On Monday at the Worldwide Developer Conference, Apple announced a new gaming development platform called Metal. The platform, like DirectX12 or Mantle, bypasses the overhead of OpenGL, which is currently the standard for 3D graphics in iOS games and apps.
Craig Federighi explained that Metal is designed for the A7 processor and allows full access to its GPU’s processing power. To demonstrate the platform’s increased efficiency, short footage of the recent PopCap 3D shooting game was shown Plants VS Zombies garden war, complete with 1.3 million triangles on screen at once, along with various depth of field effects. Federighi advertised the boost with Metal as “10 times” of what was available in the past.
Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney followed with a presentation of a cherry blossom tree and koi pond in a garden, complete with plenty of water reflection and particle effects. “Metal frees up enough computing power that we can give all the fish in that koi pond their own intelligence,” Sweeney added, before announcing that this “zen garden” demo would be available for free on the App Store at the public launch of iOS 8 “trapped.” The iOS 8 beta launch is being made available to developers today in the meantime.