This month I decided to embark on learning abit about the Sparrow Framework for iOS, a gaming framework that takes its inspiration from Actionscript, to create impressive 2D gaming experiences for the mobile platform. Johannes Stein (@Stoney_FD) presents a complete beginner’s compass on how to approach game-development, how to utilise Sparrow within the Objective-C language, guiding you on creating a game, from start to finish. The first chapter is dedicated on setting up your environment, and for the CocoaPods enthusiast that I am, finding out that Sparrow is also a Pod. You are then guided through a skeleton template project, and getting you a bit oriented around elements and objects of the framework. The following chapter then dives deeper into creating and presenting Objects and Object Containers, along a stage. You are also introduced to macros and constants. Chapter 3 then follows on with stages and assets, as well as working with sound managers, and how all these components tie together into the scene.
The author then explains how to deal with various screens sizes, working with tweens (an animation concept I was familiar with during my days of Actionscript) and transitions, before embarking on the more advanced concepts such as sprites. Moving beyond, you then learn a bit about game logic, a slice of artificial intelligence, a great skill that is of value to you, even if you decide to work with other frameworks, such as Cocoa2D and SpriteKit. Chapter 10 and 11 I found to be specifically well written, a great guide on how to publish your game, as well as integrating with third-party services such as Game Center and Flurry Analytics.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed **Johannes Stein ** and found the book to be well structured, with a logical flow that allowed me to follow through with the exercises quite easily. If you are interested in developing games, this book is definitely worth a read.
Compared to Cocos2d, which is nested above OpenGL 2, is a bit more complex with a bit more of a learning curve, and works across iOS and Android. Sparrow is similar to Cocos2D, and works above OpenGL, but more lightweight than Cocos2D, so you get to start distributing games quicker. If you have an Actionscript 3 bacgkround, it will be even more straightforward for you.
Prior Knowledge: Objective-C, with a keen interest on learning gaming. If you have had experience working with Actionscript or various other gaming frameworks, it will help, but not necessary.
My rating: 4.5