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bobob

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Back in January, MacRumors had a front page article on Letterpad, one of the first Apple Watch games form developer NimbleBit. I was surprised at just how contentious the idea of games on the new Apple Watch platform could be - - the thread is filled with comment after comment expressing incomprehension and ridicule.

Personally, I take a more optimistic view of the future of Apple Watch games with the understanding that they will have to be tailored to take advantage of this new platform's limitations (and unique strengths such as the Taptic Engine). One of the primary reasons I have pre-ordered a first generation Apple Watch is to have the opportunity to watch this new gaming platform evolve from scratch.

The big news this week in Apple Watch gaming was the announcement of the first RPG - - Runeblade - - here's the trailer! Especially intriguing is the revelation that:
Runeblade will run natively on the device, so you won't need an iPhone to play.

CCP3YNYWgAAYUEA.png:large

To get a bit of an introductory sense about the breadth of Apple Watch gaming, here is an article on 7 Apple Watch Games We Can’t Wait to Play and a more philosophical piece Apple's Smartwatch Can Be A Games Platform – And Here's Why.
 

bbeagle

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Oct 19, 2010
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3rd party Apple Watch games cannot be used without an iPhone. That's a current restriction of the Watch APIs. The game cannot run natively.
 

bobob

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Jan 11, 2008
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The big news this week in Apple Watch gaming was the announcement of the first RPG - - Runeblade - - here's the trailer! Especially intriguing is the revelation that:

Runeblade will run natively on the device, so you won't need an iPhone to play.

3rd party Apple Watch games cannot be used without an iPhone. That's a current restriction of the Watch APIs. The game cannot run natively.

Runeblade developer Everywear collaborated directly with Apple - - perhaps they were granted native access because Apple wants to showcase a game which demonstrates the Apple Watch's potential.

Everywear plans to release four smartwatch games in the Apple Watch's first year. The company has one big advantage over the competition: Järvilehto has been working directly with Apple, although he declines to give any details about the process.
 
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bbeagle

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Oct 19, 2010
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Runeblade developer Everywear collaborated directly with Apple - - perhaps they have been granted native access because Apple wants to showcase a game which demonstrates the Apple Watch's potential.

Perhaps.

I'm guessing the additional APIs which allow developers to write native apps will be presented at the developer's conference (WWDC) in June. It looks like Runeblade was given early access to it, maybe to test how it works while Apple develops it.....

What I think would happen is that the game will be presented at WWDC showing developers what they can do with the new APIs, and then released later. I don't think this game will come out before then.

The watches won't be available to the majority of people until summer anyways, with the shipping estimates Apple gave, so there is really no rush to get this out until WWDC or an Apple event in September/October.

(Oddly - the GUI they show can be done with the current Watch SDK, so I don't get it)
 

Cindori

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Jan 17, 2008
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Sweden
The real problem with Apple Watch games can be found in the lower part there.

He6Xzot.png


And no, these developers were probably not granted "native access". They are just using marketing words. What they mean is that you can launch and play the game from the Watch without ever picking up the phone. But as all other Watch apps, they are located and processed on the phone's hardware.
 

bobob

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Jan 11, 2008
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I'm guessing the additional APIs which allow developers to write native apps will be presented at the developer's conference (WWDC) in June. It looks like Runeblade was given early access to it, maybe to test how it works while Apple develops it.....

What I think would happen is that the game will be presented at WWDC showing developers what they can do with the new APIs, and then released later. I don't think this game will come out before then.

The watches won't be available to the majority of people until summer anyways, with the shipping estimates Apple gave, so there is really no rush to get this out until WWDC or an Apple event in September/October.

You have crafted a very convincing argument - - I'm impressed!

Unfortunately, it is incorrect. As it states in the trailer I linked to above, Runeblade is being released this month. It's a launch title.
 

bbeagle

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Oct 19, 2010
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You have crafted a very convincing argument - - I'm impressed!

Unfortunately, it is incorrect. As it states in the trailer I linked to above, Runeblade is being released this month. It's a launch title.

I get that Runeblade SAYS it's a native app. The proof, I guess, is if I can run the game with my phone turned off. We'll see when it's released.

I watched the trailer. It looks like the game can be made with the current Watch SDK, so we'll see... but intriguing if a game maker has access to something the rest of the developers don't.
 

CharlieCat666

macrumors regular
Mar 13, 2015
209
3
Minneapolis, MN
Back in the early 2000's/late 90's there were these cool handheld gaming things called "Scannerz" or something like that. They had a scanner on them (obviously) and you'd scan barcodes to "catch" these little monsters and you could battle them with your friends like Pokemon.

Anyway, I always liked the idea of using real world interactions/objections/places/things within a game. Maybe a game that incorporates exercise? Perhaps an RPG where you gain xp for calories burned or where you need to walk/run/bike a distance in the real world to do so in the game.

I'd love to see a game that harnesses the obsessive Pavlovian level-up addiction from games like World of Warcraft and puts it into something actually productive.
 

cardfan

macrumors 601
Mar 23, 2012
4,123
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It may as well be called battery waster. For games, wouldn't you just pull out the iphone?
 

gorkt

macrumors 6502a
Sep 15, 2007
712
585
I don't really see a market for typical iPhone style games with the watch. What I could see would be using the watch to accent a iPad/iPhone game, perhaps with taptics.

I wonder if the watch could be utilized for some sort of geocaching/scavenger hunt type game or sport, where the watch would light up or buzz when you get near a tagged object. I don't know....just spitballing.
 
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DreamPod

macrumors 65816
Mar 15, 2008
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Only one of the many articles about Runeblade says it is native, so I'm thinking that The Verge was mistaken. As for "working directly with Apple", that probably just means they were one of the companies invited to test their app in Apple Labs.
 

sulpfiction

macrumors 68040
Aug 16, 2011
3,075
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Philadelphia Area
That game looks absolutely horrible. and the trailer even worse. Leave gaming to the phone. And no, not going to be native to the watch. You'd get about 10mins of game play before a fully charged battery would be dead!
 

jabingla2810

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Oct 15, 2008
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Apps on the watch are ideally used for seconds, not minutes, and even then the battery just gets to the end of the day.

I think people playing these games on the watch are going to find their battery is dead by lunch.
 

Chiguy12

macrumors member
Apr 2, 2015
98
25
Chicago
Why would you need games on a tiny screen if you have a phone? I rather save my battery on important notifications and useful features.
 

bobob

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Original poster
Jan 11, 2008
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The 5 gaming genres that are perfect for the Apple Watch (And they're probably not the ones you're thinking of)

The Apple Watch is out soon, which means it won't be long until we're all checking emails, counting calories, and sending our heartbeats to creeped out friends - all from the comfort of our wrists.

But should we really care about playing video games on this thing?

I reckon the answer is "yes" - but maybe not the type of games you're thinking of.

Sure, we'll definitely see an early influx of traditional games that work on the watch. Simple games in the same vein as Flappy Bird will appear, and stripped back versions of puzzlers like Trivia Crack and Rules! are already promised.

But in general, the Apple Watch just isn't well suited for the traditional gaming experience.

The screen - just 1.5 inches across on the smallest version - is tiny, and eclipsed by your pinky whenever you touch it. And you have to think about the discomfort of having one arm held up and twisted around for any length of time.

Plus, the battery won't withstand long play sessions, and developers say that the device is pretty limited in terms of power and app footprint. You end up with games that are small, simple, and ultimately pretty throwaway.

So you might have a couple simple games on your watch for the same reason you have Candy Crush and Super Hexagon installed on your iPhone: to wile away a couple minutes during commercial breaks and bus journeys and bathroom sessions

But if you really want to imagine interesting Apple Watch games, you've got to think about how it differs from the other gaming devices in your life, and not just as a tiny iPhone with a wrist band.


Fitness

The first category. The watch not only has access to accelerometers and GPS (via your iPhone), but it can even measure your heartbeat which allows for more accurate tracking of your health.

That will be a big boon for games like Zombies, Run! - a game that mixes real-world movement with a zombie apocalypse radio drama that's piped through your earphones. It will be more accurate, and will let you quickly glance at your vital stats while running just by eyeing up your wrist

No more dropping your iPhone in a muddy puddle mid workout.


Location-based games

The Watch is also suitable for location-based games, including Google's ambitious GPS-powered MMO Ingress which is getting a watch app soon. You'll get a notification if you wander near an important location and can take simple actions on the watch face itself

Or you could have games like Nintendo's stalking app streetpass that gives you bonuses for bumping into fellow 3DS owners.

Whatever the case, it means you get all the fun of gamifying travel, but without having to bury your nose in an iPhone every few minutes to take action. It keeps your eyes up and on the places and people you're with.


Physical games

That same principle can extend to physical games and meat-space multiplayer experiences. Get the screens out of the way, and have a weird and playful encounter with another human being.

Maybe two people with Apple Watches could play something along the lines of Game Oven's mad dancing simulator Bounden

Or how about Die Gute Fabrik's bonkers Johann Sebastian Joust, which has multiple players trying to wobble each other's PlayStation Move, while keeping their own perfectly still.


Horror games

The Watch's heart rate monitor is something that no other gaming device has.

Using this sensor, the Watch could send your current BPM to a horror game on your iPad so the game could orchestrate scares that are tuned to your current level of tension. It would diabolical, of course, and I know that I'd never play it, but it could be something very different.


Time management

And then there are games that only need a little bit of time from you, here and there. And it would make more sense to quickly perform actions on your watch than by pulling out your phone.

That could be Tamagotchi style games - like the apple watch version of monster babysitting game Hatch. Or time management games like Clash of Clans and Kim Kardashian.

You could cash in bonuses from a successful Pocket Trains journey just by prodding at your wrist.
 

Runt888

macrumors 6502a
Nov 17, 2008
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I get that Runeblade SAYS it's a native app. The proof, I guess, is if I can run the game with my phone turned off. We'll see when it's released.

I watched the trailer. It looks like the game can be made with the current Watch SDK, so we'll see... but intriguing if a game maker has access to something the rest of the developers don't.

I can definitely see Apple giving early access to the native SDK to certain developers from a testing and demo perspective. I have a very hard time seeing them allow developers to release actual products with a pre-release SDK (as in, there's no way they would allow that).
 

bbeagle

macrumors 68040
Oct 19, 2010
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Buffalo, NY
I have a very hard time seeing them allow developers to release actual products with a pre-release SDK (as in, there's no way they would allow that).

Yes - I agree... Apple has never done this before.

They have given developers pre-release access, but never allowed them to use this to publish an app before the public APIs were available.

My guess is that this game is using the same APIs other developers have, and this game is NOT native.
 

VSMacOne

macrumors 603
Oct 18, 2008
5,760
2,741
Rules is pretty fun, but I'm not sure how much playing I will do on the Watch. That's what my phone is for.
 
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