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MannyG

Unity New to game development and looking for reccomendations and advice (Cross platform suggestions)

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Hello,

I am an intermediate developer with minor experience on enterprise mobile applications for iphone, android and blackberry looking to build my first ever mobile game. I did a google search for some game dev forums and this popped up so I thought I would try posting here as I lack luck elsewhere.

If you have ever heard of the game for the iphone and android platform entitled [i]avatar fight[/i] then you will have an idea of the graphic capabilities I require. Basically the battles which are automated one sprite attacking another doing cool animations but all in 2d. My buddy and I have two motivations, one is to jump into mobile Dev as my experience is limited as is his so we would like some trending knowledge (html5 would be nice to learn) . The other is to make some money on the side, don't expect much but polishing the game and putting our all will hopefully reward us a bit.

We have looked into corona engine, however a lot of people are saying it is limited in the graphics department, we are open to learning new languages like lua, c++, python etc. Others we have looked at include phonegap, rhomobile, unity, and the list goes on. I really have no idea what the pros and cons of these are but for a basic battle sequence and some mini games we want to chose the right one.

Some more things that we will be doing include things like card games, side scrolling flying object based games, maybe fishing stuff. We want to start small with these minigames and work our way up to the idea we would like to implement in the future. We only want to work in 2D.

So with these requirements please help me chose a platform to work on (cross platform is what we are ideally leaning towards). Please feel free to throw in some pieces of advice you may have for newbie game developers like myself too.

Thank you for reading,

Manny


Edit: I just wanted to say a great big thank you to everyone who is responding to this thread, I posted this question all over other forums and never received as much acceptance and interest then on this forum and I really do appreciate it. From the bottom of my heart, thank you all! Also the search is still going so feel free to chime in ;) Edited by MannyG

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Two options for you pop into my mind.


For the broadest platform availibility, you can't really beat Unity. Yeah, it's a 3d engine, but quite a lot of 2d stuff is being produced on the platform. Unity uses C#, a version of JavaScript called UnityScript, and a version of Python called Boo. You can choose either, or all of them.

The other option is quite limited, depending on one factor. XNA give you probably the easiest road ahead on the 2d front, but it's limited to Windows, XBox and Windows-phones. However, there is a Mono-port of XNA to loads more platforms.

I don't know how far MonoGame (the XNA port) has come, though, so you might want to check that out. With MonoGame and XNA you could probably use the same codebase for almost as many platforms as Unity. And the best part is, it's free.

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Monogame is free but on iOS and android requires the respective mono licenses (monodroid and monotouch) which are $399 per year EACH.

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For a corporate group i'd go with Unity. Use the free PC version for prototyping, and if you like it you can move your stuff directly over to the handhelds. The licenses cost less than the salary it would take to build an engine from scratch.

For a no-budget indie I'd go with cocos2d-x. It will take more work to get started but you cannot beat the price. You will spend many more hours on platform and tools development, but if you have no money then building your own is sadly your only option.

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[quote name='6677' timestamp='1353863011' post='5003961']
Monogame is free but on iOS and android requires the respective mono licenses (monodroid and monotouch) which are $399 per year EACH.
[/quote]

Unity Pro is $1500 for the Pro version, and you need that if you're doing professional work. Each of the other platforms cost an additional $400 I believe. All of these prices are per seat as well. But then again, if one wants to make money, one unfortunately have to spend money. And with the cost of time per seat, it's a couple of days work.

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Apologies, but I don't see how to edit my post above.

I checked the prices on Unity, and there are in fact two versions for iOS/Android etc. A standard version for $400 and a pro version for $1500. I don't know the difference between the two sets, given that you need Unity Pro editor for both the standard and pro mobile platform versions.

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Unity would be my top option with all the research I have done before posting this however the price point is pretty offsetting. I mean it's about 1500 for the pro version + 400 for the iphone and android platforms respectively. That's a little steep for us, I don't even imagine we would have an ROI until about 6 months after release. Has anyone here ever used Corona? I know Lua is quite popular, angrybirds was developed with Lua too.

Sigh, the decisions seem to be endless but my main de-motivation for Unity just seems to be price. Does anyone know if Angrybirds used a cross-platform engine or was it native?

Also I recall reading in numerous threads using OpenGL/OpenAS (?) which are compatible for both the ios and android. Can someone shed some light if this is a viable option? And if so how would that work...as far as I know OpenGL (and Box2D for ios) are simply frameworks for graphics.

P.S Thank you all for replying and helping me figure this ordeal out [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img] Edited by MannyG

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Another option might be [url="http://jmonkeyengine.com/"]jMonkeyengine[/url]. That is a Java-engine with a bunch of different platforms because it's Java. But from what I can tell, it suffers from the usual open source disease. The main devs aren't very enthused at the moment and may have found another shiney, and the last update to the engine was a year ago.

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[quote name='MannyG' timestamp='1353902075' post='5004097']
Does anyone know if Angrybirds used a cross-platform engine or was it native?
[/quote]
On android C++ and the NDK with SDL for drawing and Box2D for physics. I am not sure for other platforms. I assume the same again as C++, SDL and Box2d are all available. Only exception would be windows phone 7 which because of market restrictions must have been a C# rewrite using XNA (I believe there is also a pure C# port of Box2d somewhere which they could have used). Lua I can't find much reference to its usage but it would certainly be a quick way of defining locations of the pigs and blocks in levels and the score needed to pass a level with a certain star rating although that could also be done as part of the main C++ code.

Basically it used its own engine.

Just because it uses an engine does not mean it isn't native though. Ultimately an engine might well just be the framework and the game still compiles to 1 native executable.

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There's [url="http://www.giderosmobile.com/"]Gideros[/url] and [url="http://www.gameclosure.com/"]GameClosure[/url] too. Also consider [url="http://www.apportable.com/"]Apportable[/url] which
will bring an iOS game to Android, not sure about the rates though.

Good luck, MannyG!

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[quote name='stan.idesis' timestamp='1354042751' post='5004614']
There's [url="http://www.giderosmobile.com/"]Gideros[/url] and [url="http://www.gameclosure.com/"]GameClosure[/url] too. Also consider [url="http://www.apportable.com/"]Apportable[/url] which
will bring an iOS game to Android, not sure about the rates though.

Good luck, MannyG!
[/quote]

Thanks, I really want to stay away from Objective-C haha, my partner and I are trying to streamline our careers into mobile/web dev in the shortest time, we don't want to develop only in Objective-C for this reason and just port over. This could take longer then I thought just choosing which engine to use. I appreciate the recommendation :)

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Assuming since you posted in the mobile development thread, you're interested in cross platform mobile development.
I can recommend using Cocos2d-x ([url="http://www.cocos2d-x.org/"]http://www.cocos2d-x.org/[/url]). Majority of development can be completed in C++, and there are a lot of tutorials online
to help you get started.

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Marmelade is pretty popular: http://www.madewithmarmalade.com/

As for Unity, you can use Unity Free + Android Basic + iOS basic for a cost of $800. You dont need to buy Unity pro (unless you require those features, of course).

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[quote name='North' timestamp='1354117910' post='5004986']
Assuming since you posted in the mobile development thread, you're interested in cross platform mobile development.
I can recommend using Cocos2d-x (http://www.cocos2d-x.org/). Majority of development can be completed in C++, and there are a lot of tutorials online
to help you get started.
[/quote]

One thing here that concerns me is that C++ is not a commonly used mobile/web dev language right? Well I guess I should have mentioned we want to get into enterprise mobile development not game development. We want to make a game simply because we believe we have a decent idea, it would look good on a resume showing we understand how the market's work and how the SDLC comes to play as we will be doing all the work. We would really like to learn HTML5 but yeah, beggars can't be choosers right? My partner is leaning towards the Corona Engine, I am not so sure the specifications of what our app and test apps need to do can be handled by Corona though. Sorry for the minor rant :P




[quote name='AdrianC' timestamp='1354119950' post='5004992']
Marmelade is pretty popular: [url="http://www.madewithmarmalade.com/"]http://www.madewithmarmalade.com/[/url]

As for Unity, you can use Unity Free + Android Basic + iOS basic for a cost of $800. You dont need to buy Unity pro (unless you require those features, of course).
[/quote]

Is it $800 a year, or a one time purchase so I can put the apps on the android/iphone markets respectively without having to worry about paying to keep them up there for fear unity will file some crazy complaint to tear them down? No question is a stupid question...right? guys?....guys... Edited by MannyG

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I'm surprised no one has mentioned Game Maker yet...

It is actually pretty good, and can do much more than people would think. Since you are only looking at 2d, Game Maker Studio fits perfectly, and it has ports for HTML5, iOS, Android, Windows 8(Javascript), Mac, and Windows. There are lots of apps for Android and iOS already, and even a couple of games published on Steam.

the prices are also much better than Unity, or pretty much anything else(except free stuff). There are free versions with limited features you can use, though I wouldn't want to use them for final versions. But they have enough features in order to let you get a good idea how it works. The master collection is $499, but it includes all current ports, and all upcoming ports, at least until the next version comes out, which will likely be more than a year from now. The Standard version is $49, and the professional version is $99. The best deal is the Master collection, but you can buy ports individually too, if you buy the professional version. The HTML5 port is $99, and the others(iOS, Android, Windows Phone 8) are $199. So The professional plus Android would be $298. You can see how it is much better to just buy the Master version.

The interface is designed to make things easy. Resources are loaded beforehand similar to Unity3d. There is a drag&drop method to making game code, but it is somewhat limited. There is also a scripting language(gml) which is similar to a weird combination of C/C++, Delphi, and Javascript. But if you have worked in any C-style language gml will be simple to pick up.

................

As far as the Unity3d licensing, the fees are all one off payments, Unlike Corona and GameSalad which require you to pay yearly.

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[quote name='kburkhart84' timestamp='1354156028' post='5005174']
I'm surprised no one has mentioned Game Maker yet...

It is actually pretty good, and can do much more than people would think. Since you are only looking at 2d, Game Maker Studio fits perfectly, and it has ports for HTML5, iOS, Android, Windows 8(Javascript), Mac, and Windows. There are lots of apps for Android and iOS already, and even a couple of games published on Steam.

the prices are also much better than Unity, or pretty much anything else(except free stuff). There are free versions with limited features you can use, though I wouldn't want to use them for final versions. But they have enough features in order to let you get a good idea how it works. The master collection is $499, but it includes all current ports, and all upcoming ports, at least until the next version comes out, which will likely be more than a year from now. The Standard version is $49, and the professional version is $99. The best deal is the Master collection, but you can buy ports individually too, if you buy the professional version. The HTML5 port is $99, and the others(iOS, Android, Windows Phone 8) are $199. So The professional plus Android would be $298. You can see how it is much better to just buy the Master version.

The interface is designed to make things easy. Resources are loaded beforehand similar to Unity3d. There is a drag&drop method to making game code, but it is somewhat limited. There is also a scripting language(gml) which is similar to a weird combination of C/C++, Delphi, and Javascript. But if you have worked in any C-style language gml will be simple to pick up.

................

As far as the Unity3d licensing, the fees are all one off payments, Unlike Corona and GameSalad which require you to pay yearly.
[/quote]

I will definitely take a look into this and update this thread accordingly :)

Thank you for your response :D

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[quote name='MannyG' timestamp='1354154811' post='5005168']
Is it $800 a year, or a one time purchase so I can put the apps on the android/iphone markets respectively without having to worry about paying to keep them up there for fear unity will file some crazy complaint to tear them down? No question is a stupid question...right? guys?....guys...
[/quote][quote name='kburkhart84' timestamp='1354156028' post='5005174']
As far as the Unity3d licensing, the fees are all one off payments, Unlike Corona and GameSalad which require you to pay yearly.
[/quote]Not 100% sure but iOS and android may be yearly as they are essentially monotouch and monodroid licenses which themselves are yearly.

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All the Unity licenses are a one time payment. No yearly.

[quote]Well I guess I should have mentioned we want to get into enterprise mobile development not game development.[/quote]

You shouldn't really use any of these game engines for anything other then creating games.

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Frameworks suitable for the enterprise apps aren't really suitable for games and vice versa. You *can* do it, but really you want to use the right tools for the job.

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[quote name='AdrianC' timestamp='1354203234' post='5005330']
All the Unity licenses are a one time payment. No yearly.

[quote]Well I guess I should have mentioned we want to get into enterprise mobile development not game development.[/quote]

You shouldn't really use any of these game engines for anything other then creating games.
[/quote]
[quote name='6677' timestamp='1354228319' post='5005479']
Frameworks suitable for the enterprise apps aren't really suitable for games and vice versa. You *can* do it, but really you want to use the right tools for the job.
[/quote]

Agreed...use the right tool for the job. Just like GameMaker is better for 2d games, and Unity3d is better for 3d games, neither of these is good for non-game apps. sure, GameMaker has a bit of 3d, and you can use Unity3d to make 2d games, both can make non-game apps, but really, it isn't worth the workarounds you need.

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I was discussing this with my partner and we thought perhaps something that might cater more towards the 'learning' side would be to create our own engine. We would like to expand on HTML5 and javascript, anyone have any advice on how this might be done. In terms of what we need to know, what we need to use. I believe the engine we create must be able to use OpenGL for android and Box2D for the iphone. Essentially we want to make this cross platform. Building the engine (like Angry birds did) and then the game based on this will prove more fruitful for our learning process.

I apologize again for my lack of understanding within this realm of the mobile space and I look forward to sharing my knowledge in the future as those of you have shared your's with me in this thread.

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[quote name='6677' timestamp='1354202140' post='5005324']
[quote name='MannyG' timestamp='1354154811' post='5005168']
Is it $800 a year, or a one time purchase so I can put the apps on the android/iphone markets respectively without having to worry about paying to keep them up there for fear unity will file some crazy complaint to tear them down? No question is a stupid question...right? guys?....guys...
[/quote][quote name='kburkhart84' timestamp='1354156028' post='5005174']
As far as the Unity3d licensing, the fees are all one off payments, Unlike Corona and GameSalad which require you to pay yearly.
[/quote]Not 100% sure but iOS and android may be yearly as they are essentially monotouch and monodroid licenses which themselves are yearly.
[/quote]

monodroid and monotouch are only yearly if you want additional updates. You can keep using it after the subscription has expired, you just won't get new versions of it, With Unity3d you pay once per major version. (so if you buy Unity3D 4.x you will get all unity 4.x updates, but you have to buy an upgrade for Unity3D 5.x when it is released)

You can use the Free version of Unity3D professionally as long as your turnover for the previous fiscal year was below $100.000. Edited by SimonForsman

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[quote name='kburkhart84' timestamp='1354244276' post='5005543']
[quote name='AdrianC' timestamp='1354203234' post='5005330']
All the Unity licenses are a one time payment. No yearly.

[quote]Well I guess I should have mentioned we want to get into enterprise mobile development not game development.[/quote]

You shouldn't really use any of these game engines for anything other then creating games.
[/quote]
[quote name='6677' timestamp='1354228319' post='5005479']
Frameworks suitable for the enterprise apps aren't really suitable for games and vice versa. You *can* do it, but really you want to use the right tools for the job.
[/quote]

Agreed...use the right tool for the job. Just like GameMaker is better for 2d games, and Unity3d is better for 3d games, neither of these is good for non-game apps. sure, GameMaker has a bit of 3d, and you can use Unity3d to make 2d games, both can make non-game apps, but really, it isn't worth the workarounds you need.
[/quote]

Just to add to this point, I do agree 100% that in order to do enterprise development gaming engines are not the right path, however my original post was regarding a 2D game we wanted to build and what cross platform engines to pursue with it. My mentioning of enterprise development for the mobile space was strictly for the future, I wanted to use this experience to catapult me there.

As I posted above though, we are thinking of developing our own engine and could use some help figuring out what we may need to know, how we may get started or just have a blue print on what it is that is involved in that process.

Has anyone here ever built their own engine or worked on one? Perhaps even peeked behind the scenes of one and know what it is like bare-bones wise? :o

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[quote name='MannyG' timestamp='1354631915' post='5007082']
Has anyone here ever built their own engine or worked on one? Perhaps even peeked behind the scenes of one and know what it is like bare-bones wise? [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/ohmy.png[/img]
[/quote]

Yes i have, sort of.. allthough they were quite integrated with the target games (So it really depends on your definition of "engine"). It might be more accurate to say that i made heavily datadriven games rather than engines.

The hardest part with making an engine is not really the low level details (That is reasonably easy and there are tons of information out there on how to implement <insert feature/function X here> in an efficient way), The hard part when you make engines (rather than games) is that engines has to be flexible and easy to use in order to have any real value.

To make a game without using an engine you really only need to know how to write a game loop, check the time check for input, update the simulation and generate some output. (generating output and checking time and input is done differently on different platforms, the rest is essentially the same). Edited by SimonForsman

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