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Article Written By:
Johann Dowa

How can I develop iPhone app store games quickly for free? Part 2

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This article is about quickly developing 3D games on the iPhone using free game engines and with  CoreAnimation, for information about free 2D iPhone Game engines please check the Previous Article Here.

If you are determined to get into developing a 3D game there are a couple of free engines. The first one I’ll mention is the SIO2 Engine. I haven’t explored this engine in detail, but from running the examples and going through a couple of the tutorials it looks to be well made, it is written in C, but the learning curve is easier than you would think especially if you have used Blender.  The second engine is the Oolong Engine created by well known graphics programmer Wolfgang Engel from Rockstar Games.  I’ve been messing around with this engine for awhile, and find it to be excellent, be warned though it is extremely low level, and has no documentation so you will be learning simply from example.  It is basically the PowerVR 3D SDK optimized for the iPhone with added memory management, 3ds loading, and a math library, and is essentially meant for programmers with an understanding of OpenGL ES, which probably makes it fall into the “not quick” category of development, but I thought I should mention it for those wondering what I would use.

The final alternative for “quick” game development on the iPhone is just to use CoreAnimation, from what I understand game development using CoreAnimation can lead to performance issues, but if you’re developing a game that doesn’t include any fast action such as a board or card game then it may be your best bet.  I’d suggest looking at the GeekGameBoard example from Apple. While the example is a Mac OS X the syntax is very similar, and you should be well on your way to coding a game in CoreAnimation.  There are a few missing features, but you can certainly develop a non-action oriented game using CoreAnimation.  I left CoreAnimation for last simply because from what I’ve read on the iPhone boards it really is only viable for specific games.

Thanks for reading, and if you know of any good free iPhone game development tools that I haven’t mentioned then please comment about them below.


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