This book will take you on an exciting tour to show and teach you about game development using the open source Libgdx framework. Actually, you have chosen just the right time to read about game development as the game industry is in a remarkable state of change. With the advent of increasingly powerful smartphones and tablets as well as the ever-growing application stores for desktop computers and mobile platforms serving millions of users a day, it has never been easier for Independent Game Developers (also known as Indies) to enter the market with virtually no risks and very low budgets.
In this chapter you will learn about what Libgdx is and what the advantages are to use it for developing your own games. You will also get a brief overview of the feature set that Libgdx provides.
Before you can start developing games with Libgdx, you have to install and set up your development environment accordingly. You will be using the freely available and open source software Eclipse as your Integrated Development Environment (IDE ) and set up a basic project that uses Libgdx. It will feature a runnable example application for each currently supported target platform. These platforms are as follows:
The target platforms Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X will from now on be referred to as Desktop and also share a project in our development environment.
An alert reader may have noticed that iOS is missing in the list of supported target platforms. Fortunately, it is very likely that Libgdx will support the iOS platform soon as the developers have already put great effort into this feature. At the time of writing of this book, it is said that iOS, starting from Version 5.0 and above, will be supported.
Furthermore, you are going to explore what a game needs by looking at it from a technical standpoint, and why it is so important to plan a game project before the development starts.
At the end of this chapter, you will be introduced to the game project that is going to be developed and enhanced throughout this book.