Thursday, April 30, 2009

Zoltar the iPhone Fortune Teller

I've been taking a break from EarthBrowser for the past couple of months and working on an iPhone app. The result is Zoltar the Fortune Teller.

Apple is now reviewing it for release in the iTunes store. I've heard it takes anywhere from a couple of days to several weeks if they don't send it back for fixes. Hopefully it will be available in the next week or so. I'll do another post when it is up.

You select a card from one of five categories and Zoltar will do a divination on his magic crystal ball. He then will speak your fortune to you from a set of over 100 fortunes based in part on the minor arcana of the Tarot deck. You can rotate him around and zoom in close with a swipe or pinch on the iPhone screen. I created the music and am the voice of Zoltar and put some spooky echo effects so it sounds pretty cool.

It was a really fun project which allowed me to test the limits of the iPhone hardware. The model of Zoltar was created by my cousin in 3d Studio Max and has over 10,000 polygons. Even so it renders at about 30 frames per second which is really good for such a small processor.

The 3d game engine that powers EarthBrowser was originally ported from C++/OpenGL into ActionScript. Since then I have made many improvements and I've re-ported it back to C++. Have I said lately how much I like OpenGL since I don't have to write my own 3d graphics library like I do in Flash? I built bindings into the Lua scripting language for ease of development. Lua has a strange syntax but it is lightweight and fast and gets the job done.