As I mentioned in my earlier posts, I have spent some time trying out Ansca Mobile’s Corona SDK and I think it is great. It allows a developer to rapdily put together very impressive stuff. Plus there are third party libraries and tools that are cheap and make things even easier. In particular I like Sprite Helper and Level Helper from Bogdan Vladu and Text Candy by X-Pressive.
That said, if you choose to work with Corona there are some limitations you must accept. There is no mechanism for adding C libraries; everything must be done in Lua. Access to the system is completely controlled by the SDK; there is no way to do your own rendering or to access other operating system APIs for sound, etc. This is by design; Corona is a multiplatform SDK and abstracting the APIs provided by various operating systems to a common Lua API makes sense.
Still, I find this a bit constraining as I would like to be able to replace some of the rendering with my own. When experimenting with Corona I started building a game that incorporated line drawing elements and found the line drawing to be a bit slow. I would like to have been able to redo this myself and still use the sprite API for rendering sprites. Also, it would be good to be able to render some special effects and backgrounds myself instead of relying on Corona.
Another limitation of the Corona SDK and one I have a bit more trouble with is that Ansca Mobile requires project builds for release to be done on their servers. Initiating a build generates an archive for you on their servers that you can upload to iTunes Connect or whatever the Andoid, etc., equivalent is. This keeps things simple, but for me leaves a lot to be desired. No tweaking compiler optimization, etc.
So what is a part-time indie devloper with no budget and no free time to do? Roll my own, of course!