By John Moore
Mobile game developers are beating a path to Corona SDK, a development platform built upon such components as OpenGL, OpenAL and the Lua cross-platform programming language. Corona Labs Inc. (formerly Ansca Mobile) lists games including Blast Monkeys, The Lost City, Cannon Cat, Dabble and The Secret of Grisly Manor as recent app store hits created with Corona. I recently talked to Don-Duong Quach, a programmer and co-founder of Cannon Cat developer Loqheart, about his use of Corona SDK.
The Corona website notes that developers can build apps ten times faster using Lua. Has that been your experience?
Don Quach: We were able to rapidly prototype lots of ideas for Cannon Cat with
Corona. Lua is a great programming language that lets you get a lot done with minimal syntax. Compared to Objective-C, the learning curve is a lot lower. The Corona simulator makes it very fast to iterate on your code, and Corona’s API gets you up and running very quickly with just a couple lines of code to add graphics, physics, sound, etcetera.
Did you look at other iOS development tools before starting work on Cannon Cat? What features/capabilities of Corona SDK stood out for you?
D.Q.: I’m a former Flash developer, so before using Corona I was trying to compile Adobe AIR to work on Android. The performance just wasn’t enough at the time, so I tried out Corona and have been using it ever since. What turned me on to Corona was the ease of use, performance on device, extensive API and cost.
Can developers coming from an Objective-C or scripting language background both put Corona SDK to good use? Is it geared more toward one community than another?
D.Q.: As a professional developer who has done programming in a variety of languages, I found Corona extremely approachable. Most all the developers I know in the community are using it to develop games.
Did you find the physics engine (Box2D) relatively easy to use, given the reduction in the programming required?
D.Q.: Box2D has been very approachable with the simplified API, though at times it shields us from too much of the underlying capabilities and makes it difficult to debug physics-related issues. You still need to understand what Box2D is doing internally to best utilize it.
In what area does Corona SDK excel?
D.Q.: Outside of all the other things I mentioned, the Corona community is amazing. The Corona team is very open and helpful. Also, daily builds give us access to fixes and updates very quickly. Corona is making improvements in the graphics department, and with the new Enterprise license, we now have the possibility of integrating additional APIs.
John Moore has written about business and technology for more than 20 years. His articles have appeared in Baseline, CIO Insight, Federal Computer Week, Government Health IT and Tech Target. Areas of focus include cloud computing, health information technology, systems integration and virtualization. He is a frequent contributor to Digital Innovation Gazette.