Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Godus - Time is precious

One of the best computer games I've ever played in the late 80s/early 90s was Populous by Peter Molyneux, a genre breaking app which spawned a whole industry of "god" games, so it was with great excitement that i saw Godus by 22Cans on the App Store, designed by Peter himself, and widely regarded as the spiritual successor to Populous.

The price tag rang warning bells in my head though: it was free (with in-app purchases). "But it's Populous for iOS," I thought. I had to give it a try.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Battleheart Legacy Review

When the mostly text-based Wizardry was released in September 1981 for the Apple II, it sparked a revolution in computer role-playing games (RPG), not because it was the first to cover this genre but because its complexity coupled with ease of use, and highly versatile adventure, sparked the imagination of hundreds of thousands of players.

Fast forward to January 2011 and a host of imitators and innovators later, Mika Mobile released their own interpretation of an RPG for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, Battleheart. Again, they weren't the first to market, not by a long shot, but their lovely cartoon-like environment, original animation, and easy to master yet engrossing combat, made that game a highly enjoyable experience, well geared for mobile gaming.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Puppet Pals - Interview with Polished Play

Stop motion animation can be a lot of fun; there’s always something magical about seeing inanimate objects move seemingly by themselves. But there’s one major inherent problem with this creative endeavour: it’s a painfully slow process - assuming you work in PAL, you must move your objects and characters a little bit at a time, recording the process twenty-five time just to produce one second of video. The results are often worth it, of course, but it’s definitely an exercise in patience. This is where Lance Harris and Heber Sheffield, the founders of Polished Play come in; they created a set of apps for iPad to turn this process upside down and enable anyone to create animated scenes in minutes, rather than days.

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Leo's Fortune - Interview with 1337 & Senri

Leo's gold has gone missing. The thief has left a trail of coins like breadcrumbs to tease him into finding his hoard again, and thus begins the premise of this original game from 1337 & Senri.

Leo himself is a beautifully rendered ball of blue/green fur - with a large moustache and an Eastern European accent. You make him move to the left and right by dragging your finger on the left side of the screen, while the right side controls his up and down movement. Like a puffer fish, Leo can make himself bigger, which enables him to float and avoid obstacles, or slow down his fall. All of this is extremely well demonstrated in the tutorial.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Hints & Tips #1 - Emoji on iOS

I've been asked about this a few times so I thought it best to set it in stone, or at least in the ever flowing posts of my site.

Emoji are a series of pictograms, similar to smileys but much broader in scope, which originated in Japan, and thanks to mobile computing, their use is spreading fast.

Most modern operating systems allow you to see them in the messages, tweets, and Facebook posts you receive (if not, all you'll see are white squares where those images should be), but how do you get to use them yourself?

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Axl and Tuna - Interview with Game Collage

It's been two and a half years since Bobo leapt onto the scene and delighted numerous iPad owners and their children with its wonderful educational adventures and charmingly quirky personality, effortlessly teaching kids all about the mysteries of light.

But Game Collage haven't been idle since: they've been working on a game which they're releasing today called Axl and Tuna and I spoke to Juraj Hlaváč, developer of the two-man team that created this latest endless runner.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Monument Valley - Interview with Ustwo

We keep hearing bleak news when it comes to the App Store; what was once a thriving and exciting revolution is giving way to "me too" apps, poor clones of successful games and a cataclysmic avalanche of "freemium" games based on grabbing as much money out of you or your children as possible through the highly deceptive use of in-app purchases.

But every now and again, something surprises and delights you, and reminds you that games are meant to give players pleasure, not frustration. Monument Valley does exactly that.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

ANM News Flash: White Pride Standoff

A demonstration in support of White Pride turned into a fiasco in Swansea on Saturday when it became clear that none of the parties present were singing from the same hymn sheet.

The confusion began this week after Councillor David Phillips had stated his objection to the far right demo taking place in the city and seeking police co-operation to relegate it to a less central location.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Paving Paradise: Bag Up the Bay

As you'd expect Swansea city council regularly cleans its beaches, but the recent storms have washed up more waste than usual and a special volunteer's day was organised to give the main beach a good once over.

Over 100 people took part and collected an impressive 1,020kg of rubbish.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

ANM News Flash - ATOS Demo, Swansea

Citizens met outside Atos Offices in Grove Place in Swansea on Wednesday, as they did in cities and towns all over the UK to protest at the manner in which Atos, a French multinational contracted by the Coalition Government to oversea disability assessments and cuts has conducted itself.

MacWorld Article: iMovie Tutorial: How to use the Precision Editor in iMovie for the iPad

Despite the fact that iMovie for iOS is a single program, capable of running on any compatible device, be it an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad, some features can only be accessed on the latter. One of these is known as the Precision Editor. We've looked before at how it works on a Mac, so let's see what you can do with it on an iPad. [Read the read at MacWorld UK]

Monday, 17 February 2014

MacWorld Article: Nine of the best science-based education apps for the iPad/iPhone

The iPad is ushering a revolution in the world of education. Now, not only can you read about information, you can interact with it as well, even if you’re nowhere near lab or can’t perform hands-on experiments. It also allows you to gain access to a museum’s exhibits without ever having to leave your desk (or bed, or bench, but possibly not your bath).
We’ve collected nine of the best science-based education apps out there, from old classics to brand new additions. Together, they will show you what you can achieve with today’s technology and perhaps open your mind to what will be possible in the future. [Read the rest at MacWorld UK]

Friday, 14 February 2014

MacWorld Article: How to create titles in iMovie for Mac

Titles are an essential part of your home movies. Obviously, any movie needs a title, but you can also use them to introduce a new person, as we often see in documentaries or news reports, or new locations, for instance. iMovie 10’s title options are a bit of a mixed bag: you have at your disposal 48 different ones to choose from, but although most contain dynamic and animated effects, too many can’t be edited - you can’t even change the letters’ colour in some of them. Veteran iMovie users will be disappointed by this, and it’s possible that this may be a bug in the software. But as we wait for Apple to fix this, let’s have a look at how titles work in iMovie 10. [Read the rest at MacWorld UK]

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

MacWorld Article: Create a movie trailer using iMovie on the iPad or iPhone

Making a movie can be a lot of fun, especially on a small portable device, since you can shoot your project and have it finished and ready to share by the time you get back home. Depending on your data plan, you might even be able to upload it to YouTube before you reach your doorstep.

But if you want to do a good job of it, you’ll quickly find out that editing takes time, so how do you balance a fine edit with a quick short film to share with your friends and family? By making a trailer. [Read the rest at MacWorld UK]

MacWorld Article: Fine tune a movie using iMovie for Mac Precision Editor

The latest version of iMovie has seen many changes, with numerous features having been removed for the sake of keeping video editing as simple as possible. The idea seems to be that if you wish to have more advanced tools, an inexpensive and professional-grade application is available under the name of Final Cut Pro X. But this doesn’t mean that iMovie has been reduced to an absolutely bare-bones program. There are many features available to you to help you fine tune your edit with great precision, just like the appropriately named ‘Precision Editor’ which we’ll be exploring in detail. [Read the rest at MacWorld UK]

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Breathing Water

Anyone who's done a bit of scuba diving would relish the idea of breathing underwater without having to bother with any cumbersome equipment. Bite down on a small device's mouth piece and breathe normally, while it extracts the oxygen you need from the surrounding water, as you need it. This is of course the stuff of science fiction.

Which is why a recent article in the Daily Mail sounded intriguing. It's about Jeabyun Yeon, a South Korean designer, who claims to be working on such a device. It's not even a proof of concept yet, just an idea, but the hopes is that with Triton, people will be able to breathe underwater.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Bountiful and Safe Energy - The Lure of Helium-3

We’re facing a lot of problems as a species: one of them is our ever-increasing need for energy, which is putting a huge amount of pressure on our environment. There’s no denying that we’re responsible for Climate Change, no matter what the politicians say - well, there is, as long as you choose to ignore the 9,135 scientists who are convinced our pollution is affecting the planet’s atmosphere, and listen to the solitary academic who says it’s nothing to do with us.

In our quest to find alternatives, we have those who still like to burn stuff, with shale gas being the latest exciting energy du jour among big companies and politicians, but definitely not among the general population. It’s ironic, for instance, that France has banned fracking in its territory, so French company Total is investing in the UK’s own fracking efforts.

But what are we to do? We’re constantly told that solar and wind technology aren't there yet (but frankly, if every roof had some panels and every garden had a wind turbine, I’m sure it would greatly alleviate our need to burn or frack anything, don’t you?), and nuclear power although highly effective (France derives over 75% of its electricity from it), is also fatally dangerous when things go wrong (Fukushima, anyone?)

In all the discussion, another form of non-polluting energy has popped up in recent years, Helium-3. What is it and could we ever use it to supply our gargantuan appetite for power?

Thursday, 9 January 2014

God is Love: Wholesome Christian Values

I had an interesting conversation with my father the other day. He's currently attending a series of lectures which attempt to analyse when and why man invented god.

During our talk, he told me that his own belief is there's nothing after death. We die, and that's it. This was interesting because it made me wonder why he chose to indoctrinate my brother and I into the Christian religion, and I took this opportunity to ask him.

His response was that it was important to be taught the beliefs of one's culture and that it offered us roots and values. In fact, values was the most important thing to get out of the Fibble.

I was doing a little research on the Fibble recently about the events surrounding Jesus' birth, and I'd amassed a lot of other notes about what this particular god was supposed to have taught us. I could see that when it comes to values, it was really far from clear how this belief system offered us a good guide to how any society should behave, at least one that claims to be loving and supporting. Since I have three daughters, I have a particular interest in how women are treated, but I've also touched on other aspects to hopefully offer a clearer picture of the kind of society Jehovah wants us to have.