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.
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):
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:
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.