Autodesk Scaleform Mobile SDK review

A game UI development program, Autodesk Scaleform sounds like a very technical sort of tool, appealing to a niche audience. We say that products like this are genuinely important for the growth of iOS. As important as Adobe Creative Suite is to the Mac.

When the iPad first launched, few people predicted what an awesome gaming platform it would turn out to be. Game buying statitistics suggest that not many iOS users feel the need for dedicated devices like the Nintendo DS or PSP Vita.

When you delve into the suite of apps bundled into Scaleform, you find more than a menu making program. You discover a collection that’s capable of converting, deploying and even building games for iOS. The program ships with working game templates as proof of this concept.

Scaleform is built to work alongside Adobe Flash, still the most easy to use IDE for vector game development that there is. Of course, iOS doesn’t support Flash - which is where Scaleform comes in. You develop assets and code in Flash (Scaleform understands ActionScript 4) then convert them using the Scaleform tools.

 

The Scaleform game engine enables developers to add menu and HUD elements, including 2D and 3D elements. There are other tools bundled as part of a comprehensive SDK for testing games, building interfaces, optimising game performance, user character design and video integration.

Don’t let our enthusiasm for the tool cloud the fact that - though simplifying the Flash to iOS workflow - this is not an application for beginners. The best results will be produced by teams of people, small independent units combining objective programmers, designers and game developers. And Scaleform is an intermediary tool - you won’t get far without the necessary programming skills or design apps to create assets.

What it does do is bring a set of tools to market that were previously only available to well known developers. It’s based on toolsets that previously cost studios thousands of dollars to license. This release enables any start-up to more easily develop games for iOS on Macs.

OUR VERDICT

Autodesk Scaleform’s a specialist product, designed for game builders, but at a price that makes investment a no-brainer for most serious start-ups. If you want to check out what it can do, download Starforce Battlement, free, from the iOS App Store. It was built using Scaleform.

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