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September 16, 2016

Jon Pulsipher

Now that we have game controllers handled, let’s take a closer look at how to set up your Amazon Fire TV game for use with the Fire TV remote.

Using the Fire TV remote for game input

The Fire TV remote control is available with and without the microphone and voice search button, but since that is reserved for the system both remotes expose the same keys for use by apps.

D-pad and d-pad center button

The circular d-pad on the remote control is accessed in the same way as the game controller d-pad.

      if(gamepad_button_check(global.gamepad,gp_padu))
          {
                 // move up
          }

The select button in the center of the d-pad sends the vk_space keycode.

[Read More]

September 09, 2016

Jon Pulsipher

Last week we covered some of the missing documentation in GameMaker with respect to Amazon Fire TV, detailing what you need to know about basic controller detection. This week, as we continue on my building Retroids journey, we will take a closer look at handling controllers.

A well behaved game should handle controllers coming and going during play. This covers cases where a controller loses connectivity due to range or interference, or if the batteries in the controller die while playing.

To accomplish this, the above code needs to be present in the actual game play rooms as well. This could be implemented in a single object that is used in all rooms of the game.

[Read More]

September 02, 2016

Jon Pulsipher

Last week I shared my decision—in the name of more fun games for the world— to make good use of my commute time and build a Amazon Fire TV and Fire Stick game using GameMaker: Studio.

The GameMaker documentation gives a general overview of supporting game controllers. Finding details on how game controller support works with Amazon Fire TV proved to be a little more difficult. In the next few posts in the series I will provide the missing information, focusing on:

  • Basic Controller Detection
  • Handling Controllers and Controls
  • Using the Amazon Fire TV Remote and Controller Selection

Let’s dive into basic controller detection.

Handling the game controller and remote control on Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick

Using YoYo Games GameMaker: Studio to build PC games that use the keyboard or even a USB game controller is pretty easy and many developers choose to first get their game up and running on their PC. This offers the convenience of easy debugging and very fast edit-build-test cycles. When you want to move to a mobile device or a platform like Amazon Fire TV, however, you are going to have to invest some time to build in proper support for game controller detection.

[Read More]

August 26, 2016

Jon Pulsipher

It all started with a bus ride.

Not long ago, I was looking for a project to occupy my time on my bus commute to Seattle. I have experience with a variety of game engines and writing code doesn’t frighten me, but I wanted to use a new tool and get the entire learning experience. Enter YoYo Games’ GameMaker: Studio.

Jesse Freeman previously posted an overview of some of the frameworks available to make your game development for Amazon devices a lot easier. As many of you already know, game frameworks, also known as “engines”, do various amounts of the technical heavy lifting so you can focus on designing fun and engaging experiences for your players. After all, why should each of us write our own code to display and animate sprites, play sounds or handle the touch screen?

One of the engines Jesse covered was GameMaker: Studio. You can download it for free to check it out, as well as the 60-day trial of the Amazon Fire module to target your games for Amazon Fire tablets and Amazon Fire TV devices. GameMaker: Studio is fully cross-platform and other available modules allow you to target iOS, Linux and all game consoles.

If you are completely new to GameMaker, don’t fret! Shaun Spalding, YoYo Games’ Community Manager, has a great series of tutorials to get you going. That’s exactly where I started. You can get an idea what is possible (which is a lot!) by checking out the showcase of games built with GameMaker. I’ll save you the click and just tell you, “Yes, you can build awesome games with GameMaker!” Fast, beautiful games full of juicy particle-spewing, camera-shaking excitement that easily stand next to any other game. This is NOT some pared down prototyping tool or a drag-and-drop toy for kids. 

Of course, to do any of that, you have to have an idea and you need to be prepared to write some code. I have a soft spot for TV gaming, so my plan started with building an arcade-style space-shooter for Amazon Fire TV that could be played with a Fire TV game controller – mostly because that’s what I have at home and this began as just a side project for myself.

As I thought about it more, I realized that the world deserves more fun games, and darn it, they deserve MY fun game. To allow as many customers as possible to experience the excitement of my game, it would really be great if it was also playable on Fire TV Stick…with only the remote control. And of course it needed GameCircle achievements and leaderboards. To top it all off, I thought, “Hey, why not support playing on a touch screen too.”

Now I really had a challenge worthy of my long commute.

Over the next few parts, I’ll get into the hard-won details of how I built the remote and controller support, as well as GameCircle features in GameMaker: Studio, complete with sample code you can use in your own projects.

Don't miss the rest of the Building Retroids with GameMaker blog series!

Part 2: Basic Controller Detection

Part 3: Handling Controllers

September 16, 2015

Paul Cutsinger

Today Marmalade announced the launch of the free Marmalade for Amazon SDK. If you are like me, you have thought of half a dozen ideas for apps that would be great in Amazon Underground, where apps are #ActuallyFree for customers and developers get paid for every minute that the app is used. Now, getting those built is a whole lot easier with the launch of the Marmalade for Amazon SDK.

Marmalade is the first cross-platform solution to implement support for Amazon Underground APK management, including single click publishing, to simplify publishing apps to both Underground and the Amazon Appstore. 

[Read More]

September 09, 2014

Paul Cutsinger

AWS re:Invent is sold out!  This is going to be the biggest AWS re:Invent yet. This year’s conference will feature three tracks of content to help mobile app and game developers build apps, engage customers and monetize more effectively. 

Here are 6 reasons you should check out AWS re:Invent 2014:

Launch Your Own Start-up at AWS re:Invent

In 2013, five start-ups launched at re:Invent in a session emceed by Amazon CTO Werner Vogels, and we’re doing it again this year.  If you’re in stealth mode, you can use re:Invent to launch your AWS-powered mobile app or game to the world.  If you’re already launched, you can announce a new major feature on stage with Amazon CTO Wener Vogels.  The application deadline is 5:00pm PST on September 30thapply today.

Deep Technical Content

AWS re:Invent is a learning conference with breakout sessions covering a broad range of topics and technical depth. All sessions will be delivered by subject matter experts, engineers, or expert customers who can share their real world experiences and lessons learned.  Want to get a taste of what to expect?  Check out the 2013 re:Invent recap featuring sessions on mobile game architectures, and coding tips to help you distribute your HTML 5 apps on mobile devices.

Amazon Fire Device Track

Come learn from customers and Amazon experts how to create Fire phone, Fire TV and Kindle Fire apps. We’ll go into depth on how to create applications that react to customer actions with Fire phone’s Dynamic Perspective and Firefly technologies. You’ll also hear how to reach new audiences with Fire TV. Top mobile developers will share their tips on monetizing and you’ll get behind-the-scenes details from the Amazon engineers who build our technologies. You can see a full list of tracks here.

Gaming Track

In this track, you’ll learn how AWS services can enable you to scale your game from 1,000 to 1,000,000 players. We will cover common features such as leaderboards, game analytics, asynchronous gameplay, online multiplayer servers, multi-region deployments, and cloud streaming. Game companies using AWS to power their games will share best practices. Click here to see the full list of tracks.

Mobile & Connected Devices Track

Whether you are a mobile developer, a connected device solution builder, or a business trying to be “Mobile-first”, AWS can help you to build fast and scale more easily. The Mobile & Connnected Devices track will give you a detailed look at services like our cross platform mobile push notification and Amazon Mobile Analytics and improve customer experience across platform. We’ll have examples from companies that have already used AWS to power their mobile apps to share their lessons learned.  Click here to see the full list of tracks.

Hackathon: Help Non-Profits Solve Big Problems

Start your AWS re:Invent experience early.  On Tuesday November 11 from 8:00am until midnight, join developers, AWS engineers and Amazon mobile app experts to hack on big problems in support of a worthy cause.  Bring your team, we’ll provide everything you need to get started. Space is limited – only 200 hackers allowed – so register today to reserve your spot.  We’re doing this 24 hours before the first keynote, so don’t worry – you won’t miss anything!  Click here to learn more.

Sign Up for the Live Stream

Join AWS re:Invent from the comfort of your home or office. We are live streaming our keynotes and selected breakout sessions on November 12 and 13. Watch the keynotes and hear the latest announcements from AWS executives and key customers.

@PaulCutsinger

 

 

 

 

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