three buttons that they control by grabbing and throwing them in the desired direction. If one manages to push the soccer ball into the opposite player’s goal then he or she gets one point. The first one to reach ten points wins the match.

The game is turn based so each player has five seconds to move with one of his/her buttons. While, in my opinion, the game is more fun in two-player mode when two buddies can play against each other on the same device, the game also features a pretty smart AI with three difficulty levels. But that’s enough talk, maybe some screenshots say more:

Starting lineup in a match between Spain and Portugal.

Besides the possibility to choose between more than sixty countries to play with, the game has also other changeable assets like different soccer fields and balls. These also come with different physical properties that slightly change the game-play. While some of these assets come out-of-the-box, some others are only accessible if you unlock them. You can do so by playing and/or winning a number of matches in the various game modes. The prerequisites of each asset can be checked in the appropriate menu and you can also check your current accomplishments by tapping the statistics button in the main menu.

Another match between Peru and Uruguay. The player with Uruguay is about to move.

The game should work well on most Android devices. It requires only API level 4 (Android 1.6). I’ve mainly tested it on my Samsung Galaxy S, which of course runs it smoothly, but I tested it also on other devices like the Motorola Droid, ZTE Blade (San Fransisco) and Samsung Galaxy Spica. The game worked well on the Droid and especially smooth on the Blade, which surprised me a little bit for such a cheap phone. In case of the Spica, it already felt that the phone was not made for gaming, however, at the end I managed to optimize the game enough so that it provides a good user experience on that phone as well.

The main menu. You can scroll left and right to access the additional menu items and you can check your statistics anytime by tapping its icon in the bottom-right corner.

I tried to make the game look like the least possible like “programmer art” and I home I managed to do so. In order to have a fast time-to-market with my first game, I’ve chosen to use a game engine framework first, rather than writing my own. Having a lack of native game engines for Android, I settled down with AndEngine as it looked to have a fast learning curve and actually it has (other option was libgdx). While I’m not a great fan of pre-cooked solutions, AndEngine worked out pretty well with its native Box2D accessible over JNI, however, I also had some bad experiences. I will write another post about my development experiences with Android and AndEngine.

Summary

To sum it up, I managed to publish my first game and I hope you’ll like it. The game is ad supported, so you can download it for FREE from the android market: