One of the most important things I learned working as a programmer is just how powerful the Internet is as an information source. This may be obvious to some, but still I think many people do not fully grasp quite how powerful it is. The Internet is rapidly approaching the point where an answer is written for every possible question or an article is published about nearly every possible topic. All you have to do is take a moment to ask Google. If you have not yet been hit with an LMGTFY link, and you don’t know what that is, do yourself a favor and click here.
Last week I faced a dilemma over which game engine to use to build Heartonomy’s first iOS game. I have prior experience building iOS games with cocos2d, but I have been hearing great things about the Unity engine so I wanted to see if it was worth the price tag. After downloading the free trial version of Unity and following a basic tutorial, I was quickly impressed at how intuitive and powerful the tool seemed to be. However, I was having some difficulty with stuff that should be easy for a 3D engine to handle. For example, there seemed to be no obvious way of rendering a sprite as a simple textured quad.
Feeling a little frustrated, I decided to see if anyone else had encountered this problem before me. With a little Googling, I came across a fantastic article written by fellow iOS game developer Flyclops, about the exact problem I was facing as well as a lot of other great information about making a 2D game with Unity. While I was there, I found another great article comparing the physics engines in cocos2d and Unity. After playing around with Unity a little more, I decided to stick with cocos2d for now mainly because it is free and open source and it has everything I need to make a 2D game. Although, Unity remains a very attractive option for future Heartonomy games. This decision was much easier with the help of Flyclops’ articles.
The Internet is built on the idea of freely sharing ideas and information. This has blossomed into a culture of creators who are comfortable investing their own time and effort and then giving the results away for free to anyone else who might be interested. The people who do this understand that money in your pocket is not the only thing of value in this world. The esteem and gratitude of others can be just as valuable, and sometimes more. This is the force that has allowed the Internet to become the incredible, unprecedented entity it is today. And this is the force that will continue to push art and media forward as we accelerate toward the future.