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I have a series of hidden object and puzzle games mapped out that I want to develop for the iPad and although I have written programs before, it's been a while. I've been trying to find the best platform to use and can't seem to find any helpful suggestions although HTML 5 seems to be the most mentioned. I will be using original graphics, perhaps some video cutscenes and music (think Dire Grove). Any suggestions?

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HTML5 is definitely the best for cross-platform support. As any browser that renders canvas should be able to play your game. Although you'll have to be wary, as there are still some browser specifics.

There is no doubt if you want to develop a game on iPad or iPhone, it is probably best to learn cocos2D and obj-C.

My suggestion? Pick a random thing you want to do, develop it FULLY, then decide if you liked it, then consider some ideas:

  • was this an easy platform for me?
  • Do I see a potential in the future for this platform?
  • Did I have fun developing on this platform (most important)

Do not rush, take your time, and learn. I also do not recommend stopping half-way to develop on a different platform.

Have fun!

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Thanks. I'm not going to rush the production. I was originally going to use the story for a graphic novel but I really like the idea of making them into a game instead. More interactive. One last question if I could. I know HTML programming. Is HTML 5 basically the same? – Cindra Dec 31 '11 at 4:15
Just downloaded basic cocos2d and obj-c tutorials. Warmest thanks for the suggestions. Will be reading a lot next few days. Hope I notice the year change over... – Cindra Dec 31 '11 at 4:48
HTML5 itself does not a game make. You must couple it with Javascript really. The biggest change in HTML5 game programming is using Canvas, which is done with a canvas element. Although there are new markup tags with HTML, a lot are irrelevant when game programming using the <canvas> element. Note that HTML5\Canvas isn't really my forte, but I've seen good things done with it. You can Google a ton of neat examples – Ross Dec 31 '11 at 4:59
-1 for "HTML5 is definitely the best for cross-platform support." There are definite pros and cons, so "best" depends on what exactly you need/care about. – jhocking Jan 12 '12 at 4:07

If you're making a game specifically for the iPad, I'd shy away from HTML5. You'll get much better performance using a native app.

As an example, here's Bejeweled in HTML5. Try running this in your ipad browser:

As far as engines to use, I'd look at either Cocos2d or Unity. Both will get a lot of the heavy lifting out of the way and let you hopefully concentrate on making the game itself.

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Cool. I'm going to spend the next couple weeks studying and trying the different engines. At least now I know where to start. Thanks again! – Cindra Jan 1 '12 at 3:53
Some of the performance issues are because Apple hasn't enabled WebGL on iOS, it's all there ready to go but they just need to flick the switch apparently which is frustrating for us! (We make an HTML5 gamedev program). I expect in the future they will enable it. – Tom Gullen Jan 12 '12 at 2:21
Unity is a great engine for 3D games, but not what I would recommend for a hidden object game. – jhocking Jan 12 '12 at 4:31

iOS has WebGL capabilities, but currently they have disabled it. I do however think it's likely they will enable it in the future, so HTML5 could be a good platform for you. Also, because your looking at making puzzle games these are traditionally less resource intensive than other genres of games so the current performance should be good enough for your needs.

We make the Construct 2 game maker engine which lets you create HTML5 games. No programming is required but if you want to you can program your own plugins and behaviours in Javascript to extend Construct 2's capabilities. If you're looking to make HTML5 games rapidly you may want to look at Construct 2 as an option. There's an extensive free edition as well which is getting quite popular now.

HTML5 has a good future ahead of it and it's just starting to gain some good traction so now might be a good time to step in!

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I would recommend a mobile development platform like Corona or Moai. They make the process a lot simpler, by handling all the low-level eccentricities of iOS and letting you do all the programming in Lua.

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