Android: Getting the Development Environment Ready

If you are an existing Android developer and are comfortable with any section, please feel free to skim through it.

Download and Install the following components in the order specified (Ignore things that you have already installed).
1. Java Development Kit(JDK) – latest version
2. Android SDK
3. Eclipse IDE for Java Developers
4. ADT plugin for Eclipse (follow installation instructions on the link page provided, to integrate Android SDK with Eclipse)

We will use Eclipse for developing for Android because Eclipse really gels well with ADK. While other IDEs like NetBeans have Android plugins, they are not officially supported by the IDE. If you really plan to work on Android, go ahead and install Eclipse. There is no other choice !

I have Kepler Edition installed on my PC. You may chose to install Kepler edition or better still the edition that supports latest Android API. This is often updated on Android documentation page.

Post Install Configurations

We are now into the final steps ready to get our environment ready. The best way to test a program is to run it on a real Android device. If you are serious about Android development, go get an Android device. If you do not have a device panic not !

The second best option is to run your programs on Android device emulators aka Android Virtual Device (AVD). Follow this short video to add AVD to our Eclipse IDE.

Note however that a lot of AVDs have a buggy implementation and do often give unexpected results. Additionally things like multi-touch can never be emulated on a AVD as you have just one mouse pointer to emulate a single screen touch.

All this might take a while and might seem irritating at first but its worth the effort. If you get stuck at any point google it out, you will get answers to your problems.

Getting Started

Before we get down to developing any game, let us spend some times getting acquainted with the application framework that is already available to us in a typical android device.

The next few lessons will cover the following capabilities offered by Android:

  • Windowing Services (Activity & Services)
  • Handling Input (Keyboard, Touch pad and Accelerometer)
  • File I/O (Reading files and saving contents into files)
  • Audio API( to play music and game sound effects)
  • Graphics(To render all display)

The Android application framework is really huge. We will not cover the everything from the API as the API documentation is good enough resource for that. We will instead focus only on those aspects of the API which you are likely to encounter for game programming.

Now that we have our development environment ready, let us now start with the first section titled Windowing Services.