The iPhone Game Kit is a package of goodies put together by Nat Weiss. The idea behind the Kit is very simple – you don’t have experience in developing games or you are in the need to kick-start your game development and you need a boost to get you rolling.
What you get in short with the Kit is:
- a book (a good book too)
- a ready developed game with source code
- resources to play with – characters, maps, sounds – all you need to get you rolling
- publishing guide to help you trough the process to the App Store
I personally like the idea very much and how things are organized, and also Nat’s style – very positive vibe from his writing.
The iPhone Game Kit costs some $99, but it’s half price until 1st of September so you get it for only $49.
Disclaimer: I’m not iPhone Game Kit affiliate. The following product review is based solely on my honest opinion of the product.
Here’s two screenshots from the “Zombie Pig Attack” game I made using the Kit to get you interested:
The book – make your own game in 24 hours
Nat wrote a very good book to get you started with game development. You get some 127 pages (2nd edition) of good, on the point instructions which will get you started with XCode, some Objective-C syntax, Tiled (a game level editor), resources organization, will show you few tricks with graphic software.
Now when the books says 24 hours, don’t interpret it in such a way that you get reading today noon and by tomorrow noon you’re caching your 1st million. I’d say that it’s more like 24 small lessons, which you may or may not do so fast. And also I would not say that speed of finishing the book is main factor which you should be interested in. Making games over the weekend is an urban legend. If you are serious about making game you’ll have to read Nat’s book carefully, he’s explaining good stuff there, and you can really boost your development process with his code; but you’ll need to understand well what’s going on during the book and when he writes “Now play yourself, add this and this enemy and try that, etc” You should really take couple of hours to do so.
Now here’s the interesting thing about the book – it starts with a ready to play game, then it takes you trough the process of adding levels, adding new enemies and in general tweaking the ready game; only then it takes you to the code and explains you how the game is structured, how things work and how to possibly extend it with new functionality. The game is based on Cocos2D, so you’ll get your hands on some Cocos2D code as well.
At the end of book there’s also invaluable guide how to port an iOS3.x app/game to iOS4.0 (porting to retina display).
All in all I’d recommend the book – it’s a good read, provided you are interested in game development.
The demo game – Quexlor
As I pointed out the Kit includes the source code of an already working game. Since you’re going to be using this source to extend and further develop might be a good idea you have a look at the game right now. Head to iTunes and download the free game Quexlor
You can see Quexlor features everything a map level game needs – you’re hero can go around, kill some bad guys (bad skeletons and spiders at first), pick up some food to regain health, he dies when gets too much damage. There’s also the AI bad guys, strolling around looking to kill you and different other goods. The app you download from iTunes is exactly what you get when you hit “Build & Run” in XCode when you have the source code. I personally find Quexlor quite good basic game which is something you can build on. The navigation is a bit hard for me, as I often seem to loose the pad, but that’s a very tricky issue while sometimes just my thumb goes off screen- might be a good idea to move the pad a bit more towards the center of the screen.
The included art resources
The kit comes with a folder called “Art” – inside you’ll find lot of goods to get you started with building some demo games – you’ll get skeletons, pigs, witches, houses, castles, all kind of tiles, grass, trees, different sounds. It’s a great collection if you are starting from ground zero. For your own game probably you want your own custom art, but to learn and try out stuff that’s a great collection of game resources.
Most of the models are provided by Reiner Prokein for free as 3D models, but Nat processed them and prepared them, so you don’t need a 3D software in order to use them in your game.
To get your app on the App Store is not so easy as one might think. Especially the first time it’s a long process of some 20 -30 steps. However is not really so hard, just takes some time, and there are many resources on the net about it. Nat’s guide is also nice and will definitely help you with the process.
Summary & My opinion
I find the Kit useful and the book well written. Writing games is hard, and to write a good game you first need to know all the basics. The Kit will definitely give you what to build upon. Also you have 60days money-back guarantee and you get lifetime updates – which I think for 49$ (until 1st of September 2010) is pretty good deal.
Before buying the Kit take a moment to have a look at the full table of contents to review what are you going to read about.
As Nat mentions on the Kit’s web site, that’s not the only package that can get you started with 2D game development. The iPhone Game Kit is based on Cocos2D framework and the author of Cocos2D – Ricardo Quesada has a similar product in offer : Sapus Tongue source code
All in all – If you are looking into 2D game development, I’ll say the iPhone Game Kit is a good product to get you started.The post was originally published on the following URL: http://www.touch-code-magazine.com/iphone-game-kit/