Candlelight Software reaches its 30th anniversary in 2022! I guess it’s about time for a history lesson.
Thirty years ago, I started using the Candlelight Software name, and my first program, Songanizer, was released. Songanizer was a utility used to manage your physical music collection (albums, tapes, etc), and allowed you to cross-reference songs and artists across your entire collection. Songanizer was released as a shareware product and was uploaded to BBSs and online services such as CompuServe and AOL. Yeah, it’s that old.
In 1993 I also developed a “Pro” version of Songanizer for use at a local college radio station and I released a Windows version in 1994. Songanizer for Windows was more than just a port of the DOS version of Songanizer… while the main features and functionality remained, Songanizer for Windows took full advantage of the Microsoft Windows environment to give the user such features as multiple printer support, a report designer, and more.
I also started developing front-end applications for the MajorBBS and WorldLink BBS platform which were developed using Visual Basic for Windows. By the end of 1998, the BBS scene was coming to an end, and I started focusing on other areas.
In 2002, I released Link Checker which is a utility used to manage your Internet Explorer favorites. Version 1.0 did what it said (checks Favorites to see if they are still live, not much more), but over the next several months, many features were added to enhance the product. Tons. Fast and furious. Link Checker was also renamed to Favorites Inspector around version 4.0 in 2003. The technical side of developing Favorites Inspector is interesting (to me at least), and that too may be a topic for another day.
I kept Favorites Inspector going for 10 years with lots of support, lots of features, lots of UI enhancements. In 2012, I decided that I wanted to give game development a try, and I released Favorites Inspector as a free download.
Games By Candlelight
I left desktop app development and turned to game development in 2012. In the past 10 years, I released games for iOS and Android platforms (you can see the list here… all are still available to download and play). My mobile games are developed with CoronaSDK (now called Solar2D), and I used that platform for close to 8 years.
During the time I was using CoronaSDK, I also wanted to give Unity a try. I wanted to try 3D game development, and CoronaSDK was going through some issues being bought and sold (and eventually Open Sourced). I rewrote a few of my games using Unity, and I also participated in 11 Ludum Dare game jams. Those games are available on itch.io for download or online play via browser.
Back to Apps
I started getting a bit frustrated with Unity. I kept starting and restarting the same games over and over, and I was running into issues while developing and updating my released games… seemed like it took longer to figure out how to fix problems upgrading libraries than releasing my games, so the long development times started to turn me off on game development a bit. I needed a break.
Around that time, I discovered Flutter and Dart for cross platform application development. I decided to rewrite my one CoronaSDK app, Back In The Day, using Flutter, and it was a great experience. I also like that I can write an app and release features as I go (unlike game development) and as of now, my focus is on Flutter development. I have a few ideas I want to try to release.
So, as of this writing, I am still supporting my existing mobile apps using Solar2D and Unity. I am also going to try developing a few new applications using Flutter.
I have not completely given up on game development. I have 2 games that I rewrote with Unity that are very close to release, but I am unsure if I will release them, or if I will restart them using Flutter. For game jams, 3D games, or game I want to write for Windows or Mac, I will go back to Unity.