Below is a list of 9 Game Engines for iPhone Development. I’ll talk more in depth on the ones I did the most research and skim over the ones I’ve also found. This should help you figure out what is the best approach for game development on the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad. I tried by starting using pure OpenGL ES 2.0 and honestly, there are better approaches. That is why I’m encouraging you to take a look at the following.
cocos2d is a framework for building 2D games and graphical/interactive applications. If you are planning on creating a 2D game and are looking for a free engine, feel free to try this one. It’s features include an easy managing of flow control, sprites, actions amongst sprites, integrated physics engine, particle system,sound support, touch/accelerometer support, effects, tiled maps, transitions between scenes with effects, menus, text rendering, lots of documentation, OpenGL based, and best of all, BSD license which allows you to just use it.
The forum contains a strong active community, so if you have any questions about the engine, you’ll be sure to always find an answer. Below is a game that was created using cocos2D that is quite impressive. It demonstrates that your imagination is the only limitation.
SIO2 Free Open Source 3D Game Engine for iPad, Iphone and iPod Touch is an engine that looks most promising (and the one I’m currently using) for the average user. With a low-cost entry point of $0 which simply requires a splash screen at the beginning of your game, this is something you should take a look at. This engine contains easy C/C++ syntax, real time physics, multimedia & sound effects, lighting & shadows, tool chain, texturing, scene management, and animation. It also supports Blender which allows you to easily create 3D models and import them into the SIO2 Engine.
I’m currently using this engine and alongside I’m reading 3D for iPhone Apps with Blender and SIO2: Your Guide to Creating 3D Games and More with Open-Source Software. It’s a good read and easy to understand. Within a day I was already programming using the iPhone SDK and deploying simple programs using the iPhone Simulator. Check out my Flickr account for picture of my progress. SIO2 website also contains code from full games at a price if you want to hit the ground running.
Best Features: Free, 3D Game Engine, Blender support, C/C++, Great tutorials
Cost: Free with a splash image, $49 for one-game certificate
Website: SIO2 Free Open Source 3D Game Engine for iPad, Iphone and iPod Touch
Unity3D boasts a powerful game engine but at a high entry point. It mentions that if you can think it, you can build it using their engine. If price isn’t a concern, this is something you should think about. It doesn’t rank #1 for “3D Game Development iPhone” on Google for nothing.
Seems promising as it allows you to develop on any platform such as WIndow, Mac, Linux and even allows you to port your games to Android phones or iPhones.
Torque 2D has one of the better websites which displays the power of its game engine.
Best Features: WYSIWG 2D Editor at iPhone resolution, Texture Compression, Source included
Website: Torque 2D
GameSalad mentions is the fastest and easiest way for game creation tool for the iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Red Block Remover is on their front page and seems to demonstrate the type of games that can be created using their engine. It’s supposed to be for non-programmers so if you want to create a game but don’t know how to program, you should give it a shot.
Best Features: No programming experience needed, Integrated Physics, Drag and Drop modules, Behavior Library
Cost: $99/year entry point, $1999/year for elite users
Website: Torque 2D
Bork3D Game Engine is an engine that was built for mobile platforms which boasts performance. The website mentions its not a full-fledged game engine since it doesn’t offer the tools that other kits offer, it’s only meant for people with programming experience.
Features:Bork3D Game Engine
Best Features: OpenGL ES Abstraction, Debug-rendering API, Game-Orientated object system, Edit game state via web, Bullet physics SDK
Cost: $49 for Indy License, $199 for Professional License
Website: Bork3D Game Engine
oolonggenine is an iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch Engine which is written in C++ and some Objective-C.
Best Features: Free, Blender support, Bullet SDK, OpenAL Sound Engine, Memory Manager, Networking
Okay, so you got me here. This isn’t really a game engine but more of a graphics engine. If you are familiar with Ogre then why don’t you try it out? I’ve used it before but decided a game engine would better suit my needs.
Best Features: Graphics Engine
Before you settle on a game engine, make sure you weigh all your options! That is why I decided to compile this list. I’ll be constantly updating it so feel free to give me feedback. Also, let us know your experience with a game engine if you have any.