Sunday, April 5, 2015

Exploring libGDX for Game Development

I just started exploring game development again to give myself a break from my daily work as a data architect.  First I had to find tools that would run on a Mac and create games for Android as well as iOS.

After an extensive search, I chose libGDX as my base game graphics and physics library. It is cross-platform, open source, and provides decent performance. Since libGDX works with Java, I was able to choose my favorite IDE from IntelliJ, Android Studio. The combination runs without issue on OSX.

Next, I needed a mapping tool for which I selected Tiled. Tiled gives me a standardized system and a flexible tool that allows me to focus on game development. With Tiled, I was able to take a few tilesets, create my levels, and get on with coding my game.  It is perfect for 2D game development.

Another important part of game development is creating sprite sheets. Although libGDX comes with a basic sprite packer, I chose the commercial tool TexturePacker. TexturePacker makes one more productive when managing sprite sheets. Just drag your sprite images and drop them into TexturePacker and publish your sprite sheet in one of many game engine formats.

Tiled and TexturePacker support more than just libGDX which is a plus if I want to try another game engine. This means I won't have to replace my entire toolset.

I just finished my first game using these tools. It isn't anything to write home about, just a basic runner game (Monster Run). It was a good introduction to using libGDX without a lot of complex coding. I usually have more code content in my posts. This post was just a quick note to readers as to what I have been working on lately.