Michael Carter and his team at Weeby.co want to break mobile games out of Apple’s App Store and move them into the cloud.
In their office on Mountain View’s Castro Street, the team at Weeby.co is building the first cloud-based mobile game development suite. Their new suite combines a cloud-based Integrated Development Environment with integrated game engines for physics and visualization. Along with that, Weeby.co also seamlessly integrates games with social networks and competitive play.
Weeby.co wants to shorten the long process associated with developing apps for mobile devices. Instead of going through the tedious iOS development process and waiting for Apple to approve an app submitted to the store, developers can deploy and share games built in HTML5 as they are built. Much of this, Carter explained, is because HTML5 games today can be built with the same capabilities and features that were once restricted to native apps.
“Your phone is actually a development environment,” said Carter. “You can actually build native iOS apps while running on iOS, or Android apps on an iOS device. Imagine you have two phones, one is your dev [elopement] phone, and another can be your debug phone.”
Ernestine Fu, partner at Alsop Louie Ventures and an advisor to the company, explained that the ability to develop entirely on the cloud will give users a whole new set of powers.
“The Weeby.co team is building the future for all mobile apps and games,” Fu said. “I can’t think of any other system that lets you set breakpoints over LTE, with no configuration or provisioning.”
Each game engine supported by Weeby.co comes with a custom set of libraries meant for the Weeby.co platform. By keeping their entire system in the cloud, the company cuts down significantly on development time, taking 5 times less time than development in XCode.
Users currently have the option to download their HTML5 games, or instantly build them as native smartphone apps. However, if they so choose, Weeby.co will host games on their Amazon Web Services’ Simple Storage Service account for free and send developers a hyperlink to where the game is hosted.
Long-term, though, the company’s goals are far more than just building a game development environment. Carter wants to be a game publisher as well, working with ‘alternative’ app stores based inside web browsers embedded inside apps like WeChat.
“We’re sort of like Adobe plus Steam,” said Carter. “We want to build the very best tools that make apps and games everywhere, and we have one right now which is faster and better than XCode and our other competitors.”
While the company intends to let anyone use the development environment, Weeby.co will treat content publication on their partner app stores as a premium service.
“Right now, we’re intending to allow anyone to use the game developing IDE, but the professional side is the [publication] service,” said Carter.
As grand as their current vision is, the company’s vision for the future is even larger.
“We have this vision of the future, where we want to facilitate the next generation of children learning to code,” said Michael.
The inspiration for this came from MIT’s Media Lab, which develops a visual programming language for children called Scratch, and allows children to make a copy of a game and start independent development on it, making their own modifications.
Whether or not Weeby.co will be able to take the reins of development out of the hands of XCode and Apple remains to be seen. If the technology works as seamlessly as it did in the demo, the future will definitely be bright for the company.