There’s been alot of hate from the “hardcore” gaming and game development crowd towards iPhone and iPad gaming. They don’t like it that on the iPhone you can purchase high-quality games at a small fraction of the price thanks to the relatively low cost of the iPhone SDK vs. the “hardcore” gaming platforms. They seem to like it even less when independent developers achieve some level of success.
According to the Game Developer Research 2009-2010 Survey, the Wii is the big loser dropping from 42 to 30 percent of console developers. The iPhone and iPod touch developer numbers more than double those on Nintendo DS and Sony PSP. This bodes well for the iPad which will allow for more complex games.
The fact of the matter is that the iPhone 3GS has tremendous graphical power. The controls are intuitive, even though there’s no available gamepad (yet…), and there are first class tools and libraries available at little or no cost. The more traditional platforms will need to let independent developers in at a low cost, or they will continue to lose support.
You can read more about the survey and it’s results on Gamasutra here: State of Game Development Survey Reveals iPhone Support Surge, Wii Lull
If you are looking to get started with iPhone game development, and are looking to go the Objective-C route you should check out these excellent iPhone game programming tutorials.
Please post any comments below, thanks!
Now that the Apple iPad has officially been announced, it’s time to look at what sort of opportunities for app development have arisen because of this new hardware. If the name is making you giggle, that’s a natural reaction. At first glance the iPad looks like a big iPhone, here’s a rundown of the essential specs.
Apple iPad Hardware Specs (Known so far):
- 9.7″ Screen
- 1.5 lbs. weight
- 0.5″ Thick
- 16-64GB Storage
- Capacitative Multi-Touch Screen
- Custom 1gHz A4 chip (custom Apple chip)
- 30-Pin Connector
- 10 hour battery (this seems kind of weak)
Noticeably missing: A camera. So we can’t use the power for more cool augmented reality apps.
Cost: Starting at $499 (probably the best thing in the announcement)
Now, looking at the hardware, we don’t know exactly how quick the graphics will be, but the gaming displays looked very good, and considering the larger size of the screen it appears that there is enough extra juice in the iPad to handle larger games.
While it looks great, I can’t help but really think this is just an iPod Touch with a bigger screen. We have Kindle on the touch and I hope this better looking iBooks app lets me load in my Kindle books.
I see the larger screen pretty much putting an end to the “iPhone vs. PSP” type arguments. This is now THE portable gaming device. Developers now have the room to put custom controls.
As far as software improvements go we don’t know yet until we see all the features in the new OS, but I have to admit that this really does just seem to be little more than a bigger iPhone. That being said I plan to get one, since i want a bigger iPhone.
The new iPhone SDK update supports the iPad, complete with simulator you will be able to get it at http://developer.apple.com
The official iPad page:
I was asked by a friend working on their first iPhone app if I could show them how to fade buttons to provide the user with visual feedback. So I came up with this quick iPhone development tutorial using some source code that is actually from the second app that we I will be showing how to build in my iPhone development videos.
A very quick demonstration of the effect is shown in this video:
Fading a view on the iPhone is very easy you simply specify the ending alpha value, and duration, and commit the animations. The views will then fade to the chosen alpha value. Overall it’s a pretty sweet way to fade buttons, and images used in your interface especially if you’ve had to go through more complex techniques.
The code for the two methods to create the buttons is shown here:
That’s all there is to it, it’s very plug and play so all you have to do is run the methods to perform the effect., and I’ve included some sample code with a project that has various views fading in and out based on which button is selected. With a little bit of playing around you can make flashing images/buttons etc.
The completed project can be downloaded here: >>> FadingViews <<<
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.
This is the second part of the tutorial on building your iPhone App’s interface in interface builder. In this video I quickly drag out all the elements, and connect the interface elements with the appropriate outlets, and actions, and build the class file automatically.
This is the 5th video/tutorial in this series, and I hope you enjoy it.
The first tutorial can be found here:
>>> Developing Your First Apple iPhone App <<<
The project containing the app at the end of this video can be found here:
Project file for tutorial
We will finally get into writing code in the next video!
Here it is:
Thanks for reading.