Earlier this morning, this news article came across my desk and caught my interest for a number of reasons. Basically as the title states, Appcelerator – the makers of the popular Titanium mobile development suite have funded a game development technology startup Lanica.
So, why should you care?
Well first off, Appcelerator Titianium is a very nice development environment. For a few different reasons I chose not to develop with Titanium, the inability to debug on Android devices being the biggest hindrance ( and mostly Google’s fault for making such a terrible emulator ), however this fault may have been removed! ( I will be looking into this very shortly ).
Next, while working in HTML5 on mobile is nice, the question still remains if it is feasible for high performance games. PhoneGap brings HTML5 to mobile devices in native app form, but it doesn’t bring the performance. There are a number of other technologies working on this problem, but one more is always a nice thing.
Finally Lanica does have some pedigree. One of the two founders is Carlos Icaza, who among other things, was the founder and first CEO of Ansca mobile, the people that make the popular Lua based Corona SDK. ( Recently featured in this comparison of Lua game engines ).
So, they have funding, they have experience and they are creating a game engine using a technology I am interested in. You can certainly colour me intrigued.
A little bit ( so far as I can gather ) about the engine itself, Platino:
But wait, there’s more:
- OpenGL ES 2.0: We’re bringing you the industry standard in hardware-accelerated, cross-platform API for 2D and 3D graphics. The OpenGL engine is a flexible and powerful low-level interface between software and graphics acceleration, so you get the best performance with the most efficient (i.e. lowest possible) use of resources.
- Isometric Tile Engine: We have developed our own internal isometric engine, written entirely in C++. The best part? It features direct hardware rendering and occlusion detection for your maps to be rendered at full hardware speed, giving them near real-time interactivity.
- Sprite Sheets: We also have developed our own internal sprite sheet engine, which also is optimized for performance and rendering.
- Box2D: The same physics engine that drives Angry Birds and some of the most popular mobile games on the market is embedded in the Platino game engine.
- Particles: We know you’re too creative for a “one size fits all” approach. So, using our Particle Designer plug-in, you can now create stunning visual effects at hardware speeds by customizing every aspect of your particle emitters.
- Shaders: Our game engine leverages OpenGL’s shading language to calculate rendering effects on images, vertices, and pixels – giving you a high degree of flexibility and rendering capabilities for your games.
- 2.5D Support: Built natively (yet again!) to give your game that extra “depth” needed to create pseudo-3D effects.
As of right now, they appear to be in the pre-beta stage, although there is a sign up page here. Hopefully I am able to get more access to Platino shortly, so I can bring you a bit more information. Neither pricing nor a release date have been announced yet.