Tom ClanCy's End War.
HigHborn - strategy game on iPHone
» When Jet Set Games set out to build HigHborn for the iPhone and iPad, we
looked at other strategy games on the App Store, discussed what we’d like to
play as gamers, and spent a lot of time thinking about how players use the
device. We came away with some insight and worked to design around the
device’s shortfalls and play up to its strengths.
The first issue that drove us crazy in numerous games was what we
called the “fat fingers” problem on a touch screen interface. When a device’s
display is also its primary interface input, you are immediately forced to
simplify the UI so the display is obscured as little as possible. Tilt and voice
controls were ruled out immediately, and the only viable option left for us
was to separate the user’s input (fingers on the screen) from a resulting
action. We did this by making the primary gameplay in HigHborn turn based,
which conveniently solved several other issues as well.
Second, we realized that users were likely to get interrupted frequently
while playing a game, either by a phone call, text message, or something in
their environment. Gameplay needed to handle pauses in such a way that
the action was easy to get back into without the player being confused
because they stopped in the middle of an attack and couldn’t recover their
battlefield memory to figure out what was going on and what to do next.
Again, the turn-based design solved this problem by breaking the game into
numerous smaller bits that waited for user input before continuing.
We felt the game needed a multiplayer component, but we didn’t want
to build a real-time system since, as any iPhone user knows, the network
connection isn’t completely reliable, nor did a real-time system mesh with our
belief that the game needed to gracefully handle frequent interruptions. The
three options we considered were a proximity based connection via Bluetooth
or ad hoc WiFi, a pass-and-play system where two users take turns playing on
a single device, or an asynchronous system that could be played online.
We decided on an asynchronous system, and built a lightweight server
Command & ConquEr.