Feature

Retina reveal proves painful for indies: Instant developer reaction to Apple's new iPad

Retina reveal proves painful for indies: Instant developer reaction to Apple's new iPad
The impact of Apple's new iPad will go way beyond the bank balances of keen consumers who stand in line to pick one up on day one.

Scores of developers around the globe have businesses that depend on the iOS ecosystem in one form or another, making any upgrades to its hardware both exciting and frightening in equal measure – an often agonising balance we have previously been privy to.

As a result, we caught up with some PocketGamer.biz faithfuls for their take on Apple's latest piece of kit, and what it means for the future of indie games development on iPad:

Ste Pickford, co-founder, Zee-3

"Well, there were no surprises in the new iPad announcement. Everyone expected the Retina screen, and the unlikely but intriguing rumours about some kind of haptic feedback proved to be just that - rumours.

"Retina on the iPad remains a pain for game developers, particularly those making 2D bitmap-based games. Hopefully existing iPad games will simply look identical on the new Retina screen, without taking advantage of the extra resolution.

"I suspect the machine won't quite match the performance of the iPad 2 for games, with the improved hardware probably not quite up to the job or pushing around four times as many pixels, and frame rate is worth more than graphical fidelity any day of the week!

"We've could add double-sized graphics to a new version of Magnetic Billiards: Blueprint very easily - the original art assets are drawn at a higher resolution than iPad retina, but as a universal app there's no way we'd be able to also stay under the 20 meg 3G download limit.

"So if we support iPad retina in future, we either drop being a universal app, or drop being downloadable over 3G. It's a tough choice!"
[Note: Apple has upped the over-the-air app download limit to 50MB.]

Alistair Aitcheson, creator of Greedy Bankers

"The retina display is the biggest change for game developers.

"Greedy Bankers was a delight to first see on iPhone 4, and I'm very excited to see how the iPad version will look! Of course, it will take a bit of extra art and programming work to support, but I'm looking forward to seeing it in action.

"I had been getting excited that the rumours of haptic feedback might come to fruition. That's the kind of technology that could open up whole new avenues for tablet games, and I'd love to be able to make use of it as a designer. One day...!"

Andrew John Smith, Spilt Milk Studios MD"I'm pretty underwhelmed by the annouced features of the new iPad.

"Same price as the 2, better grunt, better screen. All fairly predictable and - while I'm sure that many many people will buy it and we'll all benefit from te increased market - the very idea of makig games that take advantage of all of those extra pixels and processor chips make my head ache.

"Another year, another incremental update - but when are we going to see the next brilliant surprise? I remember the original iPod, iPhone and iPad unveilings. It's been a while since I was that excited."

Peter Collier, co-founder, Hogrocket"With the extra processing power and shaper resolution I can see, higher-end games becoming more to the forefront on the device now, console power on the move.

"Where this leaves indies with limited budgets is a worry.

"It's like the PlayStation 1 era all over again - bigger and bigger teams needed with the art capacity/budget to compete.

"I think Apple should focus more on the software innovation side rather than keeping on with the hardware one-upmanship, but we'll see how it goes!"

Byron Atkinson-Jones, founder, Xiotex Studios"As a developer, all I see when looking at the new iPad is more graphics to push around.

"Yes, I'm excited about the increase in resolution, but at the same time I wonder if the graphics chip i going to end up realistically being the same speed as the iPad 2 is currently. I would have liked to see more power behind those pixels just to ease those worries.

"What I would hate to see is developers falling into the same kind of graphics race that we saw with the consoles and the demos that Apple chose to show seem to indicate that's were we could be heading."

Jonathan Prestidge, indie developer

"I'm not down on it as many indie developers are. In fact, I'm pleased it has the Retina Display - as predicted - because the iPad game I'm developing is all vectors, so fingers crossed, it will automatically be displayed in the higher resoltuion without me having to do any additional work.

"Just so long as the increased power of the new iPad enables it to render the vectors just as fast or faster than previous iPads.

"What I would have liked to see on the new iPad is quadraphonic sound - a little speaker on each edge. It's the only way I think developers will be able to put proper stereo in games without using headphones."


If you'd like to add your thoughts on the new iPad, drop us an email at keith.andrew [at] pocketgamer.co.uk.

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.

Comments

2 comments
View options
  • Order by latest to oldest
  • Order by oldest to latest
  • Show all replies
Nicolas Godement-Berline COO & Co-Founder at Mana Cube
IMO that 50Mb limit is the biggest news of the day
I'm hearing on Twitter that the 3G download limit has been increased to 50Mb?

But yes, the extreme resolution is going to be a pain for developers. I'd expect many games to focus on <=1024x768 for quite a while, and not redo all their art (bloating up their app size) for the one new device.

It'll be interesting to see how the GPU performs in reality. Does it really have 4x the power and memory bandwidth of the iPad 2 (to cope with 4x the pixels at comparable speeds)?

Dave 'bluescrn' Reed - (Programmer of 'Little Acorns')