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Misc news (07/10/2008)

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By Menneisyys, Retired Moderator on 11th July 2008, 12:49 AM
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There’s a really interesting article comparing the built-in camera of the four most widely discussed new Windows Mobile phones: HTC Touch Diamond, HTC Touch Pro, Samsung Omnia, Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1. There is also a dedicated PPCT thread HERE, with some of my comments.

(game announcement heads-up source:

1. Xassar's Quest is a new RPG from ClimbWalls. I’ve played it a bit. Unfortunately, the developers’ being a newcomer definitely shows: it’s quite bug-ridden. It’s really slow on my VGA HTC Universal while it offers no high-resolution VGA support. It isn’t faster on my HTC Wizard either. Also, it very often shows just a white screen to the gamer, which, fortunately, goes away after a screen tap. I could only make it faster by disabling both the sound engine and the “high graphics”. The latter, fortunately, only resulted in a much uglier “fog of war” effect and had no effect on the character / enemy / object sprites. After this, I wasn’t able to re-enable sounds / music to see whether it’s the sound engine that really slows the game down.

On the other hand, it has nice, stereo music; might be worth a try if you’re into top-view RPG’s. Otherwise, forget it and wait for a heavily bugfixed, optimized version – currently, it’s just too slow. There’re several other RPG’s for Windows Mobile offering much better playability. Or, if you have a (preferably high-res) Palm or a sufficiently powerful VGA Pocket PC, go for EDGE (on Pocket PC’s, with the Palm emulator StyleTao), the probably best RPG ever released for PDA platforms.

2. There’s a new adventure game, Igor, from a new Windows Mobile gaming publisher company, Summer Goth Studios. I’ve played the demo through (it took me about 10 minutes – yes, the demo is VERY short). I’ve requested a review copy; the developers promised it, along with a lot of enhancements, would be sent to me in about a week. I’ll keep you posted as soon as I manage to play it though. At a first glance, it seems to be better than some of the anti-adventure games like Lost in the Pyramid. As the demo was really short, making it impossible to get a real picture of the quality and abundance of the in-game sounds (the demo was pretty bad in this respect), music (if any – I haven’t encountered any) and whether the storyline is (any) good, I can’t say more about the title.

3. It was some three months ago that GameZoneProject has released Towers Trap for multiple smart phone platforms (both Windows Mobile platforms, Symbian and desktop Windows), a real-time strategy game. A new, 1.1 version with a sound bugfix has recently been released.

It’s looks a bit like PocketMoreGames’ Tower Defence and is highly recommended, the most recommended game of the bunch. Make sure you give it a try. Note that it makes use of the high resolution of VGA screens, which is pretty much welcome in games like this. Unfortunately, the tutorial message boxes don’t display the end of several messages; fortunately, you can still do some guesswork, which means you can easily absorb the tutorial. This isn’t a problem on QVGA devices, where, in addition, the game is MUCH faster than on VGA ones.

4. ConcreteSoft has come out with another camera-controlled (remember their 3D Lawn Darts?) game, PBA Bowling, for both Windows Mobile platforms and, in addition, the BlackBerry. As I am not a big fan of bowling titles, I don’t really want to review it. I’m not a big fan of camera-based control either. However, as some other people have had much more success with the 3D Lawn Darts’s camera control than me, I think with some patience you’ll learn how to control the swung / force.

5. Rowanvale Software's Danger Dan is a platformer game. It’s certainly worth checking out if you like light, entertaining puzzle / platformers - you most probably will like it. It also has a great tracked scene music.

Hacks, projects

Some people have been trying to make the add-on applications coming with the HTC Diamond work on other devices. So far, without success. The dedicated threads are as follows:

- the Diamond YouTube player. I, as the author of the YouTube Bible, am especially interested in this project. So far, very few people have managed to make it work. See THIS for more info.
- the new (v. 3.3.5) JBlend MIDlet Manager coming with the Diamond is stated to render Opera Mini with large fonts on VGA devices, which is a must on (W)VGA phones with a physically small screen. See THIS.

There is also a thread on hacking the RMVB decoder from the Samsung i780 HERE. I haven’t managed to make it run on my HP iPAQ 210; hope you have more luck.

The XDA-Devs ROM hackers have managed to release a decent WM 6.1 ROM for the HTC Oxygen (s310). I haven’t tested it before making absolutely sure the ROM upgrade won’t kill my call recording capabilities – currently, the main reason for my sticking with the s310 as my main phone. Feel free to provide any feedback on this issue.

My projects

I’ll attend a three-day lecture series of Osman Nuri Ucan (Istanbul Unversity) on "New approaches in turbo codes and their applications" in a week. I’ll report on it in my (hopefully) really soon-to-be-published Digital TV Bible, which will heavily discuss turbo and other kinds of coding. (Only for die-hard Electric Engineers - that is, not for the faint-hearted!)

I’ve also written a full Multiplatform Modem Bible for three smart phone operating systems. A preview version is available HERE. I plan to publish it as soon as I get feedback from the Joiku folks (and cleaning up the style / the English a bit). If you really want to check it out even in its half-baked state, feel free to do it / comment on the factual contents (but not the structure / English – they will still be fixed) - hopefully in 16-20 hours.
12th July 2008, 01:06 AM |#2  
OP Retired Moderator
Thanks Meter: 139
A quick update: Towers Trap is 6,47 € instead of 9,95 € (that is, about 10 US$) until 07/13/2008 at

Well worth the price, I'd say.
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