What You Need For Cross Platform Game Development
Games coming out for a specific console are a thing of the past. Players want to connect online using a variety of hardware. Cross-platform game development allows your team to code once and release everywhere.
How Do Cross-Platform Games Work?
Cross-platform game development requires a variety of software tools to build the games from common code and art assets. Developers all work in one code base. Game engines, software libraries, scripting languages, and software development kits (SDKs) create platform-specific elements for the game to be released.
Why Cross-Platform Development?
Cross-platform game development has serious benefits. Studios don’t need to maintain separate and specific codebases for each platform. Maintaining one codebase can make it more stable and easier to maintain. It also creates an opportunity to deliver your game into the hands of the most players. Users only need to purchase the title for one specific system to have access on other devices.
Cross-platform game development also helps with upgrades. Teams no longer need to go in and make a change on two or more codebases. They can simply make a change and deploy it to all platforms at once, saving both time and money.
However, there can be some disadvantages. Native platform development offers an exclusive integration with the platform, usually resulting in faster performance. Non-native code can suffer delays. It is important to focus on the user experience and test on all platforms.
Cross-Platform Game Development Software
The best way to ensure your game reaches the most people is to create it for cross-play. So, what software do you need for cross-platform game development?
Game Dev Engines
Game engines provide a framework that can support 2D and 3D game development.
Unreal Engine & Unity
Unreal Engine is considered one of the most powerful game engines out today. It comes with a visual scripting tool — Blueprint — to design visual elements of the game that can be used with different hardware. This is helpful for those who don’t want to dive into C++ code. For cross-platform game development, Unreal requires some setup. You need to separately install SDKs for each intended platform.
Unity is another popular game engine. Many indie dev studios prefer it because it offers a simpler setup, especially for cross-platform game development. When you install the engine, you simply choose the version and targeted platforms. The required SDKs are automatically downloaded. Unity also offers a variety of 2D elements that are optimized for mobile development.
Both Unreal and Unity game engines can be used to develop mobile, console, AR/VR, and PC games. Many plugins for cross-platform game development are available from their marketplace or on GitHub. This include scripts, 2D/3D assets, animations, audio, and more.
🎮 Game Engines = Big Binaries 🎮
Cross-platform game development + game engines create a lot of binaries. Large files require tools that can perform. Get the tools trusted by 95% of top game dev studios.
CryEngine is another engine used for cross-platform game development. It offers stunning visuals. To make it work across-platforms, you do need to make changes directly to the code.
GameMaker Studio is described as incredibly user friendly. Users can just point and click to make elements. This game engine is somewhat limited in its functionality but works well for mobile game development. There is a free version available, but for cross-platform development, you need the professional or master versions.
LibGDX is a free open source Java game development library. It provides an API that works across Windows, Linux, MacOS, and mobile. It is not as powerful or robust as Unity or Unreal but provides a framework for mobile and web game development. It doesn’t come with a GUI, so you will need to check your assets in the game environment.
Godot Engine is another free option for both 2D and 3D game development through MIT. It comes with built-in nodes, common tools, and a visual editor. This can help speed up the cross-platform game development process. Godot has a large user community that is actively fixing bugs and creating new features.
Solar2D (formally known as Corona) is a 2D game engine simulator. It is a Lua based game engine and adapts to many resolutions and ratios. Lua is known for being easy and it allows teams to quickly add in elements with just one line of code. But this game engine does have limited deployment options.
Version Everything, No Matter the Platform
Advanced game development, like cross-platform development, requires the right tools. Teams need to track and mange changes to files, plus manage releases and patches for each platform.
Version control is an essential to store, iterate, and manage the wide range of digital assets required for cross-platform game development. It also can help you deliver the extremely large files associated with game development to remote team members around the globe.
What Tool Do Top Teams Use? Helix Core
Helix Core — version control from Perforce — is trusted by 19 of the top 20 game dev studios. It’s because it allows studios to streamline builds and manage all their assets, not just code. If you are embarking on cross-platform game development, Helix Core can organize the wide range of assets needed for specific platforms.
Plus, it has features — like Perforce Streams — that allow teams to seamlessly manage multiple releases and components across platforms. Learn how industry-leader Sumo Games uses Streams >>
Power Your Pipelines
Helix Core delivers lightning-fast performance. Unlike other version control systems, it can manage all the large digital assets associated with game development as well as code. This gives your team a single source of truth for your entire project.
Binary files, audio files, video files, code, and more can all be managed inside a Helix Core depot. Then these assets can be combined and released for a variety of hardware.
Helix Core Scales for Cross-Platform Development
Using Helix Core ensures that your large files are delivered around the globe, fast. With Perforce Federated Architecture, you can set up servers where you need them. For example, you could set up build servers, on-premise or in the cloud, to handle your builds. Or install them near a group of remote team members to give them instant access to the files they need.
See for yourself why so many studios choose Helix Core for cross-platform game development. You can start free for up to 5 users and 20 workspaces.