iPhone API 2.0 Promises Much for All

The iPhone 2.0 Upgrade and Games

Gamers, if you think the gaming capability of the iPhone and iPod Touch will be limited to two-dimensional Pac Man and Tetris styled games, Apple has plans that they want you to know about: Apple is integrating OpenAL, OpenGL, and Core Animation technology into the June software upgrade.

Scott Forstall spoke about the gaming technologies in the software upgrade: “OpenAL is an industry standard audio API, that’s used to efficiently render three dimensional. multichannel positional audio. This is great for game developers-it allows them to take and render sounds and special effects in three dimensions, around a player in a game.” As you might expect, the OpenAL audio language is usually behind the convincing explosions, gunfire, waterfalls, and other lifelike audio effects heard in games that feature OpenGL graphics language programming.

Forstall continued by discussing Core Animation, which was introduced in Leopard. including multilayered graphics, text and video animation, it relies heavily on hardware acceleration to enhance the operating system’s graphics capability.

OpenAL and Core Animation will be useful tools for game developers, but the heart of game development on the iPhone/iPod Touch platform will come from the embedded OpenGL technology.

Scott Forstall smiled and seemed visibly excited as he talked about the integration of OpenGL into the software upgrade: “It is an absolute screamer for 3D graphics on the iPhone.“ Forstall went on to demonstrate a 3D game called “Touch Fighter“, which he said was built in just two weeks on the new platform.

iphone touch fighter

Forstall continued: “As you can see, this is an OpenGL game for graphics; it’s OpenAL for audio...”

opengl game iphone

“...but my question is, how do I fire at this, at these ships, because we’re not using up a big chunk of the user interface here for buttons. Well, we have a great touch screen, so I just tap anywhere to fire.”

iphone games

“My next question is, I don’t have a joystick here or any four-button toggle control, so how do I steer? Well, we’ve got a full, three-axis accelerometer built in, so all I do is move the phone around, and now I’m steering it.” Steering the spaceship in real time just by tilting the iPhone brought applause from the audience.

iphone games

Forstall also demonstrated that as he tilted and moved the iPhone, the OpenAL responded by altering the sound of the ship’s engine, making it sound as though the ship was moving in response to the iPhone’s movements.

Travis Boatman from Electronic Arts went on to demonstrate an iPhone version of Spore. In Spore, a microorganism makes its way through the primordial soup, eating things smaller than it and avoiding things larger, hoping to survive and evolve.

spore iphone games

Spore makes use of the iPhone three-axis accelerometer for steering, and the touchscreen for its “Evolution Editor”, where various features are customized.

iphone spore editor Adding Jaws to a Microorganism in the Spore Evolution Editor

In perhaps the most impressive display of the new iPhone software’s 3D capabilities, Ethan Einhorn from Sega demonstrated an iPhone version of Super Monkey Ball.

iphone game

Einhorn commented: “I’m a console producer, and this team, they’re a group of console developers. So for us, the most exciting thing by far was that we’ve been able to create on the iPhone the kind of game that we’re used to making.”

iphone game

“This is not a cell phone game. This is a full console game. And if anything, we underestimated from the start what the machine was able to do graphically. We had to actually fly in an extra artist to start scaling up the quality of the visuals, to match what the output was capable of giving us. And that’s the best kind of problem you can have.”

iphone game

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  • jimr9999us
    Another instance of Apple demonstrating the way to conquer the world is through a better interface. My wife had to drag me kicking and screaming from the at&t store...some b.s. about needing the money to buy groceries...
  • bman1117
    It will be Interesting to see what this new sdk will bring to the table. I am still waiting for an external keyboard. Dont get me wrong the touch screen keys are very nice the best ive ever used on a smartphone but with an external keyboard long text messages and long emails etc. would be a nice and welcome addition to a great product.
  • Anonymous
    Will this be available for the iPod Touch too?
  • Anonymous
    If you dont have an Iphone Dont buy it yet, HOLD OFF

    apple is a not a stupid compnay. lets not underestimate there cleverness in the market. they are promising this 2.0 release to be free for anyone who already owns the iphone and if you dont own a iphone the price would be substantially more when you buy the phone with it in june. ( when the new iphone comes out) so in other words trying to scare you to buy it now

    then here comes the master plan... we all know that when apple releases a product they make sure its the best of the best innovative and Many steps forward into the next gen.
    so with that being said the new iphone which is released in june wont jut have a 2.0 upgraded with it
    It will have much more things we have never seen before in history
    who know what they have up there sleeves.

    leaving all who already have an iphone to envy those who have the new june version. Be smart dont buy it yet
  • Anonymous
    it is very nice but there is any software that could
    download in the iphone as if it'll be stolen or lost?