Share your thoughts on the new Moai White Paper

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Share your thoughts on the new Moai White Paper

Postby mikea » Tue Jun 12, 2012 6:48 pm

We wrote this white paper because we're getting asked more and more often for a technical overview that can be sent to engineering leaders.

Take a look, and tell us what you think. How could we make this more clear? Is the reason you've chosen to build games with Moai left out of this doc?

Thanks!
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Re: Share your thoughts on the new Moai White Paper

Postby ibisum » Wed Jun 13, 2012 1:18 am

My thoughts, a bit negative/critical:

Too much emphasis on the MOAI Cloud, and not enough real details about the MOAI SDK, how it works, and how it delivers cross-platform, high-performance application development. There are not enough details about the SDK - its features, its benefits, how it can be used to deliver cross-platform apps, physics, layer management, resources, and so on - and too many details up front about the Cloud, which in many ways isn't really relevant to a newcomer until long after a developer gets through the SDK and uses it to build something. Okay, the Cloud can be used independently of the SDK - then why not do two White Papers instead of one?

Actually, I was a bit disappointed in how little detail is given about the SDK engine and the way it works. Barely any mention of physics? A page (or actually, two paragraphs) of details about the SDK, and everything else is about the Cloud. Hmm.. Something seems out of order here.

In that sense, it is sort of a puff piece, not really technically interesting - I wouldn't call it a White Paper, but more of a Sales Brochure for the MOAI Cloud services and in that sense it does pretty well.

But new MOAI users want to know, first and foremost, about how the SDK is going to work for them to build their applications - MOAI Cloud is definitely not in the scope for that stage of things (i.e. "I don't care about the Cloud features until I've actually got an app worth Cloud'ify'ing").

So my tip would be to describe the SDK first, perhaps separately, describe its power and capabilities, describe the technical basis for the design of its architecture, and then follow through with details about the Cloud as the next step.

Maybe the Cloud is how Zipline is going to profit from the MOAI eco-system, but its not interesting to developers to put emphasis on Cloud features until they get past the technical aspects of the MOAI host SDK and how to use it, and .. more importantly .. *why* to use it.

"Why to Use It" isn't really described in this sales brochure.

I don't want to come off too harsh - its really good that you're doing this - but I think you want this kind of feedback, so ..
;
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Re: Share your thoughts on the new Moai White Paper

Postby rhoster » Wed Jun 13, 2012 10:33 am

I agree with ibisum on most of the points made, but do think that you have the SDK stuff in there - just the order switched. You mention that MOAI is made up of two key technologies: MOAI SDK and MOAI Cloud, but you talk about the Cloud first. I get this is where the business model is, but it doesn't make much sense to a potential developer.

I would recommend putting more emphasis on the cross-platform, single codebase app functionality and make it less about games. If MOAI could break into the app market as a general purpose tool for cross-platform development, you wouldn't have to worry about whether or not people would you use the Cloud. You'd only have to create incentives for them to use the Cloud, like cool features that are easily integrated into an app built using the MOAI SDK.

While games are one application, most every app needs animation, input control, and other core components of MOAI. I've actually abstracted out our game and app logic entirely in case I want to use the AppEngine to run some other products (maybe non-game related) in the future.
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Re: Share your thoughts on the new Moai White Paper

Postby todd » Wed Jun 13, 2012 12:31 pm

Thanks guys - good feedback. We do emphasize Moai Cloud for the reasons noted. Most of the larger studios are definitely looking for cloud solutions, but some of them have their own client frameworks and engines, hence the order in the document.

We don't emphasize general app development over games, since games are our DNA, but also because general cross platform mobile development is a crowded market with well funded commercial competitors. In general, the business model of selling tools like a cross platform SDK is tough to turn into a successful business. One of the many reasons Moai SDK is open source is that we consciously decided that we didn't want to compete in the commercial cross platform market. But we could do a better job of describing exactly why the SDK is attractive...
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Re: Share your thoughts on the new Moai White Paper

Postby ibisum » Wed Jun 13, 2012 12:53 pm

You could add "Independent and Small Game Developers" to your target market, and general mindset, right along the big-boy studios. If you guys get the deals you want, no doubt there will be an opportunity for you to either cater to, or ignore completely, the lower echelons of the developer market.

I'm finding MOAI to be a very powerful tool. If its going to morph into a service, that makes it less attractive to me as a small, independent developer, but obviously for the bigger game studios, it makes more sense to purchase a populated MOAI Cloud Service in any so-called strategic acquisitions. So I can see your reasoning.

I just hope the independent users in the MOAI scene are not going to be mostly-commercial shops. It sure would be fun to see MOAI hit Ludum Dare and so on, for example .. who will have the first MOAI app in a Humble Indy Bundle, etc.
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Re: Share your thoughts on the new Moai White Paper

Postby rhoster » Wed Jun 13, 2012 1:25 pm

Thanks for the clarification Todd. That makes sense and I'm fairly new the mobile scene and am not well versed in the existing commercial solutions.

ibisum - I don't see MOAI as going anywhere when it comes to being a tool. You don't have to use the Cloud service, or can even integrate into another service if you so choose (and have the development funding to support). I actually hope for exactly the opposite when it comes to commercial shops. I want to see lots of commercial MOAI studios, big and small. I'm a developer, but a businessman first; I absolutely plan on commercializing the product we're working on and am also in the process of writing an introductory MOAI book to assist in jumpstarting someone with the framework (I'll be selling this on Amazon, etc.).

I know that people are somewhat allergic to paying for stuff on the internet, but I personally don't have a problem shelling over $1-60 for some quality content - whether that's a game, app, or book. I believe the combination of large studios (contributing meaningful financial resources to patching and extending functionality) and smaller independent studios (taking advantage of the framework and occasionally patching when they can) will be the key to a successful community. Just my personal opinion though :)
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Re: Share your thoughts on the new Moai White Paper

Postby ibisum » Thu Jun 14, 2012 1:01 am

Oh, I agree with you that we should have MOAI out there in large and small environments, no matter what. I only hope that the core MOAI dev team remembers to treat its smaller customers with a degree of interest. We're maybe not going to launch a million-dollar buyout, but we may very well push MOAI into the field with our efforts, in big ways, also.
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Re: Share your thoughts on the new Moai White Paper

Postby todd » Thu Jun 14, 2012 12:23 pm

Absolutely - we do want to support our smaller developers as well. Todays small developer is tomorrows Rovio or Halfbrick!

Yes, we would love to see Moai in Ludum Dare. Good idea!
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