Making iPhone/iPad apps

Some day I shall get round to this, this crash course in Objective-C for iOS6 is a nice starting point, and there’s more beginner guides linked at the bottom of the article.

Tron: Legacy, the iOS game

“Thank you for playing. The servers supporting Light Cycle Multiplayer are no longer in service. This update removes the multiplayer option and optimizes the single player experience. We apologize for the inconvenience. The fight for the ultimate GRID Game champion continues. Good luck program.”

Oh the irony, thank you Disney for ditching all support for this game and turning it from multi player online into single player offline. And that for a game about a virtual world on a server that’s cut off from the web (until the very end of the film anyway).

Some nice synchronicity going on there.

Meet Evi

Finally, competition for Siri. Meet Evi, available for iPhone (not just the 4S) and Android.
Read more…

iBooks 1.5

A new version of iBooks has just been released.
From the release notes:

  • Nighttime reading theme makes reading books in the dark easier on the eyes.
  • Full-screen layout lets you focus on the words without distraction.
  • iBooks now features an improved selection of fonts, including Athelas, Charter, Iowan, and Seravek.
  • Beautiful new classic covers for public domain books.
  • A redesigned annotation palette makes it easier to choose a color for your highlighted text.

I so approve. As I tend to read a bit every night in total darkness I really appreciate the new night time mode. Although I still love the way the old Sepia theme looks as well.
And seeing as I grab only free iBooks for the iTunes store they now look a lot better on the library shelf.
Nice update.

iPhone 4S

Newssites around the world crashed, even Apple's main site couldn't handle the load.

I am amused. Every year Apple releases new products and every year journalists are retarded and fail to see the point, Apple stock drops after an announcement because traders are idiots, and every year Apple sells more, does better and is more loved. It’s so predictable it’s both sad and amusing at the same time.
Who cares they didn’t release an iPhone 5? It’s just a number. Whether it’s called the 4S or 5 is irrelevant. It’s a new iPhone, with a processor that’s twice as fast, a much better camera, better antenna, better battery life, and Siri. And all of that running on iOS5 with a buttload of new features, and sweetly integrated with iCloud, giving you seamless integration of all your media (books, music, movies, photos) along with all of your mail, calendars, documents across all your devices. It IS groundbreaking, but as usual people need some time to actually catch up to how cool that is. The same goes for people who are downplaying Siri. Make no mistake, this really is the ‘one more thing’, but you have to be able to see your real world usage of this to be able to see the awesomeness. And that’s for the nerds of us. For the normal people this is groundbreaking in a way that it’ll make computers usable for people who don’t know how to use computers. All the tasks that Siri was performing in the keynote are tasks a lot of less computer savvy people still struggle with on a day to day basis.
And that’s why Apple keeps rocking and increasing their phone and computer market share; they make shit better and easier to use.

Tiny Tower

Tiny Tower is one of the most popular games on the iPhone right now, and deservedly so.
It’s sort of an oversimplified version of Sim Tower for anyone old enough to remember that. You manage your building, buy floors, assign residents that move in to jobs and make sure all the stores are stocked so you get more money to buy more floors. That’s it in a nutshell, and it works. It’s the attention to detail in the graphics and mechanics that make it hard to put down, even if you are just a casual gamer. The game is free, but freemium, meaning you can spend money in game to advance more quickly. The thing I appreciate about how it’s been implemented is that the game in no way forces you to buy anything. You can fully enjoy the game and every aspect of it without spending any money, unlike so many freemium games that limit certain items.

Anyway, the game divides floors into Food, Service, Recreation, Retail, Creative & Residential. You need the last one so you can get more residents to move in, and you need 3 residents to fully man a store. You can upgrade your elevator, rename stores, customize how your lobby and your residents look, get bonuses for assigning residents to their dream job, the list goes on. And every app update adds new bits and features.
Give it a try, I’m sure you’ll like it. This is my tower by the way, a work in progress.

My main computer is my phone

Sad but true. Or maybe a good thing. But I realized it this week.
I have several computers I use either directly or indirectly, there’s my work laptop, running Windows 7, there’s my home laptop, running Windows 7 and solely used for playing World of Warcraft, there’s my Mac Mini, which isn’t used directly but is nevertheless on 24/7 as it runs my websites and as my mailserver. And then there’s the iMac, which was originally meant to be MY personal computer but my wife had other plans.
So that leaves the iPhone. Which is used for email, calendar, taking pictures, social networking, gaming, todo lists.
So yeah, my main computer is my phone. Weird realization. And a good excuse to covet the iPhone 4. Or an iPad.

Game of Life for iPhone

Electronic Arts games are currently on a big sale, with most of them currently available for only €0.79, so I decided to pick several up, including the Game of Life.
If you’re totally clueless about the game, it’s basically a board game where you have to roll and land on spaces, some offer you money, progress your career, or life points because of certain events like getting kids or visiting places. Other spaces cost you money and set you back, like getting fired from your job, paying taxes or getting sued by other players. The winner of the game is the one who has the most money at the end. Capitalism at its finest.

I always loved playing this as a kid, so it seemed fun to be able to play it again, especially the multiplayer version. And it is fun, except for a few little quirks here and there that seem to haunt most EA games. When you play against the computer it keeps using long term investments, which means whenever someone rolls that number the player gets money. Nice, except as a human player you can’t seem to place any yourself.
Next there’s the cards you can use in-game to either make someone cough up half your fee or to make them give you half their profit, along with a third card to block the first two. In single player they work just fine, but in multiplayer if the active player uses a card, the computer automatically uses the non-active players cards for them instead of giving them the choice. That’s just sloppy.
Still, overall it’s a fun little game, but if I’d bought it full price I’d be annoyed. Of course an update could fix these bugs, but given how long this game has been out… don’t hold your breath.

iAmiga, an Amiga emulator for the iPhone

It was bound to happen sooner or later, an Amiga emulator based on UAE is heading to the iPhone, with licensed games included.
Check out the demo which features Defender of the Crown, Battle Squadron, International Karate +, R-Type, Speedball, Stunt Car Racer, Beast, Virus and Xenon 2 Megablast. Made by the same guy who’s made the C64 emulator for the iPhone, let’s hope this takes off and he gets lots of licensed games to add. I’ll have Speedball 2, Supercars 1 & 2 and Turrican 2 please!
And let’s hope the games will be somewhat reasonably priced.

Work in progress... not home!
Trying to get all/most of the new code working before I start on the eyecandy.