Does anyone remember our Android Bounty promotion? I wanted an Android app that could scan UPCs and generate Torrent results so I devised a plan to make it happen. We offered a bounty of $90 and a developer Alec Holmes came through with the winning app about one month later. I purposely chose a controversial subject like Torrents to get some attention and it paid off with some buzz.
The Android Bounty idea was so popular we turned around the next month to see if we could bribe someone to port a fully working copy of Quake to Android. It was an ambitious project for sure, but several developers tried their hand at the challenge. This spawned a wave of Doom and Quake ports, but iD Software didn’t like people distributing their work on the Android Market and the pulled the apps down.
I was starting to think we would never see a fully working port, but two new developers have stepped up to the plate and are working on open sourced projects.
First we have developer Julien who is working on a port of Quake 2. His project is called Quake2Android and he just released the source code. He claims network games are working and he even implemented touch and accelerometer based controls. It will play on first gen phones like the G1, but a Motorola Droid is suggested for a playable frame rate (30-40). Unfortunately it does not work on the Nexus One yet, but the dev has invited those who can help to jump on board.
I loaded Quake2Android on a Droid and it ran quite well. The frame rate hovers around 30 fps and jumps to 50 in smaller parts of a map. Even when the action gets intense with multiple players, the Droid is able to keep it playable at over 30 fps.
Next we have developer Thunderbird2k who has ported Quake 3 to the Droid in a project he is calling kwaak3. It took him about a day to compile and to load the Quake3 main-function and then he spent the next few weeks adding support for touchscreen input, networking and sound.
I installed and setup kwaak3 on a Motorola Droid just to see if the game was playable. To my surprise it ran around 20-30 fps, but that was on a small map with only two players. On larger outdoor maps with four players, the frame rate dropped considerably. This project is also open source and I’m sure it can be improved with some contributions.
Conclusion of the bounty?
I really liked the Android Bounty concept, but the Quake game was such a bad idea because of the scope of the project. We never found a true winner and it faded away into darkness.
No action happened for a long time and I honestly forgot about it until the developer Julien emailed me with Quake2Android. After testing his app on a Motorola Droid I can see he met all the requirements of the original bounty.
Even though this entire project did not materialize as I envisioned it, I’m still a man of my word and I’m going to award the bounty to Julien for Quake2Android.
Now that both of these projects are open source, the community can take them and improve them as they see fit. I still don’t know if fast paced, first person shooters are going to be enjoyable on a smartphone, but maybe someone can produce a game that shines.
I’m really just happy to close this chapter in the Android Bounty saga. We still believe it is a great idea and it will be making a return in an overhauled fashion. I think we learned our lesson about picking app ideas that are too ambitious and we will try to focus on more specific apps in the future (and ideas that do not infringe on intellectual property).