IwGame Engine v0.33 Released – Unified Android and iOS in-app purchasing

New here? What’s IwGame? IwGame is an open source free to use cross platform game engine for iPhone, iPad, Android, Bada, Playbook, Symbian, Windows Mobile, LG-TV, Windows and Mac, built on top of the Marmalade SDK. You can find out more and download the SDK from our IwGame Engine page.

I can tell you one thing, testing in-app purchasing from scratch is NOT an easy task, in fact its a pain in the a** to be quite honest. However, like anything that’s cool its worth doing. Its been a while coming but we finally put together a unified API for in-app purchasing on the Android and iOS platforms. To see the end product in action check out Puzzle Friends on Android (the new name for the free version of cOnnecticOns (I must have been off my head when I invented the name cOnnecticOns :)). The iOS version is currently with the great Apple reviewers in the sky.

Ok, here is the list of changes for 0.33:

  • In-app purchasing added for Android and iOS (IwGameMarket)
  • Scenes can now be augmented after they have been created (like partial classes)
  • Scenes can now be layered visually
  • New SetAllTimelines action added to XOML that will set the timeline of all scenes
  • SetVariable action now allows you to specify the scene in which the variable lives
  • Resources can now be tagged with a tag name
  • New RemoveResource and RemoveResources actions that allow removal of resources from global resource manager
  • New CallActions action added that enables execution of other actions lists
  • Actor now has ScaleX and ScaleY bindings
  • Relative actor depth is now 0 for linked actors
  • UDID removed from IwGameAds for iOS
  • Scenes now have a ClipStatic property that will force the clipping area of a scene to stay in place on screen instead of moving with the scenes camera
  • BUG FIX: Scene NotifyResuming now called properly
  • BUG FIX: CIwGameAnimInstance::setAnimation() no longer crashes if NULL is passed
  • BUG FIX: IwGameAdsView sprites are now updated correctly

The most interesting addition this update is the well hidden IN-APP PURCHASING for iOS and Android. With the aid of copy and paste lets take a look at the changes in more detail:

IwGameMarket – Unified In App Purchasing API for iOS And Android

Its an incredibly tough job to get noticed in the app stores these days with approaching half a million apps available in the larger stores (insane competition), its an even tougher job persuading Joe public to part with their money for your app. Many developers are turning to developing freemium titles as a means to increase visibility (app users are much more likely to download a free app) and earn money by offering the app in a limited form then allowing users to purchase additional content and game features. As of IwGame v0.33, basic in-app purchasing is now available for iOS and Android using a wrapper around Marmalade’s EDK in-app purchase extensions called IIwGameMarket.

IIwGameMarket is a not a concrete class however so you cannot just create one and use it. Instead it provides a basic interface for creating the platform specific market class as well as access to common functionality. At the moment the following marker classes are available:

CIwGameMarketiOS – Uses iOS in-app purchasing
CIwGameMarketAndroid – Uses Android market billing
CIwGameMarketTest – This version is a test class that you can use to simulate purchases / errors etc in the simulator.

IwGameMarket is designed to allow you to initialise and set-up and use in-app purchasing in a platform agnostic fashion, allowing you to query / purchase content very easily.

IwGameMarket works using a product list system, where you create and add CIwGameMarketProduct products to the IwGameMarket. Each CIwGameMarketProduct represents a single consumable / none consumable product that can be purchased.

Setting up the IwGameMarket is very simple, you simply call IIwGameMarket::Create() which initialises the correct market for the platform that your game or app is running on then set-up a few handlers, depending upon which messages you want to handle. Below shows a quick example:

IiwGameMarket::Create("Your android public key");
IIwGameMarket::getMarket()->setReceiptAvailableHandler(PurchaseComplete, NULL);
IIwGameMarket::getMarket()->setErrorHandler(PurchaseError, NULL);
IIwGameMarket::getMarket()->setRefundHandler(Refunded, NULL);	// Android only

Note that if you are releasing for iOS only then you do not need to supply your Android Market public key, simply pass no parameters to Create().

In this example, we have told IwGameMarket that we want to be notified when a purchase receipt is available, when an error occurs or when a transaction refund has happened.

When done with the market don’t forget to clean it up using:


Now that the market is set-up we need to add products, below shows a quick example:

// Which OS are we running
int os = s3eDeviceGetInt(S3E_DEVICE_OS);

// Create product 1
CIwGameMarketProduct* product = new CIwGameMarketProduct();
product->Consumable = true;
product->ID = 1;
product->Name = "10 Coins";
if (os == S3E_OS_ID_IPHONE)
	product->ExternalID = "com.companyname.gamename.coinsx10";
	product->ExternalID = "coinsx10";
product->Purchased = false;

// Create product 2
product = new CIwGameMarketProduct();
product->Consumable = true;
product->ID = 2;
product->Name = "50 Coins";
if (os == S3E_OS_ID_IPHONE)
	product->ExternalID = "com.companyname.gamename.coinsx50";
	product->ExternalID = "coinsx50";
product->Purchased = false;

In this example, we create 2 products, our first represents 10 in-game coins, whilst the second represents 50 in-game coins. The ExternalID property is the product ID as defined in the in-app purchase section of your app in iTunes Connect for iOS or the product id of the in-app purchase in the in-app purchase section of your Android Market product control panel for Android. ID can be anything you like but will need to be unique.

Now that the system and product set-up are out the way, lets take a look at how to purchase a product. Firstly you need to call PurchaseProduct() passing in the ID defined in the CIwGameMarketProduct that you added earlier:

if (IiwGameMarket::getMarket()->PurchaseProduct(product_id))

You then need to add code to the callbacks that we added in our set-up:

int32 MarketScene::PurchaseComplete(void* caller, void* data)
	int type = IIwGameMarket::getMarket()->getLastPurchaseID();
	if (type == 1)	// 10 coins
	if (type == 2)	// 50 coins

	return 1;

int32 MarketScene::PurchaseError(void* caller, void* data)
	// Display an error to the user

	return 1;

int32 MarketScene::Refunded(void* caller, void* data)
	// Only available on th Andriod platform
	CIwGameString id = IW_GAME_MARKET_ANDROID->getRefundedID();

	// Player was refunded so take back the items(s)

	return 1;

Augmenting Scenes

Another cool new feature in v0.33 is the ability to augment a previously created scene and add extra stuff to it after the fact. You can for example have a basic common scene that provides the basic background of the scene. This gets loaded by many other scenes and serves as its basic background. After its been loaded you can declare the scene a 2nd time and add additional elements which will then be integrated into the original scene.

Layered Scenes

Scenes can now be depth sorted (visually only). This is incredibly useful as previously scenes would always be drawn in the order in which they were added to the game class. There is no limit to the layer number of a scene.

Tagged Resources

Resources can now be given a tag name, allowing you to identify groups of resources. New actions have also been added that allow the removal of specific resources or groups of tagged resources from the global resource manager. We added this new features because we found that sometimes it is very useful to have resources in the global resource manager so they can be shared across scenes, but later needed a way to remove those resources when done with them.

Calling Actions Lists

Its now possible to call an actions list from an action. This is great if you want to define lots of different action sets then pick and choose which ones you want to use.

And that’s it for this update, please enjoy.

IwGame Engine v0.32 Released – Data Bindings and Conditional Variables

New here? What’s IwGame? IwGame is an open source free to use cross platform game engine for iPhone, iPad, Android, Bada, Playbook, Symbian, Windows Mobile, LG-TV, Windows and Mac, built on top of the Marmalade SDK. You can find out more and download the SDK from our IwGame Engine page.

A lot of bugs (mostly minor) have been reported since the forum went live so we decided to release 0.32 now and push in-app purchasing to another future release (hopefully 0.33).

We finally got cOnnecticOns approved for BlackBerry PlayBook, its now on sale on BlackBerry App World. Version 2.0 also went live today for iOS on iTunes and for Android on the Android Market / Amazon. Not happy with Samsung however, the game has been knocked back on Bada 1 and 2 numerous times for minor issues that should be footnotes!

Ok, on with the changes, here is the list of changes for 0.32:

  • New XOML RemoveAllScenes action added – This will remove all scenes excluding the scene that is provided
  • Data bindings now added to XOML – You can now create a bindings list which pair properties up to variables. Changes made to those variables will bautomaticaly be applied to the object that they are bound to.
  • Actors and Scenes now support data bindings
  • Conditions variables now added to XOML – A condition variable allows you to string together some basic logic based on the value of other variables, these can then be attached to Actions to create conditional actions
  • Actions and Action groups now support conditional variables
  • IIwGameXomlResource now have parents
  • CIwGameString now supports encoding / decoding to / from hex
  • CIwGameSprite now has a RebuildTransformNow() method
  • CIwGameSprite now has an update method where the trabnsform will be rebuilt. This ensures that all transforms have been buuilt before rendering
  • CIwGameScene now has a PreDestroy() method which gets called when a request to destroy a scene is received
  • CIwGameActorImage now has a SetSrcRect() method
  • Added sound and music volume control to CIwGameAudio
  • CIwGameSound now accepts a paramater that allows you to specify volume, frequency and panning when playing a sound effect
  • BUG FIX: PNG lib fix for Visual Studio 2008
  • BUG FIX: Mac compile issues
  • BUG FIX: CIwGameSprite setScale() fixed
  • BUG FIX: Precision issues graphical glitches at lower resolutions
  • BUG FIX: Actor collilsion size now read corrctly from XOML
  • BUG FIX: CIwGameActorText text aligment now applie correctly
  • BUG FIX: When an actor or scene has a timeline attached, the first frame was not benig set before displaying the object
  • BUG FIX: CIwGameTextSprite hit test fixed
  • BUG FIX: CIwGameAds – VServ local now set correctly
  • BUG FIX: CIwGameScene – Initial camera transform is now built correctly
  • BUG FIX: CIwGameString::URLEncode now calculates correct buffer size
  • BUG FIX: CIwGameString::URLDecode now checks for the correct character
  • BUG FIX: Infinite loop removed from CIwGameXmlNode::GetAttribute()

The most exciting changes for us at least are the XOML data bindings and conditional variables / actions. They enable the creation of some very complex and ultra re-usable stuff. We are planning on starting a library of useful generic classes and XOML layout files that can be used as plug-ins to help create games and apps even quicker. Our first experiment with this is to create a set of XOML files and scene classes that handle ScoreLoop integration. If this is successful then we will release this as a plug-in library that you can simply drop into your own games and style with your own styles. Will blog about this in the near future.

XOML Data Binding

Data binding is the ability to map properties of objects to XOML variables. Changes to those variables will be immediately reflected in all properties of all objects that are bound. Lets take a look at a quick example:

We declare a global variable that holds a profile name:

    <Variable Name="ProfileName" Type="string" Value="None" />

Next we create a bindings set that contains a single property called “Text” that is bound to the “ProfileName” variable that we just defined:

    <Bindings Name="SC_ProfileBindings">
        <Binding Property="Text" Variable="ProfileName" />

We now attach our bindings list “SC_ProfileBindings” to a text actor:

    <ActorText Name="NameLabel" ......... Bindings="SC_ProfileBindings" />

Now if we change the ProfileName variable in XOML or in code, our NameLabel actor’s Text property will be automatically updated.

We opted to use independent binding lists (as opposed to in-line bindings as used in XAML / MXML) because they are re-usable, the same bindings list can be used across many objects. They are also much more readable as bindings are not intermingled with normal property values.

Note that if you also have a timeline animation that updates the same property then the timeline is given priority and the timeline will write over the binding value.

Binding lists can be attached to scenes and actors. The following properties can be bound:


  • Position
  • Angle
  • Scale
  • Colour
  • Clipping
  • Timeline
  • Binding
  • Camera
  • Type
  • Active
  • Visible
  • AllowSuspend
  • AllowResume


  • Position
  • Depth
  • Origin
  • Angle
  • Scale
  • Colour
  • Velocity
  • Angular Velocity
  • Timeline
  • Binding
  • Type
  • Active
  • Visible
  • Collidable
  • HitTest

CIwGameActorImage (in addition to those present in CIwGameActor):

  • Size
  • SrcRect
  • Image

CiwGameActorText (in addition to those present in CIwGameActor):

  • Text
  • Rect

Binding sets that are defined outside a scene will be assigned to the global resource manager, whilst bindings defined inside a scene will be assigned to the scenes resource manager.

Data bindings offer a way to create complex scenes and user interfaces without having to manually update the properties of the individual elements

Conditional Variables and Actions

XOML supports a new variable type called a condition variable. A condition variable is a variable that contains an expression that is defined by a list of variables, operators and values. Lets take a look at a quick example:

    <!--Create a bog standard int variable that contains the current level /-->
    <Variable Name="current_level" Type="int" Value="1" />

    <!--Create a condition variable that tests the current level is between 1 and 9 /-->
    <Variable Name="low_level_extras" Type="condition" Value="current_level GTE 1 AND current_level LT 10" />

We create an integer variable called current_level and assign it the value of 1. Next we create a new variable called “low_level_extras” that is of type “condition”. The most interesting part of our condition variables is the value, which is:

     current_level GTE 1 AND current_level LT 10

Unlike normal variables which contain constant values of some kind, condition variables contain dynamic expressions that are evaluated at run-time. The end result of a condition variable is always either true or false. The above expression in terms of C code would read like this:

     bool low_level_extras = (current_level >= 1 && current_level < 10);

Condition variables aren’t much use on their own and are usually used in conjunction with actions to provide conditional action functionality whereby an action or actions group will only be executed if a certain set of conditions are met. Lets take a look at a quick example:

    <Actions Name="NextScene">
       <Action Method="LoadXOML" Param1="MainScene.xml" />
       <Action Method="LoadXOML" Param1="LowLevelExtras.xml" Condition="low_level_extras" />
       <Action Method="KillScene" />

The above actions group is called when we click a button to start a game. The actions group starts by loading the MainScene XOML file which creates the main game scene. Next the condition variable “low_level_extras” is checked to see if It is true, if current_level is between 1 and 9 then the variable will return true and the additional XOML file “LowLevelExtras” will be loaded. If however the current_level variable is less than 1 or greater than 9  then the additional XOML file will not be loaded.

This is just a very simple example showing how conditional actions can be used to re-use and extend XOML code.

And that’s it for this update. Thank you to all those who have downloaded cOnnecticOns on one platform or another and massive thanks to those who left us a review, you are awesome.

iPad 3 Prices and Availability

Ok, its finally here the awesome iPad 3 with is uber super 2048 x 1536 pixel retina display resolution! Its availabl now in the US and March 16th in Canada, UK, France, Germany, Switzerland and Japan.

Prices go like this:

  • 16GB – $499 / £399
  • 32GB – $599 / £499
  • 64GB – $699./ £599

The IwGame Engine is gonna  kick some serious a** on iPad 3!

Will need to upgrade the graphics in cOnnecticOns to account for the higher resolution display

cOnnecticOns v2.0 Available on Android – Share those Puzzles

We’ve updated cOnnecticOns for Android (other platform versions are waiting for approval and will be appearing soon). – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.pocketeers.connecticons

New changes include:

  • You can now share puzzles that you create with friends no matter what phone or tablet they have, even none Android phones and tablets
  • Some graphical improvements
  • Additional help screens added
  • Bug fixes

The new level sharing feature is cool. Server side it is completely file based and requires no use of a SQL database. Players can upload up to 20 of their own puzzles to our server where it will be stored for download by other players. All a player has to do is post the short numeric code to Facebook, Twitter, text / email etc and the recipient(s) simply enters the code into the game. The puzzle is then downloaded into the users selected puzzle slot so they can play it.

No complicated sign-up / login process is required as the user is assigned a unique user ID when they first upload a level.

The best feature is that puzzles can be shared across any device be it Android, Playbook, iOS, Bada or even PC / web (when those version become available)

We are considering adding stats in there so players can determine how many times their puzzles have been played, the best scores and how many times users have beaten or failed their puzzles.