To create games for the iPhone, iPod, or iPad, you’ll quite a few pieces of software.
To start with, you’ll need an Apple iPhone Developer License – this is $99 US.
You’ll also need Snow Leopard and the Apple Software Developers Kit, or SDK for short. There’s no way around these two – you’ll require a an Intel Mac that runs Snow Leopard in order to compile your apps to run on an iPhone, iPod, or iPad, and you’ll need the Developer’s License to be allowed to install games on your hardware for testing, and to upload to the App Store.
For the game programming, I used Unity iPhone 1.7, and Unity 3.0 iPhone Beta 3.04, in conjunction with the latest Apple SDK to build, test and install apps on my ipod (iOS 4.1).
To create the 3D art, I used three different software packages. For modeling and texturing, I used Strata 3D 6.12. For UV mapping of 3D meshes created by Strata 3D, I used Silo, from NeverCenter. Finally, I exported the textured meshes from Strata 3D into Wings 3D as an OBJ file. In Wings 3D, I’m able to separate the component mesh into separate elements, and export as an .fbx file which imports into Unity 3D iPhone 1.7 & 3.0 seamlessly.
Lastly to create the art to apply to 3D meshes and textures, I used both Illustrator CS3 and Photoshop CS3. Illustrator is great for vector art. While you can’t apply vector art to 3D meshes, you can import them into Photoshop at any size you want and still have the images/textures show up sharp, clean and crisp, no matter what the resolution or size. If you do them solely in Photoshop, you can only size images down. If you need to size them up, you’re going to end up with ugly artifacts from interpolation.
This way I can create art in Illustrator, and size it up or down as much as I need, without losing quality. So if I decide to make a game for the iPad as well, which has a screen size of 1024-by-768 pixels (vs 480-by-320 pixels for the iPod/iPhone), I don’t have to recreate art from scratch – I can resize, and re-import it into Photoshop ready to go.