11 August 2015

Not a Talkie

I recently saw someone suggesting that King of Dragon Pass should have voice acting.

We didn’t want to use voice because most text is not known ahead of time, but is full of placeholders:

After wearing the armor for a few days, <e> said that <he/she> felt quicker of step and clearer of mind.

(this is actually one of the simpler examples). It would be hard to keep this from sounding like one of those bad voicemail prompts, because it would have to be assembled out of pieces. There’s also the fact that the same text might be spoken by a male or female character, and they might be very young or very old when they spoke it. So it would be difficult to get quality results.

Plus of course there are over 640 000 words of text. That would obviously be expensive to record, but it would also make the game larger. If audio books are 160 words per minute, that’s about 67 hours of speech. Depending on compression, that might be another 800 MB to download!

And voice would make it really hard to update the game with more content, since we would have to have any new text recorded.

So while it sounds at first like a good idea, in reality it’s one of those things that’s impossible with a game of this scope.

23 July 2015

New in Steam

King of Dragon Pass will be coming to Steam on 28 July. But the game has been available for mobile (iOS, Android, and Windows Phone), as well as the original version (either on CD or as patched to be downloadable by GOG.com). So what exactly is coming to Steam?

The version on Steam is essentially the mobile version, but tuned for desktop and laptop screen sizes (I ran it on a 30 inch iMac, but it should run on a 1024 x 576 netbook). HeroCraft has been responsible for the Steam versions, since I’ve been busy with Six Ages, so I am not completely sure of the specifics. But I believe the Steam achievements are the same as those we added in 2.0. There are also Steam Cards (which may have some new art).

So if you played on Windows or Mac before, you’d be moving from 1.7 to 2.2. There are 48 new scenes and 4 new illustrations (plus a new Lore map). There are also new advisors, and a lot more advice in management screens. There are also more treasures. We made many bug fixes (such as unblocking two of the original scenes), and fixed typos. You no longer have to worry about sheep. The economics system should no longer be quite as harsh, with death spirals less likely. (Rest assured that the game is still difficult, especially on the Hard setting.)

The Tula screen was too difficult to rework, but it wasn’t part of game play. And HeroCraft originally started their porting before our scene contest, so those scenes are currently only in the iOS version.

We like to avoid spoilers, so it’s hard to talk about just what the four dozen new scenes are about. We did mention the Troll Hero before, however. And here’s the artwork for one of them.

So if you have played King of Dragon Pass on a laptop or desktop, but not a mobile device, there’s a lot of new stuff. And if you haven ’t played at all, now’s your chance!

16 July 2015

Full Circle

The King of Dragon Pass dynasty began in 1999 with its release on CD-ROM for Windows and Mac. We polished the game and enriched it with more stories, and brought it to iOS in 2011. HeroCraft ported it to Android in 2014. We’re pleased to announce that King of Dragon Pass will again be available for Windows and Mac, via Steam.

HeroCraft has brought the game back to the desktop, and added Steam goodness such as trading cards. And even if you played it on Windows or Mac before, you’ll find some game improvements, dozens of new stories, and new artwork.

King of Dragon Pass will be US$12, and available beginning 28 July!

15 April 2015

King of Dragon Pass Map

The upcoming Six Ages game will have a map much like King of Dragon Pass. A blog post describes how the map works.

29 October 2014

Happy Birthday!

Fifteen years ago, the first copies of King of Dragon Pass shipped from a warehouse in Seattle.

Since then, the game has been improved and adapted for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone 8, and the Windows version can now be downloaded.

We’ve sold over 100,000 copies of King of Dragon Pass. Not too bad for an indie game (even if it did take almost fifteen years). Thanks to all of you (especially the people who have bought it three or four times for different devices)!

To celebrate, King of Dragon Pass is now on sale for 50% off! Get it from the iOS App Store, Google Play, Amazon, or the Windows Phone store. The sale lasts five days.

One more thing.

For fifteen years, people have been asking about a sequel. We’re really excited to be working on a new game, tentatively called Six Ages. It’s an equally ambitious game, and won’t be out until 2016. You can read a little more on its development blog, or follow @SixAges on Twitter for updates.

29 August 2014

Watch It Play / Interview

Last night Brad Cummings of iOS Board Games played King of Dragon Pass for about an hour, while we talked about the game and answered player questions.

Brad was playing the iPad version, but the discussion covered the original desktop version, iPhone, and Android.

The video is archived here.

↵ Use original player
← Replay

11 August 2014


People have been asking about an Android version of the game since before it came out. There were technical challenges, but a major issue was that I have no particular expertise in Android development. And as a single developer, taking on such a major project would have meant that I couldn’t continue to enhance the game. And even if I did the port, selling via the various Android markets isn’t the same as going through the iOS App Store.

Fortunately, like a heroquester travelling on the Other Side, I could call for help. HeroCraft, a “top developer” on Google Play, took on the daunting task of making the game’s 50 screens work on arbitrary screen sizes. Plus all the other work needed to get a game that depends on UIKit, Apple’s Core Audio sound format, Game Center, etc. to run on different operating systems. And they own a lot more Android devices to test on than I do (just a Kindle Fire I bought to check out the port). Actually, with all that work, maybe they were the heroquesters, reenacting “The Making of KoDP…”

I’m extremely happy to say that the journey is now complete. King of Dragon Pass will be available via Google Play on 12 August for $9.99. If you’ve played the Windows or Mac version of the game, this is the updated version, with a host of new content, more advice, heroquest hints, and a somewhat simplified game. If you haven’t played before, you’re in for a treat!

As a veteran Android publisher, HeroCraft made a fun game trailer. (We probably should have made one ourselves, but wouldn’t have come up with their clever way of emphasizing the story aspects.)

Since I’m not an Android user, I was a little surprised that the game was a medium-sized download, but when you first launch, you need to download the bulk of the assets. I thought the size limit was a thing of the past, but I guess this is standard and you’re probably used to it as an Android user.

In a discussion with HeroCraft, the subject of piracy came up. I have no experience with Android publishing, but they certainly do. It’s a sad fact that people steal games for any platform, but it appears to be worse on Android. If my publisher is concerned, then I am concerned, since affects my livelihood, which in turn affects my ability to make more games. And actual sales will encourage HeroCraft to bring their port to more mobile platforms.

I hate to remind people, because I don’t think it’s you, but buy the game, don’t pirate it. (This may protect you and your friends from malware, too.)

If you haven’t played King of Dragon Pass yet, be aware that it’s a unique game that can be a bit hard at first. Check out the manual! We also have a tips page. And, welcome to Dragon Pass!