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I am at the design phase of a board game on the iPhone and am considering a couple of options for rendering the view:

  • Quartz to render top down views of the board with core animation to do the transitions to close ups etc. Using a 3D library (or GL directly) to render dice rolls on top of the 2D view.
  • Full 3D interface to render the board and do the transitions (something like the Monopoly app on the iPhone).

Keeping most of the game in 2D simplifies the implementation and the artwork, but I wonder if the overall finish will suffer. Is it practical to render 3D views (for the dice rolls) on top of a Quartz 2D app?

Should I just bite the bullet and go 3D?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

You can render OpenGL views on top anything on the iPhone with no performance loss. However, if you're thinking of just doing the dice on top of other 2D graphics, that will be more costly (you'll have to render them to texture and apply an alpha channel).

When mixing 2D and 3D on the iPhone, I recommend you think of it mostly in terms of the 3D in the background, and some 2D elements on top.

Check out my GDC presentation for all the different cases and details on how to mix UIKit and OpenGL, and make sure to download the sample source code as well.

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Thanks Noel. I think you have confirmed the direction I was leaning ;) – RedBlueThing Jul 23 '10 at 2:12

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