We’d always planned to release Bulge onto the iPhone but as we’d progressed through development we became increasingly concerned about how a game this visually large would work on such a small screen. Tests proved it was technically possible but it was clearly not a great experience. Not wanting to compromise by doing a direct port, we put the project on ice.

But shortly after we released a free version of Bulge, we were inundated with requests for an iPhone version, and having just delayed our second game, el Alamein, myself and Lead Developer, David Dunham, set to redesigning the game and it’s presentation of information to suit such a small form factor.

Battle of the Bulge iPhone MainMenu

The first goal was to try to reuse as much of iPad Bulge as posssible. This was to be a Universal release so we needed to keep the hard drive and download footprint as small as we could. We’d also become aware, after starting El Alamein, just how important a re-usable design for the CiC series was to the viability of creating multiple titles. So iPhone Bulge became somewhat of an experiment to see just how far we could push it. As an artist it was important to me to give our players the best I could. I didn’t want to fob them off with the same art every time they bought a game. They quite rightly deserve to feel they’re getting value for money. But at the same time the realities of time and cost meant we had to refocus where we applied the effort.

So while my original plan was to create variations of the interface for different theatres, we realised that the players weren’t buying or playing the game for the interface, it was the gameplay and the assets that had a direct impact on gameplay so thats what we’d focus on .. maps, units and historical data. The rest would be as generic as possible. Solved once. Implemented many times.

Battle of the Bulge iPhone Settings menuBattle of the Bulge HistoryBattle of the Bulge iPhone Quick Start page 01Battle of the Bulge in game close up iPhoneBattle of the Bulge iPhone select opponentBattle of the Bulge iPhone Calendar

So for the iPhone, we mostly abandoned the solid panelling and instead used a simple, scalable, reusable transparent framework ( we found the transparency helped reduce the feeling of claustrophobia on such a small screen ) only using solid backgrounds where the shear amount of content of the background resulted in too busy an image. Smaller buttons (though a good deal bigger than the recommended 44pixels) and even less information cluttering the screen and hiding the map yet we still got everything from the iPad version included and perfectly usable. We were more than happy with the results and very pleasantly surprised at just how playable it is.

Battle of the Bulge iPhone ShopBattle of the Bulge iPhone Intro MovieBattle of the Bulge iPhone RulesBattle of the Bulge iPhone Supply view