30 April 2020
Future of Corona
This is Vlad Shcherban, the main developer of Corona for the past several years. There are a lot of things I would like to discuss so I will try to be as brief as possible, with more details in the FAQ below.
As you already know, as of May 1st, 2020, Corona Labs Inc., the company is no more.
But Corona (the engine powering thousands of apps) is anything but finished. It is only starting as a completely open source project. I plan to continue working on it with development funded via crowdfunding. This idea seems to have been very warmly received by the community on the Forums and Slack, with people already pitching in to support my effort to keep Corona alive. I am very optimistic. If the trend continues, it seems I will be able to continue working on Corona full time. If you like using Corona, or use it for business and would like to see its development and support continue, please support my crowdfunding campaign on Patreon or GitHub Sponsors. Your support would be greatly appreciated by everyone using Corona.
Currently Corona is deeply tied to Corona Labs Inc.’s web services. I have been working hard over the last few months to move everything to either the Simulator running on a user’s machine or to free services available to open source software. From now on, new builds of Corona will appear on the “Releases” section on Corona’s GitHub.
The amazing folks from Appodeal have decided to fund “keeping the lights on” for essential parts of the Corona infrastructure: you will be able to download purchased Marketplace assets and make builds with existing versions of Corona Simulator. No new purchases, daily builds or plugin updates will be available from coronalabs.com after May 1st. Appodeal is also committed to contributing to the Corona open source project by releasing and updating plugins that will benefit the community in the near future.
By the way, about Appodeal: they recently launched the app accelerator program: help with funding, user acquisition and monetization, while you are keeping rights to your app.
(Re)brand & COVID-19
About half a year ago an idea was passed around to rebrand Corona, because it seems to be tied to a company which is closing. Since then, coronavirus has impacted many lives, which pushed the idea of rebranding over the line. With our awesome Slack community, we picked a new name for the engine: Solar2D. We feel like it is a good name, both nice, and connected to the origins of the original name. This rebrand will not be our priority since making sure that everything keeps working after May 1 is. It will be done gradually. Corona has quite a name recognition in the industry, and has rooted in the ecosystem. We will not be trying to get rid of it, prioritizing backwards compatibility. Everything you would be able to google with for Corona or Corona SDK will still work for Solar2D.
Forums have always been essential part of the Corona community. Our Forums were using a quite dated engine and authentication was tied to infrastructure which will be shut down in months to come. As of today, we have migrated the Forums to a new, more modern platform. We tried our best to migrate the Forums to the new platform at forums.solar2d.com. Most posts should be available there. To access your existing account you would need to reset your password. Keep in mind, the new Forums are not tied to the Simulator login. You are not resetting your Corona/Solar2D password, only your Forums password.
Q: What are your funding goals?
A: I will be able to work full time on Corona without taking another job if funding exceeds an experienced software developer’s salary living in Toronto. 75% of money above the salary of a medium level software developer’s salary will be used for contractors to work on specific projects. I have hopes to get enough support to rehire, at least part time, some of the awesome developers we had to let go.
Q: How do I migrate my projects to new Corona/Solar 2D?
A: You probably won’t have to do anything. The plan is to have the Simulator continue working as it is now, automatically downloading Corona’s first party plugins. Free plugins from other vendors would be added soon.
Q: Would source code for plugins be available as well?
A: Pretty much all code related to Corona Labs has been made available under the MIT license. I will move all updates & development of plugins to GitHub in public repositories. For now, all “com.coronalabs” plugin binaries are available for download.
Q: What about third-party plugins?
A: Third-party plugins can now be integrated using a custom plugin URL feature, or downloaded manually and placed in corresponding locations. I also have a plan to make the plugin system extendable, so the Simulator will be able to automatically configure plugins purchased from third-party stores. I am keeping in touch with vendors of most popular plugins to make sure they will be available.
Q: Do I have to migrate my project to Native?
A: Only if you want to. The Simulator will continue working. In fact, it would be much easier to integrate with custom or self-built plugins.
Q: You are vague about specific numbers on funding? Would there be some accountability?
A: I am vague, because I am coming from the background where talking about salaries is not something which is done. If you pledge $50 per month or more, I will disclose this information to you. Otherwise, I can assure you that my personal goals are more than reasonable.
Q: How can I support Corona/Solar 2D?
A: Best way to support it is through crowdfunding on Patreon or GitHub Sponsors. Since everything is open source, you can also improve the project directly. Also, you can be extremely helpful by answering questions on the forums, and telling others about Corona/Solar 2D.
Q: Are you starting a new company to support the engine?
A: No. I am doing this as an individual. I will try to build a fail-safe environment where everything is not tied to me. Crowdfunding is to support me and my goal of making Corona/Solar 2D the best game engine ever, and to keep it updated and up to requirements of all points of distribution, as much as possible.
Q: What are some of the engine development goals for the near future, any roadmap?
A: There are needs and wants here. Making sure that everything works without Corona Labs web services, supporting AndroidX artifacts and moving to Metal because of Apple’s plans to remove OpenGL are the most essential big tasks for the near future, as well as ongoing maintenance and plugin updates. Those are the needs which I would have to address to keep the engine functional. If funding permits, then the “wants” come in: I would really like to improve HTML5 support and add Switch support to the engine.