The Journey  
The Game

The Paper - Page 5 - The Game

The Workflow of C++ Game-Development on a Series 60 Platform device

Andreas Jakl, Revision 1.0, July 2004

Chapter 3 The game

This chapter provides an overview of the game concept, a more in-depth look at the most interesting features and finally how to import the project on your local computer and getting it to run.

3.1 Journey

3.1.1 Game concept

This paper describes several concepts and workflow tactics-based on a game that has been developed specifically to demonstrate those. This unique and new game uses several components which are not very well documented, or as in the case of the Rich Text editor control not documented at all [17].

The game is called The Journey (see Fig. 3.1) and is a location-based adventure game. The user plays the role of a detective that has to solve a case, commissioned by a mysterious man. The player has to move in the real world with the mobile phone to continue the story and to progress in the game.

Figure 3.1: The title screen of the Journey game. The screenshot was taken from the Windows emulator with a Siemens SX1 skin.

The story starts in the bureau of the detective. The next part plays out in a bar. To continue, the player has to change his location. The phone tracks the movement using cell-ids of the GSM network and continues the story once the player has reached a new location. Those IDs are also stored so that the game remembers locations where the player has already been before. That functionality is being used in the game, which requires the user to return to the place where the whole story has started to participate in the showdown.

How far the player has progressed in the story is automatically saved; the player can resume the game if one is active. The story is visualized using text and a picture, which either shows a scene related to the story, or the general location picture.

3.1.2 Implemented components

Code samples of several game components are available, and the SDK help file [11] provides descriptions for many of the features. However, many parts of Symbian OS are not (yet) documented. The game The Journey was designed to implement some of those, in an attempt to reduce the time needed for researching how several features work. The implemented components include:

  • RichText editor control: Only two samples are available which demonstrate the usage of editor controls 7, in the SDK help file [11] no help for these powerful controls is included.
  • Location tracking using cell-ids: the header file required to get the network information is not distributed with the Symbian OS SDK for Series 60 . However, it is part of another Symbian OS SDK and can easily be used from within Series 60 programs. Several commercial products like MiniGPS from Psiloc8 use this functionality. Of course, no documentation has been written for it because it is not an officially supported API.
  • File handling saving, reading and deleting a game progress file: while these functions are documented, a fully working example that is also compatible to memory cards is hard to find.
  • Localization: Supporting several languages is an important aspect of Symbian OS applications. More than one approach is possible; this paper provides a complete description of one of them. Most available samples only concentrate on menus and hardly cover in-game text.
  • Bitmap handling: Some tips can make life with bitmaps easier; also color palettes are an issue which is rarely brought up.

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