As this is my biggest app so far I'd like to share a bit what it was to develop it.
The story so far
August 15th 2010 my little brother wanted to learn some Android.
A business app that was my main focus at the time was way beyond his level as he didn't start his IT classes yet.
My first app on the market, Stress that I built with my other brother in one day concept to release also was not interesting.
He wanted to see how to start an app, so we picked up an older problem that I had shown him some simple BASIC years earlier with:
A predator-prey-model of wolves, sheep and gras. We changed the actors a bit and populations of gras became trees, populations of sheep became populations of leaf cutting ants and the wolves were not needed as the red ants fight the black ants in our game.
Ok the first version was rather quickly done.
Some draw example from the google API demos was the start.
Green circles represented trees, black circles were ant polulations.
That first day we had our population of ants on the one tree grow till the tree went brown and shrink again till the tree's constant leaf production could sustain the population.
I added interaction to move ants from one tree to the other and by December I quit my job and around that time I had several playable levels but those circles were not what I had in mind.
All in all there was not much progress till end of January.
Then came several attempts to find a good graphics library.
Min3d looked promissing.
I had my 3d model of a tree loaded but the 2nd wouldn't load.
Hooray, the lib does not support cloning of trees and loading one already took seconds.
(Today Flux Forest loads 300 trees in no time.)
As the developer seemed to have gone closed source and I didn't plan to take over that lib, I tried to use OpenGL as suggested in the google API demos.
This was nasty and not at all user friendly.
Next I tried AndEngine and that was actually fun to work with.
At the time I had the AndEngine Activity ready I could switch between three different views of the same data model during playing one level.
Next obstacle was the level loader.
First try was XML and for the fun of it I also built a JSON loader but these were both not comfortable to build levels like you see them in the game today.
Luckily I found out about an SVG-Loader extension for AndEngine that allowed me to draw some rectangles in Inkscape to parse those in the game.
I'm not particularly satisfied with the art work so far. The original idea of leaf cutting ants was difficult to bring to life as I don't want floating pixels or triangles as in othergames but rather some cute and interesting units.
Actually I'm searching for an artist to turn my prepared assets into nicer assets that make more sense than ghosts vs. bees. I'm completely open to new settings like swamp gnomes and ghosts fighting over mud pits, dolphins and sharks fighting over coral reefs or whatever comes to your mind.
For sounds it is the same. These are rather randomly combined and still fit more to the ant theme than to the ghost/bee theme.
I'm thinking about launching several versions of the same game so if you are interested, suggest a setting, name, assets, ... and a share that you want.
For the purpose of estimating the effort, all binaries can be downloaded here.
I recently went to Iran and there they have no access to the android market and many other sites (blogspot, google-code, ...) are blocked by the site owners making the governmental blocking (facebook, twitter, ...) even worse. For all victims of such unspecific embargos, my apk can be downloaded here: