We are slightly late, but we have kept our promise!
After coordinating with Ecki, the Game Director of Travian: Legends, we are now ready to give you a comprehensive update on the development status of the mobile app.
Where do we stand?
After the usual hiring and pre-production phases, the project officially started in April 2021. Evaluating technical solutions was vital since we were trying to connect an aged, dynamically grown PHP back-end to an app created with Unity. The focus was on core features such as upgrading buildings and fields, as well as selecting and attacking a target.
CURRENT STATUS: As of now, the app provides the following functionalities:
- Log in to a test account
- Change view from the village overview to the resource fields overview
- Open map view
- Enter rally point, select a target, and send an attack
- Train troops in the barracks
- A few other little features
We picked the rally point as our blueprint building for benchmarking, as it has some depth and is crucial for keeping an overview of an account and for attacking.
What challenges did we encounter?
As we’ve mentioned, Travian: Legends is an old and complex game with a vast environment that changed dynamically in its early days. Even though the code has been tidied up in recent years to facilitate app production, there are still some technical difficulties.
Identifying the basic architecture for the APIs and the format of how we exchange data between the back-end and the app was quite a challenge. We had to dig into existing documentation much more than we initially expected, even though it might have seemed like we “only” needed to rebuild what we already had in the browser version.
On top of these back-end challenges, UX/UI quickly proved to be tricky to get our minds around. The game is full of lists, tables, and lots of buttons that make it challenging to find the right balance between modernizing the user interface and improving user experience, but also keeping the essence of Travian: Legends alive.
We already gained some experience with the mobile browser version of Travian: Legends in the past, but for a mobile app the bar is indeed higher. What’s more, as the browser version is constantly evolving, we need to anticipate these changes to properly implement a feature. Keeping the two projects in sync without hampering each other requires close collaboration and careful planning.
Last but not least, we had to move all our operations to a remote setup due to the pandemic, adding a further level of complexity. Hiring and onboarding mostly took place via Zoom, and it naturally took some time to adjust.
What have we achieved so far?
Defining the above technical standards and how we want to handle the user flow in a building, for instance, required some patience but will hopefully pay off later.
The devil is in the details! Imagine testing a feature in the app itself and realizing that something is off just because you expected it to work differently on a smartphone.
Keeping the original essence of the game while making it mobile-friendly is a thin line to walk. Still, we are confident that our general approach will work well for players.
Ultimately, we have assembled a great team that has gained a lot of experience by carefully examining documentation. This will undoubtedly put us in a strong position for the future.
When and how will players be able to test the app?
Our focus is now on finalizing a version that can be used to reliably perform a basic set of actions on a regular account without too many rough edges that could potentially mislead players.
The idea is to carefully expand the test audience and get feedback on the usefulness of this version when it comes to basic account maintenance. The next step would be investigating which features are valuable going forward.
Since players have been asking for this app for years, it is crucial for us to manage expectations appropriately and get our audience involved as soon as it makes sense, without causing frustration in the community or within the team.
Our goal is to expand the test group in the second quarter of 2022, starting with the Android OS first, and to plan further steps based on the feedback we get.
Can we have a sneak peek?
This is what the mobile app interface will look like. Please keep in mind that these are temporary screenshots, and they may change before the app is released.
Your Travian: Legends Team