Quick Tip: Working With Shaders On iOS

I’m taking a couple of days to upgrade some of my libraries for doing prototyping both in 2D and 3D. One of the many overdue things I wanted to do, was to finally ditch OpenGL ES 1.1 and move to 2.0 exclusively. Yes, even if you’re only doing a 2D game, OpenGL ES 2.0 is way worth it.

There were even a couple of cases during Casey’s Contraptions that we wanted a particular effect, and couldn’t get it quite right, but it would have been trivial to whip up a shader if we had been using OpenGL ES 2.0. In the end, we had to resort to texture combiners (yuck), and it wasn’t exactly what we had in mind. Continue reading

iCloud Demystified

Play a game on a device, put it down, pick up another device, and continue playing exactly where you left off. This is the future of games.

That future is a reality today for some games and apps (Netflix, Kindle), and I’m convinced that players will expect that in most games in the next year or so. So obviously, the next bit of new iOS tech I decided to try was iCloud. I would love to turn Flower Garden into that kind of seamless experience, independently of the device you use to access it.

As a quick spoiler, it turns out I won’t be able to make Flower Garden quite so seamless without a lot of extra work. But I learned a lot along the way and I should be able to take a small step in that direction. Continue reading

Trying Out Multisampling On iOS

I only recently broke free of iOS3.x for Flower Garden, so I’m finally adding all the features I had been itching to add that required higher OS support. I had already added some iOS4+ features, but I was keeping them to a minimum because it’s always a huge cause of bugs to target multiple versions of the OS at once.

One of the first features I looked into adding was multisample antialiasing (MSAA) support for OpenGL, which was originally introduced in iOS 4.0. The geometry generated for the petals in Flower Garden is fairly high contrast, and since it’s not like the textures were carefully created and laid out by an artist, the result is pretty bad aliasing around the edges. Perfect candidate for multisampling! Continue reading

Duplicating Launchboard Wobble

One of the most requested features for Flower Garden is to be able to move pots around. Not only do players want to group similar flowers or colors together, but they also want to be able to take advantage of the properties of the different gardens. I figured the best thing to do this is by mimicking the wobble on the iPhone launchboard icons when you enter edit mode. Continue reading