Apple, which is not a “game console”, how to make iOS the first choice for mobile games?

We have played a new game that has not yet been released on iOS 14

In mid-September 2020, we at Sanyi Life experienced the new iPad Air and Apple Watch Series6 just released. At that time, in order to be able to display the 3D and AI performance of the A14 bionic chip more intuitively, we also experienced an AI retouching software “Pixelmator”, a DJ software that could float and “play DJing” through the front camera, and a An open-world large-scale game with a rather gorgeous cartoon rendering style.

Yes, I believe everyone can see that the large-scale game we experienced at the time was actually the “Original God” that is now becoming popular. But the problem is that, as we all know, “Original God” only started public beta on September 28, 2020. So, why are we able to play new games that have not yet been released in advance?

The answer is simple, because according to what we knew at the time, the iOS version of “Yuan Shen” was specially optimized for iOS 14 and A14, so it was also selected as the “demonstration program” of the new software and hardware platform. It was installed at the time. Experience the machine.

The original frame rate curve of a flagship phone that is not very beautiful

That’s right, if you are an Android model user, if you have experienced the same as us, “Original God” does not run at the full frame rate on the Snapdragon 865 and Kirin 9000 models, and there are still frequent lags. If you also know, on those Android phones with 2K, 3K, and even 4K screen resolutions, the true rendering resolution of “Original God” is even not as high as the default rendering resolution on the iPhone. Then you may realize that, compared to Android, iOS seems to be more suitable for playing games?

Yes, the 3D performance of the iPhone is actually much better than you think

Why do lag games still occur on Android flagship models, but they can run smoother and with higher resolution on iOS? From this superficial phenomenon, we seem to be able to draw the conclusion that “Apple’s equipment has better 3D performance”. However, is this true?

First of all, from the public product database, we can easily find the GPU computing power and memory bandwidth of the mainstream mobile chip solutions. It can be seen that taking Apple’s previous generation A13 and Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 888 as examples, the A13 lags behind the Snapdragon 888 in terms of memory bandwidth and GPU floating-point computing power.

But when we checked the actual running scores of these two mobile platforms in 3DMARK, something interesting happened. On the surface, the A13 has lower computing power and smaller bandwidth, but it has won a complete victory in the actual 3D performance test.

what does this mean? The reason is very simple, that is, although Apple’s GPU hardware specifications may not be the strongest, they obviously have a much more efficient hardware and software combination mechanism than other manufacturers. And this “mechanism” is actually Apple’s self-developed graphics computing API-Metal.

In 2014, Apple introduced its self-developed Metal graphics application interface technology for the first time. Compared with the popular OpenGL ES interface on the mobile terminal at that time, Metal’s advantage is very obvious. On the one hand, it has considered support for multi-core CPUs from the very beginning, enabling large-scale 3D games to run better with multiple threads at the same time; on the other hand, it gives 3D programs higher permissions than in the past, allowing them In many cases, the GPU can be operated directly without the participation of the CPU, thereby greatly reducing the delay of graphics rendering. In addition, the Metal API also directly incorporates general-purpose computing functions, which allows developers to let the GPU bear some of the accelerated calculations such as physical collisions and particle effects in 3D games, and even support ray tracing effects without additional API or hardware.

The most important thing is that Metal is a software interface developed by Apple, so when it acts on the A13, A14, M1 and other chips also developed by Apple, it itself means more thorough optimization, lower-level hardware operations, and Higher computing efficiency.

Graphics card driver information for the office PC we use

In contrast, although Android phones and even Windows computers now have more powerful hardware. But the interfaces they use do not come from chip manufacturers such as Intel, AMD, NVIDIA, Qualcomm, or Samsung, but from “third-party” software developers such as the Khronos Group or Microsoft.

Obviously, this in itself will cause technical barriers and make these general graphics APIs unable to specifically optimize the hardware architecture of a certain graphics processor in order to pursue wider compatibility. In the end, the theoretical 3D performance of the GPU on the iPhone and iPad may not be very high, but the actual gaming experience has to surpass other competitors.

Excellent app store to ensure the quality benchmark of iOS games

Obviously, exclusive and advanced software and hardware technology is the basis for Apple iPhone and iPad to achieve higher game performance and more game effects. However, these can only be said to pave the technical road for large-scale games on iOS. As we all know, more powerful gaming devices will never necessarily get more game support. Apple obviously knows this.

Because of this, on the one hand, they continue to develop processors with their own architecture, and they are not short to upgrade the efficiency of Metal API and corresponding development tools. But on the other hand, Apple’s construction of its own software ecosystem may be the key factor in the leading experience of the iOS game system.

Homepage recommendation of Apple App Store

If you have devices that use both iOS and Android at the same time, you may notice that there are huge differences in the built-in software store interface between these two mobile operating systems. First of all, Apple’s operations staff will write blog-style articles from time to time and publish them on the homepage of the App Store. Some of them are recommendations for practical apps, some are reviews of new topic mobile games, and some are holiday greetings and lifestyle. Little advice. These “homepage articles” are not only smooth and tidy, but the recommended apps are indeed generally of high quality.

But in contrast, whether it is the Google Play Store or the app stores of major domestic mobile phone manufacturers, the homepages only have simple advertising pictures, and then there are a large number of application icons and links piled up, which looks dazzling. The beauty is almost impossible to talk about.

Homepage recommendation of an Android phone’s own app store

Not only that, according to industry insiders, there are also big differences between the Apple App Store and the Android App Store in terms of business models. The most notable point is that as we mentioned in the previous article, the “homepage article” of the App Store does not charge developers, but is completely based on application quality and word of mouth, and is independently selected, tested, and written by operators. Come. In contrast, Android’s major application stores often use “homepage recommendations” as a means of profit, charging developers.

Imagine if you are a developer who has aspirations and wants to make a great game/APP. On the iOS platform, your app may get a free homepage promotion opportunity because of its excellent quality; while on the Android major brand stores, if you are not willing to pay for the recommendation, your efforts may be wasted. Under such circumstances, iOS can certainly attract more high-quality developers, providing more opportunities for small studios and even individual independent works.

In this way, coupled with the already better software and hardware optimization capabilities, Apple has become the “good heart” of many game developers, naturally it is not surprising.

Source: Sanyi Life


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