I've been asking on Twitter for days now if any developers have any cool plans for the additional screen real estate of the iPhone 6 Plus. Goat-herding iPhone developer Phil Hassey is the first (and only) person to answer the call so far, and he's got some neat plans for the upcoming Galcon 2.

Backing things up a bit, if you missed the keynote during the iPhone 6 Plus reveal, there's more to it than just a bigger screen. Core iOS apps will work a little differently with the 6 Plus. For instance, if you turn the phone to landscape mode with the Mail app open, you'll get what looks like a downsized version of the iPad Mail app with email messages on the left and the selected message on the right. It's a really cool way to utilize the extra screen space instead of just making everything bigger.

iphone-6-plus-mail

Galcon 2 has been in development for two years now, and is nearing release. It's possible that it could be the first game to do something similar with the iPhone 6 Plus. Phil is actually approaching the capability of the phone in an interesting way- Players will essentially have the ability to toggle the iPad interface on and off in the game's menu. Here's how that will look, with the iPhone 5 game on the top and the same game being simulated on an iPhone 6 with the iPad mode enabled on the bottom (It's a little hard to visualize with the screenshots being the same size inline, but imagine the bottom one being twice as big in your hands comparatively):

g2-i5-game

appfeatured

So, you'll be able to get a 48 planet layout instead of the iPhone default layout of 23 planets on the iPhone 6 Plus. Phil mentions it plays fine on his iPod touch with 48 planets on screen, so it should be pretty awesome on the iPhone 6 Plus. Another example he gave of how the 6 Plus will have a more iPad-like layout is in the game lobbies. Here's how it will look on the iPhone 4 in portrait mode, but in landscape mode between the iPhone 5 and the iPhone 6 Plus Galcon 2 will take a similar approach to the Apple Mail example above. Again, the iPhone 5 interface is on the top while the iPhone 6 Plus interface is on the bottom:

g2-i5-lobby

g2-i6-lobby

The chat is way better, since it can just get shifted to its own frame on the right which will let players see way more messages than they can in landscape on the iPhone 5 family. Additionally, allowing players to optionally use the iPad interface for games seems like a clever solution that doesn't take a total top down redesign of the interface to do. There was a lot of doom and gloom following the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus announcements regarding platform fragmentation due to the different screen sizes, but Phil shows it might not be as bad as a lot of people want to think.

As mentioned, Galcon 2 is still "coming soon," but if you've yet to play a Galcon game, they're definitely App Store classics at this point. Check the links at the end of the story for the whole Galcon family.

  • Abisco

    Just a note, your title says "Galon" πŸ™‚

    • http://twitter.com/JaredTA Jared Nelson

      Fixed, thanks!

  • Adams Immersive

    Love the Galcon series! I think I own every iOS and Mac version. An "iPad toggles" seems like it should work in this case.

    As soon as I read believable rumors of "3x" assets for the 5.5" iPhone (which really render about 2.61x I think--but at 401 DPI you wouldn't notice), I added code to adapt to that size in my own upcoming game, showing more bombs bigger in the "loadout" on top. Hopefully I will have my own test unit soon to make sure that all actually works!

    • philhassey

      Thanks πŸ™‚ The way I've got it working is with a "Font Size" option in the settings of the game. To make sure things fit nicely on the iPhone 6+ I've added an extra size option that gives you the largest buttons possible while being able to utilize the split-screen lobby.

      • Adams Immersive

        Sounds great. Great music in the series too, by the way! (I'm partial to the original Galcon's tune in particular.)

  • deadcandance

    So all my iPhone 5 apps will not fill the iPhone 6 and plus screens till each individual game is optimized is that correct?

    • Adams Immersive

      Not to worry: as Schiller demonstrated, old non-updated 4" iPhone apps will all fill the ENTIRE screen of both new iPhone 6 models.

      However, they'll just be magnified to fill--they won't have special layouts or fit extra content (like more icons in a row, more lines of text, or dual-columns) until the apps are prepared to specifically support the new sizes.

      This magnification should look fairly sharp, though, since we're starting from an already high pixel count and just going a bit higher. Not like the old 1x-to-2x magnification, which was often a poor stopgap. So if an app never gets an update (and for some UIs there's little need), it should still look pretty good.

      • _Jc_

        To add to this, Apple has promised "desktop class scaling" which basically means there is a hardware chip somewhere in the logic board that automatically changes the resolution to use up all the space while using special algorithms to minimize ugliness... It works REALLY well on my MacBook Pro Retina and I'm assuming it will also work very well on the iP6 and iP6+

      • Adams Immersive

        Yes, it should work well (even better than a MacBook Pro since the pixels are even smaller). Just note that in this case (old game on new iPhone 6), the image is being scaled UP--whereas scaling down is what looks best, So it's more like the largest-text/most-magnified options of the retina MacBook Pro, not like the smaller-tex (more workspace) modes.

  • http://modmyi.com/forums/iphone-4-new-skins-themes-launches/740147-neurotech-hd.html#post5637502 Jay

    There's really no reason why the iPhone 6 can't handle the landscape display mode.

    Will this feature in Galcon be possible on the iP6? Or will the game detect and limit this feature to only iPads and the iPhone Plus?

    **On that same note, I'm looking forward to the day that jailbreakers can simply mod the landscape mode into their iPhone 6. Likely the code is present in iOS 8, but is just deactivated πŸ™‚

    • philhassey

      The game runs in portrait or landscape on ALL devices. For iPhone players, I've found that there's a fair number that prefer portrait and playing with their pointer finger. But also a good handful that like landscape to use two thumbs for multi-touch play. So, yeah, whatever works for you.

      • http://modmyi.com/forums/iphone-4-new-skins-themes-launches/740147-neurotech-hd.html#post5637502 Jay

        But, specifically, can I toggle the feature in the article and make the UI smaller and get the expanded planet layout, or is that feature locked to certain devices only?

      • philhassey

        Yeah because of the iPhone 6+ I added the font size option for phones this morning. So if you have small fingers you can use the option on smaller phones too. Once I know more about the iPhone 6+ I may be able to auto-detect that device and set the default font size to utilize the split lobby.

        Also, yes the default planet number is pickable on all phones. (Either 23 or 48. By default it will be 23 on all phones.)

      • http://modmyi.com/forums/iphone-4-new-skins-themes-launches/740147-neurotech-hd.html#post5637502 Jay

        Just for font sizes? What about the planet layout or the splitscreen chat window? Will those layout options work on the iPhone 6?

        Thanks for your replies! πŸ™‚