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Bounden Developer Runs Firsthand Into Android Hardware Fragmentation Issues

Bounden Developer Runs Firsthand Into Android Hardware Fragmentation Issues

May 21, 2014
Game Oven really wanted to port its new iPhone dance game, Bounden, to Android. But the developer has delayed that goal due to an interesting problem – the gyroscope on many Android devices doesn't work properly. Bounden, which was recently released on the App Store, is a unique two-player title that makes extensive use of the iPhone’s gyroscope. Here’s a quick trailer. Click here if you can’t see it. Both the iOS and Android versions were developed at the same time. But Game Oven ran into a major problem when it expanded the list of Android devices it tested. As you can see from the Vine video, the seven Android devices are running the same app but showing wildly different interpretations of North. Along with encountering some devices where the gyroscope didn't work, others faked readings by mixing and matching accelerometer data. Some devices had no gyroscope at all. And it wasn’t just inexpensive devices that had problems, according to the company:
These are all major problems for our heavily gyroscope-precision based game. We weren’t just testing on low tier devices, by the way. Popular devices like the Samsung Galaxy S4 are problematic as well. We’re not the only ones though – after posting the Vine, we got an enormous amount of response from other developers recognizing the problem. For the user, buying an Android phone means you can choose between hundreds of different devices and pick the one that fits you best. For developers, the fragmentation on Android is frustrating: you can develop an app for one phone, but you can never be sure it will work on another Android device as well. With Bounden, we are pushing Android devices to their limits, using every sensor there is to guide the way people move together. Doing such novel things with a device means running into some problems, especially on Android.
Game Oven is bravely forging ahead, not giving up on Android just yet:
At this point, we are left with one option: whitelist Android devices one by one and release the game when we feel good about the list. We don’t want to release on too few devices, nor do we want to release the game on devices on which the experience of playing Bounden is jeopardized by the hardware. Unfortunately, the Google Play Store doesn’t allow us to filter on ‘good gyroscopes’, which means our only option is to test the game, on every Android device we can get our hands on, so that we can release Bounden as soon as possible.
You can download Bounden now in the App Store for $3.99. For other recent news today, see: Listen To This: Facebook To Launch Shazam-Like Media Tagging Service For Mobile, EBay Users Are Being Asked To Change Account Passwords After Cyberattack, and Spotify Now Has 10 Million Paying Subscribers As Fight With Apple's Beat Music Looms.

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