iPhone Game Kit 3.0

So you might recall a few months ago we went over commercial cocos2d source offerings and were tepidly positive about The iPhone Game Kit as being likely the best starting point out there for a newbie, with a few reservations; and there’s a new version out now (ok, it’s been out a month tomorrow, but we just got around to downloading it tonight) so let’s take a look at what’s been done with it.

Big addition is another game, MonsterCheckers:

MonsterCheckersScreen.jpg

Nothing too huge, but a nice example with helpful code for doing a board game with cocos2d; check it out free on the App Store. And the code for this and the Quexlor tiled RPG has had some abstraction performed on it and upgraded all around — we were moderately amused to note

Big news. You can now do a Build & Analyze on both games and get zero, yes, absolutely zero, warnings. This means we’ve paid special attention to Objective C memory management and greatly improved a few areas.

as that was our major quibble with the code provided with the first version. So we officially withdraw that criticism.

We’d also noted that there was some justification for the concerns people have about lacking attribution for open source components included in commercial offerings of this type; well, now on the main page you’ll see

… If you are looking for a 2D game engine, remember you can always download Cocos2D for free. Also have in mind that there are other starter kits available to learn Cocos2D, including Ricardo Quesada’s own

… NOTE: The artwork included in the kit is provided by Reiner’s Tilesets. You can use the graphics in your own commercial game royalty-free! See Reiner’s site for more information on licensing and his newest isometric graphics

which, we’d say, is quite sufficient attribution that anybody reasonable ought to consider it adequate.

And our last cavil was snootiness about finding loops like for (id o in ra) insufficiently expressive for our snootily exacting standards. Well, flipping through the new game code we see loops like for (CheckerPiece* piece in deadPieces) which is much more the style we like to read. Doubt that has any direct connection to our pettifoggery, but hey we’ll walk back that one too.

The included documentation looks mostly the same, major additions we noticed being a chapter on the development of MonsterCheckers in the development book and a small section on PR firms in the marketing book. But since we noted it last time as “quite a bit better than any other introductory level documentation we’ve seen anywhere”, mostly the same is still fine.

Soooooo … looks like we don’t have any reason left not to give it our wholehearted recommendation for anyone new to game programming on the iPhone with cocos2d. Or even if you’re not new, the source code is still probably well worth the price if you’re planning a game in the tiled RPG or board game genres!

UPDATE:

And here’s something to pique your interest further if you’re a complete newbie thinking of dabbling a toe in here:

Develop the Game Kit’s Community RPG and be a part of gaming history!

We are launching a community iPhone game project where iPhone game creators like you and me collaborate to make the first community-driven Quexlor game! It’s called Quexlor: Lands of Fate™ and will be released on the App Store for free this coming January…

… You will have the opportunity to sign up to create levels, items, and/or enemies. Your name will be in the credits of the game based on what you accomplish. Think about putting the credit in your résumé!

Yep, there’s oodles and oodles of courses and books and whatnot out there for introduction to programming … even oodles for introduction to iPhone programming specifically … even several now for introduction to iPhone game programming with cocos2d very specifically indeed, wonder of wonders … but actually going ahead and organizing your customers into a commercial project, that is completely unique as far as we know. And we’d say is quite sufficient reason to update our recommendation to the iPhone Game Kit being unquestionably the best way to start out programming iOS games!

Alex | November 12, 2010

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