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Lets Make a Mobile Game in 3-Weeks with Haxe & NME

3rd July 2012

I have decided that I would like to learn more about mobile game development. Its an exciting area of the games industry at the moment with so many frameworks and languages to choose from to develop with. The plethora of choice however can be a hindrance, what are the best frameworks and language for this particular task? Haxe with NME?  C# MonoTouch with Monogame? or even Javascript with Titanium? One can only go so far just reading about them, eventually you have to jump in and try them out for yourself.

So on that note I have decided to team up with an artist colleague (Moh 'Mohzart' Mukhtar) from work to create a mobile game in three weeks of evenings and weekends. Three weeks is an ambitious target for a game on any platform let alone mobile with its added complications. The primary purpose of this project however is to gather experience on the process of making mobile games using a given langauge, framework and platform. Having a longer time-scale I feel would deter from this, the primary motivation. Having said that however, I hope that in three weeks we will have something that to be reasonably proud of.

For this particular game I have decided to explore Haxe with NME. Haxe is a programming language I have been using for my personal projects for about a year now and is ideally suited to mobile development due to its ability to target multiple platforms with the same codebase. NME is a framework written in Haxe that emulates the Flash API and thus provides an interface I am extremely familiar with having used it for many years on personal and professional games. I dabbled with NME about a year ago while at the TryHarder conference however things have moved on with the project a lot since then and im looking forward to getting stuck in and playing around with it some more.

In theory Haxe with NME should give us the ability to target Flash, HTML5, OSX, Linux, Window, iOS, Android and WebOS all with the same codebase. I hope this to be the case, however, initially we will be focusing on getting it to run on Flash and iOS, the other platforms will be of secondary concern.

So as for the actual game itself. Over the last week or so we have been racking our brains trying to come up with a game that will be suitable for this project. To be suitable it must be achievable within three week, be compatible for touch based devices, suit both our skill sets and preferably not been done before on mobile. A tough set of requirements.

We wrote down a few ideas in a GDoc, but the best one and the one we have decided upon is to do a remake / variant on the "Chaos Emerald" bonus stage from Sonic1 on the Genesis. As a quick reminder of what that looks like:

It wont be a direct rip (before I have the Sega lawyers knocking down my door) but the inspiration will certainty come from that game. The reason why we finally chose this idea is because it should work quite well on mobile (single button press with accelerometer tilting) and is a fairly simple game code and art wise so hopefully we should be able to complete it within three weeks. As an added bonus I have been unable to find this already existing on the App Store. Let me know if you have seen it done already!

I intend to continue to update on the progress of the game as we go along on this blog :)

Fingers crossed we can pull it off!