The remake of Prince of Persia 2 will be coming to iOS and Android devices later this month on July 25th under the name of Prince of Persia: The Shadow and the Flame. The game will run you $2.99.
The creator and provider of the Unity multi-platform engine and development tools, Unity Technologies, today made their basic mobile tools absolutely free, further empowering small studios and indie developers. Developers among the community can now publish their games and apps straight to iOS and Android in the ‘build menu’, and soon across the Blackberry and Windows Phone 8 too.
Previously costing up to $800, basic add-on tools are now free, which creates the opportunity for a huge shift in the market for independent game developers. This publishing step now means that developers with the free version of Unity can now commercialize and advertise their apps without having to share profit with Unity or buying licenses.
The CEO of Unity Technologies, David Helgason, stated: “We were able to make Unity free for the web and for desktop computers a while ago, but have been dreaming of doing the same for mobile for what seems like forever.” He went on to say “Mobile games development is possibly the most dynamic and exciting industry in the world, and it’s an honor to be able to help so many developers be so successful in fulfilling their visions and in building their businesses.”
A survey conducted by Game Developer Magazine in 2012 found that a staggering 53% of mobile developers used Unity, and Apple added 17 Unity-authored titles to their “Best of” list. Making such popular and widely used tools free is a huge step for Unity Technologies. One that will definitely pay off.
This move is as exciting as it is bold, opening the door for many small developers who were previously unable to get access to such tools. With more developers come more sales, and with more sales come greater popularity, which leads to more Unity-based apps and games, forming a circle that will continuously benefit Unity Technologies and the developers they cater for. Well played Unity Technologies, very well played indeed.
Disclaimer: Image taken from http://www.flickr.com/photos/jillianisaphotographer/4427770651/
Android is becoming quite the popular, and with 900 million Android phones currently activated, the Google Play store has seen 2.5 million app downloads in the past month alone.
Although Android continues to grow in numbers, we have to remember that last year articles came out revealing that the iPhone sells more phones a day then babies are born. Android has awhile yet to catch up(And considering how many Android phones are out their, in a way its kind of sad).
Facebook is taking over the world.
No really, check out this video.
Facebook Home is the idea that Facebook is everywhere on your phone. you can chat with friends, see updates, from wherever you are on the phone. although an interesting idea for the social network junkie, its apparently ‘Putting People First, Not Apps’ then why don’t we put down our phones and chat with the person next to us?
Few games on my iPod Touch are capable of making me play them as more than just time killers. That’s what most of the games I have are – time killers that I only open when I’m bored and looking for a way to pass a short amount of time. There is nothing wrong with a game having that quality, as it encourages players to keep coming back when they need to: Angry Birds is a perfect example. However, FarOut is one of those few games that demands your attention as more than a time killer. It manages to fill both that criteria and has me coming back for more because I genuinely want to. I smashed my way through this game, and when I hit the end, I played it again.
Released by indie developer OZ Coder on March 14th, 2013, FarOut a short, fun, and creative run-and-gun arcade game: everything you want in a touch-screen game. It pulls all its resources to deliver a strong title with a surprisingly unique story, fun gameplay, clever level design, and even a very well implemented difficulty curve.
Set in an unknown time in the future, the story follows Kurt and Jane (the player can pick one or the other to play as), former elite agents of the Confederate Regime of Alliance Party – known as CRoAP – as they strive to thwart an attack on Earth by an alien race, known as the Greamlites. The Greamlites are trying to build a weapon called Doomsday device to destroy Earth, and start by stealing the Doomsday formula from one Dr Kruznik. Their missions take them on a race against time, spanning across four planets and a moon, building the framework for the game’s five missions (six stages in the first two, and five stages in the rest) and allowing for a variety of setting changes throughout the game. Creators Kenny Hong and Arash Jalalian stated in a press release that films such as Die Hard and Indiana Jones inspired FarOut, and it definitely shows in the level design and the mechanics of the game. While FarOut does not have much exploration of character in the story (not necessarily a negative point, seeing as it’s focusing more on the events), it does have a nice touch upon starting up the first stage, where information such as height, personality, and ‘favorite quote’ are listed next to a picture of Kurt and Jane. While this doesn’t involve seeing the characters in much depth, it is a start at making them easier to relate with or care about. Then again, being a downloaded iPod Touch game, I didn’t really have my expectations unfairly high.
A block of text before each stage informs players of the coming events, essentially in a briefing, and while I wouldn’t have expected a form of straight-up text to work in that context, it really did. The developers also leave out needless exposition, making for a more streamlined story that spends more time saying and showing what is happening, rather than explaining all the facts behind what is happening, which I really like.
Being a touch-screen game, available on iOS platforms and the Android phone, FarOut’s gameplay revolves around using the touch-screen. In a very simple use of ‘controls’, the player presses on the right hand side of the screen where they want to shoot, and presses a button on the left to jump. The only other button on the screen is the player’s balance of in-game coins, collected by destroying enemies and obstacles – if they press this button it will deduct 100 coins to activate a ‘Wipeout’, where all the enemies and obstacles on the screen are ‘wiped out’ immediately, providing a backup for tight situations and large groups of enemies. The character is always moving from left to right, and as such takes on the form of an arcade shooter/platformer. As the player runs from left to right they will encounter power-ups ranging from better ammunition to Coin Magnets to Weapon Nullifiers (this particularly handy power-up stops enemy combatants from shooting for a period).
The ‘shooter’ aspect of the gameplay is wound tight, with the player given access to three types of increasingly powerful ammunition for their weapon. The ‘platformer’ element is also designed well, with as many three different paths available sometimes. Often, one of these paths will be safer than the other(s), and as such the game involves a lot of trial and error. I welcome trial and error – it just means that, by cleverly using spawn locations of varying levels and spacing out the power-ups found in the stages, the game successfully challenges players to think and choose their paths wisely and quickly. Separately these elements makes for an average experience, but they combine to deliver a strong backbone on which to base the groundwork of the game’s design.
At the end of each mission, the last stage essentially becomes a ‘boss’ stage, lending to the earlier comparison between this game and arcade titles. These boss stages are always mission-specific, signifying the culmination of each stage’s difficulty curve. They are also really well designed, varying from setting to the enemies. The developers even change the style in which the player must complete the mission – one sees the player battling a giant scorpion while hooked up to a jetpack, and another has the player shooting at pop-up cards in first person. This variety in missions, especially towards the end, is a refreshing take on the concept of difficulty and boss fights on a touch-screen in general.
To counter the difficulty curve, FarOut features a leveling system. This system is accessible from the menu screen, requiring players to spend in-game coins to level in up four different categories: longer lasting Coin Magnet, longer lasting Weapon Nullifier, increased shooting rate, and improved armour. I found these upgrades essential to varying degrees, especially when the difficulty started to ramp up and every path I chose in a level was the wrong one. Due to clever balancing in price,a player can’t simply max one or all of them out during the first playthrough, so as not to make the game too easy. Without this leveling system the game would have suffered from having to tone down the difficulty, and replay value would have taken a hit when the only point of collecting coins would be to activate a ‘Wipeout’, so it definitely adds value to the overall product.
Unfortunately not all of my feedback is positive, as the game suffered from a couple of tiny issues. The story could be out a little more, even though it stands very well where it’s at now; the game suffered from slowdown and lag a couple of times (which, coincidentally, helped me beat a stage because I was able to have a quicker reaction time); and during the last stage of the game a few things on my screen were completely mismatched, and no matter how many times I restarted the iPod they wouldn’t re-size to properly fit what was going in the level. I still managed to beat that final level, however, and the glitch made it even more rewarding.
These small complaints don’t carry too much weight when sizing up the overall product, because I had a lot of fun with FarOut. It’s surprisingly well-balanced, has a multitude of enemies, locations, and styles of play, and even has an upgrade system that compliments the game, rather than overshadows it. The developers at OZ Coders really knew what they wanted in this game, and it definitely shows. The touch-screen integration also works very well, and I had no problems with it sensing where I pressed or what I was trying to do. I recommend FarOut, regardless of whether you need to kill time or want to play a fun and involving game – it’s easy to get into, and easy to enjoy. With a $0.99 price tag, you definitely can’t go wrong.
- Well thought-out story
- Strong gameplay
- Good upgrade/leveling system
- Very fun
- Story felt a little rushed
- Some slowdown, image displacement, other small glitches
Suitability: All ages, cartoony graphics detract from conceptions of violence (like Star Wars: The Clone Wars TV series)
Platforms: iPhone, iPod Touch, Android phone
Replay Value: High
Special thanks to Kenny Hong and Arash Jalalian for giving us the opportunity to review their game, and for providing us with a press release to follow
According to TweetDeck’s Blog the service will be discontinued in May for iOS, Android, and Facebook. TweetDeck stated,
TweetDeck is the most powerful Twitter tool for tracking real-time conversations. Its flexibility and customizable layout let you keep up with what’s happening on Twitter, across multiple topics and accounts, in real time. To continue to offer a great product that addresses your unique needs, we’re going to focus our development efforts on our modern, web-based versions of TweetDeck. To that end, we are discontinuing support for our older apps: TweetDeck AIR, TweetDeck for Android and TweetDeck for iPhone. They will be removed from their respective app stores in early May and will stop functioning shortly thereafter. We’ll also discontinue support for our Facebook integration.
They also said that,
In many ways, doubling down on the TweetDeck web experience and discontinuing our app support is a reflection of where our TweetDeck power-users are going. Over the past few years, we’ve seen a steady trend towards people using TweetDeck on their computers and Twitter on their mobile devices.
Twitter acquired TweetDeck in 2011. The app has become very popular among social users, But will be more focused on the Desktop(And browser version) from now on. Twitter still has its main app available however, and we will continue to see improvements in that area.
Earlier today Samsung revealed its new Wallet app, for Android devices.
The app will allow you to access a variety of things in one central place, including Coupons, Event tickets, or boarding passes.
Third Party developers can integrate with the app, however Samsung has to approve it. The app will also allow you to access Barcodes which can be scanned at payment terminals.