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In Flash Professional CS5: Creating a Simple Game for Android Devices, author Paul Trani shows how to translate existing Flash skills from the web to mobile devices while designing a game in Flash and publishing it as an AIR for Android app. The finished application includes collision detection, random enemy creation and movement, shooting capabilities, multiple levels, and even a high score screen. This course also goes beyond game functionality and shows how to use mobile capabilities such as the accelerometer and gestures to control graphics, use the hardware keys to activate menus, and also how to optimize content so it plays well on mobile devices. Also included are instructions for distributing an app through the Android Market. Exercise files are included with the course.
Now, I'd like to give you an overview of what Android is and the basics of creating apps for it. Well, Android is a type of software that actually was created by Google for mobile devices that include an operating system, or OS as it's known, OS, middleware, as well as key applications such as Google Maps, Gmail, things like that. Android also has an SDK, a software development kit that allows you to create applications for the Android operating system.
The Android operating system can be used on cell phones, netbooks and tablets, so it can be used in a variety of devices. And for a complete list, I'd like to point you to the Wikipedia link. There is a long list since, again, it is constantly being updated. It's kind of hard to keep up-- but know that your content really will have a wide reach. Air for Android allows you to basically package up your SWF files--if you've made them in Flash Professional you can package up your SWF files into Adobe AIR apps for Android devices, which is pretty great.
You package them up. They become an APK file, which is basically an app. Know that you can also take that same SWF content and make an app for Blackberry tablet operating systems, as well as apps for Apple iOS devices. So, again, your Flash content can be pretty wide reaching. You can make plenty of different types of apps really from the same basic content in Flash Professional. Air for Android also has mobile-specific features. Some of those include multitouch, so, again, swiping with your fingers, pinching and zooming, an accelerometer, which means tilting your device and having content move, screen orientations--whether it's landscape or portrait--microphone, keyboard, geolocation is defining where you are, camera roll which is accessing all the photos on the phone for instance, and then the GPU, which is the graphics processor unit, which really makes content move really fast.
Now, this is a majority of the items available for Android. There are more, but these are the basics, and you need to keep all of these features in mind as you start to develop your game. Once you've created your game, you can go ahead and put that game on the Android marketplace. So, again, it allows Android developers to freely distribute all of their mobile apps to various mobile phones. They can be free apps, or you could even charge for them if you want to as well and make some money, but it's really pretty easy to do.
It takes minutes to set up and is really powerful, the number of people you can get your apps out to. So the Android operating system has a wide reach on many devices. That, along with the marketplace, allows you to get your content out there to many different devices. But now let's dive into actually making some of this content.
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