I, like many of you and the rest of the world, am pretty enamored by developments in mobile phone and tablet technology. In particular, the computing and graphics capabilities of recent phones and tablets are pretty incredible which has paved the way for a new handheld gaming experience. Although still far behind a gaming-oriented PC, I think we can all agree it's pretty cool to have that much packed into a phone.
However, I don't think fancier graphics are necessarily the answer for Android gaming... While there are certainly some quality games out there, I feel like there are some gaping holes in the gaming market that could be filled with better design instead of better graphics.
Anyway, I have a couple ideas on features and games to throw out if anyone wants one. Also, I'd love to hear from someone who is in development about why some of these features aren't usually implemented.
1) Pause/exit capabilities. A large number of decent games, especially the graphics intensive games, have a fatal flaw for phone use. On a tablet, this probably wouldn't matter, but on my phone, I want to be able to pause a game at any point (ideally save as well) and return to my home screen without losing anything. A phone with gaming capabilities stops being a phone if you can't exit to take a call. Dungeon Defenders on Android is a perfect example. Get a phone call in the middle of an hour long level and you lost it all...
2) Local connectivity to your friends. I have yet to see a single game for Android or IOS (I'd love to be wrong) that has multi-player features over a local network. I want to play a something like scrabble or risk with the 4 people in the room next to me, or on a train, without having to worry about connecting through the internet. All phones have WiFi and bluetooth, so I would think this would be a no brainer. Is there something about Android architecture preventing this?
3) Turn-based strategy optimized for the way people use their phones and with cloud-based saved games. If done right, this could re-kindle a genre. Think Heroes of Might and Magic, but most importantly, you need to be able to save and exit in multi-player games, while the "game board" is updated to the cloud... i.e. john takes a turn at his leisure, saves, and returns to something else while the next player in line gets a notification that it's his turn. This way you can play a long turn-based game in which you only open the app long enough to take your turn. I think this crucial difference would make this kind of strategy game fun again... this same concept could go to Risk or Monopoly. Instead of an accelerated online Risk game (there's one out there... Drisk I think), I want slow Risk, old school risk where the board stays out for a few days and the family takes turns when they can... I just don't want to have it open on my phone that whole time.
Finally, a few game ideas that I'd really like to see. Holding onto them in the hopes that I could one day capitalize on them seems like a waste:
1) Turn-based adventure strategy along the lines of Heroes of Might and Magic, but optimized for touch screen and mobile use. I'm pretty sure there's a port of Heroes II and III for Android, but it's flawed in a few ways (mostly the tendency to have touchscreen miss clicks). Why wouldn't Ubisoft do this themselves? Touchscreen, internet connected devices seems like the perfect fit for the game as long as feature #3 above is implemented.
2) MMO RISK/World Domination. Think of a game almost like Risk or the old Balance of Power, but expand it to a constantly operating and massive multiplayer game that is always in flux (or maybe clutched in the grips of a tyrant at times). Players could form alliances, betray each other, take over the world, or get wiped off the map. In order to really work as an MMO, some things would have to be tweaked so that players could come and go and have their territory on auto-defend while not playing. Since players would be able to enter the game at any point in time, maybe new players would compete for sub territories (e.g. North Africa could be split into 8-10 colonies) and only be able to act on the world's stage once they had dominated a territory and were ready to invade a neighbor... like a smaller game within the broader conflict.
3) Escape Velocity
for the phone. Fun, addicting, would work well as a touchscreen game. Ideally as an MMO with the possibility to form alliances and factions and take over sections of the galaxy.
with slightly updated graphics, a smooth touch screen interface, and an easy way to connect and play against friends. This is a throwback to my childhood, and I don't know how many of you have ever played it. The game mechanics are almost identical to Cardinal Quest
with the key difference being the surprisingly exciting multi-player battles.
Sorry for the length. I'm a wordy one...
TLDR 3 ideas for touchscreen game features and 4 games I want to see
I am one of the few defenders of Android Wear 2.0, if for the functionality alone when compared to Tizen. Yes, Android Wear is in much need to be refined and made a little more intuitive but it often "just works" for me.
It comes down to what I want to be able to do on a smartwatch without having to use my phone. Android Wear 2.0 is a lot more compatible with messaging apps than Tizen is. Android Messages has a watch "app" so you can start a text message from the watch. If there isn't a messaging app for the watch, the majority of them work inherently with the watch, letting you "like" or "reply" to messages on apps such as Allo, GroupMe and others. I get steady and reliable notifications. My watch has the option to take calls on the watch but I generally turn that off, even if it is nice to have the option. I use Watchmaster for watch faces and it has some nice and battery efficient options. Google Fit is serviceable as a step/heart rate tracker and uses less battery than some other health apps. The app menu is better than it was on AW 1.5 and I like having a Play Store on the phone.
Google Assistant on the watch actually works very well...I just need to sometimes remember to use it. I use it more for reminders than anything else.
I absolutely won't deny that Android Wear is struggling to catch on, despite there being a lot of options out there. But I still find it more robust to use than Tizen, even if Tizen is more polished.