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Article Written By:
Johann Dowa

8 Sensational iPhone Game Engines (2D and 3D)

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 After finishing up a contract,  I  decided to start work on my first graphical iPhone game title.  Originally I had set out to create to an iPhone game, and tested out several of the engines available, but put things on hold to work on some small contracted apps.  Now I’ve decided to get back to that, and took another look at the iPhone game engines available, so here they are with a small writeup about each engine.

Bork 3D – Bork 3D is a 3D engine specifically for programmers.  No wysiwig tools here.  I haven’t had a chance to check out this engine as I just heard about it, but  Bork 3D was used in the create of the Anytime Golf game.  Something that I find very appealing is that the author provides the full source and the cost for the engine begins at only $49.

 

Cocos 2D iPhone – Cocos 2D iPhone is an extensive open source framework for producing 2D games on the iPhone.  Cocos has been used as a starting point for many developers interested in creating iPhone games, and title after title is produced using this framework.  The feature list continues to grow, and the question is where will it end.. these guys seem to be putting everything into it.  You certainly can’t beat the price at free.

 

iTGB – A 2D game engine with an extremely easy to use visual scene editor.  This is an excellent 2D engine with a very rich feature set.  The full source is included, and I believe this would be an excellent way to get started with game development on the iPhone if not for the cost starting at $750.

 

iTGE – A 3D game engine from the makers of iTGB.  From what I understand this engine uses Oolong at it’s core.  The engine has a visual scene editor and an extensive feature set.  The Torque Game Engine that iTGE has been used in many hit indy game titles on the Windows platform.  The cost starts at $650.

 

Oolong engine – Oolong is a game engine written by author/graphics programmer Wolfgang Engel.  It contains an extensive feature set and a very liberal MIT license.   That being said, it is definitely an engine created for programmers, and requires solid knowledge of OpenGL ES to use.  There is a discussion list, and a nice collection of examples.  The only thing that I don’t like is the lack of documentation. Free MIT licensed. 

 

Shiva Ston3d – Shiva is a game engine with a visual editor for scene design and from checking out the forums it appears as though some very nice games have been/are being created with it on the iPhone.  Shiva utilizies a Lua like scripting langue.  There is one huge negative for me personally which is that the editor runs in the windows environment, it runs in parallels but not too well on my Mac.  The price starts at ~$250.

 

Sio2Engine – SIO 2 Engine is an open source 3d engine with an extensive feature set that utilizes Blender for scene creation.  I’m not the world’s biggest blender fan so I can’t say too much about the engine., but still this game engine has been used in many different iPhone titles so it is worth looking at and the price is definitely right as there is no charge as long as you place a splash screen at the start of your game advertising the engine.

 

Unity 3D – Unity 3D is a game engine that has been around for a number of years, and has grown quite a following for it’s ease of programming.  Unity 3D has it’s own visual editor for scene design, and utilizes the C#, and Boo programming languages.  Unity is well known for it’s ease of use, and has established been used in many iPhone different games.  Costs begin at $199 + $499.

 

Ultimately I have decided not to use any of the current iPhone game engines, but have decided that at least for my first few titles I will attempt to create a 2D game engine on my own, and go from there.  My main reason for doing this is simply because while I have used/purchased some indy game engines in the past for development of freeware/shareware hobby titles I would like to learn how to do this myself, and put all the graphics programming, and math that I learned in college to use. 

If you have any experience using any of the above game engines, or a title you created using one of them feel free to post about it below.

 


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