Recently, we have seen Google pivot towards offering native libraries and capabilities baked within the OS that developers can utilize to tackle common use-cases. A couple of days ago, the company launched the Android ML Platform, making on-device inference easier. Now, it has revealed the Android Game Development Kit (AGDK).
In a nutshell, AGDK is a set of tools and libraries that enables game developers to optimize their offerings. It was built with performance in mind, offers reduced fragmentation across the Android OS, and was designed to cater to enhancements offered by future OS updates while providing backwards compatibility where possible. In its first phase - which is live right now -, three areas are being focused on.
The first is integrated workflows which allows you to incorporate AGDK with your existing projects as you see fit. One example of this is via an extension that adds Android as a target platform for your game on Visual Studio. Another is the availability of plugins for game engines like Unity. Google says that it is also directly working with game engine developers to have such capabilities integrated directly into their tooling.
Secondly, Google understands that most games are written in C++ while Android development is more oriented towards Java. While this gap can be bridged with Java Native Interface (JNI), the process is not simple and is quite error-prone. As such, the firm is now offering C and C++ game libraries which reduce dependency on JNI and Java. Right now, these focus on foundational classes like Game Activity, Game Text Input, and Game Controller, but future phases will include features that are common across other game engines.
Finally, performance optimization is yet another goal being targeted with AGDK. This comes via frame profiling in Android GPU Inspector, a bunch of CPU, memory, and power profilers in Android Studio, and a new loading function in Android Performance Tuner.
If this sounds like something right up your alley, you can head over to the dedicated Android Game Development Kit webpage here.