Blue Bilby introduces a new section to the website: Interviews with Developers and others in the Mobile Industry.
Today we are interviewing Bogdan Vladu, creator of the SpriteHelper and LevelHelper applications.
Tell us a bit of your history about how you got into the development business to start.
My first real job was to port a game developed in DirectX to OpenGL in order to make it run on Mac OS.
This was a fun and interesting experience that somehow gave me the thirst for game development. But somehow, life took me in another direction. Most of my experience is as software engineer for air traffic and train traffic control software. This teach me all about software development processes.
What platforms have you developed for?
I think, I covered all platforms. Maybe even some that were proprietary.
Which languages have you developed in? What is your favourite?
If I think about it, I touched all major languages but most of my coding was done in C, C++ and now Objective C. My favorite, I have to say its Objective C. Yes, i know people hate it at first, but once you get into it, most of the stuff that people hate in the beginning start to make sense and then you cant do with out. Where in C and C++ you can have good code if you follow a few principles in Objective C some of this principles are imposed. Hence, programmers write better code.
Tell us a bit about your SpriteHelper and LevelHelper applications. What are they and what do they do?
SpriteHelper is 3 tools in one. Its a sprite editor, pack the sprites in order to make the final image file as small as possible, finds all the individual sprites if you provide an already packed image file and lets you set properties like opacity, scale, color tint and more for each sprite that later you can use in your game engine.
Its a physic editor, auto traces shapes for the sprites, let you manually create shapes and most importantly, in version 1.8 (people can already download the beta from www.spritehelper.org) you can set properties and do advance collision, like the ability to figure out in what part of the body the collision took place.
And finally, its an animation editor, it lets you visualize and create animations that you can use in your game engine. With version 1.8 you can set up notifications with user data that you can receive when playing that animation in your game engine.
LevelHelper is a level editor. It gives you the ability to layout sprites by drag and drop, create parallaxes, path movement, joints and more. Version 1.4.9 (download the beta from www.levelhelper.org) has introduces some advance features, like assets, which makes it easy for you to duplicate and instantiate by code advance objects that are created with or without joints. Custom user data property which lets you set data on your sprites like strings, booleans, numbers, arrays (tables of data) and coming in 1.5 many more.
Why did you decide to develop these apps for Corona in particular?
The tools initially did not support Corona, but because I was asked by Corona users, I added support for it. Corona SDK its a very nice engine. I consider that it still has to grow in some parts but what you can do with it as it is right now shows great potential. It all depends on what Ansca will do with it.
What challenges have you faced creating these applications?
The most changes comes from the restrictions imposed by a game engine. When I add a new feature I must make sure that I would be able to support all engines, or at least part of it. Like for example, in Corona SDK the ability to cut sprites in real time its not available. But who knows, maybe in the future this will be possible.
Have you seen a strong demand for SpriteHelper and LevelHelper?
Yes, people are starting to learn the tools and use them. I have seen some amazing games created with them. My iPad is full of games created by my users. I have seen features of LevelHelper used in ways I did not even imagine when I have created them.
Do you have anything you can tell us about future updates to your applications?
I cannot really talk about future update until the moment the update will be available, but I can say that the plan I have right now for both apps will take me about 2 years to finish. There will be some amazing updates coming.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Always try to innovate and believe that everything is possible.