Conquest! 2.0 beta "officially" opened this week with deployments to the Android and Apple stores. The city map was completed this week, which was the main driver for the open beta. This map continues the design from the kingdom, with labeled buildings used to perform all city related functions (markets, church, tavern, mystic, magic shop, and port). The map will also highlight when the city gates are open or locked.
As part of the work on the city, I removed two more screens: Royal Vault (from kingdom) and Town Hall map (from city). Rather than jumping to additional screens it just made sense to add these to the main areas. This also had the benefit of reducing the size of the application (2.0 is actually smaller than 1.x). In total, the number of screens was cut in half (from 18 to 9). I'm very pleased with how 2.0 is shaping up; feedback from users has been positive as well.
I also added a few more enhancements to the client, such as hiding the "Hire Spy" option if a player's current city does not have a market. The movement point and gold costs to hiring a spy were also added to the popup to round out displaying the costs for things everywhere (only repairing ships is missing this now I think!). The "out the door" price (which includes tax) for buying items is displayed both on the market popup and the detail screen. I'm not sure why I didn't do this before but now players can quickly know exactly how much gold they will be losing or gaining when they buy/sell from the markets.
The issue with trying to hire a spy was discovered during a playtesting session on Twitch by Highsight (https://www.twitch.tv/highsight). During the playback, he tried to hire a spy in a city which didn't have a market, which let to the (obvious) question: why is that option even there? Point taken, and now removed where appropriate. The walkthrough also highlighted a few more areas of work, such as some minor graphics issues and understanding what was happening in the tutorial. The tutorial must be read to be understood and after the first few screens he (like other players I'm sure) starting just clicking through it.
Overall, the feedback was positive but Conquest! still needs help on usability and explaining what to do and how to win. Version 2.0 is the start of addressing some of that and work will continue once we are live. (i.e. Conquest! will never be "done").
This week I'm going to work on some of the feedback I've already received. Krees is also working on enhancements to the chat and the main menu. We are also adding a new building to the kingdom and city screens (Watch Tower or similar) where we will make it easier for players to find out about the next Seasons.
Sign up for the Conquest! mailing list here and follow the journey on Facebook or Twitter. Until next time, I hope to see you in the game.
James has been working on Conquest! since 1993.