Demand for affordable, dependable PCs has never been higher as much of the world still reels from pandemic fallout, including chip shortages everywhere. Chromebooks have proven to be a winning formula that helped Google's platform get a leg up over Windows and macOS. As sales continues to shatter volume records, publishers are teaming up with Google to include their products in its thriving ecosystem, including one of the biggest gaming platforms around.
Activision and Tencent have teamed up to bring Call of Duty: Mobile to the West as a free-to-play release. The shooter was recently announced during a Unity keynote at the 2019 Game Developers Conference. This upcoming release is expected to bring together fan-favorite maps, modes, weapons, and characters from across the Call of Duty franchise, and it's currently available for pre-registration on the Google Play Store.
More than half of all new mobile games are built on Unity's development engine, with 3 billion devices reached across both Android and iOS. That's an enormous potential audience just waiting to be served with high-quality advertising, something Google seems to have cottoned on to. Companies using Google's AdMob platform are getting access to Unity's vast catalog of mobile games after the two announced a new strategic partnership.
Ask all of the mobile app developers to name the SDKs and third-party services they're using and the answer you're likely to hear more than any other is Fabric, or possibly Crashlytics (a component of Fabric). Many apps rely on Fabric for crash reporting, performance metrics, and other services that are hard to build in-house, but prove very useful when supporting an app and making business decisions. Fabric announced earlier today that it had reached an agreement to be acquired by Google, leaving behind its parent company Twitter.
Unity, if you're not familiar with game development, is a popular cross-platform game engine. Although Unity games can most often be found on PC and consoles, Android games utilizing the engine include Crossy Road, Monument Valley, Lara Croft: Relic Run, and more. Today Unity has announced the Vulkan Renderer Preview, finally allowing developers to use the Vulkan API with their games.
The Vulkan API (not to be confused with the Star Trek planet Vulcan) has been hyped to the moon and back in the gaming industry recently, and for good reason. Based on AMD's Mantle API, it is a new graphics API designed to be cross-platform (much like Unity) and have a low overhead.
Star Trek fans who want to play video games based on their favorite franchise are constantly frustrated. Trek games are few and far between, and they seem to range from terrible (like the recent Faux Trek game for consoles from back in 2013), to promising but ultimately destroyed (like Star Trek Online), to blatant, lazy cash-grabs (like Star Trek Trexels). Is it really possible that there's a decent Star Trek game on the horizon? Signs point to "maybe."
Disruptor Beam, the developer behind the Game of Thrones Ascent mobile game, is switching from fantasy to sci-fi. The upcoming Star Trek: Timelines is a game that mixes all of the original Trek franchises in a big continuity-warping time bubble.
Solitaire and sword-and-sorcery fantasy wouldn't seem like an obvious combination, but the rookie Android game from Arnold Rauers does just that. Card Crawl has you facing a giant troll in an oddball card game, mixing elements of solitaire, battle card games like Magic the Gathering, and roguelike dungeon crawlers. It's an interesting little game that lends itself towards more strategy than might be immediately apparent.
Here's the gist: your opponent is the "deck," and he gives you 54 random cards three at a time. Each card is either an item like a sword or shield, a monster that you have to kill, a potion that can heal you, or coins that can be saved up for purchases.
Game developers integrating with Google Play Games have seen a lot of improvements since the service was launched a year and a half ago at Google I/O 2013. There have been a lot of refinements to the experience for both players and developers, and new tools have made many of the tedious and time consuming chores much easier. Google has just launched a new Play Games Publishing API inspired by a similar interface that was added to the Play Store earlier this year. There is also a new Leaderboard feature that should help to prevent falsified scores. Finally, the Unity Plugin and C++ SDK have been updated to support more devices and add additional features.
The foldable cardboard VR kits Google gave away at I/O 2014 weren't just a one-off stunt. Today, in its developers blog, Google had some big announcements for the home-brewed virtual reality viewer.
First up, Google has grouped a handful of Cardboard-compatible apps into their own collection on the Play Store. The Cardboard app itself has also received an update, with the ability to discover cardboard apps on the Play Store, and launch them directly from the viewer.
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.