iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
Funny Or Die has released a weather app for those out there who want some humor to go with their weather reports. Funny Or Die Weather is powered by Weather Underground and features five day forecasts, humidity and UV index information, tide times and more for locations around the world alongside regular doses of weather-based jokes.
Funny Or Die Weather is available to download now for free.
One of the consistently most positive things about the rise of the App Store is the ability for one-person developers to get somewhere and release their own titles, under their own steam and hard work. Sacrifices might need to be made but it's encouraging to see so many creative spirits work so hard at achieving their dreams.
One such person is John Stricker, developer of Captain Casual, a title that he's declared to be an 'epic science fiction action adventure comedy'. Its Kickstarter campaign has just launched so we had a word with John about how the project came to be.
Captain Casual's developer, John Stricker.
148apps: How did the idea for Captain Casual come about? John Stricker (JS): I was doing some pretty intensive work as a software consultant, and at the end of the day it would be difficult to take my mind off of the projects I was working on and get some sleep. I found that imagining stories helped me relax as I was trying to sleep. Maybe this was part of me trying to take my own mind off work, but I liked to create characters that were very relaxed, take-it-easy kinds of people and then imagine them being put into situations where they had to play the role of a hero. Captain Casual started with the idea of putting a laid-back person into the role of a starship captain, so instead of someone like Patrick Stewart playing the role of the captain it was someone more like Jeff Bridges in The Big Lebowski.
148apps: Why the name Captain Casual? JS: Because it's awesome! I mean, why has no one created a game character named this yet? It's also fun to take the word "Casual" and use it for a character name in a mobile game since in the gaming community there's a stereotype of mobile games being too "casual" for "serious" gamers.
148apps: Have any other games or other forms of media influence your idea? JS: A lot of the backstory for Captain Casual takes cues from Iain M. Bank's fantastic Culture novels, and the comic tone of the game can't help but be influenced by Douglas Adam's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy books (which I have read countless times). In terms of gaming influences, Bioware's RPGs (e.g. the Baldur's Gate Series, Knights of the Old Republic) have probably influenced me more than any other games. They do such a great job of storytelling, dialog, and gameplay, and while Captain Casual isn't an RPG, I hope to convey something of the same sense of being part of an epic adventure while playing the game. And, of course, Star Trek in all its incarnations is a big influence.
148apps: How big a game will Captain Casual be? JS: It's going to be bigger than The Beatles! We're talking blockbuster, here. You're probably looking for more of an answer about the game's length though. In terms of game length, Captain Casual is designed to be a relatively short game, with a full playthrough lasting a couple of hours. The main reason for this is that the story in the game unfolds more like a movie where there is a minimum of repetitive action. Every mission is going to have the player doing something that they haven't done before. To add challenge and extend the life of the game, there will also be a hardcore mode where if a player fails a level they have to start the game from the beginning.
148apps: Are there any plans for in-app purchases or will Captain Casual be a one-off payment kind of game? JS: There are no plans for in-app purchases as I feel that would ruin the tone of the game. Its hard to keep a sense of atmosphere and engagement when you're also periodically asking the player for more money. Also, I don't want the game to be a different experience for different players depending upon how much money they put into the game.
148apps: How hard has it been to juggle your work life and this project? JS: Since April of this year I've been working full time on Captain Casual. I am fortunate enough to have a time-limited period (my wife and I have agreed on a one-year limit) to do this, but this is why I really need the extra support from Kickstarter as I have no income at this point. I've taken my hobby and made it my work, so in some ways now I feel like I'm working all of the time. Still, it feels great to be able to put so much effort into something I love. Hopefully the Kickstarter will go well and I'll be able to continue working on Captain Casual full time!
Captain Casual'sKickstarter has just under a month to go, with John asking for a fairly low $5,000 to complete the game. With only a $5 pledge needed in order to have some input in terms of what ship models and color schemes to use, as well as a free copy of the game upon release, that's a pretty tempting offer if you ask me. Higher pledges offer more benefits, too, with t-shirts, beta invites, and even custom digital images up for grabs.
The campaign is live now, so do consider contributing. We'll be sure to keep an eye on Captain Casual's progress.
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
Python fans are certain to welcome the best bits from the penultimate season of the BBC sketch comedy in a new iPhone app: Python Bytes 3 - Monty Python Series 3. If you have a flair for the obvious, you'll correctly assume this is third in a series of apps that feature the best skits from the cult-classic, Monty Python’s Flying Circus.
The 20 most popular skits from series three are presented in a style that looks like Terry Gilliam had a hand in the design. The app launches right into a random sketch, and a shake of the iPhone launches another arbitrary dose of funny.
Tapping on a video toggles a menu where users can select specific sketches, create playlists and even delete scenes – a nice touch for space-freeing purposes. The app, like the rest of the series, sells for $2.99 - a fair bit less than buying the complete season and a fair bit less tiresome than a YouTube search. The app even comes with some cast audio commentary.
Let’s be honest, while vintage Canucks (like this humble Python head) were weaned on British sketch comedy, for an American audience it’s a decidedly acquired taste, particularly in its retro-absurdist Python perfection. There were always laugh-beer-out-yer-nose moments, but for each one, if we’re being candid, there was also an unmitigated dud. That makes this final greatest-hits package a perfect lightweight introduction for those who haven’t yet reached the point where even bad python is good python.
Check out the trailer from the first app to see the UI:
It's important to take note of what's going on in politics, especially near an election, but that doesn't mean that we can't mock the process and what's said. Hugely popular cable TV station Comedy Central has clearly taken note of it as it has just released its Indecision Election Companion.
The app provides fans with exclusive jokes, interactive content, photo galleries and more. There's an iOS-optimized version of Comedy Central's "Indecision" blog, along with a 2012 Election Calendar and an exclusive "Peanut Gallery" commentary feature that offers exclusive live commentary from the Indecision bloggers and special guests. It also lets users share their reactions to the debate.
It's all suitably entertaining with a keen satirical edge as it covers the spectacular highs and extreme lows of the election. Even for those not overly interested in politics, it should make the whole thing more accessible and interesting.
Comedy Central's Indecision Election Companion is out now, it's universal and free.
Funny or Die is bringing their special brand of star-studded comedy to the iPad with The Occasional, a bimonthly magazine which will feature completely original content. Don't expect a traditional magazine though, as the FoD crew has freely admitted that they have no idea what they're doing and thus plan to spice up every issue with some offbeat content.
So far what we've seen in the first issue is fairly standard magazine fare, but with a very humorous twist. There's an interview with Ed Helms conducted by comedian Zack Galifianakis, a "Hippo Fact Page" of dubious scientific accuracy, and oh so much more. If you're tired of "serious" magazines with "real" information then this just may be your solution.
You can download a free trial of The Occasional for free, but it only provides a small taste. A full issue is $3.99 and an annual subscription is $9.99. But in all honesty, can you put a price on laughter?
Apps allow us to create so many different kinds of things. Everything from movies to presentations to auto-tuned songs can be made on Apple's mobile devices with these little programs. Thanks to Amildio Inc, the maker of apps like Touch DJand Seline, soon users will be able to add one more thing to that list: laughs.
Laugh Synth is an app designed for creating, sampling and synthesizing the sound of laughter. Users can record their laugh and then manipulate it through touch into an entirely new, hilarious sound. Four different effects can be applied in addition to the fine-tuned pitch controls. The app has 25 built-in presets making it easy for users to get started creating synthesized "lulz." Not a bad start for the "world's first laugh synthesizer."
Users can email their hand-crafted laughs or share them through Facebook and Twitter. Laugh Synth is currently available for $0.99.
Though viewers have been able to watch The Daily Show online for quite a while now, the show never had a dedicated app, until now. MTV and Comedy Central have launched the official Daily Show app for iOS devices, so now you can easily access Jon Stewart and company with but a tap. Even better, it's a universal app so download it once and you're set for all devices. This truly is a moment of Zen.
The app includes features such as a quote of the day from the show and an accompanying video clip. There's also an archive of videos which can be accessed at any time, as well as a schedule of upcoming episodes and the ability to set reminders for upcoming shows. On top of that there's also a search function by topic as well as Twitter integration, so you'll have nearly all aspects of the show at your fingertips.
What the app doesn't feature is full episodes of The Daily Show, and that might be a deal breaker for many. The show is already available for free online, and can be watched on iOS devices by folks using Flash-enabled browsers like Skyfire. Also, with full free episodes online, what's the incentive to pay $1.99 for an app that only provides short clips? While this would be a fine free companion app, it's hard to find justification to ask users to pay for something which gives them less than what the free option offers.
While we wouldn't rule out the possibility that a future update could add full episodes, the app in its current form is hard to recommend. Diehard Daily Show fans who can't ever get enough Stewart may enjoy this app for the extra content it offers, but the vast majority of the populace is probably better off simply watching the show from its homepage on a Flash-compatible browser.