[This feature was published in the October 2013 edition of Develop magazine, which is available through your browser and on iPad]
Developer: Playing Species
Platforms: iOS, BlackBerry 10, Android, Tizen (in development)
Why Marmalade Mattered: The SDK let Playing Species target the coming OS with the existing Space Tap source code
Excitement and anticipation continues to build around Tizen, and Marmalde is at the forefront of those preparing savvy games developers with an open mind to cross-platform for its arrival.
With a wealth of backing from both Intel and Samsung, the forthcoming mobile OS looks poised to be a significant global success.
Of course, the idea of targeting multiple platforms can be daunting, even for those embracing established mobile devices. In that context, the idea of working towards a release for the likes of Tizen may be something many developers – small or large – deem beyond their capacity.
But that needn’t be the case. The Marmalade SDK is famed for its powerful single code base development offering, and is increasingly popular, in part because of its familiar C++ environment. Devotees to the Marmalade SDK often cite its ease of porting as a core reason to work with the platform – as covered in Develop in numerous previous issues. Put simply, the tech lets studios create a game with that single code base, before distributing to platforms in a relatively effortless manner. And, as confirmed back in July this year, the SDK is among the first in the world to support Tizen.
A DIFFERENT SPECIES
One developer using Marmalade to target Tizen is Playing Species, which is taking its latest game Space Tap to the coming OS.
“At the beginning we tried several single platforms separately,” explains CTO Daniel Musil of Playing Species’ approach to cross-platform, and its journey to using the Marmalade SDK. “For a small team, it is overkill to know all the platforms’ differences well, so one of the key points was to find a multiplatform solution.”
That solution was Marmalade, which empowered Musil and his colleagues enough that they conceived the core concept of Space Tap; an action-puzzle title that began life as an evening project made for fun. Playing Species is a board game conversions expert, and closely aligned with tabletop publisher Czech Games Edition, but through Marmalade it has managed to push the boundaries of the games it makes, and target an ambitious range of platforms, including Tizen.
“Marmalade gave us their beta SDK several times,” explains Musil. “There were few bugs. But there are always some. And there were no show-stoppers, and every following iteration of SDK was better and better. [Generally we were] working directly on the new devices from the very beginning and Tizen wasn’t any different. A few bugs were quickly addressed by Marmalade, which was no big deal. We are happy we can address the new platforms with our games so easily.”
THE EARLY BIRDS
The fact is that Tizen presents a substantial opportunity for mobile developers, and just as Marmalade makes it simple to port games to established mobile platforms, it lets studios of any size take their creations to the coming OS.
And Playing Species isn’t the only studio already enjoying how easy it is to harness the potential of Tizen with Marmalade (see panel: Tizen the prize), but the Czech outfit does demonstrate how being forward thinking, picking the right tools and daring to target new platforms can place you ahead of the pack. And that’s an enviable position on a platform with the upcoming clout of Tizen, because for the first to market, there should be rich pickings.
“We were a very small team working in our spare time,” concludes Musil. “We found Marmalade to be the solution for us to quickly develop the games in C++ targeting several platforms at once. It was amazing how much time Marmalade saved us.”
TIZEN THE PRIZE
Playing Species isn't the only developer harnessing the power of Marmalade to develop a game for the Tizen platform. Other users of the SDK include football game developer Sports Director, and prolific tower defence specialist ArtofBytes.
ArtofBytes’ general manager Tanja Kobzar is part of a team taking iconic zombie IP to Tizen in the form of Night of the Living Dead Defence, which has already enjoyed release on iOS, Android, Nook and BlackBerry. And her team’s experience of porting the game to Tizen with Marmalade has been encouragingly simple.
“There are not many differences in development,” she says of the process. “Marmalade allows us to create a build for this platform using the same project as for others. The only difference is the operating system itself, which requires a few tools to be installed.”
Similarly, Sports Director’s lead programmer and designer Roger Womack has found taking he and his sole colleague’s game Football Director to Tizen a breeze with Marmalade.
“So far Tizen has all been handled by the Marmalade SDK,” he explains. “We started evaluating Marmalade approximately 14 months ago.
“We chose it due to its use of C++, the wide range of devices it supported, and the support and accessibility of
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