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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

What do the Wii and iPhone have in common?

Virtually nothing ... except for the potential that maybe anyone in the world can code games for them.


There's a decent amount of excitement about coding games for the Wii via the Opera browser. Well, the iPhone can apparently run widgets - those things that are constantly surfing the web for you in the background of OS X.

First, some disclosure. I spent the better part of the day coding a Dashboard widget today. And one thing - it rocks. Really, I wish Apple had this good of sample code setup for games and iTunes plugins. They are very versatile and sparkle with that AJAX clean. Safari is very sophisticated browser - and the Dashboard environment is an enhanced version just for widgets. I never thought I'd want to code one, but now that I've mostly completed one - I kinda want to code one again.

So how well would it work for games? Well, honestly a lot better than some alternatives. Widgets have access to plugins like Flash and Cocoa objects (remember that the Unity engine is capable of porting out to a widget). Even without rich media, though, you can take advantage of DHTML and a version of the canvas tag.

Course the flip side is performance. Remember, I played with canvas tags before. And I'm just not a big fan of Flash games. Something about playing something in a box that's in a box. And we're talking about a phone here - I can't imagine it would have much juice.

Course, not all game design requires high perfomance. Working on a roguelike definately emphasizes this fact. Plus, nobody even has this thing in their hands yet. For all we know, it will be a choice number of widgets that Apple selects and lets iPhone users download.

I do know this - if that iPhone plays iTunes games before my Mac does ... I may well scream.

Apple has a decent selection of Dashboard games which I'll have to investigate further. I think a lack of keyboard might hurt this as well.

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