Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Corona SDK

After watching this movie it was clear to me; I am going to develop a game !
If game development is really as simple as this video is, I will do it.

The next step was to understand more details about
pricing, licencing and conditions.
So far It is the first time I considered paying money for a framework.

What I like about Corona SDK?

They have an emulator!
I can amend the code, save the file, and reload the emulator to see the effect (not very far from editing HTML and refreshing the browser to see the
immediate effect).
The emulator runs on both Windows and OSX, but iOS builds needs to be
made on a mac. This is great news for me, as I prefer to work on my Windows machine
(and will use a mac for iOS builds).

Multi platform support (currently iOS and android which is the main two ones I currently
care about)
Corona SDK gives an easy way to port the same lines of code to both iOS and Android !

I have never heard about Lua script before. The syntax of Lua and Corona SDK API
seems to be very clear and readable. Without knowing too much I could read some code
examples and to understand them.
The API features and methods looks great and the physics engine seems to be powerful
and easy to use.
Learning curves does not seems to be high.

With any abstraction layer there is always the trade off between simplicity and
You get a simple way to code but you pay the price with lower performances and less
flexible code (you will always have the dependency on how many features the abstraction
layer will give you, and how well it is implementing them).
In general, Lua script (after spent some time googling) seems to have good
Corona SDK works on top of openGL and openAL and some of the code samples can
demonstrate how good the performances are.
So the button line, it seems like the trade off is fair with corona SDK.

Good support for different screen sizes / proportions / resolutions
One of the points I was worry about (regardless what the develomet tools are) is how
to support different screens. With android it could be very hard as there are too many
flavours out there. Corona SDK has some solutions to solve the issue.

Lifetime trail version
You can try and play with it as long as you like.

What my concerns are with corona SDK  (and frameworks in general):
As I do not have experience with corona, I cannot give specific points yet, but I do have some general concerns.
  • Using a development framework will throw some obvious dependencies. You are always limited to the framework abilities. If Apple will come up tomorrow with a new API it will take time until the framework will follow (if they will). So you are always one step backward compare to a 'native' developer.
  • What if the framework will die tomorrow ? You will have to take the risk, hoping the framework has a good business plan, and they are going to stay here for a while.
  • Limited amount of knowledge, code examples, and forum members. I don't know how good the Corona SDK comunity is, and how good the support is.
    Let's say you have found a bug in your game, but the bug is not very urgent to Corona's guys. What will you do then ?
Again, all the above is true for any framework.

I am going to try Corona SDK.
Will try to build a very simple game to see how it goes.

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