GameSalad to Corona Conversion Project

I read some bad news today. It seems that GameSalad is heading in a new direction — down a road I cannot follow. With the new “GameSalad Direct” business model, games are published directly through GameSalad to the iTunes App Store. That’s great, if you’re not already registered with Apple. I am a registered developer and Photics is an Internet publishing company. I’m not pleased with GameSalad pushing into my publishing business. That means I’ll have to move my iOS apps to another platform. Corona is the likely choice.

I really like GameSalad. It’s great software. It makes it easy to make iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch apps — without needing to know complicated programming languages. With the graphical user interface, English is basically the programming language. Yet, GameSalad is looking to become something more. It’s looking to become a game publishing company. For beginners, this isn’t a major issue. But for Professional developers, we tend to be touchy about our work.

I fought hard to make an online name for myself. I navigated through Apple’s developer policies to ensure that the word “Photics” would appear next to my online apps. But unfortunately, the “Express” and “Pro” versions of GameSalad are no longer available. Once my subscription expires, it looks like I’ll have to give up on the software. What are the alternatives to GameSalad? There are lots, but I’ve narrowed it down to Corona. It’s basically the same thing, minus the GUI.

Corona uses Box2D and Lua. It’s a bit complicated, but that’s basically what GameSalad is doing. The main difference is that Corona has more options and better performance than GameSalad. There’s even some word that a GUI interface is on the way. Can I learn a new programming language? I liked the visual development style of GameSalad. That worked with my strength. Coding, I understand it, but it slows down my development.

I’m planning to try Corona, to see if I can convert my GameSalad games. From what I’ve read, Lua is similar to Flash Action Script. Heh, and that’s what I’m worried about. I was able to create some Flash games, but the process was incredibly slow.

There is significant financial incentive to master GameSalad to Corona conversions. The majority of GameSalad developers are quite disappointed with the new business model. They’re probably looking for ways to liberate their games. I could make a lot of money by charging for conversions.

There is another idea. Perhaps this is a good time to get out of the game making business. With 250,000+ apps and 15,000+ developers, there are easier and better ways to make money. I have new project ideas. Perhaps I should pursue those ideas instead.

GameSalad fans, you can post your comments on the matter. What do you think about the change to GameSalad? Should I work on the GameSalad to Corona Conversion Project?

8 thoughts on “GameSalad to Corona Conversion Project”

  1. Hi Photics

    Carlos Icaza here co-founder of Ansca Mobile, makers of Corona. Thank you for your blog. If you need any help with coding or understanding more about Corona please don’t hesitate to contact us, or me directly at cicaza at


  2. Hello Carlos, thanks for writing. Although, I’ve decided to cancel the project. Corona looks great, but I still like GameSalad. I simply don’t feel like coding. Maybe the GameSalad team will come to their senses and bring back the Pro option.

    Meanwhile, I’ve been working with the iBookstore. It is so much better over there. I think I’m going to get back into publishing.

  3. Photics, no worries and if there is anything I can do, please don’t hesitate to ask.



  4. Well this is interesting… there’s a Corona sale…

    The Game Edition of Corona is 50% off. It’s only $174.50 instead of the usual $349.00 subscription price. That does make me reconsider the GameSalad to Corona Conversion Project.

  5. I’m stuck deciding between GameSalad and Corona. :( Photics, I know you are close to the guys at GameSalad, having written the unofficial textbook, but I know you can be objective too. I would love to hear your opinion of some pros and cons of both platforms.

  6. Well, GameSalad is still my favorite. That’s because the priority with GameSalad is ease of use — there’s no programming! Even though I know how to use several programming languages, I don’t like it. Having to slow down, in order to decipher computer terms, hinders my creativity. That’s why I chose GameSalad over Corona. I like that English is basically the programming language. I like that I can visually work with my game content. Also, GameSalad was much cheaper for me (I upgraded to “Professional” for only $99.) and it has some features that Corona does not… at least not yet… like iAds. Most importantly… GameSalad is free. (If you need “Professional” behaviors, that’s currently $499 a year.)

    However, there are huge advantages to Corona. The developers seem more engaged with their community and more open about the future. For example, they have a roadmap…

    If you need an example of how determined these guys are, just look at this website. Carlos posted here. From what I’ve seen, the Ansca Mobile developers are very active on their forum.

    With Corona, the priority of the software is performance. There are games that are incredibly difficult — even impossible — to build with GameSalad, simply because of the way the engine works. Also, Corona doesn’t have a forced splash screen, which is huge for freelance developers. Cross-platform support is a colossal advantage for Corona. You can make a game for Android and iOS with Corona. GameSalad currently does not have Android support.

    So, that’s basically the strengths and weaknesses of GameSalad and Corona. Which is more important to you? Knowing the answer to that question can help you decide.

    Although, here’s another possibility… why choose? Why not get them both? Currently, you could get the best versions of both for only $850 a year. Considering that a successful app can make tens-of-thousands of dollars or more, the tools for this profession are not that expensive.

  7. I know this post is almost old but I really need some advice on choosing between GameSalad and Corona. I’ve just decided to give it a try and create my own game as a hobby and hopefully some extra income, but that’s not important. I know some simple AS2 codes and created simple games before but I guess that just shows how shallow my knowledge on coding is. However I’m extremely proficient in creating graphics as I’m an interior designer and taught myself to draw digitally either in Photoshop, Illustrator or Flash. So what I want to know is where should I start with? Corona or GameSalad? I wouldn’t mind learning about coding but I know that it takes time and slows down my creativity. Thanks if you guys are able to reply!

  8. As the author of The Unofficial GameSalad Textbook, naturally I say GameSalad. If I can spend months writing about it, obviously I like the software. Although, in the interest of impartiality, I’ll state some additional reasons.

    Since you can actually create iOS games with GameSalad for free, I think that’s the ideal starting point. Then, if successful, you could save up money to buy both programs. Lately, Corona seems to be more aggressive in adding new features. Meanwhile, GameSalad had one update in the last five months. That’s terrible for a beta.

    Corona is free to try, so you can try it. Even though Corona is more powerful, I just don’t have the patience for it. Coding is overrated. I don’t use command prompts to control my computer. I don’t hand-code the majority of my HTML work. I simply use better software. GameSalad is a bit rough right now, but it’s a step in the right direction for iOS game development.

    Also, considering that you’re more into graphics than programming, I think GameSalad will be more enjoyable for you. I have a basic understanding of Flash ActionScript. I even made some games with the software. Yet, those games weren’t as successful as my GameSalad projects. I hated how Adobe kept changing the way things worked — and not for the better. Just to create a button went from a simple task to lots of tedious code.

    I think both SDKs are great. I like Corona because it forces GameSalad to be competitive, it has Android support and it’s optimized. Usually, developers start in GameSalad because it’s visual software, then they take that project and convert it to Corona.

    If Corona is smart, they’ll add a GameSalad-like interface to their SDK. They should also do a better job at supporting Apple’s standards… like Game Center and iAds. (Last I checked, in-app purchases are on the way. That’s looking like a huge advantage over GameSalad.) If GameSalad is smart, they’ll start adding more features and improve the performance. It’s a race between the two. I think Corona is gaining on GameSalad.

    To add more confusion to the matter. You might want to consider Unity and Torque. I’ve been watching the progress of these SDKs — including flash. Right now, I’m just too used to the speed and ease of GameSalad.

Comments are closed.