Every Spring when the Major League Baseball season arrives, I make it to one of the first games. In sports from my view, there is nothing like the sight when coming through the tunnel and being greeting by plush outfield grass and a pristine manicured infield with the great backdrop of the surrounding stadium.
My eyes will never grow tired of this sight, it always provides that wonderful combination of peace and excitement all wrapped into one. The calm of the fresh green grassy atmosphere with the anticipation of an exciting game to be played by professionals in a craft that is unmatched by more than 99% of the world’s population.
Baseball Classics was designed from the ground up for the iPad platform to come as close as possible to provide this same experience for our users. Thus designing Baseball Classics All-Time Greats iPad app was a labor of love to bring that warm and exhilarating experience to our fans.
The foundation was already in place with our graphically color-coded player cards, loaded with plenty of stats just the way baseball fans appreciate and thrive on. The Baseball Classics Scorefield was another natural extension to bring forward from our board game, featuring the picture perfect setting to keep track of the score, outs, innings, and base runners.
I went back to our graphic artist and asked to extend the size of the outfield in the Scorefield so the player cards could be prominently displayed at the top of the field of play. Positioning the visitor team cards versus the home team cards close enough so in one glance with a roll of the dice the outcome was easy to see. A simple tap on the Scorefield launched the dice into animation until landing from their spinning roll. The familiar opaque blue chip markers to track the score, innings, outs, and base runners are present and intuitive to use.
There are two essential new areas design enhancements added to the Scorefield game board in the Baseball Classics iPad app. The first design factored in automating play and navigation, it’s the heartbeat of the Scorefield game board named the Scorefield Game Cube. The second are Base Tabs, they keep track of which player is on which base. The Base Tabs became one of the more complex tasks for our developers to implement and surely worth the effort to represent the rating and reminder of who is on base.
The next major new design area focused on the team rosters, what we call Team Pages in the app. Initially we thought to mirror the same experience as a Baseball Classics baseball board game has today. That is to simply have a layout of all the cards available on a screen and placing them in order across the top 1 through 9 for the batting order and other cards below were on “the bench”. Then using a similar approach for the pitcher cards.
However I scrapped that approach early in the design phase and came up with a roster layout that displays the player names leveraging drag-and-drop to adjust your batting order while also incorporating your choice of single card view or a grid view, divided by the Batting order and Bench for position players.
The Team Page also has a design flaring out the positions available of each player and the ability to select any of their positions available in the starting lineup. It is complete with traffic-highlighting as you would expect matching their fielding ratings per position listed on their cards.
The Team Page allows for switching back and forth from the Batting Order (plus Bench) and Pitcher player cards available. The current pitcher for the team has a baseball icon next to his name, thus making a switch is a snap.
There are plenty of other important, though smaller design considerations such as icons, buttons, menus, etc. As much as possible, I prefer to use transparent popup menus to keep the interface of your game play with a minimal screen invasion. The developers have taken great care to ensure they have “floated” menus and charts above the Scorefield and made it quick to tuck them back away.
Our much anticipated release is getting closer and plans are to launch in May. As stated in a previous post here, I already have plans for the next several releases. As of this writing, there is no other iPad app baseball game on the market that will match Baseball Classics iPad App! Let us know what you think, we always love hearing from you and surely take all feedback into serious consideration to ensure we deliver the game that Baseball Classics customers will enjoy for hours on end!