Dear Android Enthusiasts,

As the android platform continues consolidating as the leader in the mobile operative systems race, the developing tools and API also becomes richer and the android app business potential more attractive.

In the past, there has been difficult times and the organizing team availability has drastically reduced. However, we believe that having an open community for enthusiast to exchange ideas and knowledge is valuable, and want to continue having android meetups and other events.

We would like to make an open call to volunteers, please get in contact for details.

Marcos Tong
Android Aalto
marcos@androidaalto.org

 

The Android Aalto community wishes you and your beloved ones a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year of good coding, health and joy!

Joulupukki

It’s been a pleasure and privilege to have you in our events during this exciting 2012! We would like to thank every single one of you. You make this community awesome!

This year 2012 has been quite a ride, we continued to grow up as a developer community, becoming one of the biggest in Helsinki, organising events for students, entrepreneurs and companies interested in mobile technology focused in Android platform.

We will be “closed” for a few days but we will back with more and bigger events for 2013!

Rise of the droids 2012

August 29, 2012

 

Android Aalto is back to strike! and to hit the walls hard again this semester. We welcome all new students interested in android business and development to join our events.

Rise of the droids

This will be at Aalto Otasunnistus (5th and 6th of September)

> Come and join the rise of all droids of autumn 2012! Get your Android Aalto badge and identify

> The opening party will be at Otaniemi open area check out the official web site:

Aalto Opening Party 2012

Return of the droids

This will be at Aalto Kampuskarkelot (17th, 18th, 19th of September)

> Come to our booth and meet the Android Aalto Community, know more about our events, drop to talk about android, to exchange ideas, to chat about new stuff in android markets and APIs, to know about planned events.

I has been a good time after our last event, people has been busy, some people has crashed into holidays others have been progressing in their start-ups. So we think will be good to say welcome (back) again to an Android Hackaton.

The invitation is again for all android enthusiasts to join us at:

Summer Hackathon 2012
Saturday 28.07.2012
From 14:30 to 19:30
Aalto Venture Garage
(Betonimiehenkuja 3, Espoo)

We will keep the agenda open:

  • We would like to get back to hacking on the community projects from previous events
  • We would like to recap and play some videos of Google I/O 2012

Although not compulsory it would be great if you can RSVP at our
Facebook event
or
Event Brite event
 

Time is over! Now it’s your turn to decide which app or idea is the best and gets the prize.

Below you can find the different participants:

  • Finger Twister
    • Now you will be able to play twister in your mobile!
    • A couple slides on how to play can be found at: Finger Twister
    • The APK can be downloaded from: Finger Twister APK
    • By Huang Fuguo
  • TwoDeeWars:
  • Picture search:
    • This entry comes is an idea so here it’s the description of the app:
      • It would be cool to have an app where you could picture search. So say you found a bug or something where you don’t have a specific name for it, you could take a picture of it and then the app would find the specific name and some info on whatever you were taking a picture of. I have found so many things that i dont know the name of and it would be great to have picture search.
    • By Jade McBroom (@JadeMcBroom)
  • Smart books for smart phones:
  • Women empowered:
    • Connecting Nigerian women to the world.
    • You can find a nice presentation of the idea at: Women empowered
    • Some reasons why they deserve the Samsung:
      • “We deserve a S3 because we have just one android phone between us. If we get an S3 we will have ease in developing and testing our concept .Plus, S3 is the coolest android  smartphone till date”
    • By Caring Thoughts team (Syed Farhan Hashmi, Bilal Gill , Udit Anand)
  • Song Request:
  • Open Academy:
  • Storyteller:
    • An app about you.
    • Check out more about the idea at: Story teller slideset (Tip: download to see proper slides animation)
    • By Jose Mera Collantes
  • io8oi powerball:
    • A powerball for more healthy life-style where-ever you are with your
      Android, either you are a golfer, musician, typist, programmer…
    • Take a look at the slides: Powerball on Android
    • By Henri Losoi (io8oi.com)

Thanks to all the participants and good luck with the voting at our Facebook group!!

Yesterday we had a really nice hackathon were people had the opportunity to test their apps on the latest and most powerful Android mobile available currently, the Samsung Galaxy S3. Thanks to the Samsung App Challenge who provided two S3 for the Android Aalto community to use.

We will bring those two Samsung S3 in every hackathon so you can test with them and discover the new things introduced in the Android 4.0 Platform.

Wouldn’t it be nice that you could test with one Samsung Galaxy S3 anytime and anywhere? Then this is your opportunity, thanks to Samsung App Challenge the two best apps/ideas developed by you will be given one Samsung Galaxy S3 each.

  • How to participate?
  • It’s pretty easy. You can prepare an app (doesn’t need to be finished at all) and explain in a few sentences (slides and/or youtube video) what it is about and why you deserve the Samsung Galaxy S3. If you are not tech savvy enough or you don’t have time to develop an initial app you can also submit your idea explaining it (using some appealing format, e.g. slides/youtube video).
  • Who can participate?
  • The only requirement is that you have a valid Finnish address where the device can be sent.
  • What’s the deadline?
  • You have until Wednesday 20th June at 17:00:00 (Helsinki timezone) to send links to your material to team+samsung@androidaalto.org (we can’t host all the material so please send a link to a public URL that anybody can access).
  • Who is the jury?
  • The jury will be the Android Aalto community itself!! Some time after the deadline (remember: 20.6.2012 at 17:00) we will publish a poll to our Android Aalto Facebook group where the members will be able to vote the different submissions.
  • Other important details:
  • When sending us the information you must include your full name, e-mail, phone, your Facebook page link (or G+, or twitter). Although you can submit several apps/ideas only one device will be given to the same person.
    In case of tie the winner is the one who sent the material earlier.
  • Important recommendations:
  • Keep in mind that all the members of the Android Aalto Facebook group will be able to vote so we recommend you to make it really easy for them to use/understand your app/idea so they like it and vote for it. For example, if you have an app it would be great if it’s already in the market (contact us: team@androidaalto.org and we can try to publish it through our Google play account) or they can download the apk from somewhere else.

More questions? You can contact us or post your questions at our Facebook group, Google plus or Twitter

Brace yourselves! After the great success of the previous gaming hackathon, Android Aalto is organizing a new event for all those that were thirsthy for more (even more!) action. On Saturday 16th of June you will have the chance to try out one of the latest innovations in the Android ecosystem and even win 15.000 € ! Brought by Samsung, the S-Pen is a more precise input than a finger or stylus and it is a promising tool for interacting with Android devices. In this hackathon, we will present the features of S-Pen and if you have an app idea, we will help you develop it and submit it to the Samsung contest.

Whether to develop a game, a revolutionary app or a simple Hello, world!, we welcome you to join us the 16th of June and participate in the Samsung App Challenge.

The event will start at 11.00 at Aalto Venture Garage (Betonimiehenkuja 3, Otaniemi, Espoo)

Although not compulsory it would be great if you can RSVP at our Facebook event: Games and S-Pens hacking

And the games began!

June 5, 2012

And the games began!

Last 1st and 2nd of june, the first Android Aalto gaming hackathon gave birth to a saga of episodes and a new era in the history of this community. Worth the wait was this hackathon for the multitude of attendees, a great blend of talented artists, android newbies, hardcore hackers and enthusiasts.

It all started with great spirit, plenty of creative ideas and discussions about hacking strategy and expectations. A total of 5 teams were formed and each brainstorming of ideas, defining the team roles and strategies.

The expert note

Then a special note was given by Sylvain Cunzi and Elif Buyukcan on building games the process, the roles, the tools and approach á la Rovio. Two main frameworks were described, AndEngine and Unity. Plenty of questions about what is the best framework, the best approach created a discussion, for which the conclusion was “it all depends”.

Then so we got hands on the work, started designing the game and explored 2 alternatives frameworks. But was all in the air, a thriller to be continued the next day….

Redeploying the forces

Thereafter, June 2nd 11 am a fresh new day, with more energy, more ideas, more challenge and adrenaline. Artists started crafting the visuals, designers got started with the logic and hackers with the code. Teams reorganize now with a framework installed and strategy defined.

The day was a long yet fun journey that little by little reveal more.

Finally, it was time for the truth, show me what you got! And it was amazing! each team was able to come up with a squeleton of the game, nice graphics and a logic pretty much ready to be implemented. Unfortunately, the complexity of the AndEngine framework was a barrier, well foreseen and highlighted by Sylvain. So was difficult to get a version ready to play but each team was eager to come back for revenge (Next screenshots and experiences from each team)….

Box Droid
Boxdroid is game in which you can fight against evil androids and aliens, using your mighty droid-boxing gloves. Shake the sides of the phone and your boxdroid will hit its oponent.

We wanted to use a native feature, and we thought the accelerometer would be great. We had a designer in our team who made cool pictures of the droid, one enemy and for the splash screen, but our main issue was to make the accelerometer work. After solving that, the next step is to set hit points and scores.

It was the first android game for all of us, so it was a great experience even when we didn’t finish it.

Anti Frogger
Years ago in Frogger you tried to get the frog across a street with heavy traffic, Now it’s time for a twist over the classic, in Anti-Frogger now you are the car! and the objective is to stop as many crossing frogs as you can.

It was a great time during the Android Hackaton, of course there was a little pressure to get a working game in one day but everyone there were having fun doing it. I must say it was an excellent experience, learning by doing with a team supporting you, highly recommended for anyone.

Finger Twister
The idea was quite simple – to bring Twister game to Android device, but instead of using hands and feet we wanted to twist users’ fingers. As proof of concept we decided to design a quite simple single player scenario: in the top bar a user can select “New game” option and see directions for next move: a color and a finger to place on screen. If a user can manage to get five fingers on the right colors he/she wins the game.

Last weekend I had a chance to participate in Android Aalto Game Development Hackathon. I finally came to Helsinki and experienced an awesome atmosphere of Aalto Venture Garage. We had a very young, but enthusiastic Green Team. After brain storm at the end of the first day we came up with idea of creating FingerTwister game.
In our team we had people with pretty different backgrounds, so it took a while to set up collaboration tools. However, everybody caught up quite quickly and in general it was pleasure and fun to work together on the project. We still have to adjust game play and multitouch, but we already have lots of ideas for further improvements.
I’d like to thank all members of the Green Team for great time coding together and of course special thanks to Android Aalto and Rovio for organization and support!

Flight Game
The game was about directing a (paper) plane to a target, without touching/being touched by balloons. During the brainstorming, there were some derivations of the game. This team seem to have the most fun, they chose from the beginning to use AndEngine and were able to come up with nice graphics.




To Be continued…

What were the misconceptions that you needed to deal when looking at a Android app design? Probably most of us, have seen those funny “iOS app designer” faces saying, – “Doh, it has hardware back button!” moment.

As we want our apps to look pretty, we came up with an idea to help graphical designers avoid common Android design anti-pattern. Moreover, when doing coding, coders sometimes suffer from improperly handed-off designs, so it would cool to make those nice people RTFM in their visual language. Think of Infographics. And I can’t avoid giving credit to  LemonLabs, who has inspired us with Karri for this idea with their “iOS App Designer Guide to Developer Love“.

So, in the next few days we are going to collect ideas for the “The Guide to Android design, the cutting and the app beauty”.

Here are few ideas about what could be there:

1. Avoid fixed length screens or be super smart about it. Android has a great variety of screens that have different aspect ratios. Some phones are long (1:2 on Nexus One) and some are not so long (3:4 on Galaxy Mini, HTC Wildfire).

2. If a screen doesn’t have much content (login screen for instance), consider designing it as a dialog: it will allow reusing same screen on tablet resolution without much effort.

3. Instead of multiple progress dialogs, consider animating action buttons or other interface elements. This is just so much nicer.

4. Also, I will repeat my very old idea that you can test for 92% of Android screens by using just 3 phones.

Updated with Joonas Kukkonen from Elisa input:

One of the useful tactic is to design for post popular pixel density bucket (mdpi for tables, hdpi for phones). However, you must be aware that some devices have more pixel estate than others (even in desity dependent pixels). For instance, Samsung Nexus S and SIII have 360dp compared to 320dp of Galaxy S2 or 400dp of Galaxy Note. Also be careful about notorious Galaxy Tab 7, which uses hdpi despite it has only 171dp pixel density.

If you design pixel perfect layouts and use mdpi resolution as a reference design, sizes and margins have to be dividable by 2, in order to be properly scalable to hdpi and hdpi. The same way if you use hdpi resolution as a base, sizes and margins have to be dividable by 3, if your base is xhdpi – 4 . Keep in mind that Android design guidelines recommend 8dp grid for mdpi base.

P.S. Note that having more pixel real estate, may mean more space for  Ad banners! Profit FTW.

Update with Janne Toivola from Futurice recommendations:

Screen sizes: There are many different-sized Android phones, and you need to make sure the design works in all of them. At minimum, design for one phone and a tablet.
Image scaling: Make sure your images scale nicely. Use the NinePatch system and export them correctly: http://developer.android.com/guide/topics/graphics/2d-graphics.html
Hardware back button: Android phones have physical back buttons (Android 4 changes things a bit: http://developer.android.com/design/patterns/new-4-0.html). You need to figure out in each screens what that does. Back button should control the navigation levels, not micro content inside a single screen.
Version numbers: UI guidelines differ between different versions, so make sure everybody understand which version the development is aiming for. Android 4 brings new stuff that needs to be taken into account.

Flexibility: Android is super-flexible. You can do nice design with it but also ugly apps with bad usability. Stick to the guidelines as much as possible!
Great source for Android UI patterns: http://www.androiduipatterns.com/

 

One more tip:

When naming files don’t use dashes or spaces, also don’t start filenames with numbers, Android doesn’t support these in filenames. Check with your coder, whichever he prefers and stick to CamelCaseConvention or separate_with_underscores .

 

Life is so short, It wouldn’t be the same without games! Educational, thematic, strategy games, etc. all add their own special taste. For developers the funniest things to program, same for designers games are to express it all and let the creativity fly.

Also think of the thousands of games available online and the multi-million mobile gaming industry. It is time take mobile gaming seriously, it is a real attractive business.

And because people asked for, it is time for a real Gaming Hackathon! are you ready for this “battle” !!!!


We will have a small introduction workshop session on Friday June 1st and the core hacking will happen on Saturday June 2nd.

We will help you to go through the basics but it will be great if you could already take a look at how to set up the Android environment, you can follow these instructions: Getting Set Up for Development

This time there will be refreshments and food during the event thanks to our sponsors:

Preliminary Program

June 1st (Preparation and preliminary design)

17:00 Welcome
17:30 Intro to the hackathon – Organizing teams
18:00 – 19:00 Workshops
a) Game frameworks for android
b) Android basics
19:00 + Preparation for hacking
- create repos, design the game etc.

June 2nd (core design and hacking)

11:00  Organizing the designs and modules of the game
12:00  Implement functions, core hacking
14:30 Lunch break and teams huddle, what is next!?
15:00 More hacking
18:30 Integrate, Play with the games!!
19:30 Closing words

Remember:

Let the games begin! hackathon June 1st at 17:00 and June 2nd at 11:00 at Aalto Venture Garage!

Please RSVP at in EventBrite event: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/event/3500872203
There is also a Facebook event page to trigger the discussion: http://www.facebook.com/events/389805417738645
For more information you can contact us:
Facebook group
G+ page
Twitter