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Telltale and iOS

posted by DeanDMX on - last edited - Viewed by 383 users

Does Telltale see iOS as just another place to sell their games and not a unique platform with differing needs to the desktop and consoles? Their decisions for it so far seem to suggest so.

All of their games suffer from 1.0 issues that you would think even cursory play testing would reveal—Puzzle Agent 2's audio problems being a prime example. Then taking months to update and fix those bugs.

Having separate iPad and iPod touch/iPhone versions, eschewing the more convenient for users, Universal app (calling the iPad versions HD makes no sense as they are exactly the same as the smaller editions. The HD moniker will make even less sense if we see a Retina iPad in March.) I understand charging £2.99 for one and £4.99 for the other gains more money than one £4.99 Universal version would. But when they are both EXACTLY the same game on the same platform it comes across as cynical. I could buy these games on Steam and play on both Mac and PC—incompatible platforms—for one (admittedly higher) price.

Not modifying the UI and interaction methods to better suit a touchscreen i.e. bigger text and buttons and, again in the case of Puzzle Agent 1 & 2, having the worst touch target implementation I've ever seen on iOS.

And in the case of Hector, releasing a Retina update to the year old episode one AFTER releasing non-Retina, episodes two and three (which are still yet to be updated)! They are primarily PC games playable in resolutions higher than 960x640, so unless I'm missing something they could all be Retina ready with minimal extra work.

Not using the strengths and unique aspects of iOS like iCloud saves and Game Centre achievements. Even when they are available on other platforms seems like more missed opportunities.

I don't want to use the word lazy because I have a good idea how much work it takes to port these games but I don't think their attitude to iOS so far has been very considered or even in the best interests of their customers. Telltale games on iOS seem to be an afterthought, available only to boost the bottom line. I say all this as a fan of Telltale Inc.

6 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • Law & Order has been coming out on iOS before the PC. Have you tried that one? (I haven't, so I don't have an opinion, but if they were going to concentrate on making iOS a good experience from the start, I'd think this would be the best example. If they messed that one up, then they need to get their act together.)

    Hector on iOS isn't really Telltale. Telltale just helped port it to the PC, in a way that didn't make it look like giant block graphics.

  • @WarpSpeed said: Law & Order has been coming out on iOS before the PC. Have you tried that one? (I haven't, so I don't have an opinion, but if they were going to concentrate on making iOS a good experience from the start, I'd think this would be the best example. If they messed that one up, then they need to get their act together.)

    Hector on iOS isn't really Telltale. Telltale just helped port it to the PC, in a way that didn't make it look like giant block graphics.

    I downloaded it not that long ago and found it to be a shining example of what I was talking about! Terrible UI, poor touch implementation, badly faked iOS animations like the way items bounce when you swipe (example being the mission select screen, ugh), buggy, poor performance on my iPhone 4, semi-Retina and it doesn't use Game Centre or iCloud saves. And it's been out since December and hasn't had an update yet.

    When I said this: "They are primarily PC games playable in resolutions higher than 960x640, so unless I'm missing something they could all be Retina ready with minimal extra work." I should have stated that I was talking about all Telltale games that are available for PC, not just Hector.

    It'd be interesting to hear from a Telltale employee on why the ports are like this. I wonder if they read the forums?

  • @DeanDMX said: I downloaded it not that long ago and found it to be a shining example of what I was talking about! Terrible UI, poor touch implementation, badly faked iOS animations like the way items bounce when you swipe (example being the mission select screen, ugh), buggy, poor performance on my iPhone 4, semi-Retina and it doesn't use Game Centre or iCloud saves. And it's been out since December and hasn't had an update yet.

    When I said this: "They are primarily PC games playable in resolutions higher than 960x640, so unless I'm missing something they could all be Retina ready with minimal extra work." I should have stated that I was talking about all Telltale games that are available for PC, not just Hector.

    It'd be interesting to hear from a Telltale employee on why the ports are like this. I wonder if they read the forums?

    ...What UI? There's dialogue options and a pause menu. Same for touch controls...

    Law & Order was made for iOS first, and Telltale now views iOS as equal to PC in significance (both accounting for roughly equally the same amount of profit). The fact they listened to complaints about the lack of Universal Apps with the most recent releases means they're listening, but I feel a lot of your complaints just aren't genuinely there.

  • @Ribs said: ...What UI? There's dialogue options and a pause menu. Same for touch controls...

    Law & Order was made for iOS first, and Telltale now views iOS as equal to PC in significance (both accounting for roughly equally the same amount of profit). The fact they listened to complaints about the lack of Universal Apps with the most recent releases means they're listening, but I feel a lot of your complaints just aren't genuinely there.

    They have buttons that kick you out to the App Store and Safari without warning, an incessant 'Checking for updates' popup, no way to rewind a conversation (that I know of) if you miss some dialogue, keeping in mind you could be playing it anywhere. An inexplicable water droplet effect and perhaps the greatest of all sins: a floppy disk icon for save!

    Telltale currently have two universal apps out of eight franchises with multiple episodes each. Not a great deal by any measure but they have to start somewhere I suppose.

    Which of my observations don't you think are genuinely there because they could all be supported by evidence! Maybe I hold iOS apps to a higher standard but there is no denying Telltale could be doing a lot better when it comes to iOS.

  • As for the Audio problems, get in line, we've been saying that for years! Telltale seem to think we all have Dial Up and thus feel the need compress speech like mad.

  • To telltale credit, I think that the UI implementation for a touchscreen, which is the most important issue, is very good.

    However, I agree with you that the apps should take more advantage of the platform. For example, multitasking and state saves is not very well implemented. One should be able to continue the game exactly where left rather than having to select the latest autosave or manual save.

    As for the audio, I think the problem is not quality, but occasional stuttering.

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