When it comes to design interfaces, few companies can match the knowledge and expertise of Autodesk: Developers use its suite of 3D design software tools for ventures as diverse as architecture and entertainment products, including many Hollywood blockbuster films and console games. Now, Autodesk is focused on expanding its toolset for video game development on mobile devices with Scaleform.
Like previous versions of Autodesk’s user interface (UI) middleware, Adobe Flash (the ubiquitous multimedia platform used to enhance web-based experiences as well as many popular online games) powers Scaleform for mobile. Set to launch by the end of this summer, the new product will be available in two different flavors: Licensed as a native plug-in for the Unity game engine (a development tool useful for creating 3D games) for UI design and as a cross-platform software development kit (SDK), which developers can either integrate into existing engines or use as a standalone solution for creating mobile games and applications from the ground up.
Either component will retail for $295 per platform.
“People need to start finding ways to differentiate their content [on mobile devices],” said Marc Stevens, vice president of Autodesk Media and Entertainment, in an interview with GamesBeat. “Higher quality content is what people tend to notice. And with all of [Autodesk's] experience in the console space, we think we can help democratize those tools.”
Developers have already responded positively with the new Scaleform. GlobZ, an independent studio based out of France, ported TwinSpin (one of the studio’s more popular Flash-based games) to the Apple App Store earlier this year by using a beta build of the Scaleform toolkit.
“When designers or artists create their content, we want to give them tools to transfer them over to [mobile devices],” said Frank Delise, senior product manager at Autodesk. “With most tools out there, you have to do everything from scratch. For solutions like [Adobe] Air, you’ve got to know what you’re doing…Scaleform [allows] designers to work within an existing [engine or] framework or [to] create their own technology around it.”