Oct 30

GNSS Analysis Tools from Google

Posted by Frank van Diggelen, Software Engineer

Last year in Android Nougat, we introduced APIs for retrieving Global
Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) Raw measurements from Android devices. This
past week, we publicly released GNSS
Analysis Tools to process and analyze these measurements.

Android powers over 2 billion devices, and Android phones are made by many
different manufacturers. The primary intent of these tools is to enable device
manufacturers to see in detail how well the GNSS receivers are working in each
particular device design, and thus improve the design and GNSS performance in
their devices. However, with the tools publicly available, there is also
significant value to the research and app developer community.

How to use the tool

The GNSS Analysis Tool is a desktop application that takes in raw the GNSS
Measurements logged from your Android device as input.

This desktop application provides interactive plots, organized into three
columns showing the behavior of the RF, Clock, and Measurements. This data
allows you to see the behavior of the GNSS receiver in great detail, including
receiver clock offset and drift to the order of 1 nanosecond and 1 ppb and
measurement errors on a satellite-by-satellite basis. This allows you to do
sophisticated analysis at a level that, until now, was almost inaccessible to
anyone but the chip manufacturers themselves.

The tools support multi-constellation (GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, BeiDou and QZSS)
and multi-frequency. The image below shows the satellite locations for L1, L5,
E1 and E5 signals tracked by a dual frequency chip.

The tools provide an interactive control screen from which you can manipulate
the plots, shown below. From this control screen, you can change the background
color, enable the Menu Bars for printing or saving, and select specific
satellites for the plots.

Receiver test report

The tools also provide automatic test reports of receivers. Click “Make Report”
to automatically create the test report. The report evaluates the API
implementation, Received Signal, Clock behavior, and Measurement accuracy. In
each case it will report PASS or FAIL based on the performance against known
good benchmarks. This test report is primarily meant for the device
manufacturers to use as they iterate on the design and implementation of a new
device. A sample report is shown below.

Our goal with providing these Analysis Tools is to empower device manufacturers,
researchers, and developers with data and knowledge to make Android even better
for our customers. You can visit the GNSS
Measurement site to learn more and download this application.


Android Developers Blog

Oct 24

New Tools to Supercharge Your Games on Google Play

Posted by Greg Hartrell, Senior Product Manager of Google Play Games

Everyone has a gaming-ready device in their pocket today. In fact, of the one billion Android users in more than 190 countries, three out of four of them are gamers. This allows game developers to reach a global audience and build a successful business. Over the past year, we paid out more than $ 7 billion to developers distributing apps and games on Google Play.

At our Developer Day during the Game Developers Conference (GDC) taking place this week, we announced a set of new features for Google Play Games and AdMob to power great gaming. Rolling out over the next few weeks, these launches can help you better measure and monetize your games.

Better measure and adapt to player needs

“Player Analytics has helped me hone in on BombSquad’s shortcomings, right the ship, and get to a point where I can financially justify making the games I want to make.”

Eric Froemling, BombSquad developer

Google Play Games is a set of services that help game developers reach and engage their audience. To further that effort, we’re introducing Player Analytics, giving developers access to powerful analytics reports to better measure overall business success and understand in-game player behavior. Launching in the next few weeks in the Google Play Developer Console, the new tool will give indie developers and big studios better insight into how their players are progressing, spending, and churning; access to critical metrics like ARPPU and sessions per user; and assistance setting daily revenue targets.

BombSquad, created by a one-person game studio in San Francisco, was able to more than double its revenue per user on Google Play after implementing design changes informed during beta testing Player Analytics.

Optimizing ads to earn the most revenue

After optimizing your game for performance, it’s important to build a smarter monetization experience tailored to each user. That’s why we’re announcing three important updates to the AdMob platform:

  • Native Ads: Currently available as a limited beta, participating game developers will be able to show ads in their app from Google advertisers, and then customize them so that users see ads that match the visual design of the game. Atari is looking to innovate on its games, like RollerCoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile, and more effectively engage users with this new feature.
  • In-App Purchase House Ads Beta: Game developers will be able to smartly grow their in-app purchase revenue for free. AdMob can now predict which users are more likely to spend on in-app purchases, and developers will be able to show these users customized text or display ads promoting items for sale. Currently in beta, this feature will be coming to all AdMob accounts in the next few weeks.
  • Audience Builder: A powerful tool that enables game developers to create lists of audiences based on how they use their game. They will be able to create customized experiences for users, and ultimately grow their app revenue.

“Atari creates great game experiences for our broad audience. We’re happy to be partnering with Google and be the first games company to take part in the native ads beta and help monetize games in a way that enhances our users’ experience.”

Todd Shallbetter, Chief Operating Officer, Atari

New game experiences powered by Google

Last year, we launched Android TV as a way to bring Android into the living room, optimizing games for the big screen. The OEM ecosystem is growing with announced SmartTVs and micro-consoles from partners like Sony, TPVision/Philips and Razer.

To make gaming even more dynamic on Android TV, we’re launching the Nearby Connections API with the upcoming update of Google Play services. With this new protocol, games can seamlessly connect smartphones and tablets as second-screen controls to the game running on your TV. Beach Buggy Racing is a fun and competitive multiplayer racing game on Android TV that plans to use Nearby Connections in their summer release, and we are looking forward to more living room multiplayer games taking advantage of mobile devices as second screen controls.

At Google I/O last June, we also unveiled Google Cardboard with the goal of making virtual reality (VR) accessible to everyone. With Cardboard, we are giving game developers more opportunities to build unique and immersive experiences from nothing more than a piece of cardboard and your smartphone. The Cardboard SDKs for Android and Unity enable you to easily build VR apps or adapt your existing app for VR.

Check us out at GDC

Visit us at the Google booth #502 on the Expo floor to get hands on experience with Project Tango, Niantic Labs and Cardboard starting on Wednesday, March 4. Our teams from AdMob, AdWords, Analytics, Cloud Platform and Firebase will also be available to answer any of your product questions.

For more information on what we’re doing at GDC, please visit g.co/dev/gdc2015.

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Android Developers Blog

Oct 23

Optimize, Develop, and Debug with Vulkan Developer Tools

Posted by Shannon Woods, Technical Program Manager

Today we’re pleased to bring you a preview of Android development tools for Vulkan™. Vulkan is a new 3D rendering API which we’ve helped to develop as a member of Khronos, geared at providing explicit, low-overhead GPU (Graphics Processor Unit) control to developers. Vulkan’s reduction of CPU overhead allows some synthetic benchmarks to see as much as 10 times the draw call throughput on a single core as compared to OpenGL ES. Combined with a threading-friendly API design which allows multiple cores to be used in parallel with high efficiency, this offers a significant boost in performance for draw-call heavy applications.

Vulkan support is available now via the Android N Preview on devices which support it, including Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P. (Of course, you will still be able to use OpenGL ES as well!)

To help developers start coding quickly, we’ve put together a set of samples and guides that illustrate how to use Vulkan effectively.

You can see Vulkan in action running on an Android device with Robert Hodgin’s Fish Tornado demo, ported by Google’s Art, Copy, and Code team:


Optimization: The Vulkan API

There are many similarities between OpenGL ES and Vulkan, but Vulkan offers new features for developers who need to make every millisecond count.

  • Application control of memory allocation. Vulkan provides mechanisms for fine-grained control of how and when memory is allocated on the GPU. This allows developers to use their own allocation and recycling policies to fit their application, ultimately reducing execution and memory overhead and allowing applications to control when expensive allocations occur.
  • Asynchronous command generation. In OpenGL ES, draw calls are issued to the GPU as soon as the application calls them. In Vulkan, the application instead submits draw calls to command buffers, which allows the work of forming and recording the draw call to be separated from the act of issuing it to the GPU. By spreading command generation across several threads, applications can more effectively make use of multiple CPU cores. These command buffers can also be reused, reducing the overhead involved in command creation and issuance.
  • No hidden work. One OpenGL ES pitfall is that some commands may trigger work at points which are not explicitly spelled out in the API specification or made obvious to the developer. Vulkan makes performance more predictable and consistent by specifying which commands will explicitly trigger work and which will not.
  • Multithreaded design, from the ground up. All OpenGL ES applications must issue commands for a context only from a single thread in order to render predictably and correctly. By contrast, Vulkan doesn’t have this requirement, allowing applications to do work like command buffer generation in parallel— but at the same time, it doesn’t make implicit guarantees about the safety of modifying and reading data from multiple threads at the same time. The power and responsibility of managing thread synchronization is in the hands of the application.
  • Mobile-friendly features. Vulkan includes features particularly helpful for achieving high performance on tiling GPUs, used by many mobile devices. Applications can provide information about the interaction between separate rendering passes, allowing tiling GPUs to make effective use of limited memory bandwidth, and avoid performing off-chip reads.
  • Offline shader compilation. Vulkan mandates support for SPIR-V, an intermediate language for shaders. This allows developers to compile shaders ahead of time, and ship SPIR-V binaries with their applications. These binaries are simpler to parse than high-level languages like GLSL, which means less variance in how drivers perform this parsing. SPIR-V also opens the door for third parties to provide compilers for specialized or cross-platform shading languages.
  • Optional validation. OpenGL ES validates every command you call, checking that arguments are within expected ranges, and objects are in the correct state to be operated upon. Vulkan doesn’t perform any of this validation itself. Instead, developers can use optional debug tools to ensure their calls are correct, incurring no run-time overhead in the final product.

Debugging: Validation Layers

As noted above, Vulkan’s lack of implicit validation requires developers to make use of tools outside the API in order to validate their code. Vulkan’s layer mechanism allows validation code and other developer tools to inspect every API call during development, without incurring any overhead in the shipping version. Our guides show you how to build the validation layers for use with the Android NDK, giving you the tools necessary to build bug-free Vulkan code from start to finish.

Develop: Shader toolchain

The Shaderc collection of tools provides developers with build-time and run-time tools for compiling GLSL into SPIR-V. Shaders can be compiled at build time using glslc, a command-line compiler, for easy integration into existing build systems. Or, for shaders which are generated or edited during execution, developers can use the Shaderc library to compile GLSL shaders to SPIR-V via a C interface. Both tools are built on top of Khronos’s reference compiler.

Additional Resources

The Vulkan ecosystem is a broad one, and the resources to get you started don’t end here. There is a wealth of material to explore, including:

  • Khronos’s Vulkan resources, including overviews, reference pages, specification, and community demos
  • Android’s documentation for Vulkan
  • Android Vulkan samples
  • Android Vulkan tutorials
  • LunarG’s LunarXchange has resources for Windows and Linux Vulkan development


Android Developers Blog

Sep 01

First Preview of Android N: Developer APIs & Tools

Posted by Dave Burke, VP of Engineering

Today we’re happy to announce a Developer Preview of the N release of Android! We’re doing something a little different this year by releasing the preview early… really early. By releasing a “work in progress” build earlier in development, we have more time to incorporate developer feedback. Also, the earlier preview allows us to hand off the final N release to device makers this summer, so they can get their hands on the latest version of Android earlier than ever. We’re looking forward to getting your feedback as you get your apps ready for N.

Here are a few APIs and features we want to highlight which are available as a part of the Android N Developer Preview today, with more to come as we continue developing the release:

Multi-window – A new manifest attribute called android:resizableActivity is available for apps targeting N and beyond. If this attribute is set to true, your activity can be launched in split-screen modes on phones and tablets. You can also specify your activity’s minimum allowable dimensions, preventing users from making the activity window smaller than that size. Lifecycle changes for multi-window are similar to switching from landscape to portrait mode: your activity can handle the configuration change itself, or it can allow the system to stop the activity and recreate it with the new dimensions. In addition, activities can also go into picture-in-picture mode on devices like TVs, and is a great feature for apps that play video; be sure to set android:supportsPictureInPicture to true to take advantage of this.

Direct reply notifications: The RemoteInput notification API, which was originally added for Android Wear, now works in N for phones and tablets. Using the RemoteInput API enables users to reply to incoming message notifications quickly and conveniently, without leaving the notification shade. Learn more here.

Bundled notifications – With N, you can use the Notification.Builder.setGroup() method to group notifications from the same app together – for example individual messages from a messaging app. Grouped notifications can be expanded into individual notifications by using a two-finger gesture or tapping the new expansion button. Learn more here.

Efficiency – We launched Doze in Marshmallow to save battery when your device is stationary. In N, Doze additionally saves battery whenever the screen turns off. If you’ve already adapted your app for Doze, e.g. by using the GCM high priority message for urgent notifications, then you’re set; if not, here’s how to get started. Also, we’re continuing to invest in Project Svelte, an effort to reduce the memory needs of Android so that it can run on a much broader range of devices, in N by making background work more efficient {link to documentation}. If you use JobScheduler for background work, you’re already on the right track. If not, N is a good time to make that switch. And to help you out, we’re making JobScheduler even more capable, so now you can use {@link android.app.job.JobScheduler} to react to things like changes to content providers.

Improved Java 8 language support – We’re excited to bring Java 8 language features to Android. With Android’s Jack compiler, you can now use many popular Java 8 language features, including lambdas and more, on Android versions as far back as Gingerbread. The new features help reduce boilerplate code. For example, lambdas can replace anonymous inner classes when providing event listeners. Some Java 8 language features –like default and static methods, streams, and functional interfaces — are also now available on N and above. With Jack, we’re looking forward to tracking the Java language more closely while maintaining backward compatibility.

Get started

The N Developer Preview includes an updated SDK with system images for testing on the official Android emulator and on Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Nexus 9, and Pixel C devices (and to help test out these features on a tablet, developers can get a $ 150 discount on Pixel C).

This initial preview release is for developers only and not intended for daily use or consumer use. We plan to update the N Developer Preview system images often during the Developer Preview program. As we get closer to a final product, we’ll be inviting consumers to try it out as well.

We are also making it easier for you to try out N on your development devices with the new Android Beta Program. Starting later today, you’ll be able to update your Android devices to the Developer Preview of N and receive ongoing updates via OTA. Check back later today to learn more!

Click here for more details on getting started with the N Developer Preview and let us know what you think — the sooner we hear from you, the more of your feedback we can integrate.


Android Developers Blog

Aug 18

New tools for ratings & reviews on Google Play to engage and understand your users

Posted by Fergus Hurley, Product Manager, Google Play

Millions of users rate and review your apps every day on Google Play. From feature requests to technical issues, ratings and reviews offer a wealth of information about what people like and dislike. Since 2013, you’ve been able to reply to reviews on Google Play, giving you a direct communication channel with your most engaged users. You’ve told us you value having this channel because it helps you iterate on user feedback faster on Android than other platforms. In the last few months, we’ve made a number of improvements in the Google Play Developer Console to help you better analyze and manage ratings and reviews so that you can improve your app experience and boost its rating.

Improvements to ratings and reviews

We recently revamped ratings and reviews with features you can now find on dedicated pages in the Developer Console:


The new ratings page in the Google Play Developer Console

  • See ratings over time: See how your rating changes daily, weekly, and monthly and easily spot any changes when you release a new version of your app.
  • Ratings breakdown: Break down your rating by country, language, device, app version, or Android version.




The new reviews page in the Google Play Developer Console

  • Review highlights: See common themes from what users say in reviews of your app – these are the same highlights that users see on the Play Store. Review highlights are shown when you have a high enough volume of reviews and are updated regularly to reflect the latest user experiences with your app.
  • Device metadata: See certain device data such as RAM, CPU, and screen size so you can more easily identify problems users are mentioning in user reviews and debug such issues.
  • Search review text: Search inside reviews to see what people are saying about a particular topic or keyword.
  • Replies & updates to reviews: When you reply to reviews, the user receives an email. Now, you can also opt-in to be emailed if the user updates their review or rating.

Learn from other developers on how to make the most of ratings and reviews

Photo Editor by Aviary is a photo editing app with a strong focus on simplicity and intuitive use. Ratings and reviews and other Android features allow Aviary to iterate on builds two to three times faster compared to other platforms while being in a regular dialogue with their users.


Glu Mobile is a mobile gaming company known for Racing Rivals, Cooking Dash 2016 and its upcoming Taylor Swift game. Ratings and reviews features help Glu engage their audience, gather feedback, and manage user satisfaction. “Google’s review highlights allow us to see a snapshot of game features users like or dislike at a glance. We monitor review trends, watch out for notifications, and respond to reviews for our games,” says Niccolo de Masi, Glu Mobile CEO. Here are some tips Glu is using to master ratings and reviews in the Developer Console:


  1. Reply to reviews: Reply to user reviews of your game in the Google Play Developer Console. Help them with their issues or let them know that you’re considering their feature suggestions. A positive experience could result in the user increasing their rating.
  2. Use search: You can now search within all reviews and apply search filters for rating, language, app version, device and more. Use this feature to find specific user feedback, for example, on new content you’ve added.
  3. Take action: Now, you can be notified when a user answers you or updates their review. You can immediately start working on improvements if you learned about an issue. If the feedback is positive, engage with your community and turn satisfied users into fans.
  4. Analyze over time: Analyze ratings over time to learn more about how user satisfaction improves as you update your game. This allows you to understand if your latest feature update or bug fix results in higher user satisfaction.
  5. Identify key themes: Google Play automatically surfaces review highlights that users are mentioning about your game. This makes it quick for you to analyze reviews and understand user feedback.

We hope these tools help you better engage with your audience and improve your app. Visit the Developer Console Help Center to find out more about seeing and managing ratings and reviews. For more tools and best practices to help you grow a successful business, download The Secrets to App Success on Google Play.


Android Developers Blog

Jul 13

Build Mobile App Services with Google Cloud Tools for Android Studio v1.0

Posted by Chris Sells, Product Manager, Cloud Tools for Android Studio

Cloud Tools for Android Studio allows you to simultaneously build the service- and client-side of your mobile app. Earlier this month, we announced the release of Android Studio 1.0 that showed just how much raw functionality there is available for Android app developers. However, the client isn’t the whole picture, as most mobile apps also need one or more web services. It was for this reason that the Cloud Tools for Android Studio were created.

Cloud Tools put the power of Google App Engine in the same IDE alongside of your mobile client, giving you all the same Java language tools for both sides of your app, as well as making it far easier for you to keep them in sync as each of them changes.

Getting Started

To get started with Cloud Tools for Android Studio, add a New Module to your Android Studio project, choose Google Cloud Module and you’ll have three choices:

You can add three Google Cloud module types to your Android Studio project

The Java Servlet Module gives you a plain servlet class for you to implement as you see fit. If you’d like help building your REST endpoints with declarative routing and HTTP verbs and automatic Java object serialization to and from JSON, then you’ll want the Java Endpoints Module. If you want the power of endpoints, along with the ability to send notifications from your server to your clients, then choose Backend with Google Cloud Messaging.

Once you’re done, you’ll have your service code right next to your client code:

You can build your mobile app’s client and service code together in a single project

Not only does this make it very convenient to build and test your entire end-to-end, but we also dropped a little extra something into your app’s build.gradle file:

The android-endpoints configuration build step in your build.gradle file creates a client-side library for your server-side endpoint

The updated Gradle file will now create a library for use in your app’s client code that changes when your service API changes. This library lets you call into your service from your client and provides full code completion as you do:

The client-side endpoint library provides code completion and documentation

Instead of writing the code to create HTTP requests by hand, you can make calls via the library in a typesafe manner and the marshalling from JSON to Java will be handled for you, just like on the server-side (but in reverse, of course).

Endpoints Error Detection

Meanwhile, back on the server-side, as you make changes to your endpoints, we’re watching to make sure that they’re in good working order even before you compile by checking the attributes as you type:

Cloud Tools will detect errors in your endpoint attributes

Here, Cloud Tools have found a duplicate name in the ApiMethod attribute, which is easy to do if you’re creating a new method from an existing method.

Creating an Endpoint from an Objectify Entity

If, as part of your endpoint implementation, you decide to take advantage of the popular Objectify library, you’ll find that Cloud Tools provides special support for you. When you right-click (or control-click on the Mac) on a file containing an Objectify entity class, you’ll get the Generate Cloud Endpoint from Java class option:

The generate Cloud Endpoint from Java class option will create a CRUD endpoint for you

If you’re running this option on a Java class that isn’t built with Objectify, then you’re going to get an endpoint with empty methods for get and insert operations that you can implement as appropriate. However, if you do this with an Objectify entity, you’ll get a fully implemented endpoint:

Cloud Tools has built-in support for generating Objectify-based cloud endpoint implementations

Using your Cloud Endpoint

As an Android developer, you’re used to deploying your client first in the emulator and then into a local device. Likewise, with the service, you’ll want to test first to your local machine and then, when you’re ready, deploy into a Google App Engine project. You can run your service app locally by simply choosing it from the Configurations menu dropdown on the toolbar and pressing the Run button:

The Configurations menu in the toolbar lets you launch your service for testing

This will build and execute your service on http://localhost:8080/ (by default) so that you can test against it with your Android app running in the emulator. Once you’re ready to deploy to Google Cloud Platform, you can do so by selecting the Deploy Module to App Engine option from the Build menu, where you’ll be able to choose the source module you want to deploy, log into your Google account and pick the target project to which you’d like to deploy:

The Deploy to App Engine dialog will use your Google credentials to enumerate your projects for you

Cloud Tools beta required some extra copying and pasting to get the Google login to work, but all of that’s gone now in this release.

What’s Next?

We’re excited to get this release into your hands, so if you’ve haven’t downloaded it yet, then go download Android Studio 1.0 right now! To take advantage of Cloud Tools for Android Studio, you’ll want to sign up for a free Google Cloud Platform trial. Nothing is stopping you from building great Android apps from front to back. If you’ve got suggestions, drop us a line so that we can keep improving. We’re just getting started putting Google Cloud Platform tools in your hands. We can’t wait to see what you’ll build.

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Android Developers Blog

Jun 02

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May 19

Android Wear: New complications tools and watch friendly UI library

Posted by Hoi Lam, Lead Developer Advocate, Android Wear

Android Wear 2.0 gives users more informative watch faces and provides developers with new ways to build useful apps. These new opportunities have been well received by users and developers alike. To help developers take advantage of these new features, we have released a suite of complication API tools, to make it easier for developers to add complication support to their watch faces, and a new Wear UI library, to help developers build watch friendly user interfaces.

New Complications API tools for Watch Face developers

Complications are bite-sized pieces of information displayed directly on the watch face. They can also be great shortcuts into your favorite apps. We introduced the Complications API last year to enable watch faces to receive data from any app that the user selects, and display the data to the user in a way that is stylistically coherent. Today, we are introducing four new tools to make it easier for watch face developers to integrate with the Complications API:

  • TextRenderer – Auto-sizes text to fit in bounds defined by watch face makers.
  • ComplicationDrawable – A full rendering solution for complications, that handles all the styling for you, and adjusts the layout to fit the space you specify
  • Easy watch face settings sample – Adoptable sample code that makes it easier to build complication settings with a rich and usable experience.
  • Complication test suite – A sample data provider to help check that your watch face can handle all the combinations of fields that can make up complication data.

It’s never been easier to integrate complications into your watch faces.

New Wear UI Library for Wear developers

We have provided Android view components for building watch friendly user interfaces since the launch of Android Wear 1.0. Developers have told us that they would like to see these components open sourced. So, starting at Google I/O, we are open sourcing some components and providing some Android Wear UI components in the Android Support Library. This brings a number of advantages, including more consistent APIs with the rest of the Support Library, more frequent releases, and better responsiveness to developer feedback. We will:

  • Migrate Wearable Support classes – Migrate and update Android Wear specific view components, such as WearableRecyclerView, from android.support.wearable.view in Wearable Support to android.support.wear.widget in the Android Support Library. This new package is available as open source. In terms of developer impact, we expect the migration process to be simple, with minor API name changes to bring consistency with the existing Android Support Library.
  • Merge some Android Wear functionality to Android – Some Android Wear components have a lot of overlap with Android, e.g. CircledImageView and DelayedConfirmationView. We will merge the Android Wear specific functionality with the Android counterparts under android.support.v4.widget.
  • Deprecate outdated user interface patterns – Two user interface patterns are deprecated with Android Wear 2.0: the Card pattern and the Multi-directional layout. As a result, we have deprecated all supporting classes, such as GridViewPager and CardFragment. Please refer to the class reference docs for their replacements.

In the first wave of these changes, we migrated the WearableRecyclerView, BoxInsetLayout and SwipeDismissFrameLayout classes to the new Android Wear UI Library. We expect the migration process to continue during 2017, and developers will have until mid-2018 to migrate to the new UI components. For additional information, see Using the Wear UI Library.

Get started and give us feedback!

To get started with these new tools, simply update the Android Support Library in Android Studio and update your gradle build files to import the new support libraries. In addition to the documentation links above, check out the Google I/O session – Android Wear UI development best practice – where lead engineers for these tools will be on-hand to explain the technical details.

We will continue to update these tools over the next few months, based on your feedback. The sooner we hear from you, the more we can include, so don’t be shy! Let us do some of the heavy lifting for your Android Wear apps and watch faces.


Android Developers Blog

Apr 04

Updated Cross-Platform Tools in Google Play Game Services

By Ben Frenkel, Google Play Games team

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Game services UIs are now updated for material design, across all of the SDKs.

Game developers, we’ve updated some of our popular developer tools to give you a consistent set of game services across platforms, a refreshed UI based on material design, and new tools to give you better visibility into what users are doing in your games.

Let’s take a look at the new features.

Real-time Multiplayer in the Play Games cross-platform C++ SDK

To make it easier to build cross-platform games, we’ve added Real-Time Multiplayer (RTMP) to the latest Google Play Games C++ SDK. The addition of RTMP brings the C++ SDK to feature parity with the Play services SDK on Android and the Play Games iOS SDK. Learn more »

Material Design refresh across Android, cross-platform C++, and iOS SDKs

We’ve incorporated material design into the user-interface of the latest Play Games services SDKs for Android, cross-platform C++, and iOS. This gives you a bold, colorful design that’s consistent across all of your games, for all of your users. Learn more »

New quests features and completion statistics

Quests are a popular way to increase player engagement by adding fresh content without updating your game. We’ve added some new features to quests to make them easier to implement and manage.

First, we’ve simplified quests implementations by providing out-of-the-box toasts for “quest accepted” and “quest completed” events. You can invoke these toasts from your game with just a single call, on any platform. This removes the need to create your own custom toasts, though you are still free to do so.

You also have more insight into how your quests are performing through new in-line quest stats in the Developer Console. With these stats, you can better monitor how many people are completing their quests, so you can adjust the criteria to make them easier to achieve, if needed. Learn more »

Last, we’ve eliminated the 24-hour lead-time requirement for publishing and allowing repeating quests to have the same name. You now have the freedom to publish quests whenever you want with whatever name you want.

New quest stats let you see how many users are completing their quests.

Multiplayer game statistics

Now when you add multiplayer support through Google Play game services, you get multiplayer stats for free, without having to implement a custom logging solution. You can simply visit the Developer Console to see how players are using your multiplayer integration and look at trends in overall usage. The new stats are available as tabs under the Engagement section. Learn more »

Multiplayer stats let you see trends in how players are using your app’s multiplayer integration.

New game services insights and alerts

We’re continuing to expand the types of alerts we offer the Developer Console to let you know about more types of issues that might be affecting your users’ gameplay experiences. You’ll now get an alert when you have a broken implementation of real-time and turn-based multiplayer, and we’ll also notify you if your Achievements and Leaderboard implementations use too many duplicate images. Learn more »

Get Started

You can get started with all of these new features right away. Visit the Google Play game services developer site to download the updated SDKs. For migration details on the Game Services SDK for iOS, see the release notes. You can take a look at the new stats and alerts by visiting the Google Play Developer Console.

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Feb 23

New Tools to Take Your Games to the Next Level

In this mobile world, games aren’t just for the hardcore MMOG fan anymore, they’re for everyone; in fact, three out of four people with an Android phone or tablet play games. If you’re a game developer, Google has a host of tools available for you to help take your game to the next level, including Google Play game services, which let’s you leverage Google’s strength in mobile and cloud services so you can focus on building compelling game experiences for your users. Today, we’re adding more tools to your gaming toolbox, like the open sourcing of a 2D physics library, as well as new features to the Google Play game services offering, like a plug-in for Unity.

LiquidFun, a rigid-body physics library with fluid simulation

First, we are announcing the open-source release of LiquidFun, a new C++ 2D physics library that makes it easier for developers to add realistic physics to their games.

Based on Box2D, LiquidFun features particle-based fluid simulation. Game developers can use it for new game mechanics and add realistic physics to game play. Designers can use the library to create beautiful fluid interactive experiences.

The video clip below shows a circular body falling into a viscous fluid using LiquidFun.

The LiquidFun library is written in C++, so any platform that has a C++ compiler can benefit from it. To help with this, we have provided a method to build the LiquidFun library, example applications, and unit tests for Android, Linux, OSX and Windows.

We’re looking forward to seeing what you’ll do with LiquidFun and we want to hear from you about how we can make this even better! Download the latest release from our LiquidFun project page on GitHub and join our discussion list!

Google Play Games plug-in for Unity

If you are a game developer using Unity, the cross-platform game engine from Unity Technologies, you can now more easily integrate game services using a new Google Play Games plug-in for Unity. This initial version of the plug-in supports sign-in, achievements, leaderboards and cloud save on Android and iOS. You can download the plug-in from the Play Games project page on GitHub, along with documentation and sample code.

New categories for games in Google Play

New game categories are coming to the Play Store in February 2014, such as Simulation, Role Playing, and Educational! Developers can now use the Google Play Developer Console to choose a new category for their apps if the Application Type is “Games”. The New Category field in the Store Listing will set the future category for your game. This will not change the category of your game on Google Play until the new categories go live in February 2014.

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