The wonder of AGK: Making Android, iOS and Meego apps

I’ll start this post by admitting that I’m a mediocre coder. I get things done fast and easy, but I rarely go deep when it comes to low-level coding. Instead I rely on other SDK’s and Libraries to get the job done for me. In the past few years I worked on my own DirectX based framework, which I used for a good amount of time. I had everything I need from Image and Sprite manipulation to loading and using 3D Meshes up to collision detection and physics. Yet, I had to drop the entire framework once I decided to try out mobile app developing. Instead of writing a new framework to I came across a wonderful SDK that offered me the features I needed In order to proceed with my passion. This marvelous tool is called AGK, the App Game Kit, developed by the same company that got me into programming, The Game Creators.

What is the App Game Kit?

The Game Creators describe AGK as being “a one stop solution for making game apps for mobile devices“. I would describe it as a “lazy-man’s” way of getting things done. The simplicity of it all with the combined support offered by the TGC community makes AGK a must-have tool for anyone who wants to develop their own games and applications for Android, iOS, Meego, Samsung Bada and even Windows. It takes care of any low-level nuissances one may encounter, while giving you a green light to do what you want, especially if you go for Tier 2 (C++).

AGK is a great tool for beginners and advanced users, as it comes in two flavors:

Tier 1: It is used to develop games in a basic-like environment, allowing the users to broadcast their apps from the IDE to their Smartphones and Tablets. The only downside of T1 is that you are limited to the set of commands (although they are many) that AGK gives you as you cannot use (yet) any other external libraries or SDK’s.

Tier 2: Now, Tier 2 (sometimes referred to as “Native”) allows users to code their games and apps using any modern C/C++ compiler. It removes any restriction T1 might have, allowing the coder to use any library/SDK he would want, along side AGK. For example, I’m using T2 and OpenCV in order to replicate the functionality of the “Power-level scouter” from the “Dragon Ball Z” series.

How useful is AGK for a Designer?

I work as a Game Designer at Gameloft Romania and even though I do not use AGK at work, I use daily when prototyping games. The simplicity of it’s commands allows me to get a game from paper to my android device in a matter of hours, sometimes even less. For example, I got Unstable Battlefield working on my HTC Cha Cha in just 3 hours after posting the concept on my blog. I find this tool extremely useful hence It allows me to focus allot more on the design process rather the spending time trying to get it functional. It’s not magic, but it’s as close as you can get to, right now at least.

The App Game Kit is constantly updated with new features and platforms. When I first got it, Android was in the works, AGK allowing users to deploy only on Windows, iOS and Mac. Just a few months later I can now deploy to those platforms, as well as Android, Samsung Bada and Meego. But it doesn’t stop here, the wonderful guys behind The Game Creators, the company that develops AGK, promise to support Windows Phone 7, as well as deploying any AGK apps in the browser. Would I use AGK to develop a commercial iOS/Android app? Yes, I would. Many others did, as you can see here.

It’s time to end this post about AGK here, but not before promising that I will continue to post updates regarding it. So keep an eye on this blog as I’ll treturn with more information and how-to’s, as well as many games and examples.