12 May 2013

4 Inch Display

I really have to wonder when I see a one star review in the App Store that reads: “I have to give 1 star to any game that doesn't optimize for the iPhone 5... Its just to easy of a fix.” (sic)

One star? Really? The game is awful because it was created before the iPhone 5 existed, and has not been altered to use the wider screen? If the reviewer stopped to think at all, is adding 88 pixels of width to a landscape game really going to make that much difference? In other words, is this screen
really so incredibly worse than this one?

In almost every possible case, getting extra width buys you very little with a landscape application. Text lists still scroll vertically, and the landscape height of an iPhone 5 screen is exactly the same as the landscape height of every other iPhone. So a bigger screen doesn’t mean less scrolling.

As for easy, it turns out that we had to rework 31 different screens. In many cases, it was an easy enough transformation, like the one above. But there were cases where because we’d put in so much effort making sure the game worked on the original iPhone that it needed new design and coding to work on a different layout. In particular, for the one area where the game can be a little better on the iPhone 5’s 4 inch display. Interactive scenes always allow you to view the entire illustration, but during play it’s partially covered with text.

On the wider display, less of the picture is obscured.

(I suppose we could show more text instead, but as shown above, it doesn’t always need to scroll. It seemed like a better tradeoff to favor art over text.)

Obviously it’s better to fully support the new screen size, but we could have used the money to commission new artwork instead of new versions of the same user interface elements. And used developer time to create new scenes, instead of redoing 31 different screens to show 18% more pixels (18% more blank parchment in many cases).

As you might have guessed from the screen shots, we are in fact adding new assets and code to support the 4 inch display as well as the 3.5 inch display on iPhone and iPod touch. But it’s because Apple now requires this, not because this game really gets better because of this effort.


  1. Hahaha, David, you're too sensitive when it comes to comments like this. Like Erik said, there will always be assholes. But don't worry, the KoDP-playing crowd is not the kind that gets deterred by invalid opinions like this

  2. Bought this game a few months ago. It was the first iOS game I ever bought, and I still haven't found another game close to as good.

    1. Oh, but I should add this: It's great for long plays, but for short bursts, it's much more difficult. I find if I forget the narrative I've got going in my head, I botch the important choices. Being able to see how you allocated clan magic during the Sacred Time from within the history might help a bit.

    2. Thanks!

      Note that your advisors will mention Sacred Time allocations in almost all relevant situations. If there’s a specific case where you need to know, we may be able to add it.

  3. Any news yet on your major update? The one that adds a whole lot of new scenes?