Making games

During the process of making Leila and the Little Folk, there were many times when development crawled to a halt and it seemed like it might be best just to give up on the whole endeavour. One of the things that stopped that happening was finding out about other developers' experiences of the process, so it seemed like the right thing to do to make a small contribution on that front.

That's what this page is. It tells a bit of the story of how I went about making Leila and the Little Folk.


shinymonkey games started out as an idea at some point in 2011. At the time, I'd been playing around doing some programming on Android, mostly just for the sake of learning something new (I'm a professional software developer by day).

My children were also mucking about with the excellent GameMaker software, which allows non-programmers to create reasonably complex games.

Eventually the two things came together in a flash of inspiration, and I decided I would see how possible it was to write games for Android.

Development hardware

Here's what you need to write an Android game:

That's it. There are a couple of other bits and bobs that come in handy, but we'll come to them later.

Game creation packages vs DIY

I looked briefly into the various game creation packages that exist which will produce games for Android (and other platforms). There seems to be a growing number of these, and although the quality is variable there are definitely some good-looking options out there.

However, I wanted to learn more about writing for Android. The Android SDK (see below) comes with a sample Lunar Lander game to illustrate how you might go about building a game, and when I saw how relatively simple that was, I decided that I should go native and write my own game engine on Android.

That meant I needed a Java development environment.