Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we deal exclusively in cows. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store’s past to revisit it and see how it’s doing in the modern day. It’s a chance for a bit of reflection and a deeper dive than the usual TouchArcade reviews allow for. The RPG genre is a pretty wide one that covers a lot of different kinds of games, and I try to present a good variety from week to week. That said, everyone has their blind spots, and to help cover mine, I ask for a suggestion from the readers to feature once per month. The next reader’s choice article will be in RPG Reload File 037, so get your choice in soon by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload.
This week’s featured game might be the least traditional of anything I’ve covered so far. Some will say it’s not an RPG, and depending on how exactly you view the genre, you might feel it doesn’t even have RPG elements. As trying to strictly define what is an RPG is a venture that can only end in madness, I’m not going to argue with you if that’s how you feel. For whatever it’s worth, my own opinion is that King Of Dragon Pass [$9.99] is a highly unconventional mash-up of gamebooks, simulation games, and role-playing in the classic pen and paper sense. It’s weird, to be sure, but if I were only interested in covering games that fit the classic RPG mold, we would be on week 34 of Kemco games. Nobody wants that.
King Of Dragon Pass is an extremely unusual game, and that has been a double-edged sword over the course of its life. Developed over the course of three years by a very small team, the game released on PC in 1999 to a less than receptive market. It got a couple of middling reviews from American magazines, but by and large it was simply ignored in the US. It fared somewhat better with critics in Europe, but to little avail in terms of sales. According to an interview between the developer and Eurogamer, the PC version initially only sold 8,000 copies. To be fair to the game, that was as much on the state of the PC gaming market as it was on King Of Dragon Pass in particular. Digital distribution was still a few years away from being a feasible option, and unless you were signed with a big publisher, getting a piece of wall in the ever-shrinking PC section of video game shops at the time was nearly impossible. The game was likely going to have a hard time selling itself even if conditions were good, thanks to its humble appearance and hard-to-explain concept. In a climate where PC game sections were dominated by graphically impressive efforts from the biggest names in the business, it didn’t have a chance, no matter how happy the people who stumbled on it were.
You could write a similar epitaph on the gravestones of countless high-quality games in our hobby’s history. In fact, I’m sure a few great games have come out this week that will go largely ignored and disappear into the sands of time. It’s a merciless thing, creating art. Fortunately, that’s not the end of King Of Dragon Pass‘s story. Interestingly, the game’s second swing at the ball happened on the back of another company’s desire to try again where they had met with weak results. When designer David Dunham had first conceived of King Of Dragon Pass, he had actually thought to put it on Apple’s Newton, a PDA that some of you are likely familiar with. The Newton was ahead of its time in many ways, but even though it had its fans, it was ultimately discontinued due to poor sales performance. That resulted in King Of Dragon Pass going to home computers instead, but the idea of a handheld version apparently scratched at the back of Dunham’s brain.
When Apple unveiled the iPhone, that scratching got a little more urgent. After he determined the game could work, he hired someone to help him bring it to life and got to work. It took a few years before it hit iPhone in September of 2011, and another year after that for the iPad version to hit, but the game took to both devices very well. And like Apple’s second crack at the pocket computer market, King Of Dragon Pass made a triumphant return, piling up favorable reviews and selling well beyond the original version’s numbers. Its popularity resulted in an Android port and a return of the PC version on GOG.com. Both suddenly and at long last, King Of Dragon Pass finally reaped some rewards. There’s even talk now of a spiritual successor to the game. I love a happy ending, don’t you?
I suppose I should explain what exactly King Of Dragon Pass is, now that the history’s out of the way. It’s set in the world of Glorantha, a pen and paper setting that used to be a pretty serious rival to Dungeons Dragons in some places. You take the role of a clan chief, and the ultimate goal is to become, well, the king of Dragon Pass. To put things in their simplest form, there are two different styles of gameplay working together here. One part is a simulation game not that far removed from something like Civilization, asking you to manage the resources of your clan to try to be as prosperous and strong as possible. The other side of the game is set up like a gamebook, presenting you with events and asking you to make a judgement call. Your choices here will usually have an immediate impact on your resources and the stats of your clan, but they’ll also have long-term effects that you might not see coming until they jump out at you after in-game years.
These two halves are intertwined beautifully. Your efficiency at running the sim side determines in part which scenes you’ll be presented with from the hundreds of possible events, while your choices in the events have a strong influence on almost every facet of your clan. You have to learn how to handle both sides harmoniously to shape your clan the way you want it. While the overall goal is always to become the king, there are many roads that can take you there. You can unite the clans under an iron fist, grease political wheels to make alliances and friendships, rely on the strength and security of a powerful economy, or make use of a number of other strategies. King Of Dragon Pass is not a game that pushes right or wrong decisions at you. As in life, almost any action you take has costs and benefits. It’s why I make reference to harmony when I describe the gameplay. If you don’t have the long game in mind, you could easily end up undermining yourself at every turn and going nowhere fast.
That quality of the game is perhaps best exemplified by the clan ring, a group of seven advisers who you can consult on just about every decision. Like any randomly-chosen group of seven people, they usually don’t see eye to eye on things. You’ll have to choose if you want to follow the majority opinion, stick with a particular adviser, or just go your own way, but whatever you do, consistency is vital. You won’t be able to please everyone and trying to do so will only lead your clan to disaster. Like many things in King Of Dragon Pass, the advisers work equally well towards the story and the gameplay. Their personalities help lend the story some continuity and character, while their advice acts as a practical tool to make the game more accessible. While the game has a massive manual that you should certainly read if you want to play the game at your best, you can also learn a lot just by jumping in and following what your advisers say for your first game.
Glorantha makes for a very interesting setting for the game. For good or for ill, the settings in most fantasy RPGs are derivatives of Dungeons Dragons, itself a somewhat expanded variation on Tolkeinian lore. Glorantha feels very different. While it’s just as fantastical as that well-trodden style, Glorantha has a much heavier emphasis on its mythology. The creator of Glorantha, Greg Stafford, wanted to try to deepen his understanding of mythology through his creation. His world ends up fusing elements of Joseph Campbell’s monomyth theories into a Conan-esque world of battling barbarians, downtrodden peasants, and capricious yet almost entirely unseen gods. It’s the latter aspect in particular that you need to keep in mind as you play the game. Glorantha has a rather large pantheon of gods and if you choose to ignore them, it’s at your own peril. Maintaining shrines to multiple gods puts a strain on your resources but earns you many favors, and you never know who you might offend by not worshiping the right one, or even worse, worshiping the wrong one. Here again, consistency is key. There are too many gods to properly devote yourself to, so try to find that ones that align with your goals.
While the simulation foundation of the game is rock-solid, a lot of the fun comes from the events. It’s absurd how many different situations can come up, and the game is a real fan of asking you to throw a brick up in the air so that it can land on your head later. Although these events are presented with nothing more than still drawings, the quality of the writing helps bridge the gap in your imagination. Because of this part of the game in particular, King Of Dragon Pass is a blast to replay. I’ve run through the game several times before I did the playthrough for this article in particular, and very few events have ever repeated for me. I’d love to see what the logic for this game looks like behind the scenes, because in action it’s almost magical. Things seem random at first, and sometimes they are, but more often than not, the events you come across have a lot to do with the decisions you made earlier. Even once you get to the point where you’ve played enough to have seen most of the events, you’ll still get the odd new one pop up under very particular circumstances. It’s a game that dares you to play around and rewards you handsomely for it.
The game keeps on growing, too. The developer has made numerous updates to the game since its initial release, adding in dozens of new scenes and improving the interface in various ways. It has support for iCloud, a variety of screen sizes, and has updated diligently after each iOS update to ensure that things are still working correctly. All of the added content is delivered at no cost to the player, too. The developer has even considered things like iPad Mini owners possibly wanting to increase the text size on their smaller screens. The treatment given to this game is above and beyond what anyone could expect, and I’m absolutely certain the app will continue to live vibrantly into the future. I’m also quite impressed at how well the interface fits both devices. I personally prefer the iPad layout, but there’s nothing wrong with the way it looks on the iPhone if that’s what you’re sporting. It’s a great game that ported thoughtfully and has been meticulously cared for, and it’s just the kind of thing I love to write about in these features.
That’s just my opinion on King Of Dragon Pass, though. What do you think? It’s kind of a strange game, so I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts on it. Drop a comment below, slide on in to the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or skateboard over to Twitter and tweet me at @RPGReload. Don’t forget to throw in your thoughts for the next reader’s choice while you’re at it. As for me, I’ll be back next week with another great RPG. Thanks for reading!
Next Week’s Reload Hint: We have to start thinking 5 Dimensionally.
Publicado por: TouchArcade - Continue lendo: http://toucharcade.com/feed/
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Yahoo e Microsoft anunciaram nesta quinta-feira (16) a renovação da parceria em motores de busca, firmada há cinco anos, mas com algumas modificações.
O primeiro acordo, firmado em 2009, obrigava o Yahoo a usar o motor de buscas Bing, da Microsoft, para todas as buscas feitas em computadores — plataformas mobiles poderiam usar motores de busca alternativos.
O novo acordo dá maior liberdade ao Yahoo, que poderá usar outros motores de busca — inclusive os próprios — em desktops, não apenas em celulares e tablets. O Yahoo costumava dominar o mercado de motores de busca antes da chegada do Google e vendeu as tecnologias de busca que possui à Microsoft junto do acordo firmado em 2009.
A novidade abre portas para o Yahoo experimentar mais uma vez com sistemas de busca. De acordo com o New York Times, a CEO do Yahoo Marisa Meyer já deixou claro que quer proporcionar uma experiência inovadora em buscas — o que não é para menos, já que antes de se tornar CEO, Meyer foi responsável pela interface e diversos outros elementos do sistema de busca do Google.
Outra mudança no acordo faz referência à propagandas, cada companhia seguirá o seu próprio caminho: Microsoft agora será dona das propagandas divulgadas no Bing, não dividindo mais valores da renda com o Yahoo; o Yahoo, por sua vez, dará continuidade a própria plataforma Gemini Ads.
O Google ainda domina as buscas, com 64,4% do mercado, seguido pelo Bing, com 20,1% e em terceiro lugar vem o Yahoo, com 12,7%. Este novo acordo pode elevar a porcentagem da companhia de Marisa Meyer, mas um bilhão de usuários do Yahoo não verão mudanças imediatas, mas gradativas. [NYT]
Publicado por: Gizmodo - Continue lendo: izmoizmododohttp://feeds.feedburner.com/gizmodobr
16/04/2015 10:58 | Mateus Mognon
Aps a demora e muitas tretas, GTA V chegou no PC esta semana e os mods, um dos principais atrativos da verso para computador, j comearam a ser criados. Recentemente, a primeira modificao, chamada LinGon Trainer foi lanada e j est disponvel para download.
O mod, disponvel neste […]continuar lendo
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Há tempos, eu penso em comprar uma pulseira de atividade física. Algo discreto com ótima duração de bateria, para acompanhar meus movimentos e organizar os dados coletados de uma forma prática. A Jawbone UP3 prometeu isso e muito mais no ano passado: é “o tracker mais avançado do mundo”, diz a empresa. Ela finalmente chegará ao mercado – desta vez, com duas novas amigas.
As novas pulseiras Jawbone UP2 e UP4 se unem à UP3 e ao UP Move, um dispositivo ótimo e barato que foi lançado no ano passado.
O destaque vai para a UP4: a Jawbone fez uma parceria com a American Express para que você possa realizar pagamentos usando a pulseira.
Basta aproximar seu pulso de um terminal NFC da Amex, e é feita a transação. Você insere o número de cartão através do app UP, mas todos os dados são armazenados em servidores protegidos da American Express.
Essa é a principal diferença entre a UP3 e a UP4. A outra é cosmética: um pequeno símbolo na pulseira que permite saber onde está o chip NFC.
Mas ambas as pulseiras são cheias de recursos. E também há outros dispositivos! Vamos explorar cada um a seguir.
Jawbone UP4: é a UP3 mais um chip NFC para pagamentos móveis através da American Express. Ela custa US$ 200 (US$ 20 a mais que a UP3), e será lançada no terceiro trimestre.
Jawbone UP3: uma pulseira repleta de sensores que permitem medir estresse, frequência cardíaca, passos, calorias, sono, entre outros.
Ela inclui um acelerômetro, sensor de fluxo cardíaco, de temperatura da pele, de resposta galvânica da pele, de frequência cardíaca, e um sensor de respiração (que acompanha mudanças do oxigênio no sangue).
A pulseira custa US$ 180. Seu lançamento deveria ter ocorrido há meses, mas foi atrasado por complicações na fabricação: algumas unidades não eram à prova d’água a 10 m de profundidade, como a Jawbone prometia. Agora, a empresa diz que a pulseira é apenas “resistente a respingos”.
Jawbone UP2: uma pulseira simples que conta passos e acompanha seu sono. Ela é parecida com a UP3, usa os mesmos materiais, mas é ligeiramente menor. Ele não pode acompanhar tantos aspectos do seu corpo, mas custa US$ 100.
Jawbone UP Move: um wearable que você pode prender na roupa ou usar no pulso. Ele conta seus passos, monitora seu sono e sincroniza os dados com o smartphone através de Bluetooth. A bateria dura até seis meses, e pode ser substituída depois.
Ela oferece os mesmos recursos da UP2, mas custa a metade do preço – só US$ 50. Nessa faixa de preço, é o melhor dispositivo para acompanhar suas atividades.
LEDs e apps
Nenhum desses trackers tem algo muito importante: uma tela. As pulseiras UP2, UP3 e UP4 têm três LEDs embutidos que representam o modo diurno (acompanha passos), modo noturno (acompanha o sono), e o modo que recebe notificações do app UP para smartphones Android, iPhones e iPads.
Um toque duplo rápido liga os LEDs, e você alterna entre os modos pressionando a pulseira. O toque duplo não funciona muito bem: eu só conseguia acender as luzes na metade das vezes que tentei. Mas você provavelmente não vai mexer muito nisso ao longo do dia – apenas quando você acordar e quando dormir.
A falta de uma tela não é terrível para mim. Há quem espere que um dispositivo para o pulso sempre mostre as horas. É válido! Só que isso permite uma duração maior da bateria: com uma carga, elas duram uma semana. E nada impede que você use um relógio no outro pulso.
A Jawbone diz que seu aplicativo Smart Coach analisa seus dados desde o primeiro dia de uso. Depois de alguns dias, a pulseira saberá quantos passos você caminha por dia, e vai insistir que você ande mais.
E depois de uma semana e meia, o UP envia um relatório com seus hábitos de sono e faz algumas sugestões adicionais, como dormir uma hora mais cedo ou usar o alarme inteligente que faz a pulseira vibrar. O app atualizado já está disponível.
A Jawbone tentará disputar espaço com as pulseiras da Fitbit, como a Charge HR – que tem acelerômetro, altímetro e monitor de frequência cardíaca, mais uma tela OLED.
A UP2 está à venda nos EUA pelo site da Jawbone, e chegará às lojas da Best Buy por domingo. A UP3 está em pré-venda e será entregue a partir de maio para novos clientes. A UP4 será lançada apenas no terceiro trimestre.
Publicado por: Gizmodo - Continue lendo: izmoizmododohttp://feeds.feedburner.com/gizmodobr
Super Hexagon [$2.99] still has an outsized influence on mobile gaming, as minimalist, high-difficulty, arcade-style games keep coming out. Tiltagon [Free] from Jyri and Piia Kilpeläinen, decides to skew closer to Super Hexagon where many games are now taking influence from Flappy Bird and Crossy Road [Free]. The high-tempo electronic music, the hexagons, the frequent deaths, they all seem familiar. Tiltagon does an admirable job at mixing things up by being a tilt-based game that can’t match the speed of touch-based games, but finds clever ways to fit in this arcade challenge genre.
The goal of Tiltagon is to collect a cubed dot on each hexagon-shaped platform, which causes the next platform to appear. Each platform will start to blink out of existence, so you need to make it to the next before you fall to your doom. The platforms will also contain various hazards, like moving blocks, disappearing floors, and platforms with gaps. Each dot you collect is worth one point, and you’re going for high scores. You tilt to move your ball around, and deal with the physics of its movement while navigating the constantly-shifting landscape.
A game built around tilting needs to make tilting feel good, and Tiltagon does just that. There’s sensitivity options in the settings, but the default settings with auto-calibration work well enough out of the box. Sometimes the auto-calibration gets a bit funky, but for the most part I can’t complain about how the game controls at all. It works great on the iPad Mini 2 as well as the iPhone 6 Plus. I like that the game is playable in both portrait and landscape, though I prefer the latter. The pace of the game means that you have enough time to be deliberate. More often than not your failings are consequences of your own mistakes, not because you ran out of time on a platform. Still, move with a purpose.
This slower pace makes Tiltagon stand out. Making a hyper-speed tilt game seems like a challenge, particularly from an approachability standpoint. So slowing things down seems like a smart idea. It still puts on the pressure to act quickly, but you’re not getting your heart rate up trying to keep up with an impossible pace. It’s got intent without screaming. It’s a medium-heat buffalo wing.
Tiltagon is basic from a visual perspective, but the game has actually come a long way from what it was at first. The visuals now shift colors throughout play, shifting between several color themes. It adds character to the game, and keeps the visuals from becoming stale. The ball and hexagon platforms are still sleek, but they look even better with the shifting colors. The black-and-red theme does make it a bit difficult to see ridges in raised platforms, but there’s a bit of a glossiness applied to make the center not look like a pit.
Tiltagon uses a curious monetization model, where the game is free with ads, and there’s the standard $1.99 ad removal IAP. But there’s also the ability to remove ads for just 5 minutes by watching a video ad. This is clever! If you’re going for high scores and don’t want banners, but maybe don’t want to pay $1.99 for the ad removal, you have an option. Sure, $1.99 is a trivial amount, but if you’re on a tight budget (I was a broke college student once, too!) or am not sure if you will even use the ad removal option, you have an option here! Considering Noodlecake published Bitcoin Billionaire [Free] which featured goofy ad systems, I’m curious to see what they do next with monetization. I’m in favor of any clever ways to try and make money for developers that is also friendly to players.
I take issue with the two difficulty modes available for the game. Hard is enough of a challenge, for sure. But Hard+, rather than being a separate difficulty, makes the difference be that moving objects kill you instead of just pushing you. The difference in difficulties is too subtle to make for much variety. This disrupts the flow of the game and its high scores. The first few platforms with moving hazards are difficult, but ones without them are as easy as ever. Scores will either be low or have spikes in the teens. I’d rather just play Hard. That one platform with the center block that shoots you off of the stage? That’s tricky enough!
I’d rather see many difficulties, as it’s something that Super Hexagon used to great effect. Modes with greater speeds, or different challenging blocks to take on? The possibilities intrigue me. As it is, just having Hard and Hard+ feels like a bit of a disservice. I feel like Tiltagon‘s concept has more to give than just one mode and a modification of one of the rules. A lot of the replay value gets sucked out because there’s not that variety there that this game could have.
The limited scope makes Tiltagon an interesting game to check out, but not quite an urgent must-download. I like its concepts, and the way it slows things down a bit. Plus, the tilt controls are great. And the monetization is pretty cool. But I wish there was more here.
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Tags: Touch Arcade