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Sponsored Feature: What You Need to Know About Developing Games for BlackBerry

April 2, 2012
 

The opportunity is now for BlackBerry game developers. Why don’t you play?

If the BlackBerry platform hasn’t been on your radar for game development, it’s time to take a second look. With the new BlackBerry Playbook 2.0 and BlackBerry 10 OS the opportunity for game developers to fill a user need is stronger than ever. BlackBerry PlayBook users want high quality, entertaining games and apps and BlackBerry AppWorld is ready for the influx:

  • BlackBerry AppWorld has already seen over 2 billion apps downloaded, with an average of over 140 million per month
  • BlackBerry AppWorld is available in 130 countries and growing
  • BlackBerry AppWorld supports 26 currencies and 7 languages making it easy for people around the world to purchase apps
  • Carrier billing is in place and expanding rapidly, with multiple major carriers such as AT&T, Vodafone, Rogers and more across 10 countries


What you need to know about developing games for BlackBerry

The BlackBerry Native SDK for Tablet OS gives you the ability to create rich C/C++ games. Native SDK (NDK) is a development toolset that allows you to harness the power of the BlackBerry PlayBook. Combining the speed and stability of the QNX Neutrino Real-Time Operating System with the Eclipse-based QNX Momentics development environment, the Native SDK is designed for developers who need full access to all that the BlackBerry PlayBook has to offer. And the Native SDK gives you a set of C and C++ APIs that expose all the tools needed to create powerful and dynamic applications. The capabilities include the following:

  • Native system APIs for the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet’s screen, navigator, audio mixer, accelerometer, network, and even more
  • A build environment that allows you to customize project settings, compiler, and deployment options
  • A way to deploy your applications to real BlackBerry PlayBook devices or the included Blackberry PlayBook simulator
  • An integrated debugger that lets you examine every line of code as it’s being run
  • Documentation, tutorials, and code samples

Who is the Native SDK for?

The Native SDK isn’t the only option for developing applications for the BlackBerry PlayBook – depending on your needs, the WebWorks or Adobe Air platforms could be the better choice.

  • WebWorks allows you to develop applications that support standards such as HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript.
  • Adobe Air lets you leverage the power of Adobe Flash to create rich internet applications.

The Native SDK is for developers who know they need the highest level of performance from their applications. Like 3D game developers. Or developers who need to do something that they can’t do in the other frameworks and might be able to do using the NDK. Or those of you who already have an existing C++ application that you want to port to the BlackBerry PlayBook. Of course, if you just want to play around with the NDK to learn what’s possible (and there’s a lot), that’s encouraged too.

Four simple steps to getting started

1. Download – The BlackBerry Native SDK to Tablet OS is available for download here: https://bdsc.webapps.blackberry.com/native/download/

2. Get started - https://bdsc.webapps.blackberry.com/native/documentation/getting_started.html

The BlackBerry Native SDK for Tablet OS includes all of the tools that you'll need to start developing applications for the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, including a compiler, a linker, libraries, the QNX Momentics IDE with its full suite of debugging and profiling tools, as well as command line tools.

When it comes to testing your application, you can test it using a BlackBerry PlayBook tablet or the BlackBerry Tablet Simulator. Some set up steps are required only if you're using one testing environment or the other. You can find a summary of the steps you need to perform to get up and running with the Native SDK here: https://bdsc.webapps.blackberry.com/native/documentation/getting_started.html

3. Learn – Be sure to check out the Developer’s Guide, Tutorials and Libraries available in the BlackBerry Native SDK:

  • STL and POSIX library support
  • OpenGL ES 1.1 and 2.0 for 2D and 3D graphics
  • OpenAL for cross-platform 3D audio
  • libpng and libjpeg for encoded images
  • FreeType for fonts
  • Scoreloop SDK for integrating social gaming capabilities

4. Publish – You can distribute your finished game through the BlackBerry App World storefront with $0 registration and submission fees.

Additional resources give you an advantage

You may also want to take advantage of blackberry.github.com, where you’ll find many Open Source game engines and libraries ported and available:

  • GamePlay: a cross-platform 3D gaming framework
  • Cocos2D-X: a cross-platform mobile 2D game framework
  • Box2D: a 2D physics engine
  • Bullet Physics: a 3D physics engine
  • ALUT: a companion toolkit to OpenAL
  • Lua: a powerful, fast, lightweight, embeddable scripting language
  • SDL: a cross-platform multimedia library

3rd party game development kits have also added support for BlackBerry Tablet OS:

What are you waiting for?

The time is right, the platform is ready and the market is eager. Browse the current BlackBerry App World game catalog to see some fantastic examples of current games available on the BlackBerry platform. Then use the resources above to start developing your own game and help the BlackBerry PlayBook live up to its name. Start playing.


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Comments


Pallav Nawani
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Phones sell more than tablets, so it is important for a dev to have the same development environment for Phones and tablets. I wonder if the Native SDK can be used to target other blackberry phones as well?

Chris Melby
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When RIM's phones get BlackBerry 10, the NDK will be able to target them.

Harry Fields
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With RIM getting out of the consumer market, this seems somewhat like a late April Fool's joke.

Chris Melby
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Misconstrued information rocks! Which is why I love blogs, especially the ones that post first and then fact check later.

David Richardson
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The process you describe isn't quite correct. For example, the "To debug on a real unit" bit is only necessary if you want to run unsigned apps on a real unit.

Once your environment is setup with all the signing keys, it's a one-step process to package and sign your app. From there, you can copy it to any unit in development mode (under settings) using one of several different tools. I use a batch file to build and deploy apps to a test unit in a single step.

There are several other errors in your post. I would suggest that you review the documentation provided on RIM's website.

I've found the process of writing, signing, testing, and publishing an app on AppWorld to be simple and straight-forward.

If you received your free PlayBook from the promotion in February that could explain the delay you experienced getting your app approved for sale as they were flooded with new app submissions. The last PlayBook app I deployed was approved in under 48 hours.


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