13 August 2010

Lots to Do

King of Dragon Pass is a pretty big game — over 400 crisis management activities, 75 individual clan leaders, 500 hand-drawn color illustrations, 28 musical compositions. Or you can look at how many words of text are in the game: about 462,000.

But those numbers don’t really have much to do with converting the original game to iOS (the operating system of iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad). The assets can be converted to the small screen with Photoshop batch actions.

King of Dragon Pass has three parts: the game engine (written in C++), interactive scenes (written in our custom scripting language, OSL), and UI code (originally done with mTropolis). It’s the UI that needs redoing for iOS.

The game has something like 30-40 screens or dialogs (not counting help screens). All have to be redone. Many need new layout or simplification, and sliders and buttons have to be hooked up.

We also need to handle the UI for OSL functions like ChooseClan, which lets you pick a clan in the middle of an interactive scene. Here’s a quick look at where we stand so far:
Some of these are relatively rare (if I recall correctly kChooseName is used in only two scenes), but they all need to be reimplemented, and tested.


  1. kChooseName is used only two scenes, but two VERY important scenes!

    I don't know if you've already settled on the design for the new UI, but I think there are two approaches you may take:

    -First, you can have individual relevant sliders come up a the bottom of the screen, without obscuring the whole screen. The advantage is that this would be less intrusive.

    -Or, you can have one unified screen that contains all sliders of the same category (e.g. one screen for cows/horses/sheeps/goods/food and one for thegn/carl/aux); sliders that are not relevant here would be greyed out. The advantage here is that the player would quickly get used to the position of different sliders, and can quickly identify which slider is for which figure.

    Also, to save more screen space, may I recommend more iconization overall? KoDP had very little in the way of icons, but things like cows, children, etc. can easily and intuitively represented by icons.

  2. Things to simplify:
    1. What to plant. Even when I got a warning from the ancestors at the beginning of the year, I rarely modified what I planted.

    2. Shrines, sheep, and pigs. I have no idea what pigs are good for, other than as flavor text. (And as flavor... bacon... yum...) Shrines are important, but just tell me if I don't have enough animals to keep them going.

    3. Weaponthane assignments. The Ring should not have to tell them how to balance between inner and outer patrols, let them do it. Maybe have a warning when there are too few weaponthanes at home to provide an Early Warning System.

  3. OMG! I can't believe that my favourite computer game (evah) is about to resurface... Please tell me I will be able to play it on OS X?

    I will buy an iThing if I have to but I want to play on my laptop....


  4. I don't think I understand the slider comments. The UI will be broadly similar.

    Icons are tricky. My instinct says there are too many things to show, and with only 16 pixels to do it in, it won't work. It's not like you can have tooltips to explain the difference between the Nobles and Weaponthanes, frex.

    There's no connection between Mac OS X apps, running under Mac OS X on an Intel processor, and iOS apps, running under iOS with an ARM processor…