31 October 2011

iPad Plans

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.


  1. Personally I don't feel the need to have full-screen images for the iPad port. In my experience playing other gamebook apps, I've always appreciated a good clean and effective interface more than having full-screen images. We pay much more attention to the former.

    Thus I kind of imagine that the iPad will provide more interface space than on the iPhone/iPod. So, the images will never be blocked.

    Perhaps the screen could display all the universally important stats and screens without having to thumb through one by one using the menu button now? E.g. I think having a dedicated map area would be nice, and a stats panel showing resources?

    Just my 2 cents! I've only been playing KoDP for a few days and still discovering its beauties!

  2. Yup — I forgot to say the images won’t need to be covered.

    The universally important stats are already shown everywhere. The extreme form of your “all stats” suggestion would end up with an airliner cockpit, which is obviously not a clean interface…

  3. Main thing I want to know is whether we (purchasers of the iPhone version) will need to re-purchase the game again for the iPad?

    I'm really not keen on spending another bunch of "cows" (get it?) for the game. I am already playing the current game (2x) on the iPad as previous statements seemed to indicate that there won't be an iPad version coming out. I'll be very disappointed if this was not the case.

    Good game btw.

    My little nuances:
    - Can you add some sort of indicators on the map for which parts have or have not been explored?
    - Some sort of animations of the tribe (e.g. hunting, farmers sowing, etc) during seasons would really add to the "feel" of the game.
    - Hard to determine how many "moves" I have during the seasons. I now know that it's roughly 2 moves per season but it's not very clear. Maybe this is in the manual?

    Again ... great game.

  4. I’ll say it again: our goal is to be Universal. (Which means a single build that runs native on iPhone and iPad.) I guess we could have delayed mentioning the iPad build until we knew for sure that Universal is possible.

    The map does show what’s been explored! If not there’s some bug we need to discuss.

    We are not adding costly animations.

    The manual does in fact say you have exactly 2 turns per season.

  5. Cheers for the replies, mate.

    Got another question for you. Do the location of clans on the map matter? Basically I was wondering whether the distance between clans affect the success of attacks, alliances, etc ...

    Atm it feels like I can attack any tribe wherever they are on the map.

  6. Yes, location matters. Though more loosely than many games. I don’t recall that raw distance matters much if at all, but whether another clan is neighboring or not affects if you can raid each other. (Feuding clans are always willing to go to the effort.)

    Once you are in a tribe, you can raid anywhere.

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  8. I would prefer it to be a universal build. I bought KoDP to support you straight away and as you originally said that an iPad build was extremely unlikely., despite only playing it on my iPad.

    I think adding universal would please the most people (as lots of people have two devices or dreams of an iPad in the future) whereas another release would cause resentment at (perceived) double dipping.

    I think the best approach might be that taken by World of Goo Sword & Sworcery. Make the current build universal (alongside a price hike?) and simultaneously release a new iPhone only edition at the current (or lower?) price.

    You'll get a lot of coverage on iOS sites. Early adopters get more for their money and so will generate positive feedback during the publicity of the update, Anyone really frustrated by the increased size (although I very much doubt it) have the option to repurchase (with maybe an special offer at release),

    This would work especially well If your planning on charging more for the game once it becomes a Universal build as you can also advertise that people should buy the game now at the lower price to get the universal upgrade cheap. This was the approach Carcassonne took and seemed to work well for them.

  9. I’ll say it again: our goal is to be Universal.

    But I am pathologically unable to promise things unless I’m very confident I can deliver. I haven’t done a Universal app, let alone one of this size, so I don’t know if any unforeseen issues will show up.

  10. Thank you! An iPad Version is what i hoped for! <3

  11. Cool. And cheers for an excellent, excellent game.

  12. I really hope somewhere down the line that you'll get the resources to add iCloud support. I play mostly on my iPad, but sometimes it would be awesome to get a couple of turns done on your iPhone. Today I have the game installed on my iPad and iPhone, but i never touch the copy on the iPhone since I'd have to play the entire game stuck on the device.

    I understand that this would be a costly initiative. I'll do my bit, I'll ramp up my efforts to get EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. of my friends hooked on the game.