Calling themselves “the mobile platform for pro game developers,” Moai is a Lua-based SDK that’s currently in private beta development. I was alerted to this newly emerging SDK by its parent company Zipline Games. Both sites are rather sparse with information, and they’ve released one unnamed game based on its Moai SDK about a year ago, have two games in the pipeline, and since have focused on making the SDK available to the public.
Besides offering development for iOS and Android, they are offering a “Moai Cloud” solution that is a “cloud-hosted Lua script and a dedicated mongodb database used to provide web services for your game.” This includes, but is not limited to “Lua game logic, databases, unlockable game content, store persistent player and world state, and write multiplayer logic in the scripting language you’re already using.”
What is interesting about their engine is that they’re offering the SDK as open source. As easily as they put it, “If you ever hit a wall with Moai SDK you can easily look at the source code, write your own plug-in to extend Moai, or alter the Moai runtime and libraries as needed to make your game great.”
As with most of the other current SDKs, the games and applications you make with the engine are royalty-free.
Corona SDK users might be familiar with their development cycle, since they also use Lua as its scripting language, but Moai does warn, “At this early stage, Moai is not ideal for people just getting started in game development. If you aren’t already familiar with writing code in Xcode, Eclipse or Visual Studio, then Moai is probably not for you at this point.” It will be interesting to see how this SDK develops (pun intended), especially the interesting “cloud” feature that can open the doors even further for massive multiplayer games. You can get some more questions answered in their FAQ page.
I haven’t gotten a hold of Moai’s SDK yet, but I remain confident that Corona SDK, backed by a strong, coordinated force of developers, will continue to improve and impress the iOS and Android developer community.