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The mobile development app

The development app allows you to push content to it over wifi. This will greatly reduce iteration time as you don’t have to bundle and install every time you wish to test your changes. You install the development app on your device(s), start the app and then select the device as a build target from the editor.

Installing a development app

Any application that is bundled in Debug mode will be able to act as a development app. On Android a stand-alone version of the Defold engine is available and on iOS you need to manually bundle and sign the application using your own signing identity and provisioning profile.

Installing on iOS

Any iOS application that has been bundled as a Debug variant will be able to act as a development app. It is recommended that you bundle a Debug variant of the application that you are currently working on. This will ensure that the dev app has the correct project settings and uses the same native extensions. Follow the instructions in the iOS manual to bundle for iOS. Make sure to select Debug as variant!

Installing on Android

The same recommendation as for iOS to bundle a Debug variant works for Android. In addition to this option there’s also a stand-alone version of the Defold engine available as a ready made .apk file that you can install on a device and use for iterative development wirelessly.

The stand-alone version will only work for projects without any native extensions. If your project contains native extensions you must bundle a Debug variant of your project to ensure that the dev app contains the native extensions that you intend to use.

  • Visit http://d.defold.com where Defold downloads can be found.
  • Click on the version you want to download to expand a list of available engine builds.
  • Select engine/armv7-android/dmengine.apk for a debug enabled build for the Android platform (Armv7).

Download dmengine

Download the file, then issue the following adb command from the location of the .apk:

$ adb install dmengine.apk
4445 KB/s (8706017 bytes in 1.912s)
    pkg: /data/local/tmp/dmengine.apk
Success

The development “dmengine” app is now available on the device.

dmengine on the device

Launching your game

To launch your game on your device, the dev app and editor must be able to connect, over the same wifi network or using USB (see below).

  1. Make sure the editor is up and running.
  2. Launch the dev app on the device.
  3. Select your device under Project ▸ Targets in the editor.
  4. Select Project ▸ Build And Launch to run the game. It may take a while for the game to start since the game content is streamed to the device over the network.
  5. While the game is running, you can use hot reloading as usual.

launch

Connecting to an iOS device using USB on Windows

When connecting over USB on Windows to a dev app running on an iOS device you first need to install iTunes. When iTunes is installed you also need to enable Personal Hotspot on your iOS device from the Settings menu. If you see an alert that says tap “Trust This Computer?” tap Trust. The device should now show up under Project ▸ Targets when the dev app is running.

Connecting to an iOS device using USB on Linux

On Linux you need to enable Personal Hotspot on your device from the Settings menu when connected using USB. If you see an alert that says tap “Trust This Computer?” tap Trust. The device should now show up under Project ▸ Targets when the dev app is running.

Connecting to an iOS device using USB on OSX

On newer iOS versions the device will automatically open a new ethernet interface between the device and computer when connected using USB on OSX. The device should show up under Project ▸ Targets when the dev app is running.

On older iOS versions you need to enable Personal Hotspot on your device from the Settings menu when connected using USB on OSX. If you see an alert that says tap “Trust This Computer?” tap Trust. The device should now show up under Project ▸ Targets when the dev app is running.

Connecting to an Android device using USB on OSX

On OSX it is possible to connect over USB to a running dev app on an Android device when the device is in USB Tethering Mode. On MacOS you need to install a third-party driver such as HoRNDIS. When HoRNDIS is installed you also need to allow it to run via the Security & Privacy settings. Once USB Tethering is enabled the device will show up under Project ▸ Targets when the dev app is running.

Connecting to an Android device using USB on Windows or Linux

On Windows and Linux it is possible to connect over USB to a running dev app on an Android device when the device is in USB Tethering Mode. Once USB Tethering is enabled the device will show up under Project ▸ Targets when the dev app is running.

Troubleshooting

Unable to download application
Make sure the your device UDID is included in the mobile provisioning that was used for signing the app.
Your device does not appear in the Targets menu
Make sure that your device is connected to the same wifi network as your computer.
The game does not start with a message about mis-matching versions
This happens when you have upgraded the editor to the latest version. On iOS you need to sign the app again (Project ▸ Sign iOS App…) which creates a new dev app from the current engine version. Then download the new app from the dashboard onto your device. On Android you will need to download a new dmengine.apk and install it on your device.
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