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I am new to app development. I have experience with web development with languages such as PHP, jQuery, HTML etc. I want to take a turn at development for mobile devices.

I have a concept for a game that is a turn-based local multiplayer game. Essentially, the user would open the app, select the amount of players, choose their player avatar, edit the player name etc. and start the game. Once the game is started, each player will have their own turn in a cyclical nature (and pass the mobile device along). Obviously, the game would keep track of certain player stats as the game progresses. The graphics in the game are going to be simple and cartoons (2D).

Im curious if there is an app engine that will cater to a newbie like me as well as the game style. I have done some research on Stencyl but im not sure that this type of game will work well with that platform.

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    This is a perfectly valid question, and I hope that you get an answer here. I just want to make you aware of gamedev.stackexchange.com – Mawg May 3 '17 at 7:33
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I do not believe you will get a definite answer. The reason is that you should choose what suits you best. I will try to answer based on personal research that I have done and my small effort on developing a 2D game. But you have several options to choose among:

  1. As you talk about 2D graphics, I would personally stay away from engines like Unity. It now has 2D support, but I feel the added complexity is something to avoid.
  2. Do not be afraid to use a "drag-and-drop" toolkit, such as Construct 2 or GameMaker: Studio. The important things here is that the end-user(s) enjoy the art, the gameplay and the overall result. If I was to choose one, I would probably go with the first. No one will care about the code behind it (as long as it is not lag-ish). But be aware that most of these softwares need to buy a license, if you are to distribute your game (usually though it is cheap and you can convert it to a full commercial once you make enough profit.
  3. I personally love the LÖVE framework and is what I normally use. It is based on Lua (very very easy to get started with) and follows similar principle to the Processing i.e. it incorporates 3 functions that loop forever and which you have to populate. Might look very simplistic, but can get you up and running immediately. I have not developed any mobile games with it although the support exists.
  4. Other -very- popular free alternatives are the LibGDX and the Godot engine. I have only used the second one a tiny bit and uses its own custom language (GDScript) which I think is somewhat similar to Python. The engine argue that this, although time-consuming learning curve, pays back soon, because it allows you to do things much more efficient, than using the -embedded- C++ support. Also, Godot has a very wind range of tutorials and forum support. This would be my second option. I have no experience with LibDGX, but seems to be liked by many.
  5. Cocos2d-x is also very popular for mobile development, but again I have no previous experience with it.
  6. You can also always develop you own custom engine, but many recommend against it, because it seems like reinventing the wheel a bit.

See also this very good answer, which also the developer of (the very successful) Stardew Valley has replied to.

My answer might not seem of big help, but I hope it is something to begin with. At the end, it depends how dedicated you will be and what you personal preference is!

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