Developer Letter #01
this is the Catan Universe dev teams' blog. So sorry that we are coming late - we were busy doing our homework, fixing bugs and trying to bring you a better version of Catan Universe in the last months. Hope you have some fun with the new Tradeboard™ version that makes trading resources easier and much faster than before. Did I mention the Trade Preferences© functions for showing what you want to trade to other players in the player frame?
With this blog we wanted to tell you what's going on behind the scenes, what we are currently doing and what we are planning for the future. Hopefully we will find the time to give you further insight to all departments involved, from (of course) the development team to the artists to the QA.
So I am going to start with my part, the coding and implementation of the new user interface for the mobile platforms (Android and iOS). Together with Benni, our great artist and Head of Art, we created most of the new UI (some will follow in the not too distant future) in a month or so. The big challenge on running such a complex game like Catan on mobile screens is to find space for all the information that we need to show, from game setup and elo high score tables to the many information shown in game.
So we decided to move some data from the top player frames (like the Largest Army/Longest Road indicators) to a completely new screen that will only be available on mobile UI. You will be able to see the Scoreboard® while pressing the scoreboard button in the left bottom, to have it quick at hand. No click-click, tap-tap... holding down shows what you need - let go with your thumb and it is gone.
Speaking of buttons' positions - all buttons needed for playing the game are positioned directly at your thumbs, while the chat and game settings can be found at the usual positions.
What else? The whole main menu had to be recreated and redesigned. So while Benni worked on the new screens (created buttons, made the player and guild entries look good and accessible, and positioning the whole stuff on the screen), I took the time to overhaul all the UI code we had generated over the last year or so. Which was sometimes a painful experience - coding in a hurry and not finding the time to refactor code will always come back at you at times. Making the code more generic was the deal - that means making things work on both the desktop and mobile UI screens, which look completely different and have different control elements. The Unity game engine can be a great help when programming for more than one platform, but it won't take the actual design questions from you.
Our task was to create the mobile UI - but of course Benni and I couldn't let the fingers of the desktop UI, so you will find some news on that side, too. One of the most important changes is the game log / chat window, which will always be visible on desktop.
Hope you will see that soon,
and greetings from our side!
Sebastian "The Denz"
from the Dev Team