Author Archive

Aug 29

Millennials Infographic

Being a huge fan of gaming and coffee, I was intrigued by this fascinating infographic that says that if I gave up Costa for 25 years, I would be able to afford a deposit for a house. However, if I also give up my cheeky Nandos, Spotify and PlayStation Plus, I could get a deposit together much sooner… Food for thought eh?

Sources can be found at Just Mortgage Brokers

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RC Car

Oct 16

Top Five RC Car Games for Mobile

Video games are an important part of our modern culture ever since they became a trend, back in the ‘80s. Their history starts at the beginning of the ‘50s, but it was only 30 years later that they turned into a mainstream choice for leisure. They are fun; they are meant to entertain us and to offer new experiences. Whenever I sit back and relax by playing one, I let go of everything else and I just escape, for a while, into another dimension. My first choice is RC car games because I am a big fan of the engaging world of RC vehicles. And nowadays, thanks to the evolution of technology, I get to play my favorite games on my Smartphone, anytime I need to take a break.

Whether your device operates on Android or iOS, you can easily download any game you want and start having fun. Play by yourself, play along with friends, play together with your kids, play online; the truth is gaming is a good way to socialize and to develop the sense of competition. Let’s check out a few of the best RC car games available for playing on mobile devices (they are some of my preferred ones, as well):

 

RC Monster Truck

Even if you didn’t have an RC truck as a child (or as an adult, for that matter), you have to try out this game. It has all the elements of a thrilling experience: cool graphics, forest trails, and feisty off-road circuits with obstacles, several model choices, plus guaranteed excitement.

 

 

RC Car Racing Hill

Are you looking for a serious challenge? Well, this is it! You get to race on a track which has lots of obstacles and ramps splashed over never-ending hills of bitumen. Don’t forget to check the battery status from time to time and then search the hidden battery cells – which is another challenge, in fact, because if you don’t find them in due time, you’ll get back to square one.

 

 

Buggy Run II

This game takes the dare to the next level: you need to take out enemy forces and destroy their establishments by planting bombs. But you’re not bulletproof: they can affect you too. You need to drive your buggy away as fast as you can, through an unexplored military territory. The race requires good skills, especially when it comes to keeping the car steady while rushing through the obstacles.

 

 

Re-Volt 2: Multiplayer

I think you will enjoy this one in particular especially because it gives the possibility to switch between cars (trucks, buggies, sports cars, F1 cars) and this helps fasten the pace. Also, you get to compete with players from all over the world, which is always intense. The multiplayer mode allows you to go against three other players at once.

 

 

Ice Racer

I should warn you this one is quite addictive, even if it seems hard in the beginning. Imagine having to find your way through snowy dunes and icy cliffs! You don’t compete with other players, but you’re on the clock. There are several levels, as usual, but remember you can only crash five times – after that, the race is over, and you have to start again. Take the challenge: see how far you can get!

These are only five invitations to step into the roaring world of RC car games on your mobile, but if you need more convincing just check out the coolest RC Rank cars, they will tickle your imagination for sure.

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Nov 10

How to Utilize Video Effectively on Your Toronto Web Page

The content on your site needs to be both dynamic and engaging if you want your visitors to come back over and over again. Having video on your site isn’t just to complement your content, but it should actually help to improve your rankings in Google by making visitors to your site stay longer. After all, if they have a video to watch, they will be hanging around your site longer than a site without videos. If you are thinking about adding video to your website, here are a few pointers to consider.

More Than Video Directories

Don’t completely depend upon video directories. It’s fine to host your video on free places like YouTube or Vimeo, however, there is the risk that you could lose your content if the account happens to be shut down. There are times when accounts are shut down without even a good reason and they often time won’t even allow you to appeal it. This can devastate your website. So the solution here is to try and host your own videos on your own server or a third party server that you pay for.

Using Mobile Formats

Consider using mobile compatible formats for your video. If you use a widely compatible format for your video, it is going to be very important to your website. Using something like MP4 is going to make your video compatible to most everything including all Apple devices. Whatever you do stay away from the Flash video format, as it is extremely limited to who can view it and can take an extended period of time to load.

Pay Attention to Load Times

Make the load times of your videos as short as possible on your end. Sure, you can’t control the speed of your users Internet connection, but you can help by compressing your video files to make them load faster. Even though quality might be important to you, if your quality is of at least “good” and not HD version people are still going to enjoy it and it is going to take a lot less time to download. Users of your site want stuff here and now, not 10 minutes from now.

It is important that your video is short and to the point. The shorter a video is the better chance it will be watched. If it is longer, then break it up into a series of videos. Basic rule is that if it’s an instructional video; don’t make it any longer than 5 minutes at a time. If it is a promotional type video, try to limit it to just two minutes. Using professionals like b-MC is the only way to get the right results from a video.

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In:Design, Website Design

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marvel-slots

Aug 18

What Marvel Slots Can Teach Us About Game Design

Superhero movies have been big business for a long time. Every year we see an array of characters from the iconic Spiderman to the unknown (until recently) Rocket Raccoon. Sadly, when it comes to superhero movie tie-in video games then the quality quickly diminishes. Gone are the days of the Commodore 64 and Amiga when games such as Robocop, Batman and The Amazing Spiderman topped the game charts. Nowadays, video games from superhero movies are usually met with a groan.

One area of the games market that has really nailed the Superhero tie-in is the gambling market. The Marvel Video Slots have never been so popular. Over the past five years Playtech have pushed Superhero games far beyond that of its Crytologic predecessor (who’s licensing agreement ran out earlier this year). Since Playtech took up the Marvel mantle they have created a myriad of games that include Iron Man 2, Thor, as well as the 50 pay line version of Hulk, Iron Man 2 and Fantastic 4.

What Are They Doing Right?

The beauty of the slot machine game is that the core mechanic is simple and clear. Players instantly know that the aim of the game is to spin the lines to earn the rewards. In most cases it’s a 5 reel and 25 paylines slot that offers the player nice gameplay along with lots of fantastic features. What Playtech have done is taken key moments of the films and boiled them down into short bursts of activity as you progress through the game, on your journey to the big jackpot (and they are big!). By activating bonus games the player is whisked away to a short mini-game that mirrors parts of the movie before retiring the player back to the game at hand.

The idea of concentrating on the core gameplay and building ‘modifiers’ to expand the gameplay is a lesson all developers should take heed of. It is easy for developers to want to crowbar in a number of features and mechanics but this practice can actually detract from the main game. By focusing on a core gameplay mechanic you create familiarity and a sense of comfort within the player. From that comfort, you can then take the player to new places to explore the world, and then return them back to the main game to regroup.

The recent ‘Watch_Dogs’ game is a great example of a game that despite having an array of great ideas, the sheer diversity and amount of these ideas meant the game was confusing, lacked direction and was ultimately not fun fun play.

In contrast, the recent indie title ‘Gone Home’ concentrated of exploration. The developers made a active choice not to include jumping, fighting, and shooting mechanics. In isolation, the gameplay now sounds dull but when you add the eerie sounds and engaging story the game is suddenly a multi award-winning title.

There are plenty of places to try out Marvel Slots and see for yourself how the games interact with the player. From your initial spin to the plethora of mini games you can see that the developers have considered how to keep the player both entertained and engaged throughout.

app-marketing

Aug 08

The Evolution of App Marketing

There are over a million apps in the Google and Apple stores and you’d think that with such choice the evolution of marketing would be complete. However it’s taken more than 4 years for the market to realize a middle ground.

If you take a look at app marketing’s very brief history you will notice that it went through 3 distinct phases, and that we are currently still in the 3rd one. Each stage clearly indicates how technology advanced in a short space of time, and how mobile users stopped seeing their devices as a novelty and started using them as a tool.

In the early days of app marketing Apple dominated, but following android’s explosion into the market and the availability of 3rd party apps, Apple had to reassess its objectives and strategies as the marketing playing field became more of a minefield.

At first the emphasis was largely on volume and how many people could be encouraged to download a specific app, by any means necessary. This then indicated the popularity of an app but did not serve to illustrate how many people actually made use of it.

At around 2011 there was a shift and app marketing not only focused on volume, it turned its attention to performance tracking and quality, and incentivized apps were recalled. Marketing of apps then shifted focus on to how the app could offer the user an enhanced experience and the benefits offered, and rather than just simply racking up statistics, app marketing became more customer centric.

It’s safe to say that recently the focus shifted once again and value and ROI became top priorities.  With brands such as MobileCasino.co.nz offering apps that rivalled the online offerings, users have become accustomed to downloading programs that offer longevity.

It seems that these 3 phases were spurred on not only by technological advancements but by mobile marketers realizing that if the app industry was to have staying power it needed to offer users an experience that would keep them engaged , whilst still being monetized in some form or another. Whilst many apps are free to download, users may have to pay for add-ons or additional game features, or be subjected to in-app advertising. For now it seems that the evolution of app marketing has reached a level plane, but whether it stays there remains to be seen.

May 27

Game theory: Exit strategies

Whilst playing No More Zombies on the iPhone recently, I found myself trying to set a limit to my gaming. My limit was set to 100 residents. If I get to 100 people in my town I will stop playing, delete the game and get on with my life. Free of the distraction of stocking shops, building buildings and killing zombies I can discover the other delights of the mobile gaming world.

By 99 I knew the end was near and I was making my price with the world whilst secretly hoping that number 100 was far away. To my surprise, however, the illusive centennial resident was really far away. I continued to pack my shops full of goodies, made a shed load of money and killed more than my fair share of the undead. Yet the regular resident that appeared every few ‘minutes’ (in game time, not real time) failed to materialise.

This got me wondering. Is there a part of game theory that deals with checkpoints, achievements and round numbers in terms of exit points. Is there a shelf life for the casual gamer that can be manipulated to extend the general playtime?

In the old days a game had a beginning and an end, whereas now we have downloadable content which can extend the life of a game ten fold . What interest me though is whether game designers or testers look at ‘exit strategies’.  In business an exit strategy is a point in which the investor or owner has got all the best out of a business and leaves the company with money, shares or a general good feeling. I suppose in games with DLC the main exit point is after the main quest or story has been completed but with more endless games such as city builders, when is a good time to unplug?

After some time scouring the Internet for studies or papers to support my theory I was surprised to find nothing that helped. There is a lot online about rewarding gamers in order to keep their attention which I assume is the reaction to losing gamers. However there is little written about when and why they leave the comfort of the gaming world. So for the record, I would like to claim the study of exit theory in gamers as my own.

Gamers leave a good game for many reasons. The top five reasons are:

game completion (main game) most achievable achievements achieved left for newer/better game difficulty to steep time, family and other commitments

With further study and a whole host of questionnaires it might be possible to predict the most likely exit  points of a game and inject these sections with additional goodies to retain their attention. Being aware that you might lose some of your players at 100 residents might encourage game designers to be smarter when it comes to these exit points.

Source: http://www.gamingdebugged.com/2012/09/19/game-theory-exit-strategies/

unreal-conference

Apr 10

Epic Games offers an insight into the latest Unreal Engine tools and technologies

Epic Games is staging a set of Unreal developer sessions right here in the UK to inform developers about the latest Unreal Engine tools and techniques.

Epic recently announced (at GDC) that the Unreal Engine 4 will be available under a new subscription service which gives developers access to the full engine, tools and C++ source code.

Anyone with an active subscription has been invited by the game maker to the Unreal Developer Day on April 17th, in Stafford. Developers can attend one of two half-day sessions designed for ‘ground floor’ members of the new UE4 ecosystem.

Throughout this event, Epic’s engineering, design and support team members will be onsite to provide insight into the toolset and technologies.

This exciting event takes place on Thursday, April 17th at the Epic Games Centre, Ruxton Technology Centre, Staffordshire University, ST18 0AD, UK. The tickets are sold on a first come, first served basis so get signed up quick.

Registration is for one session only and visitors are required to bring their registration ticket on the day or they might be denied entry.

You can register for the event and get more information here >>

stencyl-3

Feb 22

Stencyl 3.0 is Out Now

Stencyl is a fantastic tool and game engine for those who hate code but love making games. This tool speeds up the process of building games or game prototypes. The highly anticipated update of Stencyl 3.0 is finally here and the new version now supports publishing games to

iOS (iPhone/iPad) Android Flash Windows Mac Linux

Here are few features in the new version:

Platforms

Publish to iOS, Android, Flash, Standalone Desktop (Windows, Mac, Linux). Publish all games directly from your computer. Unification – 1 engine, 1 programming language (Haxe) Open Framework for building new native and pure Haxe extensions.

Other

Improved Font Support Improved Translation (Language Pack) Support Draw UTF-8 (international) characters in-game Gap Free MP3 Playback for Flash Support for OGG playback on all platforms except Flash Multi-Mapped Controls Mobile

Improved handling of arbitrary screen sizes. Improved Ad Support (iAds, AdMob, Events) Improved Social Gaming API Support (Game Center, Events) Improved In-App Purchase Support (Consumables, Restore Purchases, Events) Improved Native UI Support (Keyboard, Swipe, better Joystick, Alerts, Vibrate) Uniform handling of mouse and touch events

Workflow

Test on iOS without going through Xcode Universal Log Viewer No more MAC address requirement to test You don’t have to use atlases if you hate ‘em Engine

Improved Performance. Reduced memory usage and churn. Simple Physics Mode – opt out of physics for better performance if you don’t need it. Reduction of “works only on Flash” features. Core features work everywhere. Full Blending Mode support for Flash Full Screen Mode for Flash, Desktop

Obviously we need to wait and see what the game developers can do with it before we sing its praises, but the features in new version are a step in the right direction

Nov 09

Randomness and Video Game Design

Randomness in games is a recipe for disaster. There are some games like snakes and ladders in which everything is random. The roll of the dice is random, the placement of both the snakes an ladders are random and the winner is random. The game requires no skill and has a level playing field. This is one of the reasons it is a great family game, as a child of four playing for the first time has just as much chance of winning as their experience father, who has played many times. However, if you are creating a game for those over the age of six then randomness should be kept to a minimum.

In most cases, games need set rules and laws to govern play. These rules allow players to learn and get better at the game. If you think of tennis for example, the rules are set and anyone can play. However, only those willing to put the effort in truly excel. If randomness is introduced players would not seek to become professionals as they could never truly control the game. In some cases, such as XCOM the randomness is introduced at the very beginning in the placement of the enemy aliens. This randomness works well as it changes the game from memorizing where the aliens are, to a more strategic game where the act of playing requires skill.

Games like the original Mario and Sonic games required the user to play the levels and memorise the layout in order to achieve the best outcome. Whilst fun, it left little playability after the levels had been completed. More recently, games have introduced additional elements to extend playability such as three different star achievements which are achieved when certain criteria is met. This feature does extend the game but only by a factor of three.

One such random occurrence in modern games is the infamous winged blue shell in Mario Kart. The blue shell is a power up given to the last place player and pretty much instantly, takes out the player in first place. The game itself is fantastic and has spawned a slew of clones but one thing that does stop it from being a fully playable game is the blue shell. I know it is part of a range of balancing measures to keep the game fun for all players but it ultimately punishes good players and those who have attempted to master the game. When you see gamers play Mario Kart at a competitive level you will notice that a tactic has emerged where played actively try NOT to be in first place and that by sitting in the middle of the pack is the best strategy when competing.

I don’t think I have explained myself fully here but the moral of the story is that if you intend your game to last, and tempt players to really invest time and effort in your game, then keep randomness to the absolute minimum. It will just turn players off and pigeon hole your game with many others in the ‘good fun for five minutes’ bracket and lose players who will follow and promote your game. Obviously, some exceptions to the rule exist but trust me; my logic is sound.

Related articles Get ready to waste your life: ‘Super Mario Bros.’ is now playable on your Web browser Designer: Elements of Replayability Indie Showcase: FTL (Faster Than Light) Algorithms to play randomized game Get on board