WWDC 2010: GameSalad Simplifies Game Development for All

Although I’ve previously encountered GameSalad at various events like MacWorld this year, and even referenced them a few times on TUAW, it wasn’t until this week at WWDC that I had the pleasure of meeting Michael Herring, the senior platform director from the Austin, TX headquartered company. He shared insights into their development system designed to simplify iPhone and iPad app creation for everyone.

Herring gave me a brief walkthrough of the app, which is available as a free download on their website. The platform allows users to create “actors” and assign them rules that dictate their interactions, such as responses to touch or keyboard commands, culminating in a complete game.

While no coding is necessary, a basic understanding of game mechanics is beneficial. The tool is popular among seasoned developers for rapid prototyping, though creating a game that resonates with players requires patience and a knack for balancing.

GameSalad has already been utilized to develop more than 700 games available on the App Store. Herring showcased several of these games to me, and while they were functional, none stood out as particularly engaging.

The limitations often stemmed from the game designers rather than the GameSalad platform itself.

Recent discussions have raised concerns about the use of third-party development kits like GameSalad in light of the new iOS 4.0 developers’ agreement, specifically “Section 3.3.1”. However, Herring reassured that GameSalad is compliant, using Apple’s Xcode for app development and verification, which should prevent any issues with app approvals. Unlike Flash, GameSalad’s integration with Mac and Xcode aligns well with Apple’s standards, ensuring that apps developed through GameSalad are indistinguishable from those developed directly through Xcode.

One of the challenges with using a platform like GameSalad is optimizing performance, as developing through a third-party kit can be less efficient than coding directly in Xcode.

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Michael Rose

Andrew is a dedicated writer for TUAW, your go-to Apple news blog. With a keen eye for detail and a love for all things Apple, Andrew brings you the latest updates on iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, and Apple Watches. His insightful articles and reviews help readers stay informed about the newest features and innovations. When he’s not writing, Andrew enjoys exploring new apps and testing out the latest Apple gadgets. His commitment to delivering accurate and engaging content makes him a valuable member of the TUAW team.