Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Game Review - Game Dev Story

I first saw this game on our iPad - I downloaded the free version, but wasn't prepared to pay a few dollars for it - but when it came out for $0.10 on the Android Market, I couldn't resist!

The whole idea behind the game is that you are a game developing company. With that comes doing research, hiring staff, training and leveling up the staff, doing contracts, going to gaming conferences, and, most importantly, creating games :)

You start the game by starting your game development company, and a small office with only a few employees. Also, at first, you can only develop games for the PC.

Tapping anywhere on the screen opens up the menu, from where you can do all kinds of stuff, like start development for a new game, hire, fire, train and level up your staff, check out your statistics, etc.

When you develop a new game, you get to choose a few options for it, like which platform, the genre, type, and also the direction (for example, you can allocate extra money towards how quickly you develop the game, or even double the whole budget to increase all kinds of stats for the game)

As the game progresses, several companies release consoles, which you can then buy a license and develop for. The licenses get quite expensive, but can mean you make lots more money, since they hold a much bigger market share. I like how the consoles have names like "Play Status" and "Microx 480" :)

You start with only a few options for Genre, but as your staff gets more skilled, you unlock more Genres to choose from. Each Genre you also level on its own, by using it with a suitable Game Type. A few examples for Genres are "RPG", "Action", "Shooter", etc.

Then you have a few Game Types - these can include options like "War", "Robot" and even "Swimming".

Obviously not all Genres and Types go together, but that doesn't mean you can't give it a shot anyway!

Next you select the Direction for the game:

This can improve your game, but at greater cost. Usually I select the Budget+ option if I can afford it.

Lastly, you can allocated more points in certain aspects of the game, like Realism, Cuteness or Game World:

(Hint: From what I've seen, you get more points for the Direction of the game whenever you level one of the Genres or Types to Level 5...)

After you've selected the parameters for the game you're developing, your team will get to work. Now it's mainly a case of sitting back and watch what they do. Each staff member have 4 stats, namely Program, Scenario, Graphics and Sound. As they develop the game, they add points to each of the 4 areas of the game.

In the process, they inevitably add bugs as well, which needs to get sorted out before you ship the game (or, if you want, you can ship the game with bugs and all!)

At certain stages of the game, you can select specific employees to focus on a specific area of the game, for example Graphics or Sound.

Here you can see the team hard at work:

Every once in a while, one of your staff members will ask if he/she can attempt to boost one of the aspects of the game - this has a certain percentage to succeed - if they fail, you add a whole lot of bugs to the game, which means it takes a bit longer to get finished.

You can, however, use some research points to increase the percentage of success with a boost attempt. (Research points you get as your team figures stuff out, and so on - it happens pretty much automatically)

I usually just do it, because fixing bugs at the end of development, gives you more research points (which you use to level up your staff, among others...) - so in my opinion, it's a win-win.

That's basically it, you carry on until your game has been completed, give it a name, and hope it sells. 

There's a few things you can do to help make your game better - you can, for example, buy "items" from the traveling salesman who makes an appearance every now and again. Items cost 30 research points to use, and can boost one of the aspects of your game.

There's also bad stuff that can happen, like blackouts, which causes you lose some points in your current game:

It can also happen that a rival gaming company is developing a similar game to yours, which means fewer sales.

You can advertise as well, which costs money, but increases your fan base (your fan base even ages as time goes by, so you lose some, and get some new ones).

Then there's contracts you can do for a quick buck, and even the annual GameDex (gaming conference) and Gaming awards!

For a small game like this, there's definitely lots of aspects to keep you coming back for more!

This is probably the game I'm playing most at the moment - it's lots of fun, and well worth the money in my opinion! You can always try out the demo of course, but I'm sure you won't be sorry if you buy the full version - it's selling for $3.00 or so, I was very lucky to have paid only $0.10 - but knowing what I know now, I'd buy it for the full price as well!

Get it here

Till next time!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Lots of apps for $0.10

This is just a quick post, for those who didn't know, Google is pushing 10 billion app downloads, and with that they have 8-12 apps everyday marked down to only $0.10! That's R0.80 for us South Africans!

I've bought several already, so lots of reviews that will be coming in the next couple of weeks!

My favourite at the moment - Game Dev Story - get it here

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Please have a look at this screen shot:

Yes, you're seeing it correctly. On the Samsung Galaxy S2, via the Samsung App Market, all of these games have finally come to the S2 for free as well!

Here's the list:

  • Assassin's Creed
  • Hero of Sparta
  • Modern Combat 2
  • Brother in Arms 2
  • Avatar
  • Dungeon Hunter (I'm busy downloading this one :)
  • Spiderman
  • Ganstar Miami Vindication
I'll try to go through them all eventually! Like I said, I'm busy getting Dungeon Hunter, will let you guys know what I think of it!

EDIT: Dungeon Hunter, sadly, appears to only be a demo :( They shouldn't say Free, when it is, in fact, NOT FREE. GRRR - will let you know about the others...

If you didn't know this before, these games weren't available on the S2 (only the normal Galaxy), but it looks like they've finally updated them all to be compatible with the Galaxy S2!

Sheesh, wish I weren't so busy :(

Will keep you posted! Till next time!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

This made me SMILE :)

Hi guys, I know it's been a while since I posted, but it's just been crazy busy here! In the meantime, this video really made me smile, check it out:

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Galaxy S2 Photo Editor

The Galaxy S2 comes standard with a very decent photo editor app, called, wait for it :) - "Photo editor" - very handy for a few quick touch ups, cropping or rotating. It's not a full Photoshop type app, but for every day use, it does the job nicely!

In this post I'll quickly go over all the features it has - starting the app, allows you to select which image you want to edit:

You can either select an existing image, or take a new one... Once you've selected the photo you want to edit, you'll get a neat interface with everything you need right there:

The most basic feature any decent photo editor app must have is a rotate one, and luckily, this one does! It also includes "flip horizontally" and "flip vertically" features:

The next one you'd need would be a cropping tool - we always get stuff like fingers or bystanders that spoil the photo, so cropping the pic can easily fix that. It can even turn a crappy photo into a MASTERPIECE!!!

This little app also have several selection related tools and features, which allows you to make edits to only certain parts of a photo:

At the bottom you'll see a back and forward button, so you can undo and redo any steps you take... Next to that you have a paint pallet icon, which gives you options to play with the brightness and contrast settings:

The magic wand tool gives you options to make some blur related changes to your selection (you need to make a selection first for this to work):

The final tool in the list gives you some other effects you can apply to your pic:

So there you have it, that covers the stock standard "Photo editor" that comes by default with the Galaxy S2 - it's got enough to allow you to do the basics, but it won't be used by professional photographers :) (they'll anyway rather use their PC or Mac)

I'll have a look to see what alternatives to the standard photo editor there are out there, and maybe do some reviews on them too.

Till next time!

Music Hub Still not in SA

Yes, if you live in South Africa, and plan on getting the Samsung Galaxy S2 for it's "music hub" feature, don't because it is still not available locally:

Yup, very annoying! At least the Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa forced Samsung to remove the advert for the music hub on their website - see that article here.

Memo Notes, and a better alternative

The Galaxy S2 comes standard with their Memo app, which you'd basically use to make quick notes:

It works ok, but I'm not too fond of it. I decided to look for an alternative, and found Evernote - the nice thing about Evernote, is it includes the ability to take a quick picture or video or even voice recording, as well as traditional text notes. Also, a very handy widget is available.

Furthermore, you must create an online account, which means your notes gets synchronized with the Evernote website, so you can access your notes from pretty much every where.

It works a lot better than the default Memo app that comes with the phone in my opinion, and I'd highly recommend getting it as soon as you can, it will really help when you need to make a note of something real quick :)

Get it here

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Some more photos

It's been quite a while since I've posted on my blog, so sorry about that :) - got crazy busy the last few weeks, we took a week long holiday, and clients always see that as a big catastrophe, and starts sending lots and lots of work our way!

Anyway, here's some photos I took with the Galaxy S2's camera while we were on holiday down the Garden Route - I really like the panorama feature :)

(Swellendam Mountains)

(Cave at Mossel Bay)

(On the Outeniekwa Pass)

(Buffalo Bay)

(this tree is between 600 and 800 years old apparently - 36 meters tall, and circumference is 9 meters)

Still very impressed with my phone's camera - really handy to have when you don't have your regular one close by...

Till next time!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A big THANKS (and clocks!)

Hi all! My first blog post, my intro, I did on 23 July, just a few days after I got my Samsung Galaxy S2. Since then, I've done just under 40 blog posts about apps and widgets and games and everything in between about my phone!

I've had great feedback so far, and I keep getting more and more visitors every week, so thanks to all for visiting! Since July I've had more than 10000 page views on this blog, and without my loyal readers and followers that wouldn't have happened!

Anyway, I'll try my best to keep the good posts coming, I still have lots to cover about my phone, and now that I've used an Android based device, I'll never go back! Don't get me wrong, my wife has the iPhone 4, and it's also a great device, and lots of my friends are very loyal to their Blackberries!

Well, thanks again for the great feedback and support so far!

Just for fun, here is my 6th home screen on my phone, it has all the analogue clocks that comes standard with the Galaxy S2:

And, as always, till next time!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Cool free live wallpapers

One of the very sweet features of the Galaxy S2, and Android phones in general, is there ability to display live wallpapers - if you don't know what this means, it's basically an animated wallpaper, but not just simple animations like GIF files for example - these can be interactive and feature some very cool effects and so on.

I did a quick search, and found a few very cool ones, and best of all, they're all free!

EDIT: I've just done a post with some more awesome, FREE live wallpapers :)

First one is a very nice Koi pond, with live (digital though :) fish that you can feed, and when you touch the screen you see the ripples in the water, which is quite nice. Here are some screen shots (but these don't really do it justice, best would be to just download it and check it out yourself in real time!):

In the last one I tried showing the ripples in the water, but it didn't work that well.

Get it here

The next one I have is 3D FireFlies - this one also looks great. Here are some screen shots:

Get it here

After that one I have Inferno Galaxy, which looks like a space scene that's on fire. Very cool! Here are some shots:

Get it here

My second last option is Snowfall live wallpaper:

Very pretty (a bit girly though, I like the much more manly Inferno Galaxy YEAH!! :)

Anyway, get it here

And the last one I checked out is some nice clouds with LIGHTNING - who doesn't like lightning hehe:

I took about 20 shots just to get a decent lightning flash, these were pretty much the best ones I could get.

Get it here

There you have it, 5 really nice Live Wallpapers for your Galaxy S2/Android phone. Now, I can imagine some of these can be quite a battery hog, but I don't have any stats on those. I do charge my phone every day, as the battery doesn't last, so for now I'll leave one of them on and will let you know if it makes that big a difference.

If you have some Live Wallpapers you'd like to recommend, feel free to leave a comment!

Cheers, and as always, till next time!