Under the Bridge

Cross Platform Developments

So it’s been a while since our last game engine roundup and HTML5 development roundup, and aside from that rather interesting looking Moai SDK we haven’t mentioned anything else in the cross platform area lately it seems, so let’s sift through what bookmarks we’ve accumulated for that kind of thing.

The one that’s got the most frenzied yammering going on about it is this ‘Project Spartan’ HTML5 framework thingy that Facebook is supposedly going to take on Apple with. Supposedly. Seems rather more likely to us that Facebook has decided that Flash is never going to not suck on the web so they need to provide a mobile migration path to their developers, and directly challenging Apple would be at best an afterthought. But we shall see.

Presumably if that does work out, the cornucopia of other HTML5 kits out there would drop in relevance immediately. But at the moment, it’s still a pretty wide open field. In addition to the collection above, here’s a good article on the two most popular:

A Deeper Look At Appcelerator and PhoneGap

We do seem to hear a lot of good opinions of Sencha Touch though, and there’s a series of tutorials here on writing a simple application with it that does make it look like it’s reasonably well designed.

If you’re focused on cross-platform games, in addition to the links above you might check out Jeff LaMarche’s Thoughts on Unity3D which apparently he feels is the best of the current choices. Us, we instinctively tend towards open source for anything cross platform; it’s just not reasonable to expect that the vendor is going to take quick advantage of all the new developments on every platform they support, and you of course being an awesome developer want to do that, don’t you?

Couple other possibly interesting ones we noted references to over at ManiacDev lately:

MoSync SDK – “The Open Source SDK for universal mobile application development”

… With MoSync, you are developing using standard C/C++ in an Eclipse-based environment preconfigured with a set of MoSync-specific plugins to create a fluid experience from development and debugging to testing and deployment.

The same compiler, GCC 4.0 with a custom MoSync backend, is used for all platforms, ensuring consistent application behavior everywhere.

Since MoSync uses standard C/C++, a vast number of libraries are readily available to developers. Examples of libraries successfully used with MoSync are SDL, yajl, STLPort and SQLite.

Platform and feature support

MoSync currently supports the iOS, Android, Windows Mobile, Symbian, JavaME and Moblin platforms. Blackberry and Windows Phone 7 support is coming shortly…

Well, we’d certainly rather program in C++ than Javascript. And as noted above, we find open source a rather compelling feature of a cross-platform development environment. So that one strikes us an option to definitely stay aware of.

Monkey Coder – “a brand spanking new programming language that allows you to create apps on multiple platforms with the greatest of ease.”

An evolution of the popular Blitz range of compilers, Monkey can generate code for the following platforms:

  • HTML5
  • Native OpenGL/OpenAL (Windows + Mac)
  • Android
  • Flash
  • iOS
  • XNA

Sounds a little too magical to us to be likely to be anything but a seriously lowest common denominator solution, and learning another language that gets translated into all these other languages seems like just a bit too much that could go wrong to be overly confident about putting a big bet on that one. But hey, always willing to be pleasantly surprised!

Any other interesting cross-platform developments you’ve noticed recently, Dear Readers?


And yes, the very next day, here’s a roundup mentioning some more options:

Platform X: How cross-platform tools can end the OS wars

Maybe you’re looking for a BlackBerry/Android/iOS/Windows7/OSX C++ 3D framework? Check out blackberry / GamePlay!