Hi, Mark Damon Hughes here.

I write neat little strategy and role-playing games for the iPhone.

I also help other people write their apps for the iPhone; if you need a contractor, I can solve any problem for you.

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Mark Damon Hughes

MDH's Software Blog

Castles 2.0 2009-07-25 12:30:00 GMT
in games/castles
by Mark Damon Hughes
[Screenshot1] [Screenshot4]

Castles 2.0 is now available on the App Store!
Castles Lite is available as a free trial, limited to the Easy difficulty.
Castles is $4.99, with Challenge and Nightmare difficulties.

What's new?

Your game is now saved on exit, restored on relaunch. I originally didn't have saves because a Castles game typically lasts only 5-15 minutes. Adding game saves, or more accurately restoring the game display, turned out to be quite challenging because of the way I'd built the UI.
Knights now degrade to a Pikeman when "killed". Previously, when you charged into battle with your new Knight, there was a 10% chance you'd just die. Splat. Totally wasted. When holding ground, they only took one hit to kill. So, now Knights are better for offense and defense, but aren't godlike. At worst, you got a Pikeman to the front lines twice as fast.

I use Knights a lot more often now, not just to clean out swarms of Barbarians, but as fast attackers to supplement the Archers.

Archers can no longer do a suicide charge into an enemy. They're also a bit more likely to hit.
New Art Themes
This was the most time-consuming addition. There's now a "Knights" theme, with large medieval illustration-style figures, and a "Monsters" theme (my favorite), with creepy monsters fighting off barbarian Army humans on their alien planet.
New UI
The UI looks immensely better, and functions better. A menu replaces the teeny little help button and the overly-visible reset button. The move buttons now respond better and touches select units more accurately.

I originally wrote Castles in a mad panic the month before the App Store opened; the APIs changed often, the entire concept of the device was shifting as I developed, and my Castles strategy game, while I'd invented it some time before, needed a lot more playtesting than I had time for. That resulted in a game which was strategically very tight, nearly but not quite perfect, but the UI wasn't there at all.

I didn't go for animations and sounds in this version. While they might help clarify some action in a tight melee, they would slow down execution of turns, and probably drag the game out from a fun 10-15 minutes to an endless 20-30 minutes.

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