Are you a 2 or 2.5D game developer?
Looking for a cost effective way to publish your game to multiple platforms?
Although I advocate learning the ropes with the two major native development platforms (xCode for iOS and Android Studio for Android).. the most efficient path to multi-platform publishing is by way of cross-platform development. If you have a particular programming language that you are already proficient in, you could target one of the many cross-platform tools currently available. Check out the reference table presented in Part 1 of 20 Mobile App Tools for 2015.
If you are just starting out or don’t mind latching on to a new programming language, a relatively popular one currently used in game development platforms is Lua.
There are several options available, but one of my favourite cross-platform development tools for 2 and 2.5D game development is – Corona SDK.
New! Mac and Win32 Desktop Apps for Corona SDK
This year has been a big one for the team over at Corona SDK. Back in March during GDC 2015, the Corona SDK founder Walter Luh announced that the full feature version of Corona SDK Pro would now be Free (previous to that a subscription was close to $600 USD / year). During that same announcement they also mentioned their strategy to bring support to Mac and Win32 Desktop Apps for Corona SDK developers in 2015.
And they continue to deliver! About 2 week ago they formerly announced the open Beta for Mac App and Win32 App support starting with the Corona Daily Build 2015.2687.
And the timing is great in the context of the recent announcement at WWDC 2015 of the restructured Apple Developer Program, where a single $99 USD membership fee per year allows you to publish to iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch. Previously you had to pay $99 USD/year for iOS publishing and another $99 USD/year for Mac OSX publishing.
What about the competition?
I fully acknowledge that Corona SDK is not the first cross-platform development tool to enable you to target your game to both mobile and desktop platforms with a single (or nearly unchanged) code base. In terms of developer base, Unity is probably the largest cross-platform game development SDK at the moment. Yes, it features development for both 2, 2.5 and 3D game developers and allows you to publish to a ton of different platforms. It’s Personal Edition is in fact now Free (with some limitations along with a Unity Splash Screen before your game loads).
According to both companies Corona SDK has over 300,000 developers compared to the approximately 4,500,000 registered developers on the Unity platform. Yes, it is a bit like the story of David and Goliath.
Although the Unity community is huge, there is something about the Corona SDK community that is unique, friendly, and very “organic” if I may use that word in the context of a developers community. Corona SDK is a great platform to begin game development and a great platform to begin learning how to code.
As I mentioned back in the post called My Start App Journey 2014, I actually settled on Corona SDK after trying out a few different cross-platform development tools and Corona SDK had by far the cleanest API, best documentation and a very helpful community of developers.
Some Cool Features?
There are some great features baked into Corona SDK. You can easily do a 2D physics game with the baked in Box2D engine from creator Erin Catto. This is the same physics engine used to create the physics based mechanics in Angry BirdsTM.
Additionally, last year they included built-in support for Particle Emitters with their display objects. If you don’t know what Particles are (or Particle Emitter Authoring Tools) I recommend you check out this excellent tutorial by Ed Maurina from RoamingGamer.com.
2D Rigid-Body + Fluid Simulation = Pure Awesome!
And you guessed, Corona SDK also provides built-in support for the LiquidFun library! Check out the original LiquidFun support announcement from Corona SDK.