Idea: Use Corona's Simulator for Internal Tools

Until Corona SDK includes support for native desktop apps, something you might consider is creating “simulator apps” to serve as internal software tools for your Corona projects.

For example, for our next game, I created a simple tile-engine and each of the levels will be read from an external map file in a format that I created specifically for this upcoming game.

It would be very tedious, frustrating, and counterproductive for me to construct these map files in a text editor without actually being able to see the different tiles and objects being placed on the map, shown as they would be in the actual game.

The solution? I spent about an hour creating a map editor that would run in Corona’s simulator (iPad), which would allow me to visually design the levels of my game. I also implemented a “Save” button that would output the map files into the project’s “Sandbox” folder (within the Corona simulator, go to File > Show Project Sandbox) using the same format I created for my game.

I also included the ability to load a map file that’s already in the Sandbox folder if needed. When I’m finished creating/editing the map, I simply drag the map files into my game’s project folder, rename the files, and I then have a playable map! Now, the process of creating maps is fun, and not nearly as frustrating as it would be to manually hard-code the maps into a plain text file!

And this isn’t just something I plan on doing. I have done it, and it works great. I just can’t wait for Corona to officially support desktop publishing, so I can include “Save As…” dialog boxes and other things that just aren’t possible while being trapped in the project’’s sandbox.

What kind of internal simulator-only software could you write to help yourself out with YOUR projects?

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