By Richard Kain 07-06-2009 01:39 PM
A few weeks ago, I began my efforts to code my own iPhone application. The basic format that I am wanting to shoot for is constructing the necessary infrastructure to present a simple branching storyline in a fairly typical novel format. In simpler terms, I want to create a digital iPhone "Book" that will let the reader select different paths through the story.
I first investigated how difficult this would be using the basic iPhone libraries. Although this would have been possible using the basic iPhone libraries, it would have been very plain and not terribly visually appealing. There are already digital books, and digital book readers available on the iPhone. I am looking to produce a more graphically appealing experience. The presentation will have to be a major part of the package.
After a little more investigation, I came across the Cocos2D library (iPhone edition). I downloaded this, and successfully compiled the examples on my MacBook. It didn't take me long to settle on this as the basis for my App. Cocos2D has all sorts of built-in functions that make it a good fit for what I'm attempting. Most notable is the way in which it organizes what it presents to the user into "Scenes." Interaction code can be broken up between scenes, which is very userful for quickly producing menus. It also has a universal "Director" object, that persists through the project, and can be accessed from any scene.
It also has a lot of timing code that is good for fixed, pre-defined animations and transitions. Fading in and out between scenes is easy. The text/font support was also a deciding factor. Since my app will be largely text-centric in its presentation, I need to be able to use and render text easily. The one major omission from the Cocos2D library is support for sound. Although this is a bit vexing, I am reasonably confident that I can find another library to fill in this gap. Worst case scenario, I can just figure out how to implement the iPhone SDK's default sound libraries. The plans I have for sound in this App are minimal at best.
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