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Apple unveils new tools, technologies, and APIs including Metal 3 for gaming developers

By Aaron Yip - on 7 Jun 2022, 4:55pm

Apple unveils new tools, technologies, and APIs including Metal 3 for gaming developers

Developers will get new tools, technologies, and APIs to help them create richer experiences for their users, Apple announced at the WWDC 2022 event. These include Widgets on the Lock Screen, WeatherKit, Xcode Cloud and quite possibly the one that piques me the most – Metal 3.

 

Xcode Cloud

Xcode Cloud is now available with a range of subscription plans to best fit developers’ needs, starting with 25 hours per month free through December 2023 to all members of the Apple Developer Program and topping out at 1,000 hours per month.

Built into Xcode, Xcode Cloud is a continuous integration and delivery cloud service designed specifically for Apple developers. It enables developers and teams of all sizes to build, test, and deliver high-quality apps even more efficiently by automatically building apps in the cloud to free up their Mac for other tasks. And with parallel testing in the cloud, developers can test on a simulated version of every current Apple device, easily deploy a build for internal testing, or deliver to beta testers through TestFlight.

Developers can find more information on available plans for Xcode Cloud here.

 

Improvements to Xcode 14

Xcode 14 features new enhancements to further improve developer productivity. According to Apple, project builds are up to 25 per cent faster, thanks to improved parallelism, and the Xcode application is now 30 per cent smaller to download, with downloadable simulator runtimes for watchOS and tvOS.

The new multiplatform target creates a single SwiftUI interface for use across iOS, iPadOS, macOS, and tvOS. Developer code is easier to maintain yet highly customisable to take advantage of each platform’s unique capabilities.

SwiftUI live previews are now interactive by default in Xcode, so changes are immediately live, and developers can create variants of each preview without writing any code, altering the colour scheme, text size, device orientation, or accessibility modes.

The new App Icon feature in Assets Catalog allows developers to provide a single icon size for all platforms, and Xcode automatically generates all the required assets for the app. Xcode includes language and editing enhancements with smarter autocompletion, and additional dynamic snippets get developers to the code they want to write faster.

 

New gaming capabilities with Metal 3

Metal 3 is the latest version of Apple’s graphics framework, and comes with new features that enable game developers to tap into the full power of Apple silicon to give Mac gamers even greater gaming performance.

MetalFX Upscaling enables developers to quickly render complex scenes by using less compute-intensive frames, and then apply high-quality spatial upscaling and temporal anti-aliasing. The result is accelerated performance that makes games feel more responsive and graphics that look stunning. Game developers also benefit from a new Fast Resource Loading API that minimises wait time by providing a more direct path from storage to the GPU, so games can easily access high-quality textures and geometry needed to create expansive worlds for realistic and immersive gameplay.

Game developers that integrate with Game Center can now add Activity views into the dashboard, making it possible for their users to see which games their friends are playing and their high scores. And with SharePlay support, it’s easier than ever for users to play together in real time.

 

New WeatherKit

WeatherKit enables developers to integrate the same world-class global weather forecast that powers Apple Weather directly into their apps. Using high-resolution meteorological models combined with machine learning and prediction algorithms, Apple Weather provides current weather, 10-day hourly forecasts, daily forecasts, and historical weather.

WeatherKit is available to developers through both native Swift and REST APIs, and comes with 500,000 API calls per month included with an Apple Developer Program membership. Developers who need more will be able to purchase additional tiers of service right in the Apple Developer app starting this fall.

Developers can find more information on available plans for WeatherKit here.

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