Archive for November, 2008

We can now find at the AppStore the first episode of 1112, an adventure game that uses at best the iphone controls capabilities : touch zooming in scenes (or maps) to look for details, advanced interaction with scenes objects, and with inventory items (zoom, rotate, etc.) as with Microsoft Surface prototpye !

We can watch a trailer at the game’s site and a video at Youtube. First reviews confirm the great realisation, that paves way for new adventure games concept on the iPhone. However the game’s life seems limited (from 2 to 5 hours), for a 5,99 euros price. It is said the price will go up to 7,99 euros later, but considering the previous statement about gameplay duration, it might stay the same. There is to know if following episodes will be available for free (or at reduced price) for previous owners, as an extension to the application.
Some clues can be found at iphoniacs and also at the official site’s forums.

Roland Fantom G software update 1.20

Posted: November 30, 2008 in Audio

Roland provides a 1.20 update to Fantom G system. That is here for the download. Among new features we note a higher ram size limit (now 1Gb from 512Mb), export to SMF format, and a realtime input quantizing.

At the Wolfire blog we can read details about landscape texturing and useful tools used for the upcoming Lugaru 2 (renamed Overgrowth) : World Machine 2 (WM2) is used to add erosion details and other small scale features (the program is free for non-commercial use), high resolution terrain texturing uses huge texture size (4096×4096), Autodesk Mudbox is used to directly paint grainy or cracked surfaces (easier and faster than trying to do half in a sculpting app, and half in Photoshop or CrazyBump), and optimizing rendering is achieved by automatically baking all of the sky and sun lighting into a single texture, so the real-time shader can be drastically simplified. Some great rendered pictures are provided.
Moreover a contest is open : the rule is to send a video showcasing Lugaru 1 (the winner will get a copy of Overgrowth). A video of Lugaru 2 Overgrowth is expected soon.

iPhone Cube FPS 1.2 update

Posted: November 23, 2008 in Games

A 1.2 update to free Cube FPS for iPhone is available at the AppStore. The enhancements of this version are : fixed accelerometer failure bug, fixed keyboard so reliably displays and in landscape mode, faster image loading with less memory used, minor performance tweaks and smaller overall download size (half the 1.0 version). We can find first encouraging comments here.
To remember, the multiplayer game through Wifi is provided, as well as single player mode (the later allows to choose a map and then bots are controled by the software). We can look at Fernlightning blog, that made this iPhone port.

Two new books about programming for iPhone are available : Beginning iPhone Development: Exploring the iPhone SDK (536 pages, 32 euros) and Beginning iPhone 2 Application Development: From Novice to Professional (350 pages).
We can also find Core Animation for Mac OS X and the iPhone: Creating Compelling Dynamic User Interfaces (35$ or 22$ for PDF version). We can download source ode of the examples and access to a corresponding support forum.

On the Parmanoir blog (creator of JSCocoa), we can find a rework of the Core Animation NanoLife example originally developed by Theocacao’s Scott Stevenson (particles dispatched on animated layers, 80 total), as with goal to describe these particles in 3D. The encountered problem (layers ordering with the new z dimension, that is ignored by Core Animation) seems to have been resolved by Scott Stevenson (provided the fix), and Core Animation behaviour finally seems right.

The orginal article provides interesting informations on these subjects : Core Animation and Core Image filters, conversion between NSImage, CIImage, and CGImageRef, full screen mode for NSView.

Among new games for iPhone at the AppStore we can find 3 interesting Lite (demo) versions : Powerboat Challenge Lite, a 3D boat racing game (that is an enhanced version of the mobile game, that brings 4 times more texture resolution and 3 times as many polygons. One race is available – 4 environments in the full game), a Lite version of Armado (that weights 36,6 Mb and includes 3 levels), and finally Meteor Lite, that brings 10 levels (90 levels in the full version).

A 2.2 update to iPhone OS is available. Among new features we note Google Street View, display of walking directions, share of location by email, access to podcast, a new search interface for Safari (as well as better performance and stability).
Apple also provides a new (2.2) corresponding iPhone SDK version (whose size – a bit more than 1,5 Gb – is larger than the previous).

SampleLogic presents The Elements EXP, an extended version of The Elements : new interface and 350 new instruments. It is priced 359$ (40$ for the update), and new great audio demos are available (Beyond The Grave EXP reminds some effects from Tron 2 game musics, and Igniting Peace EXP reminds in someway Unreal and Deus Ex musics, or Riven. Other demos, older, are also stunning).

Among new games released for iPhone we can find : Toy Bot Diaries 2, the sequel to the great platform game (whose demo is available on the AppStore), and that is priced 3,99$. ToySpring Bike or Die 2 (3,99$) uses a physics engine that reminds JellyCar.
Finally a free version of Cube is available. This FPS is uses an open source 3D engine (see also the mac version, and the recent Sauerbraten – Cube 2). Videos are provided.

Apple announced that Snow Leopard will finally ship earlier, in the first quarter of 2009 (was expected not sooner than the second half of 2009). Then this Intel optimized OS (and that uses OpenCL and GrandCentral) should be more efficient than Windows, for at least one year.

Meanwhile new imacs fitted with quad core Nehalem (Corei7) processors are expected for the January MacWorld. For the first time they will use desktop processors – in fact special low-power versions -, instead of mobile architecture. Then we shouldn’t expect new mid desktop models using the MacPro enclosure (these will keep the Xeon processors, and then remain expensive).

At The Omni Group blog we can find an interesting article that provides an approach for adding custom properties to Core Animation (that is properties whose changes trigger the animation – ie intermediate images calculation). The goal here is to consider changes in the layer content, what isn’t possible with the provided CA properties (are closely tied with OpenGL operations) : either the content changes aren’t notified, or the animation calculation will be triggered too often (unnecessarily, because forced), leading to poor performance. A link to the source code is provided.

We could also find at Theocacao an article that explains why Core Animation principle (implicit programming using KVO) isn’t restricted to animating. That is exactly what I thought two years ago, and I’ve planned since that time to use this approach in web frameworks.