As an update to my previous post, Adventures with Corona, Part 1: What Corona offers that’s better than Adobe AIR, I thought I’d take note of some new features in a recent release of Ansca’s Corona SDK. In particular, Corona developers now have access to more useful services. Services that we simply cannot use in AIR today, for various reasons.
Last time, I noted that OpenFeint support in Corona could only be used with iOS. Thankfully, OpenFeint works on Android now too. Moreover, Corona developers have been given a choice between OpenFeint and PapayaMobile. Leaderboards and achievements for all. More and more, I’m finding that I’d rather integrate a service that focuses exclusively on this sort of thing because the experience can be far better than a home-grown solution (at least for an indie developer, like me).
Ansca has also partnered with InMobi to bring advertising to Corona apps. Whether it’s to monetize a lite version or to go completely free and try to mimic the typical route of free web games, ads are extremely important. I’ve been waiting for quite a while now for the ability to try releasing a free game with ads. Since I’d rather not go fully native, I needed a supported library from an ad network (which apparently isn’t a priority), or ad support in my platform (thanks, Corona!).
Hold on there, AIR
Day by day, I realize that while AIR is getting some cool features that can wow the senses (like Stage3D), Adobe is forgetting, ignoring, or not prioritizing features that keep a roof over a developer’s head. Some things players expect or demand in games, like popular social networks for leaderboards and achievements. Others help us earn just a little more money, like advertising and in-app purchases (both of which can be useful outside of games too). I immediately felt limited without these essentials back when AIR on mobile was first introduced, and it’s been frustrating to see little support from Adobe or third-parties after so long. Maybe that’ll change with native extensions, but those are still a bit further away in the future.