The Vulkan graphics API is a big deal for mobile developers, since its direct GPU access allows for complex graphics to be rendered with a considerably lower hit to the processor, and thus a lower overhead on the hardware and battery life. A few devices like the SHIELD family and Samsung's 7 series already supported Vulkan several months ago, but Nougat now features full support for all updated Android 7.0 devices. Developer Super Evil Megacorp, which turned heads last year with its Vainglory mobile MOBA, now has a beta version that uses the Vulkan API. Read More
Benchmarking applications like 3DMark and PassMark are great for scoring the graphics or computational power of a given device. Nenamark 2 was a popular choice for benchmarking graphics back in the day, and five years after Nenamark 2 launched, Nenamark 3 has arrived. It's not clear why.
I hesitate to even call Nenamark 3 a benchmarking app. It's designed like a game - the benchmark proceeds through levels, each level having up to four tests. But the benchmark ends as soon as your device can't reach a steady FPS arbitrarily determined by the Nenamark app. So instead of a useful score like an average FPS or the time it took to complete the test, my Nexus 5X gets a score of "3-0." Uhh... Read More
Unless you regularly develop video games or other visually-intensive programs, you probably don't know what Vulkan is. That's OK. But if you are in the habit of developing visually complex apps for Android, the news that Google plans to support the Vulkan API is a big deal indeed. And it looks like the company intends to jump into the Vulkan pool with both feet: Google has just hired an entire team of dedicated Vulkan developers and folded them into the Android team.
Here's the gist: Vulkan is a cross-platform, low-overhead graphics API created by a consortium called Khronos (get it?). The advantage of Vulkan over other standards is that it gives developers direct access to GPU hardware, allowing a game to manually manage things like GPU cores and memory. Read More
Some graphical benchmarks are meant to be fairly boring but reliable tests of visual output - the reliable Quadrant benchmark from Aurora Softworks is a good example. Others create an intense graphical test by making a fully-realized 3D environment, essentially a tech demo that's meant to be a digital ruler for the performance of competing components or devices. 3DMark's Android benchmark, with its space battle cutscene, is one of these tests.
Now there's an alternative version of 3DMark. It tests the same technical parameters: frames per second, physics engine accuracy, power output, that sort of thing. The only thing that's different is the 3D cutscene. Read More
NVIDIA has been the first few pebbles of the landslide that is CES for the last few years, and 2015 is no different. To kick off the world's biggest consumer tech show, CEO Jen-Hsun Huang started with mobile. The company announced its successor to the Tegra K1 mobile processor, the Tegra X1. This chip includes an octa-core 64-bit CPU married to a 256-core GPU. And that second chip is the killer: it's based on the same architecture as the latest full-sized NVIDIA desktop graphics cards, Maxwell.
While Huang was quick to point out the chip's fantastic graphical capabilities (without going into extreme detail), he also wanted to show off its video rendering prowess. Read More
Have you felt the call of video game development? Maybe you've seen some game featured in the news and thought, "That sucks, I can do way better." Well, put your money where your mouth is and prove it. StackSocial is giving customers the opportunity to name their own price and pick up two courses offered by Udemy on the topics of game development and design, or pick up two additional courses by beating the average price.
In case you're not familiar with Udemy, it's an online training service that currently offers over 20,000 courses on a very wide variety of topics. Read More
Hey, did you know that John Woo made an Android game? You will by the time you read the Play Store description for Chillingo's latest title, Bloodstroke. The first screenshot is literally the game's logo and a headshot of the well-known Hong Kong movie director and producer, with his name featured twice. You know, just in case you didn't get the message. Exactly how Woo is involved in Bloodstroke isn't mentioned - is he a designer? Producer? Art director? Did he code the entire thing by hand on the set of Windtalkers? We don't know, and it doesn't matter.
To give credit where it's due, Bloodstroke is a gorgeous game, more because of its visual style than the polygonal graphics themselves. Read More
We featured Audio Glow when it launched in November of last year. This ultra-stylish music visualizer takes the basic visual component of classic hi-fi systems and gives it a fresh coat of paint. It's gained quite a following thanks to eye-popping visuals and a huge degree of customization. Today's version 2.0 update adds some interesting options, most notably the new "Glowing Strings" visualization, below.
This nifty option is available as a $1 in-app purchase for the main Music Visualizer app, but the developer has kindly included a 5-minute preview that you can check out before buying. The IAP works across the primary app and the Live Wallpaper add-on. Read More
Ready for some more Android Open Source Project woes? In addition to the Nexus 7 drama over AOSP builds in the last couple of weeks, it looks like there are some issues with the Nexus 10 as well. Don't worry, the Android 4.3 factory image for the N10 is sitting on the Google Developers page, proud and happy, but the binaries and drivers for some individual components on the tablet seem to be missing, most notably the graphics driver. It's available for 4.2.2, but not 4.3. What's up?
Our favorite AOSP evangelist, Jean-Baptiste Queru, confirmed this state of affairs on a Google Groups developer conversation back i\on July 30th. Read More
Bounty Arms is a moving experience, but not because the game itself is any good. It hints at what the future holds for mobile gaming. This game looks every bit as good as a current generation console title, and on a high-end device, it runs quite well. But there is more to quality gaming than pretty looks, and Bounty Arms falls flat in just about every other area. At the very least, this five dollar game is free of both ads and IAPs. That's worth something - just not enough.
This is a side-scroller where players have full 3D range of movement. Read More