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March 31, 2010

Age of Conquest: World Map

Filed under: Development — noblemaster @ 10:48

The world map for Age of Conquest has come back from the artist! The map dimensions are currently set at 4000x2222 pixels. There will be a lower resolution version for smartphones, but the PC, Macintosh & Linux version slated for later this year will take full advantage of size. Please note that Europe has been enlarged compared to the other continents.

Also, in other news: Symbian is dead. I got the latest on Symbian smartphone development: Java ME on Symbian OS: Inside the Smartphone Model (ISBN: 978-0470743188). The book goes on to describe the various “options” to do development for Symbian. There is a separate SDK for every device type making development very time-consuming. There is no single place to publish a mobile application making selling an application or game a nightmare. Conclusively, there will be no Age of Conquest on Symbian unless things improve a lot.

Age of Conquest III - World Map

March 30, 2010

Review: Crusader Kings Deus Vult

Filed under: Miscellaneous — noblemaster @ 10:31

I spent some time playing Crusader Kings Deus Vult by Paradox Entertainment for the sake of fun as well as spying on the competition. I was close to putting the game away after spending half an hour trying to “play” it. There is no tutorial or anything to help explain things. The tooltips were helpful, but didn’t explain how all the variables influenced all the other things in the game. I finally looked at some YouTube video footage that detailed some of the basic game play.

The Good:

  1. Captivating! A must for strategy game enthusiasts.
  2. The game allows managing everything from members of your court, diplomacy, military, economy, provinces to the empire as a whole.
  3. Sophisticated diplomacy management make it both challenging and interesting to play.
  4. Endless hours of entertainment, once you get the hang of it. It’s a bargain for $25.

The Bad:

  1. The graphics look good enough, but the user interface is simply a pain to navigate. Clicking on provinces, military units and factions is difficult.
  2. There should only be one zoom level for the map. You are either too close or too far away from the map. The overview map should have the various provinces colored.
  3. Micromanagent: there should be an option set some of the features to auto. There is no fun in managing every single member of your court. Also, there isn’t much fun in managing your ruler’s character traits. There are too many lengthy messages boxes that force you to make a choice: “choose this button if you want to do A. Please note there is a 25% chance that your ruler receives the trait Illness and a 10% chance your Piety changes by -1.0 or a 50% that your mother leaves you and your father looses -20 prestige or…” (and that’s just the first button)
  4. Accidentally clicking a message box. Every so often just the instant before you select a province, a message pops up and you select one of the buttons by accident. Especially annoying if you just declared war against a big empire.
  5. Unclear relations between the various variables. It is difficult to manage your empire if you don’t know what all the various options do. Although the rollover texts provide some guidance many things are left unexplained.
  6. Bugs and crashes…

The game is definitely worth playing. A streamlined version of it could make it an exceptional game. You can download the Crusader Kings through GamesGate. Get the Deus Vult edition for $25.

March 25, 2010

Phone Give Away(s) by Google

Filed under: Miscellaneous — noblemaster @ 12:47

So, I finally received my Nexus One in the mail. Google is giving away a free phone to every finalist (N. American Conquest)  in the Android Developer Challenge. In other news, Google is also giving away a free phone for developers that have an application with rating 3.5 or higher in the Android Market. So, I am expecting to receive another phone in the mail anytime soon. It’s either going to be the Nexus One or the Droid by Motorola.

Anyhow, the Nexus One works great! The speed is amazing. It replaces the free HTC Tattoo that I received a while ago to port Age of Conquest to the smaller screen size. The Tattoo was quite a disappointment. It “runs” very slow. The touch screen isn’t working very well; to get things moving, you had to press down really hard.

If I indeed get another free Nexus One, what should I do with the 2nd phone?

March 24, 2010

Development Timeline for 2010+

Filed under: Business,Development — noblemaster @ 15:17

Titles/Updates in Production for 2010:
Q2/2010 Complete Age of Conquest ONLINE Development for Android
Q2/2010 Noble Fart for Symbian (to evaluate the Symbian platform)
Q4/2010 Age of Conquest Standalone Single Player for Desktop (PC, Mac, Linux)
Q4/2010 Age of Conquest V3 Multiplayer for Desktop (PC, Mac, Linux)
Q1/2011 Age of Conquest Online Tournaments
Q3/2011 Age of Conquest AI Bot Competitions

Titles in Evaluation for 2010:
Q2/2010: Age of Conquest World Map for iPhone/iPad (under evaluation)
Q2/2010: Age of Conquest for iPad (under evaluation)
Q3/2010: Age of Conquest for Symbian (under evaluation)
Q3/2010: Pandemic Game for Android (in planning, design phase)

Please note, maintenance releases and updates for existing titles on all platforms are not listed, but will be completed in addition to endeavors listed above.