With iOS 5, Apple introduced Game Center’s Turn Based multiplayer system. It was appealing as it would allow us to build a better multiplayer word game without having to build a massive infrastructure to support it. After learning the ins and outs of that system in developing Words Play we thought to ourselves: can we use this system with Crosswords to make a multiplayer Crosswords game?
After some debating and thinking we came to the conclusion that Turn by Turn was not the right solution for a game of crosswords. It just didn’t make sense and you’d get a much slower game that took forever to be completed, that is IF you ever finished a game. So we decided if we were to add a Multiplayer mode to Crosswords, it’d have to be real time multiplayer game. It would have to mirror the real life interaction of two people working together on a puzzle.
While Game Center does support non-local live multiplayer, we felt the system as it stands wasn’t ideal because you’d just be sending invites to offline players who may not be willing to play at this moment. This is because Game Center doesn’t know when you are playing a game or not. But just because your iPhone or iPad is on, doesn’t mean you’re ready to drop everything and play a game once you get an invite from a friend.
So we felt for real time multiplayer we needed to know that the user was online, or people would be waiting forever for a game. So we built a “Online Status” system layer on top of Crosswords that shows your other Game Center friends who not only owns Crosswords but also those who are currently playing as well. It actually makes player discoverability and game setup much simpler. Now you see a player online playing the same game as you, you can send them an invite to play a puzzle together.
Instead of building Crosswords Multiplayer into a whole new app, we’ve also decided to make this an add-on for our existing Crosswords game. With the Crosswords Multiplayer add-on you can work on a crossword puzzle with a friend or race them to collect the most points on any given puzzle. As an added bonus, you also won’t have to worry if the player you want to play owns the Multiplayer add-on because actually you can invite anyone who has Crosswords into a game.
The Crosswords Multiplayer add-on pack is available today along with Crosswords version 2.51 and is only $0.99.