A Survey

of the

Cross-Platform

Game Landscape

David Fox
CEO, Double Coconut


we are
full-stack engineers
+ artists and project managers

a boutique development studio specializing in
Cross-Platform Game & Entertainment Apps With Heavy Back-End  Requirements

JEWEL QUEST / BUBBLE TOWN HTML5


Running in Every Major Tablet / 
Handheld / 
PC Browser

JewEL QUEST XP



Hit iOS Game
Extended to
Android
&
Facebook

DEAL OR NO DEAL


Why Just Port?

Converted
iOS Game
Monolithic
iOS Code
To Sustainable
and Maintainable
Cross-Platform
Codebase

A JAGGEDY LANDSCAPE, INDEED



3 REASONS TO CROSS the PLATFORM



PLAYER CONTINUITY

Make progress on one device, 
Keep going on another

DISTRIBUTION BREADTH

Mo' App Stores = 
Mo' Money

BROWSER BELIEVER

Game always just a click
(or tap) away...

CANDY CRUSHIN' IT


To Be The King of X-Platform
You Don't Need Magical Tech
Or Fancy Frameworks


Just Polished Native
Experience  
&
Lots of Testing
&
Lots of Process

 = Lots of Time

MAGIC BULLETS ARE OUT THERE!

LET's GET TECHNICAL



PURE NATIVE ARCHITECTURE



PURE NATIVE



PURE WEB

HYBRID


INTERPRETED

GENERATED / COMPILED


DEEPER DIVE


MAKING THE CUT..


This Talk Will Focus On Frameworks That Are:








  • 2D / Casual
  • Used Successfully in Top Games on iOS and Android
    • Bonus for Facebook / PC
    • Bonus for Blackberry, MSFT
  • Managed by Well-Established Org/Co
    • With Proven Community


CORONA


+ Lua Scripting - Easy to Use (Similar to ActionScript)
+ Easy and Standard UI / Animation / Physics
+ Corona Editor - Great for Beginners

-Slow Build to Device Time (Cloud Build)
- Bloated With Libraries You May Not Use
- Some Features / SDKs Not Supported 
(*But Can use Corona Enterprise: Full Plug-In Support for Java/ObjectiveC)
- Android 2.2, ARMv7 Only
- Interpreted = Sometimes Unpredictably Slow
- Command Line Debugging

Price: $16-$199 developer/month
Used For: Freeze!, Fun Run, Major Magnet 

MARMALADE


+ C++  via Visual Studio PC or XCode Mac
+ 1-Click Deploy Across All Platforms:
iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows, Mac/PC, More!
+ Good Emulators / Testing on PCs

- Black Box: Great When Things Work! 
But Look Out When They Don't...
- Multithreading Issues
- Network Hang Issues
- No Easy Debugging on Device

Price: Free to $3,500 / year
Used For: Call of Duty Zombies, Bejeweled Blitz, Cut the Rope, Draw Something, Pro Evolution Soccer, Talisman

XAMARIN


+ iOS, Android, Mac, Windows
+ All Coding in C#
+ Great for XNA Coders
Can Extend XBox/PC Games to Mobile
+ Xamarin.Forms to Share UI Code

- Larger App
- Longer Load Times
- C# Not For Everyone

Price: Free to $1,899/year
Used For: The Secret Society, GOAL 2014

LibGDX


+ 100% Free & Open Source
+ Java via Eclipse/IntelliJ
+ Custom Builds for Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, iOS, Blackberry
+ OpenGL Graphics
+ Physics / Texture Packer / Particles
+ Very Supportive Community
+ Use RoboVM for iOS

- No "Easy" Tools
- Relatively Slow iOS Builds
- Complex Engineering for Bindings

Price: Free!
Used For: Ingress, Delver, Apparatus


Adobe AIR


+ Flash -> iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Blackberry
+ Use FlashBuilder and Flash Assets

- Slow Build/Deploy Cycle
- Only Supports Certain SDKs/Device Features
- If Re-Using Flash Vector Graphics ... Sloooow Performance
- Tough to Debug
   

Price: Free (if already have Flash toolset)
Used For:  Machinarium, Incredipede

HAXE

+ Develop with Flash API
+ OpenFL Converts Flash to Different Haxe Targets
+ Can Use HaxeFlixel = 2D Game Framework

- Slow Builds
- Complex Setup and Documentation

Price: Free!
Used For: Papers Please

GAME MAKER

+ Great for Non-Engineers
+ Drag & Drop / Quick GML Scripting
+ Android, Browser, iOS, Mac, PC, PS3, PS4, Vita, Windows Phone

- Must Use Their Tools
- Not Extensible

Price: Free/$99/$800 For Mobile Export
Used For: Hotline Miami, Spelunky, Super Crate Box

COCOS2D-x


+ Open Source!

+ Popular Cocos2D Game Engine in C++

+ Makes Basic 2D Game Stuff (GUI, Sprites, Sound) Easy
+ Physics (Box2D or Chipmunk)
+ Good, Mature Toolset
+ Great Community
+ Easy UI w/ CocosBuilder


- Fairly Complex
- Very Slow iOS Compile Time

Price: Free!
Used For:  Badlands, Big Fish Casino, Castle Clash, Dragon City, Matching with Friends, 2048, Family Guy: Quest For Stuff, Avengers Alliance

APPORTABLE


+ ObjectiveC/Swift --> Android
+ Works Like Magic w/ Cocos2D & XCode
+ One Conditional Code Base
+ Company Behind "Sprite Builder"

- Issues with UIKit-Focused Games
- Limited Plug-Ins for Ads, Analytics







Price: Basics for Free -> $99/month/dev
Used For: Kingdom Rush, Spaceteam, Superbrothers S&S, Hero Academy, Mega Run, Osmos, Campus Life

UNITY

+ DeFacto Standard for Mobile3D
+ Growing Support for 2D
+ Mature Art Pipeline
+ Big Community w/ Vibrant Asset Shop
+ Multiplayer Networking Support
+ See Art/Code Changes Run in IDE Immediately

- Optimizations Needed for Performance/Memory on Different Platforms
- Learn new IDE
- Poor Web Adoption for Plug-In
- Large-Ish File Size

Price: $1,500 + More for iOS/Android Builder

Used For: Bad Piggies, Castle Story, Dead Trigger 2, République, Wasteland 


BTW... IF LOOKING INTO 3D...





Epic Game's UnReal Engine

Crytek CryENGINE


CONTROVERSIAL STATEMENT #1

YOU CAn'T avoid SOME native


Ad / Offer SDKs
Analytics / Attribution SDKs
Device-/OS Version- Specific Bugs
Platform-Specific Optimizations

Solution:
A Native XCode/Eclipse Project
Is Your Friend

(bindings can work too)

CONTROVERSIAL STATEMENT #2

"IT WORKS!" AIn'T Enough





Compile / Build / Deploy / Launch Times are Hugely Important

Performance On Different Device Classes Can Vary a LOT

    




SO TIME IT!



Thoroughly Test a
Meaty Benchmark App
Across All Target Devices
Before Signing Off

if not feeling warm and fuzzy
Just Say No!



oh, and...
(Pad Your Schedule!)

CONTROVERSIAL STATEMENT #3

ARTISTS ARE PEOPLE TOO


What's The Day to Day Art Workflow?

Don't Forget About UI 
For Launch...
...And After that 223rd A/B Test

CONTROVERSIAL STATEMENT #4

TREAD CAREFULLY



I Hate to Use the "P" Word...
But To Run Your Game
As A Service
You're Gonna Need
Some Real
PROCESS

RIDE THE MAGIC BULLET













Thanks For Listening!
Questions?
David Fox
CEO, Double Coconut
david@doublecoconut.com