It’s both exciting and terrifying to contemplate the amazing tools developers code from scratch to support their games. Almost none are seen in public, usually because they never exist in a state where you could declare them a releasable product. That’s why it’s impressive when a dev does push out one of its custom tools, in this case it’s Natural Selection 2 creators Unknown Worlds with its Lua IDE.
Lua is a popular, lightweight programming language often used to handle scripting duties in games — setting up AI, event triggers and other gameplay staples. There are a few off-the-shelf integrated development environments (IDEs) for Lua, but as any programmer knows, if you can’t quite find something that does what you need, it’s hard to resist concocting your own solution.
This is the path Unknown Worlds took and the result is “Decoda”, a solid-looking Lua IDE that also includes a debugger (a tool for inspecting the code as it runs). The developer has open-sourced the app and provided a Windows installer if you’re just interested in trying it out.
Custom-made development tools usually serve a specific purpose or are built on proprietary technology, making a public release pointless. What makes Decoda different is that it can be used for any Lua project.
So, from one programmer to another, massive props to Unknown Worlds for enriching the coding world, not only by releasing a general-purpose tool, but open-sourcing it as well.
The title by the way is a programming joke — a “class” is a coding construct. Hilarious, right?*
OUR LUA IDE DECODA IS NOW OPEN SOURCE! [Unknown Worlds]
* Lua actually doesn’t have a concept of classes, so well done to those of you who mentally exposed the giant hole in this pun.