Gamers Should Embrace Nintendo’s Mobile Decision

Posted on Mar 24, 2015

Gamers Should Embrace Nintendo’s Mobile Decision

If you’re plugged into gaming news, you may have heard about Nintendo’s big announcement this past week: they’re officially tossing their hat into mobile gaming. It’s not entirely clear when we’ll see the first results of this new business venture—rumors show that the first app should arrive before the end of 2015—or what we can expect to see from said results. However, it’s an exciting bit of news from one of gaming’s oldest names, and it’s something that fans of the big N need to embrace. That sentiment was driven home in an editorial at Tech Times, where writer Timothy Torres smartly points out that Nintendo is simply looking to drive more attention to their primary products, the Wii U and 3DS. Torres said that the mobile games will serve as “commercials” for the console/handheld titles for which Nintendo is known, such as the much-loved Super Mario, Legend of Zelda, and Mario Kart franchises. To that end, why should anyone worry about having a mobile game based on one of those series? Simply put: they shouldn’t. That’s especially true considering that the president of Nintendo, Satoru Iwata, made the following statement to TIME upon his company’s announcement: “We have come to the stage where we can say that we will be able to develop and operate software which, in the end, will not hurt the value of Nintendo IP but, rather, will become an opportunity for the great number of people around the world who own smart devices—but do not have interest in dedicated video game hardware—to be interested in Nintendo IP and eventually to become fans of our dedicated game systems.” In other words, this is simply a way to bring more people to Nintendo’s bread and butter, also known as the aforementioned Wii U and 3DS. Now, if the apps end up being lackluster, it’s understandable that some people will be upset. But for the time being, let’s put some faith in the big N and see where this takes us. The Timing is Perfect This decision to branch out into other areas of gaming can only help, and not hurt, Nintendo and their status as one of the big three companies in gaming (the other two being Sony and Microsoft). This is particularly true in considering how the big N has struggled to sell units of its latest console, the Wii U, which finally saw some improvements sales-wise in the second-half of last year. As was written here, Mario Kart 8 played a huge role in that, as did the release of Super Smash Bros for Wii U, Bayonetta 2, and several other notable titles. Even so, Nintendo can get all the help they can get in terms of ramping up their revenue stream at this point. The gaming world does not need another SEGA—or, gulp, Atari—on its hands anytime soon. It’s also worth noting that...

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Video games that prove iPhone and tables can be great platforms for interactive storytelling

Posted on Feb 18, 2015

Video games that prove iPhone and tables can be great platforms for interactive storytelling

Generally speaking, mobile games are considered casual affairs. Most of them are just meant to be time-killers, and only several feature meaningful storylines. “Angry Birds” and “Cut the Rope” for example, are not famous for their plot but rather for their tricky gameplay. If you’re crazy about puzzling stories and challenging narratives, the following iPhone and iPad games will exceed all your expectations. Device 6  The moment it was released, Device 6 managed to grab attention, and most fans of the genre were rather disappointed because the game didn’t last longer. Rather than have killer graphics, this mind-blowing iOS puzzler made use of clever and beautiful typography, as well as minimalistic art to tell the story of a woman who finds herself in a strange place at a strange time. Device 6 is amazing because it challenges and entices imagination. Players must solve puzzles that seem complicated at a first glimpse. In fact, they’re not impossible to decipher. Unless you have the most perfect memory, you’ll need a piece of paper and a pen to write down clues. Also, make sure you’re using high-quality headphones because many of the hints are hidden in the background. Broken Age Broken Age is a point-and-click adventure game for iPhones and tablets centered on two stories. In the first story, we have a rebellious girl who decides that she’s not willing to sacrifice herself to a devouring monster; the other story is centered on a spaceship-bound boy who doesn’t want to be a computer-controlled freak anymore. Players can choose which of these two stories they want to play; to keep things fresh, they can select both of them. In the beginning, players will be bewitched by the fairytale-inspired scenario of Broken Age. The beautifully-crafted narrative blends smoothly with the whimsical game’s general allure. As childish as it may look on the outside, this game has a darker side players will stumble upon as soon as they start playing it. The themes are surprisingly mature and grim, so it’s not really a kid’s game. Child of Light Another incredible video game released at the beginning of 2014 was “Child of Light”. The story does an excellent job at grabbing attention from the very beginning. Gamers play Aurora, a girl who finds herself lost in a mystifying universe called Lemuria. This dark, magical land terrifies Aurora, but as you start playing the game, you begin to understand that she holds the power to bring the kingdom back to life. The main protagonist is not just brave, but also tough and willing to face all her fears to get back home. The storyline is extremely complex. Aurora makes a few friends in the game, too; they will help her complete her quest and win important battles with the monsters. “Child of Light” has the most mysterious narrative. It constantly teases the player into believing that something...

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Walkthrough of making a Match-3 game map

Posted on Nov 28, 2014

Walkthrough of making a Match-3 game map

We’re making map art for a Match-3 game recently(working as art vendor). Thanks to the excessive kindness of our client, we are allowed to post some unreleased contents here, to share the walkthrough of making one map, under the condition that we don’t mention their company and the upcoming game name. The game is for mobile, and the map is the popular vertical scroll format. This map features a difficult path goes through the wilderness of Bavaria area. The art style is like this:   1.Concept stage: We get inspiration from photos of this area, and some concept art from Disney’s Frozen. The most prominent feature of this region is the beautiful Neuschwanstein Castle, frozen mountains, lakes. 2.Layout stage: Before drawing line art for the map, we need to block out the layout in a quick way. We piece up some photos, adding some rough painting. You can see the perspective doesn’t fit into the final map, it doesn’t matter. When you make the rough layout for your map, you can use all the drawing styles which are convenient to you. On this layout, we would mind the horizontal position of the path entrance and exit points(the client would specify it), because the path should connect seamlessly to the previous & next maps. And the length of the path should be carefully planned, to accommodate the level nodes on it. The client would tell you there are how many levels on this map, and give you the level icon to place on the map. We would try to place the icons on the layout, the interval between levels should feel comfortable, not to make the path too crammed.   You may note that this map is a bit longer than an iphone’s screen. The bottom and top portion is used for map transition. In finished art, we paint these areas too.   3.Line art stage:   Line art is the basis we use it to color the picture, work up to the production quality picture which we use in-game. The line art should fit to the perspective of the project definition, for example, the perspective of Jelly Splash map is almost flat side view, while Farm Hero Saga map uses a 45 degrees high angle.   Here is the picture we use to establish perspective, of course this fits to all the previous maps of the game. And at this stage, we should give everything well defined design. Actually we don’t make a single thing purely out of imagination, we always base the design on real world reference. And do some cartoonish exaggeration, to make the design fit to the style of the game. And it’s important to populate the scene with small things. For example, if the scene is an old Chinese street, we can put in flag posts, stools, snack booth, barrels, lanterns. They would make the...

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The secret behind Wii U game development

Posted on Nov 21, 2014

The secret behind Wii U game development

Gaming consoles are still among the most popular means of gaming among gaming enthusiasts, nowadays providing some serious competition to PC gaming. However, while two big names in the industry – Sony and Microsoft – have no trouble keeping up with PCs, another industry giant in the field of gaming consoles is having trouble keeping up with the rest of the consoles, and doesn’t ever dare dreaming of competing with PCs. Yes, unfortunately we’re talking about Nintendo, an iconic name in the field of gaming consoles. Not only did Nintendo failed to come up with a console that’s powerful enough to challenge the PlayStation 4 or the Xbox One, but on the software side the things are not too pretty either, with developers having a really hard time pushing out games for Nintendo’s latest creation – the Nintendo Wii U. So, what lead to this situation? Several factors, actually. Let’s take them one by one. It’s all about size The first and most important obstacle came from the creator of the console itself – Nintendo. Their vision was to create a console that’s too small and too quiet. Sure, innovation is always good, as long as huge performance sacrifices are not made for the sake of innovation. Sadly, that’s exactly what happened with the Nintendo Wii U: in the race to make the console small, quiet and basically barely noticeable, Nintendo sacrificed valuable hardware space and had to opt for less-powerful hardware for physical and heat considerations. As a result, the Nintendo Wii U comes with an under-powered processor. Development challenges As you can easily guess, the lack of a powerful enough processor is the first major challenge game developers have to face. An under-powered processor is a huge setback, especially in a time when games are expected to be playable in a high-definition format. Add the fact that Nintendo wanted to rely on its new touch-screen enabled controller as a unique control feature and you will understand that game developers were facing a very sensitive situation – developing high-quality content that will run on low-performance components. To make things even worse, the console came with only 2 gigabytes of DDR3 RAM memory; as a comparison, both the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One come with 8GB of RAM. The cherry on top was the fact that the development kits provided by Nintendo are considerably more difficult to use than most SDKs out there, turning the developers’ jobs even harder than it already was. Graphics save the day While the processor and the RAM didn’t help the Wii U very much, the tiny console did have an ace up its sleeve – it came with a pretty powerful graphics processor. Since developers were already desperate, and willing to hang to everything that could save them, the over-powered GPU didn’t go unnoticed, and it essentially became the salvation piece. Essentially,...

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iPhone 6 Plus – taking mobile gaming to another level

Posted on Nov 19, 2014

iPhone 6 Plus – taking mobile gaming to another level

Now that Apple has entered the “phablet” category with its iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, let’s see if the device qualifies to be a comprehensive gaming device. From a design point of view, we must admit that iPhone 6 Plus rocks. Who wouldn’t want to own a golden smartphone that’s sleek, smooth and incredibly stylish? As far as gaming is concerned, some experts agree that the 6 Plus is better than any other smartphone currently available in stores. It’s not because the screen is bigger, but because of the phone’s extended battery life, exquisite graphics and enhanced gaming speed. In spite of a killer design, what are under the hood matters morefor layers to enjoy a flawless gaming experience? The HD Retina display offers improved gaming The new iPhone 6 Plus prides itself with a bigger Retina display. Gamers will be able to admire high-resolution graphics, but they’ll also love that whole screen gives them more freedom. In specific games, the device offers more on-screen UI elements, thus allowing gamers to make in-game changes much easier. Because of the wider screen, your fingers won’t obscure important areas on the display throughout gameplay; thus, the games will be more enjoyable than on smaller iPhones. Size matters Playing games on previous iPhone versions was possible with one hand. On the iPhone 6 Plus, you need two. Most games will have you using both hands because the device is just too big. This is not a drawback, on the contrary; the experience is similar to playing games on handheld consoles like PlayStation Vita and Nintendo DS. In theory, games such ‘Desert Golfing’ and ‘Fruit Ninja’ can be played with one finger; in practice, you need two hands – one to hold the iPhone and another to swipe with your index finger. Why is the 6 Plus better at gaming than its predecessors? Because it’s large enough for players with big hands and “fat” fingers. Believe it or not, this is an issue. Better processors Both iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have improved processors with better graphics. The intriguing A8 processor doesn’t just speed up the in-game loop, it also makes the games look better. Apple is always trying to be one step ahead of its competitors, so they launched METAL, a tool kit for game developers meant to help them craft better-looking graphics. Recent versions of Modern Combat 5 and Asphalt 8 were just tweaked with METAL, and apparently the new improvements are quite noticeable. We must admit that iPhone 6 Plus is packed with killer graphics capabilities that might crush other handheld gaming devices. The overall gaming experience on the new device is greatly improved, so it’s safe to assume that Apple has even higher plans for upcoming iPhone versions. Are they planning on taking down gaming consoles for good? iPhone 6 Plus – an incredible gaming device iPhone 6 Plus...

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Best Android Games Available in the Google Play Store in 2014

Posted on Nov 6, 2014

Best Android Games Available in the Google Play Store in 2014

New games keep appearing in the Google Play Store every day, with a dizzying assortment. 2014 has been an interesting year for gaming. The popularity of games that are “free with in-app purchases” has been on the decline, but they’re still out there, along with paid and totally free games. Whether you prefer games that last a few minutes, or a four-hour marathon session, there are Android games that you’ll enjoy. Here are some of the best for 2014. Angry Birds Space After the stunning popularity of the original Angry Birds, the question was what the developers could do next. This space-based version is a worthy successor, with some imaginative twists. The birds and pigs are still there, but the physics of the game are different out in space. You need to consider gravity and orbits when deciding how to fire your birds at their targets, and the new levels offer some interesting challenges. Modern Combat 5: Blackout If you like the shoot-em-up type of game, then this latest installment of Gameloft’s Modern Combat is one for you to try. It’s all about men with guns roaming around and shooting each other, with nice 3D graphicsand incredible visuals. The mobile version carries on the theme from the home console games. This one is a paid game, with no in-app purchases – $6.99. Badland This unusual game has an indie feel to it, as you fly about a world that is dark, weird and more than a little spooky. You’re flying in a type of blob, which can grow or shrink, or break itself up into clones. You never know what’s waiting for you around the next corner in this quirky game. If you like surprises, then you’ll appreciate Badland because it’s full of them. Oh, and did we mention that it’s free? Threes! This math game is simple to learn (30 seconds at the most), yet remarkably absorbing. The concept is that you move numbers around on the screen so that you can create multiples of three. There have been plenty of clones created of this game, but the original is still the best, and the game is well worth the small price. Cut the Rope: Time Travel This physics-based game is one of the most popular game franchises in the Google Play Store, and this is the latest update in the series. Like the earlier games, players swing ropes around on colorful screens, but this updated edition adds a few new weapons and tricks. There are plenty of levels to keep you occupied for days. If you haven’t had a chance to download it yet, you should hurry up as Om Nom is dead hungry. QuizUp This clever game is a pub quiz which you can play with friends or random strangers. There are a massive number of categories available, so you’re not going to get bored, or...

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