I've made a start on re-writing Zenith for modern platforms.
The first session of coding (2 Feb) found a workable API for the graphics. It gave me smooth frame rates on many platforms (I'm hosting the game in a web page), at least for the rudimentary graphics that I tried in my own project, and the complicated third-party demos that I ran. This answers the most frequently-asked-for request: "Can it be written for [iPhone|iPad|Android|Mac|Windows 13|Psion Organiser]?" Yes, it certainly can. Well, mostly.
I'm determined to give this game some 'UI modes'. Zenith didn't really have them; it was simply a player view, or a map view, and that was it. Occasionally some Windows-API elements would overlay that, when the game loop was paused. This time, it will be like the typical commercial game you see now: menus are drawn within the game canvas, over the game graphics.
As with the original, I've made some architectural decisions that will help it run efficiently (and this time, on many platforms). I've already had it running on Apple devices, Android, and desktop - this made possible by HTML5. The rendering component will run at low frame rates when (if!) the game is dormant, and there are options for lower resolution rendering, to help the high-dpi devices with power usage. The simulation runs independently of the rendering, so these changes shouldn't adversely affect gameplay experience.
My first priority is to have a main menu working, and be able to play a single landscape in a Quick game. There's a LOT to do. The biggest challenge is not necessarily coding this project; it's staying focused on the simplest form of objective, without deviating on 'side quests', without trying to cram in extra features, and without trying to code for all eventualities.
So with the fast path in mind, lots of other considerations, which could be within the design scope of the game, are relegated to 'stretch goals'. Some examples might be:
Some principles I will be following:
I'm only partly joking. I think an accessible font is required to make the experience uniform across all platforms. My main menu (pictured above) used an Adobe font that came with CS6, so I'm sure I can't use that in the final game. I'm liking the look of PT Sans Narrow. It feels gentler than Gill Sans Condensed, and despite some slightly jarring letter shapes (but fewer than Gill or the alternatives I was looking at), it's not too condensed, and flows well enough to be used in short phrases or longer passages (of which there will be few).
In case you're wondering, you can't see it yet, and I won't unleash it until it's fairly playable.
I'll continue with this when time allows, which is, for the foreseeable, not very often!