This week at 148Apps.com, we pondered life after the change from Google Maps to Apple Maps. Carter Dotson took a look at his Favorite Four alternatives to Apple’s built-in guidance system: “So, there’s a bit of a brouhaha over iOS 6 switching its maps provider from Google Maps to TomTom and other Apple sources. Yes, the 3D flybys in the maps are pretty, but the lack of details once had in Google Maps and loss of transit directions is a backbreaker for some. Sure, Google Maps has a mobile website that can be added as a web app, but maybe it’s time for something all new. Unless or until a separate Google Maps application is released, here’s four fine alternatives for mapping and directions.”
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-06-11 :: Category: Navigation
GiggleApps writer Amy Solomon got cooking with a kids’ game called Dr. Panda’s Restaurant: “My son and I are thoroughly enjoying Dr. Panda’s Restaurant as this app has so much to offer in cooking fun for children of all ages. This app consists of a two-story restaurant, each containing a two-person table to be filled with the animals who get welcomed by Dr. Panda, now the chef of this restaurant as well as the one who greets these animals before they are sent to their table. Eight animals are included, as are ten recipes to cook.”
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-09-01 :: Category: Games
And finally, AndroidRundown.com featured a KickStarter Spotlight on Lifx. Joseph Bertolini writes, “Lifx is an LED light that connects to any home wireless network and is controlled by a smartphone. It would have been easy for the developers to just simply stop at changing the color, and I, frankly, would have been satisfied. But seeing as this is a KickStarter project, it is a safe bet that these developers did not become complacent. Some simple additions, such as dimming and batch operation are included, but the one that I am most impressed by is the ability for the light to deliver phone notifications. Imagine every time a text message comes in the room blinks green or blue for Facebook notifications. There is also an option to program lights onto specific actions and cycles, such as dimming over a period of time or turning on every day at 8 am.”
And that about covers it for the week that was. Joins us every day for the latest news, reviews and contests – and keep track of it all by following us on Twitter and liking us on Facebook. See you in 7.
Regular commuters will know that driving can get pretty dull and tedious. Sure, you can turn the radio on but even that can turn uninteresting after a time. What you need is a sense of being part of an epic adventure, right? In which case, backing Mission: Escape might be exactly what you’re after.
Currently in development and in need of Kickstarter backers, Mission: Escape is the brainchild of Fernando Macias-Jimenez. Recently graduated from the California State University in Chico, California, Fernando is a young composer with a passion for writing music to a set scene.
Recently, while driving through Chico and listening to David Arnold’s Quantum of Solace soundtrack, he realised something.
“I was driving about 30 miles per hour and I was pretty much alone in the street, yet the music suddenly gave me this rush of thrill and made me feel like I was in an action movie, with people chasing me and so on. The feeling was so vivid that it made me say out loud to myself “wow, that was awesome”. A few days later I though, “wouldn’t it be awesome to have something that would take that feeling one step further and REACT to how you are driving so that the music doesn’t seem arbitrary and generic, but customized to what you are doing at the moment?”"
Fernando then joined together with others and came up with some great ideas and features, eventually leading to the creation of Mission: Escape.
The music is set to be 100% original with the focus on being “very epic” and “very fun”. The app will react according to situations such as if you’re waiting at a stop light, it’ll turn calm and serene, while once acceleration kicks in, the music will turn more cinematic and exciting. Sound effects of enemies and messages from “home base” will also be included. It sounds thrilling but what of the safety aspect? Surely, it could turn things risky?
Fernando explains, “The speed limit is definitely a big one since it’s the most obvious to cause problems. This also happens to be one of the “easier” ones to implement to some extent. Others, such as overtaking, are a bit more difficult to determine. However, we are trying to develop a security system that will try to gauge if the driver is driving recklessly and will advice the user to stop doing so or it will shut down the application. The way we would do this would be by detecting aggressive actions such as harsh acceleration, hard stopping, extra sharp turning or movement (changing lanes too fast), among other things. The iPhone will easily give us information when a user is doing something like that. The only thing to do is to create a balance point so that the security system only works when the user is actually driving recklessly and not because of something else,” with the plan for plenty of testing and development to ensure it works well and in the right scenario.
Fernando was also keen to point out that safety will take priority alongside such exciting thrills.
It all sounds pretty intriguing to me and certainly an unique way of using such technology. Check out the Hands-on demo video below as well as the Mission: Escape Kickstarter page. We’ll be sure to keep an eye on the app’s development.
This week at 148Apps.com, Carter Dotson asked the question that so many iPad owners have thought to themselves: “Why can’t I work from just my iPad?”
“I’m sick of desktops, laptops, and netbooks. The iPad is lightweight, has great battery life, and I don’t have to take it out of my bag when I’m flying. Most of the work that I do is writing, covering iOS and Android, so it seems appropriate to primarily do this work from mobile devices, right? That’s what I want, but there’s still just so many shortcomings that keep it from being a regular reality.
“What I find is that for basic tasks, the iPad is great. I like the focus that the iPad’s limitation of running a single app on screen at a time provides, especially for writing. I use a portable Bluetooth keyboard, and while it’s not full-size, the benefits I get from being forced to focus on what I’m writing is a huge benefit. As well, with the customer support job I work with that uses Zendesk, I discovered that it’s actually quite easy to do it efficiently through Safari and the Zendesk mobile app. I didn’t feel like I was any less productive in working from the iPad than I do when I work from my Mac in this case. But it’s the exception to the rule.”
Meanwhile, Amy Solomon at GiggleApps.com took a trip to the zoo via ABC ZooBorns: “My son, a fan of these other apps, was excited to hear about ABC ZooBorns, asking me about a list of his favorite animals, all of which are included – much to my son’s excitement. I too enjoy the list of animals included – be it more traditional zoo animals, such as tigers or zebras, but also including some unique choices such as Ural owl, wombat or quokka. We do love to look at these animals as babies, especially those are simply precious to look at such as baby Gorillas or Elephants.”
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-07-24 :: Category: Education
Finally, AndroidRundown.com featured a story about a fascinating new KickStarter project named InstaCube. Joseph Bertolini writes, “It streams photos directly from any user’s Instagram account and displays them on a large 6.5″ LCD touchscreen. Display those photos from the park yesterday or randomly check in on some friends, because what good are those photos if they are stuck on a tiny phone screen all the time. Probably the greatest element of InstaCube is its ability to stay away from being one dimensional by including full access to Instagram. Doing this allows for photo browsing, ‘liking’ of photos, and InstaCube will even display live photos of sunrises and sunsets from around the world.”
Summer’s heading to a close, but we still have so much more to offer across the 148Apps network. Keep track of all the latest happenings, as well as reviews and contests, by following us on Twitter or liking us on Facebook. You’ll be glad you did.
Lately, there seems to be a Kickstarter project for everything imaginable. One new exciting project is Underground Kingdom.
The project aims to adapt the work of author Edward Packard, namely his Choose Your Own Adventure books made popular in the 1970s. These books have proved very important to many in the past, myself included, both encouraging literacy and demonstrating how much fun reading can be.
Much like the work of Tin Man Games, Choose Your Own Adventure books are all about taking part in an interactive story and making decisions that lead to many different inclusions.
Underground Kingdom isn’t quite under way yet, hence the Kickstarter project. While I for one greatly encourage getting involved with backing the project, we thought it only right to check in with co-founder and project director Felipe Mingo and creator of the Choose Your Own Adventure books Edward Packard and see how they feel about things.
We asked Felipe about the motivation behind bringing back this series of books.
“In (our) search for an app idea,” he explained, “we remembered the Choose Your Own Adventure series. We really loved these books as kids, and thought that it would be great to transport the concept of “gamebooks” to digital. When we looked for digital versions, we didn’t find any quality apps that would deliver a great experience. We wanted something different, with contemporary artwork, interaction, a map to guide your path… That’s when we decided to start working on it and contacted Edward, who was really helpful and licensed us some of his books.”
Asking whether the books, starting with Underground Kingdom, will be original conversions or if there will be any adjustments, Felipe explained that “The adaptations of the story are completely original from Edward Packard books. We made some minor changes to the text so it would adapt to today’s technology. The artwork is totally new.” As you can see from the artwork below, it’s pretty glorious to look at and a great re-imagining of the original’s style.
Edward Packard explained to us that he believes the “imaginative color art and animations…greatly enrich the adventurous experience” while also stating that he’s “delighted, and especially so about delivering them in app form,” as well as the “added interactive features [and] sound effects”.
While the project is still in the early stages, Visual Baker provided us with some examples of concept art and how the devs there plan to incorporate the feel of Choose Your Own Adventure books into app form. It’s looking pretty great, so far.
iPhone gaming and mobile phone gaming in general are poised to take over the entire handheld gaming market but there is still one big thing holding them back. Touch controls can be great but they are no replacement for responsive, dedicated, physical buttons. Plenty of hardware manufacturers have tried to fix this problem with varying degrees of a success and now a new challenger, Bladepad, is trying to enter the fight.
Bladepad is a slim, protective case that adds a directional pad, two analog sticks, four shoulder buttons, and four face buttons to an iPhone all with full back-lighting. Like a PSPgo or Xperia Play, players can slide the buttons back underneath phone when they are not needed or just easily remove the case entirely. The case and phone can be simultaneously charged over USB and “the battery life is competitive with both the Nintendo 3DS and Sony PS Vita.” Bladepad, LLC says that the product will work with any iOS device using Bluetooth 4.0 including the iPhone 4S, the new iPad, and presumably whatever new iPhone comes out this fall.
However, the project is still in need of funding. Those interested should check out the Bladepad Kickstarter page where one can pre-order at reduced prices along with shirts and other prizes. Bladepad is currently slated for release this holiday season for $99.
As someone who’s played lots of iOS games and by extension sampled lots of virtual control schemes, external control attachments such as the iCade intrigue me. Tapping the screen is fine and all, but sometimes having physical buttons to press can make a world of difference. Lots of other people seem to think so, too, which aeis why these kinds of peripherals have a place in the market. It’s all well and good for portable play, but what about when I’m at home? Sure AirPlay allows users to game on their TV, but the iOS device is still the primary control. Which is exactly why we have brilliant entrepreneurs like the folks at Cascadia Games (the creators of Cavorite) creating stuff like the GameDock.
The GameDock will essentially be an iOS console, with all the awesomeness that implies. Users simply have to plug their iPhone or iPad into the dock, which is in-turn connected to the TV via an HDMI cable, and start playing any iCade supported titles on the big small screen. The handy dashboard app allows users to select their desired game via the connected controller, so they don’t even have to get off the couch. And just in case anyone wants to use the GameDock but doesn’t have a TV (or at least one with HDMI inputs), everything can be played right on the connected iOS device.
Cascadia Games’ Kickstarter for this most glorious of add-ons is just past the halfway mark for its $50,000 goal. With 35 days to go, there’s plenty of room for more backers. Come on, you know this is an awesome idea.
Ham in the Fridge, those responsible for the well received if a bit disturbing 5 Minutes to Kill (Yourself), have been up to something. They’ve been lurking in the shadows, left to their own devices, doing something altogether unseemly. They’ve been Bumpin’ Uglies. I’ve recently had the chance to talk a bit with Brett Hummel (Creative Director) and Drew Pearson (Director, Business Development) about their odd little creation and have come away from the discussion feeling more than a little excited. Not that kind of excited.
Bumpin’ Uglies isn’t quite the depiction of debauchery that many would expect given the (awesome) title. Uglies are, in fact, these small lima bean-looking critters who are about as smart as a sack of dirt and can only get around by way of being flung. Players have to guide their ugly through a given level (32 total at the moment), gathering shinys and coins along the way, until they manage to collide with the ugly waiting at the other end. Hence the bumping. This creates a temporary whirlwind of activity, followed by the production of a number of “bumplings” possessing traits from both parent uglies. And some recessive genes, naturally. Coins gathered throughout each level can be used to unlock new level packs (3 available at launch with more to follow), more ugly parts for further customization, and special boosts (4 types available at launch) that can be used to make getting around a bit easier.
Bumpin’ Uglies is slated to release later this summer for free. If it sounds like a game worth playing (and it should), head on over to the Kickstarter page to lend a financial hand. Come on, you know you want to.
With all of Apple’s relatively recent success in the smartphone and tablet market, we can forget sometimes that what kicked off their modern dominance was a device that simply played music. BICOM, Inc. has been recognizing how important music is to the company with their playGo series of iOS receiver systems. The newest model, the playGo AP1, is their biggest leap forward yet.
Previous playGo models used USB interfaces but the playGo AP1 instead streams audio wirelessly using Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and Apple’s own AirPlay functionality. Music from iOS devices, iTunes and other services like Pandora, Rhapsody, and Spotify are wirelessly pushed to speakers with their high-fidelity audio intact. The playGO AP1 also retains built in USB for compatibility with older devices.
Unfortunately, the project is still in need of funding. However, interested buyers can check out the playGo AP1 Kickstarter page and purchase one early for $199. The funding deadline in July 5th and if it’s a success, expect to see the playGo AP1 released shortly thereafter.
Kickstarter is a great place to find new, upcoming games for iOS but sometimes it’s hard to sort through all the projects to find one really worth pledging those hard earned dollars. We think Emerge by independent developer, Lucas Best, could be one of those worth funding.
Emerge involves a ball jumping from platform to platform. There are other games that do this but what’s unique about Emerge is that the game takes place in a 3-D environment. The players will jump from platform to platform until they reach the next “tier” of existence. There will be a score system based on jumping on correct and incorrect platforms. In addition to a level mode, a free-play mode will be included where players jump on platforms until they miss the correct platform.
The developer, Lucas Best, is a recent graduate of Duke University (Spring 2011) with a degree in Computer Science and Visual Arts. His project needs $50,000 pledged by Saturday, June 9th. The money will go towards software (3D modeling software), paying artists for artwork, and advertising for the game. Rewards for pledging include the usual like in-game content, t-shirts, and recognition (App Store description).
Take a look at the video below and the Kickstarter page here.
It seems like every developer nowadays is using Kickstarter as an excuse to work on that pet project they have been kicking around for the last decade. However, every once in a while someone wants to try something very different, to work towards the betterment of the medium. Developer App-Different is looking to do just that with the launch of their new pilot project, King Pong.
As part of the program, the developers have released the unfinished King Pong app for free, with the idea being that the consumers can help design the final product. The Kickstarter campaign is hopefully going towards funding King Pong’s development as well as designing a platform that all developers could used to interact with their paying consumers. Call us crazy, but if implemented properly, this could be a interesting look into the future of game design.
Check out their full product pitch below and let us know what you think in the comments.
This week at 148Apps.com iPad cases were on our collective minds. First, site editor Rob LeFebvre reviewed the new Hammerhead Capo Case, stating, “The Hammerhead Capo case is a solid, good looking basic case for $40. It comes in black, blue, white, red or orange leather-grained polyurethane. It covers the whole iPad, with molded open areas for the dock port, headphone jack, rear camera, and volume buttons.”
Meanwhile, Lisa Caplan also took a closer look at Brydge, a new Kickstarter project. Lisa writes, “There is a new Kickstarter project, Brydge, by Brad Leong that will come close to converting an iPad into a notebook with a hinged aluminum case and Bluetooth keyboard that looks a lot like a Macbook.”
We also had many, many new kid-friendly app reviews on GiggleApps, including Amy Solomon’s review of the latest Toca game, Toca Kitchen Monsters. Solomon says, “I have a real treat for readers today as I would like to announce that recently, Toca Boca released a free version of their popular digital toy app, Toca Kitchen. Titled Toca Kitchen Monsters, this new app includes two monster characters whom players can cook for and feed, complete with monster-like table manners and house-keeping skills.”
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-04-05 :: Category: Education
Children’s apps were the focus on 148Apps.biz as well, as Kevin Stout reported on a new study released by Ruckus Media Group. Stout writes, “Parents are tough customers to please. While it’s obvious that children’s apps and games need to be appealing to kids, it’s the parents that those apps are really targeting. Ruckus Media Group just announced the results of its national study about children’s educational apps and parental preferences. The research, done with research group, PlayScience, looked to investigate what app experiences parents provide for their children, what parents prioritize in children’s apps, parents’ involvement in their childrens’ reading, and parental guilt with digital devices. We spoke to CEO of Ruckus Media Group, Rick Richter, and obtained some additional information about the study.”
Thew news, reviews and contests keep on coming across all of the 148Apps network of sites. Keep up to date with the latest by following us on Twitter and Liking us on Facebook. You won’t regret it. Until next week…bye ya’ll!
There is a new Kickstarter project, Brydge, by Brad Leong that will come close to converting an iPad into a notebook with a hinged aluminum case and Bluetooth keyboard that looks a lot like a Macbook.
What makes the Brydge so special when compared to the various other folio keyboard combos out there, is the stunning design that borrows so much from Apple. Seriously, this ought to have been designed in Cupertino. It sports aerospace-grade aluminum, and has a MacBook-style keyboard. Two models are slated for an October 2012 debut, one with speakers, one without. So far the project is a roaring success. At the time of this writing, about midway through the project’s launch day, it had 650 backers and had already raised $136,070 well above it’s $90,000 goal.
Check out the video. If anyone wants in, pledge levels start at as $150 and secure the indie-investor early access to the Brydge when it is ready to ship.
In some ways the original Shadowrun was a little before my time. Only a little, though. I was actually just too young to appreciate tabletop role playing games when I was eight. But I did appreciate the kick-ass SNES video game spin-off, and I even managed to come back to (and run) the pen and paper original in high school. Like many people I have very fond memories of street samurai and wage mages, so the news that Jordan Weisman (the original creator) plans to bring it back to PC, Mac, and tablets fills me with glee and makes me squeal like an excited school girl. Complete with jumping up and down repeatedly.
As is the apparently very successful trend right now, Harebrained Schemes has taken their idea to the Kickstarter community instead of a publisher. Ordinarily I’d try to rally the troops in an attempt to ensure that they meet their goal but that’s already happened. Like, a while ago. The developer is already at three times their goal to start working on the turn-based, player-driven RPG. That’s not to say that people should stop donating, though. If they can make another 200K or so (reaching 1.75 million) then Physical Adepts will be added. As one of many who have “seen” what physical adepts are capable of, this excites me.
The project still has a little over two days before it’s finished so we all have time to make our pledges. Virtually all of the game is pure speculation at this point, but I have every confidence in Mr. Weisman and his team. And I could not be looking forward to raiding mega corporations more.
Recently, there’s been talk of a Baldur’s Gate port coming to iOS in the future. Now, more information has been released from an interview with COO of Beamdog, Cameron Tofer, at Kotaku.com.
The big news is that it’s slated for a summer release, will be under $10, and will support multiplayer.
Baldur’s Gate will have a completely redesigned interface made for the iPad where text will be larger, pinch to zoom will be added, and gestures between screens (instead of tabs) will be added.
“We want to bring it forward, make it nice and swishy and smooth and things like that,” said Tofer.
There might end up being a Kickstarter project to help fund the Baldur’s Gate port, as Tofer referred to the success of the Kickstarter project for Wasteland 2.
All mention of Baldur’s Gate for iOS seems to be actually mentioning Baldur’s Gate for the iPad. I’ve seen no mention of the terms iOS or iPhone. So it’s possible that Baldur’s Gate and Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn (released later in the year) will be iPad-only games. Sorry iPhone/iPod Touch users.
Cipher Prime, creators of popular music game, Auditorium, need our help! They’ve launched a Kickstarter project for the sequel to their music-puzzle game, Auditorium Duet. The Kickstart project will end at at midnight (EDT) on Friday but they’re short on their goal. Cipher Prime needs to reach their $60,000 goal to be able to make the sequel to their game. As I’m writing this, they’re currently at $49,714.
According to the Kickstarter page, Auditorium Duet will include a cooperative mode where players can solve the puzzles together (a single-player mode will exist but they’re putting a focus on multiplayer). There will be both networked and local multiplayer available in Auditorium Duet.
The rewards for pledging are pretty awesome for this project. Just $5 will get a name listed in the credits of the game while $500 gets a ton of previous rewards as well as a day with the Cipher Prime team including amateur massages, food, entertainment, and Starcraft! The $15 pledge gets a copy of the game when it’s released (PC/Mac).
Austin-based White Whale Games has announced their first game for iOS, God of Blades. While the game is in an early state at this point, the developers have launched a Kickstarter page to help fund continued development of the game. The page has already met its goal, though donations are still accepted, with rewards such as original artwork for those who donate funds. The game itself will be a 2.5D action-platformer, featuring weapon-based combat.
The studio claims to be drawing inspiration from 70′s fantasy themes that inspired the sword-and-sorcery (not Sworcery) stories and artwork that also had an influence on the burgeoning rock and metal of that era (which still has an influence on bands like The Sword to this day). The concept artwork shows off this influence rather clearly, as if they were plucked straight out of the 1970′s, either by way of time travel or wizard’s spell to bring them to the present. Lost artwork and books are also part of the story, as fictional fantasy novels will play a part in the game’s world-building and internal fiction. There are also some ambiguous details on the use of geolocation to tie users in to the experience, although this should become more clear as the game enters further into development.
White Whale Games is comprised of 3 primary employees, working with outside programmers and musicians to help work on the game. Of particular note is the studio’s Creative Director, Jason Rosenstock. He most recently worked on Star Wars: The Old Republic for BioWare, and some of his work designing planets in that game will be seen when the game releases.
God of Blades is still a long way out, as work continues on the gameplay and artwork to make it look as close to their vision as possible. We’ll have more on this title as it nears its completion, as White Whale offers up a general release date of pre-Summer 2012. Want to check out a very, very early taste of what the game has to offer? Try this “First stage preview build” of an “interactive environment” in the Unity Web Player.
Steve Uy, a comic book artist who has worked on comics for both DC and Marvel, and who has created the series Feather and Jova’s Harvest, is making a foray into game development for iOS and Android. The name of the game he is working on is called World Without End, and it is a strategy RPG. The idea of the game is that it’s a free-roaming RPG, where the player controls their party leader on the overworld. When enemies are encountered, the game will shift into battle mode immediately on that same screen, with the overworld area serving as the battleground. The game apparently eschews the traditional “kill enemies to receive experience” model, as instead players receive battle points that can be spent on skills for any players in the party. The game is being designed to last about 15 hours, and is designed to be replayed, revealing new story elements with each playthrough.
According to Steve Uy, the game’s programming is being handled by a team of several developers, although he is handling all the production on the game himself, from the art & design to the writing. Apparently, most of the artwork for the game is done, and the developers are just starting to tie the game’s artwork into the actual game. All the artwork is hand-drawn as well. The game will feature illustrated cutscenes as well, along with a director’s commentary that will be available once the game is completed.
The game is currently in development, although it is not fully funded yet; Steve Uy has launched a project page on Kickstarter to help fund the game, and those who contribute will receive a variety of bonuses; those who spend over $500 will be eligible to be beta testers for the game. This sounds like a labor of love for the creator, and one that is taking up his life right now. Click here to visit the Kickstarter page, and to see more art from the upcoming project.
The problem with iOS devices are that they can be very awkward to use in certain positions or while you’re laying in bed – the iPad’s large size, for example, can make it awkward to use as you always need to hold it. If you want to do something like watch a video or type on it, you have to find some way to prop it up, and that’s not always easy. What is an iOS addict to do? Well, if Tricia Hanley has her way, the Mobile Pad Cloud could soon be the answer to those addicts’ prayers.
The inspiration for the Mobile Pad Cloud was when Tricia Hanely was suffering from a bout of tennis elbow, and needed some way to use her iPhone without having to hold it. So, she created a prototype triangle-shaped foam mold, with cutouts for using her device in both vertical and horizontal orientations. She’s also made a prototype for the iPad, which is possibly the killer application of this type of stand, as the iPad is especially awkward to use while laying in bed, especially when trying to type, so a lightweight stand that would hold the iPad up while laying down would be of great use to many people. However, this stand would also be of use while you’re sitting down, or even to set it up while on a desk or table.
The biggest problem with the Mobile Pad Cloud? It doesn’t exist in a form where you can just go out and buy it yet. So Tricia Hanley has created a project on Kickstarter to help acquire funding from users. Depending on how much funding users provide, they can get everything from special mentions on the Mobile Pad Cloud’s web site, to one of the first available production models, up to 8 finished Mobile Pad Clouds and a pair of prototypes for those who wish to donate a lot of money to the funding of the Mobile Pad Cloud. While this product does not exist yet, it could, someday, and it could make use of iOS devices much more comfortable.