I’ve made a tiny game while learning the engine, you can play it here:
Below is a bit of backstory and my initial thoughts about Defold.
- I’m a game designer with no formal programming training and experience.
- I always wanted to be able to prototype mechanics and make small games, mostly for my own pleasure.
- I’ve started with Unity, as I had a lot of really experienced developers around who helped me.
- I’ve made a number of prototypes and micro-games (you can also check a couple of them on my itch page.
- After some time I felt that Unity is simply too much for my goals and has a few (personally) irritating things, starting from the overly-complicated animation flow to the editor’s RAM/CPU usage and the whole OOP thing that is really a pain to handle sometimes.
Why I ended up trying Defold:
- It looked cool.
- It is mostly 2D oriented, which suited my needs.
- It promised things that were really tempting: a very easy way to animate object properties, small build sizes, ability to build HTML5 games that work fine on mobile devices.
What I’ve discovered while learning the engine:
- The editor itself is not that lightweight actually, especially on the older hardware.
- Another thing with low-end hardware: the editor’s layout is really not suited for lower resolutions, using it on a 1366x768 screen on a laptop is a pain, as I have to toggle panels in order to maximize space.
- After being spoiled with auto-completion and other nifty stuff in VSCode, so the built-in code editor seems a bit bare bones.
- Having knowingly ditched C# in favor of Lua I faced with the fact that I don’t really know how to properly handle data and pass it to different parts of the system. I also suspect that Lua can be used in a much more effective and elegant way that I managed to do it.
- The whole shaders and materials stuff makes me desperate.
go.animate()is a wonder and just feels right, especially cool that it all comes with a set of predefined easings and such.
- Making and organizing sprite atlases with animation groups and tilemaps is intuitive (although tilemap editor could have a couple more features like flood feel, brush multiple tiles etc.)
- The builds are indeed very small and work well on mobile. Very nice.
- The community is very supportive. I’ve learned a ton of things in the Telegram group and here on the forum.
I will certainly continue messing around with the engine. My next priority is to learn how to properly handle various screen resolutions, the whole UI system, working with assets/third-party modules and building projects for mobile platforms.
I thank the community for supporting novices like myself and everyone who have have read this sheet of text and tried the game. Your feedback and thoughts are very welcome!