What Platforms will Looshkin be on?

As promised in the first post on this blog, I'm going to be posting some more technical stuff as we develop the Looshkin game. If you read Jamie's last post, you'll know that development has now started. It will take a while before there's anything that we want to really show on the blog (in terms of video or more complete screenshots) but things are coming together quite quickly, at least the basics.

One thing that we've been asked by several people is what platforms will Looshkin The Game be on. We originally announced that it would definitely be on iOS (iPhone, iPad and iPod touch), but I can now give a little more information on this. Development work didn't start until early February, the main reason being that I've spent nearly 2 months testing out various cross-platform development systems, to enable us to bring the game to more than just iOS from launch. I tried Corona SDK, Marmalade, Moai SDK and then I just happened to come across one I hadn't heard of before, called Gideros. It's a fairly new arrival on the mobile development scene, in fact until a couple of weeks ago it was still in Beta. But once I'd taken a look at it I realised that it had some big benefits going for it.

When you pick a development system, most of the cross-platform options tend to be quite closed - if the system doesn't do something that you want, you're pretty much stuck. Marmalade is different in this regard but basically requires you to write everything from scratch - there is no nice higher level graphics library, for instance and that would have meant a much more intensive development cycle. Gideros, on the other hand, provides a concept of plugins - native code you can write for both iOS and Android, package up and link into your app. So, if there's something you can't do as standard, then you can break out and create your own plugins that do what you want. Coming from developing for iOS (using cocos2D), where I had access to everything Apple provide if needed, the Gideros plugin facility gives me a good middle ground. Gideros also gets the basics 100% right with a solid, joined-up foundation, which is something I can't say for some of the other options.

Gideros uses Lua, a pretty common standard in game development. It's an easy to use but very powerful scripting language, which is rapid to develop with and the speed that Gideros achieves is incredible. Gideros also has a very neat way of testing on devices using their own player app - in fact I'm no longer using a simulator at all, I'm writing and testing directly onto the devices seamlessly. Gideros is pretty new and so it does have some facilities missing, but the developers are making quick strides towards filling those gaps. And finally, their responsiveness is impressive. I'm pretty picky about graphics (I'm an artist as well, so not surprising really) and Jamie's the same. I noticed a few problems with the graphics engine in Gideros and within a day I'd been provided with a build that resolved them - now that's the kind of customer service that's the final piece of the puzzle in making me feel comfortable with the platform. So I purchased a license and that's what we're using for the game.

Now we've decided on a development system I can officially say that we'll be launching on both iOS and Android. Other platforms will depend on the support that Gideros adds and when that happens. They are definitely going down the route of allowing builds for Windows and OSX so, if that support arrives before we finish development, we'll launch on those as well. If it doesn't, we'll be able to add them when they do.

And the best thing about all this is that I only have to code once. The first test build I sent to Jamie the other day I had running on my iPad, iPhone and on an Android tablet I purchased for testing, all from one set of code. That's just brilliant.

In short: Definitely iOS and Android. Windows and OSX - if not at launch, then hopefully not long afterwards.

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