11 December 2010

Big Game

I mentioned that King of Dragon Pass is a big game. The original was something like 450 megabytes. (We fit both Mac and Windows on the same 650 MB CD by sharing files between the two file systems.) Now, that’s without any compression (I don’t think we had the option, though since it fit without compression we might have avoided it for speed). And the iOS version is for a smaller 480 x 320 pixel display, so the assets will be smaller. So the iOS version won’t be that large.

For development, I’ve exported all the scene artwork at the highest JPEG compression — also known as the worst quality JPEG compression. Since the game needs to be copied to a device for testing, smaller is definitely better. It will be easy to drop in higher quality art at the end (it takes the same amount of memory when decompressed, and reading from flash memory is quick, so I don’t expect any changes).

So right now, the game is about 57 MB. My worst case estimate is that it’ll jump up to about 150 MB with the right art. That’s pretty big, but the largest game I have is Monkey Island 2 at 398 MB. And the largest Apple will allow is 2 GB. You won’t be able to download King of Dragon Pass over the cellular network (the limit for that is 20 MB), but over WiFi or with iTunes on your computer it shouldn’t be that bad.

I just learned that the Android Market is raising its size cap, from 25 MB to 50 MB. I wasn’t planning an Android version for various other reasons, but I hadn’t realized that King of Dragon Pass could not be sold through the easiest channel. This puts any future Android version in serious doubt, I’m afraid. Maybe things will change next year.


  1. you could always drastically reduce the art quality for the android version.
    and i saw appstore apps as big as 600mb (such as the recent dungeon hunter 2)

  2. Well, the art is already at the greatest possible compression. Besides, it seems wrong to release a game that won an award for its art with art that I know is ugly.

    I *might* be able to compress the sound more. But then it would probably start to sound bad.

    Mostly I was shocked to discover that the Android Market limit was so small.

  3. How much attention you are giving to the iPad version? I wouldn't underestimate it as a games platform. I realise the art won't fit the screen, that's okay, but extra UI elements in the space would be great.

    I never played the original version of this game. Having become interested in Glorantha in the last couple of months via MRQII I'm very excited to play it.

  4. No retina display resolution? :( I'm sure it'll still look wonderful, but it would be nice.

  5. The push is to get an iPhone/iPod touch game out. iPad is going to need entirely different layout.

    Good to hear that the game might get new players — that’s the idea behind porting to a modern platform!

    It will sort of be a Retina Display hybrid. Some of the UI elements are at high resolution, and they look really crisp. The game uses a lot of text, which is why it was so important to get the font right. The scene art doesn’t exist at a higher resolution though, it’s really the same problem as iPad.

  6. Was the art to originally digital? Or could you re-scan the old art? I guess you've already looked into doing this stuff.

    I think google will up the app size limit again before too long.

  7. Consider it all digital. (Even if I had and could rescan all the original art, it wouldn’t be the same — Stefano Gaudiano touched up a lot of it after scanning.) Our crystal ball was not so good in 1998…

    I agree the Android Market size cap will probably increase. But planning development effort around something that might happen sometime isn’t a good idea.

    BTW, just added art for the victory sequence, which adds another 3 MB to the size.

  8. RAGE is 537 MB, RAGE HD is 744 MB. Still don't really know what the largest iOS app is, but as long as KoDP isn’t too huge, I’m happy.

  9. Hello,

    I'm glad this wonderful game is still alive, if on a platform I don't own and don't plan to own.

    And I know the game is still technically available for purchase on Your website.

    Still, have You considered putting it on GoG? (Good Old Games)

    I quite like the ability to purchase great games and download them immediately after paying with Paypal.
    And it seems the site and format are gathering more and more attention by gamers.

  10. Jan, have you considered getting an iPod touch or an iPad? Both are getting more and more attention from gamers. And are the most reasonably priced offerings in their category as well.

    The original game requires a CD. Nobody ever believes that we tried and failed to work around that. There’s only so much you can do with a development system that was discontinued in 1998.

  11. Ouch, witty. I did not know about the need for CD. Now I know and can go be stupid somewhere else.


  12. Hi David,

    First - thank you so much for doing this, I'm going to buy the hell out of it the moment you release it.

    But - why not just have the download be the CDROM image and bundle it with a virtual drive? I understand there are pirated versions that will do that, so it seems a pity you can't get some of the immense goodwill people have for the game on the net turned into cash!

  13. I didn't want to say it like that, so, thanks, seb.

    I get it you focus on the iPad version, but putting the CD image up on GoG doesn't seem like an impossible undertaking.

  14. That doesn’t sound like it would be easy to provide technical support for.

  15. Not an insurmountable (<= obscure pun) issue, surely?

    Alternatively you could sell the image and then get people to burn it onto a CD.

    But...ok. Your game, after all.

    I'm just sad it doesn't get as much attention/money as it should, given how good it was. I think the sort of high quality/low availability game that KoDP is means a lot of people would love to drop a few bucks on a download rather than going to the torrents.

    As I said, very glad the ipod version is coming out soon and I'll be pimping it all over the place.

  16. If you were to go through Good Old Games, I believe the tech support burden would be theirs. And they have some experience more or less transparently packing the original game with whatever ancillary software is required to get things to run nowadays (DOSBox, Glide wrappers, etc.). I don't know if they'd necessarily be interested or be able to offer terms you'd be up for, but it seems like a reasonable thing to investigate.

  17. Do you mean to say that the CD check keeps you from selling the game as a download only? I don't see how it's a real problem, because (at least in Windowses up to XP) you only need to mount/subst a directory with the CD content copied into it as a new drive letter and label it "KoDP". I do something like that to be able to play in OSX.

    I would expect you to be able to write a launcher for that in mere moments.

  18. I appreciate your confidence in our Windows XP skills, but I think it’s misplaced…

    Once again, since nobody ever believes it: we tried to remake the game. But when a 10 year old development system builds something that doesn’t quite work, there’s not much that can be done.

    If you want the game for Windows or Classic Mac, we can get you a copy. (Just got an order today, in fact.)

  19. I know this is a really old conversation, but the GoG team has experience getting old, finicky games working on modern systems. If they can find a way to get Win95 (not DOS) games to run smoothly on Windows 7, they can probably do the same for KoDP. I know a number of people without iOS who would be interested in a GoG version of KoDP (myself included). CDs are so... cumbersome. And easily lost.

  20. Possible doesn’t mean easy, and they are not at all sure it is even possible. I think you would get the game faster by saving up for a used iPod touch or iPad.

  21. Hi,

    I only just recently dicovered KoDP, and having played games for 25 years now, I must say this is the first time I had overlooked/not heard of something as good as this. Really, I am designing a game right now, which I though would have deep choices with consequences, but now... Well, back on the drawing board with a few new ideas :D

    Anyway just wanted to join in insisting you put this on gog. I know you mentioned you need the cd to get it working, but I found that to not be true. I am running my game on Windows 7 64 bits just by copying the mt and Opal folders along with the executable to my drive. Applied the patch, then I just pointed Mtplay95 to the Opal directory, and voila. This last step could be easilly implemented via batch file. Looks tiny because of my screen resolution, but no cd needed whatsoever.

    At any rate, I do encourage you to get in touch with the guys at GoG. They are fellow developers (CD Projekt Red, of the Witcher series) and have managed to make pretty much every game under the sun ran properly on modern systems. Plus I'm sure at least one or two people there are good fans of your game.

    Please, there's really no good reason not to at least get in touch with them, and from a commercial standpoint it can only mean more sales and more exposure, for the price of a couple of emails.

    KoDP will end up being regarded as a true classic in interactive entertainment history. This game deserves to be preserved and introduced to new generations.

    Looking forward to the Universal build (only have an ipad2), but even more so to future games you will hopefully doing. And if you've got funding problems, there's kickstarter :D

    Thanks for KoDP!