2012 Archive

My Game Tutorial in .net Magazine (web version). On September 13th, the game tutorial I wrote for the January 2012 issue of .net Magazine was published on their website for all to view (for free).

.net Magazine issue 223

Leaving Corona Labs

Today I’ve decided to go public with my decision to leave Corona Labs Inc. (formerly Ansca Inc.)

It certainly has been a long journey. Two years ago, in the summer of 2010, I decided to get into mobile game development and stumbled upon the Corona SDK by Ansca Mobile.

In the heat of facing potential rejection issues because Apple had not yet made an official decision whether apps created with 3rd party SDK’s were allowed, I reached out to Carlos Icaza (co-founder and then-CEO of Ansca) and he wrote back with a very honest, real, but also hopeful response that I’ll never forget.

At that point it was clear to me that I was doing the right thing by sticking with Corona. Not more than a week later, Apple published its official stance that allowed apps created with 3rd party SDKs, and that only further solidified in my own mind that I made the right choice.

From there, I went on to create quite a few games with Corona, and then went on to create 3rd party libraries, and official libraries for Ansca, and as many of you know, published several tutorials (somewhere around 60) to show people all the different ways to use the SDK.

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CoffeeScript Style Guide. Following style guides helps to keep your code consistent, readable, and organized.

EDIT: The only thing I don’t completely agree with is this:

Use spaces only, with 2 spaces per indentation level.

I personally prefer 4 spaces, and don’t see any inherent benefit to using 2 spaces over 4 (unless you need 2 characters to remain in the 79 characters-per-line guideline). Is there a reason (I’m apparently missing) as to why 2 is better than 4?

UPDATE: I was just informed that most coffee projects use 2 spaces for indentation, so if you plan on adopting CoffeeScript and possibly working with/on other projects, 2 spaces is what you should probably get used to using (and that is probably why the style guide says you should use 2 spaces).

The Self-Employed Trap. Derek Sivers, founder of CD Baby:

There’s a big difference between being self-employed and being a business owner.

Being self-employed feels like freedom until you realize that if you take time off, your business crumbles.

To be a true business owner, make sure you could leave for a year, and when you came back, your business would be doing better than when you left.

Twitter Should Charge Developers. Dusty Reagan:

It feels like Twitter’s general attitude towards API developers has increasingly become one of annoyance. The reason the API has become such a pain to Twitter is because they’re just giving it away.

I like Dusty’s idea, but perhaps Twitter doesn’t see tiered API usage pricing as being lucrative enough for them. After all, there really are only a handful of great, widely-used clients.

Free Computer Science Education. Looks like a great (free) way to get an education in Computer Science (and a number of other fields), if you were otherwise being blocked due—most-likely—to financial constraints.

Saylor.org isn’t an accredited institution, but that doesn’t mean the education you gain from there is useless. Looking at the coursework required for their Computer Science major, it looks to be a very rigorous program and in fact, many of the resources for the individual courses come straight from accredited universities.

On paper, an education from Saylor.org doesn’t hold much weight in contrast to a degree from an accredited institution; however, it certainly holds more weight than nothing. And if you seek education purely for the purpose of gaining knowledge, or supplementing existing knowledge gained from experience and self-education in a specific field, then Saylor.org is perfect.

The App Store Lottery

I often read how developing mobile apps is like playing the lottery, because of the multitudes of apps that are submitted, only a fraction ever get anywhere—the rest are complete and utter flops.

So should you just do yourself a favor and not develop or submit any apps, that is, if you’re an indie developer or part of a small studio? Not exactly.

You see, when you go purely by the numbers, you’re essentially equating apps that were made in a day and make fart noises to ones that had a lot of design, testing, time, and passion put behind them—placing all apps on the same playing field, when clearly they are all not.

What motivated me to write this post is the previously linked article written by James Hague, that pointed out a fact that many of the more pessimistic articles tend to leave out, or fail to emphasize on enough: not all apps are created equally. If you haven’t read the article, you should.

I’m going to touch on three areas that I personally believe that if you put more focus into, you’ll greatly increase your chances of “winning” the so-called app store lottery. I encourage you to research further into the following areas to see how you can apply them to your own games and apps.

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App Store Failure and Personal Responsibility. James Hague on how there is a lot more to app successes and failures than just hit or miss:

Just because you slogged through the massive effort it takes to design and release a product doesn’t have any bearing at all on whether or not anyone actually wants what you made.

(via Marco.org)

App.net Reaches $500k Goal. Congratulations to the app.net team, and best of luck with the new service. I’m very much looking forward to seeing it once it’s live.

"Third-Hand" Languages

J.A. Whye, the creator of Corona Project Manager, posted this tweet last night:

Added MoonScript to Corona Project Manager (mix .lua and .moon files). I need more sample code for testing. Anyone got Moon?

I’ve heard of MoonScript before, and just thought it was just another scripting language out there—but I didn’t see how it fit in with J’s Corona Project Manager product (because you can only use Lua with Corona SDK). I decided to look it up.

MoonScript

As it turns out, MoonScript is a scripting language that looks like a hybrid between Python and Ruby, but compiles into Lua. That means Lua developers can actually program in MoonScript without touching any Lua at all. A “third hand” language, if you will, because scripting languages like Lua are “second-hand” by nature (non-technically speaking, of course).

The cool thing is that since your scripts are compiled, you simply use the resulting Lua scripts as if you wrote them yourself (which you did, but you were able to use MoonScript instead of Lua). So theoretically, anywhere you can use Lua, you can use MoonScript—that’s really cool.

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