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I want to start making iPhone games, but sadly I'm a Windows geek.. Is there a way to make good profesional iPhone games without Xcode/owning a Mac computer?

If not, what do you recommend, a Mac Mini?

Thanks in advance!

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There are virtual machines 'available' with mac os where you can install xcode. If you want to professionally do this I suggest you buy a mac to avoid legal issues –  Thomas Dec 1 '12 at 16:22
    
If you have $1900 then Unity will publish to iOS ($1500 for unity, then $400 for iOS publishing privileges). I'm not sure what the quality of the game once distilled to iOS will be (frame rates etc), and I don't have any testimonies about successfully using that. –  bobobobo Dec 1 '12 at 22:33
    
I have worked with teams that have used Unity to publish to IOS and Android with no issues. It's a straightforward process, and it works unnecessarily well :P –  Evan Jul 13 '13 at 13:13
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4 Answers 4

up vote 4 down vote accepted

There are a few options available to you:

  • Buy a Mac: This is the most full-proof, but probably the most expensive. If you can figure out what exactly you need (eg. Lion vs. Leopard), you can probably save some of the cost by buying something that's not latest-and-greatest, but "good enough" for development.
  • Run a Mac VM: This is usually illegal (depending on where you live), plus none of the virtualization tools on Windows support running Mac VMs. I suggest you avoid this route completely.
  • Find a Mac: If you are studying at a university, chances are that they will have a lab with a Mac. This may be a viable, albeit short-term, option.
  • Cloud Mac services: There are some services like MacinCloud (which I have never used) which offer a service similar to Amazon EC2, but for Macs. It's probably expensive, and may be worthwhile if you can build and test your app on Windows in entirety, but only need a Mac for the final steps of publishing or building iOS builds.

Again, buying a Mac is probably the "best" all around option, albeit the heftiest. Depending on your needs, a cloud mac service may be viable too.

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This is the right answer. If you want to develop for Mac, you really do need a Mac. No 2 ways about it. –  bobobobo Dec 1 '12 at 22:34
    
And the Hackintosh route is also legal (if you buy OSX) in some countries. An old Mac is more practical in most cases I think. –  Prof. Falken Dec 1 '12 at 23:02
    
On the note about Universities, I would like to add that many universities (at least here in Australia) often offer discounted prices for Macbook Pros and such. We're only talking a hundred bucks or so (AusD) but it could help out. –  Singular1ty Jul 13 '13 at 7:00
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I friend of mine just released his game with MonoTouch (http://xamarin.com/monotouch). You just need to create your game in C#, then this software can compile the source to iOS and Android. (And of course, because of the C#, you can also release it on Windows Phone.) Really good stuff.

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Note that you need to buy a license ($400) for MonoTouch before you can release your game on iPhone, even though XNA/MonoGame are free. Ditto again for MonoDroid. –  ashes999 Dec 1 '12 at 19:31
    
Right, but sometimes student's licence option is available, which is $160 for both. –  Morrel Dec 1 '12 at 19:40
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I've been programing on a mac mini for about a year now and it's been great. They are quite honestly the most powerful mac for the buck. I bought an i3 w/ 2G of ram and installed 8G later on for $40USD. Its much better programming iOS apps on a Mac than any other computer.

Let me know if you have any questions. I'd love to answer them for you

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Another alternative to buying a mac, is to look into programming using the marmalade frame work. Its one of those cross platform kind of packages where you can deploy on a bunch of platforms. I believe you can even use Cocos2dx ontop of it.

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