Tag Archives: iPhone

OnLive to bring console games to iDevices

OnLive, Inc. provides a service that allows people to play console quality games on any Mac or PC equipped with just about any video card.  It logs key inputs and streams the resulting actions back to the user’s screen.  No hard drive space is required other than 10 MB for the application itself.  There is also a unit available called the MicroConsole that plugs into HDTVs.  The MicroConsole has a controller much like that of the XBOX 360—it’s comfortable and works well.

The service itself has a wonderful interface where you can watch others playing games in the Arena, view 10 second “Brag Clips” that people have recorded of their gameplay, purchase games in the Marketplace, or launch a game with ease.  All loading times are very fast; OnLive has strong processors to run all of the games well.  With a very fast Internet connection the video quality is incredible—it looks as if it’s right on the computer and it isn’t streaming.  When other people use your network, OnLive detects the signal strength and automatically adjusts the video quality.  Despite this, there are occasional frames dropped in the process.  The only game so far where this has been a problem is Mafia II.  I’ve seen some momentary lag not caused by my Internet quality or video stream, but instead from the processors at OnLive.  Loading within the game itself could cause this, or maybe there were a lot of people online—it’s another rare occurrence that was barely noticeable, and did nothing to hinder my gaming experience.

OnLive is free to browse; any game on their servers can be played for 30 minutes.  The trial can be played an infinite number of times with no charge.   There is an affordable gaming option.  It’s called the PlayPack Bundle, a package of 70+ games that costs $10 a month.  It can be cancelled at any time, and the selection includes some fantastic games.  There are also many games available for a full subscription, providing access to the whole game until it is no longer on their servers, a minimum of three years.  All of these games can also be rented for either 3 or 5 days.

While these options are nice, the games are offered at premium prices.  There often are great sales; just keep your eyes open.  So far, what I’ve seen of the games shows me a lot of great potential, except that the selection isn’t very large yet.  I’m convinced this platform is going to be huge, so I think it should gain enough momentum to have a huge library not too long from now.

Now here’s the cool news, OnLive has a playable app coming to iDevices before the end of the year!

Currently there’s an app available for the iPad that lets the user watch Brag Clips and view the Arena, but it’s nothing compared to what’s coming.  Soon we’ll be able to carry console games in our pockets, and play them whenever we want!  The graphics of these games will blow iDevice games out of the water with options such as Borderlands, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, and Batman: Arkham Asylum.  It’s also great that the small iDevice hard drives will only need to have a tiny application to launch these games.

There are only a few foreseeable problems with this app: controls, screen size, and signal strength.  A solution to control issues is that each game will need it’s own custom set tucked in the sides of the screen.  If controls are approached meticulously (as I’m sure they will be) your thumbs won’t cover much of the viewable part of the screen, and each game should feel as natural as any one native to the iDevices.

The games available on OnLive were all designed for much bigger screens and as such they will have a large amount of detail visible at all times.  This could potentially be a big strain on one’s eyes when playing on one of the smaller devices.  I’ve also noticed that iDevices have a much shorter Wi-Fi range than computers.  To get great video quality a strong network connection is needed, and you’ll have to be closer to the source.  One can assume that the games will be playable over 3G, and that they will look just fine.  The same goes for 4G, but even better.

OnLive is an ambitious and innovative service that brings incredible graphics to systems that couldn’t handle the processing themselves.  While all of the video is streamed and is dependent upon a network connection and its strength, the hard drive is not filled with games.  It’s coming to the iDevices, and it’s going to be great, as long as the controls are addressed carefully.

Galaxy on Fire 2 Review: Tough to Get Into, Totally Worth the Pain

Galaxy on Fire 2 is a type of game that has plagued me for my whole gaming life. It’s a very complex, technically challenging, and wide open sort of game that, to a certain extent, makes the more linear individual wonder what the hell you’re supposed to do.

Even after several hours of play (spread over a good number of days) I don’t feel like I’ve gotten very far. In fact, it took me ages to feel comfortable enough to write this review and even still I don’t really feel like I’ve plumbed the depths of the game.

This should be a pretty darn encouraging thing for those of you who love and adore these types of experiences. There will be no shortage of stuff to do. I promise. My sister has played a total of 7 hours so far and hasn’t yet tired of it or felt like she was nearing the end.

So, I’m going to focus on the mechanics of the game. Once you get used to them, they’re pretty great.

At first I was put off by the simple fact that you don’t get to control the speed of your ship. That’s tough for me. I like to really feel like I’m driving the thing and at first I didn’t at all. Of course, I feel the same way about EVE Online so…

What you do control is your weapons and all other aspects of piloting which, is not at all easy. You will very quickly be glad you don’t have to worry about the throttle. You have a choice accelerometer control or onscreen d-pad control. Personally I find the onscreen d-pad more rewarding and I feel less self conscious using it on the bus. It’s totally a matter of personal preference though.

Navigation is done through a nifty system of target and then jump which I find quite fun and further eliminates that nagging desire for a throttle. As Douglas Adams said, ‘space is big’, so there’s no real need to vary your throttle.

Combat is as expected although you have the ability to set your weapons to auto fire which is more helpful than you can know. Mining is one of the chief ways you make money in GOF2 and this I find to be the most frustrating element. It is TRULY DIFFICULT. It takes practice and has made me put the game down more than once in frustration.

Still, it is worth pushing through it and learning. Don’t forget to play with your control sensitivity. This will help…a lot!

Galaxy on Fire 2 is so big and complex I could just sit here and ramble. Instead, just do yourself a favor and buy it. You won’t regret it. It’s one of those epic games that even if you don’t play it right away, you won’t be sorry to have so you can pick at it. That’s exactly how GTA: Chinatown Wars is for me. Like Galaxy on Fire 2, my iPhone is never without it.

Likes

Gameplay: Perfectly rock solid gameplay makes this game one of those ‘Holy crap this is better than the PSP’ kind of games. There is nothing lacking here.

Graphics: Just absolutely gorgeous top notch visuals that all by themselves will make you happy you bought it. It REALLY shows off what iOS and it’s devices are capable of.

Depth: There’s no end in sight. It just keeps going, and going, and going.

Dislikes

Gameplay: I wish it was a little easier to get into at first. That first hump is really hard to get over and there was serious danger of losing me there.

Galaxy on Fire 2 is a must. Even if you don’t normally play these kinds of games, you should buy it. It proves that your iPhone IS a gaming platform and perfect to show of to your unbelieving friends. There’s more than enough fun here for the most demanding player and still fun to be had if only as a novelty. This is all not to mention that the game is universal and looks AMAZING on the iPad.

Galaxy on Fire 2 is developed by Fishlabs and is available on the iPhone/iPad for $6.99. It was reviewed at version 1.0.3 on my iPhone 4.


iPhone 4.0 Includes Video Calls

Forget multitasking and a larger, higher resolution screen. A European wireless operator has slipped the fact that the iPhone 4G, expected to hit the market this summer, will allow users to make video calls, which means that this upcoming smartphone will apparently have a front-facing camera along with its rumored 5 mega-pixel rear facing one.

The website of O2’s UK subsidiary naturally gives the prices iPhone users will pay for various services. Included on this list is the price for making video calls.

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Of course, it’s quite possible this is a simple mixup by those responsible for putting data for a large number on phones on the website. On the other hand, this isn’t the first evidence that the next-generation iPhone will support video conferencing.

Developers looking around in the next version of the iPhone OS and the one of the iPad, 3.2, have found strings of code that will allow devices running it to make and receive video calls, as well as switch between a front-facing and rear-facing camera. The page has since been taken down.

iPhone OS 4.0 Announcing this Week, Thursday

What the heck.  What the heck.  I’m freaking out.  This is amazing.  Oh my goodness what am I going to do.

Those were the types of statements that were running through my mind as I read that iPhone OS 4.0 will be announced this Thursday, April 8th.  What a surprise, and to think that we thought the thoughts that we thought.  It’s much sooner than we ever expected, and we all thought of it being released sometime when the iPhone 4G came out.

It’s definitely a nice piece of news that I’m looking forward to, and with it already being rumored of bringing multitasking, it looks to be the next step forward in the iPhone familia.  We’ll have more news as they become available, and I’m sure most of you are pretty excited with this amazing news.

[via Slidetoplay]