Pokemon Go -Niantics Secret Weapon!

4 07 2016

So, after a lengthy hiatus, what a better way to return than a piece on Pokemon Go, Niantic’s new game.

After what would seem a reasonable success to some, Niantic’s second game is unsurprisingly far more hyped than its little brother Ingress.

After an on again, off again relationship with Google, Niantic now stands alone again, having once been part of Googles wider family.

Ingress was rolled out in 2012 in beta form, invite only, with fairly few users, but a very active community. Having obtained an invite in 2013, I’ve had Ingress for a while, and whilst the concept and exclusivity factor made it pretty cool to dabble around in, it never gripped me quite like it has with some.

Ingress-screenshots

People now holiday together playing Ingress, specifically trying to capture portals based on real life locations, with large events organised by Niantic on a fairly regular basis.

After struggling to get on with Ingress, but seeing its huge potential, I am hugely excited for Pokemon Go.

Pokemon Go is a location based game, based on the Pokemon series which needs no introduction, with its multi-million game sales on the Gameboy, and DS, and is all about trying to catch as many Pokemon as you can, battling your way to the top !

ImageSchot

 

The screenshots that have been revealed so far, show two different modes, AR & VR, both performing pretty well to engross the user in the overall experience.

Some early testers have complained about the Pokemon appearing to hover over the ground, not blending seamlessly into the background, but what can you expect in an early access beta ?

The game carries over some of the features we loved from the Gameboy games, battling opponents, challenging gyms, and collecting items from specific places (pokestops in the game).

The gym aspect is pretty cool, similar to a portal in Ingress, which can be defended by leaving a Pokemon of your choosing for opponents to battle, much like the resonator equivalent in Ingress. This brings it to life a whole lot more, and makes you think twice about which of your precious Pokemon you leave behind !!

Pokemon Go Screenshots

It is also understood a great deal of the testing that has been carried out this year by beta testers has been around the algorithms which dictate which Pokemon appear where. These are thought to be reasonably intelligent, with water Pokemon appearing near the water, grass near patches of grass and such like ! This element will be particularly interesting, but sadly Australia may be a long way to go to capture a Kangaskhan!

map-view1png-6daadd_765w.png

It is understood that there will be an in game purchase capability in the app, unsurprising, but I hope that the game isn’t dictated by this, ruining it for anybody who doesn’t want to splash their cash on it. These purchases are thought to be for items such as pokeballs, potions, revives etc, all of which are thought to be able to be obtained via normal play via pokestops, so if you have a pokestop nearby.. you may be in luck ! The locations of these pokestops are also thought to follow a similar format to portals in ingress, being located at key locations in an area !

Pokestop

As well as in app purchases, there is a physical piece of hardware available for use with Pokemon Go, the Pokemon Go Plus. This is a small device that can be worn as a wrist band, or clipped onto a piece of clothing, the idea of this, is to prevent you having to be glued to your phone, thus being able to enjoy your natural environment when you want, whilst still being able to respond to crucial events in the game such as throwing a Pokeball. This was a bit of an issue for me with Niantic, not wanting to kill the phones battery, or walk down a busy street with your head in your phone!

Pokemon Go Plus

The game its self, could be very poor, but will undoubtably get a tonne of support due to the underlying support of Pokemon.

The firm release date is still to be announced, but Niantic & Pokemon have said this will be in July 2016, with the Pokemon Go Plus pre-orders (Now sold out) being delivered in late July.

No doubt there will be a further update once the game has launched and my Pokemon Go Plus has been delivered, but for the time being, I’ll keep my eyes peeled until a launch date is officially released !





Windows 8, a few weeks of discussion!

15 11 2012

So, after swaying backwards and forwards for what seemed like an age. I took the plunge and upgraded my laptop to Windows 8.

I am quite enjoying the new UI, but many have a completely different opinion !!

What do you think of the new interface ? Is it something you love, or are going to have to learn to love ?

I’ve done pieces on the new Windows 8 Mobile OS, as well as the Lumia 920 and HTC 8X who will run this OS. But the laptop, tablet, PC will be what makes the most use of this.

The Metro Tile start button had me confused first of all, this is shown above, I wasn’t sure if the complete system was ran around this or purely the start panel. To answer, it is only the start button. If you click start you get the same sort of Metro Interface you get on a Windows Phone with Live Tiles and lots of different applications. This can give you an idea if you have any emails, notifications or any events coming up in your calendar. This is bringing the OS of Laptops and PC’s more in line with Mobiles and thus gives us an opportunity to integrate the 2 of these together to ensure we take everything with us at all times. In a few weeks time I will hopefully take delivery of a HTC 8X, and can give a further insight into the integration when this is received, but it seems like there are a good few opportunities to be completely integrated.

On the Metro themed Start button, there is a tile that is called ‘Desktop’ clicking this takes you back to your standard HomeScreen you know, and most probably grown to love. Your desktop can still have shortcuts on it, and you can still drag and drop to the recycle bin etc etc. When on the Start Button, if you right click and click ‘All Apps’ this will give you a better view of what you can click to run, including ‘My Comnputer’, ‘Control Panel’ and things of that nature, as well as programs that may not show up right away on your Metro themed background. It can take time to get this start button the way you like fiddling with combinations, but when you have a system you can use and suits what you like to check and keep up to date with, it works fantastically.

Hovering over the top right and bottom left of the screen also gives you a lot more options. Hovering in the top right for example gives you another side menu to shut the computer down, search for files or programmes and connect to other devices. The bottom left gives you access to the start button, and opens up the screen shown at the top of this piece.

If you are into developing, there is a lot of debate about this OS as it is apparently far more locked down than previous ones. I am not into this on a major scale, so it doesn’t effect me to a massive extent but this may cause problems for you if you are.

I am loving this new OS, and personally don’t see a lot of negatives with a lot of useful shortcuts and integration, I see this being very popular, and as Windows is the most commonly ran OS generally, most people will probably have to like it or lump it anyway !

When I upgraded, I had the option to do so online for £19.99 if I choose not to receive a disc, this is the option I choose and didn’t take long to complete. Upgrading officially this way ensures all of your files are saved, and running the update helper gives you an idea if any of your programmes will maybe have compatibility issues with W8, most require a simple reinstall or update if this is the case.

A handy hint I read elsewhere, which successfully worked for me, Is that if you bought a W7 laptop between July and January 2013, you are eligible for a discounted upgrade to W8. If you fill in a code for this online, you can get this code no questions asked with no proof of purchase required. This is obviously a flaw in the system but allowed me to get the upgrade for £14.99 and saved me a fiver for the pub !!

The link for this section is – http://www.windowsupgradeoffer.com

If you do this you will have a voucher sent to your email within 24 hours that you can input when downloading the upgrade.

I’d love to hear everybodies views on this ! As it has been, and will continue to be a very controversial system.

Thanks !!

J

 





Plague Inc App Review !

13 10 2012

Plague Inc is a great app available on Android and iOS.

Its 69p in ITunes and is strangely free on Android so if your on on Android, your in luck ! Says me after downloading it for my iPad then releasing it was free for my GNex later that day ..

The game is based around Wiping the world out by a range of different means.. bacteria, virus, nano-virus, fungi etc.

I’ve been stuck to it for more or less the past day, and its infuriatingly addictive.

You start of by choosing a country your looking to infect, you then gain DNA points throughout the course of the game by bursting bubbles as they appear, the same way you infect new countries. Using these DNA points you can choose to upgrade your Diseases Transmission, Symptoms or Abilities. Under Transmission you can upgrade things like making the disease airbourne, making it be carried be wildlife including rodents and birds and also through water or blood. Under symptoms, this is where the fun starts, you can choose what effects your disease will have, from a case of the runs or nausea to coma’s and tumours, this seems sick but it is great fun! Under the abilities section we get to give the disease a bacterial coat to help it defend itself in tough environments as well as making it better protected against drugs, the cold, the heat and also other countries efforts to eradicate it !

The above screenshot gives you an idea of what happens mid game, this shows Africa more or less infected and the buttons that pop up for you to infect other countries, as well as the general game UI.

Completing a level can take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour depending on how much your into it so it does definately give you great value for money if you do have to shell out the 69p! I’ve only completed a few of the levels and it certainly isn’t getting old anytime soon.

I’ve been reviewing and playing a lot of games recently on all of my devices ! For a while the Free’mium market was putting me off of mobile gaming altogether but with some great recent purchases my faith has been restored and this has definately been one of them .. although the option is there to advance to the next level with paid content, the option doesn’t ruin the game or give you a massive unplayable advantage against anyone else.

If your inner Science geek is itching to come out, get this game. The diseases act very true to life, if you infect a poorer country you have to expect the disease will be best spread by insects, poor hygiene and blood where as in richer countries this wouldnt be the case so you have to adopt different methods for different places.. as well as certain symptoms effecting certain people more like pneumonia and coughing and sneezing. The makers of this game deserve massive praise as this is sure to give me endless more hours playing time !

 





Bad Piggies !! App Review

7 10 2012

Rovio might not be a big name to some .. but when you say Angry Birds, everybody knows what your talking about !

Angry Birds to date, has brought in a horrendous amount of money from the games, the sequels and now the abundance of products with Rovio clearly doing a ‘George Lucas’ .. if a birds face can be on something, then do it !

I’m a massive fan of the games and have enjoyed the original, sequel and space versions with some purists prefering the original experience alone .. I think they are missing out on some great games.

The newest installment of Rovio’s world domination is called ‘Bad Piggies’ and focusses on the green pigs introduced in the first line of games.

Each level of the game involves you being given a number of different items, and making a contraption that will take you to the end of the level, these involve wheels, rockets, propellers and bottles of fizzy juice !
I think this idea is great, they aren’t just making another rip off of Angry Birds.. its a completely different game.

This game is a breath of fresh air as far as im concerned to a franchise that could have potentially started to fall down in the opinions of many with a lot of similar game releases one after the other.

I’ve been playing this game for a few days now and im not even a quarter of the way in, so it does provide a pretty decent challenge to most. Bad Piggies has also sadly caved into the pressure of additional in game content, this means that whilst in the game you can buy some in game credits to which the pig-like Adrian Newey builds you a contraption worthy of beating all others and completing the level. This doesn’t guarantee the level to be completed but does give you a a massive push in the right direction.

I’d highly recommend this game to anybody, its less than £1 on Android and iOS and if you have played any of Rovio’s other games, you will know that for that £1 your getting a lot of hours of addictive fun.





AOKP JellyBean Build 1 Galaxy Nexus ROM Review

26 08 2012

http://aokp.co/index.php/releases/_/jellybean-build-1-r28

Released on the 20th of August, AOKP has made available JellyBean Build 1. Now, this is confusing to most as, unknown to some, AOKP have been producing JellyBean Nightly builds for a few weeks previous to this. These were a lot more experimental than previous ‘Builds’ and the current ‘Build’ is thought to be a culmination of the best points of these Nightly’s developed over the past few weeks.

The ROM is apparently a far way away from being a stable release but has been suprisingly bugless for me since I started running it, with only a minor glitch here and there.

AOKP have planned out what they are going to do with this ROM following its jump to JellyBean and it seems to have helped a lot with all of the features it encompasses instead of throwing a lot of random non integrated features at it and hoping it sticks. Like older AOKP, it has a lot of UI customisation as well as almost 30 ‘Swag Papers’ to spruce up your homescreen andsome unique features and inbuilt performance control. One of the talked about features is the flip to vibrate or silent function, this as it suggests turns the phone to silent or vibrate when you put the phone on its back or during a call when you flip it to its back, useful in meetings, work, or just in general if you really don’t want to answer the phone to the person who is calling!

   

Im running this now and went from Paranoid Android to it and im not let down. I used to be a bit of an AOKP fanboy but was pleasantly suprised with my experience on PA, but I think this ROM has brought me back over to the dark side !

This is only the first JellyBean Build as it name suggests so expect a lot more from AOKP. They have their team and they clearly know what they are doing from running over 10 of their previous builds on Ice Cream Sandwich and with great innovation and features included its definately one to keep an eye on over the coming weeks and months !

 





The Cloud, bye bye hard drive !

24 08 2012

Ok so, for quite some time now there has been a lot of chat about “The Cloud”.

By “The Cloud” we mean Cloud based computing and storage, but this can take many forms, some of which shown below in the image i exquisitely stole from Wikipedia.

Some people practically live on the Cloud, whilst others are sceptical, prefering storage on USB sticks, hard drives etc.

The new Google Chromebook is a great example of Cloud computing. This sits on the border between being a pure cloud client and a laptop. The Chromebook only has a 16GB hard drive. This, still could function as a computer but considering the standard iPhone is 16 GB, it doesnt give much room to play with presuming that some of this internal storage is also used for the Chrome OS data. There are limited offline capabilities but when connected to the internet , you essentially have unlimited storage and capabilities with access to the web store to purchase web apps to use programs such as Word and Excel and taking 8 seconds according to Google to boot up with a pretty instantaneous set up from the box.

There are a lot of Cloud applications floating about now (excuse the pun), with services such as Google Drive and Dropbox aswell as Apple’s iCloud service. I am registered for all of these and each have their own great features. My iPad is backed up to iCloud meaning that if the preverbial hits the fan on my laptop or the iPad, I can simply restore my settings from the cloud. Being an Android geek I also have Titanium Backup linked to my Dropbox and Google Drive account, this means all of my phone backups are stored on the cloud and even if my phone is completely wiped I can restore these apps from thin air!

Cloud applications are incredibly useful and are basically the future of University. The amount of times a student will walk into College or University only to be met with the fear after discovering their USB Stick with all of their work is still at home will be uncountable. Using Dropbox for example, files are uploading to this service at home using a mobile, laptop, iPad etc.. and when you are using any other computer,laptop etc you simply access Dropbox and then have access to your previously uploaded files, meaning files you uploaded at home are on the computer you are using in University with a simple log in to each of the Servers.

Now, getting to the sceptics.
A lot of folk will be sceptical purely due to their lack of control of their files. Of course files can be uploaded, downloaded and deleted at your request, but in the meantime.. What is happening with your files and where abouts are they? The answer to this question is fairly simple.. instead of using your own small DVD Sized Hard-Drive, you are probably using a Corridor filled with massive servers and hard drives in an industrial estate.

Now, although you may think your data may be easily compromised. These establishments are pretty well secured (most of them anyway) and have complete sevurity teams with access documented to the rooms and some of them are even pretty green and environmentally friendly in comparison with these types of centres of old.

Another reason most people seem to be sceptical is the reliability of these sort of services. Facebook rarely goes down, Twitter rarely goes down but it does happen and when it does the whole world knows about it. Although this wouldnt happen much, If it happens on an occasion where your stored data is integral to what you do, you would be pretty much screwed if you don’t have it there and then or when the service resumes crucial files may have became corrupt or deleted.

I sit very uncomfortably on the fence on this matter. I use Dropbox, iCloud, Google Drive and probably other services that aren’t at the forefront of my mind. I use these in addition to Solid Storage. I still have many USB sticks, a portable Hard Drive and a laptop with a substantial Hard Drive. These services, as far as I can see compliment each other. Having a plan B is never a bad thing so if you have the time or the resources to implement both I still see this is as the way forward in the near future.





Great Little War Game Review ! iOS Android

16 08 2012

Great Little War Game is a turn-based strategy game available for £0.69 on iOS and $0.99 for Android.

This game was originally higher priced, but with the release of its new sibling Great Big War Game ($2.99  on both platforms) its price has been cut and is the current bargain of the minute with a lot of gamers !

I know a lot of people grudge paying for apps, regardless of the miniscule price but this game really is worth the money. If you can’t justify less than £1 for a game when you possibly spend £30/40 on a console game then I know I can’t sway you anyway..

The game is turn-based strategy so each player takes a turn, finishes his moves, then the opponent completes their move. This is great, especially for a mobile platform when you may not be spending 100% of your concentration on the game, or are playing it in broken up chunks throughout the day, it doesn’t require your undivided attention to be great and has plenty of missions to keep you occupied for some time !

The video above gives a good idea of the gameplay, showing a good proportion of the first mission of the campaign. The game is obviously war based, and is very similar to games such as Advance Wars for the Nintendo DS with each mission having its own required objectives for completion.

The games graphics are really crisp and great for the price as well as providing a smooth flowing game with no Ad’s. For the price, this is a bargain. It is very similar to Great Big War Game and for a third of the price you definately don’t get a third of the game!

 

 

 








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