SpriteDeck – Bullets for Corona’s Gun

Competition – that’s the basis of a capitalist economy. It’s the American way. The theory is that consumers will support the best products and services. Thus, the inferior companies will go wander off into the snow and die. It’s the stuff from high school history courses. It’s one thing to theorize about competition, it’s another to experience it first hand. New software called “SpriteDeck” reminded me of the intensifying Corona vs. GameSalad battle. It’s beautiful and frightening sight to behold.

Competition – I feel this primal nature at the iTunes App Store. When I make my apps, I’m fighting against thousands of others. I have to build better and more popular apps. Otherwise, my creations will not find success. Yet, competition also works in my favor. The software and hardware that I use to build my apps are also under the influence of competition. I primarily use GameSalad to make apps. That’s because the software is easy to use. I can make apps in a fraction of the time with GameSalad than I can with other SDKs.

The makers of Corona must know this. The graphical approach that GameSalad takes to game development is the main edge over Corona. Apparently,  Citrify Inc. is also aware of this inequity. In true capitalist form, there is opportunity here and Citrify has moved in to capitalize on it. Corona and GameSalad are made by two American businesses. Can a Canadian business tip the scales in this epic struggle?

The main weakness of Corona is the lack of a more visual design approach… drag-and-drop assets, layers, scenes… that’s easy to manage with GameSalad. With Corona, not so much. But with the recent launch of SpriteDeck, things are starting to change.

SpriteDeck is a paid add-on for Corona. $30 gets a quarterly (three months) subscription to the software. SpriteDeck is similar to the Scene Editor in GameSalad, as it allows a more visual approach to game design. Like GameSalad, SpriteDeck is in beta. While SpriteDeck is certainly a huge boon for Corona developers, I don’t think the combo is a full replacement for GameSalad. SpriteDeck is brand new software. Naturally, it’s missing some features. As an example, SpriteDeck still involves some coding. GameSalad completely hides coding from the game creation process.

I perused the SpriteDeck website  – http://spritedeck.com – and I watched the videos. It’s pretty straightforward to start creating a comic book or basic 2D game. Some code manipulation will likely be necessary, so it’s not a complete replacement for GameSalad, but it’s certainly a step in that direction. Considering that there’s only been one GameSalad update in the last five months, it’s something that GameSalad developers should be watching. If SpriteDeck matures, and Corona keeps adding features that GameSalad does not have, those Canadians could cause a lot of trouble for the team in Texas!

3 thoughts on “SpriteDeck – Bullets for Corona’s Gun”

  1. Bullets in Corona’s gun, or nails for GameSalad’s coffin. While I’m a fan of GameSalad, the fact that only one minor public release has been made in half the time of a standard user’s subscription is very disheartening. I just paid the $99 to go to Pro only to avoid my current legacy membership from expiring and the promotional price from disappearing.

    But Corona and the people behind it at Ansca have made major strides almost once a month, surprising their subscribers at every update of their software. I’ve had Skype conversations and joined webcasts with Carlos at Ansca, not to mention discussing a vibrant, public roadmap, all of which have been miles ahead of the silence and closed-door policy that GameSalad users have been facing for the last couple years.

    With the introduction to SpriteDeck, I feel it’s a major step in the right direction for GameSalad users looking to venture beyond the limitations and expand on their coding horizons. Equally, it’s a torpedo across the bow at GameSalad, Inc. to either “get with the program” to 1. publicize their roadmap, 2. add more basic and necessary features now, and 3. properly communicate with their customer base.

  2. Thanks for the review, Michael. I’m the developer behind SpriteDeck.

    I don’t think we are going to move down the GameSalad direction and do away with code all together. SpriteDeck is meant to let you write smarter and cleaner code.

    That being said, we have built a very flexible code generator, also known as “target bundles”. For example, we have built a comic book target bundle that lets you build comic apps without any code. Here is a quick demo, http://vimeo.com/19156678

    For questions or feedback, you can reach me at zee@spritedeck.com

  3. Just a miscellaneous comment about the videos. They look cool, but one of the most memorable parts was the word/acronym “GIF”.

    It’s pronounced like the peanut butter… Jiff!

    It’s the type of conversation Graphic Designers argue about. HA HA! :)

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