Little Screen:Big Screen

card_200.jpgIf you own an iPhone or iPod Touch, you may be a bit concerned about adding an iPad to your hardware arsenal. I know I was. Especially since I was dreading purchasing new HD versions of some of the games I’d already had running on my Touch. But I made the leap and have a few observations to share.

Sure, Apple promised you’d be able to ‘upsize’ the visuals — and yes, this is possible. And actually, the upscaled image in most of my games isn’t really all that bad.

Basically you hit a 2x button in the corner of your iPad and the unit zooms in to fill the screen with what was otherwise a very tiny (iPhone sized) display area in the centre of your iPad screen.

Since the iPad was released, some developers went back and made hybrid versions of the games, able to run on both the smaller Touch screen, and also able to recognize the larger iPad screen and select higher-resolution graphics when appropriate.

Now, what’s really cool is that some of those iPhone games actually play better on a larger iPad screen.

Carcassonne — an awesome board game and a pretty cool app. Playing this on the iPad is much closer to playing the board game than on a tiny iPod Touch screen. Having spent many hours playing it on the Touch, and a few more recently on the iPad, I won’t be going back to the smaller screen.

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Angry Birds & Plants VS Zombies — also great games when played on a larger screen. With Angry Birds I find I have much better control over the slingshot direction and angle than I did with the smaller screen. In PvZ, the advantage is that the subtlties of the animation and rendering are much more apparent. On the smaller screen, I’d not seen the Elvis Zombie’s classic moves.

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Of course, not all games scale appropriately. I found that driving or flying/space games that required you to hold and maneuver with the device the most problematic. The key problem being the weight of the iPad vs the iPhone or iPod Touch. Cranking through a banking space shooter with a 1.whatever pound steering wheel quickly gets tiring. And placement of the controls, while great for a smaller screen, require very large hands to seem natural on the iPad.

So, your mileage may vary, depending on the app and how the developers have (or haven’t) anticipated it appearing on different sized devices. Just be aware, that the games you’ve already bought may just work fine, or even better, on the larger screen.

Or, you could always just pick up the enhanced HD version for the larger device, if the upsampling really bugs you.


This post of is one of many I publish weekly at the Future Shop Techblog. Read more of my stuff here.


Making music on the iPad

In the previous item I mentioned that I’d not yet tested out Seline HD, an iPad app. Well, I have now, and yes, it really is quite cool.

After fiddling about with the interface for a bit, I was able to pull this little bit together.

I must have been inspired by the few hours of The Pillars of the Earth we were watching — seems to have a medieval theme.

One neat thing I loved; you can record and overdub, so with a bit of patience, you are the orchestra!
bard1.egg by bgrier on Aviarybard1.egg by bgrier on Aviary

Additional note: I used the awesome free online clip / audio editor Myna (an Aviary tool) to trim the head and tail of the clip so there was no dead space. Cloud audio editing…how cool!
Check out this video / tutorial of Selene HD for a bit more detail.