Demonstrating Android Mobile Games

To showcase our games on the markets, we build screenshots and videos. To promote our games, we present them to an audience. How do we create all that behind the scenes? What do we use? This is just a summary of what we do (not a comprehensive list).

Screenshots

We take screenshots using ADB. My students were surprised when I showed them how easy it was. In eclipse, open the DDMS view, and click on your connected device. The camera icon on top becomes active. Just press it to take a screenshot. The screenshots have to be a certain size. We take 800×1200 ones using the nexus 7, and 480×800 ones using an old Motorola triumph. Our other devices – kindle fire first generation and htc one have different aspect ratios that don’t work for screenshots.

Video

We have gone through several iterations of improving our video demo.

Handheld – The simplest way to make a demonstration video is to take a second camera, and hold it over the phone or tablet while a helper plays the game. The final video can be shaky, and it is tougher to edit. This is how we used to do our videos at first.

Rooted – Now we use Screencast Pro to record what’s happening on the phone directly on the phone. It is not affected by movement of the phone. We take the video and edit it using Windows Live Movie Maker into a single video stream. All android screencasting tools require superuser permissions on a rooted phone. Screencast doesn’t work on Tegra 3 chips – so, it doesn’t work on Nexus 7 or Nexus 4, but works on Motorola Triumph and HTC one. I had to turn off hardware acceleration on the app temporarily for the video recording to work.

Live Presentation

Pre-record – The first live presentation I did was in a tech forum about Multi-Device challenges on Android. I relied on pre-recorded video to show the issues and the solutions. I already knew how to do videos, so that was easy.

Really live – This weekend we were preparing to present to the MIT forum DEMO screening round. I want to do better than a pre-recorded video this time. I tried Android Screencast, but it was very laggy and slow. Plus, I couldn’t switch screen orientation from portrait to landscape. Conor decided to go a different route – directly connect the phone to the projector. He got an MHL (Micro-USB to HDMI) connector and connected my HTC one to the TV directly over HDMI. We got Hi-Def video and sound with no lag. I was a little worried that the picture would look fuzzy or pixelated, but it did not. The picture is oriented correctly irrespective of how the phone is held. The video and audio worked beautifully. I assume it will work the same with a projector that supports HDMI.

I did not want to switch between laptop and the phone, so, we got Office Suite 7 Pro to show the slides from the phone directly. I am hoping to do the whole presentation with my phone. Let you know how it goes 🙂

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