Tag Archives: iPhone

legend of yore fi

Indie Game of The Week: Legends of Yore

All that talk of Diablo III earlier in the week has made us reminisce about the good old days of the dungeon crawler RPG, before fancy graphics and big budgets. This has brought us to an indie game that should be firmly in the heart of anyone who has a soft spot for collecting treasure and levelling up. Legends of Yore is a top-down RPG, with the graphical styling and controls of a game made for the original NES console.

Choosing one of three character types (archer, warrior or wizard), players make their way in the world, interacting with NPCs and completing quests for gold coins and experience points. With enough experience points you get to level up and gain new skills, as well as buy new weapons and armour when you get enough gold. The quests generally consist of exploring dungeons and killing enough of a certain monster, rescuing someone, or defeating a boss.

While this may sound fairly run of the mill, the game is very addictive, and there are a number of things to keep you coming back to it. The developer has split the game world up into continents, which you can only cross when you have enough money and experience. Players can also get their hands on a number of different pets, starting out with a chicken or monkey, which can help out by attacking enemies, and which can also be levelled up. It’s these little touches which make the game something you’ll want to come back to.

To make things even more addictive, the game can literally be played anywhere. As well as a standalone PC download, it is available through a browser and for the iPhone and Android platforms. All your progress is stored on a central server, so you can play at home, and then carry on playing during your daily commute. Just don’t blame us if you wonder where your day has gone!

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Silicon microchips – What have they ever done for us?

If you’ve been keeping an eye on the Technology News section of the BBC website recently (can’t recommend it strongly enough), you’ll know that scientists in Switzerland have carried out successful tests on a new semiconductor that could prove to be a rival to silicon in producing microchips.

The substance is called molybdenite, or MoS2, and was chosen in part because it is very readily available. It is already used as an ingredient in engine lubricants, ski waxes and as a strengthening agent for plastics. Not only this but, because it is less likely to oxidise than silicon, it can be used in thinner layers, meaning smaller chips for everyone. These chips are also more flexible, AND they require less energy to function than current silicon chips.

This may sound too good to be true. And in a way it is, because the MoS2 chips are currently extremely labour-intensive to produce. Researchers have said they believe it will be another ten to twenty years before it starts getting made and used commercially.

With that in mind, we thought we’d take a look at the evolution of some of the technologies of the last ten years that have been made possible by silicon microchips, and what we might be able to expect from them in the future (before they get replaced, anyway).

Computers and the Internet

 

THEN – Wikipedia founded 15th Jan 2001, and on 20th April Dell computers became the largest PC maker.

NOW – It’s all about tablets and laptops, as the iPad 2 and competitors such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the Asus Eee pad take first Christmas, then the world, by storm.

 

FUTURE – All computing to take place on super-thin tablets, with data storage dealt with by the cloud and all other components (monitors, keyboards etc) connected wirelessly.

Mobile Phones

 

THEN – It may look quite retro, but the arrival of the Samsung SGH-M100 MP3 phone in 2001 signaled the start of the trend of gadget convergence that we expect as the norm nowadays.

NOW – You just wouldn’t buy a mobile for that didn’t also have an MP3 player, Camera and internet connection.  In fact, for many, the phone functionality isn’t even a consideration.

FUTURE – Samsung has already spoken of their intention to bring flexible phone to market in the near future.  This still seems like an outlandish idea but could well be a revolutionary development.  It’ll be very interest to see what the product is like when it’s made available to the public.

MP3 players

 

THEN – the iPod – the original, first ever iPod – came out a full ten years ago.

NOW – Well, the iPod has yet to be dethroned.  Any arguments?

FUTURE – We can picture headphones that have inbuilt chips, wirelessly connecting to a cloud-based music collection. Either that or they’ll be synced up to one of these tablets we’ll all be carrying around.

Games Consoles

 

THEN – Original Xbox released November 15th 2001

NOW – The Playstation 3 is (perhaps arguably) the pinnacle of console gaming as it stands – though the Xbox has recently become competitive again with its Kinect system (a nifty bit of kit)

FUTURE – Techradar have recently scoured the internet to compile all the rumours regarding the next generations of Xbox and Playstation consoles. Beyond those?  We can certainly see console gaming becoming integrated into the tablet platform, as the technology required to provide the best performance gets smaller and smaller.

Pets

 

THEN – Pets were just pets, really. Look how boringly cute they are:

NOW – Millions of cats and dogs worldwide have had microchips installed (“installed”? Is that the right word? It sounds so wrong when you’re talking about a cat…), meaning they can be uniquely identified and checked against a database when lost, or even function as a personalised key-fob for cat-flaps.

FUTURE – please let it be K-9, please let it be K-9…

It’s K-9!

We can only dream…

AirPlay logo

Playing with iOS5 AirPlay Mirroring

With the release of iOS5, Apple’s latest operating system for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, Apple released one of the coolest features yet – Mirroring over AirPlay. In English, this feature lets you mirror the screen of your iOS device onto another AirPlay-enabled screen – wirelessly. Today this ‘other AirPlay screen’ can only be your Apple TV 2, but we expect you’ll see AirPlay on other non-Apple devices over time (much as Apple’s Digital Audio Access Protocol (DAAP) has done on non-Apple devices previously). In the meantime if you have an iPhone 4S or iPad 2 (the only i-devices to currently support AirPlay Mirroring), then just drop £91.99 for the accompanying Apple TV to enjoy all this mirroring gorgeousness on whichever TV you like.

To test out AirPlay Mirroring, we downloaded Real Racing 2, the first game to officially support full screen wireless gaming over AirPlay. We conducted the test on an iPhone 4S 64GB and an Apple TV 2.

Enabling AirPlay
AirPlay works like all other Apple features – either seamlessly and invisibly, or not at all. There are no half measures with Apple products. No settings to configure. Apple doesn’t even make a song and dance about it when you install iOS5. In fact, if you didn’t know about it, you might never have known that your iOS device could now do something so cool. The only indication of when AirPlay is working is the little icon that appears when your device is sitting in a network with AirPlay devices on it. Have your iPad connected to your home wi-fi (where your Apple TV lives), and the icon appears. Take it to the office, and the icon disappears. It’s neat, but I’d rather Apple left the icon there to remind you about this new feature all the time.

Given Apple’s excessively subtle approach to this new feature, it took us a while to actually figure out how to enable Mirroring. Stupidly we thought it would be an option within the game. Why would we assume something so stupid eh? After a few scratches of heads (and the help of Google taking us to Firemint’s own guide), we soon had it up and running. Just double tap the home button to bring up the multi-taking tray, slide to the media controls and tap the AirPlay button that you never knew was there…

Big screen deliciousness
Now that Mirroring was up and running, it was just a matter of booting up and playing the game as normal. We dived into the first level, Castellona Bay, and headed into work. First impressions? While the resolution doesn’t quite stack up to an Xbox 360 or PS3, we hardly expected it to (especially since Apple decided to downgrade the Apple TV 2’s resolution to 720p, when its precursor could achieve 1080p). But it looked pretty damn awesome all the same. Running the game on a 40” screen makes you realise just how hi-res the iPhone 4’s screen really is – because it still looked fantastic.

Fundamentally, any feature like this is a nice novelty, but if it falls over all the time you’ll only ever pull it out for 2 minutes to show off to your friends, before quickly closing it down and booting up Forza 4 before they notice the terrible lag. But our experience was actually very positive. We had a bit of lag occasionally, but nothing that ruined the game. Anyone with a half decent 802.11N router set up should get along fine.

So there’s a brief recap of our first experience using AirPlay Mirroring. While Real Racing 2 is the only game currently to support the feature today (feel free to correct us if we’re wrong) we’re really excited by the prospects of it, especially as more devices and apps come out to support it. If you’re not convinced by how cool this is, take a look at this video to see it in action. Enjoy!