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How Double Eleven rethought Frozen Synapse Tactics' UI for Vita

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Frozen Synapse's original developer, Mode 7, designed the turn-based strategy game for PC, not touch-based devices.

A primary challenge for Double Eleven, the developer porting the game to PlayStation Vita as Frozen Synapse Tactics, is to translate the PC's menu-based interface to Sony's handheld. Design manager Gareth Wright explained the process today on the PlayStation Blog.

"Our real design challenge for Vita was to figure out how we would engineer away from a complex menu driven PC experience to an intuitive design that still maintains the immediacy of the original game," Wright wrote. "Intuitive for us meant that it should appeal to a much wider audience but at its core should satisfy modern day die-hard tactical shooter fans."

According to Wright, players must be able to create paths and give orders quickly, just like on the PC version. Double Eleven's solution: Frozen Synapse Tactics' new user interface.

"Focus testing has allowed us to refine how the game's interface improves on the overall experience," he wrote. "This has resulted in an entirely new on screen display (OSD), which incorporates huge visual and functional changes following a minimalist and context-sensitive design. The new Command Wheel contains all your unit's orders, retaining everything from the original game as well as introducing some brand new options for casual and advanced players."

Double Eleven, the developer behind Limbo on PS Vita, LittleBigPlanet PS Vita and PixelJunk Monsters: Ultimate HD, is also adding a Replay Theater mode that will allow players to save games and watch the best matches from the community.

According to Wright's response to a comment on the PlayStation Blog, Frozen Synapse Tactics' release date is "still being discussed." The original Frozen Synapse was released in 2011 for Linux, Mac and Windows PC and in the last year for Android and iOS.