Fire Maple Games: An Indie Success Story

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Fire Maple Games is a great example of a successful indie studio using Corona SDK to develop games. Joe Kauffmann has now developed two amazingly successful games, The Secret of Grisly Manor, and more recently, The Lost City. Both boast beautiful graphics and have hit the top of the charts in multiple app stores.

We asked Joe for some background on his studio, his work with Corona SDK and his general development experience.


What’s your background as a developer?

I started my career as an artist/animator. The first professional job I had was working on After Dark, the screensaver software.

About 11 years ago, I started to learn Flash. Actionscript was the only programming or scripting language that I knew before learning how to use Corona. Corona’s syntax is so similar to Flash that I felt right at home!

When did you go the “independent route” with your own studio, Fire Maple Games?

I started Fire Maple Games in 2008. I initially made casual Mac/Windows desktop games. In late 2009, I started making iOS games. The Lost City is my fourth game for mobile devices.

Tell us about a little more about Fire Maple.

I am usually pretty much a one-man band, doing all of the art and programming. For these adventure games, though, I am working closely with my good friend Patrick. We design the games together, then split up to handle different tasks. He is an amazing photographer and artist as well, and has taken over 30,000 photos for The Lost City. I use bits and pieces from his photos as the starting point for the final graphics. Patrick also did all of the sound effects for The Lost City. Hopefully, we will keep this working relationship going for as long as possible!

How did Corona come into the picture?

I was looking around for an easy to use, powerful SDK. I immediately loved the syntax as it reminded me so much of Flash – well, except that it runs so much faster on the devices!

Since you started using it, how has Corona affected how you build games?

I use Corona exclusively. It is nice and fast, and I am able to utilize all of my previous scripting knowledge. I do not feel restrained in any way, I can truly create anything I can think of with Corona. It really enhances my creativity, and it’s so much fun to use!

Could you have replicated those benefits using other mobile development platforms?

The games I make are fairly simple, programmatically speaking. I always aim for the lowest common denominator. I want my games to work on every possible device. Because of this, I can usually get stuff up and running in other SDKs, but none have the flexibility and power that I have found with Corona.

Functionality aside, have you benefitted from other aspects of the Corona community?

I have met and talked to several members of the staff, and all are such nice people. Very passionate about what they are working on. Plus all the code snippets in the Code Exchange are amazing, as well as third party tools and libraries like Particle Candy.

Given your repeat success with Corona-made games would you recommend Corona to other indie game developers?

I recommend Corona to every indie game developer! I interact mostly with Flash developers so, of course, it is an easy recommendation.
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