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Sams Teach Yourself Android Game Programming in 24 Hours

By Jonathan S. Harbour

Published by Sams

Published Date: Nov 15, 2012


In just 24 sessions of one hour or less, Sams Teach Yourself Android Game Programming in 24 Hours will help you master mobile game development for Android 4. Using a straightforward, step-by-step approach, you’ll gain hands-on expertise with the entire process: from getting access to the hardware via the Android SDK to finishing a complete example game. You’ll learn to use the Android SDK and open source software to design and build fast, highly playable games for the newest Android smartphones and tablets. Every lesson builds on what you’ve already learned, giving you a rock-solid foundation for real-world success!


Step-by-step instructions carefully walk you through the most common Android game programming tasks.

Quizzes and exercises at the end of each chapter help you test your knowledge.

By the Way notes present interesting information related to the discussion.

Did You Know? tips offer advice or show you easier ways to perform tasks.

Watch Out! cautions alert you to possible problems and give you advice on how to avoid them.


Jonathan Harbour is a writer and instructor whose love for computers and video games dates back to the Commodore PET and Atari 2600 era. He has a Master’s in Information Systems Management. His portfolio site at includes a discussion forum. He also authored Sams Teach Yourself Windows Phone 7 Game Programming in 24 Hours. His love of science fiction led to the remake of a beloved classic video game with some friends, resulting in Starflight—The Lost Colony (


Learn how to…

  • Install and configure the free development tools, including the Android 4 SDK, Java Development Kit, and Eclipse (or NetBeans)
  • Use the Android graphics system to bring your game characters to life
  • Load and manage bitmaps, and use double buffering for better performance
  • Incorporate timing and animation with threaded game loops
  • Tap into the touch screen for user input
  • Learn to use Android sensors such as the accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, light detector, and thermometer
  • Integrate audio into your games using the media player
  • Build your own game engine library to simplify gameplay code in your projects
  • Animate games with sprites using atlas images and fast matrix transforms
  • Employ object-oriented programming techniques using inheritance and data hiding
  • Create an advanced animation system to add interesting behaviors to game objects
  • Detect collisions and simulate realistic movement with trigonometry
  • Experiment with an evolving engine coding technique that more naturally reflects how games are written

Table of Contents

Introduction      xvii

Part I: Introduction

HOUR 1: Introducing Android 4     3

Hello, Android 4     3

About the Android SDK     7

About the Android NDK     8

Android Dev System Requirements     8

History of the Platform     9

Android Hardware Specifications     11

Summary     13

Q&A     13

Workshop     14

HOUR 2: Installing the Development Tools     15

Installing the JDK     16

Downloading the NetBeans Package     17

Installing the Package     17

Installing the Android SDK     19

Downloading the SDK     20

Installing the SDK     20

Running the Android SDK Manager     23

Installing the ADT Plug-in for Eclipse     25

Summary     28

Q&A     29

Workshop     29

HOUR 3: Configuring NetBeans and Eclipse with the Android SDK     31

Creating an Android Emulator Device     31

Plugging Android SDK into NetBeans     35

Adding Android SDK Support to Eclipse     40

Summary     45

Q&A     46

Workshop     46

Hour 4: Creating Your First Android Program     47

Creating a New Android Project     47

Building the New Project     52

Editing the “Hello, Android!” Program     60

Comparing the Emulator to an Android Device     63

Summary     72

Q&A     72

Workshop     72

Part II: Android Hardware

HOUR 5: Getting Started with Graphics     77

Understanding the Activity Class     77

Testing the Activity States     79

World’s Simplest Android Graphics Demo     86

Summary     90

Q&A     91

Workshop     91

HOUR 6: Drawing Basic Shapes and Text     93

Drawing Basic Vector Shapes     93

Drawing Text     99

Writing Code for Javadoc     103

Android Screen Densities and Resolutions     104

Summary     109

Q&A     110

Workshop     110

HOUR 7: Loading and Drawing Images     111

Double-Buffered Drawing     111

Loading a Bitmap File     115

Drawing a Bitmap     120

Summary     126

Q&A     126

Workshop     127

HOUR 8: Bringing Your Game to Life with Looping     129

Creating a Threaded Game Loop     129

Drawing Without onDraw()     132

The Runnable Animation Demo     134

Summary     140

Q&A     141

Workshop.     141

HOUR 9: Multi-Touch User Input     143

Single-Touch Input     143

Multi-Touch Input      148

Summary     155

Q&A     155

Workshop     156

HOUR 10: Using the Accelerometer     157

Android Sensors     157

Summary     168

Q&A     168

Workshop     168

HOUR 11: Using the Linear Acceleration and Proximity Sensors     169

Accessing the Linear Acceleration Sensor     169

Accessing the Proximity Sensor     177

Summary     178

Q&A     178

Workshop     178

HOUR 12: Using the Gravity and Pressure Sensors     181

Using the Gravity Sensor     181

Using the Pressure Sensor     188

Summary     189

Q&A     190

Workshop     190

HOUR 13: Creating Your Own “Tricorder”     191

Encapsulating the Android Sensors     191

Creating the Tricorder Project     195

Summary     211

Q&A     211

Workshop.     211

HOUR 14: Playing with the Audio System     213

Playing Audio Using MediaPlayer     213

Playing Audio Using SoundPool     218

Summary     221

Q&A     221

Workshop     221

Part III: Android Gameplay

HOUR 15: Building an Android Game Engine     225

Designing an Android Game Engine     226

Creating an Android Library Project     229

Writing the Core Engine Classes     234

Engine Test Demo Project     247

Summary     253

Q&A     253

Workshop     254

HOUR 16: Creating a Sprite/Actor Class     255

Static Sprite as a “Prop”     255

Dynamic Sprite as an “Actor”     257

Encapsulating Basic Sprite Functionality     258

Testing the Sprite Class     261

Summary     266

Q&A     266

Workshop     267

HOUR 17: Frame Animation Using a Sprite Sheet/Atlas     269

Animating with a Single Strip     269

Animating with a Sprite Sheet (Texture Atlas)     272

The Animation Demo     273

Summary     278

Q&A     279

Workshop     279

HOUR 18: Advanced Multi-Animation Techniques     281

Creating an Animation System     281

Animation System Demo     293

Summary     297

Q&A     297

Workshop     298

HOUR 19: Manipulating Sprites with Matrix Transforms     299

Matrix Translation     299

Matrix Rotation     305

Matrix Scaling     306

Matrix Transforms Demo     307

Summary     319

Q&A     320

Workshop     320

HOUR 20: Entity Grouping     321

Entity Grouping     321

Summary     332

Q&A     332

Workshop     332

HOUR 21: Collision Detection     333

Collision Detection Techniques     333

Demonstrating Collisions     337

Summary     347

Q&A     348

Workshop     348

HOUR 22: Using Linear Velocity for Realistic Movement     349

Calculating Velocity from a Direction     349

“Pointing” a Sprite in the Direction of Movement     352

Enhancing the Engine     355

Summary     368

Q&A     369

Workshop     369

HOUR 23: Scrolling the Background     371

Background Scrolling Overview     371

The Shoot-’Em-Up Game     374

Summary     382

Q&A     382

Workshop.     382

HOUR 24: Ball and Paddle Game     385

Creating the Ball and Paddle Game     385

Summary     394

Q&A     395

Workshop     395

Index     397



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$27.99 | ISBN-13: 978-0-13-303381-6

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