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.
I’ve been asked by several visitors to my videos as to how one can develop games quickly on the iPhone, and I understand that learning OpenGL ES and building your own game from scratch can be a daunting task.
Then when I respond talking about some of the commercial frameworks out there that cost $500 a seat per developer, the next question of course is there anything that can do it for free.
In all honesty you won’t find anything at the level of say, iTorque for free. However, there are some good free frameworks out there.
In my opinion the easiest free framework is Cocoas2D. This is an excellent open source framework for creating 2D (yes, sorry just 2D) games. In my opinion this is probably the best starting point for someone who is fairly new to game development on the iPhone and just wants to jump right in without having to worry about learning OpenGL, or even having to learn any of the finer points of iPhone development. You will need an understanding of Objective-C however as the documentation is somewhat minimal you will be learning how to do things mainly from the given examples. What I’ve found Cocoas2D great for is as a means to learning OpenGL ES, I was able to see from looking at the source code how to translate several OpenGL tutorials, and quickly learned how to do what I needed.
Some of the games created with Cocoas2D can be found here . You’d be surprised with how many games in the app store were created using this framework.
That’s all for today, check back tommorow when I get into a couple of free 3D engines for iPhone game development.