Posted March 8, 2012 by Phil in Blog

Jam, Sun or going native

I’ve decided to drop the whole “Game Diary” moniker, there’s so many aspects to iOS game development right now that it’s hard to talk about the issues just based around one particular project, so from now on I’ll just espouse my thoughts in “normal” posts and if it’s about a specific game perhaps mention “Game Diary” for that.

So, moving on, I’ve just placed an order for a brand new Mac Mini. I ummed and ahhed about it for about an hour (while having a banging headache which didn’t help) before taking the plunge. What made me hesitate was is there a new one about to come out? answer, probably but it might be a good few months yet and I just want to be able to sign up to the Apple developer program sooner rather than later, also if I have to have the new mac mini (unlikely) they hold their money so well I can always sell this one on ebay and get most of my money back. This is my first Mac, having used PC’s my entire life apart from a few times when I had to use an iMac while working in-house in London some years back (I remember I couldn’t even figure out how to turn the thing on).

The point of this post though is the on-going saga of what tools to use. Today I came across something called Marmalade which took me a good few minutes to try and understand what on earth it was, until I discovered that it seems to be an abstraction layer just above the native C++ on the iPhone…I think, anyway it looks like one of the more “hard-core” options.

One of the things which is becoming apparent to me is that the more high level/easier to use the tool is the less at the front of the new iOS developments you are…usually, and like-wise the more hardcore you get the more access you have to the latest iOS functions. As previously mentioned I’m looking to get into turn-based development with my “big” project, and that is one of the latest iOS 5 functions so therefore as of right now it looks like I have to paddle in the hard-core pool. However for more straightforward projects something like Corona and AIR are perfectly suitable, so that might be a strategy going forward, but it all comes down to how all these various tools develop over the coming months, there might still end up being a clear winner say by November.

But for now my approach beyond my first iPhone project is to have looksy at all the different tools as most allow you to download and use them for free, and see what one takes my fancy, as well as having a good look at the hardcore options such as Cocos2D and Marmalade.