What do you know about Dual Screen AirPlay games? Chances are, you don’t know much about it and might not even know what on earth I’m talking about. It’s a feature of AirPlay – the protocol that allows iOS devices to stream audio and video to an Apple TV. More specifically, Dual Screen AirPlay is the ability for app developers to use a connected Apple TV as a secondary screen, displaying different content on the TV as to what is on the iOS device. In theory it’s an awesome feature that has significant potential. In reality there haven’t been many examples of its implementation, let alone many that did so in a unique and exciting way.
So today I look at where Dual Screen AirPlay has been used, focusing on games in particular and then look to why it hasn’t been as widely deployed. I’ll also touch upon the problems with its implementation, where it could be improved and lastly a brief discussion on its potential in video apps as well.
Firemonkeys, the new combined studio from EA combining the IronMonkey and Firemint gaming studios, has announced the development of Real Racing 3 for iPhone and iPad.
Real Racing 3 will be the first game in the franchise to have real racecourses and will allow 22 cars to race simultaneously. No system requirements have been released yet.
Announced on Twitter and shown off on the Real Racing Facebook page, Real Racing 3 almost looks like it could be a current gen console game. And that says a lot, especially when there’s a disclaimer noting that it’s pre-alpha footage. Real Racing has always excited fans by pushing the limits on iOS and by making good use of AirPlay on the Apple TV by allowing players to use their iOS devices as controllers while the race takes place on the big screen. Not to disappoint, catch the trailer on Facebook and look forward to Real Racing’s 3rd installment later this year.
One of the big features coming with iOS 5 on the iPad 2 is AirPlay mirroring, a new functionality that, using the AirPlay technology for streaming content introduced in iOS 4.2, will allow users to beam their iPad’s screens directly to an Apple TV without the need for a cable. In spite of the iPad being capable of mirroring its screen through HDMI to a TV, Apple has decided to step its game up and allow Apple TV owners with a decent local network to stream apps, games, and whatever it is people do on an iPad without anything but a WiFi connection and a control button in the multitasking tray.
TUAW points today to a video posted by Apple’n'Apps that details how AirPlay mirroring will work with the iPad 2. The setup is very easy: once you’ve made sure both the iPad and Apple TV are running iOS 5, all you have to do is enable AirPlay Mirroring from the switcher’s controls and check out the iPad’s screen on the TV right away. In the video, you can see the Springboard, as well as regular apps and games being beamed from the tablet to the Apple TV. Scrolling doesn’t look as smooth as it is on the device when you’re directly interacting with it, but we assume it depends on the kind of wireless connection you have.
In a similar post, Engadget shows AirPlay Mirroring with Angry Birds Rio HD for iPad and Real Racing 2 HD.
For this game (and we imagine many more to come), you use the iPad as the controller — both while navigating through menus and in race mode — while the game appears only on your TV (though the tablet does display some vitals, and a map of the track). There’s noticeable lag between the iPad and Apple TV when using AirPlay, which may be an issue for games where timing is important, such as Rock Band, but didn’t seem to set us back while playing Firemint’s racing game.
One of Scott Forstall’s big iOS 5 announcements at the WWDC ’11 keynote on Monday was the possibility for iPad 2 owners to wirelessly mirror the entire device’s screen to an Apple TV on a local network. Thanks to the AirPlay technology previously used for videos and photos and following the concept of mirroring via HD cable introduced with the iPad 2, iOS 5 will allow users to see exactly what they’re seeing on the tablet’s multitouch display on the TV’s bigger screen. An Apple TV will be required for this (meaning the HDMI cable will still be sold for all other televisions and users who don’t want to buy an Apple TV), and since we heard about the feature one obvious possibility came to our minds: games. Think about it: with nothing more than a wireless network and the $99 little black box, you’ll be able to play iPad games on a TV.
Yet Firemint, as usual, wants to deliver more than simple mirroring to the screen and upscaled content. Just like the development studio (to be acquired by EA) was first to the market to support 1080p TV-out with the iPad being used for additional functionalities, Firemint has announced that Real Racing 2 HD will support full AirPlay wireless gaming — with the TV displaying the game without black borders, and the iPad visualizing additional information and graphics. Whilst standard AirPlay mirroring allows users to see content both on the iPad and TV screen, Firemint’s solution will let iPad 2 owners “split” content between the TV and the tablet using AirPlay.
With Apple’s announcement of iOS 5 and AirPlay mirroring at WWDC 2011, Firemint is thrilled to report that, come the new OS, Real Racing 2 HD will be the first title to support full screen wireless gaming over AirPlay!
This isn’t just mirroring – you’ll be able to play Real Racing 2 HD on your big screen without a cable, while your iPad 2 displays racing telemetry in real-time. No black borders, no wires – just iOS racing at its finest.
We think the concept is great and we can’t wait to see how developers will take advantage of the Apple TV and AirPlay to provide alternative views of their apps for when users are at home, checking out content on their TVs. Real Racing 2 HD won’t officially support this new feature until iOS 5 comes out publicly this fall, but in the meantime you can download the app here.
Last month, development studio Firemint announced they were working on an update to the popular Real Racing 2 HD that, thanks to the iPad 2′s hardware capabilities, would allow users to enjoy the game on their HDTVs with full 1080p TV-out support. The system developed by Firemint, unlike what Apple has demoed so far, enables the game to run in fullscreen without black borders on the TV; this new feature doesn’t rely on scaling content for the HDTV, it simply runs in fullscreen mode at 30 frames per second. While playing Real Racing 2 HD with Apple’s TV adapter connected to the TV, the iPad will turn into a standalone screen displaying extra information like map and race position, yet retaining the gyroscope-based controls and touch functionalities.
The update has been released in the App Store, and Firemint provides detailed instructions about 1080p TV-out in its FAQ section:
Connect the Apple digital AV adapter to your iPad 2 via the 30-pin dock connector. Then, plug one end of the HDMI cable into the adapter and the other into a HDMI port on your HDMI-compatible display. Check that the correct channel or input mode is selected. Finally, turn on your iPad 2 and launch Real Racing 2 HD.
You can download Real Racing 2 HD here, and check out a demo video of fullscreen TV-out in action below. (more…)
Development studio Firemint has announced that they’ll be the first ones to support fullscreen 1080p video-out in an upcoming major update of Real Racing 2 HD. The new version, still not available in the App Store, will allow iPad 2 users to connect their device to an HDTV and enjoy the game at 1080p without black borders, in all its fullscreen glory. This sounds like a major breakthrough on the iOS platform, and something we wish more developers will support in the future. Admittedly, being forced to play an iOS game on a television with black borders all around it is not a great experience.
The new feature doesn’t use scaling, it’s full HD being mirrored to the TV. It runs at 30 frames per second and, while playing with the iPad connected via HDMI adaptor, the device’s screen will display a map of the location in real-time.
Developer Firemint has always been one of the biggest “players” in the iOS gaming scene with hugely popular games and Apple Design Awards won at the WWDC, and they’ve been under the press spotlight again recently thanks to the release of Real Racing 2 HD — a version of their successful racing game specifically optimized for the iPad 2 improved graphics, processor and gyroscopic controls. With more updates on the way and a brand new iOS game announced last month, Agent Squeak, Firemint has become one of the top names in the App Store for iPhone and iPad games.
In an interview with Pocketful of Megabytes, Firemint’s Logan Booker has answered some interesting questions about what’s going on behind the scenes of Real Racing and their other game franchise, Flight Control. As revealed by Booker, Flight Control, released in 2009, recently surpassed 4 million downloads for iPhone, and it keeps growing. The game was the result of weeks of sketching and prototyping back in 2008 and early 2009, when the App Store was a relatively new platform and no one really knew whether or not Apple (and third-party developers) could turn a profit out of it. (more…)
Firemint says they were not aware of the detailed specs of the iPad 2, but they had a fairly accurate idea that turned out to be good for what they’ve been building. That means gyroscopic controls, faster graphics, lighter form factor easier on gamers’ hands when holding the device.
Real Racing 2 HD has been significantly enhanced beyond what could work on existing devices, and our efforts have definitely given us a head start on iPad 2.
All these attributes combined with our enhancements to Real Racing 2 HD will create the most precise and intuitive car racing experience on any device. The 1080p HDMI output also opens up some great possibilities.
We can’t wait to see more developers jumping on board with great-looking games built specifically for the iPad 2. March 11 can’t come soon enough.
December 16th has been a day to remember for the folks at Firemint. Not only did they release Real Racing 2 for iPhone (which is collecting rave reviews from all the major game blogs), they also updated the original Real Racing with Game Center support and released a free version of Flight Control.
Real Racing for iPhone, available here at $4.99, now comes with full Game Center integration: the app now comes with 4-player online multiplayer (instead of Real Racing 2 16-player mode), leaderboards, achievements, random matches and in-game results. Considering that Real Racing has been around for months, it’s great that Firemint is still giving its previous customers support and updates. Of course, if you want the real multiplayer you’ll have to go with Real Racing 2, which is available at $9.99 here.
Flight Control Free for iPhone is basically a version of the popular game with less maps, achievements — less everything. It’s cool if you’ve never tried Flight Control in your lifetime, but I’m usually not so excited about free versions with limitations. Still, it’s available here.