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Building Blocks for Mobile Games: A Multiplayer Framework for App Inventor for Android

Author: Bill Magnuson Thesis submitted to MIT Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Feb 2010Abstract: Building Blocks for Mobile Games is a client-server multiplayer game building framework for the App Inventor for Android platform. The framework includes an App Inventor component and a game server running on Google App Engine. The client side component packages the complexity of web service calls, data transfer and game state management into a set of graphical code blocks that allow users without programming experience to create Android applications that can access the game server API. The default game server provides basic functionality that can be used to create simple multiplayer games and message passing applications, such as a multi user bulletin board. By using custom server modules, the game server can be enhanced to provide server commands that implement a wide range of operations. Custom modules were used with the system to develop a multi- player card game, a version of Bulls and Cows with a shared scoreboard, an ap- plication that accesses Amazon’s book search API and a pair of applications for creating, managing and voting in polls. Using App Inventor and the game framework, each of these applications can be created with only a basic understanding of mobile phones and client-server principles.

Grade Level: 

  • 6-8
  • 9-12
  • Undergraduate
  • Master's and Above

Difficulty Level: 

  • Advanced


  • Computer Science

Resource Type: 

  • Paper