A number of people have asked if the iPad build would be Universal — the same app running in native resolution on both iPhone (and iPod touch) and iPad.
We don’t know.
It is absolutely our plan to do that — I’d like people to keep their Game Center achievements, or play on any device. But we’ve also been actually developing for only two days, and it’s early to make promises.
Although there have been only two days of coding, I didn’t even start that until I came up with a design that should work on iPad. There’s no value in simply blowing the existing interface up to fill the larger screen — iPad can already do that. Well sure, you’d have crisper text, but you’d still be scrolling through advisors and text.
And, since we didn’t have a perfect crystal ball in 1997 when we began our art pipeline, the highest resolution available for images is 640 x 480 pixels. There’s no way to fill the iPad screen without introducing some distortion, however kind a good filter might be.
Someone asked if it would be the same UI as the desktop version. Besides the fact that the original crammed in a lot of controls and wasn’t at all touch-friendly, I think we can do a better job presenting information with the extra real estate.
So there will be larger images than the iPhone version, and larger text.
Now that iOS 5 is out, what about iCloud? Wouldn’t it be cool to play a game on your iPad, and play a turn or two on your iPhone while you’re waiting in line at the post office?
Of course it would. But what happens if neither device is online, and you play a few turns on each? There would need to be a way to resolve the conflict. And UI to specify whether to use iCloud at all. This is starting to seem like a lot of work that would actually not be that great a benefit to that many people. I don’t want to delay the project for features that won’t actually let more people play, so there will be no iCloud support.
So there’s still a lot of uncertainty — I don’t know for sure it can be Universal. Likely this depends in part on how large it ends up (it will almost certainly be at least twice as big a download), which I don’t know. And I don’t know how long it will take. (So far none of the approximately 40 screens is really redone.) But I hope that still provides some information as to what’s going on.
Oh, one more thing. If you only have an iPhone or iPod touch, and it’s a much larger Universal build, what’s in it for you? I have at least one new scene (with new artwork) planned, and there will be bug fixes. So hopefully it will be worth the download for everyone.