Tag Archives: Line-Drawing

Jump on the Wagon: ‘Real Racing’ and ‘Flight Control’ Updated for iPhone 4

The iPhone 4 is only two days away from official release, and I’ll be standing in line starting 4 AM at a local mall.  Of course, the days just don’t seem to be able to run any faster, and things like these make me even more excited.

Firemint has updated both their games Real Racing and Flight Control to have improved graphics on the iPhone 4.  The Retina display boasts of 4 times more pixels (check out our post here about the iPhone 4), which makes the iPhone 4 possess the highest resolution screen of any smartphone or mobile device.

With that said, I obviously haven’t tested out any of them yet.  Real Racing also was updated with gyroscopic support, which should add a lot more precision to the accelerometer controls.  While I’m still a bit confused with how the gyroscope will work, I’m eager to try out all these new features.

The updates for Real Racing and Flight Control are also optimized for iOS 4, so if you’ve been having problems, they should be fixed by now.  I’ve had to delete and reinstall both of them, though, because they crashed upon launching them.  It’s not a big deal, but just a word of warning to those thinking about installing the updates.

Real Racing

  • Gorgeous new graphics perfect for showing off the Retina display with high resolution textures, more detailed car interiors, improved track graphics, beautifully updated menus and exceptionally smooth graphical performance on iPhone 4
  • Even more responsive and accurate controls on iPhone 4, with three-axis gyro support in addition to accelerometer
  • Smoother graphics on iPhone 3GS and iPod touch 3 with iOS4 anti-aliasing
  • Support for iOS4 multitasking on compatible devices: switch effortlessly between your favourite apps
  • Various minor fixes and improvements

Flight Control

  • Flight Control looks better than ever before on iPhone 4, with crisp high resolution graphics optimised for the Retina display
  • Multitasking on compatible iOS 4 devices: switch effortlessly between your favourite apps
  • Multi-mode fast forward system is now better demonstrated in the game. Tap once for “safe fast forward”, or tap twice for “locked fast forward”.
  • Various minor fixes and improvements

The update is available now for all devices.  If you haven’t purchased these yet, Flight Control costs $0.99 and Real Racing $4.99.

‘Super 7’ Released to App Store, from the Makers of ‘Alphabetic’

Alphabetic is arguably my favorite casual game on the App Store alongside Flight Control, and the developer(s) behind it did a phenomenal job with it.  So when they released a line-drawing game for the iPhone and iPod Touch, my Asian eyes became slightly larger than the norm.

Super 7 is a math/line-drawing game in which you have to connect the bubbles to add up to seven, and it looks a bit like Qwiboo’s Aqua Globs.  I doubt it plays like it though, and it’s a concept that I haven’t exactly seen on the App Store (other than the line-drawing aspect).

Super 7 is priced at $0.99 and developed by No Monkeys.  And if you aren’t familiar with their previous title Alphabetic, I suggest you go ahead and buy that title right now.

Flight Control HD Review: Soar like never before

The iPad gaming market, I believe, is a totally new market for developers to pitch in their ideas, and while many games have been ported from iPhone to iPad, the iPad market is a new market whether you like it or not.  HD games will only play on the iPad; therefore, competition will only be against other iPad games.

Flight Control for the iPhone, after being one of the most successful games on the App Store, received some heated competition from the likes of Harbor Master and 33rd Division, but the HD version for the iPad enters a fresh market with little competition; only Imangi Studio’s Harbor Master appears to available for the iPad.

But with a bigger screen comes a bigger price, this time almost 5 times the price of the iPhone version, which is priced at $0.99.  And after playing through Flight Control HD, I’ll have to admit that spending that Abe Lincoln on Flight Control HD was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in purchasing a game.


New maps: Other developers, such as Gameloft, think that it’s totally fine to increase the graphics and charge $5 more for it.  This isn’t the case for Firemint’s Flight Control, as it features 4 new HD maps and one with the ability to look at it with 3D glasses, meaning that if you wear 3D glasses the map will pop out at you.  I haven’t had the chance to try out this map yet, but boy does it sound amazing.

Locate that plane: One of my biggest worries for a larger map (more than 2 times larger) is locating a plane that is about to crash.  If it only flashed red, it would be extremely difficult to pinpoint them when there are 20+ planes on the screen.  Firemint found a solid solution to the problem, and one that I am satisfied with.

High quality: Artwork wasn’t a problem for Flight Control on the iPhone, and it definitely isn’t a problem for it on the iPad.  It features the same level of high-quality, classy artwork along with an attractive user interface.

Two-player mode: I am the king of Flight Control in my household, and my brother refuses to play with me after I beat him a couple of times.  The two-player mode is something that is proven to work on the iPad, and Flight Control implemented it perfectly.  And because of the big screen, you can even work out some two-player co-op mode on the single player levels.

Flight Control HD is one of the first games that I cannot find a fault with.  The iPhone version was the same, and being an extreme fan of line-drawing games, Flight Control HD landed right at home with me.  Everything was executed to perfection without slack, and I enjoyed Flight Control HD possibly more than any other line-drawing game.  Competition should arrive sooner than later, but for now, this line-drawing game is number one.

Flight Control HD was developed by Firemint, and I played through version 1.01 on my iPad.  The price is $4.99.

Trenches: An Interview with Thunder Game Works

I was able to snag an interview with Michael Taylor, CEO (Chief Executive Overlord) of Thunder Game Works. He and his company have released new game on the App Store called Trenches. I found that the game had great graphics, an indescribable charm, fun gameplay, and lots of replayability. As such, I rated their game a Must Have, and you can see the review of the game here. The interview we had is provided below, and if you haven’t gotten the game yet it is certainly something that’s worth your money.

NoDPad: Hello Michael! Can you give me a brief overview of what Thunder Game Works’ goal is and what the company does?

Thunder Game Works: Jeff, thanks for the time today.

I knew when I started Thunder Game Works that I wanted to create something special.  I endeavored to find the very best talent from around the globe.

I can’t tell how many people I talked to … good grief.  In the end, we’ve brought together what I think as an indie dream team.  Our core team consists of development, art and marketing … each one of them crazy talented in their chosen discipline.  I’ll tell you I’m continually impressed with the rabbits they’re able to pull out of hats …and I don’t even like rabbits!

If I could characterize Thunder Game Works in a word it would be “responsive”.  We love to hear from our players.  It’s funny, in the short time Trenches has been out; we’ve received enough feedback that it actually changed our anticipated release roadmap.  Players kept saying we love [this thing] … so we’re doing more of that.  It’s such a hoot to be so engaged with our players.  We like to think of our players driving the boat … not us.

ND: Impressive. What compelled or drove you and the company to start making games for the iPhone and iPod Touch?

TGW: Apple has created a market place that brings the game developers in open contact with the iPhone gaming community, which we highly value as we are making our games, and essentially our livelihoods, based on this community. The low entrance barriers and the ability to create a great gaming experience with easy distribution was very appealing.  It was a natural fit.

ND: I agree, Apple’s definitely created a great atmosphere for developers and gamers to easily communicate. Continuing on, how is Trenches unique and different from other games in the App Store?

TGW: Trenches is really designed as an amalgamation of a lot of really tried and true concepts currently on the AppStore. Trenches employs elements of line-drawing, side-scrolling and gesturing.  Aside from the things that are the same, there’s lots that’s different … where do I start?

Technically, Trenches employs many very cool geek features … like a complex AI rules engine, remote data feeds and adaptive difficulty.  The AI engine is built in a way that allows us to monitor the global community and react to “easy win” strategies.  Once detected, we’ll get right to building the counter-measure.  So, it might work for a while … then one day … you’re dead meat.  My personal favorite is the remote data feeds … these give us the ability to tweak the resource rates, unit characteristics and other gameplay elements through a network update that doesn’t require us to endure submission.  When Trenches loads, it searches for new unit data and loads it.  It really provides us near unlimited tuning capabilities.  This means players of Trenches will continually experience ever-evolving intricate nuisances of gameplay.

Aside from that, we’ve put a lot of love into Trenches … spending extra time in the recording studio and working to perfect the art.  Did you know that each solider on the Trenches battlefield has at least three different death animations?  That’s the kind of polish that we wanted to bring.

My favorite part of Trenches has got to be hitting a group of enemies stuck in the wire with Artillery.  I just love seeing bits and pieces of my enemy flying through the air … man, that never gets old. <grin>

ND: Limbs flying through the air, that’s one of my favorite parts of the game too! I’d also like to know, what is the rock-paper-scissors relationship like between the different units in Trenches, if there is any?

TGW: Initially, Trenches was designed based on rock-paper-scissors, just to make the first cut of the unit balancing easier.  Once in place, we started working to perfect each unit in itself.  Through the network updates, we’re continually tweaking the units … their cost, rate of fire, damage … everything really.

I think in the latest version (and versions to come) the initial simplistic rock-paper-scissors concept is going to become more and more difficult to detect.  Of course, I still wouldn’t send a machine gunner to take out a sniper.  I did try that once … turned out the sniper got promoted all the way up to a Sergeant, before I realized what happened.  That sniper became the finger of death on the battlefield.  I lost. <grin>

ND: Awesome, I guess many buyers of this game will love the quick unit tweaking. Also, will there be more content added via update to the game? If so, what will they include, and will they be free or DLC?

TGW: We’re absolutely committed to providing additional content for Trenches.  We’re designing three main categories of content; new features like multiplayer, new Battle Types for Skirmish mode and new unit balancing as gleaned from the global community.

As for free versus DLC … we really haven’t decided.  We are listening to the community though, if it’s DLC … it’s got to be worth the price.  We’re listening.

ND: Wonderful! What was the inspiration for Trenches, and why did you think it would make a great game for the iDevice?

TGW: We wanted to create a side-scrolling attrition-style combat game … games like Knight’s Onrush, Cartoon Wars and XenoWars.  Players (like us) love the castle defense style games.  It seemed like a natural fit.

People love games like Cartoon Wars.  As do we.  But Cartoon Wars (no offense intended) lacks a little charm, character and refinement.  We knew we wanted to deliver more.

We also love the cartoony graphics of games like Minigore and Fieldrunners.  They’ve got great graphics.  We wanted to deliver on this, but also add in multiple sequences … to keep Trenches gameplay fresh and visually interesting.

ND: And you’ve achieved your goal – the game is quite fresh and interesting. As I’m sure our readers are anxious to know, what’s your favorite setup or strategy in the game, and why?

TGW: Ha!  I’m likely not the best person to ask this question of … that is if you’re looking for real Trenches battlefield success. <grin>

That said, in a run up to building Trenches we did a lot of accurate historic study of World War I.  You know … the historically accurate battle tactics of World War I are curiously very effective in Trenches.  So much so that we’re working on a counter to it.

Our Minister of Propaganda tells me I can’t tell anyone the strategy … that is, until we place a counter measure to it.  I can tell you this though … as silly as it sounds, if you research trench warfare tactics … you’ll find it.  I did.

ND: I’ll be sure to look it up. Do you plan to bring any other titles to the app store in the future? If you are, can you give our readers a general idea of what they will be like?

TGW: We are absolutely bringing more titles to the AppStore … we’ve got two or three new titles in some stage of development.  I wish I could provide more information about them here, but they’re just not far enough along.  We’ve got a real long view and have many plans to bring updates to Trenches and new titles.

It could be too that we’re really not sure which one we’re going to do next.  We’d really rather listen to our players to see what they think.  That said, you might see a little inspiration from our office’s favorite game, Left4Dead.

ND: Thank you for your time! Do you have any closing thoughts or statements?

TGW: Jeff, I really wanted to thank you for your time.  If I could communicate one thing to your readers it is our freakish commitment to on-going support.  As a matter of fact, we have a roadmap for Trenches (that I’m looking at right now) that has release dates out six months.

Thanks to Michael Taylor for taking the time to talk with us about Trenches.  I know the fans are eagerly awaiting the updates, and I think this has been a worthy look at the development behind the game. Trenches is available for a limited time at $0.99, until it returns to its usual price tag of $2.99.  Check it out!

Trenches On Sale For $0.99 Today, and $1.99 For the Weekend

The spectacular hybrid-genre WWI themed game Trenches is on sale for only 99 cents today, and $1.99 for the weekend. Grab it fast, because it’s definitely a game that deserves a space on your iPhone or iPod Touch. We reviewed the game a couple of days ago, and rated it a Must Have. At the current price point, you can’t go wrong.