Saturday, February 2, 2013

ROE Mobile, Developer's Log

Earth date 2.2.2013

Thank you for not abandoning ROE despite months of silence from the development team!

Back in spring 2012, we had an ambitious plan - to bring ROE to mobile devices to allow you to check on your empire no matter where you are.

As suggested by you guys, we wanted to create a version of Realm of Empires that could be played on all, or at least majority of devices.

HTML5 to the rescue!
With the arrival or HTML5 compliant mobile devices, this goal appeared achievable. Rather than create a number of native mobile apps (one app for iPhone, another for Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone and so on), we decided to create a mobile friendly HTML5 version of Realm of Empires.

The irresistible appeal of HTML5
Realm of Empires is already an HTML game - that is why you play it in your favorite browser. HTML5 being a new version/standard of HTML, made it natural fit. The big and irresistible bonus of this approach, was our hope that all our innovations for the mobile platform, can be applied directly and immediately to the current desktop game!

We had great plans to progressively improve the desktop version as well. Alas! it was not to be! 

HTML5 on mobile turned out to be much more complicated than expected. There are many incompatibilities between the devices, HTML5 support is spotty, often not as advertised, there are many known and presisten bugs, etc.

In addition, very few people are trying to accomplish something similar - we are one of the few pioneers. Exploring the wild is fun and exiting, but also means you are rather alone in the wild!

All effort to mobile!
Because of all these difficulties, we had to direct all out effort had to the mobile project and we had to delay  applying our innovations to the desktop game.

We were hoping that we can reuse a lot of existing screens (just move things around on the screen, make it more mobile-friendly) but we have found it impossible to provide a snappy and intuitive user interface ( UI ) on mobile devices this way. We had to create a unique UI for mobile devices.

Where we are today?
I am happy to say, that we will be publishing the mobile interface soon. I wish I could tell you, that we have all the features that you have enjoyed on the desktop. Unfortunately, a lot of power features are still missing - like summary pages or mass features. Those are our next priority, please bear with us!

So what about the desktop version of the game?
We were not yet able to apply our innovations to the desktop version of the game, but the changes are compatible and we will be improving the desktop game in the near future. The improvements will be very significant too! A completely redone map - think "google maps". State-full application (no constant page refreshes needed, instant notification of attacks or new mail ). Much, much faster user interface. And many more such  improvements.

Interested in some technical details?
I rant about many of the issues on twitter

Sneak Peak? OK, OK


  1. nice post....sharing information related to Mobile developer

  2. Well , when I log in from my android browser it takes me to an animated ROE look. Which in a way is attractive but all features aren't included. So I have to switch to desktop version all the time .This would have been ok but that animated version takes a long time to load. So I request to the developers that they make it as simple as they can.Because you would want to make a fast game check on mobile rather than be looking at nice animations.

  3. Hey Greg,
    I have the original Samsung Galaxy S (1800) i used to be able to play ROE in it's browser. since the release of the app, i no longer can, as the game forces me to the download app page, then informs me incompatable device. this is frustrating, as there is no work around to utilize the browser, not the ap. is there a way to make the download optional? so those of us that could play via browser, can still? my ign is king_lafsalot r12

  4. Please see if this helps Geoffrey

    We are working to extend functionality as far as possible, but the limited HTML-5 support of older Android operating systems is making that difficult. In the mean time, here is a work around that may let you access the browser version:

    1. In the Android stock browser's address bar, type: "about:debug" and hit return.
    2. This might look like it hasn't done anything, but go to the settings menu (menu button - > settings ) and you'll find new options there.
    3. Choose "debug"
    4. Find and open "UAString". Select "Desktop".
    5. Go back to the browser, type "" and you will be able to enter the game.

    *NOTE - Every android device may have slightly different menus so you may have to look around for the new settings item if those exact steps do not get you there.

  5. Guys I joined on my phone how do i access my game via facebook?

    1. Best to contact support for your options

  6. Why can I be attacked in SM in 77? 2nd time this happened. Got a notification to say attacks landing in my SM time and was launched in SM? Please advise.

  7. Why can I be attacked in SM in 77? 2nd time this happened. Got a notification to say attacks landing in my SM time and was launched in SM? Please advise.