Corona SDK- split thread

Apprentice
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Post: #1
Moderator Edit: This post and some of the following have been split from this thread: http://www.idevgames.com/forums/thread-333.html

If you want to "do programming" then dive into Objective-C and the like.

But if you want to create iOS games, then look at something like Corona SDK from Ansca Mobile.

Id won't be using it for Rage 2 and Firemint won't be using it for Real Racing 3, but of the Top 10 paid apps in the App Store right now, I think probably all 10 of them could have been created using Corona.

I just read an interview today of a guy with no previous dev experience who wrote an iPhone game in 6 weeks with Corona. Ansca's site has other case studies with even more impressive results.

If you haven't seen it yet, spend TWO minutes and watch what I think is the ultimate "convincer" video: http://gamedevnation.com/video/the-ultim...convincer/

Like I said, not every game can be done with Corona, but a heck of a lot of games can be.

When I discovered Corona SDK I was knee-deep into learning Obj-C and was a bit ticked off that I hadn't heard of Corona before then. For the stuff I want to do (RPGs, Adventures, etc.) there's no sense in spending time with Obj-C when I can get something going MUCH faster.

I've done game (and business) programming in assembly language, C, Java, etc., so it's not like I'm a stranger to programming. But I don't want to *program* -- I want to create games.

Jay

http://GameDevNation.com - Corona SDK Tips and Tutorials
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(Jan 5, 2011 06:18 PM)J. A. Whye Wrote:  If you haven't seen it yet, spend TWO minutes and watch what I think is the ultimate "convincer" video: http://gamedevnation.com/video/the-ultim...convincer/

Notably unimpressed. Sad
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Apprentice
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Post: #3
(Jan 6, 2011 12:21 AM)AnotherJake Wrote:  
(Jan 5, 2011 06:18 PM)J. A. Whye Wrote:  If you haven't seen it yet, spend TWO minutes and watch what I think is the ultimate "convincer" video: http://gamedevnation.com/video/the-ultim...convincer/

Notably unimpressed. Sad

Could you elaborate? I don't mind if you're unimpressed, but knowing why helps me understand where you're coming from.

Thanks.

Jay

http://GameDevNation.com - Corona SDK Tips and Tutorials
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Sage
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Post: #4
Well... if you're asking.

The video looks really contrived. It looks like it's easy to load images and makes boxes with Corona. It also leads me to believe that the API is terrible. Simply loading an image makes a sprite of it show up on the screen? How do I do the hard stuff like manage the lifetime of the sprite.

Moving on to the physics, how do I control the shape? Does it just make everything a rectangle based on the size of the image? Can you easily work with composite objects formed of several bodies, shapes, and joints? Does it assume that I have a 1:1:1 body/shape/sprite relation? How do I do the hard stuff like working with physics events?

I noticed that Corona is using Box2D which is very sensitive about units. The video shows 9.8 (presumably in m/s^2) being used as gravity, but all the graphics were expressed in pixel coordinates. Mismatching units always makes for frustrating guess and check work.

The video leads me to believe that it's very easy to do easy things, hard to do things it wasn't designed around, and almost impossible to do hard things with.

Scott Lembcke - Howling Moon Software
Author of Chipmunk Physics - A fast and simple rigid body physics library in C.
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(Jan 6, 2011 12:33 AM)J. A. Whye Wrote:  
(Jan 6, 2011 12:21 AM)AnotherJake Wrote:  
(Jan 5, 2011 06:18 PM)J. A. Whye Wrote:  If you haven't seen it yet, spend TWO minutes and watch what I think is the ultimate "convincer" video: http://gamedevnation.com/video/the-ultim...convincer/

Notably unimpressed. Sad

Could you elaborate? I don't mind if you're unimpressed, but knowing why helps me understand where you're coming from.

Thanks.

Jay

If you insist...

The video doesn't appear to be honest. It makes things look like "Hey, I can just do this and I'll have a game!". Beautiful music and some fancy, simple-looking code, and presto! To be fair, I thought maybe they just didn't represent the product well in the video, so I went to the website and glanced at the API. There wasn't as much there as I had hoped to see. [edit: snipped out bad-mood parts]
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I mostly agree on the conclusions of the "ultimate convincer". I have seen such "convincer" demos before. Anyone else here remembers 3DGM (I think it was called), a 3D game library from the 90's? It had some very nice show-off demos, so I bought a copy when they had a good offer. But what could I do with it? Nothing! Well, almost. It could do what the demos showed, but absolutely nothing more. They had never made a complete game with it themseves! I wasted lots of time trying to force it to do something meaningful. And then I repeated the mistake with Screaming Cabala, where at least Meggs had made a working game, but the library was only a low-level renderer and nothing more. Its peak performance - 30 fps full-screen on 60 MHz - was only possible when everything fit in the cache.

Corona can be good, but I don't like the apparent confusion between sprites and images, and a whole lot of important issues are not addressed. How do you change sprite faces? How do you represent non-rectangular shapes? How do I detect and handle important events, to integrate the game mechanics? It will not be that simple when you make a real game! Is there more to this than a trivial image loader and a (hopefully) decent rectangles-only 2D physics engine? I would rather spend my time on Chipmunk Physics (which demonstrates much more advanced things in its demos) or use my own.

Whatever that video was, it was not an "ultimate convincer" but looks more like something my students would do as projects in my basic course. Not something I'd stake money on. Show me a full game with code and I might be more impressed.
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Apprentice
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Post: #7
Wow.

Well, I'm not going to try a line-by-line rebuttal because it feels like there's nothing that would convince you (I could be wrong, but that's what I'm sensing).

It sounds like you (a generic you meaning an amalgam of all three responses) lean toward: it's too good to be true.

Here are complete games and apps written using Corona SDK: http://www.anscamobile.com/corona/showcase/

Here are people who have written games and apps using Corona SDK: http://www.anscamobile.com/corona/testimonials/

*I* haven't written a complete game yet with Corona, but after exploring it I ditched the plan of spending weeks or months getting up to speed with Obj-C/Xcode just so I could write a game. I've purchased enough Corona-built games from the App Store, and written enough code to *know* it's a better option for me.

If you already have your own engine, why would you switch? You have too much invested to do that.

But the OP was starting from scratch and as a professional programmer (as in, I get paid to do it) I think Corona SDK is, in general, a better way to *make a game* than wading into the Obj-C pool. (With the previous caveat that not all game types can be done in Corona, such as FPS.)

Jay

http://GameDevNation.com - Corona SDK Tips and Tutorials
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Post: #8
J. A. Whye is also behind:
http://coronaprojectmanager.com/

Apparently he's the same person as Jay Jennings, who announced Corona Project Manager on Nov 15th, 2010. ( http://jayjennings.com/miscellaneous/cor...t-manager/ ) It's really not that long ago, and the self promotion isn't really that uncommon. It'd probably be a little less disingenuous to fully disclose these relationships... but this is the internet we're talking about.

I'd never heard of Corona, but kudos to the marketing skill of the Corona folk, and "J" for Corona Project Manager. They are all definitely better marketers than me. The more dev work I do, the more I would rather be a good marketer than a good programmer.

Howling Moon Software - CrayonBall for Mac and iPhone, Contract Game Dev Work
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Oh, poop. I almost posted something about that earlier but decided not to take the time, but should have figured a detective would pop out of the woodwork.

September 12 I registered GameDevNation.com to use as a site to journal my iPhone game dev efforts. I was working through an Obj-C book at that time.

September 21 I stumbled across Corona and downloaded the trial version.

October 4 I purchased Corona Game Edition (now called Corona SDK) and ditched the Obj-C route.

October 26 I audio-blogged about it on CinchCast: http://www.cinchcast.com/jayjennings/104218 (using my legal name, J. A. Whye is a pseudonym for writing/gaming).

October 30 I bought another copy of Corona at the educational discount for my 16-yo.

November 13 I started work on Corona Project Manager and registered the domain CoronaProjectManager.com

December 1 I launched Corona Project Manager.

December 16 (or 17th) converted Game Dev Nation from a "generic" iPhone game dev site to one focused on Corona -- because by then I'd decided it made no sense for me to use anything but Corona SDK for mobile game development. Plus, I'd become an unabashed fan of Corona.

January 5 I registered at iDevGames and replied to a couple messages from people who were wondering how to get started making games.

That chronology is complete and accurate as far as I can recall and includes the more important steps in my Corona experience.

I get no money from someone buying/using Corona. I do sell a 3rd-party utility that can be used with Corona, but I'm a very low-pressure marketer -- I don't care if you use my stuff or not.

As a professional programmer I've used dozens (hundreds?) of languages, frameworks, libraries, tools, etc., over the last three decades and was ticked off that I hadn't discovered Corona earlier. My posts here were designed to prevent someone else from having that experience.

So, I'm not affiliated with Ansca Mobile, I'm not lying about "discovering" it, but I will admit to being a complete FANBOY. Based on my experience.

And I'd be happy to debate the potential merits/issues, but that's not what I was seeing up above. It didn't seem like actual questions were being asked (despite the use of question marks), but instead arguments being made about why it sucks. Which were made mainly upon looking at a 2-minute video and glancing at the API.





(Jan 6, 2011 12:16 PM)AndyKorth Wrote:  J. A. Whye is also behind:
http://coronaprojectmanager.com/

Apparently he's the same person as Jay Jennings, who announced Corona Project Manager on Nov 15th, 2010. ( http://jayjennings.com/miscellaneous/cor...t-manager/ ) It's really not that long ago, and the self promotion isn't really that uncommon. It'd probably be a little less disingenuous to fully disclose these relationships... but this is the internet we're talking about.

Yesterday I tried to change my avatar and signature but kept getting bounced to a page that said I couldn't do that. I figured I was still too new to the forum.

My sig would have read:

GameDevNation.com - Corona SDK Tips and Tutorials
CoronaProjectManager.com - Makes Corona SDK even Better

And if I hadn't had to look up so many dates (and if my kids hadn't kept interrupting me), my previous post would have hit before your "revelation."

I'm not a newbie, I don't expect anything to stay secret on the internet, so there was no intent to hide what I do. But it seemed like the sig would be a better place to put it than to muddy up the message I was posting (which language to use).

Jay

http://GameDevNation.com - Corona SDK Tips and Tutorials
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Post: #10
J.A. Whye:
I had been in a bad mood for my original post, which is why I had deleted it before you finished yours (apologies to anyone who is confused as to what he is responding to (if it was indeed me and not AndyKorth)).
Perhaps things like these: http://jayjennings.com/articles-2/are-yo...-strategy/
and these: http://jayjennings.com/articles-2/an-art...use-today/
make me wary.
AndyKorth has split this thread out into it's own (as it's moved off topic from the original post).
Now:
Quote:And I'd be happy to debate the potential merits/issues, but that's not what I was seeing up above. It didn't seem like actual questions were being asked (despite the use of question marks), but instead arguments being made about why it sucks.
I'd disagree, I'd say they had some valid questions. Perhaps they had a bad opinion about Corona, but you should be willing to attempt to change their minds. Skorche and Ingemar had questions about features they would like to know about as developers, and as the (probably only one on this forum) person who knows about it, you can inform them. (AnotherJake's post may not have been quite as valid, but I think he acknowledged that Rasp). If it doesn't have these features, then don't these developers have a point to not get it if they want to have this type of control? I'd say the people here may come to an early conclusion, but if you answered their questions you might be able to have them consider otherwise.
When I tell people I think the iPhone is awesome, and they go "I don't really like the iPhone, from what I can see it can't really do multitasking", I don't respond with "Well, it seems like your mind is set and can't be changed", I respond "I still like the iPhone, although it may not have full multitasking, but it does background audio and location, as well as fast app switching, etc for your app needs". If they're still not convinced, then maybe we agree to disagree.
As for that convincing video, you may understand our skepticism, when one of our own has a physics library, Chipmunk, and the example video for that is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_Sx9N39KHk . Now, of course it is a highlight reel, however, there are game examples, physics for round as well as rectangular objects, objects on strings, with weights attached, etc. Is it perfect? No, but it's more than what Corona's video showed (in my eyes). It's also free and I believe Open Source (confirmed).
Alex
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I looked at the top five "app of the week" apps using Corona and every single one of them strike me as being simplistic. Now, while that in and of itself is certainly nothing new for the App Store, I see nothing that would compel me to suggest Corona to others -- especially for the price. The level of skill required to do the stuff that I saw in those apps is fairly minimal in my view.
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(Jan 6, 2011 12:58 PM)EvolPenguin Wrote:  I had been in a bad mood for my original post...

[off-topic] LOL! Talk about bad moods... must be going around. This morning I just got some news that it looks like my client is going with the other team competing for the contract (it's OpenGL based, but has nothing to do with iOS or games). Get this: I submitted a working prototype in three days from the original proposal. They're proposing to do the same thing in 300 hours of labor, I $hit you not! The difference? They have a sales guy. ... this is one of the many reasons why I like working with Casey. I should have hired him for this project.

AndyKorth Wrote:The more dev work I do, the more I would rather be a good marketer than a good programmer.

After this morning, I could not possibly agree more!

@ J. A. Whye: My apologies, yeah, you're probably getting some of my bad attitude right now.

In all fairness, bad moods aside, I should warn you that this is a pretty tough crowd around here. I recall a rep from Torque showed up here once and hasn't been seen since. We cater mostly to the do-it-yourselfers, so there aren't many 3rd-party commercial products we recommend around here much, unless they're really good and/or have the right price.
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Sage
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Post: #13
I'm not saying that I think that Corona is crap, but it seems overly simplistic. I've used plenty of engines similar to Corona when I was trying to learn to do game programming and I really feel like it held me back many years. They let you get some simple things working without a lot of effort, but they also make it very difficult to grow as a programmer when you have to rely too much on the easy magic that is built into the engine instead of your own skills. Having looked at the API docs a little, I still don't have any reason to believe otherwise.

I thought that all the things I was relying on engines to do were really hard (loading and working with images/sounds, etc), but it turns out that they weren't. I could spend less time just writing exactly what I wanted with a little basic GL code than I would trying to figure out how to get an engine to do something that it wasn't designed to do.

Having written many games, I want tools and libraries that help me do the hard parts of game dev. Loading images, drawing sprites, and setting up some basic physics is easy to do from scratch. I can write all of that in a few hundred lines of code and a couple hours. In fact we've often written game prototypes from scratch like that in a couple hours. It looks to me like all Corona is doing is making this easy stuff slightly easier by taking away almost all of the flexibility. The hard part is managing complexity on the way to finishing everything you need for a complete game, and that's where it looks like Corona just makes everything more difficult.

Scott Lembcke - Howling Moon Software
Author of Chipmunk Physics - A fast and simple rigid body physics library in C.
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(Jan 6, 2011 01:15 PM)AnotherJake Wrote:  I looked at the top five "app of the week" apps using Corona and every single one of them strike me as being simplistic. Now, while that in and of itself is certainly nothing new for the App Store, I see nothing that would compel me to suggest Corona to others -- especially for the price. The level of skill required to do the stuff that I saw in those apps is fairly minimal in my view.

And the original poster in the thread this began in said:

"Let me start by saying that my ultimate goal it to program a simple iPhone app/game..."

Evol - Yes, it was your post I was originally responding to. I do see your point about replying or not to the questions, and in rethinking it I agree -- I should have. My initial reaction was based on the overwhelming negative response which *really* surprised me.

I'm trying to get the next version of CPM out the door to the beta testers so I'm crunched today, but I'll cruise back by here late this evening and see if I can't answer some of those questions.

Thanks.

Jay

http://GameDevNation.com - Corona SDK Tips and Tutorials
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Post: #15
What a thread.

My reaction to the video is simple: unconvinced. Why? It doesn't show anything complicated. I wouldn't say it's contrived or disingenuous, I'd just say it doesn't show anything compelling. Show me a range of rich and complete games and how much less effort was required to make it using Corona than anything else, and you'd have something. But just dropping boxes from the top of the screen and changing the value for gravity isn't impressive.
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