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  • The State of Game Development: Part 1

    - Brandon Sheffield

    In terms of platforms used on the mobile side, it gets a bit more complicated.

    Figure 12: Mobile support across platforms.

    This survey, seen in Figure 12, was done before the iPhone 5, and the iPad mini, but still gives some idea of what developers are supporting platform-wise. The major trend is that developers are quickly taking up the new platforms, and leaving the older ones (like the 3G) behind. Support seems to trail by about two versions past the newest.

    It seems as though 70% of developers are supporting Android, even though the marketplace is notoriously difficult to get noticed in. Ad supported apps seem to be the way to go there. When it comes to Android, we can't differentiate by model like you can with iPhone and iPad. So in this case we used screen size as the differentiator. Here, you can see that Android developers are mostly supporting the larger and mid-sized screen formats.

    We also found that 72% of mobile developers use Facebook connectivity in their games, 65% integrate with Apple's Game Center, and 44% provide the option to use a player's Twitter network.

    When it comes to monetization, in-app purchases are the most popular, which is not surprising given trends of late. 81.8% of all responders said they employ in-app purchases, which is a huge number that has likely gone up. But there's still quite a high number of paid apps - 52.3% of mobile developers said they are also working on paid apps right now.

    Free tools

    This is something we've noticed a lot over the years - as small teams try to get ahead of the curve, they're often using and modifying free tools instead of licensing more robust ones.

    Every year in Game Developer magazine we give out what we call the Front Line Awards, which award the best tools in the industry. These tools are submitted by companies and our advisory board, and then are voted on by developers in our audience. But this year, there was a huge request for more free tools in these lists, to the degree that we're adding a special category for that next year. Free really seems to be the way smaller teams are going for their tools, increasingly.

    The following list is a sampling of the free tools our audience has told us they frequently use.

    3D Art

    • Blender
    • SketchUp
    • Meshmixer
    • Makehuman
    • Arbaro


    • ccMixter
    • OpenGameArt
    • freesound
    • pdsounds


    • Visual Studio Express
    • Xcode
    • Eclipse
    • Flashdevelop


    • Audacity
    • Linux MultiMedia Studio
    • Bfxr


    • Box2d
    • Nvidia PhysX
    • Bullet

    2D art

    • GIMP
    • Pixen
    • GrafX2
    • Inkscape
    • Shoebox


    • TargetProcess (project management)
    • Lightworks (video editor)
    • Notepad++ (coding)
    • Tiled (Tile maps)

    To be continued...

    That's it for part one of our two-part series. Join us next time for a look at some of the big tech, design, development, and marketing trends across the industry!


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