Ever since Apple released the iPhone SDK and began pushing the platform as ideal for mobile gaming, people have been wondering just how much power developers will be able to squeeze out of the hardware. The phone gaming proposition thus far has left rather much to be desired.
Happily the game demonstrations presented at Apple’s SDK rollout event showed real promise and early comments from the game development community show the iPhone to be a gaming platform much closer to a console than a smartphone or the typical portable media device. Underscoring this sentiment is the recent demonstration of id’s classic Quake 3 ported to the iPod touch, utilizing its integrated accelerometers for control.
While it’s true that Quake 3 does not represent the bleeding edge of today’s 3D engine technology, it is no trivial chunk of code to run; it demands sufficient performance from both the CPU as well as on-board 3D graphics hardware.
iPod Hacks recently pointed out that the ARM processor core of the iPhone and iPod touch runs at nearly twice the clockspeed of the Sony PSP’s CPU — but CPU isn’t everything. The specs concerning the capabilities of the PSP’s powerful graphics hardware are easily found, but scant are the details of those surrounding the iPhone’s 3D chipset. The fluid framerate apparent in the iPod touch Quake 3 video, however, should lay to rest concerns that the 3D capabilities of the iPhone and iPod touch end at throwing a bit of album art around in Cover Flow.