Monthly Archives: June 2011

Review: Speedball 2 Evolution on the iPad

Speedball_2_evo_merged

I found out a few weeks ago through Twitter (@drewb) that one of my favourite games was available for free on the iPad (and iPhone).

Speedball 2 is an old school classic from the days of the Commodore Amiga so it was a bit nostalgic for me as it conjured up battles against friends and family. It is a futuristic cybersport which is a mixture of rugby and ice hockey played in arenas with power ups, mechanisms to damage your opponents and increase your score.

The graphics I would describe as good and true to those on an old Amiga considering the bird’s eye view of the game and the animation was very smooth. 

Speedball1

The game allows you to play tilting the iPad or with a virtual D-pad on screen. I found the tilt controls very cumbersome so I opted for the on-screen D-pad which provided me with more precision. Although after playing the game for nearly three hours I did begin to realise that the iPad’s form factor is not really conducive for playing this type of game for long periods of time. My thumbs felt sore as they were supporting the weight of my iPad 1 and used for controlling the game maybe on the lighter iPad 2 this would be less of an issue. During my game time I also accidently pressed the home button a few times but this allowed me to test the “resume” feature which worked a treat.

One thing that disappointed me was the lack of sound on my iPad 1. I tried all the sound settings and there was also not a Twitter account to ask for assistance from the publisher, Tower Studios. The publisher does have a Facebook page and website. The sound is a really important part of the Speedball experience as I wanted to hear the “Ice cream, Ice cream” sound effect which you may remember when you injured an opponent on the Amiga version.

Speedball 2: Evolution brings 336 individual players, 20 in-field power-ups, 16 classic Speedball teams along with 12 new intergalactic teams, a 10-season career mode, 10 single-player modes, six arenas on four different planets, and 22 achievements in all. It’s an impressive list. The various play modes allow for long-term team-building or just a quick match.   

Despite the lack of sound I enjoyed played the game for hours and in no time I managed to build an invincible team winning the Division 1 league title and Intergalactic Cup. You can also purchase credits in-game to boost your squad and buy players but I am not sure why someone would want to do this but you can see that the publisher has opted to do this as the game is itself free.

In summary, a good port of a classic which was let down by the lack of sound and in my opinion one for the casual gamer due to the iPad’s form factor and limited challenge. It is FREE so advice that it should be on your iOS device.

Overall 3/5

Graphics 3/5

Sound 0/5

Gameplay 4/5

Challenge 2/5

Value for Money 5/5

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Is Apple really using Windows Azure to power iCloud?

Temporary shows how cloud based platforms like Azure and AWS enable speed of delivery

Change blog title

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/microsoft/is-apple-really-using-windows-azure-to-power-icloud/9687

It???s A Facebook World – Other Social Networks Just Live In It

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This really reminds me of the old board game RISK, with Facebook clearly winning although some places holding out namely Russia and China.

6 reasons why you need a mobile strategy

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The Facts

Let’s face it. Mobile devices have drastically shifted the online landscape to the point that in 2010 more than 50 percent of all Internet access was being done via handhelds of some sort. About 45 percent of mobile owners are using their devices to download social networking apps. In fact, 35 percent of Android and iPhone owners in the U.S. use apps such as Facebook before getting out of bed, according to a recent survey conducted by telecommunications equipment vendor Ericsson.

The reasons stated by this article are clear and obvious but mobile strategy appears to be hard to get right. I think the challenge for everyone is how you effectively put these reasons into your own mobile offereing and:

  1. successfully make it an extension of your online or physical brand
  2. ensure that you do not lose your customer base with an excess of advertisments or deals
  3. keep your customer engaged and make sure they have a reason to come back to your mobile site and or application

Link: http://bit.ly/jnUNgz

What happens when a developer develops a Windows Phone app?

BBC app

BBC News – BinCam makes students recycle through Facebook photos

A BinCam takes a photograph of any rubbish deposited into the bin and uploads this to Facebook where people are named and Psychology researchers can see how this may affect their behaviour.

Facebook’s global domination is now helping academic departments.

The Asus PadFone – a phablet?

http://event.asus.com/mobile/padfone/

Control your TV using the Cloud

http://socialtimes.com/panasonic-turns-ipad-iphone-or-ipod-touch-into-viera-t…

Is finding the right employer in the UK impossible?

Passion

Energy

£££ over career and challenge

Codename Windows 8 – lots of Windows Phone 7 influences

Microsoft’s Steven Sinofsky announced some details about the next version of Windows codename Windows 8. There are some very cool features and clearly a shift to a “Touch First” UI which means that we won’t struggle to use touch with Windows 8 as with Windows 7.

Check out the video to see some of these improvements and features.

Some highlights for me:

  • HTML5 and Javascript centric
  • Tile based UI
  • Appears to be adopting hub based approach all photos in one place
  • Multitasking is Windows 7 but touch enabled – very nice!
  • Touch UI / UX appears very slick and similar to the recently announced BlackBerry PlayBook with menus appearing from the side. 
  • Two types of apps, the classic desktop apps and the new HTML5 based Windows 8 apps. 
  • Ergonomic virtual touch keyboard
  • Touch centric browser in Internet Explorer 10

The well-received Windows Phone 7 experience clearly has influenced some of these initial ideas based on the screenshots of the Lock, Start screens and example Weather App.

LockStartFullscreenappsErgokeyb

I am looking forward to seeing Windows 8 on a real tablet device as this is where Microsoft need to make this work and gain tablet share.