Gaming is a vast notion. With a lot of hype going on revolving around Fortnite and PUBG, people are literally earning recognition and actual money with just a mere mention of those games. Just recently, Drake hopped on to play a game of Fortnite with a twitch streamer by the name ‘Ninja’. As a result, a lot of obscure publicity and fame followed his account.
Although, the gaming industry seems to be slowly evolving and setting its foot in a more mobile world. Fortnite and PUBG testing an iOS version can be counted as a valid occurrence of the same. Fortnite has even sent out invites to press and other significant personas to test out the game.
But, I’m very prejudiced against this whole ‘gaming on a mobile’ situation. I don’t see the logic behind console-grade mobile gaming as a whole. You use up all the processing power and a heck a lot of battery playing console-quality games. On top of that, if you happen to have a low-end device, it’s a nightmare. Albeit, I’ve seen some people play Modern Combat 5 on a Motorola Moto E. I just wonder how a device without adequate specifications could even allow downloading those games in the first place. And by adequate specifications, I mean a decent Snapdragon 635 processor clocked in at least at 2.4 GHz. Having adequate RAM is a different story altogether.
On the contrary, I’m not against light-weight mobile games. In fact, I’m an avid mobile gamer if that’s the case. I relish playing games like Angry Birds, 4 Pics 1 Word etcetera, etcetera. Well, here’s a quick rundown of the reasons I feel light-weight games should be the only games played on mobile.
- They don’t put a load on the processor and hence don’t overheat the phone.
- Have less to remember in the RAM.
- A quick game can be easily played while waiting in the line.
- Have a wider and more competitive user base due to easy accessibility of devices.
One such game is Bowmasters. Developed by Playgendary, the game is dominating the app store just a little bit less than the popularity flappy bird once bequeathed upon itself. The intricacies begin to be noticed as soon as you open the app. You are greeted with a horizontal welcome screen featuring most of the characters involved in the game. After a mere 5-second wait, you are allowed to tap into the game.
Initially, a slick animation is bumped into action followed by a simple explanation video about the basic how-tos of the game. Now, before moving on further into the review, allow me to explain how the game works. Basically, you are assigned a particular character which has a particular weapon, mostly pointed. Your goal is to shoot the other character standing opposite to your character. But the catch is that you are not provided with the exact location of the character, rather you are just shown the characters position at the beginning of a match. From there, it’s upon your intellect to win the battle.
Although, the opponent does not instantly perish. Instead, it loses some of its health which is indicated by a health bar at the top. But, here’s one more twist. It’s not only you who get to shoot weapons at your opponent. It’s a turn-wise game. First, you shoot the opponent, then the opponent shoots at you until either of you die.
Speaking of opponents, you only have the option to play against the computer. Though, different other options unlock depending on the number of your wins. Unlocks include the ability to play against an online opponent as well. Sadly, the game uses Apple’s GameCenter integration to search for opponents online, and I must point that once I’ve waited for almost an hour just to have an opponent show up. The developers behind this game have fucked up the only thing that has the potential to make this game a superhit. This is not the case with other online multiplayer games such as 8-Ball Pool, where a unique opponent matching system is in use. I’ve never had to wait for too long on that one.
Nevertheless, other forms of multiplayer involvement in this game include playing ‘chance-by-chance’ by passing the phone to and fro between two players. Although, a certain amount of wins are required here as well.
Characters are the main attraction of this game
The main attraction of this game, however, is its characters. Each character has its own identity and is based on a real-world fictional character. For example Thor. Although they are fictional, they have been slightly modified due to copyright claims, I suspect. For instance, Thor’s hammer is orange in color along with Thor itself.
Characters have immensely intricate expressions making you actually believe in them. They have their own style as well. As soon as a weapon hits a character, a chunk of body mass gets cut from the body exposing the character’s bones. That itself depends upon which part of the body you hit. If you hit the head, the skull gets exposed. If thighs, then the femur. And oh, don’t spare the blood-confusion. But spilled in a beautiful way.
After you’ve completely drained the opponent’s life, the corresponding character stands to proliferate a wave with its hands pointing that there is no energy left in it. At this instance, the game smartly lets the winner shoot a final blow after which the winner’s character shows its grandeur depending on the character you’ve chosen. Personally, I like the character with the guns as a weapon. It has the best ending ever as it rides a bike throwing an explosive on the corpse thereby scattering it. After that, a message follows exclaiming ‘Fatality’ followed by an extra 20 points for the knockout.
You get diamonds, gold coins and characters as a reward for your wins. Further, you can use those gold coins and diamonds to unlock and upgrade your characters respectively.
The game has a limited number of backgrounds, also known as worlds in layman terms of gaming. Although, being limited, they are vivid as well. After playing for some time, I got bored with Bowmasters. But, to my surprise, this game also has a tournament mode where you get to play multiple matches in a row having incremented level of difficulty.
Seriously, the one thing the developers have absolutely nailed with this game is the consumer bounce rate management. I mean that the developers know how to make a player not get bored easily with this game. About that, they have also included two mini-games out of which one includes shooting at an apple placed on top of an opponent’s forehead. The other one includes shooting random birds in the sky. But let me tell you that the bird shooting game is not a joke. It is actually difficult to crack a certain score. You may doubt my gaming abilities, and to be honest, I’m not a sporty gamer at all. Still, I’ve found that part exhilarating.
Bowmasters comes along with advertisements. Anyways, you can get rid of them by a small in-app purchase. Speaking of in-app purchases, there are a ton of them in the game. You can purchase coins, gems, characters, and a lot more during the game.
Concluding, I am not at all biased considering this game. Nor have I been paid in any form by Bowmaster’s developers to write this review. This points to the fact that this game is clearly a win for the heart and a bang for the buck. Looking at its condition right now, you can count it as the next Flappy bird alternative!
This new camera app by Moment will blow your mind!
Since the past few years, a debate has popped up in the photography community.
Can smartphones revolutionize classic photography?
“Photography has always depended on technology, and every change in technology has affected the history of photography, but the smartphone, in its nature, is a device that is not for photography. It’s a device that is for communication,” says photographer and filmmaker Henry Jacobson.
But then, the iPhone was launched in 2007. And it hit back to all the naysayers.
The iPhone was a “revolutionary mobile phone” and a “breakthrough internet communications device” — with a camera. It was certainly not the first phone to have a camera — and it probably wasn’t even the best camera available in a phone at the time — but it certainly was the best camera in your phone. As soon as you used it, you felt a genuine, relaxed enthusiasm for taking pictures that you, as a daily user, hadn’t felt for years.
Over the period of time, cameras in smartphones have improved to a great extent. Some have gotten so far with their hardware, that they’re making photographers drop DSLRs and instead stroll around with a 500 gm smartphone.
Then, a couple of years back, Moment launched extensive camera lenses and cases for smartphones. Which in addition to an already improvised sensor, took smartphone photography to a whole new level. It mainly focuses on cases for the Pixel 2, Galaxy S9, and Apple’s iPhones. The wide angle and telephoto lenses have rocked the market so far.
But now, Moment is stepping away from the hardware and released a new app for both Android and iOS.
It’s called as Moment- Pro Camera.
Just like any other third party camera apps, it’s designed to replace your default camera app while giving you access to all of the pro controls you could ask for. You can shoot in RAW, control exposure/ISO/shutter speed/focus/white balance, analyze all of your photo metadata in a DSLR-like format, and see a real-time histogram to know exactly what your exposure is like.
Despite all of these controls, Moment’s kept the UI for its app very clean and simplistic so that it’s not too overwhelming for people looking to gradually up their photo game. There’s also a section in the app where you can let it know you’re using a Moment lens if you have one, and according to Moment, it’s working on adding support for the Pixel 2’s Pixel Visual Core, the technology that has blown everyone’s minds with it’s ability, at some point down the road.
While all of that sounds great, Moment’s Android app is lagging a bit behind. When I was watching videos about the app, the Android version didn’t support video recording or the ability to switch between sensors if you’ve got a phone with dual rear cameras.
Speaking of the Android app, it’ll set you back $1.99 on the Play Store. For our iPhone friends, the iOS app can be downloaded for free but requires a one-time $2.99 payment to access all of the pro controls.
Are smartphones better than DSLRs? Stay tuned to know more.
The Peaks and Valleys of WWDC 2018
Today Apple held WWDC 2018 to announce their much anticipated software updates. iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS all got new features, and despite being smaller in features there’s still much to talk about.
Apple from the very beginning setting the stage with iOS claiming that the focus was performance and stability improvements. So, although there might not be as many user features as prior updates, the new features here are meaningful. However, some don’t quite meet that standard.
In my opinion, here the peaks and valleys of WWDC. First the positives…
1. Porting iOS Apps to Mac
Looking back, we might see this as the most important feature announced today. At the tail-end of the macOS announcements, Craig Federighi gave us a sneak peak of Universal Apps now incorporating iPhone, iPad, and for the first time Mac.
The Mac App Store has had issues with Mac developer retention for some time now. Getting iOS developers to come over has been a whole other issue. iPad apps were quickly adopted by developers because it shared so much in common with iPhone development. All that a developer really had to do was update the UI. Mac, on the other hand, currently requires a whole new app be written.
This transition to Universal Apps across OSes comes in two phases. Phase 1 we saw today. It starts with Apple porting some of their own apps to Mac, which include: News, Stocks, Home, and Voice Memos. Phase 2 comes next year and will open up tools to developers allowing them to port their own iOS apps.
Hopefully these new additions, plus the new Mac App Store design, create greater incentive for developers to bring their apps to Mac. From where I’m standing, these tools could make a big difference.
2. Screen Time and Digital Health Features
Last month Google showed off their bevy of “Digital Wellness” features, and while they might have gone farther, it’s great seeing Apple take steps to make your time spent with your phone healthier.
All these Digital Health features show up in a few different ways. First were some additions to Do Not Disturb. Now in Control Center you’re able to associate Do Not Disturb functionality with a particular location (where you work) or a calendar event (a specific meeting at work). Even when using the Bed Time function added last year, Do Not Disturb will automatically turn on.
Screen Time is the biggest Digital Health feature added. In settings right under Do Not Disturb a new tab dubbed Screen Time will show you how long you used your phone, how many notifications you received, how many times you picked up your phone, and your most used apps. From here that data can be broken down by current day or week. There are also options to set timers per application or type of app determined by its category in the App Store.
3. macOS Dark Mode
The most immediately apparent update to macOS Mojave is the new Dark Mode. First off, it’s gorgeous. Holding back from using the developer beta of Mojave just for Dark Mode has been a trying effort. I’ll manage, somehow. There’s not much to say other than to look at these beautiful stills.
4. Siri Notification Suggestions
We’ll talk about some of the other Siri features later, but a smaller addition comes in form of task suggestions seen in Notification Center. Let say that you missed a call from someone and you haven’t called them back yet, Siri will add a notification suggesting you call that person.
I’ve already had experience with this on my phone can already see it has a useful tool to remind me of smaller important items I might have forgotten otherwise. These suggestions also show up in the Search Field. The idea is that after Siri has learned some of your routines she’ll send you handy tidbits when you need them most.
5. Third Party Support For Siri Watch Face
Another small, but potentially big feature here. Last year watchOS 4 introduced the Siri Watch Face with contextually relevant cards in place of the standard complications. This year the watch face gains support for third party apps via the new Siri Shortcut API. Third party integration makes this watch face infinitely more practical with the potential of seeing transportation times, news updates, and whatever else third party developers cook up.
1. Increased Animoji Support
Flag this one as highly subjective and very much my own opinion. Many people are going to love these new Animoji and they’ll love FaceTiming their friends as their very own Memoji. Not me. Animoji has always hit a sour note for me and with iOS 12 I’m finding their inclusion that much more frustrating. Beyond FaceTime invites in Messages, Animoji was the only new addition to Messages.
It’s not the inclusion of new Animoji that upsets me, if there were other features to discuss among Animoji I’d have no problem. But it was the only update, and Apple spent a lot of time on it. Which leads me to…
2. No RCS
RCS is the spiritual successor to SMS and includes many practical additions such as read receipts, typing indicators, and rich links. It has been adopted by all the major carriers, and would make texting someone on Android (aka a non-iPhone user) a far more pleasant experience. It’s also far more practical and necessary of an update than additional Animoji.
To me, not including RCS would be like not including Bluetooth 5.0 or a new WiFi standard. Why exactly wasn’t this included? I’m very curious. It can’t be because of security, because SMS already lacks end to end encryption.
3. No iOS Dark Mode
When video leaked of macOS and the included Dark Mode a few days ago, I became hopeful we’d see the feature come to iOS as well. Alas, I was wrong. Maybe there are challenges bringing Dark Mode to iOS and that don’t exist for Mac. iPhone X and future OLED devices would benefit greatly from a Dark Mode. OLED screens don’t have to power black pixels, which could have resulted in a lot of power saving goodness if there were an iOS Dark Mode. I’m sure it’ll come eventually, just would’ve been nice to have seen it released in parity with macOS.
What is there to talk about, really? Dolby Atmos support. A single new screen saver. And an admittedly cool Zero Sign-In feature for TV passwords let down by support from only one provider. None of this warranted being featured in a keynote that already ran too long, Apple shouldn’t have dedicated time to tvOS on stage. They could’ve left it out.
5. Siri Shortcuts Aren’t Enough
For me this is one of the biggest letdowns of WWDC. Siri has fallen behind competition with Google Assistant, Alexa, and Cortana; and she really needed this year to catch up. Siri Shortcuts seems to be trying to catch up on third party app support seen on other assistants. At a quick glance it would appear Apple has done so, but a second thought changes that outlook.
Essentially the feature takes advantage of available deep links into apps allowing you to go somewhere specific in an app. By going to a deep linked area of an app you’ll be able to tell Siri you want to create a command for that specific information you’re seeing in the app and create your own command to reach it.
Here lies the problem. For starters Google Assistant already has similar functionality, the difference being that the user doesn’t have to point Google Assistant where to go, it just know to go. Siri has to be trained per function, per app. A lot of voice activated requests are thought of on a whim and aren’t initiated preemptively. Who thinks they’ll have a question in a few hours and sets it up ahead of time? Seems like the user is doing work that Siri should be doing instead.
Even though requests can accomplish more complex tasks thanks to the integrated Shortcuts app, they all still require the user come up with a command and consistently use that command verbatim. Stray from the command and you’ll get a different result. Notably Siri falls behind competition on voice recognition as well, and there was no word about and update there.
It’s not a terrible feature, but it certainly doesn’t help Siri catch up to competition.
More to Come
iOS 12, macOS Mojave, watchOS 5, and tvOS had many other features that couldn’t all be talked about here. Increased privacy while browsing, Group FaceTime, grouped notifications in iOS, Camera Continuity, among others were also highlighted during Apple’s event. Stay tuned for more updates and a look at unannounced iOS 12 beta features and overall impressions in the coming days while we get our hands on the software.
WWDC 2018 Liveblog: Get on the Hype train!
WWDC 2018 is in a few hours and we’re here committed, more like excited to share live updates with you. There’s a lot to take home today, with iOS 12 up to the brink, launching with a lot of purported features; macOS– with a dark mode, a news app, and a revamped macOS store, and some basic upgrades to watchOS and tvOS.
Unfortunately, we wouldn’t expect hardware announcements, owing to previous reports but isn’t WWDC a warehouse of software goodies more than hardware ones? Tune in, for a ride in the hype train!