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Designing Naked War again

Blog posted by Ste Pickford on Fri, 21 Dec 2012
Subject: Naked War iOS

Ste Pickford

We've been working on bringing our strategy game Naked War to iOS over the course of this year, working with ace programmer Malcolm Stead over in Canada.

Right from the start we knew there was going to be a fair amount of re-design work needed on the UI, to make it suitable for touch-screen.

This proved to be true.

We also knew there was going to be a certain amount of re-design work needed to make the business model of the game work on iOS (free to play, with some IAPs).

This, again, proved to be true.

What we were absolutely certain about, from the beginning, was that the core game itself was solid, and didn't really need any re-design work at all.

This proved to be slightly less true.

As we talked through all of the ideas we had to make the game work on iOS some of the little tweaks we came up with to suit the new business model blossomed into great little additions to the game that were too good to be ignored, and several of these new features leaked from the game structure into the actual game itself.

Before we knew it we were making changes to how a game begins and ends, placing individual 'battles' within the context of ongoing 'wars', including 'surrender' options and 'peace treaties', adding 'ambushes' and in-game achievements and 'wildcard' events, and allowing players to 'salute' each other after a war is over, all of which meant re-designing aspects of the core game itself and the way that turns are sent.

My head has been spinning this last couple of weeks, as I tried to pin down all the possible sequences of turns for each of the different situations that a player can find themselves in. I spent days scribbling down little diagrams of turn flow, spotting errors, starting again, then remembering some exception, and scrapping the whole thing and starting over again.

I looked at a page of my sketchbook the other day and saw this horrible, convoluted, spidery, scribbly mess!

This has all now been converted into clean, clear, precise documentation, so I can look back at this page and smile, and hope that I don't have to unravel it all again.

Two player asynchronous turn based games are not easy to design, even though they're very easy to play.


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