How a fan ported a game, and the potential for DEFCON on tablets.
Earlier today we reviewed PC classic Uplink, now available for the iPad. We've since spoken with Introversion Software about the origins of this port, as well as the potential to release other old and upcoming Introversion titles.
The announcement and release of Uplink for iPad was a real bolt out of the blue. How long have you been working on the port?
Well our original attempt to port Uplink to a mobile project started in about 2001 when we were looking at Palm OS and Windows CE. This iPad version started in earnest in 2010 when we were contacted by a fan who had bought the Uplink developer CD. We actually get a lot of contact from fans who promise to deliver ports but rarely have the tenacity, so our standard approach is to tell them to crack on and let us know when they have something to show.
In this case Andrew Carne did exactly that. He carried on plugging away and earlier this year he got to the point when he was pretty much done and we just tickled it up and put it out there...
If Andrew Carne hadn't finished the port for us I don't think we would have done it internally.
Presumably the size of the iPhone makes it impractical to port to that device. What other challenges did you face in development?
Uplink is a very old code base and is not very well written. In order to create an iPhone port we'd have to manually go through and change every interface in the game and this is just too time consuming. With the iPad we still had to do a lot of testing to make sure it played well on the iPad, but really it's a natural fit.
Was there any particular reason that you selected Uplink for your first tablet game?
I don't think Darwinia or Multiwinia would work on a mobile format. Uplink was the simplest port, and DEFCON will require more effort.
Can we expect any of your other titles to make the transition to mobile devices?
Maybe DEFCON. If Uplink sells in decent numbers we'll do DEFCON. If it doesn't then we'll stick with desktop.
How much pressure is there on the success of Uplink on the iPad for you to be able to justify porting other titles over?
100%. We think there are a lot of Uplink fans out there who love the game and own iPads. We're also hoping that this version will capture a whole new generation of fans. If Uplink doesn't work then I don't think we'll risk it with anything else.
Can we expect to see Prison Architect [Introversion's upcoming PC game] launch on the iPad as well? If so, would it be at the same time as the PC version?
Prison Architect could suit the iPad well, but it's too early to make any promises!
Are you interested in creating new IP specifically for the mobile market?
While it's far from your traditional platform, you now have a game optimised for touchscreens. Do you have any interest in porting Uplink to the Wii U download store?