Artemis, the six-player starship simulator, is coming to iOS devices with full PC compatibility
Artemis is an ambitious game on the PC. It requires up to six computers, one for each player, and either a television or a projector so all the players can the main screen. The rewards are likewise great: This is as close as we’re likely to get to a large-scale Star Trek-style star ship simulation. The good news is that the game is about to get much more accessible with a port to iOS devices, complete with support for touch screen controls. You’ll even be able to run the game from an iPad, without the need for a computer at all. “My good friends at Max Gaming are doing the port. Tim Newell is the engineer there; he's an excellent coder, and we work well together,” Artemis creator Thomas Robertson told the Penny Arcade Report. “Tim's managed to port the game pretty much exactly on the iPad. An iPad can be a server, but it can also connect to a PC server just fine. The same app works for the iPhone, but the limited screen size of the iPhone led us to change the UI. Each of the consoles (helm, weapons, science, etc.) is broken up into several screens, which you can switch between using a two-finger swipe to the left or right.” What’s neat about this news is that an iOS version of the game will make it much easier to get games that use the full bridge. You can mix and match computers, laptops, iPads, and iPhones in order to get the required six systems to run all the stations and the main screen. “The two versions were designed to work together; getting the iOS version to talk to the PC version was the first milestone of the project,” Robertson said.Getting the game running on iOS seemed to be straightforward. “It is mostly a straight port. It's written in C++ on top of DirectX 9, and my own custom engine, so porting it involved moving the code to the Apple dev environment and replacing the DX9 underpinnings with OpenGL,” Robertson explained. Things aren't really that easy, and Robertson stressed that there were likely many small details that had to be adjusted and tweaked to get the game running well on smaller, touchscreen devices, but the core tech wasn’t hard to port. Let’s head the next question off at the pass: What about an Android version? “When I announced the upcoming release on the Facebook page I was swamped by requests for Android. I was given to believe that Android development was a mess, and you had to build your app for 200 different devices, just like the bad old days before “smart” phones. But Tim and Adrian at Max Gaming have reassured me that it's not THAT bad, and there are best practices that we could follow that would make such a project less daunting,” Robertson said. “I WANT to please my customers, so if I can find a way to do it, I will. But my short-term plans are to get the iOS version of Artemis on the market.” The PC game is $40, but that includes licenses for all six systems so you can play with a large group. The iOS version will be a few dollars for each person, so the total cost for a full bridge should be equivalent. The iOS version of Artemis should launch in about a month, and we'll run a game or two when the final version is released and share our thoughts. For now, it's great news to hear that the game may find a larger audience with this more accessible version.