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Tom's Hardware Interviews Four Android And iOS Game Developers

What Are Your Favorite Mobile Platforms And Games?

Tom's Hardware: Porting Android to x86 should allow developers to take advantage of SSE-based optimizations. This assumes software stands to benefit from “single-instruction, multiple-data” SIMD optimizations, which is technology also offered by ARM’s NEON technology. Are you currently using NEON to achieve performance benefits for mobile gaming?

Fishlabs: Since NEON is a CPU-optimized solution for writing high-performance code, it is not that interesting for us as long as our games are rather GPU-bound. However, there’s a good chance that our upcoming titles will require stronger CPU performance, especially when there are more vector-based algorithms involved. Once that's the case, NEON will surely be the best way to go in order to relieve the CPU and optimize the respective device’s performance.

Madfinger: Because we rely on our Unity engine, we do not need to take care of this stuff. Unity does it instead of us. All we can say is that we use NEON for fluid simulation optimization in Shadowgun .

Mediocre: We do not currently use NEON optimizations at all. It could be interesting to use SSE here and there, but these days you typically get more bang-for-the-buck spending that time parallelizing code or rearranging for cache utilization.

Tom's Hardware: On what platforms and devices do you test your games before publishing them? Which smartphones and/or tablets do you personally own, what game titles are your favorites, and what computing platform do you use for development?

Fishlabs: Since it is mandatory for us to make our products absolutely top-notch in every aspect, we test our games extensively on all supported devices. While the QA is done by our own developers on one hand and a number of external game testers on the other, we have now established an in-house QA department that prepares for our ongoing battle against glitches, bugs, and other problems. The computers we use for programming and graphics design vary. While most of our engineers work with latest generation Macs, our artists prefer to work on PCs, particularly since 3ds Max is our primary 3D design tool not available on Mac.

As for the devices I personally own, I have an iPhone 4 and an iPad. Game-wise, my all-time favorite is the Heroes of Might and Magic series. I’m particularly fond of the third installment of that saga! And I’m also a big fan of old-school shooters like Doom, Quake, Hexen, and Max Payne. Another title I enjoyed a lot was Dragon Age: Origins.

Transformer Prime

Madfinger: Personally, I own an iPhone, an iPad, and an Asus Transformer Prime. Of course, we have to play new games to keep an eye on our competition and keep up with the latest trends. I prefer hardcore games like Dead Space, FIFA 2012, Ravensword: The Fallen King, and Galaxy on Fire 2 HD.

For Apple devices, we test devices with all of the various iOS versions we intend to support. As far as Android devices are concerned, we test only the main ones—that means about 15 devices total. Usually, the problem with some mobile devices comes much later after game publication, so we have to maintain our testing protocol for these devices down the stretch, as well.

Mediocre: We have about a dozen devices internally for testing, and we used a beta program to cover more devices during our general Android port. I personally use an iPhone 4S and the original iPad. Henrik uses a Samsung Galaxy Nexus. I mostly use my Windows machine for development, since I prefer Visual Studio as a development environment. So, Sprinkle was created on Windows and continuously ported to iOS and Android. The Windows machine is a high-end quad-core laptop. Neither of us plays many games, unfortunately. I can enjoy casual games like Tiny Wings occasionally, and I recently spent some time with Tower Defense games.

Vector Unit: On iOS we test using an iPad, iPad2, iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, and iPhone 3GS. On Android, we have a range of devices we test on (about 10), with an HTC EVO being our low end and a Transformer Prime being our high end.