MOAI SDK (Software Development Kit) is a multi-platform, embeddable 2D game development framework developed by Zipline Games. It is written in C++ and Lua.  The literal meaning of the word Moai is “Statue” in Spanish. It is named after a series of ancient, carved stone statues of human figure in Easter Island, Chile.

Moai platform allows developers to quickly build titles for app platforms (Android, iOS, Chrome, Amazon). Moai apps are developed using Lua that is a quick and easy scripting language. Moai also supports native Mac and Windows clients, which allow developers to test their codes without deploying to a device.

Moai SDK is designed to develop games for smartphones of Android and iOS. From a single code base games can be developed that run on iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android and Google Chrome. The first Public Beta version of the engine was released in July 2011. The first game developed on this engine was Crimson: Steam Pirates. It was Developed by Jordan Wiesman and published by Bungie Aerospace in September 2011. The version 1.0 of engine was released in March 2012 and it was announced by the company that Moai SDK has attracted more than 6,000 developers around the world.

Moai has been contributed to by different professional game developers all around the world. Unlike other Lua-based SDKs, Moai is open-source and free to use game engine, but due to paid Zipline’s Cloud Hosting services, the framework can generate revenues for the company. The cloud hosting services add online capabilities like multiplayer and leaderboards to the open source platform. At the start the engine is completely free even the Moai cloud. But as the traffic of the game grows, user has to switch to the paid option.

The engine is a bit difficult to learn but there are number of tutorials and a book (link given at the end of the article) to get through it. It has been used in number of game genres such as strategy game, physics-based games and minigames for kids. It is licensed under CPAL license.

Other Features

  • Real-world Physics
  • Sandbox
  • Easy to use particle engine
  • Moai Cloud
  • Bullet physics
  • Rander Manager

Games Developed on Moai SDK

Crimson: Steam Pirates
Broken Age
Broken Age
Invisible, Inc.
Invisible, Inc.

Some Other Useful Resources