My name is David Mekersa and I manage the French Studio – Casual Box.
I started creating my first games on Amstrad CPC, and then on the Amiga. I am a veteran in the world of new technologies with over 20 years of experience. At times I am a developer, while at other periods I am a creator, designer, technical director, or head of international projects. In 2006, I created the site www.casualgames.fr and in 2009, I launched Casual Box, a French video game studio.
Here are my tips for creating a game in two months with Corona SDK.
1 – Familiarize Yourself
Read “Corona for Newbies” tutorials, open sample projects, play with the code, and try to understand it. You won’t understand every line, but I have found it takes two days to begin to learn a new programming language. At this point, start coding!
2 – Learn When It’s Necessary
You want to work fast. So, you’ll have to start programming with just some basic understanding of the language. My method: I start coding, and learn as I go along. For example, when I was developing Chicken Deep, I needed to use the accelerometer. I coded everything up until that point, and then looked at the Corona SDK documentation, and eureka, I learned all about the accelerometer!
3 – Make Decisions
What is your game about? Try to sketch it on paper and divide it in chunks.
I like to use wireframe templates. Start simple, create a menu scene, and a gameplay scene and use the storyboard functions of Corona.
4 – Think Simple
You’ll add new scene when you’ll need. Don’t try to plan everything, because you don’t really know how your game will look before the first prototype (and even then you won’t be sure!).
5 – Limit Yourself
Decide how many weeks you’ll work on the game. The schedule will decide the features, not the other way around! Check your progress every week and make smart decisions.
6 – Create From Scratch
You don’t need art, sound and music right now. Don’t be shy to create from scratch. Use sounds from other samples or from the web. The same holds true for the art so just use placeholders. My method is to search images with Google, adding “png” to the search terms.
7 – Prototype
Aim to prototype the gameplay in a minimum amount of time – just a few hours should be enough. If the prototype sucks, try to enhance it. If you can’t, go to sleep and try again the next day.
8 – Build by Successive Refinement
A game is like a painting – you need to have something complete at every stage of its creation. Create everything, even if it’s brief, and then refine each part until it’s good enough to publish.
9 – Integrate
When you have something playable (and demonstrable to your wife…), it’s time to integrate real art, music and sounds. But don’t be naïve – your game will change, up until the final version you submit to the App Store. Your artist needs to be aware of that.
10 – Play!
Play your game at every stage. A lot.
11 – Plan
Divide your process in 4 steps:
-Alpha (playable, with lot of bugs and missing features)
-Beta (few bugs, feature complete)
-Final Beta (only your wife can ask for some changes…)
-Release Candidate (this is the one!)
12 – Kill Your Babies
Less is more. Remove features if you feel it will impact your schedule too much, or if they make the game too complicated. I know it’s hard to remove lovely lines of code, but sometimes it’s for the best!
13 – Take a Break
You have to stop coding at some point and decide on the release candidate.
With these tips, I developed Chicken Deep in two months with Corona SDK. Download the game for your iOS device and enjoy!