Getting Started with Sugar ORM

Sugar is a very easy to use ORM library used to make handling databases on Android hassle-free. Whilst it lacks some features, it is ideally suited to smaller projects due to the simple syntax.

There is official documentation, but it misses a few key points, so this article will serve as an alternative “Getting Started” guide. It also highlights a few vital options that aren’t mentioned in the official guide, and is geared towards those new to Android who want an easy way to setup a local database. Continue reading “Getting Started with Sugar ORM”

Auto-detecting Device Orientation Whilst Allowing User to Override

The Problem

When creating games (and other apps), screen orientation is very important. In general, more casual games use portrait, whilst more hardcore / intense games use landscape. However, some games may be inbetween these two categories, or may wish to reach a wider audience by supporting both. Automatically rotating to match device orientation is easy, but allowing the user to “lock” one orientation is a little trickier.
Continue reading “Auto-detecting Device Orientation Whilst Allowing User to Override”

Selectively Playing Tracks Whilst Game Is Active / Open

The Problem

Playing background music on Android is pretty easy: just start a service with a media player. Great, that was easy! However, when the user presses the home button, the music… continues. This is good for music apps, but awful for games. In this example, Blacksmith Slots had one music track for the intro, and one for the main game. Continue reading “Selectively Playing Tracks Whilst Game Is Active / Open”

Implementing A Locale / Language Selector

The Problem

Android applications are distributed to users around the world, and these users aren’t always going to speak the same languages as you. Luckily, Android has excellent built-in support for automatically applying the right language, however this isn’t always enough. Sometimes a user may want to choose their language, and unfortunately there’s no built-in way to support this. The game Pixel Blacksmith uses the technique described in this article. Continue reading “Implementing A Locale / Language Selector”

Custom Alert Dialog With Dynamic Buttons

The Problem

Alert Dialogs are an excellent way of providing a confirmation screen, or letting users select from a set of options. However, customising them can be tricky, and they have a maximum of 3 buttons (positive, neutral, negative), all of which are positioned differently in different Android versions. If advanced customisation or more than 3 buttons are required, the usual method of modifying colours etc (styles) isn’t enough! Continue reading “Custom Alert Dialog With Dynamic Buttons”

Android: Importing Levels From QR Codes (Camera / File)

The Problem

In a previous post, it was discussed how to export levels from an Android game (in this case Connect Quest) so that other players could play them. Now that they’re exported, we need to be able to import them again! This post will explain how to import QR codes either directly from the camera, or embedded within an image on the file system.

Continue reading “Android: Importing Levels From QR Codes (Camera / File)”