Apple held their annual keynote in Cupertino on Tuesday this week where they formally announced their iPhone 5S, the next iteration of iPhone. Besides the camera upgrade, touch sensor inclusion, and expanded storage capacity, the biggest news may be the phones CPU and GPU capabilities as they pertain to games.
Chair Co-Founder and Creative Director of ChAIR Entertainment, Donald Mustard, recently spoke with Polygon about his impressions of the iPhone 5S.
I’m not going to mince words here, it was very shocking to me.
ChAIR is part of Epic Games, the makers of the Gears of War series. Their primary engine is Unreal Engine. Donald has been working with the engine for years and has developed the previous two Infinity Blade games. When discussing Infinity Blade 3 on the iPhone 5S, he had the following to say:
We turned on anti-aliasing — fullscreen anti-aliasing. It worked. It worked super-fast. Then we turned on bloom and we turned on depth of field and we turned on — we had that dragon flying in. It was blowing flames on the screen. That dragon had four times the polycount of any console character we’ve ever done in Gears of War or Shadow Complex or anything like that. It had four times the texture detail, the normal map detail, all on that dragon. And that dragon was blowing thousands of particles into the screen, which has this huge fill rate, right? It’s very traffic [intensive] for the CPU and GPU. And then we were able to blur those particles. We were able to … balloon those particles, and then add motion blur to them. And then add high-res shadows to the dragon, passing on itself – while doing fullscreen anti-aliasing. And then, on top of that, do a fullscreen color adjust and vignette pass, where it kind of adjusts the contrast and the color of the screen, and then also add distortion — the distortion of the flames and stuff.
For the layman, he is basically saying the iPhone 5S is incredibly powerful and well tuned for gaming.
I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I’m holding this device they’ve handed us. I’m, like, looking for extra wires or something. I couldn’t believe that it was real.
Considering how far smartphone capabilities have come since the first iPhone in only 2007, and with the recent praise of Nvidia’s “Project Logan”, one can only imagine what we might see in the next few years.