There are two things Double Fine and Harebrained Schemes have in common: successful Kickstarter campaigns, and Moai; an open source SDK that lets them build for Mac, Windows, Linux, Android, and iOS simultaneously.
The latest update for the Double Fine Kickstarter Adventure gives backers a look behind the scenes as the $3.3 million dollar crowdfunding project gets underway.
This video highlights some of the challenges the developers at Double Fine will have to overcome to bring multiplatform support on such a small budget, and the weapon they are using to beat the odds- Moai
The development platform was created by Zipline games, and has since been used to create multiple hit titles for mobile devices.
"We launched the beta in June of last year," Zipline CEO Todd Hooper told Develop. "The first Moai game that shipped was Crimson Steam Pirates which was the #1 free app on iPad."
Crimson Steam Pirates was developed by Jordan Wiseman’s studio, Harebrained Schemes, which recently raised over $1.8 million dollars on Kickstarter for their new Shadowrun game, which will also use the Moai SDK.
In February, Moai hit version 1.0- just as Tim Schafer launched the Kickstarter Adventure project.
As the project grew and more platforms were added, the team realized they would have to use a development environment that could handle all of them.
For Double Fine, the solution was Moai.
"We are working with the illustrious Mr. Schafer, and it’s been very exciting," said Hooper.
The video announcement begins with Schafer, who is very enthusiastic about Moai, though he isn’t sure why.
"We’ve chosen Moai as the technology platform for our new adventure game," said Schafer, Moai’s supposed to be awesome, but I’m not smart enough to tell you all the reasons why, so I’ll just turn it over to the Double Fine engineers."
Moai utilizes Lua, which gives it an advantage in being familiar from the start to developers, and with its implementations of OpenGL and C++, is friendly to multiple platforms as well.
"We used Moai for the first time during our last Amnesia Fortnight," said Nathan Martz, tech director at Double Fine.
"We wanted to experiment with some 2d games and some mobile games, and Moai jumped out at us as a really simple, lightweight, quick to get into technology."
Though questions have been raised about the practicality of small studios with small budgets taking on so many platforms, Hooper is confident the ease and low pricepoint of his SDK will make multiplatform development accessible.
Pointing to the benefits of open source development, he noted that Moai is free to use, but is still a money maker due to Zipline’s cloud hosting service, which adds online capabilities such as multiplayer and leaderboards to the open source platform.
"Developers are free to write their own extensions for Moai," said Hooper.
"Quite a lot of developers have sent code back to us, so it gets better with every release."