Space Invaders Infinity Gene

As mentioned in this weeks podcast, Infinity Gene is a great game for the iPhone but who would have thought Alphabeat would work so well as a soundtrack for a level? (Sound quality is awful unfortunately so turn up the volume to hear it properly.)

Parachute Panic

The iPhone has no shortage of great simple games. To stand out a game has to do something different or quirky while at the same time keeping the controls simple. Parachute Panic is very, very simple but due to it’s quirky graphics and sound offers something that will appeal to all iPhone owners. This video shows of the game well:

The aim is to land your parachutists safely on the boat. Helicopters, UFO’s and lightning clouds get in the way and using only your finger to control the wind you need to guide your guys to safety. The game plays really well but the hand drawn graphics and funny audio (think Flight of the Conchords) add so much to it that it’s hard to resist. A bargain at only 59p!

Paper Toss

PaperToss1Paper Toss is a simple yet highly addictive game for the iPhone and iPod Touch. The concept revolves around the popular office past-time of chucking a crumpled up paper ball into a waste paper bucket.

There are 3 difficulty levels with the waste paper bucket placed further on each higher difficulty level. The paper ball will always travel as far as the bucket, so the only thing the player has to be concerned with is the horizontal angle of your .. erm .. toss! Swipe your finger from the bottom of the screen upwards at the desired angle. Sounds simple enough, but extra challenge is provided by a desk fan which varies in it’s fan speed and randomly switches between left and right at each turn.

The game is very easy at Easy level, but Medium and Hard levels are quite challenging. Your score can be submitted, along with your location, to an online scoreboard, which can be viewed locally, nationally or globally. For a game that is currently available for free, this is incredibly good and comes recommended. Grab it while it’s still free!

DigitalOutbox Episode 4

DigitalOutbox Episode 4
In this episode the team discuss the iPhone 3GS again, Michael Jackson, some other phone news and a little bit on games. A digital smorgasbord. Listen out for the Fighting Talk homage!

Playback
Listen via iTunes
Listen via M4A
Listen via MP3

Shownotes
– iPhone Sales
– 1 million in 3 days – http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2009/06/22iphone.html
– Steve Jobs quoted in press release – he’s back
– YouTube mobile uploads increased by 400% one week after 3GS launch
– issues with icons since 3.0 upgrade?
– some apps displaying icons from other apps
– sometimes app icons not displayed, get a grey box placeholder instead
– 3GS uses more powerful PowerVR SGX 535 GPU. Pre uses 530, 3G uses 520
– for comparison:
520 = 7 mill polys
530 = 14 mill polys
535 = 28 mill polys!!!!!!!
– Sony designing mobile/PSP (again!) to give iPhone better competition?
– if they can provide a quality, user-friendly interface then with power of PSP it could work
– cos they already have a huge back catalogue of games
– BUT, iPhone is a success mainly due to apps, not just games
– where does XMB, Sony’ baby, fit in to this?
– designing a phone around a console doesn’t quite work. Apple got it right by giving us a phone with good enough hardware for supporting games, which came later once the hardware had already become established
– form factor – current PSP just not suitable, again Apple got it spot on, not too small not too big, durable(ish)

– New MacBook Air
– slower than previous model despite clock speed increase?

– Windows 7 prices
– http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8118749.stm
– Microsoft is in the middle of another epic battle during its long war with the European Commission over the alleged abuse of its monopoly position. This time the issue is the bundling Internet Explorer with Windows, the subject of complaints from rival browser makers. Earlier this month Microsoft came up with a ploy it thought might satisfy the Commission, promising that Windows 7 would be released in Europe without any browser.
Today we learned that this would mean that European users who wanted to upgrade would have to install the full version – if they’d been offered the simpler upgrade, that would have simply imported their existing browser, almost certainly Internet Explorer, into their new setup.
But Microsoft says it’s giving European users that full version for the same price that it would normally charge for an upgrade – £79.99 in the UK.
But here’s the problem. You upgrade from XP or Vista to Windows 7, and then find you’ve got no browser. No problem, I hear you say, you just go and download one – say Firefox, or Chrome, or Safari or maybe Internet Explorer 8. Using your browser. Ahh…right.
Microsoft told me “we will have some answers” to this issue, but admitted there were “challenges and complexities” involved. But the company pointed out to me that the vast majority of Windows 7 users were likely to be people buying new computers, and the manufacturers were likely to pre-install a browser on those machines.
– America – Those with Windows XP or Vista already installed can start pre-ordering Windows 7 upgrade discs, costing $50 for Home Premium and $100 for Professional. Those deals are for a “limited time,” with no specifics given, from Microsoft directly and most computer retailers, and Ultimate may or may not see an upgrade pre-order deal. Vista and XP users will need to pony up $119.99, $199.99, or $219.99 on October 22 to score their Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional, or Ultimate upgrade, and those of you who want a full retail disc will need to roll up with $199.99, $299.99, or $319.99

– Google Voice
– http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/google_voice_is_opening_up_today_here_is_what_you_can_expect.php

– Vodafone Access Gateway
– http://online.vodafone.co.uk/dispatch/Portal/appmanager/vodafone/wrp?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=templateCClamp&pageID=PPP_0061
– Gives you a great 3G signal through your house
– Need a broadband line and Vodafone gateway
– makes use of femtoecll technology
– Offloads calls onto broadband network
– Hits your broadband performance?
– Interference with other femto cells?
– 1st July Launch – £160 to buy outright, or for monthly fee as part of a plan

– Safari 4/Firefox 3.5
– Safari 4 is very fast, like Top Sites and Coverflow for history is nice but….
– Ian – crashy, Google Reader failures, can’t connect to local router
– Couldn’t customise toolbar, changes wouldn’t be saved, home/library/preferences and delete com.apple.Safari.plist file. Then it worked.
– Looks like a rushed release.
– Using SAFT to get more out of Safari – http://haoli.dnsalias.com/Saft/
– Firefox 3.5 RC3 out this week, proper release rumoured for this coming week
– Improved speed, support for HTML5, private browsing mode, Location Aware browsing, tear tabs off and move them from one firefox window to another, history – recently closed tabs and windows, downloadable fonts
– http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/video/firefox-3.5.html
– Just hope it’s more stable on Mac

– HTC Hero
– http://www.htc.com/www/product/hero/overview.html
– 3rd android phone
– Looks a bit fugly
– Too many buttons
– Uses own UI called Sense – won’t be available on other android platforms
– T-mobile and Orange in the UK next month, no prices yet
– Teflon coating on the back which is seemingly very good at keeping the phone clean
– Has flash support – love the adverts – take that Apple fanboys

– Michael Jackson/Iran Uprising
– Massive impact on social sites – twitter, facebook, google etc
– News as it happens – BBC relying on twitter and youtube for much of it’s Iran coverage
– How do we know it’s true? Volume doesn’t lead to accuracy
– Jeff Goldblum death for example – http://searchengineland.com/jeff-goldblum-is-not-dead-despite-what-google-says-21588
– MJ music dominates iTunes music downloads
– currently 8 albums in top 10
– Jackson’s death impact:

– Spotify
– planning on introducing 320kbps Ogg Vorbis streaming for subscribed user. Could this be the biggest challenge to the ‘purchase and download’ business model for music? £9.99 a month,

– Quickies
– Zune HD 16/32GB due September
– Tekken 6 wireless arcade joysticks from HORI $150
– http://www.gamecriticsawards.com/winners.html
– Uncharted 2 – best of show
– PlayStation
– Final Fantasy VII on PSN store
– Original Final Fantasy coming
– Zen pinball coming in May
– Firmware 2.8 soon, nothing special

Picks
– DropBox
– XLD – http://tmkk.hp.infoseek.co.jp/xld/index_e.html – Lossless audio decoder for Mac OS X
– (Ogg) FLAC (.flac/.ogg)
– Monkey’s Audio (.ape)
– Wavpack (.wv)
– TTA (.tta)
– Apple Lossless (.mp3) [10.4 and later]
– AIFF, WAV, etc

Real Racing

I’ve shied away from other racing games on the iPhone as I always felt the lack of physical controls plus the screen size and potential performance issues would mar the experience. However the video’s and reviews for Real Racing were good so I made the purchase and I’m glad I did – it’s an excellent game.

You have a number of control methods – use either touch or accelerometer to steer, auto acceleration or touch to accelerate and there’s braking assist too. Thankfully they are disabled. I prefer to use the accelerometer to steer with touch to accelerate and break. You can also change the sensitivity to suit which is a nice addition.

Graphically the game is very polished with up to six cars displayed on screen. Viewed from in car or out the game keeps up a good speed, although in car looks a lot better. There’s quite a bit of track detail too with speed penalties for going off track and trying to cut corners. There are a number of different game modes – a career mode with a total of 57 events, time trials with online scoreboards, local wi-fi multiplayer (hopefully an update with peer to peer multiplayer will drop soon) and online leagues. Very impressive for a game on the iPhone that costs £5.99.

What makes it special though are the controls. They are excellent and really make the game. It’s also pretty challenging although the AI is not the best and very much on rails the whole time which can lead to some off putting moments. It still feels quite arcadey to drive but your not going to get Forza-esque physics in an iPhone game…yet. With 12 tracks and many online challenges Real Racing offers great value for money too. One more thing….you can upload laps to YouTube.