Levelfactory post-mortem

Between 2003 and 2004 for I developed games for the J2ME platform. With the occurrence of mobile phones, for a brief time, it was the 80s again, where 1-2 dedicated developer could get creative by developing games. My adventure into mobile game development started with creating a promotion Game for the “Bitfilm Festival” in Hamburg, Germany (http://bitfilm.de/festival.html). Later then I continued developing games under the name LevelFactory.


All games were initially developed in J2ME targeting Nokia phones. Developing games is fun. Games are real-time applications with lots of computer graphics, which is a challenging task. It also made me appreciate pixel art and acquire some hands-on knowledge of Photoshop. But as fun as it was to develop games for mobile phones, it had its disadvantages. Mostly the limit of memory and the need to cram everything into it. That meant that as a developer, it was necessary to forget everything about clean code and good software crafting.


The market for mobile phones exploded. Just a few years before, the amount of available handsets and games were manageable. I did have this friend of a friend of a friend who started a mobile game company (originally targeting PDAs(!)), who got surprised by the sudden surge of mobile games and took the chance to grow fast and sold his company a few years later. At the time I started, it was already too late for that. The biggest challenge was porting of games to the plethora of available phones and operating systems. Even though a common standard existed, the differences of each handset (even from the same manufacturer) required to adjust and test every build for each single phone. A task requiring to grow into a bigger team fast which at that time we didn’t feel going. I could have stayed in mobile dev, though, but as mentioned, the memory limitations of phones and the cramming of code made me worry about my skills so I decided to move on to other fields of software development.

By the way, if you happen to own an old series 60 Nokia phone and want to try the games shown in the demo, here are the files: BuggyBots-3650.jad, BuggyBots-3650.jar and BitfilmGame-3650.jad, BitfilmGame-3650.jar

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