Category Archives: Android

Epic Battle Fantasy 4 live on Google Play

Hey guys, Epic Battle Fantasy 4 is live on Google Play!
It’s in Early Access, but it’s 99.9% done, I don’t anticipate any major changes.

The performance and Google services (ads, purchases, achievements, cloud saving, etc) should all be very similar to EBF5. It’s running on a newer engine so should be more compatible with Android 13 devices. iOS version coming a bit later.

If you haven’t played the latest versions of EBF4 on Steam, well, it’s got widescreen support, new weapons, skills and summons, cheats and challenges, and a lot of other new content. All of that stuff is in the mobile version, though some of it is paywalled. The entire story is free, but you can pay to disable ads and get the Battle Mountain area and other extras.

Please chat about it on Discord in the ⁠#ebf4 channel, and report any issues in the ⁠#ebf4_mobile_testing channel.

Tell yer friends about it!

EBF4 Adverts and In-App Purchases

Hey guys, adverts and in-app purchases now work in EBF4 – the Android release is getting near. I just gotta get achievements and cloud saving working, and play through the game a bit.

I’ll price EBF4 a bit lower than the PC version – I may try Google’s A/B testing to find what price point works best. The only two purchases are to disable ads, and unlock battle mountain. The whole story is free, just like in the original web version.

Mobile Dev’s Weird Advantages

Hey guys, I complain a lot about mobile game dev on my social media, since the Google and Apple app stores are very frustrating to work with. Their API features change every year, they bother you with new regulations, their tools are clunky to use (and sometimes don’t work at all), the documentation is bad, it’s very difficult to contact a human for help, and it’s just an unpleasant experience all around.

Since the EBF4 port is almost done (Ronja is currently playing it) I figure I’d write a bit about what I do actually like about mobile game dev, and why I’m spending a chunk of my time porting my games to Android and iOS, despite the frustration.

1. App stores only take a 15% cut from smaller developers, instead of Steam’s 30%. So that’s a very cool bonus, and is the main reason I considered mobile dev once this policy was announced by both Google and Apple.

2. Everyone has a phone – I can show my games to anyone if they’re on mobile, even to non-gamers. The potential audience is massive. And people asking for Switch ports will have no right to complain, since they also have phones.

3. My games are designed for mouse controls, so touch controls are an almost perfect fit. I do have to update the interfaces to display tooltips differently, and to make text and icons bigger, but in general mouse controls translate well to mobile, and in many cases using two thumbs is faster and more convenient than using a mouse. And if you really liked the mouse controls (rollover to see tooltips, etc), you can use a device with a stylus, and it’s functionally identical to a mouse!

4. The bar is really low for mobile games – I struggle to find games that aren’t full of bad practices like microtransactions, daily notifications, repetitive grinding, and lowest common denominator design. Being able to make good games feels like it gives me somewhat of a competitive edge. Good, well-known indie games do exist on mobile (Terraria, Stardew Valley, etc), but a lot of them require you to pay up front, or they’re better suited to consoles or PC due to complex controls and detailed graphics. The EBF games have point-and-click controls and cartoony graphics, and were originally free-to-play in web browsers, so they fit well on mobile. I feel like mobile gamers are getting just as good an experience as the PC players – and since it’s free-to-play they also get to try a huge chunk of the content before spending any money!

(I should clarify that while my games are free-to-play, they don’t have microtransactions. They have in-app purchases that disable ads and unlock side content, and the spending limit is only between $12 and $24 per game, more or less the same as buying the games on PC.)

5. The algorithm may bless me – much like on YouTube, success on mobile platforms seems to be a bit of a gamble due to the all powerful and completely opaque store algorithms. But this potentially means that my games can get a huge amount of exposure without any marketing at all, and that’s what seems to have happened with EBF5. The game’s got around 600,000 downloads on the Google Play store, and almost all of that is from the store algorithm showing it to people – my own marketing attempts are a drop in the bucket. It’s impossible to know exactly what metrics are important for the algorithm, but I have to imagine that having the game translated into many languages, good review scores, and long-term happy players helps here somewhat. But most importantly, I find the uncertainty of the algorithm very exciting – watching the daily downloads fluctuate due to forces outside of my control is pretty addictive, where as on Steam, the stats are more predictable and uninteresting, outside of a major sale or feature.

6. Flash works better on mobile than anywhere else! I’m still using Flash for all of my games, and before Adobe abandoned it, they made a final push to optimize it for mobile, especially iOS. For games with vector graphics, like EBF, the performance is comparable on mobile and PC, which is crazy. There are some visual effects that slow things down, but if I avoid using those, I can install PC versions of my games on a phone, and they will run fairly well before I make any changes. It’s very satisfying to see my games running smoothly on a small, portable device, especially since Flash hasn’t historically had the best reputation for performance. And in case anyone reading this doesn’t already know, Flashplayer (in the form of AIR) is now being maintained by HARMAN, a Samsung company, and is getting regular and sustainable updates. It’s not going to keep up with other cutting-edge game engines, but it’s still totally viable for small-ish games on desktop and mobile.

EBF4: Mobile Almost Done

After a few months of work, I’m testing EBF4 on a mobile device for the first time! (my smashed Note 8)

It works as well as I had hoped – might not need any additional optimization. (almost identical to Steam version)

Like in EBF5, there’s the occasional stuttering due to garbage collection, but that’s pretty much the main noticeable performance issue.

Most of what’s left is to add Google services like achievements, in-app purchases, ads, cloud saving, and application rater. With some luck most of that code from EBF5 will be re-usable.

Android Game Updates

Hey guys, recently my older Android games were starting to get hidden from the Google Play Store, so I quickly updated them for Android 13 compatibility. Epic Battle Fantasy 1, Cat Cafe v2, Brawl Royale and Mecha Dress Up Game should be ready to survive another 2 years on the Play Store. I didn’t test them very much, so hopefully the update didn’t break anything.

I’ve also made Cat Cafe v2, Brawl Royale and Mecha Dress Up Game totally 100% free with no ads. No one was buying them before, so hopefully they’ll get a little bit of love now.

I don’t plan to publish these games on iOS btw – it’s very easy to publish tiny games on Android, but it’s quite a pain on iOS with the extra steps that are involved there. And even EBF5 is doing much better on Android than on iOS, in terms of downloads and sales. Apple has let me down!