Friday, July 29, 2016

Monster Math - Journey to the Android launch!

Its been a thrilling roller coster ride for all of us at Makkajai.  I remember the days when we were building our first game Monster Math Classic on iOS,

  • We had no clue of how to develop a game?
  • How to market it?
  • How to get customers etc.  
All we knew was that, we had an idea and a lot of determination to execute it :D

In November 2014 we launched Monster Math Classic our first game on iOS.  Even though this was our very first game, we still managed to get lot of love from parents, teachers and students.  They had very kind words to say about our game.  Not just that, they also gave us some very awesome feedback, which could take user engagement to the next level.  We heard our customers and we incorporated their feedback which made them even more happier.

Somewhere in October 2015 we launched two new games Monster Math and Monster Math Multiplayer which got an even better acceptance than Monster Math Classic.  All these were still iOS only games.

One question which kept on coming from our customers was: When is it getting launched on Android!

It was not as if we didn't want to launch on Android.  We wanted to, but since our game was using Cocos2d (A game engine only for iOS), we couldn't do it just by a flip of a switch.

Somewhere in March 2016, we decided we need to launch our game on all major platforms, so that more and more kids can take advantage of our solution.  We started the effort on porting Monster Math solution to Cocos2dx.

When I first started to port, it felt like a never ending task.  We had around 50K+ line of Objective C code to be ported to C++.  Just the though of doing this humongous task -- that too all alone -- gave me nightmares :D.

There were many many problems to solve before we could could even compile an APK.  But as our dear friend Mark Watney (The Martian) says:

At some point, everything's gonna go south on you... everything's going to go south and you're going to say, this is it. This is how I end. Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work. That's all it is. You just begin. You do the math. You solve one problem... and you solve the next one... and then the next. And If you solve enough problems, you get to come home!

So thats exactly what we did, we started solving one problem at a time.  First problem was how can we quickly port Objective C code to C++ with minimal effort?

Instead of manually re-writing 50K+ line of Objective C code to C++, I wrote a quick and ugly Objective C to C++ translator.  It reads and parses any Objective C file and translates code into C++.  Simple right?  This translator does not generate compilable C++ code (because that would be difficult and time consuming).  It only get 90-95% of the job done!

This one step alone saved us few months of mundane work :D

  • After the initial translation was done, I manually fixed the compilation errors.  
  • Replaced Core Data/Realm with SQLite.
  • Added memory management code, since there is no ARC to cover us.
  • Replaced various SDK's with cross-platform equivalent.
  • Where a cross-platform equivalent SDK was not available, we used platform specific code to integrate native SDK's.
After solving innumerable such small problems, on July 14 2016 (after around 4 months of starting the project) we launched Monster Math on Android!

I am very grateful to have gotten this opportunity, I learned (and unlearned :P) so many things in such a short duration.  I am super excited (and proud at the same time) to have achieved this feat.

Finally, I hope Monster Math on Android gets even more love from its users.  Keep Calm and Have Fun!

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