Synthesia for iPad
Every feature we have today, optimized for a touch screen. External device support, all the Learning Pack features (unlocked via an in-app purchase), flick through the song library, pinch/zoom the song display, all of that...
Every year or so it's time to update my tool-chain: latest version of all my 3rd party libraries, compiler updates, and making tough calls on what to continue supporting.
Apple makes it challenging to support backwards compatibility to the degree I enjoy. If I were to buy a Mac today (or a year ago) I wouldn't even be able to develop for 10.4. (The tools aren't available anymore... you can only use them if you already have them.) And it looks like 10.7 is the end of the road for my development iMac. When they force my hand to move to 10.8 (to keep up with iOS development) I won't easily be able to support the older stuff anymore. So, this is as good a time as any to pull off that band-aid:
The Mac version of Synthesia 8.4 will now be OS 10.5+ Intel only. (My stats show this should impact less than 0.15% of users.)
Desktop improvements due to the iPad version
Getting the code to build on the device is only the first step. The touch interface requires a number of improvements. More than that, the ecosystem there isn't as laid back as on the desktop. So, there needs to be a level of polish that Synthesia has never seen before. The good news is, all that polish is coming to the desktop version too.
- Improved graphics. The Retina display on the 3rd generation iPad means I have to rebuild all of my art assets. This gives a good opportunity for things like the sheet music display to auto-switch to a higher resolution once you stretch it far enough. The falling notes and keyboard are also going to see an update.
- Reduced system requirements. The iPad isn't nearly as powerful as a desktop computer, so I have to squeeze and optimize. There is a good chance computers that struggle with Synthesia today will be able to run 8.4 smoothly.
- Data saved regularly. In the unlikely event that Synthesia crashes, you won't lose scores or other data anymore.
- Lots of small improvements. Things like being able to click the new version notice on the title screen to launch a browser, many more function bindings, and smooth-scrolling song library (again, finally).