Game Development on Flutter

Game development on flutter

By starting to think about all the developments of games on Flutter, the light bulb in our heads went berserk with the idea of building a game in Flutter. Is it possible? Is Flutter really that powerful enough to build a full-fledged convertible video game for mobile?

Long story short, yes we can! We can absolutely build our own canvas-based 2-D game in Flutter. In fact, every software engineer at least once in their lives thinks about writing their own game. And the way human brains are wired, we often tend to start that project of ours with either something we already familiar with, or by learning it by knowing what everyone uses. You might have already noticed that the Frameworks of Flutter strongly support the developer with its own tools and ensures quick implementation times with simple and structured code. But how far is the framework for developing games going good?

The first thing common in every video game is that they’re interactive in nature, meaning that the player can swindle around with it and perform actions and/or movements. The next three things that we would usually find in all the game are-

  • A Game Engine– A game engine is essentially a program or a set of programs that consists of fair logics like physics, renders, and collisions, and so forth. It also provides every fundamental thing to build a game from very scratch.
  • Characters– Characters definitely play a very important role in the game and are objects that make up the game world and interact with it using commands issued by the player.
  • Game Logic– Game Logic is the logic, around which the entire game revolves. And do remember! every game has a goal that needs to be attained, and there’s a certain way of accomplishing it and that is what a Game Logic mainly about.

Understanding the Game Loop

Basically, there are two main methods based on which a game is built-

  • The render method– This method makes the canvas easy to draw something over it, maybe a sprite.
  • The update method- This method has to endure a time input that helps in moving on to the next state.

So, the render and the update method both work simultaneously to make the game move through states and make it all seem like a seamless process. These states could be a thousand in number and their ability to translate through each of them is where the real magic happens.

Flutter’s top game engine is Flame

2D Graphics

If you are willing to create a simple game out of graphics and some controls, then the simple controls, assets, and some animations from Flutter will probably be enough for us. You do not need any extra plugins and packages for this.

Let’s give a massive shout-out to Luan Nico, as he was the one to create this amazing Flutter Game engine and named it appropriately because it’s fire!

The Flame is Flutter’s top game engine as of September 2019. It is an efficient platform with convenient APIs that helps us to avoid executing a game loop and component abstractions by ourselves, it also serves the best help by conveniently embedding itself somewhere within your widgets tree. The flame is a 2D engine for simple games in Flutter. The key principle of the engine is the game loop, is that it comprises of render as well as update. This cycle makes sure that the objects that are brought to the screen via canvas are updated and displayed. Drawing the UI with canvas is also Flutter’s strength, which makes the engine with 60 FPS just as fast as a normal Flutter app.

You also get to experience the standard functions like audio, animation, sprites, inputs (tap, drag and drop, and keyboard), particle effects, and physics. And this is all that you will need for the first small game projects.

The main goal of Flame is to provide a complete set of out-of-the-way solutions for the common problems every game developed in Flutter will share.

3D Graphics

When it comes to complicated 3D programming, the one thing that you won’t be able to avoid is Unity. This is a plugin that represents the Unity render environment in a widget. So you wish to have another programming language and knowledge in a different environment, which could make the project will get on a more complex level for you as a pure flutter developer.

What if there are four such Flutter Game Engine other than Flame to choose from? And each of them could make your development faster and easier?

Well! You’d probably be driven to read about them.

SpriteWidget

SpriteWidget is a toolkit for constructing complex, high-performance animations and 2D games with Flutter. You can use SpriteWidget to build almost anything from an animated icon to a full-fledged game.

The sprite renders tree lives inside a widget which seems to mix with other Flutter and Material widgets.

Quill

A lightweight Flutter game engine can be of great help when you need to keep your game simple by only using feathers and quills!

The main idea behind using Quill is to give you full control over your game or application.

Feathers 

A lightweight game engine only uses feathers. And the basic idea behind using feathers is to give you full control over your app by simply letting you build the components you want, for the feathers you design.

Flutter_unity_widget

Although it is not a full-fledged Flutter game engine but a Flutter unity 3D widget can be used for embedding unity in the Flutter.

You can also make interesting features of the game for your app in Unity and get it rendered in a Flutter app both in full screen and embedded mode.

Thus, Flutter Game Engine enables us to create games quickly and save your valuable time while you build a game. It lets the developers to publish and contribute towards flutters package development. The list of Flutter game engine has been ranked using package health, overall score, and ease of maintenance.

 Write it yourself

Yes, this could be quite a paradigm shift, especially if you’re coming from a fruitful land of modern JavaScript with NPM’s more than a million of packages readily available. Although, Dart is not there yet and you might end up in a situation where things you need are not yet written by anyone else in the entire world.

The good side of this would be that it would enable you to expand your engineering expertise in ways you could never expect. One thing to note is that if you’re exploring Flutter for game development, you’re probably already not afraid of being an unknown, so write it yourself all the way!

Complete control by Flutter over what’s displayed on the screen

By subsiding the wave function of this statement, you’d observe yourself in a situation where you’re really controlling every pixel on the screen, but there’s not much Dart code left that can make use of the common Flutter APIs or Widgets. However, the reality would end up being in both states be it any quantum phenomena. Flutter and widgets for in-game UI and Canvas and custom painters for places where you actually need _full_ control. So you will still receive a great convenience of Flutter APIs for actual interfaces, but get full access to a canvas for actual game view.

Monetisation

 Where you might know that when it comes to money, the developers don’t want to be left empty-handed. Here there are three different concepts namely,

  • selling the app
  • advertising
  • or an in-game shop

Selling the app should be the simplest way since you already set the price when uploading and have no further development effort. If you wish to include advertising in your app, you can have a look at the official Firebase package or an easily integrated package from a developer in a pub.

The last way would be to work through an in-game shop, there are the options to carry out the implementation via an official package. The package is still in beta status, but should already cover the most common functions of both Android as well as iOS platforms.

Conclusion

When it comes to game development, Flutter is in no way inferior to other frameworks, and its structure also offers many advantages in performance and handling. If you are interested in the development, it would certainly be worth taking a look in this direction. After all, writing games with flutter is an adventure, writing an adventure game with it would be adventure squared.


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