Apple revealed details of its plan for third party iPhone and iPod Touch applications today. Overall, very cool. Gamewise, it’s fairly straightforward to get an OpenGL context up and running and to start playing around.
How powerful is the hardware?
The chipset and graphics coprocessor in the iPhone/iPod Touch is plenty powerful for creating games — It should handle several thousand textured polygons no problem.
The amount of RAM in the phone is equally impressive. And remember, the display is larger and higher resolution than the PSP, with more pixels than both of the DS screens put together.
Dan and I are working on some things for the phone and he’s put together a couple quick demos that show off the power of the hardware and the ease with which you can do cool things with the interface.
The first is a demo of bouncing balls which uses the touchscreen to spawn and the accelerometer data to define the gravity vector.
The second is a test of the hardware’s 3D rendering, which loads a few lowpoly textered meshes.
What’s interesting is the distribution model. The App Store sounds like a marketplace similar to XBLA and PSN, except of course not limited to games. The 70/30 ratio is good, but it remains to be seen how content will be promoted in this store.
Apple already has a section of the iTunes store devoted to iPod games. So will there be a two-tiered approach where big-publisher projects get heavy visibility and other stuff has to fend in a flood of content? Sites like Versiontracker are becoming hard to use because of the volume of content they track, and sifting through it is tedious.
There has been some consternation about a flip-flop in the price structure on one of the consoles’ downloable games portals lately. Hopefully Apple’s 70/30 ratio remains stable.
When you consider the novel interface, the straightforwardness of the API, and the access granted for anyone to develop for the device, it seems likely that we’re going to see some really amazing things made for the phone.