Submitted by Lewis G on Saturday, August 17, 2013.
iOS & iPadOS Gaming
Over the past couple of weeks I've been working on an update to make my card game app One Foundation accessible. It has been approved by Apple and is now on the App Store to try (http://www.appstore.com/onefoundation). It is free to play and works on iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, iOS 5 and above. This is the first time I've tried to make a game accessible so it's possible there may be a few things that could be improved. More on this later.
First though, a description of the game. It's a solitaire type game using one pack of cards and is also known as Golf solitaire. 35 cards are dealt face up in 7 columns of 5 with the bottom card of each column available to move. The rest of the cards are placed face down into a pack, and then the top card is turned over to make the foundation card. The goal is to move all of the cards from the columns to the foundation, but only a card one higher or one lower than the foundation can be moved. If no card can be moved then another card can be dealt from the pack to the foundation.
In portrait mode the face up cards are in the middle of the screen, with the foundation and pack side by side below them. At the bottom left of the screen is an info button which pops up some additional options, and to the right are 5 game related buttons: undo, redo, restart game, next game and challenge game. Challenge games are guaranteed to be winnable, normal games are random deals and are winnable maybe one in ten times.
In landscape mode the foundation and pack move to the right of the screen (or can optionally be moved to the left). The foundation card is above the pack in this case.
Games are scored and the score is at the top left of the screen along with a streak count on the right. Streaks are a count of how many cards you have moved in one go without turning over another pack card. The longer the streak the higher the score for each additional card. There's also a bonus for winning. One Foundation uses advertising to generate some revenue and the advert slides in from the top of the screen if available so you may find that the score and streak labels move down at times. The rest of the game stays in the same place though.
The first time the game is played an instructions screen pops up, and the app is Game Center enabled so you may get a login dialog.
So, what might work better?
I played a few games to test that everything was working and one thing that I found slightly tricky was making sure that my finger didn't stray left and right while dragging up the columns to read all of the cards for a particular column. Perhaps with practice this may not be a problem though. If it is a problem then I could perhaps make the cards smaller and leave more space between the columns.
At the moment each card is read in full with the value and the suit, but in this game the suit isn't actually important so I could have it just read the value and skip the suit.
The cards in each column overlap to make it clearer that only the bottom card can be moved. In portrait mode this creates quite a compact play area which might be a bit fiddly. It might be easier if the cards were spread out more vertically.
Anyway, hopefully these don't turn out to be big issues and you are able to enjoy the game as it stands. It's my first iOS game and the first time I've tried to make a game accessible in this way.