Our weakness as developers is that when we have an idea we just want to code. I don’t want to plan or design, I want to get something up and running and see the fruits of my labor as soon as possible. As much as I love technology, some times I’m so compelled to code that I don’t even want to vet the best framework for the job. Sometimes I’ll just grab what I’m most familiar with and start working. With game development, that is difficult to do.
2D vs. 3D
If you are planning on making a 3D game, you should look no further than Unity. You can quickly get prototypes of your game running by relying on Unity as a backbone. There are a number of resources already available that you can take advantage of for development. These include 3D models, plugins and tutorials for your project.
If you insist against Unity, CryEngine, Unreal Engine and the Source Engine are other options, but aren’t exactly targeted to indie developers.
I was dead set on making a 2D game; many aspects of my game rely on it. Making a true 2D game in Unity is just not possible. You can create a game with a fixed camera that limits movement to two dimensions but ultimately the assets and game will run 3D. My inexperience with 3D game development had me a bit nervous going that route.
Web, Mobile or dare I say it…consoles?
If I wanted to make a game for mobile platforms and perhaps PC/Mac/Linux, my previous experience would lead me to look toward cocos2d. I have previously worked with cocos2d-iphone and found it easy to work with. cocos2d-x is essentially the cross platform version of cocos2d, which has support for those and many other platforms.
Whittling It Down
First, I needed something free and open source if possible. I would hardly even consider myself an indie developer and I really can’t see myself financially contributing to a pet project like this. Second, I’d prefer a framework that can work out of the box with standard tools such as Tiled for tile based map creation.
Thanks to the great documentation, I had a simple platformer up and running using the melonJS boilerplate project within an hour of getting started. I have yet to thoroughly stress test, but I’ve had no hiccups running the game at 720p within Chrome.
Have you been working with a framework that you really like? Leave a comment to let me know.