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Spy Mouse Feels the Love With New Valentine's Day Update

Posted by Carter Dotson on February 2nd, 2012

EA and Firemint's Spy Mouse has an update out now that's designed to be more appropriate for this time of year, with Valentine's Day coming up. Love is in the air, and while the cats in Agent Squeek's life are still out to keep him from getting his cheese, everything is a lot more lovey-dovey. The app icon shows not a stern and focused Agent Squeek, but a more charmed Agent Squeek, presenting delicious chocolate for a willing suitor. The whole menu is now Valentine's-themed, which means that it's more pink and heart-filled. In-game, the cheese crumbs that give bonus points are now hearts. As well, those cats now get hearts over their head when they spy Agent Squeek, broken heart icons when the try to grab him and miss. Plus, when they do get him, it's now a heart-filled dust cloud. Okay. This alternate interpretation of Spy Mouse update is available now for both iPhone/iPod touch and iPad versions of the game.

Spy Mouse HD Now Sneaking Around on iPad

Posted by Carter Dotson on November 18th, 2011
iPad App - Designed for iPad

EA Mobile and Firemint's mousey hero Agent Squeek is now about to stealthily and cheesily sneaking around on the iPad in the recently released SPY mouse HD. The game, which topped the iPhone/iPod touch charts upon its release, has been re-worked to take advantage of the iPad. The game's art and graphics are optimized to shine on the bigger screen, and the line drawing controls are more accurate thanks to the iPad's massive screen. The iPad version features the same number of levels as the iPhone/iPod touch version, but the game boasts exclusive new content for the iPad version. Otherwise, this is the same hybrid of line drawing, popularized by Firemint's Flight Control, and stealth action gameplay. Players control Agent Squeek by drawing lines that he walks along; however, he must avoid cats and other traps that get in the way between him and his beloved cheese. SPY mouse HD is available now for the iPad.

Party Play and AirPlay Added To Real Racing 2 In Time For iOS5 and iPhone 4S

Posted by Jennifer Allen on October 5th, 2011

As we've seen, the iPhone 4S and iOS5 has been announced and with it has come a whole bunch of different features for app developers to implement in their products.

Historically, it's always been Firemint and the Real Racing series that has been first to introduce such features such as iPad 2 optimization and 1080p output. It's no different this time round with numerous features being added to Real Racing 2 and Real Racing 2 HD.

As predicted earlier in the year, AirPlay support will be added so that players can stream the game to their HD TV. Dual screen functionality will also be possible with real time racing telemetry on the iPad 2 or iPhone 4S.

More entertainingly is the addition of Party Play for 2 to 4 players, enabling players to play split screen local multiplayer over AirPlay.

Besides such revolutionary features, there'll also be numerous visual upgrades to ensure that Real Racing 2 is still a cut above the rest.

Check out the Party Play trailer below. It's looking pretty impressive.

The update is set to go live in time for iOS5 and the iPhone 4S release.

SPY Mouse Review

By Rob Rich on August 25th, 2011
Liberate the Limburger in this death-defying, secret agent-shuffling, feline-fleeing line-drawing game.
Read The Full Review »

Real Racing Series Gets A Hefty Price Cut

Posted by Jennifer Allen on August 22nd, 2011

Until August 22, the entire series of Real Racing games are on special offer with some impressive discounts available for budding racers.

We at 148apps have been big fans of the series, especially the iPhone versions of Real Racing 1 and 2. With the iPad versions also doing well so now is surely the ideal time to give them a shot.

Prices start at $0.99 for Real Racing iPhone edition, Real Racing HD for $3.99, Real Racing 2 at $2.99 and Real Racing 2 HD priced at $4.99.

Each title offers some excellent simulation based racing and are all equally worth players' attentions. It's particularly fun to see just how far iOS gaming has come just in the time that Firemint has been developing the Real Racing series. Real Racing 2 HD is particularly revolutionary with the likes of TV-out functionality and cloud based saving synchronization.

Don't forget though, these offers end August 22. So be quick to snap up a bargain!

Real Racing 2 HD Review

iPad App - Designed for iPad
By Carter Dotson on June 30th, 2011
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: REAL FRUSTRATING
Real Racing 2 HD is an iPad version of Firemint's popular iOS racing franchise.
Read The Full Review »

Real Racing 2 HD To Offer AirPlay

Posted by Jennifer Allen on June 9th, 2011
iPad App - Designed for iPad
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: REAL FRUSTRATING :: Read Review »

Jeff already discussed the potential of AirPlay mirroring and it sounds pretty exciting. Now, the idea is becoming reality.

Consistently revolutionary Real Racing 2 HD, already famed for going 1080P when using an external monitor, has extended this further by offering streaming.

It's impressive stuff but come the release of iOS 5 later this year, it'll be possible to stream Real Racing 2 HD to a big screen TV over AirPlay providing a completely wireless experience. It all sounds wonderfully futuristic being able to transfer the iOS gaming experience to a TV without even needing any wires.

Real Racing 2 HD already looks gorgeous on the iPad 2 so it'll no doubt look just as tremendous when it hits the big screen.

The update should come along around the same time as the release of iOS 5 in the near future.

Real Racing 2 HD is available now for the iPad priced at $9.99, with iPad 2 owners being able to view it in 1080P via an external monitor and adapter cable.

EA Acquires "Flight Control" and "Real Racing" Developer Firemint

Posted by Carter Dotson on May 3rd, 2011

EA is trying to set themselves up as the dominant player in the mobile and iOS markets, and months after acquiring publisher Chillingo, EA has acquired developer Firemint. Based in Australia, Firemint are known for Flight Control and the Real Racing series, which are responsible for over 4.5 million and 2 million downloads respectively. No details have been released on the terms of the transaction, or if Firemint's operations will change in any way. While Chillingo is largely just a publisher of apps, any changes on their end have been largely in the background, as they have continued to operate normally on the surface, continuing to regularly publish independently-developed games. Firemint being an actual developer themselves, they may be subject to more changes, although any changes are largely speculative at this point. EA reports that Firemint will be maintained as a studio under the EAi group which includes their mobile, social, and online game offerings.

What this move does for EA is that it brings a pair of successful yet disparate franchises into their tent, and that may have been what made Firemint such an appealing acquisition target. Flight Control is a popular casual game that at one point was possibly the most popular game on iOS around when it was released, and is a progenitor of path management games to this day. Meanwhile, Real Racing is a graphics-intensive game, showcasing some of the best graphics and racing gameplay on iOS. As such, it has always sold at a premium price point, but this hasn't kept the franchise from gaining popularity of its own, based on the number of downloads it too has gotten.

This move could be based on bringing Flight Control and Real Racing, along with any other future Firemint projects, to other platforms. Firemint has partnered with Namco to publish Flight Control on Android and Windows Phone 7, along with a PC version available on Intel AppUp, but we have yet to see Real Racing leave iOS yet. EA has also recently acquired Mobile Post Production, who have largely worked on cross-platform mobile projects, including the porting of games across various smartphone OSes. This could mean that Real Racing might be popping up on non-iOS platforms at some point, but this is all speculation at this point. While it's unknown what will come of this move by EA, it's another example of them making a big splash in the mobile gaming market.

Real Racing Goes 1080P

Posted by Blake Grundman on April 22nd, 2011
iPad App - Designed for iPad
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: REAL FRUSTRATING :: Read Review »

In an age where it is hard enough to find a console game that displays in full 1080P, it is practically unheard of to even fathom an iOS game reaching those heights of resolution. Choosing to push the envelope of the platform, Real Racing 2's developer, Firemint, has announced that there is an update that should be hitting by Easter that will unlock full 1080P output from the iPad 2 if you use an external monitor that is HDMI capable.

These unique dual screen controls allow you to interact with what is happening on your external monitor, while displaying the groundbreaking game with a graphical fidelity has been unheard of on the platform, truly showing off what the iPad 2 as a device is truly capable of.  But now that they have pulled out all of the stops, where can Real Racing 2 go from here?  Watch out Gran Turismo, there is a new competitor in your rear-view mirror.

[Source: Firemint]

The Portable Podcast, Episode 78

Posted by Carter Dotson on March 30th, 2011

We did a podcast and we are the greatest. #sworcery

On This Episode:

  • We discuss Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP - trying to discuss the game's experience and gameplay while trying to be as spoiler-free as possible.
  • We also discuss the iPad 2, and whether iPad 1 users should upgrade.

  • Who We Are:

  • Host: Carter Dotson

  • Co-Host: Dan Morgan, The APPera
  • 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 in this Episode:

    Real Racing 2 HD Announces Plans To Output in 1080p

    Posted by Phillip Levin on March 25th, 2011
    iPad App - Designed for iPad
    Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: REAL FRUSTRATING :: Read Review »

    Firemint today announced that its next major update to Real Racing 2 HD will bring full 1080p-out support for the iPad 2.

    Although the iPad 2 itself only displays video in 1024×768 at the highest, with the use of the iPad HDMI adapter, it can output 1920×1080 video to a monitor or television that supports 1080p, which is exactly what Real Racing 2 HD will do.

    Firemint did not say exactly when this update will be released-- just that it’s coming in the “next major update.” Color us excited for this high resolution treat!

    Real Racing 2 HD is one of the most impressive racing titles on Apple’s iOS. It features a 10-hour single-player campaign and gorgeous 3D visuals. The game has an average rating of 4.5 stars on the App Store and nearly 1,000 user reviews, while the iPhone version of the game garnished an Editor's Choice Award right here on 148Apps. You can download it for $6.99.

    Check out video of Real Racing 2 HD running in 1080p on an external monitor below.

    Real Racing 2 HD Revs on the App Store -- Optimized for iPad 2

    Posted by Jeff Scott on March 11th, 2011

    Firemint have done it again. Real Racing 2 HD hits on the eve of the iPad 2 launch.

    One of our highest rated games of all time, Real Racing 2 has been given the HD treatment just in time for the iPad 2 launch.

    Firemint have released Real Racing 2 HD to really show off what the iPad 2 can do. This version includes full screen anti-aliasing for an ultra sharp look. In addition, seven new career events are exclusive to Real Racing 2 HD.

    The feature that really stood out to me is one that more games need - your progress is synced between the iPhone and the iPad versions, ensuring that you can pick up just where you left off when you switch from one device to the next.

    Hit the jump for more screen shots and full specs, direct from Firemint.

    Firemint Acquires Puzzle Quest Creator Infinite Interactive

    Posted by Brad Hilderbrand on January 4th, 2011

    A big announcement kicking off the day today, as Firemint announced that they have acquired fellow Aussie developer Infinite Interactive. The agreement means that Firemint will now be the exclusive publisher of all Infinite Interactive games, which means they'll need more kangaroo pouches in which to stuff all the money they're about to make.

    “I’m incredibly pleased to welcome Steve (Fawkner, founder of Infinite Interactive) and his team to Firemint," said Firemint founder Rob Murray. "Steve is an outstanding game designer and our two studios evolved very similar philosophies of developing addictive, fun and polished original games. By bringing our studios’ talents together, we will be able to create even more awesome games – and more of them.”

    Fawkner added, “Firemint has had huge success designing, developing and publishing great original games. By joining forces, we now have a way to further develop some of the exciting new concepts we’ve been working on. This new position really frees me up to focus on game design and I can’t wait to get stuck into it!”

    Infinite Interactive is the studio behind the extremely popular Puzzle Quest franchise, while Firemint is best known for games like Flight Control and Real Racing 2. With the two studios set to work together it likely means that none of us will ever get anything done ever again, so we may as well just all quit our jobs now and wait for the companies' first joint-venture game. Will their combined power be enough to knock the traditional powerhouses from their perch atop the App Store? It's impossible to know right now but we wouldn't be surprised if whatever they come up with makes some major waves in the realm of iOS and beyond. This is truly a powerhouse pairing, and one with a whole lot of promise.

    Real Racing 2 Review

    iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
    By Chris Hall on December 17th, 2010
    Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: FANTASTIC
    Sony has Gran Turismo, Apple has Real Racing. Real Racing 2 can't compete with the 1,031 cars that GT5 has, but for a mobile device it's just as impressive.
    Read The Full Review »

    Real Racing 2 Launches Today – We Get the Details From the Developers

    Posted by Jeff Scott on December 16th, 2010
    iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
    Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: FANTASTIC :: Read Review »

    Real Racing 2, possibly the most ambitious app to hit the App Store launched today. It's a new version of one of the best racing games ever seen on a mobile device, and better than many seen on consoles. Firemint, based in Australia, has a lot riding on this game with a reported 2 million dollars spent on it's development. We fired off a few questions to the fine folks down under to get some of their thoughts on the iOS platform and development of Real Racing 2.

    Q: Real Racing 2 integrates Game Center for multiplayer, leaderboards, and achievements. How have you seen the performance of the Game Center multiplayer system?  You've been able to do something others haven't by bringing 16 player multiplayer to iOS.
    Game Center has been great for us and we are big supporters of it. Beyond just leaderboards and achievements, we can use your Game Center ID to locate your save games and link to other services like Youtube uploads etc. The awesome thing about Game Center is that it provides an easy way to create peer to peer multiplayer connections with up to four players at once. We have supported this in Flight Control, Real Racing, Flight Control HD and Real Racing HD.
    For Real Racing 2 we have implemented a hosted solution because we wanted to support our 16 car single player grid in multiplayer games as well. We also wanted to make it really simple to find and play multiplayer games, on every device. This is something we have been working on for a long time. It is more difficult for us to do things that way, but it means we are able to support all devices.  

    Q: A few months ago you released a story about how you had tuned the AI in your bots to such an extent that they were cheating.  Are you sure they aren't still cheating?  Some of the AI race drivers seem awful good! Tell us more about the AI in the game for the computer drivers.
    Well the Real Racing 1 AI weren't cheating as such, it was more that they were finding exploits in the physics engine, the same exploits that human players could find. An example of that was that the AI found if they hit a certain corner at exactly the right angle, they would explode down the track faster than any car could drive. Needless to say, we fixed that bug before release!

    In Real Racing 2, we have gone to great lengths to make sure the AI are competitive without cheating. Some games allow their AI to have faster or more responsive cars, or add catchup code so that they are competitive. On release, our game has none of this, the opponents never drive a car that out performs the ones the player can drive in the game. However, they may take you to the cleaners if you enter a hard career race under-spec’d. So choose a car with as high a performance rating as possible and ideally well suited to the particular track, for example top speed is pretty critical on an oval but it’s not so helpful on a winding track. If the AI is driving a car that you know has a higher top speed than yours, then you can be pretty sure that they won’t be so good on the corners.
    The AI have been written to use the same inputs that the player has, accelerate, brake and steer. The down side of this as developers, we have to make our AI really smart to keep up with a human player.
    One advantage that the AI do have is that they are precision drivers, the best AI can hit a precise racing line every time, so while it may seem like they are cheating, they actually take great lines through the corners and may come out of them faster than you if you make a small mistake. So just like when you are down at the track, winning at the high levels in Real Racing takes precise driving.
    Even with all our effort into improving the AI, we would still rather take on the fastest AI we have than try to compete with a top ranked Real Racing player!

    Q: What can we expect in the future for Real Racing 2?  Any planned updates? An iPad version perhaps?  Voice chat like we've seen you recently add with Flight Control?
    You can be pretty certain that we will do an iPad version and we want to do something special, but definitely not until next year. We also have the online save game system now so that we can share your progress across versions of the game including from iPhone to iPad.
    We do have all sorts of ideas and plans for Real Racing 2, however they are just ideas at this stage. Announcing things is easy, but delivering is hard, so we are cautious about announcing too much at this stage. Hopefully then, when we do deliver something, we will have over-delivered :)

    Q: You've developed your own 3D engine for Real Racing 2, Mint 3D. Can you tell us a little more about it and what are the advantages of a custom engine over a pre-built one?
    Mint3D is a powerful and highly optimized rendering engine designed to get great performance out of the current iOS platforms, particularly iPhone 4 and iPod Touch 4. It supports standout visual effects like shadow mapping, depth of field, motion blur, detail textures, reflections, level of detail, specular highlights, glints, flares, particle effects, animation and even some improved real time shadows, whilst being able to push large quantities of polygons and models through the hardware each frame. The cool thing is, we have a very optimized legacy engine within Mint3D that was developed along with Real Racing, which is how we are able to continue to support earlier devices, albeit without the same high level of effects possible on the newer hardware.  

    We have to render a 3 mile track being traversed at high speed, from any angle with 16 cars, sometimes all on the screen at once, all with unique textures, see through windows, reflections, shadows, damage etc. It all has to look great regardless of what the player is doing with their car or with the camera or where they are driving. Everything moves by very quickly so dealing with a large object count is very important to a racer, and when you have 16 cars with physics and AI on top of that, there is a lot of variety to deal with. Mint3D is designed to handle this and to do a large variety of things well and at consistent framerates.
    The choice of going with a custom engine over something pre-built is something that should be made for each game and each developer individually. It is not just an economic choice, sometimes a pre-built engine is the right choice for creative reasons. In our case, we design the game first and the engine has to keep up with that. By using our own engine we have the freedom to do whatever it takes to make it deliver for our particular needs. It feels like that is the best way for us to build signature titles and make them stand apart.

    Q: How about some racing tips? Do you have any tips our readers for getting the best times on the Real Racing 2 tracks?
    Generally, the fastest race times can be achieved by turning and braking as minimally as possible: a good race line with the goal of taking straight lines through corners, sufficient but minimal braking (losing traction washes off a lot of speed) and trying to maintain a high, constant speed throughout the race will hold you in good stead.
    Every car handles differently, and braking and acceleration in and out of corners can count for a lot. Learn to exploit the varying performance attributes of each car and practice the techniques listed above. Driving with assists can be a very helpful way to learn to get your braking and racing line right.

    Thanks to the folks at Firemint for answering our questions. Real Racing 2 is out now, and I strongly suggest you grab it if you enjoy a good race. Feel free to add me in Game Center, I'm jeff148apps -- I'll see you on the track.