Yesterday we pointed readers to Firemint's tech demo, which sprang from developer Rob Murray's desire to see just how far he could push the new iPhone 3GS hardware.
Murray created a test build of his studio's Real Racing [App Store], which normally features six cars on a track at the same time, and started adding cars in order to see when the new hardware would falter. He was able to push the game to 40 cars on-track at once without any perceptible loss in framerate. As he concluded, the results are fairly "mind blowing."
Pocket Gamer recently spoke with Murray, who shared his thoughts on what the more powerful iPhone 3GS means to iPhone developers, in general.
"To get value from your 3GS-specific investment you would want to feature and promote its benefits. However, when you do that, at the same time you can very easily give the non-3GS market false expectations," he says.
"So if you do differentiate the 3GS, you need to think carefully about how much noise to make about it. If you make too much noise it may backfire with negative user reviews from non-3GS customers, if you don't promote it at all then you haven't really gotten full value out of your investment."
Murray feels that the best overall strategy for developers is to focus on the lowest common denominator -- the early iPhone platform devices -- and let 3GS users enjoy the added smoothness that the device's beefier hardware brings. In fact, he feels that few games currently in the App Store are pushing even the earlier generation hardware.
"From what I have observed on the App Store, I don't think there are many apps that have pushed the limit of the existing hardware. For the vast majority of apps, there is little that they can do power-wise on the 3GS that they couldn't equally do on the prior models with just a little bit more care and optimisation."
With the base iPhone 3G selling at $99, Apple should be moving more of the lower-end devices than ever. And while the iPhone 3GS is indeed the new flagship of the iPhone family, it's higher-end specs are far from the "standard platform." It will be interesting to see how each developer approaches the problem of making all iPhone gamers happy with future releases.
See the Firemint 40-car Real Racing demo, if you missed it earlier.