As experienced developers will certainly attest, bringing your vision of the mobile game you want to create from mind to matter is no simple task.
Enter SpriteBuilder: a complete game studio for building high quality, native games with Objective-C and Xcode, both quickly and easily.
It allows users to graphically edit resources, scenes, animations, particles and physics, thereby demystifying much of the development process.
The San Francisco-based SpriteBuilder team is backed by venture funding and has participated in the Y Combinator and StartX accelerator programs. Apps powered by SpriteBuilder technology have risen to the top of the charts and delighted millions of users on iOS and Android.
We spoke to SpriteBuilder creator Viktor Lidholt about the process of bringing his personal game development software to a larger audience.
Where did the initial impetus come from to create SpriteBuilder?
Viktor Lidholt: I was working as a game developer doing mobile games for a company in Sweden, and realized that there were no good tools out there. I wrote the first version of SpriteBuilder because I needed it myself.
I put the first, very rough version online, and very quickly a couple of large game companies started using it to make their games. I was recruited to San Francisco to start working on it full-time as an open source project.
What's been the trickiest part about building SpriteBuilder out, as a platform, from how you initially imagined it?
Lidholt: Making SpriteBuilder has been a pretty straightforward process; much of it is about piecing together pieces that are already out there in other open source projects.
The largest concern has been making SpriteBuilder cross-platform, but that’s something that Apportable solves, and a big reason why I choose to join them.
What are some games out there that have made use of SpriteBuilder?
Lidholt: There are thousands of SpriteBuilder games out there. Wooga used it for parts of Jelly Splash, and Pocket Gems use it to do most of their games.
There are also smaller developers such as Sidebolt Studios that made really great-looking games with SpriteBuilder, such as Skyward Slots.
What are the main features users have been asking for from SpriteBuilder, that it doesn't already deliver? Are you addressing those?
Lidholt: The SpriteBuilder team gets a lot of feedback from the community. We always try to listen and prioritize the feedback we get so that we can make SpriteBuilder better.
Most of the requests we get are not for new features, but more usability issues and suggestions for making the workflow faster. We’re just about to release a new version, and we’re addressing many of the things our users have been asking for.
What are you most proud of, in terms of this all-in-one game studio you’ve created?
Lidholt: Something we do really well is to provide a straightforward, standardized workflow. It’s easy and intuitive to get started quickly.
SpriteBuilder takes care of a lot of stuff under the hood that developers will no longer have to care about: things like resizing images, building sprite sheets, converting sounds - all of this is handled automatically.
At the same time, developers can, at any point, override the default settings and dig in and do things manually. There are no restrictions or limitations.
Where would you recommend people start when getting familiar with SpriteBuilder's functionality?
Lidholt: The best starting point is our website. We have a screencast that shows you how to build a game with physics in six minutes.
We’re also working together with MakeGamesWithUs, who have made a series of really great tutorials, and are giving classes in game development both online and at universities. The have a great summer camp for learning game development, so make sure to check out their site!
SpriteBuilder is available now as a free download in the Mac App Store.