Mobile Gaming and Me

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So near the beginning of February I started an internship at SkyVu Entertainment in Quality Assurance. For those  who do not now them, they are the makers of the Battle Bears series. There latest game is Battle Bears Gold and is available on Android and iOS so give it a try.

[Disclaimer: Since the CEO of SkyVu follows me on twitter this post is just my thoughts on my experience so far there. So if you are hoping for some juicy gossip you won’t get it from me since I have only been there a month so I don’t know much.] Now with my shameless plug aside let me share some of my thoughts  about actually being on a development team. First and foremost QA is not my ideal position but it got my foot in the door so I can’t really complain. Hopefully after I get my C# classes done I can move over to programing. Though more than likely if I were to move up inside the company it would be towards the design team since my table is right next to theirs. Building relationships I find is the best way to move up in any career path. So being in QA I do a lot of testing so essentially I play games all day. An for most people that sounds like a great job. An for the most part it is except that I have to play the same game over and over again. Plus I just can’t play, I have to constantly look for new bugs and try to reproduce bug if they were fixed. From a job stand point that is the only real pain but that is the job so I just deal with it.

Now from a personal stand point I find QA very frustrating. It’s frustrating for me because all I do is find bugs and see if they are resolved. I have no real involvement in the actual development or design of the game. An since I am working on majoring in Game Studies I haven’t been able to put anything I have learned to any real use. But since I do not have a direct hand in the creation I do try to give “suggestions” now and again. Hopefully, if I am still there in the next 6 months to a year, I can leave a mark on one of the future projects. Though in the mean time if I can just get my name in the credits of Battle Bears Ultimate, which is currently in beta, I’ll be content for a bit.

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With that personal business out of the way let’s get to an issue in mobile gaming. An that issue is that some mobile games are just too big. Now what I mean by too big is that developers are trying to make more and more expansive games to distinguished themselves from the rest of the pack. An not just that, but something worth investing money into, since micro transactions are the future. Probably the biggest complaint I see on the BBU forums and review of other app games are that the game either just crashed or didn’t work. An from what I have seen is that it not so much the developers fault as is the persons phone. I blame the phone in some cases cause there are just so damn many of them. Apple is always coming out with a new iPhone which always has slightly different stats then the previous one. The Android OS is not always consistent across all phones that have it.  Also it does not help that practically every month there is a new phone. And I rather not talk about tablets too.

So since we have all these devices it brings a few challenges to developers. First is how do I get my game to work well on both platforms. This within itself is not a huge deal if you are using game engine like Unity3D where you can build to both devices. Though when it comes to iOS  it takes a  few extra steps and Xcode to build to a iproduct. The second issue is memory. If you made a mobile game that played well on the newest phone it may not work on an older model. An that may be due to that fact that the assets are just to large to run on an older phone.  Though with consoles they do not have that issue. If you build to and Xbox it is same across the board. But while I have been at SkyVu I have kinda over heard  the conversations to make the game work more universally. Those conversation were basically about optimization and dropping the resolution so it doesn’t tax the hardware of the phones.  So  as long as there is mobile game market this will always be an issue with developers. But hopefully tablet and phone tech will kinda plateau and make testing not so much a pain in the future. I know its asking for much but one can hope.

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