iPad 2 games could be hampered by upgraded GPU, claims programming vet Glenn Corpes

Not such a shiny, happy future

iPad 2 games could be hampered by upgraded GPU, claims programming vet Glenn Corpes
Much of the concern expressed about Apple's upgraded iPad has been focused on the fear that small, independent studios might get left behind by the new tech.

In contrast, veteran programmer Glenn Corpes believes it's the developers with bigger budgets at hand that might get hit the hardest by Apple's new tablet.

His take is, games currently designed to make the most out of iPad 2 may actually run slower on its successor, owing to the tablet's GPU cores.

Or, rather, the small number of them.

We caught up with Glenn to find out what he thinks life on the tablet formally known as iPad 3 will be like for developers in the months ahead.

Pocket Gamer: What do you think will prove to be iPad's most important new feature?

Glenn Corpes: It's got to be the display, in fact it's the only new feature i'm actually interested in at all really, I guess the fact that the put enough extra RAM in it to support the bigger textures the thing will need is also a good thing. 

Anything you think Apple was wrong to leave out?

A stylus would have been cool. The Galaxy Note proves it can be done without sacrificing how well it works with a finger. Those drawing apps would have suddenly become twice as useful.


Some people have expressed disappointment more wasn't done in regards to Apple TV – the app platform expected by many failing to materialise. Is Apple granting its TV rivals – Google, Samsung, Sony and LG - too much of a head start in this regard?

I guess that would have been nice, but if things were going to go that way it would be great if they'd fix the Bluetooth stack - like the jailbreak hackers have - and allow Wii-Motes and PS3 controllers.

Then it could have started to become a console replacement.

Is there a chance that the new tech employed in the new iPad will leave indies behind?

Possibly, though it shouldn't be too difficult for anyone doing 3D stuff.

My game Topia ran immediately in 2048 x 1536 with a small looking UI and font, this took an hour or so to fix. The simulator is amusing though - my 27-inch iMac can't fit the whole retina iPad simulator on screen and Topia runs at 1FPS on it.

Hardly surprising when it has over 20 times the pixels of the standard iPhone simulator.

Apple appeared to avoid giving the new iPad a dedicated name. What will you be calling it, or what would you have called it in Apple's shoes?

iPad 3 maybe?

Overall, what's your take on where Apple is going with its new iPad?

Firstly, I hear that those GPU cores are only a bit faster than the ones in the iPad 2. Sure, there are twice as many of them, but you'd need 8 cores - at the same speed - to have the same pixel filling power as the iPad2, or 4 cores running at twice the speed.

This means that a fill limited iPad 2 game could be slower with Retina. This may well be a complete non issue in a world where devs are still working on versions for the original iPad, but if it does become true with an especially shiny future game, remember where you heard it first.

There's also another downside to iPad 3's bigger screen. I updated a bunch of apps a few days ago including Retina ready versions of Pages, Numbers and Garage Band. I lost 200mb of storage to graphics I'll never see on iPad 2.

Millions of people will be losing a couple of albums worth of space on their phones just so iPad 3 owners don't have to look at chunky icons or splash screens. That's a bit crap.
Thanks to Glenn for his time.

You can find out more about Glenn on his coding blog.

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