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Mobile versions (Android, iOS, Windows RT)

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(I haven't yet found the search option for this forum, so I don't know if this has been posted before.)

 

I think that the mobile platforms are becoming a popular choice for gaming, and will become even more so by the time the game arrives. I don't have a tablet yet, but I want one and I certainly see myself playing most games on it. In fact when Kickstarters offer options of what to choose, I choose Android, because I assume that by the time the games are around that's what I'll be using. (I already have an Android phone, which is why I feel that way, however its screen is too small for serious gaming.)

 

I'd love it if this game also offered mobile versions. Could be a high stretch goal, could be after release, but it's a definite draw for me. I'm also likely to pledge higher if that gets me the version. I'm just a small fry backer, but for example in Broken Sword the announcement that Android will be available as part of the $25 reward made me pledge for that. I think that the same would happen here if this was added to the $35 level.

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It has been stated that only PC versions (Win, Mac, Linux) are planned because porting the title to consoles and mobile devices would require too many compromises when it comes to user interface.


There are no doors in Jefferson that are "special game locked" doors. There are no characters in that game that you can kill that will result in the game ending prematurely.

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You mean in terms of processing power? I think that by 2014 when the game is expected to be released we'll have pretty powerful tablets. Even now $200 gets you a Google Nexus with four A9 cores and decent graphics. By 2014 Cortex A15 will likely be common, at least at the high end, and mobile GPU's will be quite powerful, but I'm sure even the low end will have pretty decent hardware.

 

(That was a reply to Krezack.)

Edited by ET3D

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Not sure about iOS devices...there are some old titles are going to be released, including Baldur's Gate EE, too.

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It has been stated that only PC versions (Win, Mac, Linux) are planned because porting the title to consoles and mobile devices would require too many compromises when it comes to user interface.

 

Thanks. A reference would be nice, but I'd trust that's been said. Still, I would prefer seeing the UI first. If BG can work on mobile, then I imagine that other RPG's of that style wouldn't have a huge problem, and Project Eternity is of this style. By the way bundling consoles and mobile together is pretty bad for such a discussion, since they have such different controls.

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Well, this is one of the reasons why I'm pondering on the engine. While back, although a designer called Nahaniel Chapman was writing about the possiblity of building old style games for tablet devices. However, he is working for a different company.

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It was MCA who said it, but I'm not sure where exactly.

 

We're not sure that BG can work on the mobile as is, there is likely a massive amount of UI work being done as we speak since the game just got delayed by 2 months.

 

Consoles and mobiles are completely different, of course, but both require completely different UI paradigms than traditional PC games.


There are no doors in Jefferson that are "special game locked" doors. There are no characters in that game that you can kill that will result in the game ending prematurely.

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The mobile UI paradigm is not completely different. Point and click works well for mobile, with well defined UI for things like zoom and drag. Some things are missing, such as right click, or the ability to use the keyboard dynamically. You can still use a keyboard easily for entering a character name or the like, and there's no need to program that (which I think you need on the consoles), but it obscures the screen, so is a problem when gaming.

 

Still, 3rd person RPG game interfaces tend to be designed to be mouse friendly, with keyboard shortcuts being just that -- shortcuts. Since touch is more natural than mouse, I feel that this shortcuts could be less needed anyway.

Edited by ET3D

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Since the topic keeps coming up in the Kickstarter, and things get lost in the comments there very easily, I decided to post my thoughts here.

 

I see two objections to a tablet version. One is that the interface will have to be different and if that's taken into consideration up front, it might negatively affect the PC based interface. The other is that it would take time and money which could be used for other purposes. (There's a third objection which says that tablets are not powerful enough, but I don't think that a game that's 2D with 3D characters will require power that these couldn't provide -- especially in 2014.)

 

One solution is to port to tablets only after release. This guarantees that the game is designed for the PC and all Kickstarter funds are used for the PC (/Mac/Linux) version. If Obsidian agrees even to this, I'm sure it will satisfy those who want tablet versions. It probably won't satisfy all anti-tablet people who would still feel that this takes away money from future projects or expansions, but I'll get to that point later on.

 

Now for a little more about the issues themselves.

 

First the interface. I admit that I haven't played the games in a while, but I dug out my Baldur's Gate and Planescape: Torment manuals and looked at the interface section. It's pretty clear from reading this that the interface is mainly mouse based and mostly uses the left click, although there are several things which use a right click. Shift and Ctrl (and Alt in Torment) are used as modifiers, but other than this it looks like keyboard is pretty much optional (and it's probably possible to live without these, either).

 

I have no idea how GemRB, the Infinity Engine emulator for Android, implements all the controls, and the YouTube clips I saw of it were rather limited (

). Unfortunately I only have an Android phone with a small screen, nor a MicroSD card with enough space to install one of the games, so I probably won't be able to experience this first hand any time soon.

 

The Wii U and Ouya (which I don't yet consider a real target, but still...) look to me like ideal candidates for the game, in terms of user interface. Both have a controller which has both touch and keys, which means that it can easily emulate a mouse plus multiple clicks and modifiers, and even keyboard shortcuts.

 

Tablets are limited to touch, so there will be a real need to adapt the controls, but it shouldn't be a huge problem to include on-screen modifiers and simulate right click and other (less important) features that way. Such an interface will be less optimal than a PC one, and "power gamers" who like the keyboard shortcuts will likely prefer to stay with the PC, but it should be completely playable.

 

Display size is another area which might be of concern, but I'm not sure how much. That remains to be seen, and since PC's span a large range of display sizes, it might not end up a serious problem.

 

 

As for the concern regarding spending money on this, it's no different than spending money on any other feature. Take Mac and Linux, for example. They will likely require hiring people who are familiar with these platforms, paying testers for these platforms, solving bugs specific to these platforms. Take features like languages support (translating the game's text) or multiplayer -- they're outside the core features, and they will still cost.

 

Each such feature is meant to expand the appeal of the game to a larger audience. The idea is that in the end such expenditure of time and money will pay for itself by bringing in more buyers. Tablet conversion is no different. Creating a tablet version would open up a new market for the game, and therefore should be seen, like other features, as a way to bring more money for Obsidian, which will therefore help future development. Looking at this as a detriment to game development is simply wrong.

 

That's why I see no reason why a tablet version shouldn't be added as a stretch goal. If we get to a point where features outside the core game start competing for attention, a tablet version has as much of a right to compete as the other things I mentioned.

 

The cost shouldn't be great. Unity supports Android and iOS (and the Wii U and Ouya). I think it would be a mistake to completely ignore these platforms, which is where a lot of gamers will be. I'm pretty sure that by 2014 I will play a lot of games on a tablet, because other Kickstarters do offer the option (Shadowrun Returns, for example).

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(There's a third objection which says that tablets are not powerful enough, but I don't think that a game that's 2D with 3D characters will require power that these couldn't provide -- especially in 2014.)

In my opinion, this is the most serious of the objections. The issue is not so much graphics as the CPU (for tracking dozens of different AI controlled characters on the screen simultaneously). Even the most powerful tablets are currently nowhere near a cheap Core i5 laptop and I do not believe that they will catch up (meaning, to this same 2012 Core i5 laptop) in one and a half years. Unless what they have in mind takes drastically less processing power than I think it does, the game cannot simultaneously use a ubiquitous PC to its full potential and be playable on a tablet.

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http://www.gamesindu...n-pubs-and-devs

 

Are consoles or tablet versions on Project Eternity's stretch goal list?

 

Feargus Urquhart: No they're not. It's a game that goes back to the roots of the great RPG games of the past and the focus of those was keyboard and mouse. Not that console games aren't great; they're just different. There's a big difference between Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance [for consoles] and Baldur's Gate II [for PC]. And we don't want to create some camel in the middle to try to straddle a line. It's do one thing or another, and we're going to try to do the PC and do that right.

 

Edit: Geez, the forum is not nice to me when I'm on my tablet. :p You mention the possibility of porting after ship; I'm not sure how the business model works with that, so I'll remain neutral on that particular point. But definitely not as a stretch goal, not after the interviews.

Edited by Ieo

The KS Collector's Edition does not include the Collector's Book.

Which game hook brought you to Project Eternity and interests you the most?

PE will not have co-op/multiplayer, console, or tablet support (sources): [0] [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

Write your own romance mods because there won't be any in PE.

"But what is an evil? Is it like water or like a hedgehog or night or lumpy?" -(Digger)

"Most o' you wanderers are but a quarter moon away from lunacy at the best o' times." -Alvanhendar (Baldur's Gate 1)

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That quote lumps console and tablet versions together, which doesn't make much sense. The UI necessary for a tablet is almost the same as that for a PC unless your game is keyboard-heavy, and doesn't really require designing the game around the interface limitations, whereas the UI necessary for a console necessarily means designing your game for that interface, and basically gimping it on a real computer.

 

Really, I think a tablet should be considered another form of PC (in the broad sense along with Mac/Linux); witness the number of games being remade for touchscreens with only minor changes, where a console port in infeasible or at least severely limiting.

 

(Obviously processing power is not going to be a limitation; a decent but relatively affordable tablet today is more powerful than the machines many people are still using for desktops. To think that this game will require anything remotely as powerful as an i5 is beyond ludicrous. [Edit: A quick troll around the Steam store for big-budget performance-heavy games shows a Core 2 duo as the highest CPU requirement I can find])

Edited by Waywocket

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You're right about performance, Waywocket. No game requires a Core i5. None. Even the heaviest FPS games can work well with a Core i3, a Pentium even. A game using the same model as games which were released in the Pentium 3 era? Sure lack of optimisation will likely require a little more hardware, but the mobile CPU's in tablets are multi-core, and I'd bet they win in processing power against PC's from 10 years ago.

 

As for that quote, yes, that's certainly the problem I have with it. And not only that, but as I mentioned the Wii U would probably be a very straightforward port, UI wise, since it has the combination of touch and keys. I don't expect any conversion to the Xbox or PS3, I agree these controls won't make sense, but Feargus Urquhart's response really just makes him sound clueless.

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Just looked at it, and for some reason it underlined the last line (probably because I copy-pasted his name). That wasn't intended at all. Unfortunately it looks like the editing option disappears after a while.

Edited by ET3D

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PC versions are priority.

 

They could start thinking about porting the game to Android/iOS tablets and the Wii U once the PC versions are finished and in the hands of the backers.

 

EDIT: You know... unless Nintendo offers to pay for a port during development, but that seems doubtful.

Edited by JediMB

Something stirs within...

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EDIT: You know... unless Nintendo offers to pay for a port during development, but that seems doubtful.

 

Not even then. No compromising design decisions for the sake of consoles.

Edited by evdk
  • Like 1

Say no to popamole!

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Photo of what I believe is an iPad running BG:EE - http://www.baldursgate.com/news/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/sc1.jpg

 

It would be entirely possible to port the game over if this is the style of UI they envision for Project Eternity. The fact they're programming it with Unity also makes it a fairly simple process. Regarding processing power... well... look at some of the games out on Android right now. Mass Effect: Infiltrator, for example... Minecraft: Pocket Edition. A decent phone can handle the 3D aspect with no problems (mine can run ME: Infiltrator with no issues. It's a Motorola Atrix). With that in mind, plus all the AI required for Mass Effect, I'm pretty sure a low-end Android device in 2014 could run the game (I'm going on the assumption low end in 2 years will be about the same as THIS years high end).

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EDIT: You know... unless Nintendo offers to pay for a port during development, but that seems doubtful.

 

Not even then. No compromising design decisions for the sake of consoles.

 

That's not what I said either.

 

There'd just be a secondary Nintendo-funded team working on adapting whatever the main team creates to work on the Wii U.

 

Note the now underlined and bolded words.


Something stirs within...

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read my lips: "PC only"

 

after the release they can port it to whatever platform they want. ipad, android phones, atari2600, toasters etc.


"if everyone is dead then why don't i remember dying?"

—a clueless sod to a dustman

 

"if we're all alive then why don't i remember being born?"

—the dustman's response

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How simple do you think the game is going to be, if you think you will be able to play it on a touch screen?


There is no such thing as a plea of innocence in my court. A plea of innocence is guilty of wasting my time. Guilty.

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PC versions are priority.

 

They could start thinking about porting the game to Android/iOS tablets and the Wii U once the PC versions are finished and in the hands of the backers.

 

EDIT: You know... unless Nintendo offers to pay for a port during development, but that seems doubtful.

 

Tablets and consoles are different, but the problem is that the tablet OSes stated in OP are still different OSes that require porting work, even ignoring the different hardware architecture (not talking about computing power). Thus, people really can't say "tablet" without specifying the specific OS in relation to the architecture---a Windows 7 tablet is vastly different from an iPad on so many levels. And of course add to that specific HID requirements on top of hardware architecture, computing power, memory, and required storage space.

 

If we were talking about a full Mac OSx tablet or Windows 7/8 tablet these days, it might work (I can attach a USB keyboard and mouse to mine, so I'd give it a go). People can keep talking about how Android/iOS tablets and whatnot should have enough computer power for an isometric game, that's all well and good, but a significant part of the PC platform is the HID: keyboard and mouse, not touch screen. The programming involved in allowing touch--on an architecture different from x86/32-64 no less--to properly replace both key/mouse is probably not insubstantial.

 

And people need to consider the nature of the game. Don't mention "But even phones can run a 3D game fine!" because those 3D games are little action games that don't require much if any reading. For a game that intends to have textual depth, I wouldn't want to run on a tiny screen where the dialogue options cover the entire thing and requires scrolling to boot. Ew. And forget about micro-managing a 6-party member!

 

Special comment:

I know for Android users, there's a way to install a working Linux boot beside the Android OS. So... that's kinda moot. :p

 

So. PC only, 3 full desktop OSes. After that, maybe a separate KS or something, but not for this.


The KS Collector's Edition does not include the Collector's Book.

Which game hook brought you to Project Eternity and interests you the most?

PE will not have co-op/multiplayer, console, or tablet support (sources): [0] [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

Write your own romance mods because there won't be any in PE.

"But what is an evil? Is it like water or like a hedgehog or night or lumpy?" -(Digger)

"Most o' you wanderers are but a quarter moon away from lunacy at the best o' times." -Alvanhendar (Baldur's Gate 1)

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How simple do you think the game is going to be, if you think you will be able to play it on a touch screen?

 

I think it'd be about as simple as Baldur's Gate, a game which will soon be available on tablets.

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