Read My Corona SDK Review

Discussion in 'Public Game Developers Forum' started by jonbeebe, Sep 14, 2010.

  1. jonbeebe

    jonbeebe Well-Known Member

    I wrote a pretty extensive Corona SDK review and posted it to my blog. It's probably the most complete there is so far (I did a Google search and couldn't find a review from someone who had used it extensively).

    I've been using it for over a month and a half now so I feel like I've got my head wrapped around it enough to write a full review, so that's what I did.

    Anyway, those who heard of it that don't know much about it, or those who never heard of it at all but are interested in rapid iPhone game/app development would probably find it interesting:


    (oh, and it's non-affiliated by the way)
  2. jaguard

    jaguard Well-Known Member

    Feb 13, 2009
    Sorry, I didn't read it thoughtfully, but I think you're missing one very major point - you can develop iphone apps using C++. It will take some time to "adapt" some objC samples to your needs, but you don't need that "objC mountain climbing".
  3. MelonInteractive

    Dec 10, 2009
    A little bit into the review, he mentions the reason for learning Obj-C as being necessary to utilize the Cocos2D frameworks.
  4. MrGando

    MrGando Well-Known Member

    Aug 11, 2010
    Lead Programmer
    Santiago, Chile
    Thanks for the review.

    For me the problem is the price. I mean, I'm not making A LOT in the App Store, so this actually comes as spending even more money.

    I'm working on a 2D Game Engine and it will have Lua support to speed up development, but I can't really afford corona.
  5. Photics

    Photics Well-Known Member

    Jun 1, 2010
    I think the review could use less GameSalad bashing. I also think if you're going to mess with code, it's probably better to learn Unity. Which also has strong 3rd-party support...
    iAds, Game Center, In App Purchases... nice!

    Is the GameSalad splash screen annoying? Well, yeah... but the review seems more about what's wrong with GameSalad rather than why I should switch to Corona.

    Performance is an issue with GameSalad, but I don't really have that problem now. Even though GameSalad doesn't involve programming, optimization still matters. I learned some tricks to improve the way the game runs. Supposedly, new GameSalad updates will improve performance.

    I've been looking for better software to make iOS games, but I still like GameSalad. I looked at Corona, Unity and even Flash... it's just not as fun as GameSalad. That's because I hate coding. I'm not a robot. I speak English. That's why I like GameSalad. The programming language is English.
  6. jonbeebe

    jonbeebe Well-Known Member

    #6 jonbeebe, Sep 14, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2010
    I can understand this, however, in less than two months, my game has made enough to afford a few Corona subscriptions. What you can do is pay for the first year, then just keep plugging away at creating as high quality apps as you can. Count any app sales you make towards your next subscription and anything past that could be considered profit.

    Check out the trial, see what you can do in 30 days of hard work and learning, you'll be pleasantly surprised.

    I apologize if I offended you Photics, I've seen what you've done with GS, it's pretty amazing to say the least. I don't feel like I was "bashing" GameSalad, it's just the only thing I had to compare my iPhone app experience with. I believe the only things I mentioned about GS were:

    "I was fed up with GameSalad" --> true statement, performance literally could not get any better in my game. The splash screen would take $2000 to get rid of, and there was no social gaming support. I even politely emailed the staff and I never got a clear answer... I'm not sure why something like that would be a secret. Also, the GS program kept crashing on me (once causing me to lose my entire project) and memory leaks within the program caused me to have to constantly re-open it which interrupted my workflow tons of times. Beta software yes, but still caused me to be "fed up" with putting up with it... So what did I do? Switch to another beta software lol

    "...didn't really have the patience to dive into something that might potentially be as limiting as GS." --> this is also true. The limitations I was talking about is the same as I mentioned above.

    "...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)." --> no bashing there, just stating my third Corona-made app didn't start off as a GS title.

    "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..." --> also no GS bashing there, just stating that I had to use Xcode and my experiences with it.

    "Unlike GS (per September 13th, 2010), Corona doesn’t require any attribution within your game (not in the splash screen, credits, nowhere)." --> That's not bashing, that's a fact that you can get from both company's websites. Unless GS is bashing themselves.

    It's a pretty long review so I'm not sure if I missed anywhere. Anyway, my intention was not to "bash" GS, once again, it's simply the only thing I have to compare my iPhone development experience to, because it's the only other thing I've really tried (I went through some cocos2d tutorials, but never really "tried" it because I needed to learn Obj-C/C++ first).

    Oh, and for the record, I'm human too. Have you seen Lua code?


    bobTheBuilder = display.newImage( "Bob.png" ) --> that puts bob on the screen

    Oh, and some things using Corona are a little more "human" than GS. The only difference is you type them in Corona, and you drag things around in GS (which can sometimes be repetitive and time consuming).

    For example, I think (Corona) is a lot more "human" than Interpolate (GameSalad).
  7. Photics

    Photics Well-Known Member

    Jun 1, 2010
    Thank you. I'm not offended. I'm certainly not mad at you. I can relate to your frustration with GameSalad. That's why I read this review. Perhaps Corona would make game development easier. But looking through your review, that wasn't clear to me.

    My suggestion, show off your games more. Doodle Dash! and Dragon’s Keep look like good games. I think the review would be stronger if it was more about what you could do with Corona and less about what GameSalad can't do.

    GameSalad uses Lua too, so getting the interpreter out of the way should give you more power.

    The cost of Pro is nuts... and that's a yearly subscription. I'm surprised that Gendai Games has been dragging their feet on this issue. Supposedly, performance will be improved in the next update. It's been a while since GameSalad has been updated. So if they don't make a big improvement soon, I might have to learn Unity, Corona or go back to Flash.

    I like how you mentioned your background. I know PHP and I have some other programming experience, so maybe the jump to Corona won't be so hard. Yet, I like the visual experience I get with GameSalad. It's just easier to move stuff around.

    You are highly accurate with your critiques of GameSalad / Gendai Games. They are unusually secretive.

    I don't think your critiques are wrong. Yet, while the review pointed out many flaws with GameSalad, I still wasn't in a rush to look at Corona again. What I accomplished in months with GameSalad, I couldn't accomplish in years with other software. Plus, the GameSalad community is pretty awesome.

    That's good to know. You can't be too careful these days... especially now that they're programming robots to trick humans. :p

    Seriously, working with Corona does seem straightforward. I like how their roadmap is right out there, not so secretive. I like the Android support and the emphasis on performance. The price is similar to GameSalad (I think Corona is going up in price soon, no?) ...but I don't have to have a big splash screen on my game.

    Although, no iAds, Game Center or in-app purchases is a problem.

    One of the biggest issues I have with GameSalad is that I'm constantly waiting for Gendai Games to catch up. Maybe I should look closer at Corona today.
  8. jonbeebe

    jonbeebe Well-Known Member


    And to clarify, I don't HATE GameSalad, it just simply wasn't for me or my needs.

    I think GameSalad is great as it opens up a lot of opportunity for those who might not otherwise be able to make games. I also agree that the community there is awesome, and very helpful. Right now I believe the user community is significantly larger than what's at Corona, though Corona's is growing as well.

    I did notice one thing though.

    I noticed *most* of the higher quality GameSalad games are made by people who have had SOME kind of programming experience in the past.

    Also, I looked up just about every tweak that I could find to make my game perform better in GS, and some of those tweaks are definitely not made with the "human" in mind... For example, replacing timers with the game clock required "programming" in a sort, combined with the natural way GameSalad works... It wasn't as simple as implementing the normal timers, but I believe it's highly necessary if you want to squeeze as much as you can from your game.

    But once again, I don't HATE GameSalad, I was just frustrated with it and realized it wasn't for me, so I moved on. From there, it was the only thing I had to compare Corona to... and for my personal needs, Corona completely blows it out of the water.

    What did you think of Lua code? The syntax is even simpler than PHP, but it works about the same, so honestly, you should feel right at home with it.
  9. Photics

    Photics Well-Known Member

    Jun 1, 2010
    #9 Photics, Sep 15, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2010
    I looked at Corona again today. I thought about buying it, but I didn't do it... even with the subscription price at $99. I tried to picture what projects I would work on.

    Your quote on the main Ansca Mobile page was funny to me. Heh, it looks like you're referring to GameSalad as the slow software. So, I tried to think of which projects I would optimize. I couldn't think of any. I fought hard to optimize my games. Yes, the tricks are not something intuative to a beginner, but that's one of the reasons I hesitate to try Corona. I know GameSalad. I know it really well. Switching to Corona is almost like starting from scratch. I don't want to struggle for 1-2 months before I can release another game.

    I like that Corona does hyperlinks. There's also a way to trick Corona to display AdMob ads. That's basically all of the features of GameSalad Pro right there... no splash screen, links and banner ads. Heh, what am I waiting for?

    I seem to be allergic to coding. :p

    Lua seems to be really close to ActionScript. I really hate ActionScript. I try to imagine myself working with layers and "scenes" in Corona. It seems highly tedious, no?
  10. jonbeebe

    jonbeebe Well-Known Member

    @Photics: I'm not sure about the Admob ads and I've never used ActionScript, so I can't comment there.

    What I did to learn Corona was to port an existing GameSalad made game over, and it took about 8 days (granted, I was at the computer A LOT) and I pretty much got Lua down.

    If you're stuck on user interfaces though and really can't stand text, then Corona might not be for you afterall. But if you ever want an alternative to GameSalad, then Corona is by far your easiest option (as far as time-to-learn, without sacrificing performance either).

    Oh, and Corona's graphics are 100% OpenGL... It works very nicely. But once again, if you hate coding then I guess GameSalad is really your ONLY option lol.

    I can give you a promo code for both of my Corona-made games if you want to try them out and see how they perform.

    Corona is also going final tomorrow (15th), and the price will change to $249/year, so if you think you'll try it out, then today is the day to do it (and if you purchase today, you'll get Game Edition for free, but not if you wait until tomorrow).

    Game Edition is still in beta though so the final pricing hasn't yet been announced.
  11. Photics

    Photics Well-Known Member

    Jun 1, 2010
    I saw a post about it...

    I read about the comparison here...

    That's encouraging, but layers seem confusing. I'd probably port Arcade Action... but the first thing I start to think of is scenes and layers.

    In a performance competition today, I'm confident that Corona would crush GameSalad. Peformance is a big issue for GameSalad. Supposedly improvements are on the way.

    I don't mind writing some things in HTML/PHP code... but I don't make tables by hand. That's the way I see Corona. Even if I know how to code, it's still tedious and slow. GameSalad automates the repetitive tasks. Instead of having to look up how to spawn an actor and then putting the code in my project, I can simply drag-and-drop.

    The strongest reason for Corona is cross-platform. Being able to easily port my games to Android would be a huge advantage. Today is the last day for the sale and there's only some hours left in the day. It seems this window of opportunity is closing.
  12. jonbeebe

    jonbeebe Well-Known Member

    Yes, that is a very strong point. Use the same code (for the most part) and create an Android version of your app. I also don't think Corona is going to be limited to just Android and iOS in the future.

    I REALLY wish Corona had support for in-app purchases though. I know it IS on their roadmap, and a lot of people have suggested it. Hopefully the next version of Game Edition (due in a couple weeks or so) will have support for it. I'd really like to start rolling out some free games/apps.

    I plan on porting to Android eventually... whenever I have an Android device but right now iOS is my main focus, as it will be for some time I assume, so I'm not in any rush to port to Android at the moment.

    I have a new game, made with Corona, that's Waiting for review right now. More info about it here:

Share This Page