The ‘Middle’ Device: How Devs Will Handle The iPad mini’s Not-Quite-Retina Screen In Release Builds

Screen resolutions are getting a little bonkers. There’s a lot. New iPad and iPad with Retina display both support retina; iPhone 5 rocks a wide-screen retina display; older phones and iPod touches support a mixture of retina standard high-resolution; And now there’s the iPad mini screen, which sits in the middle. Its screen isn’t retina level, but the pixel density is quite high considering.

You’ve got to wonder: how is this screen going to be handled in future releases? Are game makers going to start throwing up “standard" versus “HD" releases? Or are they going to pack in everything that they can into one, lone Universal build? And if that’s the route, how will the file size impact creators’ ability to hit the over-the-air cap?

We’ve been considering these questions since earlier in the week and decided to hit up a selection of developers about them. Here’s their thoughts on potentially breaking games into different versions, the over-the-air cap, and the mini as the kinda in-between iOS device.

Glenn Corpes, Topia World Builder, Forum Username: GlennX

“These days, HD versions only exist for commercial reasons. Luckily for us, Topia uses a lot of generated graphics and fits in well under the over-the-air cap. It’ll be getting bigger soon but it’ll be new features driving that size increase rather than Apple’s variety of hardware."

Simon Flesser, Simogo, Forum Username: Ninjagorilla

“We will continue to do what feels right and honest. Up until now we’ve made our games universal and I see no reason for us to change that.

“It’s what we want ourselves when we buy games, and we are not going to start to squeeze out money from our fans just because we can. We have stopped being concerned about the over-the-air cap. With Bumpy Road we realized we could not make the game we wanted to make below the cap, which was 20MB at the time.

Hopefully, people care more about experiencing our games the way they were intended to be, rather than having needs instantly satisfied."

Jani Kahrama, Secret Exit, Forum Username: Frand

“Our latest game, Eyelord, is a Universal build which has high-resolution assets where they matter the most, and still manages to pack a rock opera soundtrack into the game.

“The 50MB cap for over-the-air is regrettable, but nothing that can’t be managed with careful technical content design."

Rami Ismail, Vlambeer, Forum username: Vlambeer

“Actually, the resolution of the iPad mini is one of the things we’re really happy about: it’s exactly the same resolution as the iPad 2. What is a problem is that we’ll definitely need to test Ridiculous Fishing on the new iPad mini as well, because the new size of the screen might lead to the normal usability guidelines being different on the mini.

At this point, I think the iPhone 5 was the only real problem we’ve had so far — through our crazy schedule of being two guys at Vlambeer, working on four projects at once — we haven’t had time to update Super Crate Box to the new aspect ratio yet. Since we can plan for it with Ridiculous Fishing, you can be sure that that’ll launch with the correct aspect ratios."

Nathan Vella, Capybara Games, Forum username: Capy_Nathan

“My single biggest joy in the iPad Mini comes from the fact that it shares screen resolution with the iPad 2. This means that it is automatically supported, and developers don’t need to update their games to support it.

The more screen resolutions there are, the more work needs to be done — either upfront to automatically support it, or on the back end via updates for continued support. Apple releasing the iPad Mini with iPad 2 resolution definitely resulted in a collective sigh of relief, which resonated across twitter the instant they covered it in the presentation."

Josh Presseisen, Crescent Moon Games, Forum Username: JoshCM

“We have many different games, some of which do universal, some do HD and SD. Very few of our games were ever under 50mb. I believe most people are now downloading over Wi-Fi, especially for premium games that are nowhere near 50MB small."

Luke Ryan, True Axis, Forum Username: luketrueaxis

“We prefer to do universal builds and use the HD assets for everything where possible. It hasn’t impacted our over the air deliverables so far, but we have been lucky."