Saturday, May 5, 2018

Using LibGDX with Android Studio

All of my previous apps I had designed just using Java directly in Android Studio, but my ambitions have been growing and I decided that I need to use some sort of game engine to continue developing what I want. The problem is that there are so many game engines available for Android development. Seriously, go Google it (ok, you probably already have if you are reading this), I will wait.

I realize that none of the game engines are perfect, and choosing one would involve trade offs. In order to find the best game engine for me, I made a short list of must haves and preferences. I ended up with three musts:

1. Open source and free to use - I am not making any money here, well not anything to speak of, and I prefer to minimize any possible expenses.
2. Strong 2d engine - I don't foresee myself making any 3d games in the near future, so I prefer a game engine that focuses on 2d as it suits my needs.
3. Extensive documentation - I am not an expert and am doing this as a hobby, so I need to find a well developed engine that has a lot of tutorials available.

On top of this, I would prefer a game engine that uses Java so that I don't have to completely relearn everything. This isn't incredibly important, but I have limited time and would prefer not to use that trying to understand a new language.

Anyway, after some research, I had two game engines that I was interested in, Godot and libGDX. They both hit my three must haves, and it was hard for me to choose between the two. Originally I was going to go with Godot, but after a quick Googling it looked like libGDX had been around longer and had much more written in terms of tutorials and beginner's help.

While this was true, it turned out to not be that much of a blessing. Most of the tutorials and walkthroughs for libGDX are outdated and don't work with the current version, which has been causing me headaches. HOWEVER! I actually think this might be a good thing, because instead of being able to just copy and paste the code that I want, I have to go through and figure everything out. This is going to help me in the long run, and it will definitely make me a better developer.

At the same time, I understand that not everyone wants to go through the trouble, so I am going to do my best to chronicle my progress here so that people going forward can have an up to date walkthrough on how to get started.

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