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Here's what's new for game developers on iOS 7

With the iOS 7 rolling out today, Apple makes a play to evolve game development with three new or improved features for game devs: the Sprite Kit, a newly renovated Game Center, and an all-new controller API.

Kris Ligman, Blogger

September 18, 2013

2 Min Read

With the iOS 7 rolling out today, Apple makes a play to evolve game development with the platform. The full fruits of this effort won't be apparent until the iPhone 5S with the 64-bit A7 chip hits shelves later this year, but until then, today's operating system update has three significant additions for game developers: the Sprite Kit, an overhaul to the Game Center, and a new controller API.

Controller support

First announced at WWDC back in June, the iOS 7's controller API allows for third-party controller support managed by the iPod or iPad's Bluetooth. This frees developers from the requirement to stick with touch-only controls like (often clumsy) virtual directional pads. Here's the video from WWDC introducing the API. Apple has also released a new programming guide for developers ready to get cracking with controller support.

Sprite Kit

The Sprite Kit framework for iOS 7 and OS X is designed as a built-in animation workflow for keyframing 2D animation, without the need of engines like Unity to serve as an intermediary. It also promises an easy way to handle realistic physics simulation and particle systems, and an "all in one easy-to-use set of APIs." Like the controller API, Sprite Kit was first announced at WWDC. Here's the introduction video from Apple. And here is the new programming guide.

Game Center renovation

Topping off the list of iOS 7 facelifts and additions for game developers is a newly overhauled Game Center, with more leaderboards and ready-to-hand utilities for player authentication and secure player data transfer. As before, here's the video from WWDC. And here is the new programmers' guide. The new iOS also adds a kids' games category to the App Store. There's also a whole host of other new or improved features which may be of interest for app developers -- check them out, or submit your own apps at Apple's iOS 7 developer support hub.

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