Developer mock up showcases iPad 3's Retina prowess

Pixels on Toast's Food Run becomes poster boy

Developer mock up showcases iPad 3's Retina prowess
| Food Run HD

Pre-empting Apple's iPad 3 announcement on March 7, UK indie outfit Pixels on Toast has detailed the kind of sharp visuals consumers can expect to experience on the tablet if - as expected - it comes equipped with a Retina display.

The studio has presented a mock up of its own game, Food Run, running on both a standard iPad display compared to the crisp look it would sport on a Retina-enabled iPad 3, with founder Kevin Ng describing the results as "truly impressive".

Running ahead

"In Apple marketing speak, Retina Display means a display whose pixels are so small that at typical viewing distances, they cannot be individually distinguished," said Ng on his blog.

"The first generation iPad and the iPad 2 both run at a resolution of 1024 x 768. If Apple were to go along the same route and double the resolution in each direction, then the iPad 3 will be running at 2048 x 1536.

"So the question that us iOS developers are asking ourselves is, are we ready for this? If the display has four times as many pixels as the previous iPad, is our artwork ready? Luckily, Food Run was built with this possibility in mind."

Food Run on iPad/iPad 2 on left, Retina mock up on right

Ng's experiment comes after a flurry of developers told they're worried iPad 3's expected specs could leave many indies struggling to develop for the platform without running themselves into the ground.

Many are concerned iPad 3's extra power could result in fragmentation problems, with games designed to take advantage of its chip running poorly – or not at all – on older iOS hardware.

Ng's view is, whatever Apple reveals on 7 March, developers have to be ready.

Next steps

"Not all iOS developers make their artwork using vectors," he concludes.

"Many of the more hand-drawn titles will have pixel-based source art, meaning that unless they were working in high resolution to begin with, there is going to have to be a lot of reworking to fully support the new displays.

"Titles using 3D graphics will be in a better state of readiness than bitmap games.

"It's likely that just a few lines of code will enable these games to run on the new display. However, for best results, games developers are going to have to raise the resolutions of their textures, otherwise the 3D models will look smeary, albeit with sharply defined silhouettes."

Food Run itself – described by Ng as Mario meets Canabalt – will launch on iOS later this year.

[source: Pixel on Toast]

Keith Andrew
Keith Andrew
With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font. He's also Pocket Gamer's resident football gaming expert and, thanks to his work on, monitors the market share of all mobile OSes on a daily basis.