TinyCo Has a Cross-Platform Development Trick up Its Sleeve: The Griffin Engine

When I wrote about Tiny Village, a prehistoric city building game from Andreessen Horowitz-backed TinyCo a few weeks ago, the game’s producers briefly mentioned something they had built that would allow them to quickly deploy the game to both Android and iOS.

When I asked for more, they got a little cagey about it. But now it looks like the San Francisco-based developer is being more public about its underlying technology.

TinyCo says it has built a mobile-social gaming engine called Griffin, that allows them to ship games simultaneously to Android and iOS without requiring double the engineering staff.

Based on C++, it took more than six months to build. It supports feature and content parity for Android and iOS and automatically adjusts to different screen sizes and resolutions.

In going public about the gaming engine, TinyCo is positioning itself to license Griffin out to partners, which might lay the groundwork for an additional revenue stream beyond first-party games.

Of course, many companies have made this “Write Once, Run Anywhere” promise including Appcelerator, Corona, Sibblingz and Phonegap, whose maker was acquired by Adobe. Then, of course, there’s Facebook, which is trying to nudge developers toward HTML5. Perhaps the most notable example of a game developer simultaneously offering cross-platform technology is DeNA’s ngmoco:) which built ngCore, a framework that it says lets developers write a game in JavaScript and then publish it to multiple platforms.

We haven’t seen any single solution take a distant lead over technologies from other companies, however. Since TinyCo is just publicly announcing this now, we’ll take a closer look at it in the coming weeks. TinyCo has $18 million in funding from Andreessen Horowitz.