Kevin Ng, the developer behind the label Pixels on Toast, has posted an interesting discussion of the challenges facing game developers should the next iPad launch with a 2048 x 1536 Retina display. Ng notes that such a high-resolution screen will require four times the video memory, and will also require much larger assets, which could make the current 20MB 3G download size cap that much of a hassle, if not downright untenable; he suggests the limit will be raised for iPad apps should the next iPad launch with a Retina display.
100% crop of Food Run on non-Retina display
Ng also raises questions regarding the artwork required for high-resolution games. “So the question that us iOS developers are asking ourselves is, are we ready for this?”, Ng asks. “Not all iOS developers make their artwork using vectors. 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.”
100% crop of Food Run output at 2048 x 1536
He continues, “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.” Ng notes that games that are 2D vector in nature, including his upcoming title Food Run, are in the best shape, as they are already Retina capable. Apple is widely expected to include a Retina display in the next iPad, which it will announce at a special media event on March 7.