Guest Post: My year (well, 8 months) with Corona

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Today’s guest post comes to your courtesy of Rob Allison. Rob picked up Corona SDK this past April and eventually created a game that has already sold over 10,000 copies in under two weeks of release. Of course, this all started when he decided Objective-C was just too hard… sound familiar?

When Apple launched the App Store in 2008, I knew I wanted to get involved. As a big gamer and gadget lover, it seemed like the perfect way to spend my spare time.

Over the years I tried to get started, but could never find enough time to learn Objective C. I bought a book and spent many hours studying, but soon I realized it required a lot more time than I could spare. So I started looking for an alternative, figuring there must be an easier way to do it.

Soon enough, I found Corona

At first I was confused (“What is Lua?”). Nevertheless after spending a bit of time in the forums and looking at the brilliant reference documents, I soon had the hang of it!

That was in April 2011 — I have now released five games to the App Store. My first game was very simple but, as I learned more about Corona and the way it works, my games quickly became more ambitious and much easier to build.

Stay Alive is my current creation and was released on December 18. It’s the kind of game I’ve always wanted to build — a top-down space shooter that’s fast-paced and addictive with fun graphics and awesome music. The aim of the game is to stay alive by shooting enemies, dodging asteroids, and collecting orbs to upgrade your ship.

At first, I was a bit concerned the game would be too memory-intensive since there would be lots of objects on the screen at the same time, and the game would need to detect each collision. But by using some techniques suggested in the forums, like physics and sprites, I was able to make Stay Alive run quickly and smoothly.

On its first day of release, Stay Alive received 11,000 downloads in the Android Market, was featured as a trending app. Oh, and it also reached the top 100 paid games in the Apple App Store. I was totally blown away by the attention it got!

I was thrilled that people were playing a game I created! Back in 2008, I’d never have imagined that could happen. The support from the good guys at Reddit has been brilliant, and I’ve had so many great comments and lots of really useful feedback from them. I can’t wait to start working on the next update to improve game play and add new features.

Working with Corona has made it so easy for me to pursue a hobby I love. It’s amazing to see your finished product working on a handset, and hearing people’s feedback. It’s inspiring, really. I’m excited to keep developing Stay Alive, and also will soon be working my next creation…

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This entry has 7 replies

  1. MrMells says:

    Great story, Rob.
    Has this business been profitable?

  2. Dan says:

    Congrats Rob!
    Could you please tells us about your promotion efforts. My Corona-made game which was released about one month before yours has had NOWHERE near your game’s success.

  3. Haha congrats Rob! My game Annoying Pig Game reached over 10,000 downloads in 2 weeks just like you! It also was number 34 in the top new free games when it was released on the Android market. I know the feeling of your game being successful and I’m sure your really happy right now. Hope your game keeps selling and doing great!

  4. Rob says:

    @MrMells – Yes, totally. I have more than covered my expenses in just over a week, I’m really excited to see how it’s going to go. It’s not all about that for me though. I absolutely love using corona. I think I’m a little bit addicted to it. It’s great to have another hobby to be honest.

    @Dan I was very lucky with the promotional side of it. I’ve been a redditor for a year and a half, and decided to post my new game there. (as I had done with my previous games). People seemed to like it and within an hour or two it had reached the front page. Since that got so much exposure (something ridiculous like 400,000 views), a few blogs then featured the game. It kinda just spiralled from there.

    I think one of the most important tools I had though was the video I did on youtube (see above). It’s a screen recording of me playing the game in realtime, using the ultimote to control the simulator. For my next update (almost finished it!!) I’m going to do a new video and put more thought behind it 🙂

    @Jordan Thanks a lot!

  5. Sun Jiajie says:

    Congrats Rob!
    Really envy your success. 🙂
    Our game Jet Rats only got 5 downloads per day on average…

    I think i’d better to do a new video.

  6. Congrats on your TouchArcade review, too. I knew I saw that game somewhere recently!

  7. Ron says:

    Hi Rob,
    Congratulations on your big success!!!

    I have an interest in doing some app programming but I don’t have any programming backgrounds. I was reading your post and thought that you also somehow started from scratch. Do you suggest corona as my first app programming software?

    Thanks and more power to you!!!