I am about to start working on a game for android devices, in my spare time, to get familiar with android development. I'm more interested in using the best practices possible than getting a quick result, and that is why I need some guidance regarding graphics.

I think the game is going to be fully sprite based. Everything is going to be in .bmp form, or something similar, and my question is:

Should I design the sprites in a small resolution (ie for phone screens) and scale them up to fit into larger screens (tablet screens), should I do it vice-versa or should I consider a completely different approach? Would designing a different set of sprites for each of the most used resolution settings be worth it or are there simpler solutions to the problem with fewer drawbacks than the ones I mentioned above? (If I follow the first approach, for example, the larger the screen the worse the graphics will get, since every pixel of the original drawing will cover several pixels on the screen). Is there a standard approach for dealing with this kind of problems?

If you need me to be more detailed or more clear about something I mentioned (or forgot to) please don't hesitate to ask. Also, excuse me for any inaccurate use of the English language.

Thank you in advance for your input.

  • \$\begingroup\$ There is no standard approach about that, it depends on your graphics!with the first approach you know that you will get awfull sprite on large screen, and the second approach is not a warranty of a nice sprite in low-def \$\endgroup\$
    – VinceFR
    Aug 29, 2012 at 13:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ I never did something for android but why dont you use vector graphics? They scale nicely to every screen size you want to. If that isn't an option maybe you should provide the graphics in 2 sizes (for phones and for tablets) \$\endgroup\$
    – Aron_dc
    Aug 29, 2012 at 13:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Aron_dc Yes, I think this is what I'm going to do. Make a set for tablets and a set for the most used phone resolution and scale those up and down to cover the other screen resolutions with small losses in quality :) \$\endgroup\$ Aug 29, 2012 at 13:47

2 Answers 2


There is no standard about this for a good reason: there are infinite variations on the topic, infinite combinations of inches and pixels for every device out there.

Usually a smartphone or a generic mobile device has a dpi value much higher than a normal PC monitor, so if you think in terms of pixels you are supposed to produce an image that will appear much larger on your monitor than what actually does on a mobile device.

You can solve this keeping in mind 3 things:

  • Android can pick for you the appropriate layout since this OS makes a distinction mainly based on the DPI value, you can read more here and here ( but in general you can find much more informations on the entire Developer section )
  • Android offers several units when it comes to graphics and typography
  • there are also some classes and methods that can help you with this programmatically like this one

I suggest to start from the units definitions.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you very much. Going through the articles right now. They are very informative. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 29, 2012 at 14:15

The blog link below should answer your question. This blog has a lot of useful information. Vicki Wenderlich's Blog

  • \$\begingroup\$ Hello Manuel, welcome to gamedev stackexchange! Please try providing more information on the link you posted. (i.e. explain rough it's content) \$\endgroup\$
    – bandrewk
    Dec 14, 2012 at 8:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for that link. It offers a direct response to my question. Also, everything in there makes a lot of sense. I think, though, that for a start I'm going to be alright with using just bitmap files for experimenting with a couple of resolutions only, since it looks way easier than dealing with svg. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 18, 2012 at 17:50

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