I hacked the Android build for a day - Feedback needed

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I hacked the Android build for a day - Feedback needed

by celeron55 » Tue Jan 06, 2015 16:58

The thing

Try this: http://packages.8dromeda.net/minetest/M ... -1-rc1.apk

It's the result of me using one day to try to make the Android version playable. Play it for as long as your mobile gaming sessions usually last. If you don't hate singleplayer, play singleplayer. Otherwise play on a server or do whatever you think you should be able to use it for.

2015-01-09 EDIT: I think the existing replies are now quite enough!

DO NOT read any replies of this topic before doing that. That would make you biased and not a good tester.

What I am aiming for is something that is useful to the general Android user, with the end goal of eventually putting this up on Google Play as the official version. It's rough as hell, but it has every hack I could make in that timespan, including game and engine modifications.


I need feedback, but not any feedback. I need feedback on whether this is of acceptable quality to go on the store, and if not, what are the absolute minimum improvements that have to be made.

When replying, start your reply by telling what you did in the game, and then tell what you think breaks the game for you in such a way that it cannot be made available on Google Play. If it is already fine enough, say that it is. Any suggested improvements must equal to less than a few days of full-time development.

Do not post anything else in this topic than feedback in the requested format.


2015-01-09 EDIT: Oh, apparently the apk has my complete mods directory content in it. Didn't think the build system would do something that ridiculous.


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Re: I hacked the Android build for a day - Feedback needed

by Casimir » Tue Jan 06, 2015 20:55

On Moto G. Android 4.4.4
As a user I always prefer to install from f-droid rather than google play. So I would be happy to see Minetest on f-droid first.
I don't test android versions that often, so I will say everything I noticed, no matter if it is a known issue or not. First I was not able to connect to multiplayer servers. Therefore I only tested singleplayer and survival mode. I walked around, dug, placed, crafted as far as possible, swam, and tired to connect to servers.

There are many small things that are not nice, but no big issue:
- On start up the bar jumps around because of the text being to big for the screen.
- The menu is too small. Same for the crafting menu. It is hard to read or tap anything.
- Scrollbars are almost impossible to use.
- Button to enable flying is almost on the botton of the screen while the other are on top.
- When you lift the finger during crafting, the selected item gets invisible.
- Various graphic bugs.

Positiv things:
+ It seems that mods that get loaded from a server are then installed on the device. That is a surprising good feature. But I am not sure if this is intended. It might cause some issues when mods change or different servers use different versions.
+ Icons look good and are self explaining. That is something very important.
+ Controls for digging and placing are useable (but could be better).
+ Third person view works without problems and looks good.
+ The increased step hight makes the game playable. It is very relaxing not having to somehow jump all the time.

Big issues are:
- I don't understand how crafting is supposed to work. How do you place single items? I was able to craft wood and sticks, but no tools.
- To sneak is annoying. Best would be that I press the sneak button once, and then I sneak until I press it again. Holding it and trying to walk is horrible. Just like it works with fly and fast and noclip.
- I was not able to connect to a server. I also tried connecting to my server and there wasn't even a notice that someone tried to connect. Not sure what went wrong here.
- On startup I spawned underground. When people start with a black screen they will just uninstall the game. Nobody knows about "/grant singleplayer noclip". Maybe that should be a default priv on android.

All in all I don't consider the android version playable. When on google play, people will just dismiss it. When on F-droid there should be at least a notice that this is not playable.

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Re: I hacked the Android build for a day - Feedback needed

by jin_xi » Wed Jan 07, 2015 00:49

very impressed. at first i was worried i had spawned underground, but it just took a while for the world to generate. so after waiting a bit for the fog to clear i started walking around and testing the changed walk/jump and point and do stuff interface. it works very well, but i found it hard to build because of the range of placement. to admire my work i built a pole, wich also went much smoother than thought. so i tried using the inventory, but its not very usable. dragged items stick to the upper left corner, and placing them into fields is very hard to do. I wished it had inventory buttons that just drop the stuff in my inv instead of this, its frustrating to just get materials into the hotbar, now imagine crafting.
all in all its solid, no crashes. its too easy to scale ui too much and i had to edit the conf file to get back.

i think with better inventory handling its releasable as alpha, polish is always hard and long to get right.

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Re: I hacked the Android build for a day - Feedback needed

by jojoa1997 » Wed Jan 07, 2015 12:32

I have the nexus 7 and am using android 5.0. I like the GUI and how it auto steps for you but the crouch and jump buttons are too small vertically. The inventory is all messed up with stuff in the wrong spots and upside down. I kinda like the double tap for placing but for about 5 minutes I was cluelessly wandering around. Also the view distance is super small but I don't know if it was minetest or the limits of my tablet because I experienced major lag. I will test servers now
I had no success in connecting to a server and the public server list doesn't let me use the server I clicked on.
I feel that the menu is very bad. A custom menu for tablets should be made so it is easier to use.
1X coding
3X debugging
12X tweaking to be just right

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Re: I hacked the Android build for a day - Feedback needed

by KodexKy » Wed Jan 07, 2015 21:49

Ok. I've tested this for half an hour on a 7" tablet (Dual core 1.6Ghz, 1Gb Ram). Tried singleplayer and connected to my home server. Tested mgv6 & 7 with minimal and a minetest_game heavily overloaded with mods.

First, a 58mb apk was surprising, it's interesting to have a copy of your mods folder but that made the install and the assets copy last way more than normal, it also overwrote some of my tweaked mods. (I didn't expect that folder to be touched by the install. Well, that's enough crying, after all it's my fault for not making a backup first). Moving on...
I believe that main menu style should be an option on the setting tab. The simplified one it's ok for some users, but it cripples the game for many more. Most android users aren't likely to go editing text files trying to configure a game and it may be a deal breaker for them.
The GUI scaling setting needs a failsafe, it's too easy to set a catastrophic value leaving the gui useless.
The default touch threshold should be a little higher just to be safe, current value jitters on every screen i've tested it, and many users don't even know what that setting means. A splash screen on first run (or a Help tab) with some info about tweaking these settings may be useful for new players.
Font scaling is a little annoying, not a deal breaker for me, but new users may get a bad impression from that.
The pause screen volume and hotkeys should be fixed or removed (if i'm not wrong they just lack the touch event handling, not sure about it anyway, i did a quick read of that code like 2 month ago looking for something else) in their actual state they are going to attract bad reviews on the store.
Auto jump is most welcomed for exploring but it shouldn't be always on as it disrupts normal gameplay (falling from bridges with 1 node high walls is very annoying, for example). I was working on a PR to add auto jump toggleable by hotkey and double crouch. Now that you are at it i don't know if i should finish it (will take a couple of days though, i'm drowning in work this week).
The no digging while moving is very useful but it makes fighting mobs quite difficult. I have to stand still and swing, or start swinging and then move while doing it.
As you may know i'm the author of the centered status text commit, did that because with my gui scaling setting status text overlaps the arrow buttons (tried smaller scalings but it's hell made interface for me). Also tried just moving it up a little, but then i saw my kids playing and they moved their fingers away to read it anyway. I think it's funny they do that, but there may be more people doing the same.
There is also a problem with formspecs that makes some of them unclosable. Don't remember which mods are affected nor what i did to fix them, should have contacted their authors when i fixed them but i forgot it until now.

I'm more than eager to see an official minetest on the play store, but in it's current state i believe it's gonna attract some bad reviews.

Edit: I had some luck after all, The overwritten mods were few, nothing important was lost. My worldedit is safe and now i have a backup. :)
Last edited by KodexKy on Thu Jan 08, 2015 06:53, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: I hacked the Android build for a day - Feedback needed

by Sokomine » Thu Jan 08, 2015 05:25


First start, network disabled:Image Next start, this time with network enabled, worked fine.

Some flickering occoured at the borders of nodes: Image

Opening the inventory in creative mode has the pictures of the nodes scrolling through at the bottom. It's not a big problem and may not even be noticeable on faster hardware. It is probably due to preload_item_visuals beeing disabled (which in general is a very good idea). Telling people that this is nothing to worry about might be a good idea.

When I digged a tree (in creative mode), drew the trunk to the crafting grid and turned it into planks, the planks visually disappeared. After digging a second trunk, they reappeared. It seems inventory updates are sometimes not working as smoothly. Or it's a creative issue. I seldom use that mode.

Automaticly walking one node high without having to jump is very very helpful. I want that for the desktop version as well!

It's good that there are now icons for the function keys and privs. Touching one of them in order to find out what it stands for works fine. The drop icon was not immediately obvious, but it's easy to figure out through trying.

The "cancel" and "save" buttons in the keybindings menu withhin the game do not seem to work. I was unable to close that window.

Items which would be attached to the mouse pointer on the desktop linger in the upper left corner of the screen and may easily be overlooked. Getting items out of creative inventory was slightly confusing that way.

A mouse tends to have 2-3 buttons, while tapping is only one action. And sometimes mods combine shift+right/left mouseclick. It would be great to have an option for that. Many mods uses these combinations for extra functionality.

In general, walking around or even building with the controls on android is difficult for me. There are plenty of players out there who do not seem to have that trouble and who may give better feedback on that.


The screenshot in the introductory posting in this thread shows the green bricks found in moreblocks. Yet moreblocks doesn't seem to be included.

A craft guide would be very helpful. Servers ususally provide one, but in singleplayer for first-time-players, a craft guide could help a lot. Trouble might be finding one that operates well with the mobile version. inventory_plus - which is very useful in general - does not work in the version included.

animals_modpack, caverealms, undergrowth, ... on smartphones? Ambitious doesn't even begin to describe it. Many high-end machines go to their knees when faced with full plantlife. The modpack even has to spread its load. I just think with horror at what may happen if a player clicks on "enable all". Maybe this is a situation where pre-configured modpacks (or subgames or games) might be good. At least in first-contact-situations. Something like Carbone or similar basic modpacks/games would be better for mobile devices than full-featured mapgens.


The start menu is a bit crowded. It works, but I wonder how well first-time users will be able to handle it. Offering just two main buttons (with pictures instead of text) for singleplayer, multiplayer and perhaps smaller ones for main, settings, mods and credits might be more intuitive for new players.

How can the singleplayer world be reset or a new one be started? For long-time players, this might be intresting. Singleplayer worlds might also be identified on the mobile version through a screenshot showing what the player last saw in the world when playing that particular one. Come to think of that, it might also be helpful for servers. The screenshot would have to be very small. Perhaps as big for each world as the list of servers is now.


Singleplayer works surprisingly well. Even on a 40 euro tablet which comes with only 512 mb RAM. Playing is smooth, view range is impressive for such a device and certainly sufficient, framerate is more than ok.

Servers are a diffrent matter. Even with a smartphone with more memory (1 GB), most servers do not work well due to them offering too many nodes, textures and other material.

And even if a server works in theory, there's that matter of tablet users beeing frowned upon. Many do not even bother to select a name, join as Guest1234, and don't seem to really know what to do apart from griefing and killing each other. Tablet users have a very bad reputation. Still, there are those that behave very well.

It might help a lot to offer a tutorial world. There's one around that many players seem to like and where players can experiment with the controls before joining a server.

Suspected acceptance:

Hard to tell. The app runs astonishingly well but does have some minor issues and needs enough memory. A lot of players already use the unofficial/illegal versions - for those, it'll be a huge step forward to get this far better working version. Experienced players will also enjoy it. Please also try to get it added to the F-Droid appstore. That's an alternate market for open source apps where Minetest would fit in perfectly. The majority of players might still be reached better through the official market.

It's great how much the moible version has developed! I was very impressed when I first saw that it worked on today's smartphones. After all I came to Minetest because my desktop couldn't handle Minecraft properly (and modding the classic version isn't really supported). And now Minetest runs on my smartphone and on a 40 euro tablet. What more can you wish for? :-)
A list of my mods can be found here.

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Re: I hacked the Android build for a day - Feedback needed

by ezraanderson » Thu Jan 08, 2015 22:55

Do not post anything else in this topic than feedback in the requested format.

Apologizes, I do not have a lot of time to test at the moment, and I know this is not the format you want. However, I have some Feedback on the/your android version that might save you some programming time, some of the things you might have already fixed.

What I did:
  • Walked around
  • collect some dirt
  • built a dirt house

General feed back for your version:
  • Allow to skip the file scan at the Minetest startup, and fix the file scan activity to fit the screen properly.
  • FPS are too low try the scaler fix posted below.
  • Too many things on the screen move to options menu.
  • Samsung s2 gui scaling was really bad try the fix below
  • Fps dips every 5 seconds from 20fps to 12fps look at code below.
  • Once it took about 10 seconds for the emerge thread to put in the world in single player mode.
  • touch interface works quite well.

Scaling, Font, Gui, Fps :

  • Set a static low resolution size for the android hardware scaler in irrlicht.
  • Set minetest gui scaling to a static number in the java-host-return and it should work well on all devices.
  • Then remove the scaler form the gui menu.
  • It will also give a few more fps to minetest when down scaling from higher res-devices.

Code: Select all
    EGLint Format = 0;
    eglGetConfigAttrib(EglDisplay, EglConfig, EGL_NATIVE_VISUAL_ID, &Format);

// YOU DON"T WANT IT RUNNING AT THE MAX RESOLUTION OF THE DEVICES, 720p and 1080p makes minetest run poorly on low end devices
//MAYBE 320x480

    ANativeWindow_setBuffersGeometry(EglWindow, 720, 480, Format);

4.10 stable android, Fps dips:

  • This code seemed to cause me problems on my android version of minetest, it gives 5fps dip every time it gets executed which makes for an unpleasant experience. Not sure if you have the same problem or a patch.

Code: Select all
994: while(m_unsent_map_edit_queue.size() != 0)

4.10 stable android, Crashes on main menu when idling

Crashes if you let it idle for a long time on the main menus, it appears to be caused from displaying images on the main menu gui, I resolved this from removing all images from the menu but I am sure there is a code fix somewhere.

Android host java

A splash screen on first run (or a Help tab)

I have a built in help system in my android version that I would happily help patch in. It is some what dynamic and just reads txt files from the assets folder. Its done inside the android host.


The pause screen volume and hotkeys should be fixed or removed

I agree remove anything that doesn't work and add things that can only be accessed from hotkeys. This is my current android pause menu. Probably would only take you a few hours to clone the concept. Adding things here instead of cluttering the HUD, and maybe access it via the android back key.


I need feedback, but not any feedback. I need feedback on whether this is of acceptable quality to go on the store, and if not, what are the absolute minimum improvements that have to be made.

I would bring the android version to a state that you are happy with and be prepared to do some addition work on it when you can. You will get bad reviews no matter what, and you will have some android devices that just won't work. I would add a welcome message that states:

    Early access for the Official version of Minetest on Google Play. We are happy to officially bring Minetest to android but we need user feedback to help make Minetest the best possible experience. Instead of giving a Minetest a bad rating please report any issues in the comment section and we will try our best to resolve them, Thanks
Last edited by ezraanderson on Thu Jan 08, 2015 23:59, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: I hacked the Android build for a day - Feedback needed

by ezraanderson » Thu Jan 08, 2015 23:10

Double post.

1. I might prefer an onscreen button for dig and build, instead of long press and double touch.
2. when single tap an item in the inventory it currently gets placed in the top left, half on the screen, it would be nice to have an inventory square showing the current selected item.

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Re: I hacked the Android build for a day - Feedback needed

by ezraanderson » Thu Jan 08, 2015 23:51

Another tip. I have noticed with android devices that node selection range can really kill fps. so using the lowest possible range will be best. I think creative mod is set to 10, which just doesn't work well on android, my suggestion would be 3 or 4.

Code: Select all

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Re: I hacked the Android build for a day - Feedback needed

by celeron55 » Fri Jan 09, 2015 12:53

This is probably enough replies for now; no need to spend more of your time on this!

The results are unclear though. It seems there are lots of small issues that add up. I think we need a dedicated android-MT developer/maintainer who focuses on these kinds of issues in the user experience and who would also decide when it's ready to go in these stores. Not sure if it's possible to find one though.

If you are someone who wishes to do this, tell me so that I can sort out the repositories and other things for you.

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Re: I hacked the Android build for a day - Feedback needed

by celeron55 » Sun Jan 11, 2015 13:40

On IRC today: http://irc.minetest.ru/minetest-dev/201 ... #i_4105056 http://irc.minetest.ru/minetest-dev/201 ... #i_4105156

In conclusion: There are multiple people working on android-specific things. Development can be coordinated by using github issues and milestones as needed.

So... if you'd like to track a fix to a problem or an implementation of a feature, mentioned here or elsewhere, feel free to add it as an issue on github.

The release point of the android version remains unclear.

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