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As game developers, you’re always looking for a way to reach wider audiences and drive greater performance for your games. Here at Intel, we’re always looking for ways to support you in achieving those goals. We recently spoke about these topics with some of the game developers who won our joint contest with Unity Technologies. They had some interesting insight to share on how easy it is to add support for the Android* platform in Unity, the new access they gained to important markets as a result, and the performance gains they enjoyed in their games as well. Some of the developers said that they plan to include x86 support in their games going forward. Overall, participating in the contest was a positive and motivating experience, as you’ll read here.
Adding x86 Support to the Android Platform in Unity: A Piece of Cake
Figure 1: Racing through a Tron-like world.
Participating in the contest was a piece of cake. James Carmichael of Fingerbait, whose title HARDKOUR – Parkour Runner Free* was a winner, said, "In all honesty, it took me zero effort to make it x86 ready. I started Unity, built the updated package, and it was ready to roll. It might have been a different story if I were building the projects manually myself, but because of the build process within Unity, I didn’t need to think about it too long. That’s the beauty of Unity!"
Michael Bowen of Bowen Games LLC said it was effortless to add x86 support to his game Farming USA*. "I use the Unity game engine to develop my games," he explained, "And so it was easy to port my game to x86 Android devices. I was able to use the beta builds of Unity releases that included x86 support and get my already-published Android games working almost immediately!"
A Nice Boost: Performance Gains in x86 for Android
Figure 2: Dodging lethal aliens and perilous traps 1Dodging lethal aliens and perilous traps.
After the winners’ games were made available for x86, several developers noticed a boost in performance. Andrea Sancio, whose game Gear Jack Black Hole* was among the winners, said, "We saw noticeable performance improvements on our internal Android Intel test devices, and the live analytics did show improvements in average [frames per second]." Bill Yeung of Element Cell Game Limited, whose Shepherd Saga* also won, noted, that since his company started offering an x86 version, he’s seen far fewer crash reports and complaints about game performance than before.
So, you might ask, do the winning game developers have any special tips and tricks to share about how best to add x86 Android support for games in Unity? Many of them said the process was so easy that anyone could do it. "Honestly, there is no secret to share. Unity did it all," said Alex Nabrozidis of Gibs and Gore, whose Micronytes Director’s Cut* was honored. Arian Sohn of SOGWARE, whose game MOB: The Prologue* took home a prize, offered a pointer for his fellow developers. He suggested making sure to run "enough execution tests (on both x86 and ARM* devices) before release."
Winning the Contest: a Great Experience
Figure 3: Surveying crops and developing the farm.
The contest winners were thrilled to have their games recognized. "It was awesome to be a contest winner," reported Michael Bowen, "as I am the owner and only dev for my own new game dev business. It gives me encouragement to continue to work hard making games and expanding into all device and hardware options."
Bill Yeung observed that winning the contest helped his company reach its local market: "We were glad to see the support for developing x86 Android games. We found that a significant number of players in our local market (Hong Kong and Taiwan) were using x86 devices. Having native x86 support greatly improved the performance and stability on those devices."
x86 Support for the Android Platform: A Natural Fit Going Forward
Figure 4: Caring for adorable sheep.
Several of the developers we spoke with plan to include x86 support for the Android platform going forward. Andrea Sancio summed up his decision succinctly: "Adding support was painless and fast, my players saw great performance improvements, so why not?" Added James Carmichael, "I’m actually going to concentrate on Android releases as my primary platform." He is currently developing a helicopter game for Android, so stay tuned! Element Cell Game Limited has already released two new games with x86 support included—Shepherd Saga 2 and Dragoon Maiden*. Keep an eye out for its upcoming title, Clash of Heavens*, which is also expected to include x86 support.
The verdict is in. It’s incredibly easy to include x86 support for the Android platform in Unity, and you can even see some great performance gains as a result. Have you tried it yet? If not, you can get started in no time with our article on how to produce a fat APK that includes both x86 and ARM libraries. Let us know how it goes!