Ever since hearing last November that Icarus Studios was working on an iPhone app for Fallen Earth, we've been starving for details. Count it as a road warrior's dream fulfilled, then, as Massively sat down with Associate Project Manager Dave Haydysch at GDC for a hands-on demo of this beefy application.
"My goal was to make this mirror the experience in Fallen Earth as closely as possible without moving around in the game," Haydysch said. "Whatever is going on in the game right now, is going on in the background [of this app]." Designed to keep players connected with the MMO no matter where they may be, the app has an astounding array of functionality for Fallen Earth's players.
After logging in through 3G or WiFi, the familiar Fallen Earth UI offers you several options to check out your character, crafting, maps, social, auction house, inventory and help. Hit the jump and we'll give you the skinny on each of these functions!
Character and Inventory
Being able to eyeball your character was one of the first things we wanted in an app, and this lets you see what awesome (or jury-rigged) gear your character is wearing. While you can't actually see your avatar (yet!), you can select the gear to see the stats associated with each piece.
Likewise, the Fallen Earth app opens a window into your personal inventory and chip count, and you can inspect gear and items in it as you would on your character. Haydysch could not say whether the final version will allow you to see your vault and mount inventory as well.
As crafting is such an essential part of the Fallen Earth experience, it stands to reason that it would also be the cornerstone of this application. You can throw a new crafting project in the queue, view all of the recipes your character has access to, view any active recipes queued, and you can filter recipes as you would in game. This will be a handy tool for those who want to keep track of any big crafting projects so as to not lose any time between their completion and starting up another one.
Plus, all of the required details are there: crafted item level, available materials (in your inventory, not vault) and the required tradeskill level to craft.
All of the maps from each of the three sectors are on the map, allowing you to scroll around and pinch zoom to your heart's content. Icarus is looking at other ways to expand this feature, such as showing you where your character is in the game world eventually.
Social functions are another great highlight of this app, keeping players connected with their clans and the larger world even when they can't log into Fallen Earth proper. Clan chat and new player chat occurs much as it would in the game, and it happens in real-time (so you can pretend that you're Jack Bauer on 24). There's also a special alert (currently in the form of a green exclamation mark) on the iPhone to let you know when e-mail arrives via Franklin's Riders to your character.
The auction house function has the potential to be a huge boon to players even if they're currently in the game, as it grants you instant access to browsing, buying and posting auctions no matter where your character is located in the world. Posting an auction is pain-free -- you just drag an item from your inventory to the auction house window, set a price and post it. There should be no delay between handling this task on your iPhone and the auction going up in the game.
Plus, all of the usual features are there: buy out price, search functionality, your bids, your auctions and everything else you see in the game's auction house.
The help screen not only offers essential app help tips, but also provides a smooth interface for players to e-mail support if they are having an issue in the game. There's also access to a handy FAQ and the website's help functionality.
While Haydysch says that the app is not yet at the final build, it is "99.9% done" and getting closer to release. Icarus is looking at a possible Q2 launch, with pricing still being figured out. They're launching it on other platforms, including Blackberry, Android, Brew and Java. As soon as these details are locked down, Massively will be sure to bring you the final scoop!