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Corona SDK vs. GameSalad

BeyondtheTechBeyondtheTech Posts: 809Member
edited November -1 in Miscellaneous
Just wanted to drop a note here regarding a new software development kit that claims to make game and application development a lot easier by using Lua.

First and foremost, I'm not affiliated with Corona or Ansca Mobile in any way whatsoever. As a an app developer and overall entrepreneur looking to make my way in this world, I have to look at all the possibilities out there in order to determine my best course of action.

Before I was using GameSalad, I was an active Torque 2D user. In dreading the thought of understanding Objective-C, and Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) in general, I have always looked at many other SDKs to help me achieve the goal of publishing an application or game on the App Store. It should come to no surprise when I learned about Corona on a recent blog post on TUAW (http://www.tuaw.com/2010/04/14/360idev-ansca-mobiles-corona-sdk/).

Now, Ansca Mobile made a statement regarding the new SDK and Section 3.3.1 (http://blog.anscamobile.com/2010/04/corona-and-iphone-os-4-0/), and they don't believe it's going to be an issue either, even though their entire schema is creating applications using Lua or Flash Actionscript, and even output code ready to use on the iPhone, iPad, *and Android, all of which would cause red flags if I was Apple. Here's a quote from their blog: "It is true that when you develop your app, you’re initially developing in Lua. But when you click “Build”, you are getting a real bonafide XCode-produced executable binary. " As Steve Jobs was noted saying, being able to output to other devices removes the lock-in advantage of the iPhone. And, don't get me started on what he thinks about Flash, either.

So, you can obviously say that I've downloaded the SDK and am looking into it with a hopeful heart, but haven't paid the same $99/year that GameSalad Express charges for their kit. The $99/year appears to be an intro price until their 2.0 SDK comes out in the fall.

The reason I'm mentioning it here is because their website specifically compares some features of GameSalad and Unity to their own, specifically not requiring a splash screen, having their core application only an amazing 300KB, compared to 10MB on Unity when creating a simple "Hello World" app. Corona also does give you access to the camera, pop-up keyboard, GPS, streaming video, network access and linking, vector graphics, and more. However, from the looks of it, there's no GUI at all, so for those comfy with the GameSalad/Unity/Torque integrated development environments (IDE), this will be quite a shock for you - you'll be sitting in Terminal and using a text editor like BBedit. But, if you've had your hand in straight-up programming code old-school style, or if you've had experience in Lua or Actionscript, this might be a very good alternative for you.

http://anscamobile.com/

Again, I'm not trying to start a flame war or steer people away from GameSalad. I want everyone here to be successful and happy, even if it means grabbing a few of these tools and using each of them to the best of their abilities. Of course, competition is healthy, so I'm hoping GameSalad can learn from Ansca and begin to incorporate much-wanted features that other SDKs already have. What are your thoughts?
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Comments

  • QuinnZoneStudiosQuinnZoneStudios Posts: 452Member
    Interesting stuff. Not sure if this would be considered competition for Gamesalad or not?
    Speaking for myself it's not for me though as I'm a GUI man all the way - that's why I'm here. Ha, I don't even like using keyboard shortcuts!
    As long as I can build my game visually on Gamesalad, I'll remain. The more GS can grow, the stronger and better it will become.
  • maniraptormaniraptor Posts: 81Member
    I looked into Corona and Appcelerator (as well as PhoneGap and Unity) when I started into iPhone development last summer. Then I found GameSalad, and well... you know. Haven't looked at the others in months.

    I find it really interesting that they now compare Corona to GameSalad; Ansca had been positioning Corona as more of an business/general app dev kit back then. (Oh lo these many months, LOL!) Games didn't seem to be on the company's radar, although I'm sure some people were using the framework to make games.
  • ORBZORBZ Posts: 1,303Member
    interesting ... no physics engine though ... yet.
  • beaudoin_nbeaudoin_n Posts: 184Member
    Funny I just stumbled upon this myself two days ago... The fact that Android deployment is due in June might balance the possibility of Apple rejecting apps because of using a tool.

    Seems less heavy and complicated than unity... Have you had time to compare againt itorque??

    Some GS bugs are just irritating!
  • synthesissynthesis Posts: 1,693Member
    I thought general consensus was that Corona was in the "doomed" category of the 4.0 impact....but with the press release...I guess they feel confident they aren't.

    22nd is going to be interesting!
  • HetallicaHetallica Posts: 1Member
    @ORBZ: Just saw a post on their company blog saying a physics engine will be incorporated into the 'Corona Game Edition.' (http://bit.ly/d2kfzT)

    @Synthesis: I don't think there was any "general consensus" that Corona was "doomed" after the OS 4.0 terms changes, especially considering how it builds apps the exact same way as many best-selling iPhone games -- including one that Steve Jobs himself even demoed onstage at the 4.0 launch! (http://bit.ly/d5PvTy) On top of that, the Corona-made 'Astral Arcade' game was just approved for the App Store on April 23. (http://bit.ly/9WUMHr) "Doomed," I think not!
  • jweaver911jweaver911 Posts: 439Member
    I just hope that the GS team starts implementing half of the stuff that Corona can/will do as far as API's are concerned. Otherwise, I might be tempted to jump the GUI ship.

    But I know the quality is here. With the stuff that TSB and FMG and others have created... its pretty apparent what you can do with GS.
  • PhoticsPhotics Posts: 4,172Member
    I'm seriously considering Corona now. Supposedly, there's no watermark. Also, there's hyperlink support...
    system.openURL(link)

    That's two of the main Pro features right there.

    Also, it seems that iAds support is a high priority to them and social gaming is on the roadmap. (The fact they have a roadmap is also an advantage over GameSalad.)

    The only major difference is that GameSalad is easier to use. With a $1900 savings, it seems that I should learn Lua... GameSalad uses that already... so I gain more power by speaking to the software directly.

    Oh, and there's Android support.

    Gendai Games, your pricing for Pro appears to be hurting your business. If the cost was more reasonable, like $250-$500, I probably wouldn't be looking at competitors right now. I'd probably be too busy making games.
  • dknelldknell Posts: 48Member
    Photics,
    I purchased the Corona SDK last month and I have been really enjoying all the features. I created a crontab creator (any Linux users out there) :-) in about 8 hours (most of that time was learning how to use the tools). I am creating a game now and I'm really excited to use the OpenFeint API. The other thing that makes development so much easier is the ability to store data in SQLite (not to mention ARRAYS - or tables, as they're referred to in Lua). Sprite sheets are pretty cool too!

    As far as the learning curve, if you know PHP, Python, Ruby or BASH scripting then you will pick up Lua real fast. It is very similar to those scripting languages. There is a lot of sample code to learn from.

    If you are interested in supplementing your GameSalad skills, the price goes up tomorrow for Corona Game Edition.

    PS - I am just a fellow developer, not affiliated with Corona in any way. :)

    Dave
  • TymeMasterTymeMaster Posts: 527Member
    I'd suggest Unity over Corona any day. Javascript is just as easy to learn as LUA, and you still get the drag and drop editing you have in GS. I would say it, and possibly Torque, are the two best engines out there.
  • dknelldknell Posts: 48Member
    Unity looks really cool, but isn't it only for 3D games? That's an entirely different beast. If you can't create 3D graphics yourself, then I'd imagine it would cost significantly more to pay a 3D artist than it would cost for a 2D graphic artist. Am I wrong about that?
  • Rob2Rob2 Posts: 2,402Member
    Corona $99
    Unity $2400
  • fatmikefatmike Posts: 36Member
    Unity = free
    + iPhone Basic = $300

    Unless I'm missing something? I'm looking into this so I'd like to be corrected if it's not true.

    (I can live without the Unity Pro and iPhone Advanced versions)
  • PhoticsPhotics Posts: 4,172Member
    It seems that both Unity and Corona are having sales right now.

    The problem with Unity is that porting to Android is expensive. Also, for 2D games, I'm thinking it's more efficient to use Corona.

    3D assets are an issue. I like the stuff at daz3d.com, but the 3D models can't be dropped into apps. The content license is limited to 2D renders.
  • DevilsDevils Posts: 561Member
    I think that GS should make Pro $199 and get it over with. It would help them out more on the long run when they have more people flocking there way. I think if your going to try and learn a language to caode on Apple devices then you might as well do it in Xcode and nothing else who knows there stuff better then themselfs. Just my opinion. I will stick to GS and hopefully if they drop the price I can finally get all six of my friends to buy GS.
  • HachikoHachiko Posts: 330Member
    Tomorrow corona will go up to 250$ for the basic sdk edition and we don't know how much more for the game edition (with physics and spritesheet).
    If you subscribe now, you get both of them paying 99$.
    I'm really enjoying it. The possibilities are just greater. I never programmed anything but lua is really simple :)
    More than unity, I had my eyes on torque 2D, but for now I'll stick with corona and wait for gamesalad's updates.

    @dknell: can you tell me more about Sqlite? I'm actually saving data on a simple .txt, probably easy to modify, can you tell me more about that? :)
  • BeyondtheTechBeyondtheTech Posts: 809Member
    Since my brother wants to develop for the iPhone and iPad and he's a professor at a university in Maine, I went ahead and paid for the Educational version for $49. Can't beat that, except for the fact that you can only install Corona on one machine at a time right now (and good luck if you wipe your machine without deactivating the license). Surprisingly, they didn't ask for any identification, reference or proof. Received the license and EULA was the same. Oh well, good for me!

    So, now I have GameSalad, Corona, and Torque 2D, all of which have their strengths and weaknesses. Now it's up to us to make the best with the tools we got.
  • dknelldknell Posts: 48Member
    @Hachiko,

    The SQLite3 database API in Corona can create and access a database in device memory for short term usage or on the devices filesystem (Document directory) for persistent storage between app sessions. I wrote some code to transfer the file-based database to your mac (search the forums or I can email you the link). Anyway it uses the luasqlite library (http://luasqlite.luaforge.net/lsqlite3.html), so you can use any function available there.

    Saving small amounts of comma-delimited or JSON data in text files is fine, but if you have a large (and growing) amount of data, then you may want to use the database for better performance.
  • HachikoHachiko Posts: 330Member
    Thanks, I'll look into it :)
    For now I just have to save on exit or everything else a little bunch of variables that have to be loaded on startup, so I'll probably stick with a .txt for now, but I'll surely look into it for future projects :)
  • TymeMasterTymeMaster Posts: 527Member
    dknell said:
    Unity looks really cool, but isn't it only for 3D games? That's an entirely different beast. If you can't create 3D graphics yourself, then I'd imagine it would cost significantly more to pay a 3D artist than it would cost for a 2D graphic artist. Am I wrong about that?

    Heck no, it can easily do 2D
  • TymeMasterTymeMaster Posts: 527Member
    Rob2 said:
    Corona $99
    Unity $2400

    Incorrect, try $300 for Unity. There is no reason for Pro , you can get iAd, GameCenter, BlueTooth, InAppPurchase, and a whole bunch of other **** working with BASIC Unity.

    It simply pisses all over Corona
  • TymeMasterTymeMaster Posts: 527Member
    Photics said:
    It seems that both Unity and Corona are having sales right now.

    The problem with Unity is that porting to Android is expensive. Also, for 2D games, I'm thinking it's more efficient to use Corona.

    Nope, with Sprite manager (Free) and Unity, you will have all your quads batched into ONE draw call per texture atlas.

    There is no such thing as 2D on the iPhone, ALL iPhone rendering boils down to OpenGL, including the GUI :) All 2D is, is a quad lying in the X/Y plane.
  • synthesissynthesis Posts: 1,693Member
    The primary advantage to Corona is price.
    $100 vs $2400.

    If you are a company (not a teen in his/her basement)...the cost separation is considerable...as a $100K gross earning company must purchase pro versions of Unity.

    And that is based on company income...not app sales...so most companies doing things other than apps will have to drop the $2400...which for us is WAY too much for us to swallow for experimentation/learning curves. Corona seems a much better bet.

    Then if your apps are successful...migrate to Unity 3D at a later date. They are both good tools...I recommend people start with Corona if new to coding...as the "investment" is less.
  • TymeMasterTymeMaster Posts: 527Member
    dknell said:
    @Hachiko,

    The SQLite3 database API in Corona can create and access a database in device memory for short term usage

    SQLite has nothing to do with Corona.
    You can use SQLite with Unity too.
  • TymeMasterTymeMaster Posts: 527Member
    synthesis said:
    The primary advantage to Corona is price.
    $100 vs $2400.

    If you are a company (not a teen in his/her basement)...the cost separation is considerable...as a $100K gross earning company must purchase pro versions of Unity.

    Like that is a problem if you are making 100k a year? rofl. You will pay only $300 for Unity until then.

    Seriously, Corona sucks **** but do what you want.
  • synthesissynthesis Posts: 1,693Member
    WTF Tyme...Are you a salesman for Unity?

    Yeah...$100K is a lot of income...unless you have 2+ people living on it and you have to pay taxes and buy software and hardware, pay rent and buy other things like **** wipe and coffee. Not all of us work out of our Mother's spare bedroom and/or have a sugar daddy allowance. :)

    My point is...why risk $2400 (or $300 for that matter) if you are learning...when you can try Corona...that seems QUITE CAPABLE for $100. Grow into Unity if your finances are substantial enough.

    If you are just learning to drive...you don't need a Cadillac to learn how to do it.
  • HachikoHachiko Posts: 330Member
    Didn't had enough money for unity :)
    If my first game will be an at least nice selling game (even reaching 500$ for me would be nice :P), I promise I take a look into it, Tyme :P
    Hopefully, since you said that actionscript is similar to lua, I'll be able to learn it easily after some Corona practice.
    For now I'm really feeling "at home" with it. The only complain I have found is that the dynamic image scaling for retina display support doesn't really work with spritesheet. I hade to use the basic animation "movieclip", no big deal but I was getting used to spritesheet :P
    And I'm getting addicted to array.
    Gamesalad must have them.
  • TymeMasterTymeMaster Posts: 527Member
    synthesis said:
    WTF Tyme...Are you a salesman for Unity?

    Yeah...$100K is a lot of income...unless you have 2+ people living on it and you have to pay taxes and buy software and hardware, pay rent and buy other things like **** wipe and coffee. Not all of us work out of our Mother's spare bedroom and/or have a sugar daddy allowance. :)

    My point is...why risk $2400 (or $300 for that matter) if you are learning...when you can try Corona...that seems QUITE CAPABLE for $100. Grow into Unity if your finances are substantial enough.

    If you are just learning to drive...you don't need a Cadillac to learn how to do it.

    Nope, only a Unity customer, nothing else, I just wanted to make sure it was correct.

    Why?

    + $300 is only $200 more than Corona!
    + Unity has ALL the functionality right now (iAd, GameCenter, Bluetooth, InAppPurchase, URL Linking, etc etc), Corona does not
    + Unity supports 3D AND 2D, Corona does not.
    + Unity has a drag and drop interface supporting all the usefull formats (PNG, JPG, PSD, FBX, DAE, etc), Corona does not
    + Unity supports texture PVR compression (huge memory and disk savings), Corona does not
    + Unity supports C#, Javascript, or Boo (Python like scripting), Corona supports LUA only
    + You can extend unity VIA .Net, you cannot extend Corona
    + Unity has a large company with many programmers, Corona has 1
    + Unity is proven to make multiple #1 selling games, Corona does not
    + For $300, you design the app once, compile to Windows, Web, Mac, and iPhone/iPod/iPad (for extra money you can also build to Nintendo Wii, XBox 360, and Android).
    + Learning Javascript is easier than LUA and more useful as your new skills apply to the web

    Thats why, but seriously I don't care. I just did not want to see people incorrectly stating that you need $2400, you do not, for $300 you can have it all! (iPhone+Mac+Web+PC)! Incidentally, if you do go "pro", you pay ONCE, not yearly like GameSalad :)
  • TymeMasterTymeMaster Posts: 527Member
  • firemaplegamesfiremaplegames Posts: 3,206Member
    All these engines are fantastic in my opinion. GameSalad, Unity, Corona, Shiva, Xcode, Torque, UDK, mmf2, Flash, etc...

    They all let creative people create software. And they all cater to different people's strengths. Some people are great coders, some people are great artists, some are great musicians. Some people cannot do any of those but are excellent game designers. Some people are just learning.

    Having access to a SQL database doesn't mean anything if you don't know how to utilize it. Same thing with an animation engine. If you aren't an artist, it's going to be pretty useless to you.

    It doesn't matter what the specific engine can do, but rather what you can do with it.

    You can make a masterpiece with GameSalad, and you can make a masterpiece with Xcode.

    Regardless of their varied features, NONE of these engines can automatically do the one thing that is most important to making a great game - and that is to make it fun.
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