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16bit_port

thinking about programming on iPhone

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Hi. I'm thinking about purchasing a mac mini so I can program a game on the iPhone (don't have a mac), but I'm not sure if any mac mini will do. Is there a specific mac mini generation that's recommended (G4, Core, Core2)? How good of a graphics card do I need in the mac mini if I were to try to make some realistic graphics in my program (i.e. does it support FBOs [my crappy dell doesn't support that] and others)? What version of OpenGL ES does the iPhone currently support? 2.0? Do all iPhones support 2.0 (hardware thing?) or do only specific generations do? Thanks.

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Original post by 16bit_port
Hi. I'm thinking about purchasing a mac mini so I can program a game on the iPhone (don't have a mac), but I'm not sure if any mac mini will do. Is there a specific mac mini generation that's recommended (G4, Core, Core2)?

Any Intel-based Mac will work. So, not the G4. To develop for the iPad and the newest OS (3.1.3) on the iPhone, you'll need to have Snow Leopard (OS 10.6), though. 10.5 will handle anything below that just fine.

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How good of a graphics card do I need in the mac mini if I were to try to make some realistic graphics in my program (i.e. does it support FBOs [my crappy dell doesn't support that] and others)?

You'll run into bottlenecks and issues on the actual iPhone looooooooong before starting to tax your development machine, most likely.

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What version of OpenGL ES does the iPhone currently support? 2.0? Do all iPhones support 2.0 (hardware thing?) or do only specific generations do?

Currently, the iPhone 3G only supports ES 1.1, and the 3GS supports 2.0. Yup, it's a hardware thing.

Digging for handy links now...

Edit: Here's one!

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Original post by jouley
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What version of OpenGL ES does the iPhone currently support? 2.0? Do all iPhones support 2.0 (hardware thing?) or do only specific generations do?

Currently, the iPhone 3G only supports ES 1.1, and the 3GS supports 2.0. Yup, it's a hardware thing.


So that means only the 3GS supports shaders, right? Is the third generation of the iTouch suppose to be the equivalent of 3GS (meaning it supports shaders)?

Thanks for all the info and link(s)!

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Original post by 16bit_port
So that means only the 3GS supports shaders, right? Is the third generation of the iTouch suppose to be the equivalent of 3GS (meaning it supports shaders)?

Correct on both counts. The newest iPod Touches use the same PowerVR SGX graphics IP (ES 2.0 capable) that the iPhone 3GS has, while older versions (iPhone 3G and older iPod Touches) have PowerVR's MBX technology (ES 1.1). However, the iPhone API itself can handle other things not directly available for you in ES 1.0. To avoid overstepping any NDA bounds, I'll just suggest you sign it yourself and download the SDK - it's free, and you can browse around the developer section without a Mac!

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Actually, you need a decent graphics card (definitely better than the ones in the mac mini) if you develop graphics intensive applications. At the moment i am working on a game for a publisher, a nice little pseudo 3d game, and it has a particle system for special fx. With a couple hundred particles it still runs at 30fps on the device, but it gets very choppy (10-12 fps) in the simulator as soon as those big alpha blended particles show up. Ironic, but the GMA's fill rate is actually inferior compared to the one used in iPhone, even if the PVR vertex processing performance is nowhere near the mini.
I would recommend a Mac with Radeon 2600 or better.

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Starting the app on the simulator is faster, however it is far better to test app on device and with graphic intensive games it is even more important. There are issues on device that will not show on simulator and vice versa. I have rather decent graphics on my macbook, but I haven't use the simulator from about an year ;)

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