One of our guiding philosophies is that you should be able to play Conclave in whatever way works best for you. Want to burn through the game in a weekend playing solo? Totally fine. Want to take one turn a day with three friends? Equally fine.
Still, the browser isn’t everyone’s preferred gaming platform. It’s slightly less convenient than launching the game from its own app, and the browser’s “chrome” hinders immersion a little bit. In addition, Steam remains one of most popular ways to discover and play games, and it’s PC-only.*
With that in mind, a few months ago we began exploring the possibility of a desktop client of the game, and yesterday we released a beta version for Windows. Mac and Linux versions should be available next month.
We had a lot of options for how to turn Conclave’s existing browser app into a desktop one. Several commercial development frameworks, among them Awesomium and Qt WebEngine, allow you to embed a stripped-down browser engine in a desktop app. Ultimately we chose to work with the Chromium Embedded Framework (CEF), a well-maintained open source project that provides a C++ API. Like many of the commercial frameworks, CEF is based on the same core code as Chrome, which we know works well with Conclave. It’s also used by a number of popular applications with needs similar to ours, such as Steam, Desura, Battle.net, and Spotify.
So far we’re quite happy with how development has gone. Because CEF provides virtually all the capabilities of Chrome, the Conclave desktop client needs only a thin wrapper of its own code for each operating system — a very important consideration for a two-person development team like ours. In addition, the framework isn’t bloated by functionality we don’t need, keeping the file size of the client to a minimum. If you ever need full-fledged browser functionality for one of your own apps, it’s worth a look.
* Speaking of Steam: Conclave is on Steam Greenlight! If you’d like to see the game come to Steam and get exposed to a larger audience, please vote for it on our Greenlight page.