J2ME Wireless Gaming World >> Inquiry

Only recently have I gained an interest in the cellphone gaming industry and would like to begin game development for it using J2ME asap.  After perusing a number of websites I still have a few concerns which hopefully you can answer.

+ Are Java-capable cellphones available within North America and Europe in large volumes (as of today) or are its numbers sparse to nonexistant still only dominant in Japan?

+ On average what are the hardware specs (CPU, free memory, colors) of Java-capable phones which are meant for wireless gaming?  

+ What is the typical file size of a commerical Java appli for a java-capable cellphone?

+ What is the typical "development time" for a commercial action-oriented Java appli?  What is the average size of the development team?

+ Is commerical wireless gaming possibile and *profitable* for independant developers with no venture capitalists or carrier ties?  

+ Are there any WEBSITES or BOOKS which run through the required steps to get a wireless java game from concept to mass-market retail/exposure?

Thank you.  One or two questions answered would be terrific.
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girionisConnect With a Mentor Commented:
 About November/December last year I was working for a games company. We developed a MMOG and we were thinking about expanding it to fit the needs of the mobile industry. I did some reasearch on the subject, but as I state in the beginning this was more than 6 months ago, so do not take evrything I say for granted, since the IT is a fast moving industry and loads of things change within six months.

  You can find several moble handsets that support J2ME, but not as many as you can find in Japan. Nokia has several, Motorola, Samsung and Siemens as well (in Europe). Most of them support the Mobile Information Device Profile (MIDP) and CLDC. Of course in Japan DoCoMo has more than enough models for everybody and all of them have their own DoCoMo proprietary classes, so if you go ahead be careful. They might not be as portable sa you think. For a complete list of all the handsets worldwide that support J2ME take a look here: http://www.javamobiles.com/

  Most of them require the KVM (Kilobyte Virtual Machine) to run. The CLDC can support phones with limited memory (no more than 512K) and 256 colours, while the newer phones can support up to 1MB of memory using the HotSpot VM. Of course there are PDAs that can run a fully operational VM (J2SE) but this does not fall in the mobile phones category. I would suggest to take a look at both of these specifications at Sun's web site for CLDC: http://java.sun.com/products/cldc/ and MIDP http://java.sun.com/products/midp/. You can find lots of informaiton, tutorials and all the specifications of the products.

>What is the typical file size of a commerical Java appli for a java-capable cellphone?

  It depends on how big your application will be, but typically would be less than a proper Java application, since memory is a scarce resource here. That's why all these micro packages where developed by Sun.

> Is commerical wireless gaming possibile and *profitable* for independant developers with no venture capitalists or carrier ties?  

  I do not want to discourage you here but my *personal* opinion is no. The time that you could be playing Quake or UO from your mobile phone is far, far away still. At least five more years I would say. And I am being oprimistic here. Instead you could have small Applets like pac-man, space invaders or wonder boy. Yes this is feasible and has been done (take a look here: http://www.javaonthebrain.com/java/midpman/ for some games for mobile phones .Excellent work.) and companies have anounce to bring pac man to mobile devices as well (http://industry.java.sun.com/javanews/stories/story2/0,1072,46674,00.html) but this is as far as the mobile games industry can go.

  You could be making money by writting games for mobile phones. Gaming is a section in computing that never looses its glory, never gets older and never gets tarnished. I am still playing my favourite Sierra games that I used to play ten years ago, and I am still playing pac man on the MAME emulator, while most people would not not even think running a two-years old MS Office packet for example. So in the long run you could be making money, I believe that fun is selling more than business but you would still need to do something innovating since there are already well-established companies that are doing it.

  This is my 2-cents. As I told you in the beggining these are my *personal* opinions, from my perspective and do not take them for granted. I am talking as a developer and not from a business-oriented point of view.

  And an intereting article here (a bit old though): http://www.mcommercetimes.com/Services/185

  Hope it helps.
 And if you interested an overview of some nooks for wireless development: http://www.javaworld.com/javaworld/jw-07-2002/jw-0719-wireless.html
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