Meanwhile for iOS is available

Last week, I wrote:

In other news -- or rather, the news I started with: Meanwhile has been sent off to App Store review. If nothing goes wrong, it will be available Tuesday, November 8th...

Nothing went wrong, and so Meanwhile is available, right now, in your local iOS App Store.

Full press release is below the cut.

And Hadean Lands? It's on my "make progress every day" list now. I should have the puzzle structure completely outlined by the end of this week. That's a small step, but comforting to me.

Zarfhome Software is pleased to announce the release of "Meanwhile for iOS". Jason Shiga's acclaimed interactive comic is now a truly interactive app for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch.

On the way home from the ice cream store, little Jimmy discovers a mad scientist's wonderland: an experimental mind-reading helmet, a time machine, and a doomsday device that can annihilate the human race. Which one would you like to test out first?

Jason Shiga's graphic novel redefined the "choose your own adventure" format by combining artwork, story, and pathways into a looping, branching narrative structure -- a story in which your choices are surrounded by the cloud of possibilities you didn't choose. Now he has redesigned "Meanwhile" for the infinite canvas that iOS provides. The entire story is woven together on a single, enormous page. You can follow the pathways, or zoom out to view the entire structure at will.

"Meanwhile" is set in a mad scientist's laboratory, but it is grounded in probability and the Many-Worlds theory of quantum mechanics. To decipher the full story, a reader will need a grasp of logic and an eye to the playful possibilities of changing history. (Or, indeed, an ear! "Meanwhile" is fully playable through VoiceOver, making it one of the few graphic novels accessible to the visually impaired.)

Zarfhome Software is Andrew Plotkin's new studio for interactive fiction, narrative experiment, and things you haven't seen before. Zarfhome was launched last year with an astonishingly successful Kickstarter effort, and is now pursuing several projects, including "Hadean Lands".

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3 Responses to Meanwhile for iOS is available

  1. Lionel says:

    Hi Andrew,

    Congratulations on releasing Meanwhile for iOS. I had not heard of it before and I really like it, both the story and the implementation.

    One note: the comic looks significantly better on the iPad than it does on the iPhone 4. While the interface (buttons, etc...) look fine, the comic itself looks like it does not take advantage of the retina display. Holding the iPhone 4 and the iPad side by side, the iPhone looks worse instead of better (which it should given the higher pixel density of the display).

    Perhaps it is something that can be improved in an update?


  2. I'm not sure I agree that it looks *worse* on the iphone -- the ipad has more pixel-discreteness close up. But you're right, I didn't include double-resolution artwork. I haven't decided whether I should. It would look somewhat better, but not *enormously* better, and it would double the download size.

    I'll probably do a trial implementation and see how it feels.

    (Some earlier discussion of this: )

    • Lionel says:

      Thank you for the reply.

      I apologise for the poor wording. It sounds bad to say it looks "worse". Perhaps I should have said "not as good as".
      I agree with others on the google+ thread that it'd be worth the bigger install size for the extra quality. 60MB is pretty negligible for an iOS app.
      Much of the appeal of the game is the great artwork (for a mind-bending story), so you should definitely show it off!

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