Best software for developing apps fast?

Discussion in 'iOS Programming' started by windrider07, Jan 10, 2014.

  1. windrider07 macrumors member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Looking for a software that already has templates already made so that you can just go in and reskin/modify the graphics and code.

    GameSalad, Corona, Project Mayhem, Handheld Designer....

    Any recommendations?

    Handheld Designer is the cheapest that I've seen. You can use Phone Gap to bridge the code into native for use on xcode and publish to iOS.
  2. ArtOfWarfare macrumors G3


    Nov 26, 2007
    I think you'd have to specify more exactly what you want the app to do or be like... IE, if you're looking to make a game quickly, I would suggest you use Unity.
  3. windrider07 thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Last time I checked, Unity was for developers who already had prior knowledge of programming. A friend of mine says Unity can be challenging to do code. Takes a few years of coding experience to do well in Unity.

    I'm looking for a tool that already has the code or template setup so that I can just go in, study the code that is there and modify it and replace the images. A tool with pre-existing templates.
  4. ArtOfWarfare macrumors G3


    Nov 26, 2007
    This is the first time you've implied you have no experience with programming.

    Here's something you need to realize about programmers: we are some of the laziest people on earth. If we didn't have to program to program, then we wouldn't. But, believe it or not, making a program involves programming (who would have thought?) And so we do.

    You said you wanted to make a program quickly. So I suggested a tool that, in my experience, is very good for making a game very quickly. It takes out a lot of the tedious, every game requires this code, and lets you focus on the code that makes your game unique.

    What are you really looking to do? Whatever it is, it doesn't belong in the "programming" section of MacRumors, because you just said you don't want to program. You mentioned reskinning - feel free to make a mod of a game that has a modding system. Or head over to GitHub, I'm sure you can find a few Open Source games there that will let you drop in your own graphics.
  5. windrider07 thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 30, 2012
    I can see you are one of those kinds of people that is unable to give a straight direct answer (with all due respect).

    I know what programmers do. I know how programs are made. I want to make a mobile game or a mobile app for the iOS or Android platform via reskinning. Reskinning is probably the fastest and easiest way to learn how to learn programming for mobile apps unless you take on a tutorial course and create a very very simple mobile app from scratch. But then again, the code is there for you. You just have to take the code, study it, and learn how it is used.

    I want a tool that has everything there for me so that I can modify it. I want to modify already existing apps and games so that I can learn how the code works. I don't want to create anything from scratch until I can understand the basics on how it all works.

    I didn't ask where I can find open source code. I didn't ask what a programmer is or how programs are made. I asked what TOOL that has PRE-EXISTING templates that I can MODIFY.
  6. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

    Oct 31, 2009
    Near Dallas, Texas, USA
    Again, Unity will let you do that. Your task now is to FIND a pre-made template and take it from there. Their new 2D version of their editor has a nice intro video you can watch here (it's very, very good):

    What you REALLY want is something both GameSalad and YoYo Games' GameMaker offer. However they end up costing you a lot more in the end, and they don't give you much room to branch out, and you need to pick an editor that does to begin with so it's easier once you start trying to make your own mechanisms/gameplay that are not possible in those other programs.

    Try out one of the visual language plugins (or at least start comparing them all, find trials, etc) once you get Unity setup. Follow a simple tutorial and you can use that knowledge to make something else right away then and there.

    Here are some tutorials from Unity's forum even:

    Trust me. Do a tutorial on Pong and you will then KNOW how to do the following:

    • Scoring system
    • Walls/boundaries that change
    • Small collisions
    • Movement of objects with different properties
    • Destroying objects
    • Basic menus
    • Using images/shaders
    • How to program gameplay
    Learn how to make a proper game by actually doing it. Pong will take you 30 minutes to a hour, and again it's knowledge you can take immediately and make something else with. You might have to read a little more into it to make a platformer, tower defense, etc, but again, the basic knowledge is now there for you to use.
  7. windrider07 thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Thanks for the detailed answer which was very direct and to the point. I always thought Unity was just a tool that allowed you to start from scratch and was only for devs who already knew programming. Right now, I'm using Xcode on my macbook that comes with iOS Simulator. I recently discovered Handheld Designer which is so cool for drag-n-drop and only costs around $50.

    Unity vs Xcode....which one is better? Tools like Gamesalad, Handheld Designer, etc. are great because they allow drag-n-drop. Very easy to setup stuff in a game or app. It's like a CMS for a website. You have options that you can just configure and the system/tool will do the code automatically. Though you have to do a little coding by hand but the drag-n-drop UI makes things easy.
  8. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

    Oct 31, 2009
    Near Dallas, Texas, USA
    For games, definitely Unity. The UI is setup for that purpose. Xcode is setup to make apps.

    If you take a visual language, and learn what every little thing does, it's as easy as putting together a brainstorming diagram. You're basically dropping in bubbles and then inputting numbers/true/false/etc. It takes care of the extra coding part.

    It's the same thing as GameSalad, it just looks different and is cheaper.

    That video I linked to will show you the standard stuff in Unity though, and it'll briefly go on about Mono Develop which ships with it.
  9. windrider07 thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Thanks for the insight. Though for drag-n-drop tools like GameSalad, which one is the better tool to use in that category? I wonder which drag-n-tool has the most pre-existing templates available to use. Drag-n-drop tools are good for producing reskins really fast because they have pre-existing templates available. I guess I'll try out Unity if I try and find other codes to rekin, codes not available in drag-n-drop tools.
  10. Sonnestah macrumors regular

    Mar 2, 2013
    If you want, like you said, learn and understand code, no drag and drop tool will help you.

    Also, I don't know how "reskinning" would help you learning if you don't know the basics.

    Sorry, I just don't believe in easy/fast/magical methods when it comes to learning how to code.
  11. windrider07 thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 30, 2012
    I learned how to make a website by using Content Management System tools like Wordpress and free website building tools. Several years later, I can create a basic website from scratch using html and css. I have to look up the php, ajax, javascript, and other code that I need but I do not have trouble finding them because I know exactly what code I need and how the code will work. I can take a pre-existing template and transform it into something else because I can study the code and know what it all means. But I can't create the code from scratch...I'm not e professional php programmer.

    So for me, taking things that have already been built and studying their functionality, then applying those functions in various ways to other projects....that method is how I learn.

    There are people who can create advanced, professional looking, sleek, clean, organized websites in different languages. I actually know someone who can....he's got different web programming languages stuck in his head and can create a website from scratch with no tools. But I bet he's got years of experience and the right kind of mentality. Then there are people like me who has a vision but can't go advanced and would rather modify stuff that's already been built.

    As long as you understand what you are doing and make it all work so that the final product is different from the original, than that's great. When I say "different", I mean....the assets can be the game looks, the drops in the game, the character appearance, the music, the background, the speed of the game. But the overall game itself stays the's just how the game looks that changes. It's like the planet Earth. You can take the Earth and make it into an izy blue frozen ball with green aliens living on it. It looks totally different but it's still a planet.
  12. dejo Moderator


    Staff Member

    Sep 2, 2004
    The Centennial State
    I would venture to say that reskinning teaches you very little about actual programming and just about how to swap out resources.

    However, if you do want code that you can modify to "tinker with" though, in hopes of learning programming, Apple provides plenty of sample code, among other resources.
  13. firewood macrumors 604

    Jul 29, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    There are tons of open source iOS apps on github (, and sample apps on Apple's developer site. Just take one, mod some assets, and rebuild using Xcode.

    Buzztouch, and other similar web sites, will even generate a semi-custom Xcode iOS project for you, and spit out some Objective C code for you to modify.
  14. Duncan C macrumors 6502a

    Duncan C

    Jan 21, 2008
    Northern Virginia
    I thin you are deluding yourself. If you want to create an original game you are going to need to learn how to create game logic. There might be graphical design tools that let you work with logic blocks, wireframes, etc, but you will still need to figure out how to use those tools and create a structured, logical description of what you want the game to do. There's no such thing as "jump in, reskin, and "modify the code" that will do anything other than create a different skin on an existing game.
  15. TjeuV macrumors 6502

    Dec 14, 2011
    Exactly what's been said above by Duncan and others ... Start with learning the basics so you understand what you're doing and why it's been used in other applications. By just copying things ... you're not creating anything new.

    I think you want to create a world changing game by taking some examples from other games but believe me, that's not going to happen. Don't try to skip 462 steps in becoming a programmer. Start with step 1 and go from there.

    And also, If you want help, it's not the best idea to get on your high horse and say people are not giving you "straight answers" if you even fail to mention you have little to no experience in coding.
  16. windrider07 thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Good point; however reskinning is a great approach to learn code and how it works right away. A better way would be to create a brand new app or game and use a tutorial. Reskinning fast forwards the entire process.

    I didn't ask for code. I asked for TOOLS. Big difference. A tool that can generate code, not the code itself. But thanks for the references.

    Nope, I know the difference. I never said I was going to create an original game. I said I want to create apps FAST. Trust me, if I wanted to create an original unique game, I'll have to grab some tutorials and start from a blank canvas. Reskinning helps to understand some of the basic concepts of programming and allows you to push out apps/games really fast. No, it doesn't teach you everything about programming. It just just gives you a really quick jumpstart. I won't become a pro but I will definitely be given a sense or idea of how programming is like.

    Never said I was going to create a "world changing game". It's very possible to look at a post and answer somebody's question directly. Example: "How much experience do you have in programming? If you have some programming, you can use blablabla. If you have no experience at all, you can use blablabla." It's easy. I was asking how to create apps fast. There are a lot of people who reskin games and gain a basic understanding of how to make apps. Some people reskin games and then afterwards, they go to tutorials and start from scratch. Everyone has their own way of learning programming. If I wanted to create an original and unique game, trust me....I would start from scratch. Reskinning is a business that has been proven to be successful. It turns a game into something totally different using the same concept. Yes, it is copying. However; you'd be amazed at how creative people get when they reskin apps. Of course, it's even more impressive when people can create their own games from scratch.
  17. Sonnestah macrumors regular

    Mar 2, 2013
    What?! Said who?!

    I must have missed the greatest way to learn programming then :p

    ...Anyway, I don't think you will find such drag and drop tool if you would like to develop for iOS. The closest would be those HTML5 templates I guess
  18. windrider07 thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 30, 2012
    That's just my own opinion. Open up Unity, XCode, or whatever tool you up some tutorials on start coding, then start creating a few simple apps. You'll learn data structure, algorithm, flowchart, etc. along the way as you code. Everyone's got their own way of learning programming.

    By the way, I've seen some great iOS games that were created using drag and drop tools. GameSalad's website is full of games for iOS as well as Corona. Correct me if I am wrong but those games are made through drag and drop, right?
  19. Sonnestah macrumors regular

    Mar 2, 2013
    I didn't know what GameSalad was until now. Poking around their website I found this:

    So yes, you wont ever touch C, Obj-C or C++ with it. You will see HTML5 and JavaScript, if they don't obfuscate it, that is.
  20. windrider07 thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Yea, GameSalad targets noobie devs or people who want to create mobile apps/games quickly. Unity and Xcode has a different audience. Though they are both in "mobile development", they attracted people who program in different ways. I always knew about Unity because Unity is popular for cross-platform advanced programming. Didn't know about Xcode until I did research on some Apple forums. Didn't know about Gamesalad and Corona until I few a videos and read forum posts about what is an easy software to use for creating games fast on iOS.

    Drag and drop tools make it easy to create games. If you want to actually learn how to code, you can look into the code which is optional in GameSalad and figure out what the code does. That's actually what Handheld designer lets you do. You don't have to look at the code but you can if you want to. Like I said, it's a fast way to jumpstart learning if you want to know the basics. Eg: what is a .h and a .m file? What does each file do? If I want to create a button or an input box, what code do I use? How do I initiate a screen to load up after splash screen? Simple stuff like that.
  21. ArtOfWarfare macrumors G3


    Nov 26, 2007
    You won't learn what an .h and .m file is by looking at them and you won't learn what they do by looking at them.

    You could learn by reading a book or asking... Or by searching online.
  22. windrider07 thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 30, 2012
    True, but by looking at them, it motivated me to look what they were online and reading about them. So as I said, drag and drop helps some, but not everyone. I'll be using drag and drop for quick game launches and possibly Unity for other games.
  23. Dekard macrumors 6502


    Sep 7, 2011
    Dallas, Texas
  24. windrider07 thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 30, 2012
    I'm not looking for codes to reskin. I'm looking for a recommended drag and drop TOOL to use to create quick games.
  25. Twimfy macrumors 6502a


    Sep 11, 2011
    There's pretty much no such thing for iOS.

    My recommendation would be cocos2d. There are a lot of open source complete cocos2D games out there.

    You'll still have to use Xcode but all you'd need to do is find the assets folder for a project and just reskin all of the sprites, levels and images etc.

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