Platige Image and Vivid Games are looking forward to bringing players future updates, interesting new content, and challenges for Godfire: Rise of Prometheus. In anticipation of those goals, they have released an official art book with 100 pages packed full of gorgeous illustrations and designs for the game from the early concepts to its current form.
I just finished reading Will Luton’s new book, Free-to-Play: Making Money From Games You Give Away. It’s a $12.99 purchase in the iBooks store, making it a better deal than, say, the current paperback version, at $21.38 over on Amazon.
The book is a healthy roundup of what makes free-to-play (F2P) games tick, with sections on the economics, gameplay, monetization, marketing, and analytics–the underpinnings of any successful free-to-play game on any app store.
The examples he uses within the book are Farmville, naturally, Dungeons and Dragons Online, and Bejeweled Blitz. In this way, Luton is able to illustrate his points with concrete examples from real world games that use the principles within.
The author believes that free-to-play games are a win/win proposition, letting developers quickly and inexpensively release games that have a chance of making some money, and letting players who wouldn’t typically touch a $60 console “gamers’ game” experience fun for no money down. It’s a delightful ideal, and I hope most, if not all, developers take it to heart: free-to-play games should be good games first, and monetization engines second. Luton continues to make this point throughout the book, though the message tends to get lost in the discussion of variable reward schedules (the same type of reinforcement schedule slot-machines are built on) and how to analyze key performance indicators.
As a non-developer, I did get lost within the many industry acronyms and other such jargon, but Luton does a good job of helping the novice reader get through it all. The title is clear: this is a book on making games that make money, and the information between the front cover and end flap is focused on that part of game making.
The level of depth and detail that Luton brings to the explanation of how free-to-play games work is astonishing. While the gameplay section, for example, tends to focus on player retention, play sessions, and triggers to keep your players coming back rather than actual game mechanics, it’s an interesting read nonetheless. I’ve definitely increased my understanding of what a complex achievement successful free-to-play games have attained.
I’d highly recommend this book to anyone who develops games for iOS or other mobile platforms, as well as readers and writers who want to get a better grasp on the breakout phenomenon of the free-to-play genre. Luton has created a fantastic resource, here.
Today marks the arrival of over 60 Marvel graphic novels on the Apple iBookstore. Fans of the popular comic books can now find their favorite Marvel heros including the Avengers, Spider-Man, the X-Men, Captain America, the Hulk, and others. These graphic novels (compilations of several comic book issues) range in price from $8.99 to $24.99 and free previews are available for each title.
After purchase, these titles will be optimized for and viewable through Apple’s iBooks app on the iPhone, iPod, and iPad in full, vibrant color. Marvel has announced that it will be releasing new titles every week, and an extended preview of the New Avengers Vol. 1 is currently available for free.
To view all of the Marvel graphic novels currently available for download in the iBookstore, go here. Marvel fans can now add iBooks to their favorite ways to read and reread the stories of their favorite mutant heros.
The Smurfs Classic Series, another iStoryTime app, has been released by zuuka incorporated. It’s the first digital version of the series to be created. The first issue of the series, “The Giant Smurf,” is available as a free download. The remaining issues will be available for $2.99 a piece.
The free issue, “The Giant Smurf,” is about a dry season in the Smurf village that threatens to ruin the smurfberry bushes. A magical fertilizer is used to save the day but accidentally gets on Hefty Smurf and causes him to become a giant.
The app includes a feature that allows for personalized narration by recording the users own voice. Regular narration is already built in to every page of the app as well as animation and sounds.
This week at 148Apps.com, the news was all about education and how Apple plans to transform it through a variety of iOS and Mac apps. While the new version of iBooks, and the Mac iBooks Author got most of the press, writer Jennifer Allen focused her attention on the newly-released iTunes U for iPad and iPhone. “More than 500,000 free lectures, videos, books and other resources are accessible from within this app with the ability to browse collections from institutions such as Stanford, Yale, Oxford and the New York Public Library. Notes and highlighting functionality makes everything easy to review through this informative app.”
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-01-19 :: Category: Education
Meanwhile, Amy Solomon investigated Operation: Math over at GiggleApps. She writes, “The style of this app is simply wonderful, but I am embarrassed to admit that I was not able to get past the last addition level and have had problem passing other levels in the subtraction, multiplication and division levels that include double digit mathematics – not from a lack of mathematical ability – but from a lack of time.”
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2011-12-13 :: Category: Education
Finally, site editor Rob LeFebvre took a closer look at Game Dojos, a not-so-run-of-the-mill business incubator. He writes, “Game Dojos wants to connect the best of the business with the newest to the business, helping find some micro funding and even office space for program participants. “We’d love the game companies to come here,” Burkett said, referring to San Francisco, where Game Dojos is based, “but we’re also looking into the virtual thing. We’d prefer teams to relocate to SF if they can for the three months, however we are not going to refuse to take a strong talented team based elsewhere, and will talk to them individually for consideration.” They’re not just looking to fund the studios, then, but actually nurture them to help create “longer term companies,” she said.”
Happy Holidays! If you’re like many folks, you’ll have gotten a new iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch this holiday season. And if you’re looking for a place to learn all about this new magical device in your life, you’ve come to the right place. 148Apps has tons of resources on using your new device and filling it with the best thing about it: apps.
Learning The Basics
The operating system of these devices is one of the most intuitive around. However, there’s always more waiting under the hood to make things just that much easier or better on us. While your new iPhone or iPad may not come with a manual, you can download one fairly simply from the iBooks Store. First, grab iBooks (FREE!, + Universal App), then grab the manual for your new iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch.
Speaking of the operating system, we’ve written a few articles about the latest and greatest from Cupertino right here on 148Apps. Check out our Full Feature Roundup on iOS 5.
We even published some downloadable magazine-style User Guides last year, on each of the devices. Feel free to grab them and read through them – many of the tips and tricks included there are just as relevant today as they were then. iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
To the iCloud!!!
You may have seen some of the information about iCloud in the Apple TV commercials. It’s a great system that gives you unprecedented storage and sharing options. Here’s a short intro to iCloud from Apple.
We’ve got you covered with iCloud as well. Here’s information on both moving your data to the iCloud to help keep things synced and backed up. You may also need more information on how you set up iCloud in a multiple user family. This details all the ins and outs of multiple user groups who may otherwise share iTunes accounts.
There Really is an App for That
Once you’ve got a good handle on using that sleek new iOS device, you’ll of course want to dive in and start downloading apps. Whether you’re an avid gamer, a music lover, a book reader or even (gasp) all three, you’ll find everything you need in the iTunes Store.
When it comes to Apps, iOS has no peer. There are over 500,000 apps in the App Store, so you’ll doubtlessly find something you like. The trick, however, is filtering through all of those apps to find the specific things you want. That can be tricky, but luckily there are many ways to help.
First off are our very own reviews. We review a ton of apps weekly to give you the best recommendations about the best apps we find. Be sure to look through our Reviews lists, which can be filtered by type of app as well as sorted by date, app name, or app rating. If you just want to read reviews of our highest rated iPad games, for example, it’s an easy click. And for on the go browsing of 148Apps reviews, grab the 148Apps App (FREE!, iPhone App).
In addition, we have our famous Price Drops lists, which can be sorted to just show the latest drops in prices, or even just the latest FREE apps. Very handy, if we say so ourselves. If you’re looking for the very latest additions to the App Store, we have a list for that, as well as one for the Top Apps across all the App Store categories for each device. Then of course there’s always the very best of the best in free apps available in the free games and free apps lists.
If you want even more app discovering goodness, you might want to check out a few apps made to help you wade through the App Store. Some of our favorites are AppShopper (FREE!, + Universal App), Chomp (FREE!, iPhone App), and AppZapp (FREE!, iPhone App). There are even specific apps to help you find the latest free apps. Some of the best include Free App A Day (FREE!, iPhone App), Apps Gone Free (FREE!, + Universal App), and Free App Alliance (FREE!, iPhone App). These will all help you sort and find and browse apps and games to your heart’s content; we use them all the time to find new great apps to use and write about on the site.
Where Else To Find 148Apps?
We’re everywhere, really. However, the best places to find us are on Twitter, Facebook, and now even Google+. Be sure to come visit and chat with us there. We’re ever so responsive.
Free Apps You Shouldn’t Do Without
Now, we wouldn’t be the premier Apps review site without some sort of parting gift, now would we? How about some apps you really should try out? To make the deal even sweeter, let’s make them free apps.
iBooks, Nook, & Kindle – Reading ebooks is all the rage these days, especially on these fancy new iOS devices. We love reading on our iPad, and have even been known to crack a virtual spine or two on our iPhone while waiting at the doctor’s office. For those of you with shorter attention spans, there’s always Newsstand, iOS’s magazine subscription service. Some of the best ereader apps include iBooks (FREE!, + Universal App), Nook for iPhone (FREE!, + Universal App), Nook for iPad (FREE!, + Universal App), and Kindle (FREE!, + Universal App). Happy reading!
Facebook, Twitter, & Instant Messaging – Keep in touch with family, friends, and us – your favorite Apps website – with these free social networking apps. Tell ‘em 148Apps sent you!
There’s Facebook (FREE!, + Universal App), Twitter (FREE!, + Universal App) though Tweetbot ($4.99, iPhone App) is much better, though not free like the official Twitter app.
For instant messaging, check out imo (FREE!, + Universal App) and imo for iPad (FREE!, iPad App). And don’t forget Skype (FREE!, iPhone App) and Skype for iPad (FREE!, iPad App). We’ve become big fans of GroupMe (FREE!, + Universal App) lately too for group communication.
Gaming on the Cheap – Now, we put out a sweet weekly article that tells you about the latest FREE gaming apps, but here are a few we think you won’t want to miss. We could go on for hours about it, really, but these should get you off to a good start.
For a great free endless runner, check out Temple Run (FREE!, + Universal App). A wonderful game. For some great physics puzzle fun, the new king is Where's My Water? Free and you can never go wrong with the classic Angry Birds Free (FREE!, iPhone App). A couple other free games we really like include The Sims Freeplay (FREE!, + Universal App) and TinyTower (FREE!, + Universal App).
You should also check out our massive iOS game and app sale post. There are tons of great deals and quite a few temporarily free apps there. Be sure to grab the great Jetpack Joyride (FREE!, + Universal App) while it’s free. It’s one of our favorite games of the year.
We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about your new magical iOS devices. The iPad, iPhone and iPod touch are some of the best new gadgets to give or receive. Be sure to come back often to see what we have for you; we’re always looking to find the news or apps you want to know about first. From all of us here to all of you out there, Happy Holidays!!!
Readers, rejoice! Fall is here and Apple is celebrating the return of cold weather and variably colored foliage with a ton of pre-order books in the iBookstore, available via iTunes on the computer or through the free app download, iBooks. Here’s a quick peek at what’s on offer, as well as a few we’re looking forward to as well.
Fiction & Literature
Our pick: Stephen King’s11/22/63 promises to be a fine story from the fertile mind of a master storyteller. King brings us the tale of a time traveler, headed back to stop the assassination of JFK. This one sounds like it will be a classic Stephen King tale with plenty of nostalgia, character development and, of course, terror.
Other Books Of Note: 1Q84
Haruki Marakami – Part dystopian fantasy, part love story. The Marriage Plot
Jeffrey Eugenides – The author’s first book since Middlesex. The Night Circus
Erin Morgenstern – A fantastical debut about a magical circus.
Biographies & Memoirs
Our Pick: Life Itself, by Roger Ebert, shows the legendary film critic at his peak as a writer and commentator on film and, as a result, of life. Many of the stories here began on his blog, which should be required of any student of film or online writing.
Other Books Of Note: Seriously…I’m Kidding
Ellen DeGeneres – Ellen on her TV show, getting married, and more. Shaq Uncut
Shaquille O’Neal – Shaq offers candid thoughts about life on and off the court. Diary of a Player
Brad Paisley – How the country star became a musician and a man.
Our Pick: Christopher Paolini returns to the Eragon story with Inheritance, the highly anticipated and supposedly final chapter to the series. We’re looking forward to seeing how this one ends.
Other Books Of Note: Power of Six
Pittacus Lore – The remaining Loric unite to face the Mogadorions. The Son of Neptune
Rick Riordan – Demigods Jason, Piper, and Leo continue their quest. Wildwood
Colin Meloy & Carson Ellis – Modern city life meets a magical forest.
Science Fiction and Fantasy
Our Pick: Reamde, by Neal Stephenson – Sure, he made us all read way more than we wanted to with his Baroque cycle, but the author of Snow Crash is back with a new book about a tech entrepreneur caught up in his own online war games.
Other Books Of Note: How Firm a Foundation
David Weber – Book 5 of the Safehold series Snuff
Terry Pratchett – Continuing the Discworld saga, one hilariously poignant book at a time. The Omen Machine
Terry Goodkind – Back again to the world of Richard and Kahlan, facing a new and sinister threat to their realm.
As the year winds down and we look ahead to the next decade it’s time for all those wonderful end-of-year lists we all get so excited about. Today we have some exciting news, as Apple has detailed all the top paid and free apps for the iPhone and iPad, as well as the top grossing apps on each platform. Here’s the full rundown, for your edification.
Just in case you needed another eReader option for your iOS device, Google has officially launched its virtual bookstore. Called simply Google eBooks, the cloud-based service is promising to be a more open-source offering than the offerings from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or even Apple’s own iBooks.
“We designed Google eBooks to be open,” said Google in a statement. “Many devices are compatible with Google eBooks—everything from laptops to netbooks to tablets to smartphones to e-readers. With the new Google eBooks Web Reader, you can buy, store and read Google eBooks in the cloud. That means you can access your ebooks like you would messages in Gmail or photos in Picasa—using a free, password-protected Google account with unlimited ebooks storage.
“In addition to a full-featured web reader, free apps for Android and Apple devices will make it possible to shop and read on the go. For many books you can select which font, font size, day/night reading mode and line spacing suits you—and pick up on the page where you left off when switching devices.”
Those interested in purchasing new reading material can grab a book from the official Google eBooks store, or buy them from independent retailers such as Powell’s, Alibris or any store listed in the American Bookseller’s Association. In total, Google eBooks claims to provide access to over 15 million books from 35,000 different publishers. Not a bad library at all.
It seems like Google is setting out to do to e-reading what it did to search engines, basically kill all the competition and drive everyone into the massive Google tent. It’s not a bad thing by any stretch, but it’s sure to annoy the other online booksellers and potentially change the way we consume digital reading material. Furthermore, this new model could well be a threat to the traditional brick and mortar booksellers and even libraries. If you can read any book on any device at any time, why ever go to Borders again? Put another way, why buy a standalone eReader from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Sony when you can get these books on every device you can possibly imaging, including these very same eReaders? It’s an interesting time in eBook history, and you’re right here with us.
iBooks is a gorgeous app, but it’s driving me crazy.
There. I’ve said it.
When the iPad launched, iBooks was trumpeted as a gorgeous, easy, seamless app that would mix digital books with Apple’s typical ease-of-use. Sounds dreamy, right? And I suppose iBooks on the iPad must be good, because everyone raves about it.
But iBooks has been out on the iPhone for a little while now, and while I was initially excited to use it, it’s frankly frustrating. iBooks doesn’t act like an Apple app should; it crashes; and while it does lots of things well, other parts feels unfinished. Here, then, is a list of my complaints—things that Apple really ought to have fixed prior to release.
Please tell me I’m not the only one with this problem. Do I read too quickly for the poor app or something? About once every ten minutes, a page turn for me results in the app crashing—and it also forgets where I left off. Ugh!
Furthermore, when I attempt to open a downloaded book, I sometimes get the error message, “The requested resource is unavailable,” and iBooks will refuse to open said book until I restart the app, or even my iPod. These two errors are far too common, considering that they interfere with the most basic function of iBooks: reading!
Where Are the Books?
What’s the point of convenient, digital books if…you know…you can’t buy them in the first place? For me, the iBookStore is simply too small right now. “Tens of thousands” of books versus Amazon’s 600,000 for Kindle…hmm. As an avid reader, I was disappointed to find that many of the books I wanted simply weren’t available in iBooks. I’m not looking for the impossible, either. (Say, the 1980s Dragonlance books, or Harry Potter, which isn’t available anywhere; I’m talking modern, fairly successful authors like Naomi Novik!)
For those of us whose devices don’t allow for orientation-lock, this is immensely painful. When reading in bed, it’s easy to accidentally trigger a switch from landscape to portrait or vice-versa. Unfortunately, at least on an iPod Touch 2G, iBooks takes forever to make the switch—and while it’s struggling to rotate your book, it also freezes, preventing you from reading further. Fantastic.
Why can’t I switch the text to light-on-dark for nighttime reading? Dimming the screen works, but it still strains my eyes more to read dark-on-light text at night. The screen-lock problem already makes reading in bed hard enough!
First, selection is horrid. Secondly, prices are high—I can often order a real-life paperback for less from Amazon.
Third, and just as aggravating, is the store itself. There is no way to buy iBooks from your computer; and the iPhone screen is terribly small for browsing for books. Furthermore, the store is riddled with issues. When you go to “browse,” an alphabetical list of authors is displayed, split between “Top Paid” and “Top Free.” Now tap on “Categories,” chose one, and look. Now it shows you the top paid authors in that category…but if you click on “Top Free,” it’ll boot you back to the Top Free authors overall. What the heck?
Additionally, the store has no landscape view, and suffers from numerous other design issues. Not to mention the download errors.
iBooks isn’t a bad app. In fact, it’s got plenty of strong points—being able to browse for books right on the device is something I’ve wanted for a long time, and it’s a very robust reader. Bookmarks, highlighting, annotation…there are some really nice features baked into iBooks.
And that’s why the above issues make me so irritated. Apple is perfectly capable of making a fantastic eBook reader app. Regretfully, however, this version of iBooks isn’t it, at least not for iPhone / iPod Touch users. There are too many bugs, too many design flaws, and not enough books. It’s easy to tell that iBooks was crammed onto the smaller screen. And that’s a shame.
For now? I’ll be juggling Stanza and Kindle for iPhone as my two eBook apps of choice. Sorry, iBooks; I’m waiting for your next update.