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Carter vs. the Developer: Disc Drivin'

Posted by Carter Dotson on November 22nd, 2013

I have a reputation for being able to go toe-to-toe with developers at their own games, beating their best times and high scores. This is Carter vs. the Developer.

On this edition, Carter takes on Michael Bean of Pixelocity Software at the classic turn-based racing game, Disc Drivin'. Squaring off on one of the game's new mirrored tracks, the victory condition is simple: whoever crosses the finish line first wins. Game on, gentlemen!


This Week at 148Apps: July 8-12, 2013

Posted by Chris Kirby on July 13th, 2013

Celebrating the App Store's 5th Anniversary


App Store Insiders


First up, check out the over 20 interviews that Jeff Scott (with a little help from Carter Dotson) did with the App Store's best and brightest, like this one from Tapulous co-founder, Mike Lee:

148Apps: If you have one single success within the App Store you'd like to highlight, what would it be?

Mike Lee: I'm really excited about the work the New Lemurs are doing. I've been trying to blend technology and altruism both on and off the App Store since before it was a thing, with everything from the Club Thievey fundraising drive that linked Mac developers with the Madagascar Fauna Group to the Obama '08 app to Appsterdam and on into Lemurs Chemistry.

What distinguishes my work now from what I was doing 5 years ago is this: while I'm still focused on providing great products and experiences to people, that has stopped being the end in and of itself. Now I am much more concerned with spreading good memes. My abilities as an App Maker, and my ability to be an example of what kind of apps we should make and what kind of App Makers we should be, have switched seats.

My current obsession is the idea that games would not be a waste of time if they were made based on science. By replacing the arbitrary game mechanics with rules from nature, you end up with games that happen to be educational as a side-effect, instead of trying to gamify education. Lemurs Chemistry is the embodiment of that idea, and it's the best game I've ever produced.

Be sure to read all of the interviews, chock full of insight and info, right here on 148Apps.

Looking Back

It was a special week across the 148Apps network of sites, as we celebrated the App Store's 5th anniversary with a wealth of original content from our team of reviewers. Take a look at some of their picks for the best apps from the past five years.

Fairway Solitaire

In all my time playing iOS games, I’ve never been quite so tempted to buy an in-app purchase as I was while playing Fairway Solitaire. This isn’t because there’s so little content bundled with the free version (there’s enough) but because it’s so addictive that I didn’t want to stop playing. For a game that’s essentially a twist on card game solitaire, this is praise indeed. As the name suggests, Fairway Solitaire is a version of Golf Solitaire, a classic variation on the card game that everyone knows and loves. The difference here is that rather than create suits such as in regular Solitaire, the player must score runs by clearing the card deck using the least amount of moves. Once the pile of cards run out, the par is determined and the player moves onto the next hole. At the end of the course, a star rating out of three is offered as a way of encouraging players to master the stage. --Jennifer Allen


Rage of Bahamut

Rage of Bahamut wasn’t quite what I was expecting. It definitely involves collecting cards and battling other players, but it’s more akin to a browser game than what most would consider a “proper” iOS title. Whether or not this is a bad thing depends a lot on personal preference, but anyone willing to look past the clunky interface just might find themselves having a great time. At its core, Rage of Bahamut is all about gathering cards in order to complete quests (or battle other players) in order to get better cards, etc. But that’s just the basics. Quests can be completed in order to acquire treasure, more cards, cash, and experience for whichever card has been designated the Leader. It’s all used as expected (i.e. buying car packs, building a stronger deck, etc), really. --Rob Rich


Disc Drivin'

Disc Drivin’ is a game whose immediate goal might not be apparent; the easiest way to explain the game is that it is like Mario Kart crossed with Words With Friends. You and your opponents take turns sliding your disc across the tracks, replete with tricky turns, turbo boosts, and powerup icons. The Words with Friends-esque element comes from the turn-based gameplay; when you take your turn, your opponent then takes theirs, and so on until someone completes 3 laps and wins the race. The game supports up to 8 players in either hotseat or local wifi multiplayer, and up to 4 people online, with push notifications notifying you when it is your turn. There’s a reason why I describe this as being similar to Words With Friends in particular, and it is because Disc Drivin’ is just as addictive and viral as that game was around its popularity peak. If you start up one game, you’ll quickly find yourself wanting to start up more and more, and anxiously waiting for your opponents to make their moves so you can play some more. The physics engine with the discs adds to the fun, as wacky things can happen when you hit ramps, bombs or other discs; there is plenty that can happen when discs go flying to cause you to shout for joy or shriek in error. You never know what you’ll see next. That, and just the whole addictive and surprisingly fast-paced nature of the asynchronous multiplayer, is what makes this one a gem. --Carter Dotson


Other 148Apps Network Sites

If you are looking for the best reviews of kids' apps and/or Android apps, just head right over to GiggleApps and AndroidRundown. GiggleApps writer Amy Solomon served up her App Store favorites during this week's fifth anniversary festivities:

GiggleApps

Toca Tea Party

Toca Tea Party is a wonderfully creative app from one of my new favorite developers, Toca Boca. This app creates a lovely interactive tea party environment which has become a huge hit with our entire family. This is a wonderful iPad app which simulates a tea party for three, be it a child and two adults, a child and two dolls or stuffed animals, or three toys with the help of little hands. This app has been enjoyed in our house in every conceivable way and I can say that my husband, son, and I all love this application. --Amy Solomon

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore is a very special interactive storybook for iPad that is perfectly realized in every way. Strong words, I know, but this app is simply wonderful, poetic and beautiful experience for all ages. Based on the short film of the same name, this ebook has interwoven interactions and other animated visuals that are simply striking for use of imagery that will stay with the reader for a very long time. It is hard really to write this review as I would encourage readers to experience this themselves, as I don’t think my words here will do this app justice. The story is said to be inspired by hurricane Katrina, Buster Keaton, and the Wizard of Oz equally, and is about a man who is currently writing a book about his life. One day, his world gets turned upside down but is fortunate to later find a library filled with books with flying abilities that need a caregiver. In reality, this app is really about so much more. My son, at 3.5 years, still takes things on face value, and for him, this story book is about the love of reading and the warm embrace books deserve as the protagonist takes care of these flying books as if they are living, breathing things. --Amy Solomon


AndroidRundown

Smash Spin Rage

Beautiful, drop dead gorgeous 3D graphics. Relatively easy controls. Frankly who cares about backstory?
Smash Spin Rage is a game that brings mythical elements to 21st century handheld gaming. It brings to bear murder, the supernatural and an unquenchable desire for revenge. I mostly like the graphics in this one. The colors avidly bring to life the spooky ambiance of the location, with natural light combining and contrasting with shadows at the same time. The animations are smooth, and the supernatural effects worked well. From the opening cutscene to the battles all the way to the creativity of the belligerents, the game looks good. --Tre Lawrence


Ultimate Stick Fight

So many of us cut our gaming teeth on scrolling beat em ups. You know, those games like Fighting Force that gave us the opportunity to graphically beat up hordes of violent thugs. There was usually the simplest of backstory, plenty of swinging limbs and even a weapon or two to procure. Ultimate Stick Fight is in that same glorious vein. Jumps, kicks, punches and tons of people to practice them on. And stick figures. Part of what sets this game apart is the look; instead of regular-looking characters, we get souped up, colorful stick people. Interestingly enough, the developer does well with colorization, and is able to imbibe a good deal of character into the thin guys. The movements and animations were fairly life-like, but kept the whimsical nature that we expect in characters of this genre. When matched with the numerous, creatively diverse backgrounds, it makes a pretty compelling 2D visual feast. --Tre Lawrence


Leaping Legend

Leaping Legend is an arcade-style infinite climbing/running game. The virtual world is decidedly medieval, with the jittery characters and animations presented in 8-bit retro glory. As noted, all the elements come together to create a game with an arcade feel. The animations are fairly utilitarian, and do the job without being too flashy. If creating a remarkable ode to the past is the goal, I think the developer mostly succeeds admirably. In this one, the higher up one goes the better. Trying to free the fair-haired maiden at the “top” is the goal, and to accomplish this, our protagonist has two parallel walls to run up, as well as the ability to leap from one wall to the other on the quest to the top. This ability to leap is invaluable, as along the way, there are all sorts of run-ending obstacles, ranging from scary looking rotating blades to barrels and plenty of dropping debris. --Tre Lawrence

Disc Drivin' Update Adds New Levels, New Theme, App Badges, and iPad Retina Display Support

Posted by Carter Dotson on April 6th, 2012

Don't quit with the Disc Drivin'! While developer Pixelocity Software works on the upcoming Zombie Track Meat with Fuzzycube Software and Owen Goss (coming to iOS later this year, now available for Google Chrome), they've given their venerable turn-based racing game a fresh update. The game has five new ice-based tracks that implement new elements like ice blocks that deteriorate as they are hit, and snowballs that slow discs down. The new levels also introduce the first new visual theme to the game since its release back in late 2010. On the technical end, the game now supports the iPad Retina Display. Grow tired of not having the app badge update when new turns come in? Well, that's now enabled in this update, which is available now for both iPhone/iPod touch and iPad.

These new tracks and features should help to extend the life of this venerable game, which is one of the few titles that I still play on a regular basis, and have done so ever since the game came out. Plus, Jon Hamm plays it, which automatically means those who play it become classier, funnier, and more handsome by association.


The Portable Podcast, Episode 118

Posted by Carter Dotson on January 3rd, 2012

You're the best around! No one's ever gonna keep you down!

On This Episode:

  • Carter and an esteemed panel of regular Portable Podcast guests share their opinions on the best games of 2011, their most underappreciated game, and their favorite pre-2011 game that they're still playing.

  • Who We Are:

  • Host: Carter Dotson
  • Guest: Brett Nolan, AppAddict.net
  • Guest: Colin Walsh, Celsius Game Studios
  • Guest: Blake Grundman, 148Apps & Games Are Evil

  • Music:

  • "Beatnes7 (Theme to The Portable Podcast)" by The Eternal - Download on iTunes here:


  • "Nanocarp" by The Eternal

  • How to Listen:

  • Click Here to Subscribe in iTunes:
  • Click Here to Subscribe via RSS.
  • Listen Here: [powerpress]
  • Apps Mentioned on This Episode:






















    The Portable Podcast, Episode 117

    Posted by Carter Dotson on December 27th, 2011

    iCADE, You Cade, We All Cade!

    On This Episode:

  • Carter and indie musician Jaden Walker (composer of The Portable Podcast theme song) discuss a variety of topics in the land of iOS, from AT&T data caps, the iCADE, card games, and asynchronous multiplayer games.

  • Who We Are:

  • Host: Carter Dotson
  • Co-Host: Jaden Walker, The Eternal

  • Music:

  • "Beatnes7 (Theme to The Portable Podcast)" by The Eternal - Download on iTunes here:


  • "Nanocarp" by The Eternal

  • How to Listen:

  • Click Here to Subscribe in iTunes:
  • Click Here to Subscribe via RSS.
  • Listen Here: [powerpress]
  • Apps Mentioned on This Episode:





    Disc Drivin' HD Review

    Posted by Carter Dotson on March 22nd, 2011
    iPad App - Designed for iPad

    Developer: Pixelocity Software
    Price: $2.99
    Version Reviewed: 1.0
    Device Reviewed On: iPad 1G

    Graphics / Sound Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
    Game Controls Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
    Gameplay Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar
    Replay Value Rating: starstarstarstarstar

    [rating:overall]

    Disc Drivin' has made its long awaited appearance on the iPad, in the aptly-named Disc Drivin' HD. This is the same game as in the iPhone/iPod touch version, cross-compatible with your current Disc Drivin' account and games. It comes with a spiffy new splash screen by Mike Berg of We Heart Games, and a redesigned iPad-friendly interface. If you haven't played the game yet (and I hope that's only because you never read the original review, or only have an iPad and don't use any non-iPad apps at all, no exceptions), then understand that the game is an asynchronous multiplayer racing game, where you and up to 7 local or 3 online opponents take turns racing around a track, with the first to complete 3 laps to be the winner. You swipe your disc around the track, amassing energy to activate your powerups, while trying to stay on the track and keep your opponents from passing you up.

    The same great gameplay of the iPhone/iPod touch is represented here, with controls that work comfortably on the iPad, and larger buttons for activating powerups. Disc Drivin' HD's greatest strength may just be the way that the game works across multiple platforms. Unlike something like Words With Friends, which has long had issues with push notifications and playing games across multiple platforms, Disc Drivin' HD sends push notifications to any and all devices you're logged in from, and quickly reloads your game list when you open the app back up. It's easy, seamless, and allows you to play the game on any iOS device without any worries, even with local wireless play between devices.

    The game is a separate app from the iPhone/iPod touch version and not a universal update, though the iPad version is feature-identical to the original. This was done, according to the developers, to leave their options open in case they do decide to launch iPad-exclusive features. So, if you want to play the iPad version, you will have to pay for it, and there's no free version yet either. The game still hasn't really expanded on content or features since the original came out - I'd at least love a couple new courses or for the long-awaited video sharing function to finally surface.

    Disc Drivin' is just as addictive as when it first came out. Even months later, I still find myself regularly playing and checking for moves, so the game's lasting appeal cannot be questioned. If you're an iPad owner and haven't played the game yet, then you must play this now. If you own multiple iOS devices, then it's just a question of if you really feel the need to pay for an iPad-compatible version. If you do double-dip, you'll be happy with the purchase. If you haven't partaken in Disc Drivin' addiction yet, then what are you waiting for?

    Disc Drivin' Review

    Posted by Carter Dotson on January 10th, 2011

    Developer: Pixelocity Software
    Price: $2.99 (Free Version Available)
    Version Reviewed: 1.0
    Device Reviewed On: iPod touch 4G

    Graphics / Sound Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
    Game Controls Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
    Gameplay Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar
    Replay Value Rating: starstarstarstarstar

    [rating:overall]

    Disc Drivin' is a game whose immediate goal might not be apparent; the easiest way to explain the game is that it is like Mario Kart crossed with Words With Friends. You and your opponents take turns sliding your disc across the tracks, replete with tricky turns, turbo boosts, and powerup icons. The Words with Friends-esque element comes from the turn-based gameplay; when you take your turn, your opponent then takes theirs, and so on until someone completes 3 laps and wins the race. The game supports up to 8 players in either hotseat or local wifi multiplayer, and up to 4 people online, with push notifications notifying you when it is your turn.

    There's a reason why I describe this as being similar to Words With Friends in particular, and it is because Disc Drivin' is just as addictive and viral as that game was around its popularity peak. If you start up one game, you'll quickly find yourself wanting to start up more and more, and anxiously waiting for your opponents to make their moves so you can play some more. The physics engine with the discs adds to the fun, as wacky things can happen when you hit ramps, bombs or other discs; there is plenty that can happen when discs go flying to cause you to shout for joy or shriek in error. You never know what you'll see next. That, and just the whole addictive and surprisingly fast-paced nature of the asynchronous multiplayer, is what makes this one a gem.

    While Disc Drivin' provides a lot of courses, many of them don't do a lot to distinguish themselves from one another, particularly the courses with a lot of twists and turns that tend to blend together. As well, the games in these courses can take a while to play as the pace of the game starts to slow around curves. The game comes in free and paid versions, and the free version suffers from some bugs with the ads that are displayed between turns; in particular, errors tend to happen if you get a push notification while an app are displayed. Also, the game can be very unfriendly to new players; some form of tutorial to explain the game's functions would help out a lot. As well, player discovery is limited to searching email contacts or manual username search; Game Center matchmaking would be a huge help for player discovery. The game supports the Retina Display, but iPad support would be much appreciated as well.

    Beyond these flaws, though, Disc Drivin' is easily one of the most addictive games I have ever played on iOS. it has me constantly checking my iPod touch for new moves, and wishing I could have more than the maximum 20 games at once. This is an absolute must-download. Check out the free version first, then pick up the $2.99 ad-free version.

    UPDATE: Since the original review, both the free and paid version have been updated to 1.2, helping to iron out glitches mentioned in the original review, as well as adding functionality for one-click rematches, a recent player list, and random player matchmaking. AS well, the developers have mentioned exploring other features, such as video sharing, Game Center, and new courses, that may come at some point in the future.

    The Portable Podcast, Episode 65

    Posted by Carter Dotson on January 4th, 2010

    Driven to madness!

    On This Episode:

  • Carter speaks with the developers of Disc Drivin', Michael and Tommy Bean of Pixelocity Software, talking about the inspiration for the game and what we can expect from the game in the near future.
  • Carter and Colin Walsh of Celsius Game Studios discuss his new game Red Nova, and some of the recent happenings with major price drops by large-scale publishers like EA.
  • Who We Are:

  • Host: Carter Dotson
  • Guests: Michael Bean and Tommy Bean, Pixelocity Software
  • Guest: Colin Walsh, Celsius Game Studios

  • Music:

  • "Beatnes7 (Theme to The Portable Podcast)" by The Eternal - Download on iTunes here:


  • "Nanocarp" by The Eternal
  • How to Listen:

  • Click Here to Subscribe in iTunes:
  • Click Here to Subscribe via RSS.

  • Listen on WRGT Radio every Friday at 4pm Central
  • Listen Here: [powerpress]
  • Apps Mentioned On This Episode: