Java Reference
In-Depth Information
Table 8.1 (continued)
Small pre-rendered images used to represent objects in a
game; they can be moved, animated and rotated
A 2D area representing the currently visible area of the
game world
Mobile phones also tend to offer quite limited multimedia capabili-
ties. Until recently many phones only supported simple tone generation
sequences and MIDI playback. This has changed though and these days
powerful device hardware is common and easily accessible via APIs for
onboard cameras, the microphone, digital audio, the display and video
playback, and so on. User input techniques are also a lot more limited
on mobile devices than on dedicated games hardware. Phones tend to
be limited to either a five-way jog dial using standard Java ME game key
mappings or touch screen input with a stylus (as on UIQ phones from
Sony Ericsson).
Games for mobile phones need to be designed for the unexpected.
They need to be ready to react almost instantaneously to a change in the
operating environment. In terms of Java ME, games need to be particularly
sensitive to the MIDlet lifecycle (see [de Jode 2004]). Research fromNokia
[2006b] has shown that many mobile games are played in short bursts by
casual gamers. Mobile games are most often played while waiting for a
bus, on a queue, or in a lecture or business meeting.
Given this, they need to be designed with a completely different execu-
tion model in mind. They need to start quickly, be easy to play and quick to
engage. Unlike mainstream games, we need to avoid long title sequences
with intro movies or background stories during start up. They need to
be easily stopped, re-started, paused and resumed, and support multiple
short bursts of play. A great technique for aiding this is to use automatic
save points throughout the game. That way if game play is unexpectedly
terminated, the player can re-start at some well-defined point.
Mobile games need to be able to quickly adapt to a user's changing
operating environment on demand. A well-designed mobile game should
allow the user to disable all multimedia effects, including sound, audio
or video sequence playback, vibration, and camera usage, at any time,
even during game play, so the ability to change game settings should
always be available to the player. The best way to do this is by careful
design of the game pause menu. For an excellent in-depth treatment of
this topic please refer to the article 5
from Forum Nokia. Basically, you
5 See [Nokia 2006a]
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