We're big fans of the iPhone version of Football Manager here at Pocket-lint, but are dismayed that there's still no iPad edition. Sure, you can run the iPhone app in double-size, but it looks clunky and, to be honest, it's quite cut down from the computer equivalent - which is okay for a smartphone, but only "meh" on a bigger device.
But, what if we told you that you could play the full PC version of Football Manager on your iPad? And without emulation software (and the troubles that could produce)?
While testing the Splashtop Remote app for iPad, for a forthcoming App of the Day, it came to us that it could, theoretically, be used to play PC games on the Apple tablet. Spashtop, you see, is a remote desktop application, that links to your home computer and let's you control it from afar, effectively allowing the use of any software via an iPad.
It works brilliantly (with certain limitations) and currently only costs 59p on iTunes, with the PC server half of the equation being totally free (available from splashtopremote.com). However, we'll save a full app breakdown for the later review. For now, how does this benefit Football Manager fans?
Well, as previously mentioned, it can pretty much run any software through a home network, as you're essentially using the iPad as the display and mouse (or other pointing device). All of the processing is done at the PC's end with the video streamed over a Wi-Fi connection. You can even connect from outside the home, if you've set up port forwarding on your router correctly, and have a static IP address.
So, that basically means that games can be played from a distance. Unfortunately, there is a lag involved, no matter the speed of the connection. And it's too big a lag to play action titles. Football Manager, however, is perfect as it doesn't rely on speed of reaction.
You do need to set it up differently to how you'd probably play, though. For starters, it needs to be in "windowed" mode (set in the display and sound preferences), as do any other games you want to play, as the app won't work with full-screen programmes. And the FM window needs to be shrunk down to its minimum size (manually).
Plus, you need to set your Windows taskbar to "autohide" (depending on the operating system: Splashtop works with Windows 7, Vista and XP), as it'll cover up some vital buttons in the game - especially on the "Mail" screen, where you need to click certain response buttons to progress.
Also, you might find (as the app changes your PC desktop - during the period of hook-up - to a maximum of 1024 x 768; the iPad's native resolution) that certain other things become inaccessible. Certainly, it helps to have a smaller first team size. Some players may drop off the bottom of the Tactics screen, so you need to keep that in mind.
But, other than those caveats, it works. And very well.
Full Football Manager on an iPad (tested with 2010, but there's no reason that 2011 shouldn't work too).