For the last nine months, a large chunk of my time has been spent on a project very near and dear to my heart. War Room is the WARMACHINE and HORDES app I have wanted ever since I got my hands on an iPad. With War Room soon to release into our great community's eager hands, I wanted to take some time and talk about the goals and thought process that went into bringing War Room to life.
When we first sat down with the developers at Tinkerhouse Games to discuss what we wanted from War Room, I knew we wanted an app that would provide a digital library of every WARMACHINE and HORDES card. I can't tell you how often I would be thinking about a list and wishing I had the model rules with me to make sure the idea in my head matched the actual rules on the cards. We also wanted the digital representations to be as close as possible to the physical card in terms of look and function, making the digital product nearly indistinguishable from the physical one. However, our talks didn't stop there.
We wanted to do more than just arm players with a digital library, we wanted those digital cards to work just like their physical counterparts, meaning that players would never again need to haul their cards around with their models. First and foremost, this meant players had to be able to mark damage on the cards. This led to another one of War Room's seminal features—the ability to create, host, and join games between devices that allows players to view an opponent's cards on their own device. To take advantage of the digital nature of the card library, we designed the app so we could push updates to the card library on the fly with new cards and up-to-the-minute errata.
Additional cool, useful features sprang to mind during our discussions with Tinkerhouse, including the ability to save an opponent's list to your device for later viewing. Another great feature is the addition of a chess clock, so players will always have access to one for practicing for death clock events.
One major point of discussion was how unrestrictive we wanted the army construction utility to be. WARMACHINE and HORDES are constantly evolving, whether from new model releases, new theme forces, or even fantastic home-brew events. Having already started with the goal of mirroring the physical experience of cards in a digital format, we decided to continue with the 1-to-1 mindset and give players unlimited freedom when constructing a list. While we did provide some important guiding utilities like FA and point validation for ease of reference, the sky is the limit when building a list. This gives War Room the flexibility to be the ultimate player toolbox and gives the app a dynamic internal working that allows it to easily adapt to new development without requiring major functional updates.
It has been a long and arduous road, but I can say that the journey to War Room was well worth it.