Porting AnKi to Android… again after ~8 years

I think it was 8 or 9 years ago when AnKi was first ported to Android for a demo competition and I remember the process being quite painful. Building native projects for Android was a hack, the micro differences between OpenGL ES and desktop OpenGL required compromises, GLSL related issues were a constant pain (compilation issues, bugs, shader reflection differences between implementations etc). These and more issues were the reason I left the Android port to rot and eventually remove from the codebase.

All that changed 10 months ago when I decided to re-port AnKi to Android. But if it was so painful why try again? The main reason is that the ecosystem had improved over the years. Android tooling for native code development (basically C/C++) got better but the biggest motivator was Vulkan. I was optimistic that there will be less issues with Vulkan this time around. At the end of the day was it less painful? The short answer is “yes” but if you want the long answer continue reading.

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Porting AnKi to Android

After months of careful planning, reading the GL specs and waiting for Google to add OpenGL ES 3.0 support, AnKi was finally ported to Android. This article presents the result and briefly expands on the challenges of porting a game engine to Android. More precisely, there is a video showing a demo running on an Android tablet, the second is a pre-build .apk of that demo that you can download and install to your Android device and the third is a few thoughts on Android development and mobile GPUs.


The video is showing a flyby demo running on a Samsung/Google Nexus 10 tablet equipped with Mali T604 GPU. Please note that the demo is a bit slower because of HDMI. The resolution is 720p, the FPS (without HDMI) ~17 and the lights are in the worst case ~10.

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