Game Devs Get Helping Hand

Even though this isn’t directly related to a particular game, it’s important because it helps every game developer out there developing games for Android. Google announces NDK r3 for Android and the main deal with this revision is about OpenGL ES access for developers.

The official description from the Android Developers Blog:

It can be used to target devices running Android 1.5 and higher. In addition to a few bug fixes and improvements, this release includes the following new features:

Toolchain improvement

The toolchain binaries have been refreshed for this release with GCC 4.4.0, which should generate slightly more compact and efficient machine code than the previous one (4.2.1).

Note that the GCC 4.4.0 C++ frontend is more pedantic, and may refuse to compile certain rare and invalid template declarations that were accepted by 4.2.1. To alleviate the problem, this NDK still provides the 4.2.1 binaries, which can optionally be used to build your machine code.

OpenGL ES 2.0 support

Applications targeting Android 2.0 (API level 5) or higher can now directly access OpenGL ES 2.0 features. This brings the ability to control graphics rendering through vertex and fragment shader programs, using the GLSL shading language.

A new trivial sample, named “hello-gl2”, demonstrates how to render a simple triangle using both shader types.

The best part is the fact developers can now directly access OpenGL ES features. What does that mean for us? It means we should start seeing better games being released with better graphics, more 3D games and developers having better control on rendering the graphics for these games. Hopefully this will entice more game developers to jump into Android. If you are game developer you can grab the NDK here if you haven’t already.

Source: Android Developers Blog

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