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.

1 comment:

  1. I'd be very willing to pay a few dollars for an IAP Expansion that adds more to the game, maybe 3-4 dozen new scenes and 3-4 new ring member portraits complete with aging, maybe a couple more clans and a few more magic items. Such an expansion would enrich the game breadth-wise but not depth-wise, serving to enhance variety during play and thus increase replayability (which is already high) intead of extending the duration of games.

    Personally, I'd particularly love some more ring member portraits. It feels like I keep seeing the same ones again and again and again.