The mobile market may be a gold mine for many developers but it is hampered for some by being split in two. Apple’s iOS may have led the way at first, but with nearly one billion users, the Android market is just as vital when making your mobile game a success.
Porting from one to the other can be a cause of frustration, but Marmalade lowered the barriers last year with the announcement of Marmalade Juice, a toolset that enables developers to convert their iOS titles to Android quickly and easily.
The firm has spent the past year partnering with various mobile studios to show what Marmalade Juice can do, with Storm8 and its free-to-play game Kingdom Clash positioned as a prime example.
“We evaluated many products but ultimately went with Marmalade Juice because of how easy it was to use,” says Storm8’s engineering manager Justin Ng.
“All the other solutions we considered required us to either rewrite our code or make big changes to our workflow. And for a developer with over 40 games and more than 200 million users worldwide to service, that simply was not a scalable option.
“While we have launched other games on Android before, Marmalade Juice has given us a way to do that much more efficiently, which is very exciting.”
The beauty of Marmalade Juice is that it is integrated into the Xcode development environment, something Ng says enables studios to develop on both iOS and Android with the same tools. It has also helped Storm8 structure its code better so that games work better on both platforms.
“We’ve even been able to refine our testing process,” Ng adds. “Android has many different types of devices and we have to make sure that the game works well on all of them.
“Before using Juice, we ported our code line-by-line from Objective-C to Java, which was time consuming, boring and prone to error. With Juice, it’s the closest we’ve ever seen to ‘it just works’. We love how we can seamlessly support multiple platforms while only having a single codebase.”
Efficient porting between the two mobile marketplaces is not just a matter of convenience. For studios like Storm8, a cross-platform solution is essential to their core business model.
“Since Storm8 was funded, we’ve always had a multi-genre and multi-platform approach,” explains Ng. “We don’t just develop one type of game or focus on only one platform. We were one of the first mobile games developers to launch social games on iOS, and then again on both Google Play and the Amazon Appstore.
“Today, we’re seeing the Android market grow at an exponential rate. [IT research firm] Gartner says that Android is poised to reach 1.1bn users worldwide across all devices this year. That reach is something that can’t be ignored.
“Also, Storm8 employs a games-as-a-service strategy. This means that development does not end when we ship one of our games.
In fact, it’s the opposite as we consistently add new levels and features to keep the gameplay exciting for our users once a game is launched. It is this same strategy that has allowed us to grow our network to more than 50 million monthly active users.
“When you have such a massive audience, you want players on every platform to be able to access the latest features in your game as soon as possible, while not draining your resources. So being able to port new content and features from iOS to Android easily is crucial for us.
“Marmalade Juice has been an incredible and easy-to-use tool for our team, so I highly recommend it to other developers.”
Storm8 is just one of many companies that uses Marmalade Juice, and Marmalade is constantly on the lookout for new partners to help showcase the tech.
“When we announced Marmalade Juice last year, we had a phenomenal amount of interest from large and small iOS studios alike,” says Marmalade CEO Harvey Elliott.
“We invited a small number of these developers to come on board to help us road test the tech and those early innovators already have their apps monetising on Google Play. A recent report from Millennial Media claims that 78 per cent of iOS developers will also develop for Android in 2014, so the full release of Marmalade Juice is well timed. We’re now welcoming enquiries from any game makers that want to take advantage of this efficient way to unlock iOS games for Android players. Anyone visiting GDC this year should come along to our stand to see a Juice demo and find out more.”
Marmalade Juice will be widely available for developers to licence from March 2014.
Learn more at www.madewithmarmalade.com/juice