Corona vs. Native Xcode / iOS development

With one simple “word to picture matching” type language learning app in the App store, I am planning to develop a 2D graphics game (with physics) that provides a bit more “fun” for language learners trying to acquire new words in a foreign language. Inspired by the Chinese characters constantly scrolling by along the bottom of my TV, the game will feature word tiles “falling” into a bucket — with the option for a quick-acting player to blow them up, preventing the bucket from overflowing.

My initial Character / Word review game features 288 words or characters, including many nouns, verbs and adjectives.  For each word, a “concept picture” is provided to help reinforce the meaning of the word, and for Chinese learners specifically, I have a brief text that adds a story and some ancillary clues to help “Remember the Hanzi“.  Info on the original word learning tool for iPhone and iPad, for learners of Chinese, and more recently Japanese, Korean, English, French, Spanish, Italian and German, can be found at

As the focus of this blog is e-learning development tools, or “learning games”, and not language learning, i won’t assume any special interest in learning Sino-Tibetan languages by Indo-European language speakers, although that is a particularly interesting challenge.

This blog will explore particular issues in “app development” for learning games, including:

  • device independence — either for form factor (size) or software platform (Apple’s iOS vs. the many flavors of Android);
  • Cross-platform development tools vs. Native App development
  • Performance and usability issues, particularly for games with special features for interactivity and engagement
  • Other topics on request.

I will also have brief tutorials and code samples for developers as I work through my own case studies on improving internationalization (i18N) and developing physics-based simulations and games using Cocos2d and Box2d, with a focus on Corona vs. iOS SDK: what works best, for which purpose, and to provide specific examples of implementations using both tools sets.

So much for my first post. Check back here for some code samples and development issues related to getting Box2D-based apps up and running on both Corona and Xcode/ iOS in the coming weeks.

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