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Entries in Firemint (7)

A different kind of iPad 3 prediction: The 4 apps to be demoed at the launch event are...

Ipad3 ipad2S ipad2X demo apps

We've made plenty of predictions about what features the new iPad 3 (iPad 2S or 2X?) might bring, so we thought it might be a tad more exciting to predict what new apps Apple might decide to demonstrate alongside the new iPad during the launch event next month.

After a review of the continued success of the iPad, which will no doubt feature a warm and fuzzy video that shows how the iPad is transforming lives across the globe, the focus will then likely move to hardware improvements. As we've said many a time, we think that most attention will be given to the new 3.15MP Retina display.

iPhoto, a showcase for the Retina Display

We think that iPhoto for iPad has been ready for quite some time. Only the launch of iCloud and the iPad 3 with its Retina display has stopped Apple from rolling out iPhoto for iPad already. iPhoto will likely be the first app that Apple demonstrate during the iPad 3 launch event. What better way to show off the eye popping detail of the new display and the quality of the new 5MP camera module?

iMovie 2, a showcase for the new camera

Again, with the focus on the new display and the new camera module, iMovie 2 seems like an obvious candidate for a iPad 3 app demo. Expect iMovie 2 to include the ability to edit dual video tracks. The iPad 3 will also include 1080p video capture with image stabilisation, just like the iPhone 4S.

OnLive, so that's where it went!

Where is OnLive's gaming app? We know that it was submitted to Apple around the same time as the Android version, but almost 3 months later it's still missing. Intriguingly, neither Apple or OnLive are willing to give a reasonable answer as to its whereabouts. While it's possible that either Apple or OnLive have found a major bug that's holding everything up, or that Apple have flat out rejected the app on other grounds, this seems unlikely to us. We think something else happened.

We think OnLive submitted the app just as they said they did, Apple then tested it, and because of the controversial nature of the OnLive gaming service, the final decision as to whether or not the app got the green light had to be made by someone fairly high up in Apple's management team. This same Apple member of management asked the obvious question of OnLive, can this app be made to stream gaming content at 2048 pixels wide (Retina display quality)? The answer was yes, and a deal was made that meant that the OnLive app would be part of the iPad 3 launch event.

Real Racing 3, an old favourite returns

Back in May 2011 EA purchased Firemint, the developers behind the hugely successful Real Racing and Flight Control series. Not long after the purchase, EA declared it had stopping working on the latest iOS instalment of its Need For Speed series. EA simply stated that it was focusing on 'fewer, bigger, better' experiences. Firemint seems to be one of the favoured few developers that get early access to new iOS hardware, we see no reason why this would not be the case this time around. We expect EA (Firemint) to be ushered on stage to show off a spectacular looking Real Racing 3. With EA overseeing the project we should expect to see a garage load of licensed cars and music tracks. Real Racing will become to iOS what Gran Turismo and Forza are to their respective platforms, the definitive driving experience.

So there we have it, 4 apps that we half expect to see demoed alongside the iPad 3 at the launch event. What do you think, are we on the right track with our predictions? Let us know in a comment below.

Real Racing and Flight Control creator Firemint give us their thoughts on iPad 2

Real Racing 2 HD is without doubt the best racing experience on the iPad. The handling is spot on and the graphics are quite sublime. Firemint were one of the first developers to give a taster of what the iPad 2's A5 chipset is capable of. Given that Real Racing 2 HD was one of the first apps to offer 1080p output to HDMI we thought we would drop them an email to get their thoughts on how the iPad 2 stands in relation to current game consoles, the hurdles encountered when moving from XGA to 1080P output resolution and some of the more interesting features of the A5 chipset. Read on:

iPC: Do you have any general observations about the performance of the iPad 2's A5 chipset? How close is it to the current consoles in terms of polygon fill rate, etc.?

Firemint: The gap between tablets and consoles has certainly narrowed with the release of the iPad 2. However, in terms of power, fill rate and polygon throughput it still has a way to go to compete with the top performing consoles. That said, the iPad is a very different platform altogether and the new chipset has allowed us to bring some very compelling visuals to players.

iPC: Regarding video out: How well does performance scale when resolution is increased? For example is there much of a difference in final frame rate between RR2 HD on the iPad's own display, outputting at 720p or 1080p?

Firemint: Increasing the resolution naturally demands more processing power, but how much depends on the amount of code that operates on a per-pixel level, how fill rate-limited the application is, etc. Real Racing 2 HD was heavily optimized for iPad so going from its native resolution to 1080p was very achievable.

iPC: We're heard that full screen anti-aliasing can be added to iPad 2 games without incurring any performance hit, any comments on this?

Firemint: While it’s not entirely free the iPad 2 chipset has allowed us to use full screen anti-aliasing in Real Racing 2 HD at a very acceptable performance level.

Interesting stuff. We were particularly intrigued by the comments regarding increasing the resolution to 1080p. If you remember we mentioned that it seems almost inevitable that Apple will move the iPad to a 'Retina' class display next year. Some have wondered if the A5 could even handle that huge jump in pixel count, well it certainly seems entirely possible, and that's without the extra horsepower that an Apple A6 chipset might bring in 2012.

Thanks guys, and congratulations on your EA buyout, we're hoping you get to work your magic on the Burnout franchise!

Real Racing 2 HD not looking so special on your new iPad 2? This might help

Real Racing 2 HD is a flagship game for Apple's A5 powered iPad 2. The massive increase in graphics rendering power provided by the SXG543MP2 chip gives RR2 HD a new lick of paint compared to the iPad 1 version. Realtime reflections, rock solid frame rates and full screen anti-aliasing make RR2 HD a perfect vehicle to show out your new iPad 2, or so we thought...

After restoring the iPad 2 from a saved iPad 1 backup (via iTunes) we fired up Real Racing 2 HD fully expecting to be blown away. What we saw was almost exactly like what we had just previously witnessed on the iPad 1, where was the silky smooth frame and the anti-aliasing?

After much investigation we drew a blank, either the problem was very rare indeed, or simply hadn't been noticted and documented yet. Out of frustration we searched on Twitter for the term, 'aliasing'. A-ha! Though not an answer to our problem, Robert Sammons had made a similar observation about the poor quality of RR2 HD on the iPad 2. A few messages back and forth and we soon had a solution.

WARNING: Deleting and reinstalled RR2 HD will erase all your save game data.

Delete Real Racing 2 HD from your iPad 2 and reinstall it via iPad's own App Store app. We have no idea why this works, though we are guessing that the game only checks to see what version of the iPad it's running on when it's launched for the very first time, meaning that the code is optimised for the iPad 1's graphics chip rather than the new SGX543MP2 that powers the iPad 2. Reinstalling seems to correct this issue. RR2 HD running in its full glory on an iPad 2 is a sight to behold, and is easily the best racing experience on the iPad so far.

We take no responsibility for any loss of game data. However if you are using Game Center with RR2 HD you can restore all your saved data. Here's how:

On the home screen, the first screen after the intro movie, tap on your Game Center name in the top righthand side of the screen. Then under Player Settings tap Restore Save and select and restore the most recent backup. It would be well worth checking that you actually do have a saved game data file on Game Center before deleting and reinstalling.

Many thanks to Robert Sammons for his help in finding a solution.

Real Racing 2 - Firemint continue to tease

Over the last few days Firemint have teased us with news of the upcoming Real Racing 2. So far the big news is the inclusion of real cars such as the stonkingly fast 2010 Nissan GT-R (R35). Head on over to Firemint's media resources for some other goodies beside this cinematic trailer.

We are hoping that Firemint will take full advance of the extra graphical horsepower of the iPad this time around.

Real Racing HD to get online multiplayer

Real Racing is without doubt the slickest racer yet seen on the iPad. It's not the quite the prettiest, but the small sacrifice in detail is more than rewarded by a smooth and consistent frame rate, something of a holy grail for driving games which require fast reactions.

With the next update, available when iOS 4.2 hits, Real Racing will support online multiplayer via Apple's Game Center.

  • The new online multiplayer mode joins the comprehensive line-up of existing Real Racing HD features, including:
  • 6 game modes: Career Mode, Time Trial, Quick Race, local multiplayer, online multiplayer and online Leagues.
  • Massive career mode with 76 events. Players can unlock 48 cars in four classes by winning races.
  • 12 stunning unique tracks set in city, forest or desert environments.
  • Game Center achievements and leaderboards (achievements and leaderboards also available without Game Center).
  • Touch or tilt to steer, manual or automatic acceleration and braking.
  • iPad exclusive "car-skins" – wrap an image from your photo library around your car
  • iPad exclusive “ghost racing”

Game Center is starting to look like a very useful addition to iOS.

Game Center gets its first killer app - Flight Control HD goes online

To celebrate the release of iOS 4.2 Firemint will be updating Flight Control HD to include, amongst others improvements, Game Center online multiplayer.

You’ll be able to invite a friend with Flight Control HD to play one of the 5 original size maps online, or choose to be automatically matched to a random player anywhere in the world. Of course you can still play via WiFi or Bluetooth as well (with another player on iPad, iPhone or iPod touch). Play with a friend on one iPad, either collaboratively to land as many planes together as you can, or compete in iPad-exclusive “versus” mode! Like to drop in and out of a game whenever you have a spare moment? You’ll also appreciate multitasking support, for even faster “quick save and resume”.
This sure looks like a Game Center killer app to us!

It's Flight Control HD with split screen multiplayer, do we really need to say anything else?

We want this because clearly life isn't stressful enough. Come on UK iPad launch date, where are you?!!!