When long-standing games industry giant Activision was looking to take two of its very distinct IPs to mobile, it turned to technology specialist, developer and publisher Marmalade.
The team at the triple-A powerhouse had decided 2010 console racer Blur and the vintage 1983 sports compilation The Activision Decathlon were the perfect titles to reinvigorate on mobile in 2013, and that Marmalade was the ideal technology – and company – for the job.
Marmalade, of course, is behind its own prolific, C++ based, famously efficient SDK of the same name, and as such sits at the centre of a global hub of developers. That let Marmalade pick what it deemed to be the perfect partners for the development of each game.
As a result, UK studio AppCrowd took on developing Blur Overdrive, realising the IP as a high-energy freemium game in the spirit of its forebearer, while Portuguese outfit Biodroid Entertainment focused on bringing The Activision Decathlon forward 30 years to meet the expectations of today’s consumer. Both are now available on Android and iOS, and are published by Marmalade Play.
As it transpired, Activision needed a great deal from the two studios. Dependable technology was essential, and teams that could reliably handle the IP in question were vital, but of equal importance was that the games needed to be developed quickly. Which is where Marmalade came in.
The SDK is known for letting developers build games with blistering speed for deployment to numerous platforms from a single C++ codebase, and it is those very strengths that let Biodroid and AppCrowd meet Activision’s requirements.
“With a small team, budget and only a six-month time frame in which to make Blur Overdrive the best it could be we had to be very clear about our ambitions and priorities or we would have never finished it in time,” reveals Rik Alexander, CEO at AppCrowd.
“As we were starting from a standstill with no other technology to use as a base, we needed something that would give us the best head start for the project. It had to be easily useable, enable us to develop rapidly with as few hitches as possible and give us the ability to realise our grand ambitions both visually and from a gameplay perspective.”
According to Alexander, Marmalade delivered just what was needed; a suite of relevant tools, a range of connected services and support, a pipeline perfect for the job in hand, raw power for the target devices and the ability to work to the six-month deadline. It may have been Marmalade that reached out to AppCrowd, but it was Marmalade’s tools that supplied the studio with the perfect tech for the job.
Sports game specialist Biodroid had a similar experience with its work on The Activision Decathlon, and, faced with a similarly tight deadline, was able to leverage the very abilities that have made Marmalade a firm favourite with developers of every size globally.
“On the development-side, having a single code structure to deploy to all mobile platforms made us organise the development process with that in mind from day one,” says Biodroid head of games Ricardo Flores of using Marmalade to tackle reinventing closely guarded IP in a fleeting timeframe.
“Building and integrating all social and multiplayer plug-ins was also simplified since they were supported by the SDK. So we can say that Marmalade helped us speed-up the last mile and allowed the dev team to focus on game polishing and visual effects instead of worrying about performance issues.”
THE POWER OF TEN
For AppCrowd, the opportunity to work on the Blur property also meant the team needed to be flexible with its headcount, and again, it was Marmalade that ticked all the right boxes.
“Our approach enables us to ‘breathe’ our headcount for each project we do. Marmalade is so widely used nowadays finding good people with experience is easy,” reveals AppCrowd’s Alexander. “We also hired a couple of people without experience who quickly got up to speed with the tools and technology.”
Ultimately, Marmalade’s diversity as the creator of a robust SDK, a developer and a publisher let it pair high profile IP from an industry giant with the right technology and the perfect teams.