Posts tagged ios
I’ve been meaning to blog about the two iPad games I’m completely addicted to for a while – ever since I started playing them in September last year. Unfortunately every time I’ve thought “I must write that blog post” I’ve ended up playing the games rather than opening iA writer. Oops.
I downloaded both games while on holiday at the end of September last year. I wanted something to help me relax for a couple of weeks, what I ended up with was two obsessions. I found The Simpsons Tapped Out first – it was in the App Store’s top ten games list when I was browsing. Then I was introduced to The Tribez by my sister-in-law, who was already addicted. I thought I’d quickly introduce them to you.
The Simpsons Tapped Out
This game starts just after Homer has caused a meltdown at the Springfield Nucleur Power Plant that wiped out the cartoon town. The aim of this game is to rebuild Springfield, one building and one character at a time. The app is free to download and playable on pretty much all iOS devices (a friend checked and it’s not available on Android, sorry), although I only use it on my iPad – it’s one of those games you want a bigger screen for, I think. You can buy donuts (in-app-purchase) to speed up game play, but I’ve never spent a penny on this, I just wait.
To play the game – to rebuild Springfield – you need two things; money to build buildings and make Springfield look pretty, and XP to move through the levels. You are given tasks to complete such as “build the orange house”, which cost money and time to complete. In many cases building something means you get a new character – Dr Hibbert comes with his surgery, for example.
To earn money you make your characters do things. You can send Homer can shop at the Kwik-E-Mart for an hour, make Lisa do next week’s homework for 24 hours, or get Marge to walk Maggie. The longer a task takes the more money it is worth – and as the buildings and other items go up and up in value as you move through the levels, you get used to setting things going once a day in order to get the most money possible!
To make things more interesting, the game changes with the seasons to give you extra opportunities to collect elements from The Simpsons episodes. At Christmas everything was covered in snow and you collected chocolate coins in order to decorate the houses with Christmas lights. At the moment the game is Valentines themed, so I’m collecting hearts in order to build a flower shop and some rose bushes. Normally these extra things are gained from visiting other Springfields created by your friends… if you play then make sure you add me and we can help each other out – I’m Splodz (unsurprisingly). (For info, this game requires a data connection to play.)
The description on the App Store says “The Tribez is not just a game. It is an adventure.”. Like The Simpsons Tapped Out, it is all about building something – in this case a community of ancient people who see you as their chief.
You start small, by building a simple hut. Each time you build a house of some sort you get an additional worker. You need workers to build things, but the workers come with lots of needed – they want food, bathhouses, community buildings, and for their Island to look amazing. You also need raw materials to build things – wood and stone to start with, but gradually improving as your buildings become more impressive. Your workers have to first build the mills and quarrys, then have to work in them to fill the warehouse with enough materials to build the next thing. Oh and everything costs money, which you collect through taxes on the workers houses and by giving them opportunities to go to the theatre, eat at the canteen, visit the bathhouse or ride a dinosaur.
The workers are cute and do everything you ask them with a simple “okay” or “yo”. Watch out for the Murlods though – they scare the workers and set fire to your buildings – deal with them quickly!
This is another free-to-download game with the possibility to make in-app purchases to speed up the game play. Again, I have not spent a penny on this game, I just wait for things to happen in real time; at the start you’re looking at a minute or two per task, but later on things can take 12 or 24 hours.
If you are new to The Tribez then just wait until you have more than one island… you end up with several separate but interlinked communities who rely on you to keep them safe and free from boredom. So addictive, especially because you can play this one offline. I am so very addicted!
Both these games are ideal for anyone who likes games that are constantly changing that build up over time, in which you build something over time. Let me know if you’re addicted too.
I will be taking part in my first photography exhibition next month…
InstaChimps are a group of photographers based in Lincolnshire who use Smartphones to create images. The group functions through a vibrant online presence, with a varied programme of events and competitions happening throughout the year. The group’s first ever exhibition, called “Hip 2B Square” will be at Lincoln’s Central Library, between the 1st and 15th September 2012.
Miles Winterburn, the founder member of the InstaChimps Group, said:
“This exhibition is really exciting for us, being the first one we have pulled together since the group started earlier this year. We also believe that this is one the first exhibitions of its kind to be held in Lincolnshire and probably the Midlands. We have a lot of talented image makers within the group, and we wanted to promote not only this talent through the exhibition, but the existence of the group to new members.”
“All the images on display at the exhibition have been shot with an iPhone or other Smartphones. This is a fast growing and creative medium, helped by the cutting edge technology and Apps that modern mobile phones offer the visually creative of Lincolnshire”.
The group will be holding an official exhibition launch at Lincoln Central Library, on Free School Lane in Lincoln, on Saturday 1st September 2012 between 1.00pm & 3.30pm. However the exhibition will be open from Monday 3rd unitl Saturday 15th September. Exhibiting members would like to welcome everybody along to the official launch event, to browse and comment on the images and exhibition.
I love how smartphones have invaded the world of digital photography, not only giving us more opportunity to take snaps of our lives and things we see around us, but also improving our opportunities to share our images with our friends and family. You all know I go nowhere without my iPhone and have a tendency to snap everything I see, well I’m not the only one!
I will be exhibiting nine images at the Library (including the two example shots on this post) and am both excited and nervous about it. I don’t get prints done much any more and it is really great to see my iPhone photos on proper photo paper and behind glass. All my shots have been taken on my iPhone4 and where edited that has been done in Snapseed, a photography app for iOS that I would very much recommend.
Apart from myself there are a number of exhibitors, some of whom are also professional or semi-professional photographers, and some who are amateurs – they are all like me in that they just like taking photos. The images are varied in subject matter, style and level of editing; there is something for everyone’s taste for sure.
It would be great if you could come along to view the exhibition – see the exhibition website for more details.
Do you use TomTom on your iPhone? If you do, then you’ll have recently had to download quite a large update to the app – including updated maps as well as some other updated/new features.
One of the features has been included for people just like me. People who’d rather not take the route everyone else takes. People who are as interested in the journey as they are in the destination. People who ride motorbikes.
Added into the route options alongside fastest, shortest and avoid motorways is a new type… winding roads.
As an example I did a very quick route from the centre of Lincoln to Newark. This is very straightforward trip along the A46, which is dual carriageway all the way once you’re out of the city. TomTom said on Friday lunchtime (using IQ Routes) it would take 26 minutes and I would travel 14.8 miles. Changing the setting to “winding roads” I ended up with a much more scenic route taking 39 minutes and taking me 18.7 miles through some of Lincolnshire’s villages.
Okay so the chances are that if I wanted to go to Newark from Lincoln I would always use the A46, but thinking about holidays and Saturday ride-outs this winding roads option is going to get well used. It will be lovely to take a relaxed biker-friendly route through the countryside taking in the sights and lolloping around the corners. A very nice addition to the application, thanks TomTom.
Actually I haven’t mentioned it on Splodz Blogz before but I really do like the TomTom iPhone app. It’s an excellent navigation system. I don’t use sat nav on my motorbike, I tend to pre-plan routes and memorise them, but I do use the TomTom app to help with the planning before I go. The app works brilliantly on iPad too which makes planning even easier with the bigger screen.
In the car and for planning it beats my Garmin Nuvi (bought because our very old TomTom burnt out and it was the best spec option for the money we had at the time) hands down. And I don’t have to take a separate piece of kit in the car or away with me. It is draining on the battery though so an in-car charger is a must if you don’t have the proper TomTom cradle.
I spotted this in a tweet today and wow, I want one.
Pebble is a watch that you can customise by installing your choice of apps, and that connects to your smartphone (iOS or Android) using bluetooth.
With a high resolution e-paper display (like you get on Kindle) it promises to be sharp and very easy to read, even in bright sunshine.
Apart from looking great, the main feature of Pebble is that you can install and run apps on it much like you do on your smartphone. These then connect to your phone which you can have safely in your pocket or bag when out and about or in your music dock at home. At the basic level that means you can choose what sort of watch face to have on it – analogue or digital – I love the centre display on in the photo above. It also means you can use it with the GPS on your phone as a cycle computer or to track your running. You can use the buttons on the side to control your music, quickly read your text messages and see who is calling you.
And it’ll go seven days on one charge.
Take a look:
Only problem with all this? It’s not actually available yet. I don’t totally get the Kickstarter project idea but I think it’s about you pledging money to help get this product made, but you don’t actually pay anything unless the project actually gets off the ground. I really hope it does, I think what they’ve got here is an awesome idea. I’ll let you know when it’s in the shops.
Find out more about Pebble on the Kickstarter website, and let me know if you’ll be backing it.
When we went skiing last month I wanted something that would track how far I’d skied, so I could add the totals to my 2012km in 2012 challenge. I didn’t want to buy a GPS watch, I wanted an app to use on my iPhone. After some research I chose Ski Tracks.
Ski Tracks is an iphone app which allows you to track your time on the slopes so when you get back to your hotel you can see where you went, how long it took and how fast you went.
And because it uses GPS you don’t use any data to track your skiing, so if you’re abroad you don’t have to worry about that.
At the end of each run (and during, actually) you are given details on max and average speed, distance travelled, distance skied, maximum and minimum altitude, number of runs, average degree of the slopes, and duration. It also plots where you’ve been on a map so you can see exactly – in case you want to go back to exactly the same spot next time.
You also have camera and iPod controls within the app, although Ski Tracks also runs happily in the background so you can use those apps properly if you prefer, which I tend to.
There is a pause function but I just left mine going all day, even on lunch and hot chocolate stops. I was impressed that it didn’t drink too much of my iPhone’s battery.
One of the best things about this app is that it knows when you are on a lift and when you are actually skiing. Brilliant. This means you don’t need to tell it – you just put your phone in your inside pocket where it’s protected and can forget about it all day without having to stop/start it for each run. When you then view the map you can see straight lines for the lifts, and very wiggly ones for your downhill.
You can then export the information for Google Earth or as a gpx file (you send these by email when you’re back on wifi or can afford roaming data), which means you can view your runs on a computer. The gpx file can also be imported into Run Keeper and the like. The biggest problem with that though is despite Ski Tracks knowing when you were on a lift and when you were actually skiing, Run Keeper does not and assumes the total distance is what you travelled – so I ended up manually inputting the runs to keep all my 2012km in 2012 data in one place.
The best use for this? Well apart from being able to track the km I skied for my 2012 km in 2012 challenge (which was the reason I downloaded it in the first place), it was being able to compete against my husband on speed! Who’s faster is a very important thing to know! (I was, by the way!)
I thought this app worked really well, was intuitive, and just got on with it in the background. It probably has no real use but the stats are very interesting. I will definitely be using it again next time we go skiing.
Ski Tracks is currently 69p from the App Store.
Draw Something is the latest app to hit the games app market. Everyone seems to be talking about it.
I blame my sister. She told me to download it a week or so ago. We always enjoyed Pictionary when we were kids (and still do) and this is just perfect.
The premise of the game is very simple. You get a choice of three words, worth 1, 2 or 3 coins. You choose one and then draw it on your iOS device, and send it to your opponent. Your opponent then sees your drawing (they see you draw it, or rather a recording of you drawing it), and has to guess the word. It’s made more simple because the opponent gets a selection of letters to choose from – so it’s a drawing and anagram game in one – although it’s worth bearing in mind there are some red herring letters added too.
When the turn comes back to you, you have the opportunity to watch your opponent guess your word (so you can see at what point in your drawing they got it), before it’s time to guess their word.
The game counts the number of “turns” you’ve had in each game, the idea being to guess as many drawings correctly as you can in one go – a rally. If you can’t guess the word, you have to pass your turn and your game with that player ends and starts from 1 again. So far this hasn’t happened to me… yet. The coins you gain allow you to “buy” extra colours for your palette and also bombs (which take away the red herring letters to make the word easier to guess).
You can find opponents using facebook, username or email address. It’s loads of fun playing people you know – I will draw the same thing differently depending on my opponent – my sister will guess something with one clue, but my friend wouldn’t understand that at all.
I downloaded the free version onto my iPad and iPhone and have to say after trying it on my iPad I’ve deleted it off my phone – why would I want to do my doodles so small and fiddly when I can use my lovely big iPad screen?! The thing I really like about this is the simplicity. I mean, the game itself is simple to pick up (and you can be as artistic or as basic as you like in your drawings) and the app is simple in design. The whole thing is cartoony – fisher price – in appearance. Everything is bright and colourful and very easy to use.
The annoying aspects of this game include the very American dictionary… well I assume it’s America, I have to say some of the words I don’t know. But I’ve always been about to pick one from the three choices ok. Another annoyance is the games seeming delay in updating. So even when you know your opponent has taken their turn (because they tweeted you apologising for the bad likeness, for example!), it is sometimes necessary to force the app to close completely using the double click of the home button and close method, and restarting it before it refreshes the feed. A refresh button would be a welcome addition to make game play quicker. Oh and there is no rotation so you can only play in landscape mode. Shame.
Apart from a couple of niggles this is a great game. If you haven’t got onto the Draw Something wagon yet then give this simple game a try.