We announced Yoku’s Island Express on multiple platforms the other day. I’m kind of excited that we can talk specific platforms for the game, and I wanted to say a little bit about what that means for us. For Yoku, we use a proprietary engine, which is built on top of the engine I used for Colors!. I’ve named it “The Underware Engine”. Unlike most 3rd party engines (Unity, Unreal etc.), that have already done the majority of the work required for it to run on each platform, we need to do the nitty-gritty ourselves. Good thing I like programming just as much as I like game-design!
We have been focusing our development on PC, but when we got the chance to show the game at GDC in Microsoft’s booth, we quickly had the get the Xbox One build up and running. For that, I chose to go down the path of UWP (Universal Windows Platform), which have the up-side of being able to run in Windows 10, and Xbox One with the same build (yeah, and something called Windows Mobile as well). It kind of worked, but UWP on Xbox One is still pretty early, so I encountered a bunch of problems that I didn’t expect. Hopefully this will be fixed going forward, and I had the chance to sit down with a Microsoft engineer during GDC to discuss these issues, which was very encouraging.
The game was also announced for PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. We have just started working on those platforms, but from what I can tell, there shouldn’t be any major issues. This is my first stab with working at the current generation of consoles, and boy is everything much easier than it used to be. Everyone seem to be doing a much better job of providing good tools for their platforms. I was also pleasantly surprised that developer registration is much less of a headache – no more having to prove that your office has a lockable door where you can store your dev-kits. It probably helped that we had some nice-looking game-footage of our game to attach, since submitting a request for developer access on these platforms was pretty much the only thing required to get the ball rolling. This was NOT the case a few years back. I guess all platform holders are very eager to support indie-developers and help them put games on their platforms, which means less time for bureaucracy and more time for actual game-development!
Microsoft developer registration: http://www.xbox.com/en-US/developers/id
Nintendo developer registration: https://developer.nintendo.com/
Sony developer registration: https://www.playstation.com/en-us/develop/
Steam developer registration: https://partner.steamgames.com/