Best toolset/engine for iOS pixel art game?

Posts: 2
Joined: 2012.10
Post: #1
I'm looking for as integrated a toolset as possible that let's you do gameplay, level, tilemap, sprite editing etc. I'll quite gladly code ObjC, Lua, C#, etc. but I'd prefer to have as much out of the box as possible. So far it seems like Unity has all the bases covered for a 3D game but I don't seem to be able to see an equivalent in the 2D space, and specifically for pixel art.

So far I've found these options:

1. cocos2d/Kobold2D/Cocos2d-x. Not quite sure which of these best suits my needs yet (seems like the latter supports Android so that is a good option if I'd like to port to Android later). However it seems like these are just code frameworks, they don't provide much in the way of game / level editing tools and the like.

2. CoronaSDK looks interesting but it seems not as widely used and similarly doesn't come with level building tools.

3. GameSalad. Seems like the most integrated of the bunch for 2D, but appears to be in pretty early development, and its GUI-based scripting framework seems to be pretty limited if you want to think a bit outside the box with your game.

4. iTorque 2D. Seems like it includes quite a few tools but I have no real idea since it doesn't have a demo / trial.

5. Unity with RagePixel. This seems the most interesting option to me, leveraging all the good tools of Unity with a pixel art pipe. However, I'm not sure how well suited Unity is to 2D games and I don't know if it's overkill and if there's too much tool overhead when making a 2D game with a 3D engine.

Anyone with experience making a pixel art game with these (or any other) tools care to comment? Any recommendations gladly welcome.

Thanks a bunch! Smile
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Posts: 916
Joined: 2002.10
Post: #2
1) cocos2d/Kobold2D are very versatile. I've written an iPad pixelart game with them, and it's beautiful. It does require a lot of work though (you're given a lot for free, but it's still work)
3) GameSalad has been out for a long time, and if it feels "Early Development", that's because the most complicated games for it have been pretty much laid out. It's severely limited if you come from a traditional programmer background. Or you actually want to do fundamentally complicated things.
5) I've seen some amazing 2D Pixelart games come out of Unity (just check out Flying Sweden).

So if I were to give you a direction, I'd lean towards 1 or 5 =)
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Posts: 2
Joined: 2012.10
Post: #3
Awesomeness thanks! Smile I'm leaning towards 5 then, it's a bit pricey but likely worth it in the long run. btw for (1) what tilemap and/or level editor did you use? ? Does that function well as a level editor? Or was your game not content/level based enough to need a dedicated editor? Thx.
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Posts: 1,488
Joined: 2002.09
Post: #4
So we recently did a 2D game for a contract in Unity (by request of the customer). I can honestly say it was one of the most frustrating experience I've ever had making a 2D game. I've written a few of my own simple renderers and used a number of libraries. I think we tried 2 different sprite "libraries" in Unity for it and both were pretty awful. I forget the name of the first one, but this is the one we used in the end: Would not recommend it at all. No idea if RagePixel is any better, but honestly half of the problem was just Unity itself.

Scott Lembcke - Howling Moon Software
Author of Chipmunk Physics - A fast and simple rigid body physics library in C.
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