Mass Effect and Infinity Blade 2 running at sub-Retina resolution on new iPad
A5X chip highlighted as issue
The PR gloss laddled over the new iPad at launch has started to chip off, following revelations that some high-end game developers are encountering problems with the hardware.
It's an issue Digital Foundry – which delivers HD capture solutions – has chosen to address in an opinion piece on GamesIndustry.biz, with the company claiming developers are being forced to compromise in order to get the most out of the tablet.
Many studios working are either sacrificing resolution in order to keep the game running at a smooth rate, or tolerating choppy framerates as an outcome of fully supporting the Retina display.
A question of strategy
"Many suspected that Apple would double up on both CPU and GPU cores for its new device, but in the event only the graphics technology has been upgraded, with a 2x boost in power over the iPad 2, being tasked with maintaining 4x the resolution," details Digital Foundry's Richard Leadbetter.
"This results in some compromises: Retina upgrades to graphics-intensive titles like Mass Effect: Infiltrator and Infinity Blade 2 don't actually address the full 2048x1536 potential of the screen, running at sub-native resolution - but still offering something approaching a 2x boost in detail compared to the iPad 2 versions."
In contrast, the company claims, some other developers have adopted an alternative strategy.
"Other titles like Galaxy on Fire 2 HD, Modern Combat 3 and Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy support full Retina res, but also appear to possess a more inconsistent frame-rate compared to the same games running on the older tablet," the firm continues.
"An interesting compromise is Vector Unit's Riptide GP which has a graphics menu option allowing players to scale up resolution to their liking while acknowledging that doing so impacts frame-rate."
Step by step
It's an admission that chimes with PocketGamer.biz feedback from an anonymous sweep of well placed iOS developers.
"Devs are in a dilemma situation now as they either have to go back to standard resolution or keep supporting Retina to be featured by Apple while facing unhappy customers and poor ratings," one studio told us.
"This is true for pretty much any of the high-end 3D games currently available for the new iPad and users are giving devs plenty of one-star ratings."
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