How Is It Like To Develop Games For Mac?

Recently I’ve been a bit interested about the iPhone game development (no, won’t most likely happen this year – but it just has got my interest). Secondly, I’ve been wanting to get a lightweight laptop. I’ve always been a “PC guy”, but this situation got me thinking of getting a Mac laptop. Not a mini-mac, but a lightweight laptop that could also handle iPhone development (and compiling other stuff to Mac comes as an added bonus).

And – I’m slowly approaching my grand idea – thus I started wondering how’s it to develop games in the Apple camp? What sort of tools you guys use, and do you like working with your Mac (in case you have one) to develop games. For example, iPhone games.


Juuso Hietalahti


  1. —ah Vista! haha–

    I could install Vista yeah, but as it stands I’m mostly working either in flash or in unity, and both deploy cross-platform nicely. So I have no worries right now. I think in the event that I ever rustle up some of that money stuff… I’ll more than likely own both a macbook and a windows based notebook.

    We’ll see how that goes!

  2. Good stuff, good stuff. I won’t be going to get iMac… since my idea is to get a laptop too :) Now I just hope Bmax will create iBMax at some point… ;)

    @Mike: thanks for the cocos2d & SIO2 tips.

    @Eli: luckily you can install Vista on your mac, right? :D

  3. I got a mac about 2 years ago and never looked back. It was odd transitioning from visual studio/.net but once i accepted that it was different things went smoothly. I do .net work in my day job and after getting used to Xcode/cocoa .net is just a big ass pile of classes instead of a cohesive framework. I miss Xcode when i have to go back to visual studio.

    Check out cocos2d for 2d games and SIO2 for 3d games as a great start if you do make the switch and decide to makde some iPhone games.

  4. After using strictly “PC” rigs for years I picked up an iMac roughly two years back, and love it. My major issue is exactly as Paul says, compatibility testing. I’m going to upgrade to a more powerful Mac soon, though I suspect I’ll be dropping extra cash for power with portability. (I too can find no real reason to move back to Win)

    Just my two cents.

  5. At home I use a Mac mini (one of the recent ones with NVidia graphics) for everything. I’m currently trying to get into casual game development and I use the Novashell Game Engine because it’s cross platform. For random coding I use either XCode (which is good enough for me) but since I started out with BASIC years ago I’m also looking at BlitzMax which recently got an update for multithreading).

  6. I’ve tried using a Mac after a dozen years of using PC. It just didn’t work for me. I got a MacBook Pro 15”, which worked well as a portable computer to watch movies on. I couldn’t really do anything productive on it (not counting the stuff one does on the Internet), and I really couldn’t change my habits. Maybe Macs work for some people, but I sold mine and got a nice 14” Acer Aspire 2930Z. So far it’s the best laptop I’ve ever had – light and portable. And I even do web development on it.

    Borrow a MacBook and see how does it work for you, before buying one – that’s the best advice I can give.

  7. @Juuso: ZB is mostly coded by memon (Mikko Mononen). He develops on Mac instead of using a partly pc based setup. :)

    Just to clarify; mac is still required for iphone development since the SDK is available only for a mac. I just have a mac mini for that (any semi-recent intel-based laptop should be OK as well).

  8. @tonic: sounds good (also checked your Zen Bound – looks just amazing!)

    @paul: yeh, web games can become a headache for compatibility… do changes, test, test, test… do more changes, test, test, test again… :)

  9. I’m also using mostly PC & MSVC Express. PowerVR SDK for OpenGL ES 1.1 allows running the rendering code nicely on desktop.

    Also some engines have been ported for iPhone (or OpenGL ES) as well, such as Irrlicht (the port is still in a separate branch but it works). My open source game-centered UI lib also works with it: http://jet.ro/turska/.

  10. I do mostly web development with flash games on the side but I use a macbook pro with windows running under a vm when I need it. I’ve been very happy so far with the mac in general except that it seems like flash can be a little slow sometimes. I use Flash CS4 and Flex Builder in unison though for a great part of the day and haven’t had too many problems with either one.

    The biggest issue i have is making sure to test in IE – I have a vm running xp with ie 6 and vista with ie7 so it’s a little annoying to be starting and stopping vm’s at the end of the day but it is nice to have my entire development needs met by one machine. You pay more sure but so far I’m not sure I can find a reason to go back to PC…well, maybe for a tablet but it’s only a matter of time until apple comes out with one of those right?

  11. I am developing games for iPhone. Using tools from SDK only (XCode as IDE). Actually, I prefer making the most coding under the Windows :) Since OpenGL is a portable thing. MSVC Express is much better than XCode. I have developed game engine (already used in 2 published games, and 2 more are on the stage of prototyping). It provides a simple way to do that crossplatform-styled development (code in MS Windows — test on Mac/iPhone). Currently it is mostly oriented to be used as 2D engine, but it was designed with 3D in mind and this support is planned. I have a plans to publish it under the BSD-style license (i.e. open-source, allowing free commercial usage). If someone is really interested, please, let me know, and this will, perhaps, happen sooner :)

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