Android Academy

Blistering fast 3D games headed Androids way

Android game fans got the news they had been waiting for when Google made an announcement of the latest NDK, version 3, yesterday as it features OpenGL ES 2.0. This brings native, i.e. C++ or non-java, support for the latest version of the 3D graphic system and brings it in line with the iPhone and Palm Pre SDK's. The significance of the NDK and C++ is that it allows developers to "hit the metal" directly, bypassing java which is often blamed for the performance problems seen in apps which demand realtime updates, such as games. This is great news indeed - but this latest Open GL support is only for Android 2.0 and above users.



"Applications targeting Android 2.0 or higher can now directly access OpenGL ES 2.0 features," said Android programmer David Turner in a blog post.



OpenGL ES 2.0 provides support beyond the handset


OpenGL has spawned a whole ecosystem with numerous tools and libraries available for developers to draw on. Although usually associated with 3D games, its ability to control the graphics system appeals to many other classes of apps too. Mozilla, for example, is targeting Android with a version of Firefox which makes extensive use of the NDK and Open GL. The accelerated graphics system provides a double boost on certain platforms as the hardware itself is aware of it. This gives optimisations no amount of clever software could match as it hands over the rendering process directly to the hardware. Advanced developments in browser technology on the desktop are more readily ported over, for example WebGL which provides 3D interfaces to web apps.


Source:  Android NDK