|By Matthew David||
|November 8, 2009 12:10 PM EST||
Talk to iPhone developers and they will tell you that game development for the iPhone is not hard. OK, that’s great for them, but what about us mere mortals that quake at the thought of having to write code. For us there is now alternative: GameSalad.com
GameSalad is two products. The first product is a piece of software you download to your desktop that allows you to build your games. The second is a service you upload your game too and have it converted for your iPhone. The Game Salad Creator
The game creation with Game Salad Creator is easy. It’s really just point and click.
On opening a new project you can rapidly add new screens, or scenes as the Creator calls them, to represent different levels or sections of your game. After setting up the scenes you populate each scene with Actors that you can interact with. An actor is essentially just a region, either a rectangle or imported PNG graphic, that you can drag and drop behaviors and actions onto.
Adding interaction is very easy. You do not need to dig out your Xcode primer. If you want a rocket ship to explode when it hits meteor all you have to do is drag a collision behavior onto the Actor. No code, just some configuration.
You can publish your game to the Game Salad web site when you want to see how you game looks and feels. When the game has been published you can play it through Safari.
The quality of games you can develop with Game Salad is already very sophisticated. Last week Apple featured Z is for Zombies, a Game Salad game, on their App Store recommended list. Creating the iPhone Games
The Game Salad creator is free. You can use the Creator to build solutions that can be posted to and hosted on Game Salad Web site. If you want to create iPhone Games you need to pay $99. This gives you two things: frist, the Game Salad Creator will sport an “Export for iPhone” setting; second, you can upload your iPhone formatted game to the Game Salad Web site and have it converted into an actual Xcode project.
I know I just mentioned Xcode, and I know you may be breaking out in hives, but it’s all good. You don’t need to panic. Download the ZIP file Game Salad creates and extract it your Xcode project. You are using only Xcode for one reason: making your iPhone game ready for deployment to the iPhone or iTunes App Store. Game Salad gives you great step by step instructions on how to build your game in Xcode, how to add the correct iTunes Connect App Bundle ID and how to deploy your app. The next thing to do is to make some money from your iTunes sales.
Running in Beta
Currently Game Salad is running as a Beta. There are some bugs. Sometimes you loose the ability to hear sounds and the iPhone Cloud Service is flaky. But it is Beta, people, and it is certainly worth sticking with. The final result is the ability to create a game in a fraction of the time it would take working with raw code. Moving forward
All companies will tell you that they are listening to their customers. Do they? GameSalad certainly does. If you have a problem then you can post a question to the Forums and receive a response in minutes. Step by step videos explaining how to use Game Salad’s tools are being added to the site all the time. If you have a feature request or want to report a bug, you can do that. Overall, the potential for Game Salad is huge. This is certainly a company to watch and see how they bring game development to the masses.
“Game Salad is game creation for the rest of us,” Michael Agustin, Game Salad CEO, told me. “We want the 99% of people who do not know how to code to create games for the iPhone and publish them to the iTunes App Store.”
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