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25. January 2016

 

I am currently embarking on a rather massive “from scratch” beginners game programming series over on YouTube.  One thing that can make the process a hell of a lot smoother for a beginner or veteran alike is a good development environment.  As a result I’ve created this page, a summary of the best editors and IDEs for development in Lua using Love specifically.  This list contains both full blown IDEs as well as text editors that can be configured to work better with Lua or Love2D.  Of course the line between text editor and IDE can be extremely blurry at times, so the distinction doesn’t really matter.  Unless otherwise stated, all options on this list are cross platform and have a free version available.

 

ZeroBrane Studio

If in doubt, select this one.  It’s probably the easiest to configure and perhaps the most Lua and Love focused option out there.  With the least amount of effort you will get the most amount of functionality including code highlighting, autocompletion and most impressively, debugging support.

 

IntelliJ IDEA with Lua and Love2D plugins

Probably not the ideal choice for beginners, as the IDE itself is rather complicated and you have to configure two different plugins to get things up and running.  That said, this is the IDE I will be using for the tutorial series simply because it has an excellent presentation mode, making it good for video demonstrations.  With the plugins you get full autocompletion, syntax highlighting and can run your app directly from the IDE.  You can’t unfortunately debug.  I have done a video on configuring IntelliJ for Love development available here.

 

Sublime Text with the Love2D Package

Sublime Text is well named, it’s a great text editor, that through package support can get awfully close to full IDE capabilities.  It was my go to general purpose text editor for years and is still a very solid option.  With the Love2D package you get syntax highlighting, autocompletion and the ability to run your app directly in the editor.

 

Atom Editor with the Love-IDE collection of packages

Atom is another editor, very similar in scope to Sublime Text with probably even greater extensibility.  The Love-IDE extension brings together a collection of Lua and Love2d plugins to give Atom the ability to run from within the editor, autocompletion and syntax highlighting.  I personally find atom kind of slow though, especially to start up.  As I find myself loading and closing editors constantly, this becomes a more pronounced negative over time, at least to me.

 

Notepad++ with Autocompletion Plugin

Another free text editor that can be extended to support Lua and Love development.  Using the linked extension it is possible to get autocompletion, however the file is out of date and has only been updated up to Love 0.8.0.  There may be a more modern implementation somewhere.  As it stands, unless you are invested in Notepad++, I have trouble recommending it over the other great options in this list.

 

Eclipse and the LDT Plugin

The Eclipse IDE can also be extended to support Lua development using the LDT plugin.  I would rather swallow razor blades while juggling live hand grenades than use the Eclipse IDE, but hey... I’m trying not to let my bias show, so I added it to this list.  Some people love working in Eclipse, so this may be an option for you.  Warning though, Eclipse is extremely unfriendly to beginners, requiring a PHD in Obtuse UI design before mastering... oops, bias showing again. 

 

Decoda Lua IDE

This is the only option on this list I have no prior experience with.  It started life as an editor for Lua scripts for the game Natural Selection, then was released as a commercial Lua IDE, then finally was made free and open source.  Following these instructions it can be made to debug Love code.  Decoda is available on Windows only.

 

Visual Studio with BabeLua Plugin

Visual Studio is perhaps *the* IDE for Windows based developers and thanks to the somewhat recently released Community Editions, it is now available for free.  With the BabeLua plugin you get the full package, autocompletion, syntax highlighting and best of all, debugging.  For a beginner however, Visual Studio can be a bit daunting, not as bad as Eclipse, but probably comparable to IntelliJ in complexity.  Thanks to SiENcE for the heads up.

 

 

There are of course a few hundred other options including the ages old VIM and EMACS editor, or for those that like pain, you can use the text editor including with your OS such as Notepad or TextEdit, but you will certainly be leaving a lot of functionality on the table!  Did I miss a popular option?  If so, let me know!

Programming


22. December 2015

 

LÖVE, the popular Lua based open source game engine, just released version 0.10.  This is excellent news for me as I can now use the newest release in my upcoming complete beginners series.

 

So, what’s so special about this release?  Well the biggest feature has to be iOS and Android support, which I think you will agree is pretty big. 

 

That said, there are tons of new features in this release:

Changes from 0.9.2

Additions
Changed APIs
Renamed APIs
Removals
Bugfixes
Performance improvements
Other changes

GameDev News


15. December 2015

 

Over the years there have been many tutorial series here on GameFromScratch, many of them aimed at beginning game developers.  What there has never been is a series for complete beginners.  Every single programming tutorial I have ever written has assumed prior programming experience.  Today I am launching a new series that will change this.

image

Welcome to the newest tutorial series on GameFromScratch, Game Development for Complete Beginners.  I aim to teach game development with a focus on programming in this series.  However I am going to assume zero prior programming experience.  This means we will learn about the programming process, about variables, program flow and other key concepts.  We will also look at tools, debugging, profiling.  All critical tasks to learn for game development.  Of course this requires choosing a programming language and game engine or library.  For this, as you may guess from this page’s title, I chose Love ( or LÖVE/Love2D ) which uses the Lua programming language.  I will explain the reasons in more detail later, but for now simply realize it’s a beginner friendly combination and it’s a programming language that remains useful long past the beginning stages.

 

Of course this isn’t the kind of thing I can cover in a tutorial or two.  This will require a complete tutorial series.  I am actually composing it in chapter form and will publish each chapter here on GameFromScratch.  I will also be compiling the results together in e-book for Patreon supporters.  For each chapter there will also be one or more videos covering the same material.

 

In fact, there is already a video companion for this announcement post! Winking smile

 

Of course your feedback is always appreciated.  Hopefully this series helps makes entry into the world of game programming easier for new developers and it provides some mild amusement for more experienced readers!  Stay tuned for more.

Programming


AppGameKit Studio

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