I’m just starting work on a new product for game developers. While there are a lot of game development tools out there, I don’t think any of them are doing it right.
Here are some of the best of the bunch (oh, I’m talking about 2D mobile development for the most part – 3D stuff is a whole other kettle of fish (and a kettle I care nothing about)).
Stencyl – one of the oddest game development tools I’ve seen because while it’s based around a visually-oriented IDE, the logic of the game is created by dragging little blocks together to form a kind of flow chart. It’s really kind of fun and Stencyl seems to have a pretty hardcore community around it. The downside is that typing the equivalent lines of code would take a fraction of the time.
Corona SDK – Another odd one in that while they are targeting newer people, there’s no IDE of any kind included. You use your favorite text editor to write the code and then test it in their simulator. One of the nicest things about Corona SDK is how fast it is to get up and running. From a coding standpoint you can get a lot of mileage from just a few lines of code. One con of Corona is there’s no way to expand it – what you can do with it is what you can do and if you want to do something more you have to hope the guys behind the scenes add that functionality at some point.
Moai SDK – Just a month or so out of beta at this point Moai SDK has attracted a lot of attention lately by being chosen as the framework of choice for a couple high-profile games. The big deal about Moai is that it’s open source, which means if you want added functionality you can download the source code and add it yourself (or hire a smart person to do it for you). The worst thing about Moai is the learning curve can be pretty steep.
There are three game development tools, all with things to recommend them, but I’m the sort that’s often dissatisfied with the status quo (I think 200 years ago I would have been one of the guys heading West to see what was there). I want something that combines the best of all three.
And so I decided to write it. It will have an IDE that makes it drag-and-drop easy to create games like Stencyl, with the ease of coding like Corona, and the extensible power of Moai.
I call it Renegade and it will ship in late Q4 2012.
Fast, easy, and powerful cross-platform development (Windows and Mac) for cross-platform games (iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac).
I’m really excited about the possibilities and can’t wait to show it to you.
[Update Nov 20, 2012] — (Warning: drama alert) People are asking about the status of Renegade, seeing as how it’s now the middle of Q4.
The death of my father and the disappearance of my 16yo daughter this summer basically blew 3 months to smithereens. About a month ago is when I finally got things shifted back into Drive but I’m still playing catch-up. (We know my daughter is alive and physically safe, but not much more than that.)
That’s the biggest downside to being a “lone wolf developer” — when life happens there’s nobody else who can take up the slack.
Renegade is still on my list, but pushed back because the scope of Outlaw is in flux. While today Outlaw is a rebranded copy of CPM, I’ve come up with some ways to get about halfway to Renegade — while still allowing it to be used in it’s current form.
Renegade is going to be a complete switch — if you want to use it, you *won’t* be able to write your program any way you want like you can now with Outlaw/CPM. But what I see Outlaw morphing into over the next 2-3 months is something that allows both methods.
The biggest difference between Outlaw and Renegade is the “new stuff” in Outlaw will be using Corona SDK under the hood — I still plan on using Moai SDK for Renegade.
Why not just get to work right on Renegade? Because I think at this point the market for a Corona-based tool is bigger than the market for a Moai-based tool. And I have to pay the bills. My “funding” for tomorrow comes from whatever sales I make today, basically.
But if someone threw a big bunch of money at me? I’d dump everything and focus on Renegade. In a heartbeat.