Developing for the iPhone – PolarisJuly 26th 2009, 2 Comments
Polaris is a block-falling puzzle game for the iPhone and iPod touch that I have worked on for about 3 months as a side project. The goal of the game is to form complete rings of colored tiles, which you need to deactivate in order to clear these rings.
About 95% of the code is written in pure C++ (for portability and familiarity reasons), with some hooks into the Cocoa framework using Objective-C++ for system specific functions (application start-up, text drawing, and sound support). Polaris was a very fun project to work on, not only because writing games is fun, but also because of the technical and artistic challenges.
The first and second generation iPhone is OpenGL ES 1.1 capable. As such effects must be realized without any use of shaders. Instead one must rely on clever use of multiple textures, texture transformations, and various blending modes.
The game’s logo was created in Inkscape—an open-source vector graphics editor. Other in-game graphics were created in Photoshop. For the nebulous background I loosely followed these two tutorials: Space Lightning Effects and Creating Clouds. For artistic inspiration I like to browse Smashing Magazine, which I find to be an excellent aggregator of top-notch graphics design.
Polaris is available in the App Store for the iPhone and iPod touch! Check out the game’s website for more information.