Nicolas Goles

Code & Randomness

Fast Guide: Getting Started on iPhone Game Development

Before getting into the actual article I want to remember everyone that the rules for iDevBlogADay have changed, and in two more weeks the current authors will be rotated out. The new system sounds very nice :), but since Gando Games will disappear from the official RSS , if you guys want to keep reading I encourage you to subscribe to our RSS feed :D.

Now, the article:

I get this question a lot, there many books in the subject , but I’m totally sure that you can get started without even looking at them. For today’s iDevBlogADay post, I made a “straight to the point guide”.

Note: This guide is also valid for iPod Touch and iPad.

What you’ll need:

  • A Mac ( you could get away with VMware but I won’t go into that ) [ 699 USD$ ]
  • Sign-up as an Apple Developer [0 USD$]
  • Xcode [Free Download as a registered iOS developer ]
  • Cocos2d [Free Download & Open Source]
  • Google

How to:

Ok, start the Mac up :D, and as soon as you have an internet connection, go to Apple’s iOS Dev Center, sign up for Free and download Xcode. Xcode is Apple’s IDE (Integrated Development Environment), everyone I know is using Xcode to develop for iOS, so don’t fear, just download/install it.

So far, the Dev Center will grant you access to a lot of great documentation referencing the Cocoa-Touch API ( you will certainly use this when developing for iOS ), and also valuable information about several Developer Tools.

You should now download Cocos2D latest version. There are several other ways to make a game for iOS this days like Corona (Lua based), Sparrow (Objective-C based) , etc. However cocos2d is great for starters because it has a really big community plus it’s free. The community is one of Cocos2d bigest (if not the bigest) strength, so go ahead and sign up in the cocos2d community forums.

By now, you should be able to start working on the Cocos2d wiki tutorials ( or to find some using the always evil Google :D ), I would recommend doing lesson1, lesson2 and lesson3. For more just check out Cocos2D programming guide.

That’s it, there’s nothing else you need to know… for now.

Books to complement your knowledge:

Personal Opinion:

I think that the whole “Game Development Books” is a sensitive topic by itself (there are some great books, some of them where covered in the last iDevBlogADay article), but I’m quite sure that almost all the “Making Games for iPhone”/“Making Games with Cocos2d” books don’t tackle the key questions, ok, they get you to make a game for iPhone, but they don’t tend to focus on the rather important fact that you are developing for a mobile device which I think it’s extremely important, how about a section about “Battery Saving”, or “Best usability practices” specifically targeted for the platform?.

Also, most of the books I browsed about Cocos2d Game Development, where quite vague in some of the more advanced topics, and where often written using earlier versions of the Cocos2d Engine (leaving a lot of the source code examples unusable), so I really encourage beginners to stay away from this books and to try to tackle their issues in the cocos2d forums, which is a great place to learn.

Another important fact is that I don’t consider it necessary to pay the 99 USD$ that will cost you to finally deploy iOS apps in-device right away. Just play with the iPhone/iPad simulator and pay when you feel crippled by it ( when doing advanced graphics stuff for example , or when you want to deploy your game for a tester, etc.)