Making an attractive Android game

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Making an attractive Android game

by nrz » Post

Hello,
as you know, we are now on Android, with official binaries provided for Google Play Store and later on F-Droid.

For majority of our online players, modding is done server-side, and many of you are modding your client-side version of minetest_game to improve your gameplay experience. Somes also use alternate games like Carbone.

As discussed with celeron55, it's important for Android community and future users to get a more complete game than minetest_game in the Android build. Then we need your feedback to improve Android community experience.

We will create a new "android_game" (or another name) game for Android user's experience, based on minetest_game.

What are the mods you want to see in this game ? Don't forget Android phones/tablets are not PC, then heavy mods are not recommended.

You can also contribute to find a good generic game name for our Android game.

You have the floor !

Base game:
  • minetest_game
Mods to add
  • moreores
  • moreblocks
  • Some homedecor parts
Last edited by nrz on Thu Mar 19, 2015 09:31, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Making an attractive Android game

by 12Me21 » Post

Maybe there should be a very simple version of mesecons

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Re: Making an attractive Android game

by twoelk » Post

A lot of Android users will know minetest from public servers and I presume will expect content they know from these. This survey, made by sfan5 from time to time, provides a little overview on mods used on servers.

As of December 2014:
Some things such as WorldEdit, Areas, Irc but also fake_fire and itemframes are more usefull for servers than the casuall singleplayer. This leaves moreores, moreblocks, signs_lib, homedecor, Irfurn, unified_inventory, building_blocks, plasmascreen, computer and mobs.

So to categorize this a little:
  • crafting guide
    In singleplayer you can ask nobody for help so a crafting guide would be of vital importance to keep the player going. While unified_inventory seems the most popular with server_admins there may be other solutions that fit the possabilities of android users better.
  • more blocks and ores
    Moreblocks and moreores from Calinou are simply classics that should have long ago been included in the default Minetest-game. A version of Building_blocks is included in home_decor although it seems to rather belong in this category.
  • Decorative or functional objects
    Maybe a version of homedecor_basics should be made. Computers and Irfurn belong here but also the signs_lib. Plasmascreens surely add to a feeling of a more alive world. Itemframes and fake_fire may also be included here.
  • mobs
    uhm, well, I guess the single most missed thing when newbies start playing in singleplayer.
Looking into the history of popular mods we also have the groups of:
  • Technical objects and simulations
    Here we have above all Technic and Mesecons but also Pipeworks and other related mods.
  • plants and farming
    I guess more_trees may be too heavy but there are other more lightweight mods that may make use of plants_lib or add other plants.


Mods not so important for singleplayer worlds may be these, although a player focused on good building might want too use some.
  • Professional tools and Multiplayer related mods
    WorldEdit is probably too complicated for a casuall player just as the setup of the Irc mod might be. Areas only makes sense in a multiplayer world and itemframes is used most often with shops. Fake_fire might be of importance for younger players and others that tend to set maps ablaze and is therefor often used as replacement for fire on servers

I may have missed some but I think these groups include many things a player would expect to find and although some of the mods may not work well enough on android systems I suggest that the aspect the player might get dissapointed if he finds much less than he knows from some servers should be considered and at least addressed in some documentation he can read from the main menu and that explains the concept of Minetest-the Engine and Minetest-the-Subgames.

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Re: Making an attractive Android game

by nrz » Post

Thanks for the report. I also think some content mods must be added.
I will look at mobs performance on Android before adding it

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Re: Making an attractive Android game

by 12Me21 » Post

I definitely think the FULL version of homedecor should not be added, as there a lot of features that have very specific uses, and would only be used rarely.

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Re: Making an attractive Android game

by Linuxdirk » Post

nrz wrote:What are the mods you want to see in this game ? Don't forget Android phones/tablets are not PC, then heavy mods are not recommended.
Keep it as vanilla as possible to achieve the same user experience across various platforms.

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Re: Making an attractive Android game

by oleastre » Post

If it can help with the development of a specific android game, I can share some scripts to create and maintain games based on minetest_game and a list of mods. I use that to periodically update my own game (almost vanilla stuff plus some small patches to make everything work seamlessly)

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Re: Making an attractive Android game

by philipbenr » Post

Add some more trees. Just a simple one, not like moretrees or tiny_trees

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Re: Making an attractive Android game

by nrz » Post

I agree that homedecor mustn't be added entierely.
For the vanilla experience, i agree in general but mobile experience is not same as desktop experience. Mobile users are generally another population and a meta-packaging could be better for them to discover minetest.

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Re: Making an attractive Android game

by est31 » Post

How much should the crafting guide be gamified? Should it be something like a sign thats placed somewhere, or accessible from the inventory?

And about the mobs mod, do you have a suggestion? (EDIT: I'll probably give mobs a look if nobody has yet). Also, it should perhaps be configurable (from the GUI) to set whether to spawn evil mobs.

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Re: Making an attractive Android game

by Sokomine » Post

Games designed for the Raspberry Pi (there is one out there) might be helpful for slower devices. Could be called "lightweight world" and contain less ABMs or whatever makes a server slow.

There is also at least one skyblock game, afaik bei Cornernote. It used to run on one of OldCoders servers. The main advantage of such a skyblock game is that it hands out goals to the player (i.e. "build something using 20 sandstones", "reach the sphere above"), which is something some players want. It is also quite fun to play and ought to be quite lightweight for the server.

As to general mod selection for a basic game on phones/tablets, twoelk already listed the most important aspects. A craftguide is definitely something that ought to be there. I got accustomed to unified_inventory. A selection of *some* homedecor nodes would also be very beneficial to such a game. You might also consider adding my cottages mod as that adds nodes I felt where missing in minetest_game. A (simplified) version of travelnet or of any other bookmarks mod would also be very useful so that players can re-visit places they did like.

Furthermore, something like AdventureTest for those that seek fight ought to be added as well.
A list of my mods can be found here.

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Re: Making an attractive Android game

by Casimir » Post

I think it is more important to focus on the things we already have and not start something new that will require even more work.

On my todo list I have three columns: Bugs, Improvements, Features. When I want to do some coding I always start with the bugs. They have the highest priority. When the bugs are fixed then things on the improvement list can be done. And only when those are done I go and try new features.
First it seems that you won't achieve anything this way, but when you do this for some time then things get very effective. It is the bet method to prevent bugs and bad code. In the long term this saves you a lot of work and you can spend even more time on the new features.

What is the use of making a scaled down android game with extra features, when you could instead make minetest_game faster and better? Some of the mentioned mods are a mess when it comes to bugs and polishing. When you include them in the android version you end up maintaining those as well.

Edit: A good example is the mapgen bug in v6 that cuts up things in a certain hight. I might be a hard thing to fix, but once it is there will be a much better mapgen possible. And mpv6 is great, it is still better than the others, no need to start new ones.

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Re: Making an attractive Android game

by nrz » Post

As i see on Google Play Store comments, users wants:

- Crafting guide
- Mobs

What mods can be good for android experience?

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Re: Making an attractive Android game

by philipbenr » Post

I know that cornernote's craftguide has been getting some attention. I think there are a couple others that would be good. Then again, I don't really use them, so...

As for mobs, I think that simple_mobs would be the best, mainly because it is lighter than mobf, and not to complicated. The only other thing about simple_mobs is that the sheep are obnoxiously loud, and that there are really aren't any other peaceful mobs. If you added a pig and a chicken, then simple_mobs would be the way to go.

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Re: Making an attractive Android game

by Calinou » Post

philipbenr wrote:I know that cornernote's craftguide has been getting some attention. I think there are a couple others that would be good. Then again, I don't really use them, so...

As for mobs, I think that simple_mobs would be the best, mainly because it is lighter than mobf, and not to complicated. The only other thing about simple_mobs is that the sheep are obnoxiously loud, and that there are really aren't any other peaceful mobs. If you added a pig and a chicken, then simple_mobs would be the way to go.
What about Carbone Mobs? It has two additional mobs and no annoying sheep sound.

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Re: Making an attractive Android game

by Sokomine » Post

A useable craft guide as part of the basic minetest_game would be very helpful. Most servers by now use unified_inventory - which is very practical once you got used to it. Many other craft guides are not up to date in some aspects; many can't handle groups in receipes and thus don't give helpful advice where i.e. group:wood is asked for. Since we're talking about the mobile client where inventory movements are more tricky than with the desktop version, the copy-to-craftgrid function unified_inventory has ought to be copied by all means. It might also be helpful to have (configurable) shortcuts for commonly used and frequently crafted items - i.e. axe, pick, shovel, sword, 10 torches, wood, sticks, chest. Kind of like bookmarks.
A list of my mods can be found here.

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Re: Making an attractive Android game

by philipbenr » Post

Calinou wrote:
philipbenr wrote:I know that cornernote's craftguide has been getting some attention. I think there are a couple others that would be good. Then again, I don't really use them, so...

As for mobs, I think that simple_mobs would be the best, mainly because it is lighter than mobf, and not to complicated. The only other thing about simple_mobs is that the sheep are obnoxiously loud, and that there are really aren't any other peaceful mobs. If you added a pig and a chicken, then simple_mobs would be the way to go.
What about Carbone Mobs? It has two additional mobs and no annoying sheep sound.
I just wish there were more peaceful mobs. If Jordach's kittens and a pig/chicken was added, the I would say perfect and insert it.

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Re: Making an attractive Android game

by twoelk » Post

philipbenr wrote:...

I just wish there were more peaceful mobs. If Jordach's kittens and a pig/chicken was added, the I would say perfect and insert it.
It's easter! Don't forget some "bunny wabbits"

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Re: Making an attractive Android game

by philipbenr » Post

;) True.

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Re: Making an attractive Android game

by Wuzzy » Post

The default subgame is now called “Minetest Game”, not “minetest_game”:
https://github.com/minetest/minetest_game/issues/437

If you will officially call the new Android game “android_game”, I will bang my head on the table, this is such an ugly name. :D But luckily, this is only a working title.
My ad-hoc suggestions for a name:
- Droidtest
- Androitest
- Minedroid
- Minetest Game Android

Also, did I understood you correctly? You seriously want the Android subgame to be more game-like than the PC version? In other words, the PC subgame (Minetest Game) will have LESS features? This sounds a little bit strange to me. As if you had the motto: “The real game for Android users, and the dumbed-down version for the PC users. They don't care about gameplay anyways.”.
I am a PC user. I do not use Android.

Also, I don't see why you even want to create a different subgame for Android in the first place. Is Minetest Game not feasible for PC? Do you have any data on how well it works on Android? If not, I think there should be first some data gathered. If Minetest Game works just fine on Android without performance problems, then I don't think it is neccessary to have 2 very similar subgames next to each other. Also: Have fun handling all the redundant code then. ;-) :P

Also, I think Minetest Game not being enough like an actual game is a general problem and not related to the platform at all. In fact, the developers could not even agree on what Minetest Game is supposed to be. A sandbox? A game (remember that for a game, you need some sort of goal, some sort of challenge, and, most importantly, meaningful (!) decisions)? A demonstration? Something else?
If you can't answer this simple question for Minetest Game, then I don't see why you would be able to answer it for the Android subgame. I see you do not even plan to make it from scratch, but just base it on Minetest Game. Pfff …


PS: I first thought this was a weird off-topic thread which oddly even became sticky, because I thought you were talking about a COMPLETE NEW video game for Android, unrelated to Minetest.
If you would have said “subgame”, I would have understood it immediately.

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Re: Making an attractive Android game

by Sokomine » Post

Wuzzy wrote: Also, I don't see why you even want to create a different subgame for Android in the first place.
There might be a good point to having a diffrent game in the Android version than in the desktop one: The later one can be updated and extended with mods much easier than the Android version. On a desktop, you can choose whichever mods you like. On a tablet or phone, a low ram and cpu profile is far more important.

For me, minetest_game provides the basic nodes and functionality - something all other mods can build and depend on. Not everyone wants to write complete mapgens and complex games. Mods that focus on one aspect need indigrents so that what they provide can be brought into the world - usually through crafting. The overall "game" is in a way far less a game than a tool like a painting program - just in 3d and with predefined blocks. More art than game.
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Re: Making an attractive Android game

by nrz » Post

Sokomine wrote:
Wuzzy wrote: Also, I don't see why you even want to create a different subgame for Android in the first place.
There might be a good point to having a diffrent game in the Android version than in the desktop one: The later one can be updated and extended with mods much easier than the Android version. On a desktop, you can choose whichever mods you like. On a tablet or phone, a low ram and cpu profile is far more important.

For me, minetest_game provides the basic nodes and functionality - something all other mods can build and depend on. Not everyone wants to write complete mapgens and complex games. Mods that focus on one aspect need indigrents so that what they provide can be brought into the world - usually through crafting. The overall "game" is in a way far less a game than a tool like a painting program - just in 3d and with predefined blocks. More art than game.
Right, Android platform is stricter than PC platform, an adapter game is better for user experience. Also Android players are not modders at the beginning and use Android apps like candies, they eat and they trash it without testing all aspects.

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Re: Making an attractive Android game

by Wuzzy » Post

My point was actually why the PC version should have less built-in functionality than the Android version. If it is justifiable to add more stuff to the Android version, why not adding it to the PC version as well?
Is it because you want to have a small subgame which can be (relatively) easily extended by mods?

The obvious downside of this is that Minetest Game does not really “feel” complete. :-/
Also, extensions are great and stuff, but if you ship a subgame which is incomplete by intention, then you are basically demanding from the player to do the game design themselves. xD

There is nothing wrong with that, playing around with several mods can be fun. After all, Minetest Game is mostly a sandbox, so it makes sense.
But on the other hand, you have to keep in mind that Minetest Game is the first subgame most, if not all, Minetest users will encounter. And from judging this first impression, Minetest Game alone feels pretty empty and unchallenging.


If you want to keep Minetest Game's “Building Block” approach (small/simple base subgame with strong modding capability), fine. But I think it is a bad idea to keep this as the default / pre-installed subgame, because of the relatively poor impression. I think maybe Minetest Game developers should aim towards completeness rather than a “Building Block” appraoch. Without neccessarily dropping the modding capability, of course. At least not entirely. But the base game alone should already be complete and interesting enough that adding mods is really just optional.

A “Building Block” approach is actually more interesting for “advanced” Minetest users (those users who have used Minetest long enough to install additional mods or subgames).

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Re: Making an attractive Android game

by philipbenr » Post

I think that modding on an android device wouldn't be to easy so, as Wuzzy/nrz was saying, make the Minetest Game on android much more spiffy. That way, people will look at it and like it, like the eye candy. But this does bring up a question: Will the android game be built and only usable on the android version of Minetest? Can people on PC just download the android game and use it for PC? I mean, what is the point of all this? Eventually, people are going to ask for the android game to become the actual Minetest game and have the other one become Minetest Vanilla or Minetest Base...

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Re: Making an attractive Android game

by BlockMen » Post

To speak with clear words, the problem is not to "just throw a few mods in that adds more content", the problem is that many mods that would be needed to make the game more complete are either very controversial (e.g. something like hunger) OR not "good enough" to be added (e.g. Mobs).

There are a lot mobs mods already, that work somewhat reliable and without huge lags, anyhow they tend to be too heavy for lower budget computers or not high-end smartphones. The cheap way for "more content" is more and more blocks, but IMO that is not the most missing in Minetest Game.

And my personal opinion on this is to have better less content than much content that would cause trouble, lags and lower the fun by that.

Also: adding a mod is for most "common" players easier than removing "builtin" mods. Plus, this could cause more problems since other mods would probably depend on those "builtin" mods.

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