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Collected web clippings, ramblings, and scribblings from me to you.

Friday: July 15, 2011

App of the Week: Game Dev Story

Rarely does an iPhone game catch my attention let alone force me to become so addicted to it that I abandon posting to my newly launched website for an entire two days. That's exactly what happened when a friend suggested I try out Game Dev Story for iPhone. The concept is pretty simple, you are President of a game development studio. You make video games. You watch them sell (hopefully like hotcakes), make money, become famous. Along the way you'll also need to hire employees with various skill sets (everything ranging from writers to sound engineers) and even take your advertising dollar spend into account.

The game has some interesting play concepts. In order to make a video game you'll need to pair up given types of video games along with matching a genre to that type which may or may not be the best fit. For example, you can choose to make a racing game and have the genre be about robots. On the other hand, you can make a video game with conflicting styles like RPG and... trivia. You can also choose what platform you want to develop for your video game for. Each platform has it's audience and the game type you choose may play a part in that. In order to play with some of the bigger platforms you'll need to get a license (of which you'll need some serious cash in some instances). Based on how well the type, genre, and platform of your desired game match your staff will work on it and try to make a game to the best of their given abilities. Those abilities can also be leveled up through research data (think experience points) or you can also send them to training, which also will cost you your hard-earned money. If you're unhappy with the performance of a given employee can choose to fire them and hire some new ones. At some point, you'll even be able to design your own platform/console. As of writing, I have not gotten that far yet. 

The visual design of the game looks like something you'd see right out of the classic Super Nintendo days of gaming. The graphics are cute and at times huggable, especially when you see your team do very well on a game. It's very much reminiscent of SimCity but obviously with a different setting and environment. But the game does take some direct cues from SimCity and will throw some curveballs at you every now and again. For example, when your team is working hard on your latest video game the electricity may go out. This causes the development to suffer and sets back your team.  Some of your employees may ask if they can work to improve a game, when they fail your game's bug count goes up. However, if they succeed your game gets better. You can also purchase boosts and products for your employees to add polish to your games, but it'll cost you.

The strangest part about this for me is that for the life of me I could not seem to put this game down. I found myself playing it on the Subway, walking from the Subway, walking home, during dinner, etc etc. There was something very satisfying about creating a mock video game (they even let you name it) and then see how well your idea takes in terms of sales and overall popularity. I was never into the whole Tamogatchi Virtual Pets thing when they were popular back in the day, this seems to be the virtual pet that was custom-tailored for me and my video game aspirations.

Game Dev Story was created by the folks over at Kairo Park. The app is available for iPhone and Android devices and will set you back $1.99. Enjoy and best of luck in your video game creation endeavors.

Posted to Verbose filed in Video Games @ 10:24 AM | Tags (8) | addicting | app | appoftheweek | gamedev | gaming | iphone | verbose | videogames |  | Discuss (1) |  | facebook | twitter | 5 Clicks | Posted by Vin


Thursday: July 7, 2011

App of the Week: Instantbird

InstantbirdLately I've noticed that I've somehow found myself on a great deal of sites that have their own form of instant messaging clients.  Facebook has one, Google has one, and then there's that ancient AIM account that I can never seem to let go of. The problem is that it can be more than a little annoying having to be logged into each respective utility to do something as simple as instant messaging.  Enter Instantbird. I gave this a whirl last week and I've liked it thus far. Instantbird takes all of these IM clients and puts them into one easy to use app. You can finally see a list of your Facebook friends along with your AIM friends, it works almost a little too well. After adding my Facebook list I was overwhelmed by the number of items on my typically small AIM list.

According to the Instantbird website they currently support the following clients by default: AIM, Facebook Chat, Gadu-Gadu, Google Talk, Groupwise, ICQ, IRC, MSN, MySpaceIM, Netsoul, QQ, Simple, Twitter, XMPP, Yahoo and Yahoo JAPAN. That's a pretty big list of clients.

Under the hood is a lot of code from the Mozilla project. As such there are add-ons and familiar settings panes for those who are well-versed in the art of Firefox (you'll notice some similarities mainly in the control panel section). So far I've only tried the app on Windows but there is a Mac version as well. I like that the software is minimal and for the most part stays out of your way.  For those of you can't live without tabs you can have tabbed chats.  For those who are maniacal single window fans (for purposes of IM, I fall into this category) you can turn it off. Lastly, you can also theme your IM conversations with a couple different variations. Overall I reccomend giving this app a try if you like me, you grew tired of having to log in here and log into that. Consolidation of your instant messaging is a good thing. 

You can download Instantbird from their website: http://instantbird.com/.

Posted to Verbose filed in Apps @ 12:27 PM | Tags (13) | aim | appoftheweek | apps | facebook | instant | instantbird | mac | messaging | mozilla | review | twitter | verbose | windows |  | Discuss (0) |  | facebook | twitter | 4 Clicks | Posted by Vin


Monday: February 22, 2010

No, Google does not make you stupid according to recently conducted survey.No, Google does not make you stupid according to recently conducted survey.

The impetus for the survey apparently came from a summer 2009 article in the Atlantic Monthly, in which author Nicholas Carr suggested that the ease of browsing and searching on the Web was steadily degrading people’s ability to concentrate and think.

Posted to Weekdaily filed in Google @ 6:47 AM | Tags (9) | browsing | concentration | eweek | google | interwebs | skimming | stupid | survey | web |  | Discuss (0) |  | facebook | twitter | 11 Clicks | Posted by Vin


Monday: August 31, 2009

Ten tips for using Google Chrome that you may not have previously known about.Ten tips for using Google Chrome that you may not have previously known about.

Covers a variety of fun Chrome tips and tricks ranging from tab and window restoration to searching specific sites using the 'omnibox' (which is actually kinda cool).

Posted to Weekdaily filed in Google @ 2:53 PM | Tags (5) | chrome | google | tips | tricks | eweek |  | Discuss (0) |  | facebook | twitter | 33 Clicks | Posted by Vin


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