Apportable is launching a new game development tool suite today that enables developers to take iOS games and apps and get them to run on Android mobile devices.
The SpriteBuilder 1.0 suite is billed as the first Objective-C cross-platform development suite. Objective-C is a programming language that Apple uses for its OS X and iOS operating systems. SpriteBuilder compiles code in Objective-C so that it runs on Android devices.
San Francisco-based Apportable says that developers who adopted SpriteBuilder will be able to rapidly build iOS and Android games with Objective-C and Xcode, an integrated development environment for Apple-related code. Apportable claims that SpriteBuilder is the only game development suite that enables a developer to run Objective-C code as a native application on Android. That means it runs faster and more efficiently than apps that are written with other cross-platform game tools.
SpriteBuilder is available now as a free download in the Mac App Store.
“We believed that the lead developers on the projects could work together to create something spectacular,so we simply brought them together,” says Collin Jackson, the CEO of Apportable. “Combining these four open-source projects will greatly increase the productive potential of game development.”
The tools come from a team whose members developed other open-source game-development tools when they were working for other entities. The team members worked on projects in the past such as Cocos2d, Cocos3d, CocosBuilder, and Chipmunk. The SpriteBuilder 1.0 version includes the version 3.0 release of Cocos2d, which is the most popular iOS game engine.
SpriteBuilder has a visual editor that lets developers create prototypes and build games with tools that are more intuitive, the company says. Designers and developers can work together to reduce development time.
“The tool is easy to use and can handle everything from simple GUI layouts to complex character animations,” said Conor Seabrook of Sidebolt, creators of Skyward Slots. “It saved us time and energy by allowing better collaboration between design and development teams.” Seabrook adds that “SpriteBuilder is a great development tool because it allows us to build rich functionality quickly and easily, which ultimately allows us to build better games.”
The suite is based on an open-source platform that developers are free to extend under an MIT-supported open source license. Apportable charges for commercial support and upgrades.
Paritosh Shah, head of mobile engineering at Pocket Gems, said, “SpriteBuilder has been an essential tool in building cross-platform user interfaces for our games. It is lightweight and makes very few assumptions about the design patterns, making it flexible and easy to extend to our needs.”
Apportable is backed by $2.4 million from Google Ventures and other investors. It participated in the Y Combinator and StartX accelerator programs. Apportable has 53 employees.