Updated Roadmap

SFSF Executive Chef, Member Posts: 35
edited October 2012 in News from the Dev Team
Hey everyone,

We just wrapped up planning with the team and have some details to share around our near-term roadmap. As always, there’s the disclaimer that things may shift around, but we wanted to let you know what we’re working on now and what we plan to release over the coming months.

First off, let me provide a little more background on two major tent pole projects we’ve been working on for a while now:

Native Code Engine– this one’s been a beast of an undertaking, but it’s getting close to a public release. For those unfamiliar with this project, we’re getting rid of our Lua-based engine and replacing it with a new engine that compiles down to native code, dramatically improving performance and load times. We’re targeting to release an initial batch of Ice Cap games running on the native code engine starting this month. We’ll continue to optimize the engine as we add more games and then eventually open it up to a subsection of the Pro community starting in November. If all goes well with the testing, we’re targeting early next year for a public release to our Pro community.

New Mac UI – this involves some changes behind the scenes to how the Mac UI works. We initially designed GameSalad so you could make tweaks to your game logic and see it reflected in real-time in the preview player. To do this, we integrated the Lua engine directly into the Mac Creator UI, which required more time to implement features and debug. The New Mac UI is a Lua-free version that relies on a Core Data-based system, which allows us to take advantage of Apple’s frameworks. As a result, we’ll get access to Apple OS-level features like iCloud saving, Auto-Restore, etc. which proved to be overly complex to incorporate into the old tool. Going forward, we’ll be able to adopt new Apple OS features and iterate on new game features much faster than before. You’ll also notice that the Mac tool will generally feel much faster and more stable.

Both the Native Code Engine and New Mac UI projects create dependencies that affect the prioritization of features we will be releasing. Features that require deep integration with the Mac UI or Apple’s frameworks will come after the launch of the New Mac UI. Features that involve significant engine specification changes will come after the launch of the native code engine. As a result, we will prioritize features that aren’t heavily dependent on the new UI or engine first, and then roll out the dependency-based features as the New Mac UI and Native Code Engine are complete.

Now that you have some context into the dependencies affecting development, let’s move on to the roadmap. We recently conducted a survey to determine the top feature requests from our Pro community and here’s how the Top 10 shook out: 1) better engine performance, 2) universal binaries, 3) custom fonts, 4) polygon collision, 5) bug fixes and polish, 6) joints, 7) social integration, 8) monetization options, 9) snap-to-grid, 10) attribute editing/organizing (folders).

Taking into account the top requests from the Pro community, the relative size of the features, as well as the UI and engine dependencies mentioned previously, here’s the near-term roadmap in approximate order:

Mac Creator

iPhone 5 and iOS 6 Support
Aspect ratio independence
iPad Mini Support
Kindle Fire HD Support
Nook Support
Project Mint*
Universal Binaries
New Mac UI
Playhaven for Android
Auto Saving**
Scene Editor Zooming**
Hot Keys**
Full Screen Mode**
iOS 6 Social Framework**
Monetization options**
iOS 6 GameCenter Support**
Native Code Engine
Android In-App-Purchase
Layers – Locking/Unlocking, Hiding/Showing**
Navigation via Hand Tool**
Attribute Editing/Organizing (Folders) **
Project Hops*
Copy/Paste between Projects**
Tile Painting Tool***
Custom Fonts***
Searchable Tables***
Polygon Collisions***
Asynchronous Multiplayer**

* These projects merit their own post and detailed explanation. I’ll follow up separately to address each one in a new post.
** New Mac UI dependency
*** Native Code Engine dependency

Windows Creator
Alignment Tools
Monetization Options
iOS Publishing Solution
Android In-App-Purchase
Custom Fonts
Searchable Tables

* Note that some of the features listed in the Mac Creator roadmap also apply to Windows Creator.

Web Support

Updated Portfolio Page
Improved Web Publishing Flow
Updated HTML5 Arcade

Windows Store Features
Share Charm
Advanced Live Tile Tools
Custom Snap-to-Scene
In-App Purchase
MS Surface Support

We’re going to do our best to work through all the features as quickly as possible, though we can’t say with certainty when we will be releasing a specific feature. Using the two tent pole projects as relative guidelines, we’re targeting to get the New Mac UI complete by the end of the year and the Native Code Engine released publicly by early next year.

For those of you really itching to get access to the Native Code Engine now, your best bet is to submit your game to Ice Cap Games for publishing consideration (I’ll have a follow up post on the types of games we're interested in publishing). Otherwise, we’ll be gradually rolling out the new engine to Pros over the next few months while we finish testing the engine, and then a full release to the entire Pro community early next year.

I realize that many of you have been waiting a while for some of these features on the roadmap and we’re super excited to finally get these out the door and into your hands!




  • jonmulcahyjonmulcahy Member, Sous Chef, PRO Posts: 10,386
    With windows8 and now this, it's an exciting time to be a GS developer.
  • jamie_cjamie_c ImagineLabs.rocks Member, BASIC Posts: 5,691
    edited October 2012
    Sounds like lots of exciting updates/changes. Can you elaborate on what "project mint" is, I'm aware of that.

  • ChobbifaceChobbiface PRO Posts: 491
    edited October 2012
    With windows8 and now this, it's an exciting time to be a GS developer.

    Cheers for the post SF!

  • Braydon_SFXBraydon_SFX Member, Sous Chef, PRO, Bowlboy Sidekick Posts: 9,037
    edited October 2012
    Awesome! Thanks for taking the time to post this, @SF!

    Just goes to show that GameSalad DOES care, not that I had any doubt!
    Well done guys! I'm a happy GS Camper.

    ...And what's this about iPad Mini support?!
  • vikingviking Member, PRO Posts: 322
  • jamie_cjamie_c ImagineLabs.rocks Member, BASIC Posts: 5,691
  • ChakkuChakku Member Posts: 1,513
    edited October 2012
    First of all, THANKS for the update. Been eagerly waiting for months now.

    My question is which features from the post are Pro-only?

    I specifically mean "We’ll continue to optimize the engine as we add more games and then eventually open it up to a subsection of the Pro community starting in November. If all goes well with the testing, we’re targeting early next year for a public release to our Pro community."

    I think I'm just being paranoid as it wouldn't make much sense for GS to limit the engine itself to Pros only (that would be devastating) as the new engine is needed for many other features, but I do want clarification.

    Which features will be Pro-only?

    PLEASE clarify...@SaladStraightShooter

  • MarkOnTheIronMarkOnTheIron Member Posts: 1,447
    Thanks SF for the great update on the GS schedule.

    iPhone 5 and iOS 6 Support
    Aspect ratio independence
    iPad Mini Support
    Kindle Fire HD Support
    Nook Support
    Universal Binaries
    Since all these features are somewhat related and the next release will surely include iPhone 5 support, could we assume that Universal binaries will be there also? =P~ [-O<

    It's a pity that we will have to wait for Native Code Engine to see custom fonts I really hoped to have them sooner.

  • gyroscopegyroscope I am here.Member, Sous Chef, PRO Posts: 6,577

    Terrific stuff! An exciting product (the Mac GSC) to become even better...

    As for "iPad Mini support"... of course, I'm sure you meant to add... "if it arrives on October 23rd... ;-)

    ""You are in a maze of twisty passages, all alike." - Zork        temp domain http://spidergriffin.wix.com/alphaghostapps

  • pinkio75pinkio75 Member, PRO Posts: 953
  • carlblanchetcarlblanchet Member Posts: 755
    Thanks @SF for the update! This is going to be great! I can't wait! :D
  • wanegroupwanegroup Member, PRO Posts: 84
    Great to see the roadmap! This is probably a dumb question, but I am just starting my first game, and wanted to clarify that we will or won't be able to submit an app to the app store for iOS 6 and the iPhone 5 until the Mac Creator is updated with this feature or is that just for iPhone 5 sizing and special iOS 6 features?

    iOS Apps/Games: Factoids | SkyGunner | TriSideX

  • ChakkuChakku Member Posts: 1,513
    edited October 2012

    Ok I understand...I have 3 quick questions about specific features.

    1. Will the Mac UI be available for everybody (I'm specifically inquiring about snap-to-grid)?

    2. Will Universal Binaries be available for everybody?

    3. Will "Project Mint" and "Project Hops" be available to all?

    I do plan on going Pro if my 1st game goes ok, but would like to know the answers to these questions for the time being.

    Thanks you for your time
  • ChakkuChakku Member Posts: 1,513
    edited October 2012
    Glad to hear we can all get the new UI and all of the iOS features.

    Thanks! @SaladStraightShooter
  • POMPOM Member Posts: 2,599
    Is there any info about icecap?!
    Do we share revenu?

  • RUPASRUPAS Member Posts: 823
    Wooow yes , Asynchronous Multiplayer is fantastic, when release this feature? Good works!!
  • robertkdalerobertkdale USAMember Posts: 912
    I can't wait for joints and searchable tables!

    Big Smile Games Play Happy!
    Check out our other GameSalad exclusives.

  • robertkdalerobertkdale USAMember Posts: 912
    Multiplayer sounds awesome as well!

    Big Smile Games Play Happy!
    Check out our other GameSalad exclusives.

  • RUPASRUPAS Member Posts: 823
    But Facebook integration I need now... :(
  • chaplinchaplin Member Posts: 13

    How do we go about submitting a game to Ice Cap Games for publishing consideration?

    Do we need Ice Caps UDID for provisioning profiles?

    Thank you for your help.
  • FallacyStudiosFallacyStudios Member Posts: 970
    Put me in the "subsection" Pro's that get it before general pro release PLEASE! If you need a reason Steve... we have the same name! That's reason enough right :).

    It all looks good. All I want most is the Lua free engine. Looking forward to it all :)
  • AcceleratedGamesAcceleratedGames Member Posts: 201
    edited October 2012
    Happy to know what's coming next and to know that you are working hard to please your customers.

    Just three quick questions:

    What does Aspect Ratio independence mean?

    Would you be able to support any other new screen size with ASI?

    Is this how you would be able to support a screen size that we don't know the specifications of (iPad mini)?
  • imGuaimGua Member Posts: 1,089
    the Native Code engine will be likely be initially released to Pro users only
    You'r post made this panda sad.

  • DeadlySeriousMediaDeadlySeriousMedia ArizonaMember Posts: 838
    edited October 2012
    Maybe you guys can toss "Custom loading graphic" in there some where. ;)

    But so far, I like were your heads are at. :D
  • ultimaultima Member, PRO Posts: 1,207
    could I sign up to be the first few tester of native engine?
  • PhoticsPhotics Member Posts: 4,172
    edited October 2012
    Improved Web Publishing Flow
    I'm not sure what this means. I've been watching for more professional HTML5 publishing. I'm thinking that's not what is meant here.

    From my "I'm Considering Giving GameSalad Another Shot" thread...
    ...Here's my list of things that I think could help GameSalad.

    1 - Universal Binaries
    2 - AdMob
    3 - HTTP Post/Get
    4 - Professional HTML5 exporting

    So, how did we do?

    1 - Universal Binaries are on the way. That's huge. My best iTunes App was a universal binary. Also, if "Aspect ratio independence" is what I think it is... that could dramatically improve the ability to port games — no black bars on Android apps? So clearly, issue #1 is being resolved.

    2 - "Monetization options" was mentioned. Additionally, I thought it was stated in another thread that some form of AdMob is on the way. It's a shame with what happened to Kiip. I think GameSalad should give developers more freedom to manage their own advertisers.

    3 - It seems that GameSalad is not intended to be an open box. I am tired, so maybe I missed it, but I didn't see any advanced networking features. I did see "Asynchronous Multiplayer" and that might be good enough. Maybe I could make some cool board games with it. I'm not sure of the limits... is it iOS/Mac only or can Android and iOS play together?

    Access to a database would give GameSalad great power. I think that highlights my disappointment with this roadmap. The features are good, but they're not too revolutionary. Although, I'm not sure what "Project Mint" is all about. Overall though, this is an exciting moment for GameSalad.

    4 - I'm not sure if I should get excited about "Project Mint" when I'm still feeling disappointment from "Project Masala". HTML5/web publishing is more interesting to me than trying to battle it out on the various app stores. But unfortunately, I'm not sure how serious GameSalad is about this feature.

    Overall score... 62.5%... that's a failing grade. While Universal Binaries/Aspect Ratio Independence, Monetization Options and Asynchronous Multiplayer is a boon, GameSalad feels limited. It doesn't look like GameSalad is an option for my online arcade, which does limit the usefulness of the software.

    However, there is enough good stuff here that I might release/rerelease some GameSalad apps. It's still months away though. And considering I was planning to attempt a relaunch of The Unofficial GameSalad Textbook this weekend, I don't think I should delay version 2.0 of the book.
    realistically, the Native Code engine will be likely be initially released to Pro users only and for all intents and purposes will likely stay in that realm. This doesn't mean the Free/Basic engine will be deprecated, but it does mean that it will potentially be a perk of those investing in a license for more performance. Given the investment GameSalad is making in this, it does make sense.
    What? That doesn't make sense to me.

    I can see Pro subscribers gaining access to new features first. That seems like a reasonable perk. It might even be a good software testing strategy. However, are Free/Basic users going to produce slower apps — even after the new engine is officially released? If so, that doesn't seem like a good idea to me.
  • dotsonj23dotsonj23 Member Posts: 316
    Fyi.... Asynchronous multiplayer is turn based multiplayer. In other words, it's not simultaneous multiplayer. However, it does have a huge advantage that can be exploited. To play you don't have to be consistently online. Just needs to get online for your "move". Plus, in reality, due to lag time simultaneous multiplayer over anything other than wifi or 4g would suck for the most part.

    @photics: I really do appreciate your comments but as to HTML5 for gaming the standard is simply not even close to ready speed wise. I mean Facebook with all it's resources simply could not get it working fast enough and had to move back to a native app. And Facebook needs nowhere near the speed of a game. Microsoft does look like it is doing some promising things with HTML5, IE10, and multitouch in its new OS. But I bet it's still just going to be too slow in the near future.
  • dotsonj23dotsonj23 Member Posts: 316
    Also theoretically with tables and Asynchronous multiplayer you could do some really cool stuff (depending on how GS implements it). Think of the ability of players being able to build levels of your game and others could play them. Hell, you could even have it so people could rate the levels created, which could earn points for a gamecenter leader board. What a great way to get your customers involved in your game and to spread the word. Heck, players could even tweet when they create a level to be played. Think free and potentially viral advertising. :)
  • okpcokpc Member Posts: 53
    Thanks for the roadmap!
    Could the new Native code engine can open old-gamesalad engine project or not?
  • PatrickTullyPatrickTully Member Posts: 1
    I'd love to go pro but can't get past the Go Pro button. Is it because I'm Australian?
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