Bad North

Porting from PC to Mobile Case Study

Are you into strategy games?

If so, then we want to tell you a thing or two about Bad North, a real-time tactics roguelike, developed by Plausible Concept and published by Raw Fury. The game’s premise seems simple enough: you “just” have to defend your island from the Viking invaders. But there’s significant depth here. Various enemy types require different units to conquer and you must place your troops wisely, without wasting time marching them from one end of the island to the other. On top of that, you have to make strategic decisions that will give you the feeling that one bad move can easily ruin everything you’ve accomplished so far.

Due to its dynamic and engaging gameplay, Bad North was very well received by audiences all over the globe, so Raw Fury decided to launch it on mobile as well, and that’s where we came in. We were already fans of the game, so it didn’t take us long until we said “Yes” to taking over the mobile porting process.

We started this awesome project with two main missions: to increase the framerate, and to simplify the graphic shaders in order to make the game available as broadly as possible. This is where our extensive experience with mobile platforms came in handy and allowed us to jump in with expert understanding and a precise approach to the entire process.

Though the initial estimation for the project was for a team of two engineers to work on the platform specific challenges, our continuous commitment to quality compelled us to bring a third engineer into the mix to spend more time than initially planned optimizing the framerate and the overall experience on mobile devices.

The performance optimization process started with comprehensive research for identifying the key devices that will support the mobile sync, and then went in depth with solving any resulting issues. The optimization task was complex and required a multi-layered approach. We replaced expensive code with more efficient, mobile-optimized code. We made sure to take advantage at the latest features provided by the Unity engine. We reduced the number of draw calls and simplified expensive shaders in number of operations. We also applied a wider use of texture compression and implemented device tiers to deliver optimal balance between performance and visuals.

Besides the optimization work, we had several other technical tasks on the project, including the integration of multiple libraries, some cosmetic adaptations required for the Chinese market, implementing a paywall system, Chinese-specific social networking features and more. All in all, this project turned out to be a complex and interesting one, from a technical perspective.

We now want to take a moment to thank the Raw Fury team for one of the best collaborations we’ve ever had – we’ve seen a lot of flexibility, knowledge and responsiveness. Moreover, the success of Bad North project brought us a new mobile porting collaboration with them, this time for Kingdom Two Crowns. We’re very happy to be a trusted partner for Raw Fury and we look forward to our continued partnership!