15 April 2014

King of Dragon Pass for Android Update

When I woke up this morning, I noticed that there was starting to be talk about a port of King of Dragon Pass. Since I knew I wouldn’t be able to post in depth for another 11 hours or so, I posted a quick note. Unfortunately, this ended up not clarifying things, but instead propagated some misinformation.

It’s impossible to call things back on the Internet, but in an attempt to correct what I wrote incorrectly:

Yes, we have authorized HeroCraft to port King of Dragon Pass to a number of platforms. And while information on their web site mentioned PS Vita and Windows Phone, they have not really announced anything. I should have waited for them.

They do have an Android version of King of Dragon Pass. I have run an early build on a Kindle Fire HD 7 inch. And I now know that they plan to launch first on Android, and then consider other platforms.

But other than that, there is not much I can say. The game will be published by HeroCraft  so pricing and availability is up to them. I’m sure they will let everyone know.

I can speak on a few questions:

What version will the Android port be?
Given that A Sharp has not finished the 2.3 update, I would expect it to be based on 2.2.x. (I’d have to track down exactly which version I sent them.)

Will 2.3 come to Android?
That would be great. It will be up to HeroCraft.

Didn’t you say Android was impossible?
Originally yes, it was. The Android Market eventually changed.

Will it run on…?
I have only seen it running on a Kindle Fire HD 7 inch. I know that HeroCraft is well aware that there are many other Android devices. We’ll have to wait for their release to know for sure.

Once again: an Android version of King of Dragon Pass 2.x is in the works. There may or may not be a Windows Phone or PS Vita version. My apologies to HeroCraft for posting this morning.

09 April 2014

How We Update

As you may know, we’re working on an update which will include the winner of the Scene Contest and a number of other new scenes. We actually added so much that we had to revise the file format (it wasn’t really designed for expansion back in 1997, and we didn’t rework it for the iOS version).

All screen shots are from actual App Store updates
But we always make sure you can continue a game you’ve started. King of Dragon Pass is a long game, and it would be unreasonable to have players not upgrade because they’re in the middle of a game. So KoDP reads the previous format, but writes the new format. In fact, we’ve done this before, so it can read several old formats. We also sometimes have to go through gyrations to make sure new variables appear only at the end of our data files. (During development, we’re less strict about this, and testers occasionally have to discard games in progress.) Just to make sure, I just loaded a game which was actually saved in 2011, before the 2.0 release.

We also do our best to test all the new content. There are 16 new full scenes, plus news and other followups. We run through every outcome of every choice, ideally in the context of a normal game. The last thing we want is an update that has serious bugs! All this play can uncover minor bugs in previous parts of the game, and we fix those too.

Finally, we want the update to be free to everyone who’s bought the game. That’s pretty much how the App Store works, but I suppose we could make new content an in-app purchase. While episodic content may sometimes work like this, King of Dragon Pass was not designed to be broken into chapters. There are other reasons for making the update free, but a big one is that don’t want to ruin the play experience.

Version 2.3 is not yet ready to go, but when it is, it will be quality software that’s compatible with ongoing games, and will be a free update.