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!

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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 !





Ubuntu Phone , a new contender or overhyped flop ?

6 01 2013

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Ubuntu, em… what ?

To most people, this means nothing. But to a small percentage of like-minded computer geeks like myself ! Ubuntu, is another Operating System. Similar to Windows or Mac. Ubuntu is a Linux based OS, some people may have heard of Linux, Ubuntu is based on the Debian Linux Distrubution and like Android, is free and open sourced. There are many more Linux operating softwares but Ubuntu is the most common, giving the user more control of their computer, similar to rooting a phone. Ubuntu also claims to be Virus-Free, and has great in built Virus protection. Ubuntu is free to download, install and updates are also free for life.

Ubuntu can be installed alongside an OS like Windows, this is what I have running on my computer. Ubuntu alongside W8. This means that upon boot, I can choose what OS I want to run, with a section of my Hard Drive partitioned to this OS and this OS alone. Ubuntu can currently be installed on an Android phone, with the phone still running Android, but when docked and plugged into a monitor and keyboard, becoming a fully fledged PC.

Ubuntu phone is going to bedifferent to this. This will be a standalone phone OS, i.e your phone will run Ubuntu instead of Android.

app-launcher

The video above gives an idea as to the UI and operating of this and will be available before February as a patch for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. As soon as this is released I’ll post another thread on this, to give an idea of how it runs and functions with day to day use.

welcome-screen

Many think Ubuntu have taken a step too far with trying to implement this OS onto a mobile platform, and single handedly trying to Unify all of their Operating Software Platforms. They claim to be the first to be able to do this, but many would argue Windows got their first with the unification aspect.

This looks really interesting and the UI looks really fresh and different, I’m intrigued to see how it goes !!

http://www.viddler.com/v/ac8413f3

The Video above is from Engadget and also gives a slightly different, but great look at the OS in action and is well worth a watch.





HTC 8X and 8S , Windows Phone Preview !

14 10 2012

So, Nokia have advertised the life out of the new Lumia range and the Windows software it will be running, but now the guys over at HTC have released some specs and pictures of their new HTC 8 range.

Im not going to spend all of this article talking about Windows Phone as I’ve already shown my excitement for it previously and wrote a few articles that concern it, as well as the Lumia 920 article, each of these can be found here ..

https://techfilledfantasy.wordpress.com/2012/09/06/nokia-lumia-920-are-the-boots-of-apple-google-shaking/

https://techfilledfantasy.wordpress.com/2012/08/11/270/

These articles will give you a bit of an overview of Windows Phone 8, and what you can expect from it.

The HTC 8X and HTC 8S will both run the Windows OS. Just like the HTC One X & S, you know more or less what to expect from each of these models that each will have its own selling points.

Taking the 8X first of all, it looks great as you can see below ( except the Big Bird yellow colour ). The design looks similar to the Lumia 920 if you ask me, but that again in my opinion isn’t a bad thing. The Lumia is a great looking device and I think the 8X is also equally as good looking. The phone has a 4.3 inch 720p Screen incorporating Gorilla Glass 2.

Thankfully Big Bird yellow isn’t the only colour this device will come in, there are a number of different colour options you can go for which are each shown below.

 

My favourite is the ‘blue’, I think it looks purple but I suppose seeing it up close may change my opinion of it.

The 8X’s Camera is also quite highly touted, this is an 8MP camera but this isn’t its main selling point. The camera is said to capture almost 3x the image area that a normal smartphone camera does. The image below is taken directly from the HTC website and gives an idea to what is meant by this.

Both phones also have Beats Audio, predictable in most HTC phones now considering they more or less have the controlling stake in the company, this is a good addition but not a deal-breaker to most, but might sway some iPhone users over to HTC’s way of thinking!

The 8X runs a Qualcomm S4 1.5 GHz Dual-core processor, so isn’t running a Quad-Core monster like the One X or One X + but is pretty quick regardless.

Now, taking the 8S. This device looks a bit like some of the Sony Ericsson Xperia devices in my opinion, but again not a bad thing as the device does look pretty good.

 

Like the 8X, the 8S comes in a number of different colour options all of which are shown above. I like the black and white one of these the best but almost every one of these devices look good sporting a 4inch screen that is slightly smaller than the 8X.

 

The 8S is the more lower end device, just like the HTC One range. This still has pretty good specs though but may not be enough for the dedicated smart-phone geek. The 8S has a 1Ghz Dual-core processor but has an optimised battery for this processor and therefore takes less time to charge and has a significantly longer battery life due to the smaller processor.

The 5mp camera is also highly regarded but again is obviously a significant step down from the 8X. With the 8S, 7GB of free Sky Drive is offered, this is mentioned quite a lot on their website but to most users of Dropbox or Google Drive, this will be pretty insignificant.

I like the look of both variants massively, they look new and modern and different from the ship load of smartphones we are seeing recently. I could be tempted with an 8X, but it would depend on how it matched up to the Lumia 920 and how the roll out of Windows 8 went. The HTC 8X is said to be going for £400 unlocked and HTC 8S for £225 unlocked when they launch in November, so for me, these are massively more appealing than the £500+ iPhone 5 but like most things, only time will tell if they are as successful as they should be !

 

 





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.





iPhone 5 , is this what you have been waiting for ? Or a massive letdown?

13 09 2012

So as expected,  Apple have unveiled the new iPhone but not the iPad Mini as was widely expected!

The iPhone 5 has been hyped up to its eyeballs, mostly due to the monstrous success of all of its predecessors so has pretty big boots to fill going head to head with devices like the Samsung Galaxy S III & the Nokia Lumia 920.

The new iPhone is bigger and thinner than previous models, and if you have been on the internet in recent weeks, the official design looks almost exactly like the concepts and leaked images that have been doing the rounds of the web. The larger screen has allowed it to have an additional line of apps/folders in comparison with previous models.

If you are looking for completely new groundbreaking innovation, I’d say that the iPhone 5 is slightly underwhelming. Apple have done what they do well, refining and perfecting, but there aren’t many steps outside the box in comparison with perhaps the first iPhone or features like Siri.

The new model boasts a new A6 chip , this is touted as being almost twice as fast as the previous A5 chip and provides better graphics and even better battery life, a major issue for almost all previous iPhone models with 10 hours video playback being claimed on Apples website.

One of the massive talking points of this release was of the new connector. This is different to all previous models and make far more sense being far smaller, more durable and reversible however if you want to use existing peripherals you are going to require an adapter. The adapters are shown below and are available for a price of between $30 and $40 from the good folks at Apple and in some cases this will still render your peripherals and accessories useless.

The new phone also comes with a redesigned set of ear buds , so the iconic iPod earphones have finally changed and this should supposedly stop them from falling out of ears all over the world with a redesigned shape!

The new phone will also come with a nano sim allowing the phone to be thinner than before, and will be capable of handling a 4G network. This will be big news for residents of countries with a capable 4G network, but with this in the early stages in the UK, won’t mean as much till the 4G spectrum is more widely available.

The new OS will vastly improve this as a device, whilst also keeping the rest of the iPhone family in line with updates as far back to the iPhone 4. If you are looking for more information regarding  iOS 6, We have an article previously posted regarding this massively improved OS @ https://techfilledfantasy.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/apple-ios-6-preview-nemesis-of-jelly-bean/

When the iPhone 5 is released, it will no doubt sell by the truck load! I think that also this will happen, it will be interesting to see how this device effects its market share. Many Apple fanboys have claimed instant love for the device but many have also turned their backs being entirely underwhelmed by the lack of change between the 4S and the 5. The iPhone 5 seems to be like JellyBean was to Androids Ice Cream Sandwich, this is an improved version giving better performance and functionality but doesn’t have the same amount of new features many were expecting.

Only time will tell of its success!





Nokia Lumia 920 , are the boots of Apple & Google shaking ?

6 09 2012

So with the annoucement of Nokias new Lumia handset, are the bosses at Google and Apple nervous ? or simply having a fly chuckle to themselves in the corner.. Well its not as much the second as many may have first thought !

The Lumia 920 is Nokias newest phone of the Lumia range, this will run the newest version of the Windows operating system and will be looking to build on the reasonable success of the previous Lumia phones. If people weren’t going Apple, Android or Blackberry, the chances are they had a Windows Phone. Many people instantly fell in love with the block like UI and the others will probably have to sooner or later as this looks to be the same UI Windows 8 for your desktop or laptop will use in the near future if the preview versions are anything to go by and with the recent look of the Xbox interface, this will be big shortly.

The looks of the device are very similar to the previous model with the brightly coloured shell and contoured glass making it look and feel pretty sturdy and well built and are comparible in size with Samsung Galaxy SIII, so pretty chunky to say the least !

It will run a Snapdragon S4 Dual-core 1.5 Ghz processor as well meaning its up there with the Galaxy SIII and the HTC One X for speed and certainly isn’t the fat kid running miles behind!

The screen is taunted as being the fastest, brightest and clearest touchscreen there is, and is also thought to be responsive to your fingers even when they are covered up (wearing gloves etc).

The Maps aspect is as impressive as always with Nokia phones and this phone makes further use of Augmented Reality like some previous phones have already tried to do. This means that by turning your maps on you will see what is infront of you on your screen using the camera, the camera will then use the images and relate them to GPS to show you what is infront of you and provide links to websites relating to these places etc.

The PureView camera system has a lot of peoples interest and looks to be one of the better mobile cameras available in todays market. We already have some phones with amazing cameras and ridiculously high levels of mega pixels but this isn’t the whole picture, having 5MP or 15MP will surely make a difference but this isn’t the only spec that has to be addressed when looking for a great photo. The Lumia comes with a 8.7MP camera with a Carl Zeiss Tessar lens with added Optical Image Stabilization technology meaning that the photos should be blur free regardless of how shaky your hand is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Lumia is also capable of wireless charging. This means that you don’t have to plug it in to charge but simply place it on a wireless charging portal, this to me doesn’t make much difference if you have to put it in a portal anyway ? But either way is a great piece of technology going forward.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will this device squeeze Apple and Googles marketshare between 3? I’m doubtful. But the previous Windows Phones did make a lasting impression on the market and their share is growing steadily. I don’t see the sales of iOS and Android phones plumetting but I do see this as an up and coming opponent and its easy to see why. Nokia are desparetly trying to turn their business around so are making high quality, functional phones. Some phones on the market are of a lesser quality but due to them possibly running Android for example, people will choose them anyway. This phone looks great and I cant wait to get my hands on it for a test run !








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