Example ARC project. Pretty awesome.

When I wrote the tutorial how to enable ARC for a cocos2d project, I neglected to include an actual working project. I mean why read and follow a long tutorial if all you really need is a working project to get started with?

Therefore I decided to enable ARC in all twelve standard cocos2d Xcode project templates for both cocos2d versions (v1.1 and v2.0), both platforms (iOS and Mac OS), both physics engines (Box2D and Chipmunk) and publish them on github.

You can download the ARC-enabled cocos2d template projects either as ZIP file or TAR file.

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In Newsflashes, link to articles that I found insightful. This one about Kickstarter Stats & Analysis was very insightful. They analyzed almost all Kickstarter projects, including the many hard to find ones (because they failed and it seems Kickstarter doesn’t want you to find those).

The result is the astounding infographic at the end of this text, but do read the article also to put things into context.

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Learnflash: Great OpenGL ES 2.0 Tutorials & References

On July 13, 2012, in Programming, by Steffen Itterheim

Right now I’m trying to freshen up what little I know of OpenGL ES 1.1 so I’m up to speed with OpenGL ES 2.0. I keep using the old ES 1.1 functions, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to re-learn OpenGL ES 2.0 from the ground up.

This OpenGL ES 2.0 Primer is helpful if you want to gain an understanding what’s different (and cool) about OpenGL ES 2.0 when compared to 1.1. It won’t teach you how to use OpenGL ES 2.0 though. The High-End 3D Graphics with OpenGL ES 2.0 PDF covers the concepts in greater detail, and quickly runs you through all important processes from initialization to compiling shaders to shutting down OpenGL ES 2.0. Again I didn’t learn how to program but it helped me understand the GL ES 2.0 concepts.

But what I really wanted was to learn how to do things with OpenGL in the context of cocos2d. Which means I just need to draw stuff, I don’t need to know how to load textures and setup the viewport and things like that. Nevertheless, Ray Wenderlich has done a great job explaining how to create a OpenGL ES 2.0 iPhone project from scratch. And Jeff LaMarche covered ES 2.0 shaders in great detail.

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The Starting Point for a Train Game with Freeform Tracks

On July 12, 2012, in idevblogaday, by Steffen Itterheim

If you ever wanted to build your own 2D top-down view train driving game, here’s … well, the things you need to consider plus a rudimentary source code example. Because a train following tracks is not as simple as it might seem, unless you restrict curves and switches to 90° angles and allow only very short cars and locomotives.

Here’s a video of my example project. Any stuttering is due to the screen recording software taking a toll on my system combined with the video playback framerate not rendering 60 fps (I assume it’s the standard 24 or 30 fps for Youtube videos). The video shows a sequence of three runs with a medium curve radius, a large curve radius and a ridiculously small curve radius. The yellow line indicates the track being followed by the axles, the purple line indicates the car chassis position (center point between axles).

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Newsflash: Your First Indie Game is a Hit! (not)

On July 9, 2012, in Newsflash, by Steffen Itterheim

How could I have missed this one? Gamasutra has this feature titled Congratulations, Your First Indie Game is a Flop! where one developer summarizes the multiple failures of the Indie game he worked on. Despite receiving good reviews and an actual feature in iTunes – just not on the device which shows of how little importance Desktop iTunes seems to be for iOS app sales.

This isn’t the first article of the “my first game failed” kind but I enjoyed it a lot because it reported on porting the iOS game to Windows and then back to Mac App Store, so it covers a wider range of markets. The description about how marketing failed to work, yet worked wonderfully if you’re being picked up by the right outlet (TouchArcade anyone?) is very insightful.

Overall a joy and a must read to anyone who is developing iOS games.

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Get the latest versions of Kobold2D from the download page and more details in the Release Notes.

Kobold2D v1.1.1 has been updated to include the latest version of cocos2d-iphone v1.1 (beta2b) from May 3rd this year. This version supports the -ipad and -ipadhd suffixes.

Both Kobold2D v1.1.1 and v2.0.1 have been updated to include the latest Chipmunk v6.1.1 and Chipmunk SpaceManager v0.1.3. Although unfortunately SpaceManager still isn’t fully compatible with cocos2d-iphone 2.0 because it still won’t rotate the sprites.

Again both versions include an important fix for KKInput: I’ve received several reports where users complained that KKInput is missing some events. Specifically the “ThisFrame” variants were prone to never fire. This is now fixed.

Line-Drawing Game Starterkit: ARC + cocos2d v1.1 & v2.0

While I’ve been meddling with Kobold2D updates I found this to be the perfect opportunity to update the Line-Drawing Game Starterkit as well. You now get four versions of the project, two are using cocos2d-iphone v1.1 and the other two have been updated to work with cocos2d-iphone v2.0.

And each of the two cocos2d-iphone version projects allows you to choose between the ARC enabled project or the classic manual reference counting project. The included readme document explains this in greater detail. Suffice it to say you can simply choose with which to start: cocos2d v1.1 or v2.0 and either with ARC enabled or manual reference counting.

Of course I strongly recommend the cocos2d-iphone v2.0 version with ARC enabled, seeing how the old devices have an ever diminishing, probably below 15% market share.

And do use ARC, it’s really a no-brainer not to bother with reference counting anymore.

If you’re an existing customer, you should have received an update email with your download link.

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My sources passed me this amazingly detailed article about how costs of game development have risen over the past years. And how they will continue to rise even further with the next generation of gaming consoles. And how that will spell doom to even more game development studios. Among other data the article features a list of 120 (!) game studios that have had to close doors over the past 6 years.

I should note that the article was posted on a community-driven site, and is not as reflective and more opinionated as you would expect from, say, a Gamasutra article. But it does contain a lot of statistics to back it up, plus the unanimous nodding-in-agreement from my game developing friends.

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Kobold2D 2.0 is out now!

On June 30, 2012, in Kobold2D, by Steffen Itterheim

Go grab it here:

Download Kobold2D 2.0 and read the Release Notes here.

The Kobold2D and libraries API References are here.

You can use the Kobold2D API References even if you’re not using Kobold2D, since the API References of the 3rd party libraries are unmodified. For example this includes the only Box2D API Reference that’s available online, and separate API References for cocos2d (iOS) and cocos2d (Mac).

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