3D Graphics and Gaming on Mobile Devices

Mobile graphics performances have been rapidly increasing in last couple of years. Gaming, as the largest area of 3D graphics application, is one of the fastest-growing usage categories in mobile, with huge growth seen in iOS and Android platforms. In particular, social mobile gaming, enabled by always-connected smartphones and the "freemium" revenue model, is particularly strong.

Open GL ES is a computer graphics rendering API specifically targeted for use on embedded devices. It uses a subset of OpenGL profiles, which means no new technologies are needed, ensuring synergy with, and a migration path to and from desktop OpenGL -- the most widely adopted cross-platform graphics API. It is supported on most mobile platforms, such as Android, iOS, Blackberry, etc.

There are many developer advantages to using OpenGL ES:

  • Industry Standard and Royalty Free – It is available to anyone for implementation and product shipping. It also has broad industry support, making it the only truly open, vendor-neutral, multi-platform embedded graphics standard.
  • Small footprint & low power consumption – It is designed to accommodate vast differences in performance between mobile devices by minimizing its footprint. For end users this means smaller binaries to download that take up less storage on the device.
  • Seamless transition from software to hardware rendering – Individual calls can be executed on dedicated hardware, run as software routines on the system CPU, or implemented as a combination of both dedicated hardware and software routines.
  • Extensible & Evolving – It allows hardware innovations to be accessible through the API via the OpenGL extension mechanism and widely accepted extensions are later considered for inclusion into the core OpenGL ES standard.
  • Easy to use – Since it is based on OpenGL, OpenGL ES is well structured with an intuitive design and logical commands.
  • Well-documented – Numerous books and a great deal of sample code for OpenGL are also relevant for OpenGL ES, meaning that a developer can now write basically the same code for cell phones to supercomputers.

Mobile and tablet gaming is undergoing a massive transition from the slot and card games that defined the platform years ago.  With the free-to-play model coming into full form with blockbuster mobile titles like Puzzle & Dragons and Clash of Clans, in 2014 we can probably expect the following features:

  • Collectability – It’s important for users to feel like they’re always making progress and collectibles provide that.
  • Content – Frequent updates and constant content pushes make the idea of a “game as a service” more enticing to users and keeps them coming back for more.
  • Competition – One way to ensure that the most engaged users and pay-to-play populace keep playing and paying is offering the ability to battle other players. Also, being able to purchase power can encourage some users to pay large amounts to get an edge.
  • Chance – Taking advantage of gambling and random aspects games can create environments that play upon the same tactics casinos and brick and mortar gambling establishments have known for years. Don’t allow the purchase of any particular item, offer “chances” at rare and elite in-game items.
  • Community – Interaction with other players is becoming more and more important in mobile game environments and an environment that allows player bonds to form will inherently assist with retention goals.



1.      Business Insider

2.      Khronos

3.      Forbes