I wrote about AIR for iOS earlier in the year, but got caught up with Rebuild 2 before I could actually release any iOS game. By the time I got back to it, Adobe had just released AIR 3.0, and FlashDevelop 4.0 now comes with an AIR Mobile AS3 project that makes building Flash games to run on iPhone/iPad and Android a snap.
AIR 3.0 is definitely faster than 2.6, but I still ran into some major performance issues when adapting Rebuild 2 for iPad. It came down to dragging the big map around. In its original vector form, the map moved slowly and chunkily as all the buildings were rendered at every frame. As one gigantic bitmap it was quick as can be, but a 2000×2000 bitmap takes up far too much ram. I found an optimum middle ground but including the bulky AIR interpreter I regularly need up to 100mb, and the iPad 1 only has 256mb ram in total. So, what I’m saying is… Rebuild 2 is coming to iPad 2 and only 2. Sorry early adopters, you should have waited a year for the iPad with twice the ram and faster cpu & gpu. And a camera.
I also had to work around a shocking number of bugs in AIR 3.0 Mobile. Mostly display issues that could be solved by converting things into bitmaps before displaying them, each time increasing the amount of ram the game needs. Then, I was pretty sad I couldn’t add Game Center support without fiddling with Native Extensions in Xcode. I’m looking to pay someone to do this, because of course I’m The Girl Who Wrote An IPad Game Without A Mac.
Almost. Apple removed their web-based system for uploading binaries around the same time 3rd party compilers made it possible to build from Windows or Linux. Now, you can only upload using Apple software running in Mac OS. Sigh.
But enough with the technical. Although the iPad version is a port of Rebuild 2 Flash, I added some new content to the game as a thank you for fans of Rebuild 2 who buy it. There are two new buildings, and one is linked to a new branch of tech. Some fresh events spattered about, and an entirely new story arc and ending written by my husband Colin. You can discover it for yourself (assuming you have an iPad 2) later this month.
Fun Rebuild fact: in the programming code, survivors are called “Colins”.