Look no further than studies like one from Canalys which projects global shipments of notebooks, tablets, smartphones, and feature phones are poised to reach 2.6 billion units by 2016 as one reason we are developing the Baseball Classics iPad app for our customers.
With a 30-year background in computer software, I’ve leveraged technology from the inception to develop and maintain Baseball Classics baseball game. It’s the key reason Baseball Classics can scale to offer any Major League Baseball team or season from 1901 to the present now for over 25 years.
The making of the Baseball Classics iPad App has been a fascinating learning experience in all aspects. Thousands of baseball fans have come to play Baseball Classics tabletop baseball board game throughout the years. We will be serving the Baseball Classics community with an optimum game play mobile experience offered through an iPad with the same familiar look and feel they are accustomed to that offers fast and easy play with accuracy and authentic baseball game play. We have chosen the All-Time Greats edition for the first release.
When you look at familiar board games like Scrabble, Monopoly and many others on the iPad today, they have the same recognizable look and feel. Baseball Classics will do that as well. As the BC Community knows, it all starts with our player cards; they are the heartbeat of our board game design. When playing the Baseball Classics iPad app, the same colorful, traffic-highlighting player cards chalk full with statistics will be featured too.
The first step in the development of the Baseball Classics iPad app was creating the process for game flow. Besides our flagship player cards, in order to keep the game flow consistent from the current tabletop board game we offer today, the Scorefield game board and Play Charts are inherited by the BC iPad app too.
With those well established the focus for game flow turns to the following categories:
- Game Play
Game flow navigation is all about making the game play experience as smooth as possible. This is a very detailed part of the game flow since it takes into account every step from launching the BC app to baseball game play to exiting the BC app. It begins with which screens will be offered when, where, and how to arrive at them.
Sometimes a screen will need to seamlessly lead to another for the user and other times offer options on how to move within the Baseball Classics iPad app. Examples of moving the user seamlessly from one screen to another are going from the “splash” screen to the next screen. A splash screen is the opening screen the user sees when first starting the app. Seamless moves between screens are far few and between compared times when a user makes a choice that calls for another screen such as when selecting a menu option. An example in the BC app is when choosing New Game from the main screen.
Naturally the more screens in an app, the more considerations of how to provide the best experience for the user to maneuver between them. There are a variety of ways to offer this through menus, icons, etc. The Baseball Classics app uses popup menus where possible. The reason I like them is because they are tucked away until the user needs to access them and when they do, they provide options that coincide with the current situation in the game.
When it comes to game setup, in Baseball Classics we are referring to choosing your teams, batting orders, and starting pitchers. There’s a screen to choose the Visitor and Home teams then another to set your batting order, and one more to choose the starting pitcher.
A close up look at setting the batting order begins with the team name on top then a menu bar that is multi-purpose switching between the batting order and available pitchers as well as two views within that screen: single card view and grid view. The left side column contains a drag-and-drop pick list of the players with “flyouts” of their fielding positions and traffic-highlighting fielding ratings available. A split-popup menu is available anytime to save your lineup (batting order and starting pitcher) or choose from other relevant options. Grid view also provides a drag-and-drop of the batting order as another way to shape it up with a bird’s eye look at the strength and weakness revealed through our traffic-highlighting from top to bottom.
Now the most critical part of the game flow, the Baseball Classics gaming experience. It’s important to feature our player cards prominently since they are involved in every play. The game dice are conveniently positioned on the Scorefield game board to clearly view both the player cards and Play Charts simultaneously to keep the action moving.
Though the Scorefield game board is manually updated like it’s board game predecessor, when it comes to the base paths the Scorefield Game Cube automates placement of base runners. For example, with a runner on 1st Base and the batter hits a Double, instead of tapping on the bases to move the base running chip markers, one simple tap in the Scorefield Game Cube will place the markers where you want them. It’s the central control system for the Scorefield game play including usage for player substitutions, etc.
Game flow has been a valuable cornerstone for Baseball Classics game play. We look forward to your comments and suggestions based on this article. Coming up next in our next article, I turn to Game Design. If you are considering purchasing the Baseball Classics iPad app and/or launching your own iPad app one day, you won’t want to miss this. Stay tuned at our website for an announcement on the opening day launch of the Baseball Classics iPad app.