A game icon. On iPad 3.

Let's pretend that rumor is fact, and iPad 3 is going to rock a high-resolution, Retina Display screen similar to the one we have on our phones. What will our games look like with it, and how will developers tackle the new hardware? The latter is a question a lot of studios are asking themselves and there's no clear answer. The former is something a developer named Kevin Ng of WordCrasher Blitz [Free] fame is blogging about, and he has a few tantalizing pictures to share.

For a little context, the following are shots from Food Run. That's Kevin's upcoming iOS title. It's being created using vectors instead of bitmaps, so the art can be scaled to any size, including a 2048 x 1536 resolution, which is popularly believed to be iPad 3's screen resolution.

Here's what an entire scene looks like on Food Run for the current iPad

Here's a zoomed in shot of the game on current hardware.

...And here's a gorgeous shot of what it could look like on iPad 3's rumored retina display. Crisp!

That's quite a change isn't it? We're drooling over here. Seriously. Someone get a towel. A cup. Something.

Kevin also jotted down a bunch of really cool thoughts on iPad 3 and how it will affect developers, so give his blog post a read if you're really interested. Apple is expected to announce iPad 3 during its March 7th event in San Francisco. We'll be there and will get you any news as soon as possible.

[via book of the dev]

  • http://twitter.com/oab_server Olympus & Beyond

    As a developer, this pleases me. 

  • Silverfist Jewelry

    I cannot WAIT to see what Sword & Sworcery looks like on a Retine display! Maybe even Canabalt!


    • http://twitter.com/Platronic John Francis

      Maybe I'm missing something, but I can only read that as sarcasm, right?

  • Silverfist Jewelry

    Correct. 🙂


  • http://www.facebook.com/mmatzat Michael Matzat

    I think retina is more relevant to Text heavy stuff like kindle, or ibooks. Because that shit just issent easy to the eye... i shure hope they came up with something that alows you to use your iPad outside wen it´s not nighttime, i´ed love to use my iPad 3 on the terrass in summer.
    For most games it would just crush the hardware and barley do anything good. Hell, most games arrent even 1080p... what we need is more ram.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Daniel-Piratas/100003390274939 Daniel Piratas

    Fully agree!

  • Lok1

    Yes, its great and all , but this is a simple 2d game with Snes graphics at best. The way i see , unless ipad 3 brings a super powerfull  GPU almost desktop-class (something like Powervr Rogue) i cant imagine 3d demanding games with complex shaders like Infinity Blade running at 2048 x 1536 without framerate issues. If rumours are to be believed, the best we can expect is a quad core sgx543mp4 (PSVita GPU)

    • http://www.facebook.com/mmatzat Michael Matzat

      And your not even talking about what the battery has to offer to support such fast processors. The iPads battery already drops quit "fast" when it offers grafik heavy games.

  • Relytgninroht

    Have to agree with others skepticism about the retina display. I think it may cause issues with 3D games that use a lot of resources. A lot of current console games don't even reach 1080P, and I doubt the iPad 3 is going to be that much more powerful than the iPad 2.

    • http://twitter.com/Platronic John Francis

      yeah but look at that cheeseburger in the middle, it's walking in REAL TIME with at least FIVE toppings.

      the banana and the donut are less impressive technically.

      • http://twitter.com/woodesh matthew wood

        this is the problem, people don't realize how hardware intensive a 3d game is. current developers can get away with using 1024 texture maps since the resolutions not all different. even with the assumption that the iPad 3 has a better chip, all the processing power will be taken having to keep a game looking stable on a 2048 screen. 

        the major issues nobody's highlighting is the massive divide between each model, it was acceptable to make games exclusively for the iphone 4 and up since the market is always upgrading. iPad owners can't justify jumping to the next model, very few games that run on the iPad 2 don't run on the iPad. iPad 3 however powerful it may be can only be dragged behind by its predecessors'.
        if you told a developer to make it ipad3 exclusive they'd laugh at you, why would they alienate a good portion of the market.  

      • http://twitter.com/Platronic John Francis

        Yeah, I'd like to think there would be some scalability options but resolution is the least forgiving when it comes to performance management. If anything the GPU is going to be used to support effects like bloom, particles, and other things that turn on and off with a button press and don't critically impact playability like resolution has the potential to.

        But, Asteroids is going to look FANTASTIC on this thing.

    • swarmster

      "Current consoles" are from 7 years ago. And sold for half the price of an iPad even then. They're made to be cheap. Desktops have been running at x1536 and higher for years.

      Apple uses state-of-the-art silicon for their 100mil+ selling devices, often before others even have access to it. And the games, including Infinity Blade, are pretty low-poly. I don't see much issue with increasing the resolution.

  • http://twitter.com/bassoonified Hans P. Köter

    I don't want to play Cassandra here, but I doubt that killer hardware will do much good to iOS gaming. During the past 15 months we've already seen a depressing and increasing amount of freemium shovelware and copycats. I wonder if small game studios will be still able to compete with the big players (which mostly do freemium BS or even totally forgettable stuff now, think of Gameloft or EA mobile). And think of the many many updates to come to adapt your favorite app to the big resolution... Maybe the Golden Age of iOS gaming is coming to an end.

  • JPhilipp

    The biggest immediate effect a retina iPad display may have is on browsing text-heavy sites with Safari. When it comes to text, it's really easy to notice improvements, and may make browsing a much nicer experience. But I suppose this is all just speculation for now. I've prepared most of my iPad games (at VersusPad) with assets in twice the size resolution to begin with, but emphasis on these games is not necessarily graphics "wow" but casual playability... and I suppose with twice the size, the game would have performance issues anyway? Very curious about the release event soon!

    • http://www.facebook.com/mmatzat Michael Matzat

      I bet they will have some sort of improvement to the processor and battery as well. (since the iPad 3 is rumoured to be a tiny bid thicker than the iPad 2)
      As far as we know apple they might just restrict the use of retina to non game/texted based apps.

  • toni

    All 'current resolution' apps (and probably comic books) will look terrible, I've a 3GS full of games that look awful on the retina display. Never had a problem reading on the iPad, don't want to keep 2 around. Damned progress!

  • mclifford82

    Thank you for showing us what the difference between high-res and low-res looks like.  

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FBFCHYXNF54UIGYTLDQAX6XYTE Sam

    Surely Apple would have considered all these points when designing iPad 3?!

  • http://twitter.com/Aghartastudio Alex

    I think Ipad 3 retina will be especially usefull for full 3D titles and small sprite based games, I just can't imagine making 1112 hand drawn animated backgrounds at 2048x 1536... I seriously doubt the gpu will be able to handle stuff like that... 
    I'm glad our new IP is full 3D so we won't have to put too much thought in this...
    But next 1112 episode will definitly be1024 for the ipad 

  • blamblamblam


  • scott slomiany

    The fact the you had to zoom in the picture to show us a really noticable difference is quite telling. And, again, just because those walking fruit all have nice smoothy edges still doesn't interest me enough to go a see what that game is about.

    I agree with the other comments that the higher resolution will be just dandy for reading, and generally anything that requires small fonts. And while super hi-res is needed to make your giant 50 inch LED TV screens look nice; I'm not sure how badly it's really needed for a laptop device.

    For games, anything that fully implements this kind of high-resolution is going to make file sizes HUGE, the developmental costs soar, and in a lot of cases, unnecessary. And in the past, the way to make your video games better hasn't been to simply bump up the pixels, but instead bump up the processing power to run better shaders, slicker anti-aliasing routines, etc.

    But, geez, just take a look at the list of game that you've reviewed recently: over half of them are retro chunky pixel games. Noted award winners Sword and Sworcery and Tiny Tower are both retro chunky pixel games. Last week's Apple Game of the Week was Midway Arcade Classics, a series of game created 30 years ago (that are generally unplayable with touch controls, but I digress on that point); again, super duper hi-res makes little difference in this case.

    I'm not even convinced that trying to do HDTV/movies is a good idea, given that the broadband wifi networks currently in place are even remotely beefy enough to handle streaming at that resolution with any kind of quality.

    Anyway, I'm not arguing against a hi-res iPad3. I'm just in the camp that a hi-res iPad3 will mean virtually nothing in terms of a better gaming experience on the device.

    • Soul_of_Wit

      Thanks for pointing out to me what the difference was. I was starting to think that it was sarcasm, using identical images.

  • Marc Chiarini

    Ummm...isn't the point here that one can make anything look good on all but the cheapest displays by using vector graphics instead of bitmaps?  With some creative coding, I'm sure someone could squeeze a max performance that is reasonable on current iPad 2 models.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/UK2PAG263SLJSRZG3I7OR3K33Y AdamM

    Looks like I may get through 2 generations of hardware instead of the 1 I was planning for. It's going to take some balls to push real games (not 2D food) at those resolutions, so this iPad 2 may be able to keep up with the 3rd and 4th gens, albeit at a much lower res. Any rumors on the iPad 5's hardware (sarcasm)?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=690747678 Paul Johnson

    Some games get a magic touch from sites like TA, and most games don't. You probably won't see those. So we're left talking about the blessed for statistical reasons. So look to your right in the "Game Gallery" and decide what RetinaX2 is going to bring to the table there.

    Our main game, "Great Little War Game" is full 3D and we'll be getting an iPad 3 asap to port it over just because we feel we should offer the option. However, here's what I expect to happen from that enterprise:

    1) Mails and one-stars complaining the game is too slow.
    2) Mails and one-stars complaining the game kills their battery.
    3) Mails and one-stars demanding a "low resolution" button to put it back
    4) No extra sales whatsoever from the "optimised for iPad3" badge, same as for the iPad2 one.

    Of course, Apple may have learned from their last "quadruple the pixels, leave the gpu as it is" debacle and you could end up with games that still look the same only little less fuzzy if you put your nose on the glass.

    Sorry if that sounds a bit bitter, but I think the decision to quadruple the resolution in something that already looks fantastic is just plain moronic. I seriously hope all these rumours are wrong and they leave the display sized how it is now, but quadruple the shader pipeline instead - that would be quite telling indeed.