Marmalade spreads iOS games to Android

The company's new Juice tool lets developers use Objective-C but still offer apps on Android tablets and smartphones

Using Marmalade Technologies' Juice tool, iOS developers can recompile their games to run on Android.

The goal with Juice is to make the process of bringing games to Google's Play store and Amazon's App Store as painless as possible, according to Marmalade.

With Juice, iOS developers can continue to use Apple's Xcode IDE and Objective-C along with all the iOS APIs they are familiar with and still create games that can run natively on Android.

To convert a game, developers first have to install the Marmalade SDK, which includes Juice, and open Marmalade's Hub front-end management system, according to a demo posted on YouTube. They also need Java installed, but the Android SDK (software development kit) or NDK (native development kit) are not needed.

From Hub's Juice interface developers can pick the iOS project they want to convert. When a project has been chosen, the code can be analyzed to see how much Marmalade can convert. It is typical that tools like Juice can't convert everything and Marmalade allows for the code to be optimized in those cases. Hub then turns the code into an MKB project, which is Marmalade's cross-platform project format.

The MKB project is then opened in Xcode where developers can check what their game would look like on Android using Marmalade's own simulator. Using Marmalade's toolchain, users can also create an ARM compatible version using Xcode. That build can then be turned into an Android game using Hub.

Hub also includes Marmalade for C++, Lua and HTML5 code. Developers can also access tools such as the Dependency Checker, which ensures users have everything they need to get started.

Juice is based on customized versions of the open source Cocotron and Chameleon libraries, and the open source Clang compiler has been integrated with the Marmalade SDK. It comes included with Community, Indie, Studio and Pro versions of the Marmalade SDK at no additional cost.

The Community version usually costs US$149 per year, but is currently offered for free. It supports Android and iOS, has a limit of 3 seats per organisation and annual revenue isn't allowed to exceed $500,000. The Indie version adds BlackBerry, Windows Phone 8 and Tizen to the list of compatible platforms. It too has the $500,000 revenue ceiling, but there is no restriction on the number of seats per organisation.

The Plus and Pro versions have no revenue limit and add support -- within 72 hours for Plus and within 24 hours for Pro -- as well as Mac OS X, Windows and connected TVs to the platform list. The Pro version costs $3,500 per year and is the only license that doesn't require developers to say they have used the Marmalade SDK, but an attribution is still welcome. The Plus version costs $1,500 per year.

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Mikael Ricknäs

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