Friday, July 15, 2011

AAQR: HydroTilt Live Wallpaper (free, $0.70)

Hydrotilt is basically a "fluid sim" where it pretends your phone has some sort of liquid behind it. In the free version it's just water.

In the paid version you get beer or champagne.

Tilt the phone and watch the liquid level react to the "sloshing around". It is... somewhat amusing.

HydroTilt Live Wallpaper Free

HydroTilt Live Wallpaper, $0.70 (approx)
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AAQR: Tape-a-Talk (free, $5.70)

Tape-A-Talk is a no-frills but robust audio recorder that will continue to record even if the screen times out, perfect for recording lectures and whatnot. You can choose to share the result with others through various "share" options, but is that really a feature? The interesting part is the ability to record in low fidelity (8-bit vs. 16-bit), low-bitrate (all the way down to 8 Khz and up to 44 Khz), and choose between regular WAV/PCM and compressed 3GP.

The pro version has a few more tricks, like widgets, forward/rewind, edit/trim, and a few others. And it's ad-free.

Personally, free version does everything I need.

Tape-A-talk, free

Tape-A-Talk Pro, $5.70
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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Unplanned Outage (outrage?) of LWP round up, now 210 LWPs reviewed

After pruning and new updates, we're now back to 210 LWPs, and there are dozens more to be added!

There was an unplanned outage, because there was sort of a change on what links are allowed to one's own blog, even though the links are perfectly legitimate and on-topic. Oh well, thus are the rules.

EDIT: *cough* here's the link

Any way, enjoy the improved roundup!
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AAQR: Canopy Live Wallpaper (free, $0.99)

Canopy Live Wallpaper use iterative graphics to give you the impression that you are forever falling through branches of a huge tree. It is rather cute, at least at first. There are few options like rainbow-colored branches and different backgrounds, but the animation, albeit quite smooth, gets boring rather quickly.

Pro version have leaves on the branches and other eye candy.

Give it a try?

Canopy Live Wallpaper free

Canopy Live Wallpaper Pro, $0.99
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AAQR: Hundred Pushups ($1.22)

This app is the official app of the It is basically a training program to help train you to be more fit. Instead of those TV programs that goes by various fancy names, this one costs much much less, and even logs your progress.

The app is pretty simple: it tells you what "program" you should be doing on a certain day. If you admit you did it, voila! You go on to the next program. Hopefully, in 6 weeks, you'll be much fitter with stronger biceps!

Push ups are pretty simple, so there's no fancy animations, or pretty graphics to inspire you. On the other hand, this doesn't cost a lot of money either.

If you are interested in fitness, this app is worth trying.
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AAQR: Safari! / Safari! HD (free, $1.99)

NOTE: There are four versions of this: regular, regular lite, HD, and HD lite. The lite versions are free.

Safari! is basically another variant on Bejeweled, except the board is now "hex", and you remove tiles by "tracing" the matching and touching ones. All the hexes are animals: lion, zebra, hippo, elephant, and later, monkey and others. In the screenshot, this guy was able to trace/chain together 24 different elephant hexes.

There are multiple game modes (lite version only have 'survival')

  • 'survival' (until your time runs out, but the more you do the more time you got)
  • 'time attack' 100 seconds to see how many points you can score
  • 'endless' see how many you can do until you ran out of moves?
The HD version has better graphics, basically, but plays the same. The tiles are based on various animals you can find on an African safari, such as lions, monkeys, elephants, giraffes, and so on. 

Gameplay has little to do with safari. I guess if you need a bit of diversion playing the lite version ain't bad. The other modes? Rather superfluous, IMHO. 

Safari! Lite, free
Safari! HD Lite, free
Safari!  $1.99
Safari! HD, $1.99

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

AAQR: Loop Wallpapers (free)

Loop Wallpapers is a collection of Android wallpapers specifically designed for "loop" desktops, where if you swipe right, from the right-most screen on the "desktop", you loop around to the leftmost screen. These wallpapers are "seamless" looping.

The wallpapers are not bad, but most of them tends to be on the bright side, very few dark ones. As I use a dark theme, that's annoying.
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AAQR: Toodle Droid (tools, productivity)

ToodleDroid is basically a simple and unofficial Android client to ToodleDo, the online Todo List. The basic service is free. You can pay for more capabilities in the enhanced versions, but that's between you and ToodleDo.

This app is very basic, and lacks any visual flair. It's large font text all the way. It will store your stuff for offline use and resync later.

You can define a ton of contexts, tags, classifications, types, and so on. As you can see in the pix to the right you can even define colors for entries in certain categories. You can easily implement GTD with this.

With a ton of other ToDo apps out there, this one ranks pretty low, having almost no "flair" to it. Still you are looking for a VERY plain ToodleDo client this may fit your bill.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

SIDENOTE: has Motorola Xoom tablet for $399!

Image representing Woot as depicted in CrunchBaseImage via deals are only good for 24 hours... or until inventory is depleted.

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AAQR: Abduction 2 (free, $2.19)

Abduction 2 is sequel to Abduction, where a cow tries to jump its way into the UFO that abducted her friends (and nearly got her) and save all of them.

The controls are simple: you merely tilt the phone left and right to control the jump and fall trajectory. There are of course a few things in the way...

Unfortunately, this app doesn't work on my OG Droid. It just quits as I got into the game. Your experience may vary. (The original worked quite well).

Abduction 2, $2.19

Abduction 2 Demo, free

AAQR: Age of Zombies (shooter, $1.49)

Age of Zombies is a dual-stick shooter, which means you can move in one direction and shoot in another direction. The best known example is probably Robotron 2084, and an Android example would be Pewpew.

It sounds like a fun little game, but unfortunately it won't start on my OG Droid. I guess it needed too much memory.

Amazon exclusive:
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AAQR: Convertr (Utility, $0.99)

Convertr is an almost universal converter of units, from almost anything to almost anything else. Area, volume, density, force, power, length, weight, angle, and more are all possible. You can even activate / deactivate the stuff you never use. That's pretty interesting.

I don't know about paying 99 cents for it though. You can get access to that on Google easily. There are also a ton of other apps that do the same thing, albeit not as pretty, but free. So do you need this app? Maybe not.

This was give away one day on Amazon Appstore. $0.99

AAQR: Pocket Yoga ($2.99)

Pocket Yoga
screenshot courtesy of Appbrain
Pocket Yoga is like a personal yoga instructor in your pocket... at least that's what the app maker says.

Basically, you get Flash-type animations demonstrating the various poses, and gives you several different practices, with choices of duration and difficulty. The app claims over 100 different illustrations, and is completely self-contained (no network access needed). On the other hand, it's also 20+ MB download and install.

While the idea of Yoga instruction in a pocket is fine, Yoga really needs to be on a TV (DVD) or even a live instructor. This is better than nothing though.

This is a paid app, but were given away on Amazon for a day. It's okay, but not great.  $2.99
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Monday, July 11, 2011

AAQR: Honeycomb Launcher

Android 3.0/3.1 Honeycomb launcher tries to do away with physical buttons by adding virtual buttons in the "command bar", and Honeycomb launcher tries to bring the look and feel of that Launcher to pre-Honeycomb Android.

Thus far, it has succeeded, for the most part, and the most you use it, the more you realize WHY did Google gave Honeycomb to tablets first: the interface is indeed optimized for tablets, with no icon labels, higher density grid in both desktop and app drawer, and a few other interesting tweaks.

The launcher is a pretty faithful representation of the buttons and such. It only LOOKS like Honeycomb, of course, but you can probably fake out some friends with it.

Rating: Worth a try, esp. since it's free
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AAQR: Wizard Wars LWP (free, DO NOT DOWNLOAD)

Wizard Wars has a very retro look: a single "wizard" shoots "fireballs" at the bad guys. Unfortunately, this LWP includes the darn "AirPush" that pops up advertisements in your notification area. Do not download!

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AAQR: Fieldrunners HD (game, $2.99)

FieldrunnersImage via WikipediaFieldRunners HD is a traditional fixed-grid tower defense game where the objective is to stop the enemies from getting through. Enemies comes in all types that different in hitpoints, speed, travel method, and resistance. Air units don't follow your "grid" so they need to be dealt with separately.

You on the other hand, have 7 types of towers (only 4 or 6 available though) to defend the area with. The regular weapons are:

Each is upgradeable to level 3

Extended game adds two more types:

  • flamer
  • mortar

Then Crystal caves added some sort of super-short-range "canister" shooter.

You have "20 lives", so let no more than 19 through in 100 attack waves, and you can win the game. It's not easy though.

I've played FieldRunners on my BREW phone, and I thought I pretty much mastered it, and the HD version throws in a new wrinkle: a new level called "Crystal Caves" and a new weapon as well. Neat! Some of the maps feature multiple entrances and exits, and that makes the game very interesting indeed.

The graphics are much improved. Units now walk properly, though they still flip and die like. There are random small animations on the field, such as "entrance and exit lights" that tell you enemies are coming in additional to the arrows. The fast forward mode lets the game run at super-speed so you can see if you can make enough money to buy that next tower or not. The pause mode is there too.

Upgrades are instantaneous, no artificial delay here. You can even pause and put in additional towers or sell existing towers. You'll take some loss of course.

The controls are very smooth, even on my OG Droid (albeit my Droid's overclocked).

For $1.99 this game is worth every penny.
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AAQR: 180 / 180 Ultra (free, $1.99) game

180 / 180 Ultra is basically a relative of Tetris and Bejeweled. The premise is simple: the "tiles" keep falling from above. If they reach the bottom of the screen, it's game over! To remove the encroaching tiles, you can "shoot" your "next tile" at the dropping tiles to make 3-in-a-row, which will remove all touching tiles of same color (and if you can make other tiles make 3-in-a-row as well, you'll get chain bonus. If you don't see any tiles you can shoot, you can tap the tile to "flip" them to a different color. (You can flip your next tile also).

The mechanics are pretty simple, yet somewhat addictive. Not as simple as Bejeweled or Tetris, but a fun combo nonetheless.

Given away by Amazon Appstore for July 11th, 2011. Get it before it's too late!

AAQR: Gravity Home (home launcher / live wallpaper)

Gravity Home is a weird hybrid of home launcher a live wallpaper.

Having a live wallpaper launch apps is not new. There have been several attempts before, but none quite like this one.

Basically, the icons of apps you choose become bouncing objects on the desktop, as they rotate and react to the screen orientation, and bounce off each other. Lean the phone over and they gather in the lower corner. And os on.

And if you manage to click on one of the apps icons, you'll launch that app.

Fun to play a trick on a friend... Make an empty screen with no icons, then load this live wallpaper, and drive your friend crazy.

Try it!
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AAQR: Shapes LWP

LCARSImage via WikipediaClearly an attempt to emulate the Star Trek: The Next Generation LCARS look, Shapes LWP looks quite bad, doesn't align with the grid densities, and fonts are not quite right. Even the color scheme looks off. Animations are somewhat reminiscent of LCARS, but overall, the feeling is just not there.

Rating: skip it
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Sunday, July 10, 2011

AAQR: Paper Glider (game, no rating)

Paper Glider is basically a 2D version of "My Paper Airplane" with a few improvements like badges, equipment shop, and so on.

Unfortunately, it won't run on my OG Droid (overclocked, CM7.1RC1) it just quits right after the title screen, no error message.

No rating. You may have better luck than I do.

Amazon Exclusive: Paper Glider  free on 10-JUL-2011, $0.99 otherwise
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A Couple Hints on Game Dev Story

Game Dev Story (from Kairosoft) has a lot of little things you don't quite "get" at first, and only learn after repeating games.

all of the combinations that works are successful games in real-life.

Just think about it (following list borrowed from Phillipe Wampfler's blog)

RPG / Fantasy -- just about most RPGs!
Simulation/ Romance -- Japanese 'dating sims'
Simulation / Movies -- "The Movies"
Simulation / Game Co -- what you're playing!
Simulation / Architecture -- SimCity
Action/ Ninja -- Ninja Gaiden
Adventure / Mystery -- most "Murder Mystery" adventure games
Adventure / Cartoon -- Sam and Max, any one?
Shooter / Robot -- Mechwarrior
Shooter / War -- Call of Duty
Life / Animal -- Virtual Pet like Nintendogs
Puzzle / Reversi -- obvious
Audio Novel / Romance -- dating sim again?
Motion / Volleyball -- virtual Volleyball?
Table / Mahjong -- obvous

Workers do NOT want to work on a project three times in a row.

Only use each one twice, then go to someone else. The best pattern is probably two internal, then go to a contractor, and repeat. Else, you'll get low productivity, as the guy will burn out. Or alternate internal / external.

There are FOUR skills, but a lot more than 8 jobs. 
  • Programming is for just about everything (keyboard icon)
  • Storyline is done with creativity (gold ball icon)
  • Graphics is done with graphics (paint easel icon)
  • Sound is done with sound (trumpet icon) 
To do really big games, you need to expand to a bigger office and expand your staff. What you can do with only 4 people is limited.

Developement cycle matters

You want to time it so the game hits about Christmas. You will want to monitor how much development you can do until then. Usually, this means you start about late July / Early August, depending on how many bugs do you have crush. You may want consider using one of those "specials" to make things go faster / better. 

Use advertisement!

Advertising will get you more audience, which drives up sales. Different advertising methods have different costs and different effects. Some generate hype, some generate "popularity" for company, and some do both! 

Train those Employees, or fire them and hire new ones. 

Check for new candidates every 6-12 months. While it sure has sentimental value to grow a set of employees from scratch, it's not the most efficient. 

Stay tuned for more tips!

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