Showing all entries for: September 2010

Another Shot at In-App Purchase + Corona Alternative. Apparently, the solution I suggested previously doesn’t comply with section 11.2 of Apple’s guidelines.

My new idea is based on studying what the Kindle for iPhone app does.

On Implementing In-App Purchase Using the Corona SDK

Anyone who’s been here before knows that I’m a huge Corona SDK fan, and that it’s the development tool I use to program our iOS (and in the future, Android) games, however, there is one important iOS feature that it doesn’t yet support: In-App Purchases.

It is currently on their roadmap, but there’s really no way of knowing when it will be implemented and I don’t want to just sit here and wait for that to happen.

After implementing Facebook Friend Leaderboards successfully using Corona, I started wondering if I could incorporate some kind of in-app purchase solution as an alternative to Apple’s offering, using my own server for delivery (much like I did with the Facebook leaderboards).

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe it’s completely compliant with Apple’s terms if you use UIWebView to conduct your in-app transactions. In Corona, the UIWebView is also known as “Web Popups”.

So after some research, I decided, while I’m waiting for Corona to implement Apple’s in-app purchasing, I’ll simply open up a Web Popup, use PayPal Mobile Checkout (or PayPal Mobile Express Checkout for quicker transactions) to conduct the transaction and then have the app communicate with the server to find out what premium content to “unlock”.

If you’re a PHP/MySQL developer, I highly recommend using the highly affordable Kodingen for a reliable cloud-based solution to host your scripts (that will communicate with your app).

While it won’t be as good as Apple’s one-click checkout option, PayPal is very widespread, easy to use, and it’ll be better than not being able to have any kind of in-app purchases until Corona catches up. Another good thing is that payment is instant with PayPal, so at least there is at least one upside while I’m waiting for the real in-app purchasing to be available in the Corona SDK.

With that said, expect some “in-app purchase” content in some of our coming games (maybe not the next few, but soon after that). If I’m lucky, Corona will support in-app purchases before I’m ready to implement them.

Last night, I stayed up very late working on Corona + Facebook API code to create a friends Leaderboard (score board) and… it was a complete success! Biffy and I are both very excited about it.

If you’re unsure what I’m talking about, think of Doodle Jump and Bejeweled Blitz friends scoreboards. They find the friends from your Facebook profile who are also on the game, and create a custom leaderboard of you and your friends (to see where you rank among them).

I’ve actually pulled Dungeon Tap from the review queue to add in the new Facebook friends scoreboard as well as add in some features that will help make the game really amazing. Biffy, of course, is helping me with her outstanding graphics work :-)

In other news, my order came in from Best Skins Ever (front, clear screen protector for my iTouch 4). It was a breeze to apply, and it looks fantastic. After it fully dried, there was no screen distortion of the amazing retina display, and it fits perfectly on the device, despite it being so new.

More to come regarding Dungeon Tap and updates to Dragon’s Keep and Doodle Dash!, so stay tuned.

Concept: Facebook Friends Leaderboard With Corona

Biffy pushed me to find a way to incorporate some kind of “friends leaderboard” into our games, where players would only enter their Facebook information and are able to see their scores compared with their friends WITHOUT having to leave the game interface and go into OpenFeint.

OpenFeint allows you to incorporate their system into your game, but with Corona, that’s pretty much impossible because you don’t have access to the OpenFeint SDK.

I suspected it would be possible to accomplish a “friends leaderboard” using the Facebook API, but lack of documentation on how to do that with Corona had me feeling pretty insecure about the feat.

But like I said, Biffy pushed me to dig deeper, and I’m very glad she did. I thought it through in my head, after looking through the Facebook API and doing some tests using Mobile Safari on the iPhone Simulator, and I think I’ve figured out a way to accomplish a “friends” leaderboard similar to what you see in Doodle Jump and Bejeweled Blitz (but more closer to what you see in Doodle Jump).

As far as global stats, we’re still going with OpenFeint for that because (1) they handle that much better (2) it will decrease bandwidth usage on our web server, and (3) there are a lot of people who use and appreciate OpenFeint support within games.

Our main static website is hosted by Google App Engine, which provides a great service but unfortunately, I’m not a Python developer and don’t really have the time to learn it. With that said, I went searching and found a service that is similar to GAE, but supports PHP.

It’s called Kodingen.

Like GAE, it starts off free, but only for 1gb of transfer per month. With the way I plan on setting up this Facebook leaderboard system, it’s going to take a HUGE amount of users to exceed that. And when I do exceed 1gb per month, it’ll only be a few dollars per month (seriously) to double or triple the bandwidth limits.

The Kodingen service is very new and still in beta, but looks very promising.

Once I get the Facebook leaderboard system working with Corona (hint: I plan on using web popups and PHP + MySQL), I’ll explain how I did it, so stay tuned!

Positive Review of Doodle Dash! on Appolicious.

A very positive review of Doodle Dash! I just scraped up. It’s obviously covering the latest version (1.3), but all screenshots are from the dated, GameSalad-made version 1.0. Oh well. At least he had lots of good things to say about it :-)

The fact that Appolicious is owned by Yahoo! makes me feel good that a review of one of our games was posted there though.

In the process of drafting up a press release for Dungeon Tap.

Great Article on Indie Game Development. My favorite part of the article, at the very end:

Create a portfolio of products. Any financial planner will tell you to create multiple streams of income. This industry is no different. Unless you are really lucky, one game will not bring you enough revenue to live. However, in a world with unlimited shelf space and a nearly unlimited customer base, your game can sell for a long time. Think about it, the number of shipped games compared to the potential number of players always rounds to zero. In effect, your game never ships! Marble Blast sells as many units today as it did the second month it shipped (we actually had a ship-in spike in sales), and that is without an update in a couple of years.

You need to keep ‘em coming. Every game brings you more opportunity, your company brand grows, your niche audience grows. Then, suddenly, you are making enough money that you are doing this full time. It IS your day job, and nobody can take it away from you. You own your IP, you own your code, you have a tight connection with your audience, and you can’t wait to go to work every single day. In fact, there is no such thing as a “day off” because this is what you do. It is you. And it feels good.

I believe Biffy and I are doing just that. We’re focusing our creativity, and keeping the games coming—we’re both bursting with ideas. I’m also devising different ways to market each of our titles behind the scenes, so things are definitely looking up for Beebe Games.

Bronson Lane, a reviewer from AppTapper.org, contacted me asking to do a preview/review of Dungeon Tap.

Of course, I agreed, and then sent him an Ad Hoc build so he can test it out. He said the preview should be up either tonight or sometime tomorrow. I can’t wait to see what he has to say.

In case you didn’t know, Dungeon Tap is currently Waiting for Review (2 days). All of our previous games and updates have all taken anywhere from 7-9 days to get approved, so I’m expecting that same timeframe with Dungeon Tap.

More Corona SDK Suggestions

In my recent review of the Corona SDK, I expressed my features “wishlist”, or some things I hope to be added in the near future. Well, since then, I’ve thought of a few more:

  • In app purchases - This is HUGE, in my opinion. In fact, I’m surprised I forgot to include it in the review.

  • iSimulate or some other kind of accelerometer testing from the computer. At first, this was a suggestion to reduce the amount of device builds during development, but now I’m seeing it as essential to be able to make high quality in-game videos.

  • Update OpenFeint to the latest version so we can take advantage of their Game Center features and multiplayer.

Those are my top 3 for right now.

Unprofessional or not, I’ve decided, we need video. Therefore, I’m going the “home video” route until we can find a good way to record games directly from the iTouch screen. So far the only thing I’ve come across doesn’t allow for high enough frame rates to capture in-game footage.

I’m importing the video I took into iMovie now, gonna see what I can do with it.

So far no comments on the new Dungeon Tap screenshots. Personally, I don’t think the stills do it justice. I really want to be able to record a video from the actual device, not video-cam-of the device, I think that looks really unprofessional.

I think there should be a way to do so without the need to jailbreak.

Great Explanation of iOS 4 Multi-Tasking. I was wondering how exactly this worked. People were claiming it was inferior, but I didn’t exactly know why. Apparently, it’s not inferior at all :-)

Robot Unicorn Attack Going Heavy Metal. One of mine and Biffy’s favorites… getting a cool sequel with an awesome soundtrack.

New Game: Dungeon Tap

Dungeon Tap

The new game is called Dungeon Tap. More information and screenshots here.

I just got the final touches completed with Dungeon Tap. I plan on submitting it for review very soon and then spending the next few days bug catching.

Sales for Doodle Dash! are surprisingly steady, so that’s good.

After releasing this next game, we will update our other games to include a “more games” section as well as update the app icons and other graphics for this amazing new retina screen.

Posting this from my new iPod Touch 4 … I’ve never seen a display so clear, it’s amazing. I can’t wait to update all of our games graphics.

In other news, I got A LOT done with the new game today, and got more to do tonight.

Made a lot of progress on the new game between yesterday and this morning. I can’t wait to get it finished and submitted so I can start sharing screenshots and more info about it.

According to an Ansca staff member, the new version of Game Edition is most likely due within a few weeks. I’m pretty impatient so that sounds like a long time to me, but I’ll definitely be happy when it gets here. Looks like this next game is going to have to be submitted with this version.

Oh, and I tried to buy an iPod Touch 4G yesterday and literally everywhere was sold out. That was between a Fry’s electronics, FIVE Best Buys, and an Apple Store. Apple told me they get shipments everyday except Sunday, and to check back today so I’m calling them up at noon.

Keeping my fingers crossed. After all that, I’m starting to think, was this down economy stuff just made up???

Corona SDK Goes Final Today & Pricing Announced:

Today, we remove the alpha and beta version numbers and bring you the new, cross-platform Corona SDK and a Corona Game Edition pre-release to the public!

Final pricing: $249/year for Standard, and $349/year for Game Edtion—extremely generous pricing for all that you get. As a whole, Corona is easier to use, does more, performs better, and even costs less than most everything else!

Doodle Dash! also got a mention from them in that post so once again, thanks Ansca!

Today was really the release of the standard SDK and the announcement of final pricing. Game Edition’s pre-release version is still yet to be released (it’s not going “final” just yet), but I can’t wait to see what’s new with the next version! I’m keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that it’ll be released very, very soon.

Ansca Training Event on Saturday:

This week, not only are we launching new versions of Corona, but we’re also showing you how to use them!

On Saturday, September 18, we’ll be leading a “Beginning iPhone/iPad App Development with Corona” workshop at Northwestern Polytechnic University in Fremont.

This is what I was talking about when I said the Ansca staff are very “proactive”. Corona’s easier to use than almost every other iPhone SDK (and performs better than most) yet they seem to be one of the only ones holding training events as well.

On a side note, can’t wait to see what the “new versions of Corona” will have in store for us.

Corona SDK Review

Since I’ve been using the Corona SDK (quite extensively, as you’ll find out) since the end of July (27th), I feel as though I’m pretty qualified to write a full review of the software. But first, there’s a few things I should disclose before I continue:

  • I’m not an Objective-C developer. Although I have some experience in C++, I come from mostly a web-development background (scripting languages, mostly PHP) so I’m a little biased as Corona obviously allows me to develop iPhone apps without the need to learn Objective-C (from what I’ve seen, it’s a pretty tall mountain to climb).

  • With an exception of a little game programming experience, I’ve never really considered myself a desktop app (or mobile app) developer (until now that is).

  • Links within this review are non-affiliated. Meaning, I don’t get a commission for promoting the Corona SDK or sending traffic to the Ansca website.

And a few other things to consider when it comes to my experience with Corona (I’ve been using it for about a month and a half now):

  • I’ve published two games (live in AppStore) using the Corona SDK (that should tell you a lot about it already).

  • Both of those games were originally created (I guess you could say they were ‘prototyped’) using GameSalad (that was before discovering Corona—more info on that later).

  • My wife played a huge role in designing the games and did ALL of the graphics for one of those titles, but on the programming side of things, Corona is what I used. So although working with a partner shortened development time overall, you can still see how Corona saved me a lot of time with the programming (usually the really time-consuming part).

  • At the time of this writing, the Corona SDK was made for iOS and Android development, but I’ve only tested the iOS side of the framework, so keep that in mind throughout this review.

  • I used the Game Edition Alpha/Beta during the course of developing the games, but since GE has all the features of the standard edition, this review will cover both.

  • At the time of this writing, both the Corona SDK Standard and Game Edition are in Beta, so this review won’t cover discrepancies related to beta-level software. But on a side-note, the software is very usable despite that.

Corona SDK Overview

On the official Corona SDK page, one of the first statements you’ll see is:

Create mobile games and apps incredibly fast in our framework. Whether you’re a game developer, web guru, student, or professional, Corona’s elegance and power unlocks your creativity. Publish your apps in seconds to the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, and Android.

So in a nutshell, the Corona SDK is a framework (made by Ansca Mobile) that allows you to develop iOS and Android apps/games much faster than you would be able to if you were to go the “default” route (Objective-C and Java).

How does it do this? In short, by allowing you to use a relatively simple, easy-to-learn scripting language called Lua.

What Corona is NOT:

  • An integrated development environment (think: Visual Basic, Delphi, etc. aka “IDE”). Will Ansca add this in the future? I don’t know, but as of right now it doesn’t have one.

  • A set of files that make up a framework for you to import into your Xcode project (e.g. cocos2D). You need to have Xcode installed to use Corona, but you never have to open it up to create an app (and as of September 9, 2010, that’s—without a doubt—perfectly fine).

So then, how does it work?

To put things simply: you use your text-editor of choice to write Lua scripts, place all your project files (scripts, images, and other resources) into a folder, and then simply “Open” that folder with the included Corona Simulator (a Mac OS X app) to either test your app or build it for the device. The process is the same for both iOS and Android apps.

The Review

Before discovering Corona, I never heard of Lua. Apparently it’s pretty popular and widespread, so I don’t know, maybe I’ve been under a rock for a while, but in either case, I was brand new to the language when I originally started the 30-Day trial offer for the SDK.

I was fed up with GameSalad (GS) upon discovering Corona, and was already mentally prepared to break down and climb the Objective-C mountain, so my challenge was this:

“Learn Corona and port a good portion of my existing GS game (Doodle Dash!) before the 30-day trial is over, otherwise, you’re learning Objective-C and moving forward with something like cocos2d.”

Like I said, I was just about ready to learn Objective-C, so I didn’t really have the patience to dive into something that might potentially be as limiting as GS and then end up having to go the Objective-C route anyway, so needless to say, my initial expectations for Corona were very high.

The outcome: After 8 days spent learning Lua and putting what I learned into practice by porting over my existing game, I had just about the whole thing completed (with updated graphics and even more features than the original, and WAY better performance). By the 7th of August, I purchased a Corona SDK license, built for distribution and sent the app in for review (which was approved the first-time around).

I learned how to program in Lua and use it with the Corona framework by looking at the included examples, the samples you can download from the official website (Samurai Kitchen, which is a simple-but-complete game example, was a huge help), as well as keeping a browser tab with the API Reference opened at all times.

Although there were a few moments of mild-to-moderate frustration, overall the learning process went very smooth. In fact, it was the fastest I’d ever picked up a new programming language. However, I attribute a lot of that to my existing experience with PHP, Visual Basic, and C++. It undoubtedly would have taken me much longer to learn if I was new to programming altogether.

After submitting Doodle Dash!, we went on to create Dragon’s Keep (which also got approved the first time around), and we are now working on our 3rd Corona-made title which is turning out really great so far (and was not prototyped with GS at all).

And for the record, Doodle Dash! has been downloaded 166,709 times according to iTunes Connect :-) (as of 13th of September) — so that should say something about the level of quality that is possible with Corona, considering Doodle Dash! has only been live for less than a couple of months, and Dragon’s Keep has done relatively well with basically no promotional effort as of yet.

Corona SDK Pros

So throughout my “journey”, the most notable advantages to using the Corona SDK include:

  • Extremely fast development time. Their website says it, and it isn’t a bunch of subjective marketing hype—it’s actually true. If you were to develop iOS apps using Objective-C vs. Corona, your development time would be MUCH higher… and much more frustrating I’d assume (no matter how experienced you are in Objective-C).

  • Lua is easy to learn, and even easier when combined with the Corona framework. This is especially true if you have ANY programming experience. If not, it’s still recommended for a first-time language as well. You can do in ONE line of human-readable code with Corona+Lua that would take more than several lines of code to do with Objective-C.

  • No need to learn Objective-C. You need to download and install the iPhone SDK (free), but you never even have to open Xcode (except when dealing with provisioning profiles, which can be done with the iPhone Configuration Utility so technically, you can use Corona without ever having to open up Xcode).

  • No crazy Xcode projects to manage. Between building the viewer app with GameSalad, and being walked through a few cocos2D tutorials, I know first-hand that managing an Xcode project can be a very involved, and somewhat confusing process. With Corona, your projects are literally text files (Lua scripts) that are placed in a folder—it doesn’t get much simpler than that.

  • In the Game Edition, the Box2D physics engine is very well implemented (even in Game Edition’s beta stage of development), and easy to incorporate into your project.

  • Performance is awesome. As long as you manage your objects well (something that depends on the developer, not Corona), Corona performs extremely well. My games run fine at 30 FPS, but the max can be shifted to 60 FPS (which my projects haven’t called for yet, but in my testing also performed very smoothly). Graphics are 100% OpenGL.

  • No attribution required. Unlike GS (per September 13th, 2010), Corona doesn’t require any attribution within your game (not in the splash screen, credits, nowhere). You’ll see the Ansca logo in Beebe Games credits screens, but that’s only because we choose to have it there, not because we’re required to. Your subscription fee is the only thing they ask for, which is…

  • Very affordable in comparison with other non-Objective-C iOS app development options. On the 15th of this month, the Standard Edition will cost $249/year. The final Game Edition price is yet to be announced, but will obviously cost more because it includes all the standard features. Also note that the yearly membership only affects new apps you create using Corona. Any existing apps already created are yours to keep and distribute despite your membership status (you just can’t submit updates or create new apps with Corona unless you have an active subscription).

  • Although not as flexible as creating apps using Xcode/Objective-C, Corona is still extremely flexible in terms of what you can produce. You have access to a lot of the iPhone’s native features (accelerometer, GPS, photo library, camera, web popups, keyboard, etc.), as well as network/socket support which opens up a whole slew of possibilities in itself. As for game developers, there is currently support for Box2D physics, Facebook/Twitter status updates, and OpenFeint leaderboards and achievements (extremely easy to implement, by the way).

  • Cross-Platform with a minimal amount of effort. I’ve only used Corona for iOS development (so far), but it does Android too… and with the SAME lua scripts. Of course, you have to change a few things here and there, but overall, you can use the same code and compile your apps for both iOS and Android, at least, that’s how it’s going to be once they iron out all the Android details (in it’s beta stage of development, I hear the Android side of Corona is playing catch-up with iOS at this point, but it did get a lot better with Beta 8). Biffy and I plan on porting all of our games over to Android eventually.

  • Great support (community and staff). The user community is fairly small, but is steadily growing and is already very helpful. Whenever I had a problem during the development process (and the learning process), I either found the answer within an existing thread in the Developer Forums, or by starting a new one and asking myself. More often than not, an Ansca staff member will pop in and help out as well. I’ve even seen the Ansca CEO (Carlos Icaza) pop in several times to answer questions and make comments. Carlos was also very responsive to emails I sent regarding some of the concerns I had regarding section 3.3.1 prior to the 9th of September.

  • Training events for those who need hands-on help. From my observations, the Ansca staff are very proactive. They often attend (and host) events (usually in California) where they’ll teach specific Corona or general mobile development concepts. This isn’t guaranteed to continue, but there have been a few events even in the relatively short time I’ve been a Corona SDK subscriber, so I’m pretty sure it will.

  • They honor user suggestions. There are tons of features I see implemented now, that were posted to the suggestions board previously. That says a lot all by itself.

  • If you create an app using the Corona SDK, just let them know (by posting to the appropriate forum board) and they’ll put a link to it in the showcase section of their website! I don’t know about you, but free promotion is always a good thing in my book :-)

  • They offer a free 30-day trial period in case you want to try it out before jumping in and purchasing a subscription (the trial is what convinced me to purchase).

Corona SDK “Cons”

A review wouldn’t be much more than just free marketing without a “negatives” side to the story right? And although I’m obviously a huge Corona SDK fan, I do understand that using it doesn’t come without some sacrifices, so that’s what I’ll go over next. There are really only three that stand out:

1. There is a Price. It’s a product, so it’s not surprising that Ansca Mobile charges a yearly fee to use their SDK, considering that’s the only way for them to get compensated for their efforts (and rightfully so), especially since they don’t charge royalties for the apps created with it. So while it’s understandable (and relatively affordable), it can be considered a drawback for some because of the fact that you’ll have to pay a yearly Corona SDK fee, as well as an Apple Developer fee ($99) to submit iPhone apps.

On top of that, you’re completely at the mercy of Ansca Mobile’s fee structure. If they decide to jack up the prices out of your range in the future, there’s really nothing you can do about it. I trust they won’t do that, but like I said, it can be a drawback that may cause some to just bite the bullet and go the Objective-C route and pay ONLY the Apple Developer fee. Afterall, a corporation is likely to last a lot longer than the duration of it’s staff members’ terms.

With that said, Apple could take more than 30% per app sale, so there’s always drawbacks on some level right?

2. Flexibility is Not Unlimited. I mentioned Corona’s flexibility as a pro before, because it is very flexible (I personally haven’t run into any roadblocks as far as what I wanted to create/implement in our games), but it’s not AS flexible as going the Objective-C route. Here’s a good example of something that IS currently implemented in the Corona SDK, but could just as easily have not been:

OpenFeint. They have their own SDK that you’d normally download and follow their instructions for importing it into your Xcode/Objective-C project. Since you don’t have an Xcode/Objective-C project with Corona, you literally CAN’T use the OpenFeint SDK (or anything else that requires you to include files into your Xcode project).

Instead, Ansca Mobile has to download the SDK and include it in the Corona SDK and then wrap their functions into the Corona framework so you can access it with your Lua code. Even then, not all the features are guaranteed to be implemented. For instance, Corona Game Edition includes support for OpenFeint, but as of right now all you can take advantage of are leaderboards, achievements, and the network save card (OpenFeint + Objective-C does much more than that).

By no means am I complaining, I’m just describing how external libraries fit in with Corona: you’re at the mercy of Ansca Mobile (which isn’t a bad thing right now, as they are a very “merciful” company, but some might consider that a drawback. I personally don’t because Corona does just about everything I need it to at this point).

3. Mac-Only Software (For Now). I’m a Mac user myself, so once again, not a drawback for me but I can see how it could be for those wanting to develop apps mainly for Android who don’t own a Mac. I could see a Mac-only app being okay if iOS was the only one supported, because you need a Mac for that anyway.

But what about Android developers who are working from Windows or Linux machines, who aren’t interested in iOS development? Putting myself in their shoes, Corona being a cross-platform development tool that’s available for only one platform can definitely be considered a con. I think a Windows version is on their roadmap though, but don’t quote me on that.

Overall I think others in the same position as me will agree: I really can’t view any of those so-called “cons” as limitations because I don’t even know Objective-C, which is the ultimate limitation of all! (without SDK’s like Corona, that is). And if I did learn it, the time I would save by using Corona is worth all of those relatively small downsides in my opinion.

Also know that the cons I mentioned (with an exception of the third one) don’t just apply to the Corona SDK, but to ANY cross-platform framework that allows you to build mobile apps without knowing Objective-C or Java. So if you were looking for one to begin with, then you were most-likely already aware of the two “cons” I’m talking about.

What I’d Like to See Included

This section can’t really be considered part of the review, as many of the things mentioned here could actually end up in the final version of Corona SDK, but since I’m on the subject of Corona I guess I’ll outline my personal features wish-list:

UPDATE OCT 29, 2010: A more updated and descriptive list of my Corona “wishlist” can be found here.

  • Game Center support (for Game Edition, obviously). It’s very new, but it looks like it’s going to be the standard for social gaming on iOS—even the folks at OpenFeint think so.

  • More UI controls. The included UI library really makes things easy when it comes to buttons, etc. but there’s just not much UI included at this point. This isn’t a limitation as you can program everything yourself in Corona, but it would make things even easier if the ui.lua file had more to it.

  • In-App Purchases, In-App Purchases, In-App Purchases! (I hear it’s coming soon though).

  • Some kind of simple interface builder. I’m not asking for an IDE, because personally, I like using BBEdit for my Lua scripts, but sometimes I think things would be easier if I could position some of my objects on the screen, right-click on them, and get their coordinates through some kind of ‘Get Info’ panel instead of having to estimate and then adjust from there. It would really save a lot of time and frustration.

  • An easier method of scene management. Right now, I’ve got my own system for managing different screens (or “scenes” as people from GameSalad would call them) that works great, but I didn’t get it down until my second Corona-made game. It was by far the hardest concept to master, as Lua scripts can easily become long and unorganized. Perhaps just a hands-on tutorial for managing screens with multiple Lua modules would suffice. I personally don’t need it anymore, but I know a lot of new Corona users will. In fact, if nothing develops in this area, I’ll most likely create a tutorial and post it on this blog at some point.

  • Basic bitmap manipulation (at least in Game Edition). It would be nice to be able to change the color of a sprite or image object using code, instead of having to create a separate image for every color t-shirt in my game (for instance).

  • Ability to access the iPhone’s music library (so you can include a ‘custom music’ option in games and allow players to choose their own music). Right now Corona allows you to access a photo library, take screenshots, use the camera, GPS, etc. and that’s great, but music is a big feature on iPhones/iPods, so it would be nice to be able to access that too.

And to say it again, what I just mentioned above were merely suggestions part of my own personal “wishlist”, not gripes or complaints. I’m pretty sure most (if not all) of the above will be included at some point, so I’m not too worried about it.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a framework that provides faster iPhone/Android app development time with a VERY small learning curve (in contrast with Objective-C and even Java), then Corona is THE BEST option out there. Anything else either costs way too much, is a lot more difficult, has too many limitations, or all of the above.

I’ll say it again: even as beta software, Corona SDK is the BEST when it comes to rapid iPhone app development without Objective-C. And even with experience in Objective-C, Corona can still be considered much better due to how much time it will shave off of the development process. Their website says 90%, and personally, I don’t think that’s an exaggeration.

And if you’re an indie developer with a small development team (like me), then something like the Corona SDK is a MUST in my opinion (at minimum, to save loads of development time), and is without a doubt the best option out there.

If you’re unsure, sign up for the free 30-day trial. I was able to make good use of my trial period, and was even able to build and test on the device (using a developer provisioning profile).

So far the ONLY trial limitations are: you cannot build for distribution (which is the build you send to the AppStore) and a single pop-up message shows stating that it is the trial version when you open your app on the device (doesn’t affect your app negatively, especially since you’ll only be testing your apps in the trial version anyway).

All in all, I give the Corona SDK five out of five stars, and two thumbs up. Well done Ansca Mobile :-)

Further Reading

For more background information, and a better description of my experiences with GameSalad, read my interview on the Ansca blog.

Doodle Dash!’s sales rose yesterday. I always thought Saturday was the peak day.

Anyway, people seem to like the new Halloween theme that came with the update, which is good because Biffy and I worked really hard on it.

Tiny JavaScript Platform Game. As a game programmer, I gotta admire something like this.

Just Installed myTumblr. So far I’m liking it. Very simple, minimalistic, and very Mac-like.

Doodle Dash! 1.3 Approved Today. This new version features a brand new (albeit early) Halloween theme, an options page, an option to play as “Ms. Dash” and quite a bit more. Biffy and I worked pretty hard on this update, and waited a full 9 days for it to be approved! Enjoy :)

Update 1

Biffy and I pulled an all-nighter doing work for our next game, and we got A LOT done. It’s looking so amazing; I’m very excited.

Update 2

I’m still very excited and relieved about Apple’s decision regarding their SDK agreement and how the Corona SDK is officially safe.

As for tonight, I’m planning on getting more work done on the game. Once it is sent in for approval, I’ll announce the title, provide screenshots, etc.

Apple Relaxes Developer SDK Agreement - Thank God. The Corona SDK is safe :-) This is great news as Biffy and I were stressing about this earlier this week. Carlos, the CEO of Ansca Mobile sent me a reassuring email… but this statement from Apple themselves tops it off.

Real Studio: RAD for Mac OS X. Also able to output Windows and Linux apps. I think when I’m ready to start writing desktop Mac software (most likely after 10.7 ships), I’ll be trying out Real Studio.

Engadget Previews Toshiba Netbook With Android. Great idea, but Android’s not ready.

Again, the hardware is pretty great, a nice order of magnitude thinner and lighter than most Atom netbooks, and despite the razor thin build, Toshiba still managed to put a pretty great keyboard and trackpad in here. Unfortunately, the software just isn’t good. In fact, it isn’t even “alright,” since Toshiba has put a bunch of customizations on top of stock Android 2.1, including the same lame launcher we just saw on the Folio, and two extra browsers.

I really think this is where we should start seeing the open-source operating system start appearing more though. Maybe it’ll breathe some life into a lot of the netbooks that the iPad killed.

With that said, I can’t believe last year’s netbooks were still shipping with an Operating System from 2001 (Windows XP).

Engadget Reviews iPod Touch 4. Can’t wait to get this in a few weeks :)

iPod Touch (4g) vs. iPod Touch (3g) Specs. I’ve been looking for something like this, glad I found it.

Casual Game Design: Designing Play for the Gamer in ALL of Us. I’m currently reading this book to help refine existing game design skills, because nobody is above improvement. I may post a review once I finish it.

BeebeGames Teaser

A small teaser of what’s coming next. Stay tuned, we move pretty fast.

We have decided to put Dragon’s Keep Lite on hold for now (indefinitely) so I will resume development on our next title soon. It’s coming together very nicely thanks to the Corona SDK, but we’re still settling on a name.

I’ll be directing this title, and Biffy the next. We like to take turns directing games because it keeps our creativity and motivation at high levels.

Got the site finished today so that means the next project is Dragon’s Keep Lite version, which shouldn’t take too long. THEN, I’ll resume work on an unnamed title that will hopefully be announced soon.

As for tonight… It’s time to have some pizza, nachos, and drinks with my wife (Biffy) and some other family that’s coming over tonight :-)

History of the GUI: Microsoft vs. Apple. Very interesting. It dates back to way before my time, but I know clearly where I came in at. Lots of nostalgia in there.

Biffy and I both finished our blog headers and got everything looking the way we want. Afterwards, I noticed just how well both of our blogs really reflect our individual roles within Beebe Games.

Biffy’s blog uses very rich colors and is very graphically pleasing; it perfectly reflects her role as the lead graphics artist on our team. My header graphic sort of resembles binary code (010010), which obviously represents programming, but the characters show that I also contribute to the creativity and even some of the graphics in our games.

Strange how all that happened on accident, but hey, it works!

First Post

This is my new web-space, where I’ll post development notes, news, updates, and… whatever I want. Welcome!