Friday, March 27, 2009

Spades for Android

I've gone from dipping my toes into Android app development to jumping completely in. Over the last week I've put a lot of work into my newest app, Spades. Here's a demo video of what the play looks like:



I tried to make the card design fun and readable. Instead of using individual pips for suits, I used large numbers, which makes them more readable on the small mobile screen. I also made custom Jack, Queen, and King pics out of the Android logo.

The interface design was interesting. I wanted to support play primarily in vertical mode, which seems the most comfortable and natural to me. That presents a difficulty, since the screen is only about four thumb-widths wide. I initially made a hotspot for each card in the player's hand, which divided that horizontal region into 13 equal slices. That just didn't work. Not enough space, and it was very difficult to grab the card you wanted. So I went with a simple magnification scheme. That lower space is divided into four equal parts. When the player clicks in one of the four regions, the four closest cards enlarge. If the player slides their thumb horizontally, they will select one of the four enlarged cards. If they move their thumb up over a particular card, they will pull it out of the hand, and they can then drop it in the center to play.

Right now there are no sounds or animations, which would add to the experience. I just want to get the first version to market, and then incrementally add in other features, including Blind Nil and hopefully eventually network play. The only thing I have left to do is program the partner and opponent AIs, and I'm not out to make them exceptional, just moderately competent. I should be releasing it in the next few days. As of this writing, there are no Spades or Hearts games on offer in the Android Market. I hope to be the first with both.

I'll update here with some sales stats after release.

6 comments:

mark said...

Initially i thought it was listing all the cards that could be played. I didn't realize it was 25% of the hand blown up. I wonder if selecting the cards that could be played would be more valuable. Obviously the issue of what to do for the first card would be problematic. Could you do the 25% thing for the fist card of the hand?

mark said...

I saw an app on the iphone that told me where I parked my car. If I parked my car and clicked on your app and it remembered the coordinates. then when I wanted to find my car, I asked it to point to those locations, then it would be easier to find my car. That is something I would pay for.

I believe the iphone app gave me a map. I think i would just like a sort of head up pointer that pointed in the dirction of me car. That would be more useful in a big mall parking lot.

Derek James said...

Hey, a "where did i park my car" app is a great idea, Mark. I'll add that to my to-do list.

mark said...

I wonder if there is a World or Warcraft Application. I sometimes like to log on and see what is happening on he auction house. I wonder if there is a way to check if something sold, put it back on the auction, or look for anything on the auction. There is also the idea of a calendar in the latest version. could I check to see if there is a big raid with my guild that night or even add a raid for the guild.

mark said...

WOW app
http://rudip.com/iphone-apps/characters/

Derek James said...

Bah, there are already a couple of car locator apps for Android:

ParkMark
http://www.cyrket.com/package/com.clinkybot.parkmark2

and

Carrr Matey
http://www.cyrket.com/package/com.android.gps

Find your car with a pirate theme? Huh?

I'm kinda bummed...I already had a name picked out: Droid, Where's My Car?