If 100 independent games go into development , 95 of them fizzle out once the coders realize how terribly boring the first chunk of the game development cycle can be. Between physics engines, sound engines, lighting engines, and all of the other groundwork elements that have to be done before the fun stuff starts, it’s a tough hill to climb.
Fortunately, there’s a short cut: engine licensing. By paying to use someone elses engine, you get to shave off an good amount of the work that comes before the fun stuff. It’s not an overnight path to John Carmack status, but it makes things a bit less painful.
In a move that’ll push even more people on the iPhone development party bus, GarageGames’ has ported their game engine, Torque, to the iPhone platform. Long used to make games for Windows, Mac, Linux, and the Xbox 360, Torque is a powerful 2d/3d game engine with a huge perk: it’s dirt cheap. While many engine licenses can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars (before royalties), Torque licenses generally cost indie developers less than $200. (Licensing for the iPhone will be done on a per title basis, so no concrete numbers are available)
It’s not so simple that it’ll trigger a flood of crap games, but convenient enough to entice otherwise uninterested talent. Good news all around!