Beginning Mobile Game Development

Discover how to use the Corona SDK framework to create your own mobile games.
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  • Lectures 63
  • Length 9 hours
  • Skill Level Beginner Level
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion
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About This Course

Published 11/2012 English

Course Description

Aimed at beginners, this video tutorial course will guide you through the creation of your own game for iOS or Android.

The Corona SDK framework used for this course is one of the most powerful 2D game engines available, and the free version is all you need to get started making your own games!

You Can Get Started, Right Now!

The videos can be viewed online and the sample code can be downloaded to your computer so you can follow along. Since it’s all online and all digital, you don’t have to wait, you can start finding out how to make your own game right now.

Play games other people make, or finally take control and make your own games.

"You got me up to speed in record time and my first game should be out in 4-6 weeks time. Congrats on an awesome course." - Tim Buchalka

Imagine how it will feel when people around the world download and play what you’ve created!

What are the requirements?

  • System Requirements: Mac OS® X 10.7 or later, Intel Mac
  • System Requirements: Windows XP or later, 1 GHZ processor

What am I going to get from this course?

  • After completing the lessons you will have the knowledge to create your own mobile game for iOS or Android.
  • You will learn animating objects and sprites, how to play audio and sound effects, and even how to structure a complete game.

Who is the target audience?

  • Aimed at beginners who have maybe poked around at Javascript or PHP. Or even someone with zero programming knowledge but a passion for making their own games.

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


What You'll Discover
Section 1: Getting Ready
Installing the Corona SDK Framework
Installing the Outlaw IDE
If you're using Outlaw to write the code for the course (or for your own projects), here's a video that should get you up and running fairly quickly.
Downloading the Sample Code
Section 2: Lua Boot Camp

Corona SDK isn’t a programming language, it’s a framework. A bunch of “library routines” that take care of stuff under the hood (displaying graphics, playing sounds, etc.). But we still need a programming language to write our game code and call those framework routines.

Corona SDK uses the Lua language (lua means moon in Portuguese). I’ve been programming since the mid-80s but never even looked at Lua until I discovered Corona SDK. Now, after using it for about two years I don’t have any desire to use any other language.

This “Boot Camp” isn’t going to teach you everything you need to know about Lua, but it’s a great start. With these videos as a foundation you’ll be able to dive into the actual game dev videos much easier.

Note: No extra sample code for this section.


Variable can be thought of as containers for bits of information - numbers, letters and words, etc. This video shows you the basics of making and using variables in Lua.

Just a quick note — there are some reserved words in Lua that are NOT available for use as a variable name. Those are:

 and break do else elseif end
 false for function goto if in
 local nil not or repeat return
 then true until while

If you want to use one of those as a variable name, don’t. :)

Functions are chunks of code that can be "called" at any time during your program. Besides making it easier to code your game, functions are often reusable from one project to the next.
Tables are one of the most powerful parts of the Lua language. You can think of them as another type of variable - but a variable that can hold multiple pieces of data, not just one.
In this video you'll discover how to use if/then in order for the program to decide which code to run, and how to use loops in your code to run chunks of code multiple times in a row.
Discover how to create a function that allows you to pass all, some, or no parameters at all.
Not beginner info, but not rocket science, either -- and if you can wrap your mind around this concept it will really help your coding. Watch it now, or later after you've had more experience under your belt. 
Section 3: Display and Animate Images
Putting images on the screen and moving them around — that’s the core of game development. In this first series of videos you’ll see how easy Corona SDK allows you to get that done.
Displaying an object on the screen is neat -- but when you make those things animate it's a whole new world!
If you want to display 50 lily pads, or 50 asteroids, or 50 jewels you can create 50 chunks of code. Or you can do what the pros do and create (and position, and use) multiple objects with just a few lines of code.
After watching this video you'll be able to trigger specific code after an animation has completed.
Section 4: Touch and Tap Events
Taking a look at event-driven programming and how it can make our game easier to develop.
Let's attach a tap event listener to the Frog as well as give him a fancy spin.
Touch events have different phases - you can see when someone first touches an object, when they move their finger across the device, and even when they lift their finger up.
Besides just tapping and touching, a lot of times you want the player to be able to drag an object. This video shows how easily you can accomplish that.
Section 5: Make Some Noise - Music and Sound FX

Whether it's pops, clicks, and whooshes, or a full orchestral score, audio is one big way to add polish to your game. While the whole area of audio can cover a lot of territory, to actually put a sound effect in your game requires two lines of code:

One to load it, and one to play it.

In this series of videos I'll show you how to do that -- and a whole lot more.

(Other videos for this section and sample code available Friday)


Playing longer audio files such as music is basically as easy as playing short audio files -- but there are some differences and tweaks you need to know about.

There is a short "sidebar" video after this one that *must* be viewed in order for the code shown in this video to work. Basically, it fixes changes that Corona Labs made to the framework since the original video was recorded.


This is a short "sidebar" video that *must* be viewed in order for the code shown in the previous video to work. Basically, it fixes changes that Corona Labs made to the framework since the original video was recorded.

You can specify certain sounds to be played on certain audio "channels" which gives you more control over the sounds in your game.
Here are a couple ways to reset an audio channel after you've faded the volume to zero.
Taking what we've learned so far in this section we add background music and a jumping sound effect to our sample game.
A bit of a "crash course" in how to tweak an audio file and make it fade out. This uses the Audacity software which is free for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Not always necessary in game development, but it comes up more often than you might think.

Section 6: Text as Display Objects

Once you create a text object you can manipulate it just as if it were a regular graphical object like a frog or lily pad.

Be sure to watch the “sidebar” video after this one to see how to handle the setReferencePoint() calls (as seen in this video) that are no longer valid in Corona SDK.


This video shows how to use anchorX and anchorY in the sample code instead of setReferencePoint(). This is a must view.

If the fonts on the device aren't good enough for you, see how to use a custom True Type Font in your game.
Now that we've seen how to create text objects, let's use that knowledge to add a scoring module to our game.
Section 7: Saving and Loading Files

While it’s possible to create a mobile game without needing file I/O (input/output) it’s not likely. Whether you’re saving high scores or user preferences you’re probably going to need to write data to the “hard drive” and read it back.

In this section I’ll show you the guts of file I/O and then show you a “shortcut” you can use in the future. We’ll dive into using a 3rd-party library from Glitch Games to save and load data.

Here’s a link to a file guide on the Corona Labs site in case you want to dig into file I/O further:

The first 4 videos make use of the readingwriting.lua file in the sample code archive. Rename it as main.lua or give it an alias in Outlaw/Corona Project Manager.

Reading Data from a Text File - Pt 1
Reading Data from a Text File - Pt 2
Here's the Glitch Games github page:
Adding File I/O to the Froggy Game
Section 8: Scene Management with Storyboard

Storyboard has now been sidelined in favor of a new scene management library called Composer. If you’re following this course from beginning-to-end, go ahead and do this Storyboard lesson — the concepts for both are the same, so switching from Storyboard to Composer at a later time will be very easy for you.

However, if you’re just kind of “cherry-picking” the course and doing the lessons that really interest you, skip this Storyboard lesson and do the Composer course instead. It’s included as part of this course.

Being able to switch from a main menu, to an options screen, to choosing a level, etc., are all part of scene management. Corona SDK gives us a way to handle that called Storyboard.

In a nutshell, you place your game code in scene templates and then tell storyboard which scene to go to next. And storyboard even gives you fancy transitions to use when moving from one scene to another.

If you want to see the official Storyboard docs, here's a link:

The Storyboard library has now be deleted from Corona SDK. This section will still work, with just a little tweaking as I've now included the Storyboard library as an extra file. Read on...

In the videos I have some sample code called storyboard.lua, but the Storyboard library itself MUST be named storyboard.lua -- the file in the video is now called storyboard-sample.lua inside the project.

So if you remember that now you NEVER edit the storyboard.lua file, no matter what you see in the video, you should be able to go through the tutorial.

Understanding the Scene Template
Building a Storyboard App
Storyboarding Our Froggy Game
Section 9: Sprite Animation

You've seen how to animate an object on the screen using but that only moves the entire object. What if you have a man character and you want him to move his arms and legs while he walks across the screen? That's where sprite animation comes in.

In this series of videos you'll discover how to make a snake slither across the screen as well as give our frog a more realistic leap.

If you want to read up more, here's a link to a written tutorial on the Corona Labs site: Animated Sprites and Methods

Creating Image Sheets
Creating and Playing Sprite Sequences - Pt 1
Creating and Playing Sprite Sequences - Pt 2
Using Animated Sprites in the Frog Project
Section 10: The Basics of Box2D Physics in Games
The physics engine behind such hits as Angry Birds, Tiny Wings, and Fantastic Contraptions is Box2D -- and that's the same physics engine that's inside Corona SDK. Yes, there's more to Angry Birds than just the physics, but you have the same engine available to you and your games.

Our Froggy sample game isn't really a physics-based game, so I took a little detour to show you how easy physics games can be. The sample code for raining frogs could be turned into a fun game.

We do add some physics to our main game as a way to use "collision-detection" -- or being able to see when one object hits another.

Creating Bounding Boxes for Physics Objects
Raining Frogs Game
Froggy's Collision Detection Pt 1
Froggy's Collision Detection Pt 2
Section 11: Using Native Widgets
Widget Changes! (Important)

While most people think of widgets as only being useful for business-type apps, in this series of videos I’ll show you how they can be awesome additions to games, too.

Here’s a link to more info about widgets on the Corona Labs site:

Checkboxes with Widgets
Level Selection with ScrollView
Adding Options to Froggy
Section 12: Polishing Up the Frog Project

Have you reached this far? Cool! Because it means you’ve been exposed to enough coding info that you should be able to start writing your own (simple) games.

Notice I didn’t say you’ve learned, but you’ve at least been exposed. Sometimes we blank out while watching a video, or it’s on in the background and we hope it’s seeping in anyway. ;) Watching the videos more than once isn’t just a good idea, it’s almost a necessity (depending on whether you’re a complete newbie or not).

This section of the course is going to be a little different — the first video is a step-by-step look at creating different kind of levels for the Froggy game.

But after that I’m going to shake things up. I’m going to show you several different techniques I’ve used in the “real” Froggy game — the one submitted to the App Store. And most of those techniques are at least intermediate level.

I’m including them for two reasons. Number 1, to give you something to stretch for. These are techniques you’ll end up using (in one way or another) throughout your game development career/hobby. And number 2, you’ll be able to download the code for the real Froggy game and go through the actual source and grab those chunks of code for your own game. Some will be relevant, some won’t, but you’ll be able to start a “toolbox” of routines you can use over and over again.

Maybe your game needs to lock some levels and unlock them only after the player has finished the first levels. This video shows how that's handled in the Froggy game.
Instead of allowing the frog to jump across the screen, let's take a look at one method of keeping him to jumping just one lily pad away. (Note: this is an overview video, not line-by-line.)
Cool utility function you can use in lots of games. Scores, messages, etc., can slowly drift up (or down) and slowly fade from view. Complete walk-through with separate code download for this lesson.
Drifting Text Objects - Part 2
Discover how to create a "popup" type window using the Storyboard showOverlay() command.
Tracking how often your game is played, whether different areas of the app are even viewed, etc., are all ways you can know whether to add new features, how best to monetize your game, etc. Using the Analytics library in Corona SDK and the free Flurry service, this video will show you how easy tracking your game can be.
Section 13: Bonus Goodies
Complete Froggy Game Source Code
Bonus Lecture: Free Courses For You

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Instructor Biography

J. A. Whye, Course Instructor

Jay has been programming professionally since 1988, starting with game programming and then over the years moving to internet programming with a major Seattle telecommunications firm. Jay started programming for mobile devices in 2010 and currently has several games and apps in the Apple App Store with more on the way.

In addition to writing hundreds of technical articles over the years, Jay has recorded dozens of hours of tutorial videos. He's been a speaker at technical conferences and enjoys teaching how to make games and apps almost as much as making games and apps themselves.

Jay is a Certified Developer with Corona SDK, and is also diving into Unity to make 2D games and tutorials.

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