Cocoa-touch – decent OpenGL text drawing library for the iPhone SDK


I'm trying to figure out a simple to draw some text in OpenGL. My research has shown its a fairly complex task. It involves creating (or generating at runtime) a font atlas texture, and then creating a quad for each letter with just the right placement and texture coordinates.

I've heard some good things about freetype, but have found very little about how to get it running on the iPhone, and it appears to be pretty complex.

So is there any Objective-C wrapped OpenGL text library that works with the iPhone SDK that people have been using? Or am I just over thinking this and there is an easier approach that I am missing?

Best Solution

One way to do this is by setting up a UILabel and then rendering its layer into a texture. An indirect route to this would be to first set up the UILabel with text, font, etc. and then use the following code

[yourLabel.layer renderInContext:UIGraphicsGetCurrentContext()];
UIImage *layerImage = UIGraphicsGetImageFromCurrentImageContext();

to capture the UILabel to a UIImage. You could then use the initWithImage: constructor of the Texture2D class in the CrashLanding project to transform this to a texture.

It looks like initWithImage: in that example re-renders the UIImage to a bitmap context and uses that to create the texture. With a little work, you could extract the relevant code from that method and alter the above code to render your layer directly into the texture.

This way, you get the nice Unicode and font support of UILabel when creating the text for your texture.