05 December 2010

The Tribe Map

This screen shot from today’s build tells a lot.

It’s a Big Game
We put a lot of effort into making things feel right. When you’re making a tribe, chances are you’ll want to see where they are. So we had special code to show the current map, rather than a static picture. Similar code is now in the iOS version. (It renders the map into an image, and uses that like any other picture.)

There are other places where we did something just for one scene. Of course we tried to generalize (programmer Shawn Steele was particularly good at this), but if it was important enough (i.e. it supported the story), we did it. The Kallyr storyline needed at least three custom features (for example, she’s the only person who can appear on the clan ring as a teenager).

Better in iOS
Obviously the screen’s smaller, but I’m trying to make things better than the original. This screen shows the new anti-aliased font. Less obvious may be the tribal boundaries.

Originally, we had separate Mac and Windows code to draw this. The Mac code was much simpler, because it used QuickDraw regions. On Windows, we had to manually set each white pixel. iOS doesn’t have QuickDraw, so I used the pixel-drawing code pretty much unchanged. But the pixels no longer need to be white — they’re now drawn with alpha, and are translucent. This means you can see that the river forms a natural boundary — it shows through.

The Same
I hope it also helps allay people’s fears that the game is being changed to fit the smaller device. There are obviously some changes, but playing through the tribe-making sequence today certainly felt the same to me.


  1. I would like to think that that the game isn't being changed to fit a new screen, rather is being updated to run better on a more modern device.

  2. From my experience with the PC game, I remember other tribes would sometimes generate partially on top of each other. This was manageable with the precision of a mouse pointer, but I can see there being issues that render some games unplayable on a small touch screen.

  3. Any one area was part of a single clan (and thus a single tribe), but it’s true that tribes might not end up contiguous, so the bounding box of two tribes could certainly overlap.

    However, I don’t think there’s a time you have to pick from the map (except Exploration). So precision shouldn’t be a big deal.

    Also, the map allows some zooming, which would make precision a little easier.