Corona is good, but Marmalade Quick is better, says CTO Closs

Open source basis and loads of platforms

Corona is good, but Marmalade Quick is better, says CTO Closs
Earlier this week, cross-platform framework creator Marmalade unveiled its new rapid application development tool – Marmalade Quick.

The open source utility enables the rapid creation of 2D games and apps, making use of components such as Cocos2d-x, Box2D and the Lua scripting language to help developers rapidly iterate on their projects.

Interested parties can test out the tool right now via its GitHub page, or through Marmalade's website.

Those who find themselves on the fence, meanwhile, will be able to see exactly what the tool is capable of once Marmalade's in-house development studio launches Signal to the Stars – the first game developed exclusively using Quick.

So, in order to find out more about Marmalade Quick's capabilities, its future and its benefits over the tools already available, we caught up with Marmalade CTO Tim Closs.

Pocket Gamer: What is Marmalade Quick?

Tim Closs: Marmalade Quick is the new flavour of our award-winning SDK, that enables Rapid Application Development (RAD) of 2D games and app using Lua.

It's entirely open source (MIT licence), and built on top of familiar best-in-class open source components like Cocos2d-x and Box2D.

The Marmalade SDK grew originally up as a C++ tool for developers looking to get maximum performance out of their apps and games. However, not every developer wants to build their native 2D games and apps using C++.

While C++ is 'fast' in the sense of being high-performance, for many developers it's often not 'fast' in the sense of developers' time.

For developers choosing not to use C++, we wanted to provide a super-RAD programming environment that still gives access to Marmalade's uniquely powerful desktop tools and cross-platform reach. The solution is Marmalade Quick.

What prompted the decision to move from cross-platform development tool to RAD programming tool?

Marmalade Quick is both, really – it's a cross-platform RAD tool.

All of our supported platforms work just as well with Marmalade Quick as they do with our C++ version. That includes iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, Mac and Windows desktop as well as selected smart TVs.

I don't think there's a faster way to develop an app or game and make it available on so many devices.

How does Marmalade Quick compare to existing solutions? Corona Labs has a similar offering, for instance.

Corona is a good product, but Marmalade Quick is differentiated in three key ways. Firstly, it's entirely open source, so developers can extend and modify it at will.

Secondly, it's based upon great open-source solutions like Cococs2d-x and Box2D, meaning developers are already working in familiar paradigms; they can use all of the third-party tools associated with those components, and if they 'open the box' they'll find familiar code.

Thirdly and critically, Marmalade Quick supports way more platforms than Corona.

OpenQuick can be found on GitHub and used independently of the Marmalade SDK. Are you concerned that people will just use this version of the tool rather than paying for a Marmalade licence?

We're not concerned, and we're expecting some developers to do that! The existence of the OpenQuick core engine is evidence of how genuine we are about the open source nature of Quick.

We'd rather have a ton of developers start working with OpenQuick, than try to force every single one to be using the Marmalade Quick superset.

However, we believe any developer looking seriously at Marmalade Quick will soon see how much additional value Marmalade is providing in our tools and extended cross-platform reach.

Marmalade Quick also features an integration with the great ZeroBrane Studio Lua IDE, for Lua authoring and debugging.

Can you tell us a little about Signal to the Stars and the work of Marmalade's in-house development team?

Our in-house studio built Signal to the Stars as a way of driving the development of Marmalade Quick, and ensuring it's ready for prime-time.

It's a really fun 2D game that uses a good chunk of the Marmalade Quick APIs, including things like the cross-platform In-App Purchase API.

We'll be pushing the game out on as any platforms as we can... we like eating our own dog food!

What plans do you have for the future of Marmalade Quick?

Marmalade Quick is open source, so in some ways it will take on a life of its own.

But we have a solid roadmap of additions coming over the next few months – exposing the remaining Cocos2d-x features like particles and tilemaps, but also offering easy access to a load of connected APIs like ads, analytics and social gaming services.

More than anything, we'll be listening carefully to developer feedback and making sure we're responsive to their needs.
Thanks to Tim for his time.

You can find out more about Marmalade Quick here

Staff Writer's news editor 2012-2013