Teen Builds Mobile Game Business with Corona SDK

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Jordan Schuetz started developing with Corona SDK when he was just 16 years old. He went on to create several hit games for NOOK including Draw & Guess Online and IQ Test. His most recent app, IQ Test, was the #2 best selling game for over a week, while Draw & Guess landed in the Top 25 of best selling games on NOOK.

What first got you interested in game development?

When I was 16, I got an original Droid and watched a bunch of cool apps hit the market. I wanted to create my own app for fun and started playing around with Google App Inventor. I never actually released the app, but it was my first experience with development.

How did you learn about Corona SDK?

A team member from Corona visited my dad’s office for computer parts, and told him about Corona Labs (then called Ansca Mobile). I was doing Android development at the time, and my dad recommended that I check out Corona SDK.

I began reaching out to people in the Corona forum and asked if anyone in the Bay Area wanted to meet up. Someone replied and we started meeting each weekend. That’s how I learned to program. We still meet on Sunday afternoons, but it’s evolved to become a weekly class, with lots of kids attending.

You’ve been using Corona for more than two years. How do you feel the platform has evolved?

Corona used to be most iPhone focused, and it’s evolved to become much more Android friendly. It’s now a lot faster to develop Android apps. Throughout the past two years, more support has gone into Android, specifically for NOOK and Kindle. Optimization has also evolved, as well as the number of features that Corona SDK offers.

You’ve had some very popular games on the NOOK, including Draw & Guess Online and IQ Test. How fast were you able to develop these games with Corona, when compared to native development?

I was able to develop Draw & Guess at least three times faster. In total, the game took about two months to complete. I developed IQ Test in just a few days with Corona.

Let’s talk about your longest running success, Draw & Guess. What were the main challenges of building this game?

It was difficult to get the multiplayer aspect working, because there wasn’t a clear way to do it. Once I found PubNub, it was easy. PubNub allowed me to send packets of information over the internet with easy integration into Corona-made apps. I had to do a lot of testing to ensure it would work for the thousands of people that play the game each day.

Why did you decide to release Draw & Guess only for the NOOK?

I wanted to strictly keep to tablets because you need a fast internet connection for a real-time game. I was successful on NOOK from the start, so wanted to stay consistent with that market. I also wanted to make sure that if any problems arose, I would know the platform well and be able to fix it quickly.

How successful were Draw & Guess and IQ Test?

Draw & Guess was the #22 best selling game for multiple weeks and has a 4.5 star average out of 5, based on over 2,800 reviews. It has even more reviews than Angry Birds Space! IQ Test was the #2 best selling game for NOOK for over a week and was higher ranked than Angry Birds and PVZ during this time.

How many total apps have you built with Corona SDK?

I’ve built about ten games with Corona. The most successful games were Draw & Guess Online, Strobelight (which has over 100K downloads and is available on Google Play as well), IQ Test, and Annoying Pig Game.

Why do you feel Corona is the best platform solution for developments?

Corona makes it very easy to set up a project. Also, the community in the forums is amazing, there are tons of tutorials available, and since Corona SDK uses the Lua language, it’s easy to learn. Corona’s APIs are superior and the simplicity and power that Corona offers makes it an exceptional platform.

My friend who lives in Pasadena wanted to learn to program and he tweeted to the @CoronaLabs handle. Within hours, someone responded to lend a helping hand, and now the two meet regularly. I love that about Corona – you can just put yourself out there and it’s really easy to meet up with people and learn from one another. I haven’t seen that kind of support from other SDKs.

What’s your next Corona project?

I’m always working on something new that I know my fans will love! Follow me on Twitter to get the latest updates: @ninjapigstudios.

What are your plans for the future?

I’m entering my first year as a freshman at UC Riverside this Fall, and plan to study Computer Engineering. In the long term, I hope to continue developing games.

Thanks for sharing your experience, Jordan!

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