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Hidden feature turns iPhone into TV gaming device

post #1 of 58
Thread Starter 
With a little work and the help of an undocumented feature in Apple's iPhone Software Developers Kit, one iPhone developer was able to turn its game into a version suited for playback on big-screen TVs.

After discovering the hidden MPTVOutWindow class in the iPhone SDK last month, ArsTechnica's Erica Sadun got in touch with Freeverse, makers of Moto Chaser, and encouraged them to experiment with the APIs. A few hours later, the TV version of the iPhone game was born (video below).

Though largely demonstrative, the game uses the iPhone's accelerometer for input and steering while routing the game's video through a video-out cable to the TV. Freeverse noted that the program ran best on the second-generation iPod touch, which includes a 532MHz processor compared to the iPhone and iPhone 3G's 412MHz chip.

Even so, Moto Chaser maxed out at around 20 frames per second, making it "nearly playable," according Freeverse, whose producer Bruce Morrison noted that the "norm for commercial games is 30fps, a point at which motion becomes as smooth and watchable as normal TV video." Sound quality, however, was said to be greatly improved when pumped through a respectable sound system.



"When Morrison approached senior programmer Mark Levin, he had basically one set of instructions. 'Make it work before lunch.'," Ars reported. "Freeverse had very little time to allocate to putting together the demo. In the end, the entire development effort took about three hours."

Obviously one could imagine the possibilities of faster iPhones paired wirelessly with Apple TV to serve as a video game controller. In the meantime, you can read more about Apple's plan to muscle advanced gaming graphics into iPhones.
post #2 of 58
This is a neat hack. However, I would rather see AppleTV apps that use the iPhone as the controller. No cord, better frame rate.

Next up on my Holiday Wish list, Original NES games on the iPhone
post #3 of 58
What about making an AirTunes equivalent for video and audio combined over the air. It'd be a challenge I guess (latency) but really useful...
post #4 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by nace33 View Post

This is a neat hack. However, I would rather see AppleTV apps that use the iPhone as the controller. No cord, better frame rate.

Next up on my Holiday Wish list, Original NES games on the iPhone

Ha! Was going to say the same thing. Too bad for WiFi lag though. Maybe it's just me, but WiFi has never been overly snappy on my iPhone. Might make for a frustrating gaming experience...

Jimzip
"There's no time like the present, and the only present you'll never get, is time." - Me
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"There's no time like the present, and the only present you'll never get, is time." - Me
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post #5 of 58
Yah, too bad the AppleTV doesn't have bluetooth.
post #6 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by nace33 View Post

Yah, too bad the AppleTV doesn't have bluetooth.

They can build wireless controllers with an adapter using the USB port on AppleTV.
post #7 of 58
I remember a while back when I said that this is possible some here started laughing saying that this is not possible because you cannot output the iPhone graphics to larger screen!! well guess what?! it is possible.
post #8 of 58
Quote:
With a little work and the help of an undocumented feature in Apple's iPhone Software Developers Kit, one iPhone developer was able to turn its game into a version suited for playback on big-screen TVs.

After discovering the hidden MPTVOutWindow class in the iPhone SDK last month, ArsTechnica's Erica Sadun got in touch with Freeverse, makers of Moto Chaser, and encouraged them to experiment with the APIs. A few hours later, the TV version of the iPhone game was born (video below).

"In other news, Apple is readying updates to the iPhone/touch firmware to remove "unnecessary" code."
post #9 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

They can build wireless controllers with an adapter using the USB port on AppleTV.

So you want the AppleTV to not only have an adapter to add on to the back, you want new wireless controllers? Come on, it would be cool if the iPhone/iPod Touch could work as a controller with the existing AppleTV, as is. But having to buy controllers and add-ons to make this all work just is going to far in the other direction.
post #10 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by nace33 View Post

So you want the AppleTV to not only have an adapter to add on to the back, you want new wireless controllers? Come on, it would be cool if the iPhone/iPod Touch could work as a controller with the existing AppleTV, as is. But having to buy controllers and add-ons to make this all work just is going to far in the other direction.

Not everyone have an iPhone or iPod Touch you know! and I really don't want to give my son my iPhone so he can play games!! Beside, paying $200 for a game controller is kind of crazy!!

The adapter and controllers can be pair using bluetooth. I've seen very tiny bluetooth adapter. Use your imagination.

I really hope Apple can turn AppleTV into a game console (even if the games are not that graphic intensive). iPhone type games are fun to play even on larger screen. I don't know how many games are available on the iPhone but I am sure if Apple create an App store for AppleTV all developer will port their games to it.
post #11 of 58
why just WHY can't the guy punch the AI rider in that damn stupid video?

3 hours to get it working on a TV = A plus.

not knowing how to "win" = a55hat bonus.
I don't see how an anti M$ stance can be seen as a bad thing on an Apple forum I really can't!

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I don't see how an anti M$ stance can be seen as a bad thing on an Apple forum I really can't!

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post #12 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"When Morrison approached senior programmer Mark Levin, he had basically one set of instructions. 'Make it work before lunch.'," Ars reported.

I think this proves Morrison went to the same management training program
as my boss. I've heard that same simple set of instructions many times,
regardless of the complexity or enormity of the task!
Journalism is publishing what someone doesn't want us to know; the rest is propaganda.
-Horacio Verbitsky (el perro), journalist (b. 1942)
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Journalism is publishing what someone doesn't want us to know; the rest is propaganda.
-Horacio Verbitsky (el perro), journalist (b. 1942)
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post #13 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Obviously one could imagine the possibilities of faster iPhones paired wirelessly with Apple TV to serve as a video game controller.

If one knew how software works, one would know that such an idea is obviously unrelated.
post #14 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by nace33 View Post

I would rather see AppleTV apps that use the iPhone as the controller.

Bah, while I don't mind using my iPhone as a remote control occasionally, I'd balk at the idea of using a $200-$300 phone in the place of a likely more appropriate, and cheaper, game controller.
post #15 of 58
This is gonna be a part of Apple TV. This can be awesome for Apple TV. Maybe Apple will finally get serious about it.

Remember that USB connection in the back, I bet there's gonna be some sort of an adapter that lets you play control everything with WIFI
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post #16 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

Not everyone have an iPhone or iPod Touch you know! and I really don't want to give my son my iPhone so he can play games!! Beside, paying $200 for a game controller is kind of crazy!!

The adapter and controllers can be pair using bluetooth. I've seen very tiny bluetooth adapter. Use your imagination.

I really hope Apple can turn AppleTV into a game console (even if the games are not that graphic intensive). iPhone type games are fun to play even on larger screen. I don't know how many games are available on the iPhone but I am sure if Apple create an App store for AppleTV all developer will port their games to it.

You don't want to give the iPhone to your son so he can play games but you want Apple to allow third party apps on the AppleTV, create a bluetooth adapter that connects to the USB port and on top of that, create bluetooth controls so (and I am taking a little liberty here) your son can play games on the AppleTV?

Like I said above, this would be the wrong direction.
post #17 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmjoe View Post

Bah, while I don't mind using my iPhone as a remote control occasionally, I'd balk at the idea of using a $200-$300 phone in the place of a likely more appropriate, and cheaper, game controller.

I understand the desire to have a more traditional gaming experience (which is why the wii gets old), however, I can't help but imagine what developers could come up with, gamewise, using all the sensors in the iPhone as well as the screen. Imagine playing madden and on a hot route you draw the route on your phone prior to the snap. Possibilities are endless.

I think it would be anti-Apple to re-produce what other console makes already do, some of them quite well in fact.
post #18 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by nace33 View Post

You don't want to give the iPhone to your son so he can play games but you want Apple to allow third party apps on the AppleTV, create a bluetooth adapter that connects to the USB port and on top of that, create bluetooth controls so (and I am taking a little liberty here) your son can play games on the AppleTV?

Like I said above, this would be the wrong direction.

Why? because Apple only make devices for adults? I would play too you know!! and maybe my friends

I am interesting to know why it is wrong and turning your $200 or $300 iPhone into the most expensive game controller is right?!

I mean really why it is wrong?
post #19 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

Why? because Apple only make devices for adults? I would play too you know!! and maybe my friends

I am interesting to know why it is wrong and turning your $200 or $300 iPhone into the most expensive game controller is right?!

I mean really why it is wrong?

I think you just made my point. I spent $300 on this iPhone and I want it to not only be my phone and portable computer, I want it to be implemented in a versatile fashion throughout Apple's product line. I guess I like to see my dollar go as far as it can. I want my phone to turn off my lights, turn on my TV, shut my garage door from work and cook me dinner (okay that last one might be a stretch).

I think it is backwards thinking to duct tape a bunch of OEM parts to an AppleTV and turn it into a console.
post #20 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by nace33 View Post

I understand the desire to have a more traditional gaming experience (which is why the wii gets old), however, I can't help but imagine what developers could come up with, gamewise, using all the sensors in the iPhone as well as the screen. Imagine playing madden and on a hot route you draw the route on your phone prior to the snap. Possibilities are endless.

I think it would be anti-Apple to re-produce what other console makes already do, some of them quite well in fact.

I believe the PS3 controller has motion sensing and is Bluetooth. Add Bluetooth to the Apple TV, through a USB Bluetooth dongle probably. Add an API to the Apple TV for these kinds of controllers (if they don't exist from Apple already). Write a game controller app on the iPhone side to follow the PS3 controller Bluetooth protocol (which is probably based on some existing Bluetooth HID protocol).

Then you can use your iPhone with any system that'll handle a Bluetooth game controller ... if you really want to.
post #21 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by nace33 View Post

I guess I like to see my dollar go as far as it can. I want my phone to turn off my lights, turn on my TV, shut my garage door from work and cook me dinner (okay that last one might be a stretch).

I think it is backwards thinking to duct tape a bunch of OEM parts to an AppleTV and turn it into a console.

Unless you already have a home control system that is tied into a computer that your iPhone can interface with, any of the above is going to require some kind of duct tape and OEM parts. The iPhone doesn't do infrared to control your TV, and its cellular and WiFi radios are not likely programmable to the frequencies needed for your garage door or lights control system (like X10). I don't even think there are any inexpensive Bluetooth bridge-type devices that would do some of this ... though there ought to be.
post #22 of 58
Fun to note that exactly zero of the posts so far have anything to do with what the article is about ... outputting video from the iPhone itself wired to a TV. Does that say anything about the demand for this?
post #23 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by nace33 View Post

I think you just made my point. I spent $300 on this iPhone and I want it to not only be my phone and portable computer, I want it to be implemented in a versatile fashion throughout Apple's product line. I guess I like to see my dollar go as far as it can. I want my phone to turn off my lights, turn on my TV, shut my garage door from work and cook me dinner (okay that last one might be a stretch).

I think it is backwards thinking to duct tape a bunch of OEM parts to an AppleTV and turn it into a console.

What about those who already have AppleTV? they want the same thing you do. AppleTV owners "want it to be implemented in a versatile fashion throughout Apple's product line" and I guess they also want to see their dollar go as far as it can.

Having a small bluetooth (or whatever wireless technology) dongle that you can never see using a USB port that you never use is not duct taping things together. TC and Airport Extreme both have USB ports that you can be used to connect HDD, printers, and flash drives. iPods have hundreds of accessories that can attach to them. It is called expandability.

PS. I don't think the iPhone bluetooth is capable if anything other than connecting to headset and car handsfree systems.
post #24 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmjoe View Post

Fun to note that exactly zero of the posts so far have anything to do with what the article is about ... outputting video from the iPhone itself wired to a TV. Does that say anything about the demand for this?

I guess no one wants a 10 ft cable running from the sofa to the TV

I see this feature to be most useful for people who want to use their iPhone for presentations using a projector.
post #25 of 58
wicked!!!
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post #26 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

What about those who already have AppleTV? they want the same thing you do. AppleTV owners "want it to be implemented in a versatile fashion throughout Apple's product line" and I guess they also want to see their dollar go as far as it can.

Having a small bluetooth (or whatever wireless technology) dongle that you can never see using a USB port that you never use is not duct taping things together. TC and Airport Extreme both have USB ports that you can be used to connect HDD, printers, and flash drives. iPods have hundreds of accessories that can attach to them. It is called expandability.

PS. I don't think the iPhone bluetooth is capable if anything other than connecting to headset and car handsfree systems.

Listen we can bicker all day about what expandability means, but the bottom line is that Apple is never going to sell a bluetooth dongle that goes on the back of your AppleTV's, at this stage, inactive USB port. Apple is not going to sell plastic controllers that connect to a bluetooth dongle. What Apple is already doing is using the iPhone/iPod Touch as a remote for the AppleTV. What do you think is more likely to happen? More iPhone/iPod Touch integration into the AppleTV environment which results in halo effects for both products, or a USB bluetooth dongle and some bluetooth controllers which might sell a few more AppleTVs to the niche market that wants to recreate old-school console play?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pmjoe View Post

Unless you already have a home control system that is tied into a computer that your iPhone can interface with, any of the above is going to require some kind of duct tape and OEM parts. The iPhone doesn't do infrared to control your TV, and its cellular and WiFi radios are not likely programmable to the frequencies needed for your garage door or lights control system (like X10). I don't even think there are any inexpensive Bluetooth bridge-type devices that would do some of this ... though there ought to be.

Thanks, I was wondering why my iPhone won't shut off my TV and close my garage door. My point was that I want my iPhone to be the central hub for executing daily activities. I don't want a TV remote, garage opener, and plastic bluetooth controllers.

Man, I feel like I am taking crazy pills.
post #27 of 58
Think bigger guys - not the iPhone as a controller, but your cellphone as replacing your game console in a few years.
post #28 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

Think bigger guys - not the iPhone as a controller, but your cellphone as replacing your game console in a few years.

Will it have a built in projector?
post #29 of 58
Can anyone tell what is being displayed on the iPhone screen while the game is playing?
post #30 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by nace33 View Post

Will it have a built in projector?

Did you even read the article?
post #31 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by nace33 View Post

I think you just made my point. I spent $300 on this iPhone and I want it to not only be my phone and portable computer, I want it to be implemented in a versatile fashion throughout Apple's product line. I guess I like to see my dollar go as far as it can. I want my phone to turn off my lights, turn on my TV, shut my garage door from work and cook me dinner (okay that last one might be a stretch).

I think it is backwards thinking to duct tape a bunch of OEM parts to an AppleTV and turn it into a console.

I don't understand how inserting one (1) USB stick into the port of an ATV and using a device a lot of Apple fans probably already have would be legitimately considered "duct taping" a bunch of parts to the ATV.
post #32 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

Did you even read the article?

Did you? I was responding to your "think bigger" comment, so I thought bigger. If the iPhone is to be the console of the future, why not include a pico projector in it. So, why would it make sense for you to now ask me if I read the article? I know it doesn't mention a projector in it, just as it doesn't mention the iPhone becoming this future console. In fact, the article specifically supports what I have been saying all along, i.e. using the iPhone as a controller, "Obviously one could imagine the possibilities of faster iPhones paired wirelessly with Apple TV to serve as a video game controller.".


Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

I don't understand how inserting one (1) USB stick into the port of an ATV would be legitimately considered "duct taping" a bunch of parts to the ATV.

I specifically referred to the USB bluetooth dongle, bluetooth wireless controllers and third party apps for the AppleTV as duct taping together a console. Last time I checked that would be (3) things, not (1). Regardless of that, I just don't see Apple beginning its console business with a bluetooth dongle and bluetooth controllers duct taped (yeah, I said it again) to the AppleTV. Just don't think it is sexy enough for the el jobso. Using the iPhone with the WIFI, if possible, sounds like a much more attractive option.
post #33 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by nace33 View Post

Listen we can bicker all day about what expandability means, but the bottom line is that Apple is never going to sell a bluetooth dongle that goes on the back of your AppleTV's, at this stage, inactive USB port. Apple is not going to sell plastic controllers that connect to a bluetooth dongle. What Apple is already doing is using the iPhone/iPod Touch as a remote for the AppleTV. What do you think is more likely to happen? More iPhone/iPod Touch integration into the AppleTV environment which results in halo effects for both products, or a USB bluetooth dongle and some bluetooth controllers which might sell a few more AppleTVs to the niche market that wants to recreate old-school console play?

The last time Apple did that it failed (remember 1st version of AppleTV required a computer). People want a standalone devices and not spending $230 buying a device that will only fully work if you buy a $200 phone (or 230 iPod Touch) that requires a minimum of $75 monthly plan just to play games!! You are talking about $460 for a 40GB! People will think "hmmm, I can get PS3 with 80GB, two controllers, and Blue-Ray player that can do all of that for less than $460!!". It would be interesting to see how you will play online games and ask the other party to hold until you finish your phone call!! People won't buy AppleTV because they can use their iPhone as controller. People will buy AppleTV if the can used independently.

Controllers can be motion controlled. There is still place for innovation with the controller. They don't have to be old school. They can even use multi-touch if they really want to.
post #34 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

The last time Apple did that it failed (remember 1st version of AppleTV required a computer). People want a standalone devices and not spending $230 buying a device that will only fully work if you buy a $200 phone (or 230 iPod Touch) that requires a minimum of $75 monthly plan just to play games!! You are talking about $460 for a 40GB! People will think "hmmm, I can get PS3 with 80GB, two controllers, and Blue-Ray player that can do all of that for less than $460!!". It would be interesting to see how you will play online games and ask the other party to hold until you finish your phone call!! People won't buy AppleTV because they can use their iPhone as controller. People will buy AppleTV if the can used independently.

Controllers can be motion controlled. There is still place for innovation with the controller. They don't have to be old school. They can even use multi-touch if they really want to.

Are you seriously trying to argue cost within the Apple ecosystem? Let's add up your duct-taped console as an example of how ridiculous your response was.

AppleTV = $230
Apple proprietary Bluetooth Dongle = $ [I'll let you fill in]
Apple proprietary Bluetooth Controllers = $ [I'll let you fill in]
Total = more than the wii, 360, and probably more than PS3. Graphics will be on par with Wii, maybe.

Now, let's add in your mutli-touch controller (which I am sure will be less than the iPod touch right?) Now what is the total? Still more than the other three?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

People will buy AppleTV if the can used independently.

I think what your trying to say is that people will only use the AppleTV if it can be used independently. I agree, it already can be. Let me ask you a question. In the next 18 months, which is probably sooner than we will see a legit Apple console (if ever), do you plan to buy a new iPod?
post #35 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

People will buy AppleTV if the can used independently..

Further, since I love this sentence of yours so much, could you please reference where I said that the AppleTV was dependent upon anything else. Could you please keep in mind that if your definition of dependency is that my version of the AppleTV requires the iPhone, then how is your duct-taped version any different with your dongle and controls? Would they, in fact, be one in the same as far as your definition of dependency?

For the record I realize that AppleTV, since 2.0, is a completely independent product (sans the iTunes Music Store and a TV of course).
post #36 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by nace33 View Post

Are you seriously trying to argue cost within the Apple ecosystem? Let's add up your duct-taped console as an example of how ridiculous your response was.

AppleTV = $230
Apple proprietary Bluetooth Dongle = $ [I'll let you fill in]
Apple proprietary Bluetooth Controllers = $ [I'll let you fill in]
Total = more than the wii, 360, and probably more than PS3. Graphics will be on par with Wii, maybe.

Now, let's add in your mutli-touch controller (which I am sure will be less than the iPod touch right?) Now what is the total? Still more than the other three?

I don't know how you came up with the conclusion of costing more that those game console. A bluetooth USB dongle cost less that $10!!

I think you misunderstand what I was saying. This option can be for current AppleTV owners and Apple can sell newer version with built-in bluetooth. This way everyone is happy.

Quote:
I think what your trying to say is that people will only use the AppleTV if it can be used independently. I agree, it already can be. Let me ask you a question. In the next 18 months, which is probably sooner than we will see a legit Apple console (if ever), do you plan to buy a new iPod?

I don't. I already have 3G iPhone.
post #37 of 58
Neat.

I've always wondered why Apple never allowed games on the AppleTV. It's more powerful than the original XBox; while that's not great by modern gaming standards, simple arcade games like the ones sold for the iPhone shouldn't be a problem.
post #38 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

I don't know how you came up with the conclusion of costing more that those game console. A bluetooth USB dongle cost less that $10!!

Do you really think that Apple is going to open up the AppleTV to the world as a console and not be in complete control of the hardware that implements their plan?

PS. Since you have an iPhone, download Tap Defense. It is a ridiculously easy way to waste time.
post #39 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by nace33 View Post

Further, since I love this sentence of yours so much, could you please reference where I said that the AppleTV was dependent upon anything else. Could you please keep in mind that if your definition of dependency is that my version of the AppleTV requires the iPhone, then how is your duct-taped version any different with your dongle and controls? Would they, in fact, be one in the same as far as your definition of dependency?

For the record I realize that AppleTV, since 2.0, is a completely independent product (sans the iTunes Music Store and a TV of course).

You suggest that using an iPhone as controller is better. By doing, so the only people who will get the most of what they paid for AppleTV are those who buy or already bought iPhone/Touch. Therefore, playing games on AppleTV will be dependent on whether you have an iPhone or iPod Touch.

The dongle and controller can be packages together. PS3 controllers are sold for around $55 each so I guess the price should be around that, which can be included with newer AppleTV version (for small premium). This will bring the price close to Wii but with extras.
post #40 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by nace33 View Post

Do you really think that Apple is going to open up the AppleTV to the world as a console and not be in complete control of the hardware that implements their plan?

PS. Since you have an iPhone, download Tap Defense. It is a ridiculously easy way to waste time.

Nevermind.. wrong post
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