IS – Physics on iPhone


Get a physics engine onto an iphone project.


There are quite a few physics engines out there such as ‘Sparrow’, ‘Chipmunk’, ‘Box2d’.
The latter two come bundled with ‘Cocos2d’ (an opensource 2d game framework).

Though ‘Sparrow’ is a native-like alternative to cocos2d (which appears quite flash-like). ‘Sparrow’, along with ‘Chipmunk’ are much less documented when compared to ‘Box2d’. (edited: 5th April 2011)


Following ‘tutorials on cocos2d’ and ‘box2d within cocos2d’, it does appear quite flash-like.
As Cocos2d is organized into ‘scenes’ (screens), allowing for multiple ‘layers’ (like photoshop), and nodes within nodes (sprites/labels/menus).

One of the annoyances of using box2d within cocos2d is that it seems you will have to write in cpp (.mm) files.
Though if cocos2d is not required, it is possible to write box2d in objective-c (as seen in these structured examples (which uses UIViews)).

Physics Games

Looking around at a few physics games. Some prominent ones that facilitated user creation were; Crayon Physics, Magic Pen, Labyrinth.
Crayon Physics and Magic Pen are quite similar, in that you need to get a ball from point A to point B by drawing objects onto the screen.
Labyrinth, which is a game that exists on the iPhone and online, requires the player to get a marble in a maze from point A to point B. Levels can also be created for the game through it’s online editor.

There are many different types of pre-play level creation. These include the ability to create various devices:

  • static and dynamic, fixed obstacles
  • { generated paths/machines from these obstacles ‘put put’ }
  • characteristics alters; ‘speed boosts, etc.’
  • terrain alters; ‘light, world upside down’
  • { continuous buildup of characteristics }
  • friendly/enemy, automated bots
  • { predefined tasks }
  • world rules – gravity, backwards
  • the supplying of resources; ‘stores, etc.’

Overarching game concepts can also include games involving in-game level creation that are intertwined with gameplay. Or games where the whole aim is level creation (construct and watch), As well as games whom’s gameplay relies on multiple players.

  • Multiplayer – Timed Editors – Editing own sides / modification & fortification (,turrets,)
  • Multiplayer – Strategic Terrain/Character Editing (,Worms,)
  • competitive play
    – (,a.i. competitions,) (e.g. player’s characters/terrain versus preset story bots OR automatically versing other human players)
    – scored by time / number of achievements
  • co-operative play
  • simultaneous level-editor & game editor
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