Frozen Bubble has been one of those fun staples of the Linux community for quite some time now, so when I realized that it was also available on Android, I had to pick it up! I can’t begin to tell you how many hours I’ve spent playing this game as a youth, but guess what? It’s just as playable now as it ever was, and now you can get in on the action on your Android device!
The game is fairly simple, according to Wikipedia:
Frozen Bubble’s protagonist is a penguin a la Tux, the mascot of Linux and popular feature in many free software/open source games. In this game Tux has to shoot coloured frozen bubbles to form groups of the same colour. Such groups disappear and the object is to clear the whole screen in this way before a bubble passes a line at the bottom.
While that captures the gist of the game, there are several elements to the game play that are not described there, like new bubbles being added while you play, and the way the point system works. While it is a simple game, it certainly is entertaining!
Several people have worked on this game over the years, and while I was not able to speak with all of them, I did get the pleasure of conducting an email interview with Pawel Fedorynski, who ported the game from Linux to Android.
Enough talk, here’s the Interview!
Mr. Fedorynski, I was just reliving my youth while playing Frozen Bubble on my Android phone! While considered a classic now, it has just as much playability as it ever did! You were not the original Frozen Bubble author, what pushed you to develop it on Android?
I got a G1 phone as a Christmas gift from my employer and wanted to develop something for it, Frozen Bubble port seemed like a good choice, especially since the phone had a trackball.
You also made an Android level editor, is that original with you, or ported from something else?
The editor was actually contributed by Rudolf Halmi, https://halmi.sk/.
How long have you been programming, and what is your favorite programming language?
I started in 1986 in BASIC on ZX Spectrum+ 🙂 My favorite language is C++, mostly because I know it best.
There are a lot of Android apps out there, and not all of them are open source, but I’m glad yours is. Why did you decide to release Frozen Bubble under an open source license? Was it a requirement of porting a game already established under that license?
It was indeed a requirement (the original Frozen Bubble is covered by GNU GPL.)
About how much time would you say you spent working on this game? And that time compared to playing it?
I think about half a year, one day a week. Non-trivial fraction of which was figuring out how to write a Hello World app for Android. Android was pretty new then.
How did you go about testing the game? Did you do all testing in house, or did you have a team of testers?
I don’t recall testing it very much 🙂 Since it was not an original game, but a port, the gameplay and the levels didn’t need any tuning. Once it started running I just uploaded it to the Android Market.
Do you feel that your work on Frozen Bubble is complete? Or do Android updates and user interaction keep pulling you back into working on this game?
The development was taken over by Eric Fortin, who added a lot of new features, including the arcade mode.
How about open source projects other than this one? Are you currently working on anything that you would like to share?
I had a bunch of other hobby projects, some of which I made open-source, but nothing of general interest that is available right now.
Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions. Before we go, do you have any advice for someone who wants to get started in programming?
I guess one important thing is to choose projects that will keep your attention (as opposed to trying to do something useful or important.)
That is great advice for new programmers like myself!
More about Frozen Bubble and Pawel Fedorynski
If you are interested in playing Frozen Bubble on your Android device, it is available on F-Droid and the Google Play Store for download! You can also read more about the game from the Wikipedia article as well, but best of all, you can check out the official website: http://frozen-bubble.org/!
If you are looking for some entertainment, be sure to check out Mr. Fedorynski’s other game on the Play Store, the Busy Beaver! You can also jump over to the Frozen Bubble Github to check out the code and see what additions Eric Fortin has made to the game!
Linux – keep it simple.