Innovation will always beat big budgets on iPad, claims Limbic CTO Schönefeld

Zombie Gunship studio talks up the tablet

Innovation will always beat big budgets on iPad, claims Limbic CTO  Schönefeld
So effective have both iPhone and iPad been in presenting small studios with a route to market that, understandably, plenty are worried about when this era will come to an end.

In light of this, much attention in the wake of Apple's iPad announcement has been focused on how indies will operate with the new tech.

Some believe many will struggle, both in terms of the work required to take advantage of the upgrades, but also in face of increasingly bigger, flashier releases from publishers with more money to hand.

Volker Schönefeld, CTO and Zombie Gunship studio Limbic Software, dismisses such notions. If there's one thing iOS consumers have proven, he says, it's that they have plenty of time for games of all shapes and sizes - providing they're good, of course.

We caught up with Volker for his take on life developing for Apple's next big thing.

Pocket Gamer: Following the unveiling of new hardware, what's your impression of where Apple is taking iPad?

Volker Schönefeld: In a lot of ways, it’s not up to Apple, but rather up to the audience and app developers.

We believe it will do most of the things that people did with desktop PCs. It's already doing that today.

What do you think will prove to be the most important new feature?

We think the Retina display will have a profound impact. It's essentially solving the aliasing problem in graphics in a somewhat novel way. The pixel density is insane.

The transition from iPhone 3GS to iPhone 4 was fantastic due to the Retina display, and we expect the same to hold true for the new iPad.

The performance of the new iPad's GPU has increased dramatically to compensate for the increased pixel density.

So in practice, the new iPad and the iPad 2 should be at the same level of performance. Everything is just going to look so much better on the new iPad, because edges are so much smoother and details will be ultra-crisp. Furthermore, the colours are reportedly richer too.

Anything you think Apple was wrong to leave out?

At this point the iPad is a pretty complete package.

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?

We know a lot more people with Apple TVs than Google TVs, and numerous iOS products - including our own Zombie Gunship - now have support for gaming over AirPlay on AppleTV.

We don't think any of the other companies can claim that sort of large developer base on top of widely distributed hardware.

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

We don't think so. As a matter of fact, we believe it’s easier for indies.

iPad 2 and iPad 3 are very similar platforms with what we expect to be almost identical performance characteristics at native resolution. This is great for indies, as we reach two device iterations at once with only a little additional work.

The threat of indies being left behind by big-budget AAA studios has not yet materialised in any way, and it is easy to find small-budget iOS teams finding success through innovation over sheer manpower.

Finally, 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?

We all thought they'd call it the iSlate or iTablet back when the name iPad was not yet unveiled. Let’s all just be glad those predictions didn’t come true.

Apple has proven over and over again that the names they choose work really well.
Thanks to Volker for his time.

You can find out more about Limbic on the studio's website.

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