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The dream of building games simultaneously for iOS and Android always seemed like a goal just outside of our reach. Unfortunately, writing code for Android requires learning an entirely different set of tools than for iOS, and with a core team of just two, we wanted to play to our strengths. All our apps so far have been built in native iOS code.
Therefore, the decision to port Sorcery! to Android was a question of who? and how?
One of the things we did when adapting Sorcery! was to stuff it so full of hidden surprises and Easter eggs that wandering off the beaten track and trying new things would always be worth your time.
And with the series making its Android debut next Wednesday, we thought it'd be a good time to set a few challenges.
So, have you:
- Survived the fields of the Black Lotus?
- Met a man with an identical twin?
- Been eaten to death by bats?
- Collected 5 Giant's teeth?
- Collected more than seventy Gold Pieces?
- Killed Jann the Minimite?
- Solved the riddle of Daddu-Ley?
- Been cursed by a spirit?
- Set off, and survived, all three traps in the Manticore's maze in a single run?
- Completed the game without a single fight (except for the tutorial sparring match)?
- Met Vik the Slaver?
- Met the founder of the City of Kharé?
- Collected the Green-Haired Wig, the Cloth Skullcap, the Bracelet of Bone and the Gold-backed Mirror in a single run-through? (And we mean, a single one!)
- Bought the Legendary Sword? Or better still, bought it twice?
- Collected more than a hundred and fifty Gold Pieces?
- Burned down the market?
- Met the Goblin King - and incite a Goblin revolt against him?
- Rigged the fight in Dwarftown?
- Stolen gems and jewels from the God Courga?
- Gone bald?
Sorcery! 3 is still being written, but so far, if you're smart and observant, you should be able to:
- Learn a spell for summoning a Rock Demon...
- Meet Vancass again...
- Survive being crucified...
- Turn the jewel-studded collar into something more valuable...
- Leap across a canyon...
- Age to death, blow yourself up, and be eaten by ants...
- Turn into a snake...
- Get married...
- Create six giant invisible clones...
- ...and defeat all Seven Serpents while you're at it!
It's finally ready, and looking more beautiful than ever: the first part of Steve Jackson's Sorcery! will be hitting the Google Play and Amazon App stores on the March 12th.
Prepare to journey through the Shamutanti Hills, face deadly foes, and explore hundreds of different branches, areas, with thousands of choices, all of which are remembered. You can save as many different play-throughs as you want, ready to pick them up in Part 2 - which is over four times as long, and adds a host of new features.
Originally released for iOS last May, Sorcery! has been described as "the gold-standard for interactive fiction" by Pocket Gamer, "taking the genre of interactive fiction to a whole new level" by Kotaku and "some of 2013's best interactive storytelling" by IGN. Sorcery! featured in Game of the Year lists for Mashable, TouchArcade and Gamezebo.
A long time coming
So - we promised this at least six months ago. Why the delay? What started as a simple port turned into a reimplementation of huge portions of Apple's core iOS codebase. We'll go into more depth in a later blog post, because it might be of interest to other developers (but no, we didn't use Apportable).
Our developer, Iain Merrick, has managed to recreate the underlying iPhone and iPad systems used for user interface, imaging, audio and much more, in around three months. Until a few weeks ago, we weren't even sure it was possible: but now, it's ready, and we have an exact port of the original game, right down to using the same original Apple-specific code.
It also means Sorcery! 2 should be quicker to produce; and we're hoping that from Sorcery! 3 onwards we'll be releasing simultaneously cross-platform.
Actually - it's not quite a copy. If you get a chance, put the Android version side-by-side with the iPad version and prepare to be amazed. The addition of a quick pixel-shader has brought the map into crisp sharpness at the closest of zooms.
(The best thing about this port? We can take that pixel-shader code right back into the iOS version.)
What news on Part 3?
For those of you who've already made your way through the Shamutanti Hills and across the deadly cityport of Kharé, rest assured: The Seven Serpents are on their way. As you'll know, we don't just replicate the original gamebooks but extend and expand them into full adventures, packed with extra routes, new scenes, secrets, traps and consequences.
So far, we've written over half a million words of content, and while Part 3 is going to be a bit different than previous instalments, its certainly not going to get simpler.
We're typing away furiously, but we've got a few more months to go. Trust us; it'll be worth the wait.
We're making a new game. Think you know what it is? Care to bet?
Happy new year, everyone!
To celebrate the new year - and to take a few weeks off from actual development for once - we've spruced things up around here, with a brand-new layout for our website. From the front-page you'll now be able to see all the projects we've worked on over the last two years, from Sorcery! through Poems By Heart via First Draft of the Revolution and Frankenstein. Browse around and let us know what you think.
Also - we're looking to expand. Like what we do? Check out our join us page.
Oh, and if you're waiting on the Android release of Sorcery! - stay tuned, it's coming, promise.
2013 has been an amazing year for us, full of surprises, challenges, nerve-wracking moments and some real head-scratching about the size of a phone screen. And we just received the best Christmas present of all, which is this little badge:
If you don't recognise it, that's an Apple "Best of 2013" emblem, awarded to a handful of apps deemed the very best-of-the-best of the year's output to the App Store. This particular one comes attached to Poems By Heart, the app for memorising and sharing poems that we designed and developed for Penguin Classics USA. Poems was our first release of the year and came out last January, and was a headline app in the Education section of the Store for several months. It's now just been updated with additional content as well.
Sorcery! 2 has now been out just over a week, and several thousand people have entered the city: some of them have even left again. It's been an exciting week for us, trawling the internet on the look-out for reviews, which ranged from enthusiastic 5/5's like this one on Slide To Play to this 8/10 Silver Award-winning review on Pocket Gamer which reads like the reviewer had something of a harder time of it. The overall result is good - our Metacritic score is 88, three points up from last time around..!
Today is inkle's second birthday - and in another way, it's also Sorcery!'s, because today Steve Jackson's Sorcery! 2 has hit the App Store, ready to take you on an adventure into Kharé, the Cityport of Thieves.
The first few reviews are already in: Capsule Computers gives it 9.5/10, while at Pocket Tactics they went the whole way to 5/5, and at Gamezebo they say its "so artistic you'll want to hang it on your wall", with a 5/5 review.
A couple more bits of wordage on the internet in the last few days:
Lastly, inklewriter gets a brief but lovely mention in the Not A Game podcast on game authoring tools.