RockingPocketGames posted a video of a new version of their Blue Skies helicopter shooter that was originally released back in August 2008. The new version (which is a completely separate version) makes it amongst of the first games to offer 3GS specific features:

The 3GS enhanced version makes use of the pixel shaders that are ONLY found in the new iPhone 3GS. It has per pixel bump mapping and amazing dynamic animated water that demonstrates the true power of the new iPhone 3GS!


[ Full HD version | Low Bandwidth version ]

There's been some debate about the practicality of offering 3GS-specific versions of games in the future. While most developers will likely target the broad market, but obviously some will certainly experiment with some of the new features to gain a bit of an advantage.

Here's a video of the existing version of Blue Skies

The 3GS version of Blue Skies has been submitted to Apple for approval but has not yet been approved. It will be a separate $0.99 purchase over the existing version.

Update: It appears the 3GS version will be a separate app rather than an upgrade that we had originally indicated. Apologies for the mistake.

  • http://www.scifly2.com Josh Rosen

    Heheh, never thought the first game to use an ocean shader would be 2D.

  • http://www.scifly2.com Josh Rosen

    Heheh, never thought the first game to use an ocean shader would be 2D.

  • Jack

    Looks pretty good.

  • Jack

    Looks pretty good.

  • http://bassoonhero.deviantart.com/ Michael Wootton

    Hmmm might have to pick this one up soon, update looks pretty impressive.

    • ultimo

      Update ?

      Its no update, its anothr app you gotta buy, exclusive for the 3gs

  • http://bassoonhero.deviantart.com/ Michael Wootton

    Hmmm might have to pick this one up soon, update looks pretty impressive.

    • http://donthaveone...yet ultimo

      Update ?

      Its no update, its anothr app you gotta buy, exclusive for the 3gs

  • Alan Carr

    As an iPhone 3GS owner, I certainly appreciate developers who take the time to build in better graphics for those of us who can use them. I might pick this title up.

  • Alan Carr

    As an iPhone 3GS owner, I certainly appreciate developers who take the time to build in better graphics for those of us who can use them. I might pick this title up.

  • pahncrd

    I'm pretty jealous right now. AT&T and Apple want $400 for me to be able to use a 3GS. Ah well... Maybe next year I can see the gee-whizery.

  • pahncrd

    I'm pretty jealous right now. AT&T and Apple want $400 for me to be able to use a 3GS. Ah well... Maybe next year I can see the gee-whizery.

  • Dimitris

    I was expecting to see a 3d game with huge difference between the 2 titles but anyway...
    Even though it's a 2d game you can easily spot the difference.

  • Dimitris

    I was expecting to see a 3d game with huge difference between the 2 titles but anyway...
    Even though it's a 2d game you can easily spot the difference.

  • Frogtorch

    "There's been some debate about the practicality of offering 3GS-specific versions of games in the future."

    The sooner developers start concentrating on 3GS, the better, I think. It'd be sorry if devs only started concentrating on it once 3GZ or whatever the next version would be called is on the horizon. Too little, too late by then.

    The whole pretense of Apple is that they are always at the front of new technology. They do love to crank out new versions of their product.

    Then again, I'm no expert...

    • spiffyone

      I think arn was alluding to my past posts when he mentioned "debate on the practicality of 3Gs specific versions".

      But...arn didn't really get it completely right. What I stated, quite clearly, is that it may not be worth it for many devs to develop 3Gs specific games because it may not be worth the investment cost to focus exclusively on 3Gs. However, if they wish to experiment with already finished original iTouch/Phone device games and/or their engines on 3Gs (speccing up for the new hardware), they could and possibly should do so in order to get their feet wet. But, of course, they have to factor in whether or not it is currently worth doing in terms of total costs. Time spent making a 3Gs specific upgrade/up spec of an older game could be spent making another original iTouch/Phone device game to be sold to the far larger pool of original device owners. In the majority of cases, for indie devs, I don't think it would be worth it at this point in time...but it depends on how they themselves view the total cost of development.

      In this case, RPGguy (the developer of the game, who is a member of the forums) took an already existent game (Blue Skies) and spec'd up for 3Gs. I see nothing wrong with that at all. The investment cost is minimal, and it gives longer life to an older game (it was released quite a few months ago...it's a great game btw). It gives him a head start, which is good, but the costs for him were most probably quite low, since he already had a usable game engine and a complete game. If this were an all new game just for 3Gs...that would be a different story.

  • Frogtorch

    "There's been some debate about the practicality of offering 3GS-specific versions of games in the future."

    The sooner developers start concentrating on 3GS, the better, I think. It'd be sorry if devs only started concentrating on it once 3GZ or whatever the next version would be called is on the horizon. Too little, too late by then.

    The whole pretense of Apple is that they are always at the front of new technology. They do love to crank out new versions of their product.

    Then again, I'm no expert...

    • spiffyone

      I think arn was alluding to my past posts when he mentioned "debate on the practicality of 3Gs specific versions".

      But...arn didn't really get it completely right. What I stated, quite clearly, is that it may not be worth it for many devs to develop 3Gs specific games because it may not be worth the investment cost to focus exclusively on 3Gs. However, if they wish to experiment with already finished original iTouch/Phone device games and/or their engines on 3Gs (speccing up for the new hardware), they could and possibly should do so in order to get their feet wet. But, of course, they have to factor in whether or not it is currently worth doing in terms of total costs. Time spent making a 3Gs specific upgrade/up spec of an older game could be spent making another original iTouch/Phone device game to be sold to the far larger pool of original device owners. In the majority of cases, for indie devs, I don't think it would be worth it at this point in time...but it depends on how they themselves view the total cost of development.

      In this case, RPGguy (the developer of the game, who is a member of the forums) took an already existent game (Blue Skies) and spec'd up for 3Gs. I see nothing wrong with that at all. The investment cost is minimal, and it gives longer life to an older game (it was released quite a few months ago...it's a great game btw). It gives him a head start, which is good, but the costs for him were most probably quite low, since he already had a usable game engine and a complete game. If this were an all new game just for 3Gs...that would be a different story.

  • http://www.RockingPocketGames.com RPGGuy

    This will be a completely new app for $1, not an update to the existing Blue Skies. I don't believe it's possible to link both versions of OpenGL in the same app due to conflicting header files. I'll probably make an update for Dark Raider with the same kind of improvements later on.

    I'm pretty happy with what I've seen so far. The 3GS is capable of a lot more than most people realize because they don't know the technical aspects of shader programming. This is just the beginning of my experiments.

  • http://www.RockingPocketGames.com RPGGuy

    This will be a completely new app for $1, not an update to the existing Blue Skies. I don't believe it's possible to link both versions of OpenGL in the same app due to conflicting header files. I'll probably make an update for Dark Raider with the same kind of improvements later on.

    I'm pretty happy with what I've seen so far. The 3GS is capable of a lot more than most people realize because they don't know the technical aspects of shader programming. This is just the beginning of my experiments.

  • ncb1397

    "I don't believe it's possible to link both versions of OpenGL in the same app due to conflicting header files."

    You can link in both versions of OpenGL ES in the same program. Differentiating which version of the graphics API is the whole point of the initWithApi call for a EAGLContext object.

  • ncb1397

    "I don't believe it's possible to link both versions of OpenGL in the same app due to conflicting header files."

    You can link in both versions of OpenGL ES in the same program. Differentiating which version of the graphics API is the whole point of the initWithApi call for a EAGLContext object.

  • kevin

    "per pixel bump mapping" - im illiterate on alot of these terms, can someone explain this one please?

  • kevin

    "per pixel bump mapping" - im illiterate on alot of these terms, can someone explain this one please?

  • xood

    Great to read stuff as "full power of 3GS". I wonder when people stop believing in what the news read. :-)

  • xood

    Great to read stuff as "full power of 3GS". I wonder when people stop believing in what the news read. :-)

  • Dustin

    Offering two binaries doesn't make a whole lot of sense, unless they're just trying to profit off of people who have already purchased the game.

  • Dustin

    Offering two binaries doesn't make a whole lot of sense, unless they're just trying to profit off of people who have already purchased the game.

  • http://www.RockingPocketGames.com RPGGuy

    There were a lot of code changes to convert it from OpenGL 1 to OpenGL 2. If I can get it working under both in the same App I'll release it as an update to Blue Skies later. For now it's an interesting experiment to see what can be done with the new phone that people may want to check out. The new OS and OpenGL 2 is a lot of new stuff to learn for developers so it will take some time to master it all.

    Per pixel bump mapping means that for every dot on a texture map, you have a corresponding normal vector also stored in an image. When you draw the scene, you have a small program that compute the lighting at every pixel drawn (a shader). Instead of having normals that are defined at triangle vertices and interpolated across the triangle, you have them defined at every texel inside. It gives you much more detail. (per pixel lighting instead of per vertex) Developers will also be able to do tricks like parallax mapping and more complex shaders for shadowing as well.

    Expect more cool stuff in the future :)

  • http://www.RockingPocketGames.com RPGGuy

    There were a lot of code changes to convert it from OpenGL 1 to OpenGL 2. If I can get it working under both in the same App I'll release it as an update to Blue Skies later. For now it's an interesting experiment to see what can be done with the new phone that people may want to check out. The new OS and OpenGL 2 is a lot of new stuff to learn for developers so it will take some time to master it all.

    Per pixel bump mapping means that for every dot on a texture map, you have a corresponding normal vector also stored in an image. When you draw the scene, you have a small program that compute the lighting at every pixel drawn (a shader). Instead of having normals that are defined at triangle vertices and interpolated across the triangle, you have them defined at every texel inside. It gives you much more detail. (per pixel lighting instead of per vertex) Developers will also be able to do tricks like parallax mapping and more complex shaders for shadowing as well.

    Expect more cool stuff in the future :)

  • Darwiniandude

    I love the original, have a 3GS, and will most certainly buy this. As it isn't extra content and it's only of use to 3GS users, I have no problem paying for it.

  • Darwiniandude

    I love the original, have a 3GS, and will most certainly buy this. As it isn't extra content and it's only of use to 3GS users, I have no problem paying for it.

  • Fokion

    Good stuff. Even though I don't own a 3GS and I don't see myself upgrading my 3G at least until the next iteration of the platform comes along (3G, DS and PSP offer more than enough handheld gaming for me), it's good to see developers trying to take advantage of the platform without alienating the majority of the market.

    Still, the "true power" of the machine, whatever that is, won't truly manifest itself until big companies start pouring big bucks in development.

  • Fokion

    Good stuff. Even though I don't own a 3GS and I don't see myself upgrading my 3G at least until the next iteration of the platform comes along (3G, DS and PSP offer more than enough handheld gaming for me), it's good to see developers trying to take advantage of the platform without alienating the majority of the market.

    Still, the "true power" of the machine, whatever that is, won't truly manifest itself until big companies start pouring big bucks in development.