Roundup: The best games showcasing Apple's Metal API for iOS 8

Posted:
in iPhone edited November 2014
The launch of iOS 8 introduced new developer tools dubbed "Metal," allowing for more advanced graphics on both the iPhone and iPad. Here are the best games out now showcasing the power of Metal.



The Metal API gives developers unprecedented access to the graphics processors found in the iPhone and iPad, which the company says enables "incredibly high performance for sophisticated graphics rendering."




Metal requires the iPhone 5s or later, iPad Air and iPad Mini with Retina Display. To experience this improvement in gaming on iOS, here are the apps we suggest trying first.

Vainglory




To showcase Metal at the unveiling of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in September, Apple spotlighted Vainglory, a beautiful MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) that was just released on the App Store this week. Vainglory is free to download and to play.

Developer Super Evil Megacorp have been working for two years to create a console-quality MOBA, and its staff consists of former employees of Riot and Blizzard.

Gamers familiar with strategy-style games such as Starcraft will become familiar with Vainglory quickly.

Two teams fight to destroy the other's "vain crystal," which is guarded by a set of turrets that must be conquered first. Users play the part of a "hero" with unique special abilities. There are currently 10 different heroes users can be with more characters on the way.

In online multiplayer mode, players are paired with two other users to form a team of three. The game then pairs a team against an opponent team and the battle beings.

The 3 vs. 3 battle usually lasts about 20 minutes, depending on the skill level of each side. There is also an option to play solo against a computer and training modes.

Modern Combat 5: Blackout




Those looking for Call of Duty style gameplay, Modern Combat 5: Blackout has been updated to take advantage of Metal and the larger iPhone 6 and 6 Plus screens. Available for $6.99, this game is a first-person shooter and has both online multiplayer modes as well as a solo campaign.

Users will see the detail Metal can bring to graphics during game explosions, lighting effects, water and other scenery. Once bought, there are no additional in-app purchases are required to unlock the full game.

Plunder Pirates




While less action-packed than the previous two games, Plunder Pirates is a fun real-time strategy adventure that's free to download. Users work towards creating a "pirate island" by building ships, recruiting fellow pirates to plunder and exploring the world map.

In addition to being updated to take advantage of Metal, Plunder Pirates is also optimized for the larger displays of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. The graphics may not be as intense as Vainglory or Modern Combat, but shadow and lighting details show of the processing power of the device GPU.

The game is free to play, but there are in-app purchases available for users who want to build their island faster. No multiplayer modes are included, though users can join a "pirate guild" with friends for in-game perks.

Battle Supremacy




A World War II tank-style game, Battle Supremacy is $0.99 in the App Store and offers in-app purchases to unlock additional tanks and weapons. This universal app has both single and online multiplayer modes with Game Center and iCloud support.

With large open worlds, the wide scenic variety shows off the Metal API and GPU capabilities. The developer claims players can use historically accurate tanks and "take part in epic campaigns across France, Russia and the Pacific Islands.

Battle Supremacy also has a a version in the Mac App Store for $4.99 with in-app purchases. Progress and awards will be synced across all devices with iCloud.

Asphalt 8: Airborne




Only three racing games are featured in the Metal section of the iOS App Store, and the most realistic game is Asphalt 8: Airborne. This title is free to download and play, with various in-app purchases available to unlock cars and earn extra credits.

With 56 cars to choose from, nine different tracks, and both single-player and multiplayer modes, users have plenty of options for hours of gameplay.

Asphalt 8 highlights many ramps and jumps that allow players to perform tricks in the air. The game also allows players to rearrange the touch controls on-screen.

Gameloft, the maker of Asphalt and Modern Combat, also offers "bundles" to save money when buying multiple apps. The entire Gameloft collection can be found on the iOS App Store.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    Android has more frilly add-on features, but I love how Apple concentrates on the core aspects of the OS.

    I mean, even an iPad 1 could run a Korg iMS 20. Android is still trying to do low-latency audio - but it has widgets and other noise that's easier to program than Metal.
  • Reply 2 of 20
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MessagePad2100 View Post



    Android has more frilly add-on features, but I love how Apple concentrates on the core aspects of the OS.



    I mean, even an iPad 1 could run a Korg iMS 20. Android is still trying to do low-latency audio - but it has widgets and other noise that's easier to program than Metal.



    Yep.

     

    And I didn't use widgets on Android, and I don't use them on iOS lol.

     

    On topic, I look forward to two things: the 64-bit required rule that goes into effect in February, and more games/apps taking advantage of Metal. I still haven't felt that my A7's been pushed hard enough yet. Seeing hardware really working at full tilt is always exciting.

  • Reply 3 of 20
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,360member

    I love how you can do iOS screen recording direct into Yosemite now!

     

    I hooked up my iPad direct into a Mac with a lightning cable a few days ago, and the quality of the capture was great. The game was captured in almost 60 frames per second on the Mac! Super smooth and highly detailed!

     

    I tried a few other methods before, that all involved third party apps and over WIFI, and they were all crap! 

  • Reply 4 of 20
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,360member

    By the way, I tested that Vainglory game a few days ago.

     

    It's not my usual genre of games that I play, but it was actually pretty cool. Very nice graphics.

  • Reply 5 of 20
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MessagePad2100 View Post



    Android has more frilly add-on features, but I love how Apple concentrates on the core aspects of the OS.



    I mean, even an iPad 1 could run a Korg iMS 20. Android is still trying to do low-latency audio - but it has widgets and other noise that's easier to program than Metal.

    I have never understood widgets: They first popped up on the MAC OS years ago , I tried them out but I never stuck with them they seem to me rather like an annoying layer sitting on the desktop. On iOS is tried them too, but again same thing. I just don't get why some people seem to think they are so important! But hey each to his own!

  • Reply 6 of 20
    Asphalt 8 is fantastic. Lots of fun, and it plays as great as it looks.
  • Reply 7 of 20
    Maybe a Roundup of notification widgets is in order. I've tried looking through the app store for apps with widgets and haven't found anything I find useful.
  • Reply 8 of 20
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,737member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    To showcase Metal at the unveiling of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in September, Apple spotlighted Vainglory, a beautiful MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) that was just released on the App Store this week. Vainglory is free to download and to play.

    You mean Vainglory is "Get" to download... ;)

     

    Why is this game free? I downloaded it and checked it out. I'm not a gamer, but it didn't seem very intuitive to play. I was dead in less than a minute.

  • Reply 9 of 20



    Did you see my iOS 8 Extensions Article? Includes widget suggestions: http://appleinsider.com/articles/14/11/07/roundup-some-of-the-best-ios-8-app-extensions-for-iphone-ipad

  • Reply 10 of 20
    I play plunder pirates and it's awesome! There is multi player, you raid other players islands and plunder their gold. It's real fun.
  • Reply 11 of 20
    apple ][ wrote: »
    By the way, I tested that Vainglory game a few days ago.

    It's not my usual genre of games that I play, but it was actually pretty cool. Very nice graphics.

    That game has pretty much stole my entire week. Fantastic game.

    Damn you scarf guy...
  • Reply 12 of 20
    relicrelic Posts: 4,735member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MessagePad2100 View Post



    Android has more frilly add-on features, but I love how Apple concentrates on the core aspects of the OS.



    I mean, even an iPad 1 could run a Korg iMS 20. Android is still trying to do low-latency audio - but it has widgets and other noise that's easier to program than Metal.

     

    I have a Korg MS20 Mini, great synthesizer but I know what you mean about the app, it's awesome as well. Android no longer has a latency problem and more and more audio creation apps are popping up because of it, no where near that of iOS of course. I actually own 3 iPad Air 2's just for music creation apps. I need three because unfortunately you can't run and play sound from more than one music app at a time in iOS, it pauses the app once it's in the background. So if I wanted multiple source playback at the same time I just bit the bullet and bought 2 more iPads that will be mounted on adjustable mounts to my tablet. Yes, I could produce each track individually and put them all together in something like Garageband if I was a sane person but I like to tweak and most of all play from a live source.

     

    While I'm here in the hospital however I'm just using one iPad Air 2, so to get around the multitasking problem, I'm using hardware. Korg has a set of these wonderful mini music wonders called the Volca series, consists of three units, sold separately, Beats, Bass and Keys. Oh yea, Korg just added a new box to the series called Sample, I'm still debating if I need it or not as a lot of it's functions I can do in software, still there is just something about having dedicated hardware for such things. The devices in the Volca series are very reasonable priced for what your getting, each box costs $150, the Korg Sample is a little more though, $210. Yes, Korg has apps like Gadget in which most of the functionality of the Volca series can be replicated but you'll have to record each track separately and than import them into Garage Band to hear everything at once. Unless you Jailbreak it and install an app called OS Experience which will give you full multitasking. I'm still testing this wonderful system hack but it seems to be a viable solution so far, it's a really cool thing being able to swipe through your actively playing music apps to change something in real time. Again, iOS not having this functionality built in, really, really sucks, like a whole lot.

     

    image

    image

     

    Then to finish of my mini, mini hospital bed studio I use the absolutely wonderful, does it all, OP-1 from Teenage Engineering. This is really the only piece of hardware you really need, you can create absolutely stunning studio quality music with just using this device, a must have for any music geek out there, though it's not cheap, about 800+ bucks depending on where you buy it. To me though, worth ever penny. Going the Korg route will save you money though as all three units will only cost you $450, $660 if you include the new Korg Volca Sample.

     

    image

     

    To bring all of this together I use what I believe to be the best  audio/midi input device for iOS devices on the market, the Apogee Duet, though for most an iRig would suffice, at home I use the iConnectivity iConnectMidi4+.

     

     

    Those who have a lot of devices like me would be much better served with the iConnectMidi4+, much cheaper than the Duet at $250.

     

     


    • 4 In & 4 Out Sets of MIDI DIN Connectivity

    • Supports 8 additional MIDI devices via USB Host Port + Powered USB Hub

    When I'm done collecting all of my beats, melody and any other sound bites I import everything into FL Studio Groove on my Nokia 2520 to mix and edit. When it becomes available on iOS I'll start using it on my iPad but until than the Nokia handles it perfectly. FL Studio Groove is just to good not to use.

     

    image

     

    So that's what I'm currently using at the hospital, spread out across my tray and bed, amazingly it all fits into a single shoulder bag.

  • Reply 13 of 20
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,989member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

     

    I love how you can do iOS screen recording direct into Yosemite now!

     

    I hooked up my iPad direct into a Mac with a lightning cable a few days ago, and the quality of the capture was great. The game was captured in almost 60 frames per second on the Mac! Super smooth and highly detailed!

     

    I tried a few other methods before, that all involved third party apps and over WIFI, and they were all crap! 




    How do you do it?

  • Reply 14 of 20
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,360member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

     



    How do you do it?


     

    That's what's so great about it, it's so simple, and no third party software is required.

     

    (1) Hook up your iPad to your Mac via lightning/usb cable

     

    (2) In Quicktime, choose new Movie Recording. Select iPad as video and audio source, then hit record!

     

    That's all there is to it, and the quality is great and super smooth.

  • Reply 15 of 20
    relicrelic Posts: 4,735member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

     

     

    That's what's so great about it, it's so simple, and no third party software is required.

     

    (1) Hook up your iPad to your Mac via lightning/usb cable

     

    (2) In Quicktime, choose new Movie Recording. Select iPad as video and audio source, then hit record!

     

    That's all there is to it, and the quality is great and super smooth.


     

    Cool thanks, it there anyway to do it without using another machine like the Nvidia Shield? http://shield.nvidia.com/tablet-user-guide/how-to-record-and-share-your-gameplay.htm

  • Reply 16 of 20
    ecatsecats Posts: 272member
    Summarised perfectly by: messagepad2100.

    Google with Android are busy adding anything without concern, as long as it looks like a feature and is quick to implement.

    Even when they do implement "real features", they're half-baked and full of security issues. Take Google wallet for example. It added nothing that the user didn't already have with their plastic cards, and Google's roll out was so weak, that you were forced to carry your wallet anyway. Eventually the entire thing fizzled and retailers/banks were never all that interested. A-Pay is brand new and I can already confidently go out there knowing that it's going to work in real world scenarios, at places that I know and already shop at. Banks are letting their clients know, stores are letting their customers know, that's a real roll out and it's much more work than just emulating the NFC portion of a tap card.

    Still you'll have google zealots parading a 'first to market' trophy as if it's both meaningful or enabling.
  • Reply 17 of 20





    Still you'll have google zealots parading a 'first to market' trophy as if it's both meaningful or enabling.

     

    Many companies are first to market and lose out to the next company  that copies it. History is replete with many examples of this. Google is no different and will suffer same fate. The only entities that prosper   are those that innovate unless they have a government sponsored monopoly like NFL/ MLB and utilities

  • Reply 18 of 20
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,062member

    These games almost all run on A5 level hardware. Would be great if we saw some A8/A8X exclusive games, they would look stunning. 

     

    Also, although the games mentioned in this article all look pretty good, I found none of them particularly great games. Probably Asphalt is the best one, and it's been out for many many months. 

  • Reply 19 of 20
    paul94544 wrote: »
    Android has more frilly add-on features, but I love how Apple concentrates on the core aspects of the OS.


    I mean, even an iPad 1 could run a Korg iMS 20. Android is still trying to do low-latency audio - but it has widgets and other noise that's easier to program than Metal.
    I have never understood widgets: They first popped up on the MAC OS years ago , I tried them out but I never stuck with them they seem to me rather like an annoying layer sitting on the desktop. On iOS is tried them too, but again same thing. I just don't get why some people seem to think they are so important! But hey each to his own!

    Do you mean the things in the drop-down menu? I like putting some stuff there so I don't have to keep going back to the Home screen and opening an app. It's a shortcut for getting to an app. So I go there, tap on a widget, which takes me straight to the app. When I've finished, I pull down and tap on another widget, which takes me to another app. It's slightly quicker than quitting to the Home screen and navigating to the app.
  • Reply 20 of 20
    volcan wrote: »
    To showcase Metal at the unveiling of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in September, Apple spotlighted Vainglory, a beautiful MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) that was just released on the App Store this week. Vainglory is free to download and to play.
    You mean Vainglory is "Get" to download... <img alt=";)" src="http://forums-files.appleinsider.com/images/smilies/1wink.gif" style="border-bottom-width:0px;border-left-width:0px;border-right-width:0px;border-top-width:0px;">


    Why is this game free? I downloaded it and checked it out. I'm not a gamer, but it didn't seem very intuitive to play. I was dead in less than a minute.

    Maybe your intuition needs refining. ????
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