Some 3D iPad games like Zen Bound 2 may be able to take advantage of the iPad retina display already. We talk details with Secret Exit, and show you what it will look like.

At GDC last week, I had a great conversation with Jani Kahrama from Secret Exit about the new retina display on the iPad. In particular we discussed Zen Bound 2 [App Store Link], one of my very favorite iOS games. It’s also a game that really shows off iOS devices with it’s fantastic 3D graphics. We were continuing the conversation that so many had started about what it would take to upgrade iPad apps to the new retina display. I don’t have much to add to that conversation other than it’s not easy and will add in many cases considerably to the app size.

The good news is that Zen Bound 2, as it exists now on the App Store will look pretty good on the new iPad and its retina display. It was originally created to display at the maximum resolution that the device supports. This was done to allow the app to be universal on the iPad and iPhone 4S and to future-proof the app. That means that it will run at full resolution on the new iPad, taking full advantage of the retina display.

There is one downside. Initially the user interface elements (buttons, etc) were not created for the higher resolution. So while the elements will be positioned properly, this will mean that initially those items will not be proportional and will be a bit small. An update will be coming in the weeks following the release of the new iPad to fix that issue and increase the resolution of the textures used in the game. This will just make the game look even better.

Let’s take a look at some comparison screens to see how amazing the new screen will really be. Please note that looking at these samples on a computer screen really won’t convey how good they will look on a retina screen. For that, you’ll need the new iPad.

In the sample below you can see the current iPad 2 screen size (768×1024) on the left, how Zen Bound 2 will look like on the new iPad (1536×2048) in the middle, and how Zen Bound 2 will look like once the user interface elements are adjusted (still 1536×2048) on the right. Click on the image for the full size — caution — really large.

For more samples, take a look at the gallery below. Zen Bound 2 will be a great app to show off what the new iPad retina screen can do. It will be one of the first apps I download tomorrow. This is one beautiful app.

( click for full size )

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Posted in: Blog, Hardware, Upcoming