This is my first developers blog on game development so it is good to make an introduction. We have been designing games on and off since 2008. We were trying to build a business, but ended up becoming more like hobby projects. I would say it was our lack of experience and bad timing. Imagine back in 2008, we had to really try hard to explain what was in game purchase and in game currency and what was a free-now-and-buy-if-you-like-later model. It is obviously not the case now.
Now it is 2016, we enjoy mobility and cloud convenience. Not to mention the upcoming virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) experiences and artificial intelligence (AI), we do have more and more amazing technological innovations coming at us. I am excited in how these will apply to the gaming industry!
When we first talked about building mobile games I was looking at a few raw code compile engines, I remembered vaguely it requires game coding, code compilation, graphics compiliation and uploading and registering to Apple App Store and Android Google Play. I can’t even explain it clearly, it is not one but a few many things. After further digging I discovered game development tools which required no coding, but just designing logic flow and graphics positioning. Ok they are not the best scenario, but at the very least it can help cut down on my time and cost in trying to figure out the coding part, and focus on game logic and design user experiences.
If you are interested in learning about what are out there, here is a link offering a few of the most current ones. There is also one called Buildbox recently. All if not most of them are subscription based. And as I said, they are not the best scenario because in my opinion, the graphics cannot be too complicated and they are mostly 2D games at the moment (correct me if I am wrong ;-))
GameSalad was the popular one back in 2015, and we chose it and stick to it since. Here are a few wisdoms of mine on GameSalad:
- Mac and PC versions are offered, which is the better one? The answer is Mac is the better one while the PC version is a bit cumbersome, you are saving a directory of files while for the Mac version you are saving only a single file, containing everything including your core and media files. And another note is if you are to share the development files with you colleagues, you needed to use some converter. So it is advised if you use GameSalad, you should use the same operating system (and the Mac version is much better, trust me).
- Supports and community – Their tech and CS supports are great. The community members are helpful and the forum is relatively active.
- Usability – The Mac version offers a quite intuitive layout and in general once you run through a few of the GameSalad tutorials, you are on your way to do no coding game design! The drag and drop and looping of functions can be messy, so somehow I feel if you have a coding background like me (mainly php), and you stick to your good practices of commenting your codes and keep things tidy, you will be fine.
- Successful cases – There are a few they called game of the month, but from my personal review they were not top notch (it is my honest opinion, even ours are not great at the moment). But hey there are too many bad and trial games in our Apple App Store and Google Play these days, the innovative game industry is never meant to be easy right?
I would give GameSalad a 6.8/10. It still has a long way to go to be great, but hey it is good enough because nothing out there stood out as of today. I expect more complex tools, plugins, and advancements beyond trying to connect with Google and Apple, or tried to add Ads (which many gamers won’t appreciate an Ad in the cut scenes).
Aug 26, 2016