Thursday, January 27, 2011

Complete Friday Q&A

Mike Ash just announced the availability of his Complete Friday Q&A book. Mike's weekly blog posting is a must read for any Cocoa developer. Mike's knowledge of the language and system internals is amazing, and having all his weekly posts available in one place formatted like a book is a great resource. Go check it out on iTunes or Amazon.

Garage Games

I noticed that Garage Games, the makers of the Torque game engine have recently had a near-death experience. As of the end of last year, it looked like they were shutting down operations. However, they appear to be in the midst of a phoenix-like return to life with, perhaps, some changes in focus and priority. The bad news for iOS folks, is that they've removed the mobile version of their 3D engine from their product list. I don't know if this means it's abandoned, or that they're just not ready to announce/release it. They are actively hiring developers and designers, and from the job descriptions they've posted, it sounds to me like they've got their sights set firmly on mobile.

To celebrate their revival, they're having a sale on all their products - you can get any of their engines, including a full source license for $99.

Now, I honestly don't know how Torque compares to, say, Unity, Sio2, or the UDK in terms of features or ease of development, but there have been a lot of very solid games created with Torque over the years and the demos show the engine is versatile and fairly powerful.

What I do know that $99 is a hell of a price for a source license to a game engine of this size and complexity. For me, it's worth that much money to get to peek around their code. There's a lot to be learned from looking at other people's code.

No word on how long the sale is for, but you can check it out here.

Note: I had an e-mail conversation with Garage Games' community manager about iTorque 3D. Unfortunately, right now the official word is that the product is off their roadmap. They have no announced plans to release it, so if you're targeting the iPhone or mobile devices in general, you're out of luck for now and should probably look at another engine.

That being said, they didn't rule out the possibility of re-introducing iTorque 3D at some future point. Frankly, if you're interested in writing games, I still think it's well worth dropping $99 for a license to be able to see the choices they've made in designing their engine as well as how they've implemented them. It's a pretty good example of a complex cross-platform project.

I have to say, I like the new public face of Garage Games. Their responses to my questions were prompt and candid. I think the new management knows exactly what they want to do and I'm looking forward to seeing where they take things.