The iPad 2’s Apple A5 processor may not be listed as faster than the existing A4 — it’s running at the same 1 GHz speed — but the dual core architecture will be able to accomplish a lot more number crunching while still providing great battery life. Now game developers are getting excited about the possibilities for the new processor.
MacNN is reporting that Unity’s Chief Creative Officer, Nicholas Francis, has said that his company will use the A5 to “really fine tune and really optimize it to run fantastic on the iPad.” The Unity game engine already runs on multi-core processors like the A5, and now Unity developers can start adding effects to iOS games that previously took a dedicated gaming console or powerful PC. Francis noted that some upgrades could include real-time shadows and shafts of light, effects not previously available on the iPad.
Infinity Blade developer Epic Games comments that their gaming engine — Unreal Engine 3 — can already take advantage of the iPad 2’s A5 dual-core processor. When PC games are moved to a more powerful PC with multiple cores, “you can … turn up all the dials in your game to get more details, more textures, more shaders,” says Epic’s Mark Rein. He also noted that more CPUs brings up the possibility of more complicated physics or more enemies on the screen at once, or perhaps expanding the view of an environment.
Firemint, developers of Real Racing HD, anticipates that the next version of the game will take advantage of another new feature of the iPad 2 as well — the built-in gyroscope. The company is hoping that they’ll be able to improve steering through use of the gyro, as well as kick the graphics of the racing game up a notch.
There is a potential downside for developers: unless apps are coded to take best advantage of the hardware that they’re running on, the new apps might need to be marketed for a specific iPad version or they might run slower on the original iPad. From the comments made by these top iOS game developers, it’s apparent that they’re doing their best to give all iPad users the best possible gaming experience.