Interview de Christian Feldbacher (V-Play)

V-Play is a Qt-based app development framework, we had the chance to interview one of its founder, Christian Feldbacher.

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I. V-Play: its origins, its present, its future

I-A. Where does V-Play start? How did you have the idea of the V-Play game engine?

Back in university. I developed apps for Symbian, and as soon as the first iPhone & Android came out in 2008 I knew this is going to transition the world.

I then started building the first version of V-Play based on Qt, with the goal to make cross-platform development of mobile 2d games easier.

I-B. In a few words, what does V-Play bring to Qt Quick for developers?

There is a lot, you can see the most relevant things on our website.

Plus you get live code reloading, support that is affordable and fast, and a framework that makes Qt usable for mobile.

I-C. Why did you switch V-Play from a game engine to a more generic framework, promoting its use to develop mobile apps?

We've seen many customers using it for developing apps (even though there were no dedicated components/APIs for that), and we ourselves also used it for client app development.

As you might know, V-Play is not only developing the framework, but also develops mobile apps ands games for clients, or helps internal development teams (with or without Qt experience) to get up to speed with Qt and V-Play for mobile.

Generally there is a trend towards custom UI, custom branding and animation-heavy mobile applications. This can be achieved much faster with V-Play than any other app framework thanks to Qt as basis and to all the additional components we provide for mobile app developers.

I-D. Why would you choose Qt and V-Play over another game engine (such as Unity) or another app-development framework?

V-Play's core strengths are for apps that should be cross-platform, with a nice UI and to represent the brand of the company well. The time savings compared to Xamarin or "plain Qt" for example have been tremendous - see our website for a line-of-code comparison between different app frameworks and V-Play.

Customers told us they were seeing up to 80% reduce of development time, thanks to QML as underlying language and all the components we provide.

I-E. Where is V-Play going? What features do you think of implementing in the next few years?

There will be a lot of bigger features coming this year, who have been in development since 2 years. Some of them are:

  • Cloud IDE where you can connect a git repo and fully work on your project in the browser, including a live preview of how your app will look like on the mobile phone and desktop.
  • A cloud build server for building your mobile and desktop projects automatically, and then upload to the app stores. This also exists as solution for companies on-premise, and is available right now for V-Play Enterprise customers.
  • Support to run your V-Play on the web (this is huge!)
  • Native iOS and Android apps can integrate V-Play for new parts of the app seamlessly, which makes the transition from an existing native app to V-Play easier
  • More features in the embedded and IoT areas

There will be a rebranding of V-Play, because the "play" in the name is misleading - app development (and not game development as it was when we started V-Play 8 years ago) is the main focus area in the coming years and the new brand will make this more clear.

II. V-Play and Qt

II-A. Why did you choose Qt and Qt Quick?

Qt has a good tooling (IDE, debugger, visual designer, code completion, etc.) and handles a lot of the low-level functionality well cross-platform. QML is the best language I've ever seen for rapid development, with the huge benefit of being backed internally by C++ and having superior performance to "plain Javascript" languages and frameworks.

However, Qt falls short for mobile app development and game development, as these areas are not the focus of the Qt company. So there is a gap between a great underlying technology and APIs to make app and game development fast and efficient. V-Play fills this gap.

II-B. Do you regret this choice, especially for game development (where Qt is not the most used framework)?

No, absolutely not. Image non disponible

Qt is a great basis to be working on, and it gets improved continuously as well, and has a big community around it.

II-C. What do you think of Qt 3D? Is it any threat to V-Play? Or is it rather an opportunity?

It is a huge opportunity! We have been developing an AR plugin for example that uses 3D technology, and allow live-code-reloading of 3D code on the mobile phone which puts the development speed to a new level. We'll continue investing in Qt 3D in the future.

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Copyright © 2018 Christian Feldbacher. Aucune reproduction, même partielle, ne peut être faite de ce site ni de l'ensemble de son contenu : textes, documents, images, etc. sans l'autorisation expresse de l'auteur. Sinon vous encourez selon la loi jusqu'à trois ans de prison et jusqu'à 300 000 € de dommages et intérêts.