Creating a Game in 2 Months with Corona SDK (Guest Post)

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David Mekersa is the CEO of the French studio, Casual Box. He’s a 20 year veteran of the tech world and the developer of the Corona-built Chicken Deep, a newly launched action game for iOS.

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 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.

My Results

With these tips, I developed Chicken Deep in two months with Corona SDK. Download the game for your iOS device and enjoy!


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This entry has 3 replies

  1. theName says:

    The article leaves out the motivation. Why dedicating 2 months to this task? For the experience? Or did you earn money by doing this, money that pays for your food and developer tools for 2 months? Just interested.

    • David says:

      Hi theName, you’re right, the article miss the story behind the game.
      We are a professional independent studio (named Casual Box, based in France), we already published 2 games (Geisha The Secret Garden, and Age of Enigma).
      I worked alone on Chicken Deep. The idea was to create our first mobile game is a very short delay, and learn anything from the platform to the monetization. As we’re professional, we cannot spend too much time on any project (money, money…) and 2 months was the deal.
      Then, we coded an adventure game engine, made with Corona, and planned to create a sequel to Age of Enigma for iOS/Android… The engine is done and the project just began. The Chicken Deep experience helped a lot.

  2. john oliver says:

    Thank you so much for the tips…. Those tutorial will surely help us to create game….