Naomi Kokubo is the indie developer of Beetle Bounce, an October App of the Week winner. Brand new to mobile development, Naomi used Corona SDK to build her first game. From writing all the code, to creating all the animation, Naomi writes on her “do it yourself” approach to building a game she’s proud of.
I believe you can’t build a truly great game unless you iterate like mad, and there’s no better way to iterate than to code it yourself.
A little over a year ago, I had no real programming experience. I did have ample business experience. I was the COO of two venture-funded startups and had worked in the gaming business for years.
So I was faced with a choice: I could hire an engineer, artist, designer and composer (as I’d always done), but this gets expensive fast! Or I could try to make a game entirely on my own. I really wanted to develop my own, personal games without being dependent on anyone else for funding, design and implementation. I’m also a mother with two kids, and I wanted the flexibility of working from home. Everything considered, I chose to go it alone.
With virtually no coding background, I began looking around for the best solution that would allow me to get up and running quickly, but wouldn’t limit my game in the long run.
- Game Salad looked simple enough, but it was too limiting.
- Unity 3D seemed nice for 3D games, but creating a 2D game seemed like a lot of work with a high learning curve.
- HTML 5 was sexy but had lots of issues. In my opinion, it just wasn’t ready for games.
After analyzing all of the software packages on the market, I decided on Corona SDK because it felt like the right blend of functionality and flexibility. It also cross-compiled to iOS and Android, a huge plus for an indie developer.
Now, here’s how ignorant I was. I didn’t even know what an API was. I used to blank out when anyone talked tech to me. When I started with Corona, I literally had to look up on Wikipedia what an API was.
Less than 6 months later, I’d completed my first game, and I not only coded it, but I also did 100% of the art, animation, UI design, game design and every other task. It was a fantastic experience, and the one thing that made it possible was the support of my peers in the Corona community. Without their support, I couldn’t have done it.
My game, Beetle Bounce (www.lavamind.com) went on to receive lots of great reviews, was a Featured App on the Kindle Fire, and was a Top Game Pick on the NOOK! I was thrilled.
I’m now working on my second game, which is more ambitious than the first. I recently learned MySQL and PHP and set up a database with multiplayer asynchronous gameplay. Amazingly, it works! The game is nearly done and will launch by Christmas.
I have to say that I love what I do. I plan to keep going solo for the time being. It’s so rewarding that even the pain of having to do it all yourself pays off in a million little ways. And I want to thank everyone in the Corona community who has been so kind to help me get this far!
Co-founder of LavaMind
NOTE: If you’re interested in trying out Beetle Bounce, you can download it from these sites: