It’s about time

I wandered up to Scott, who was leaning against a table showcasing the new device, introduced myself, and got right down to business.

“Why’s the time changed? Heck, why does the iPhone show 9:42 in the first place?”

Scott looked around conspiratorially, and then chuckled.

“You want to know the real reason for that time?”

I nodded, with no small amount of eager anticipation.

via iPad Day: 9:41 AM  | Secret Lab.

Hook Champ Preview

Rocketcat Games has been running a pre-release adhoc beta of Hook Champ. It is an 8-bit style side-scroller with very simple touch controls.

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You’re an infamous adventurer that starts each mission by swapping out a fancy idol for a fake one, of course it never works and you’re left to run away with your treasure.

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Not from a boulder, but from something that seems like a more extreme version of chain chomp from Mario’s games.

The gameplay is more like Sonic. You’ve gotta hook onto the ceiling and various other objects that stick out from the background without stopping or that fellow will eat you.

Make it through a level picking up lesser trophies along the way and you can buy some awesome new hats before heading out on your next adventure.

I’ve enjoyed it so far, but you don’t have to take my word for it. Check out the video:

When it is released Hook Champ will have a 99¢ sale, down from the normal $3 price.

iPhone Doom Classic Progress Report

I have been spending the majority of my time working on iPhone Doom Classic for several weeks now, and the first beta build went out to some external testers a couple days ago. I am moving back on to Rage for a while, but I expect to be able to finish it up for submission to the App Store next month.

Wolfenstein 3D Classic was a quickie project to satisfy my curiosity and test the iPhone waters, but Doom is a more serious effort. In addition to the millions of people with fond memories of the game, there is still an active gaming / development community surrounding the original Doom, and I don’t want to disappoint any of them.

via iPhone Doom Classic Progress Report.

MLB At Bat 2009 Review (iPhone)

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I’ve been listening to MLB.app since the start of the season and as rocky as it has been for the fighting phils, the app has been great.

It streams audio from the Phillies home radio station, even though I’m in San Francisco.

It plays highlight videos from mlb.tv.

It costs $10 per season, whereas the streaming audio feature from mlb.com costs $15.

Most importantly, it gives you a box score and play-by-play text.

Overall, I’ve had few issues with At Bat. Mainly, I’d appreciate it if there were full streaming video of the game, but I suspect they’ll do that for next season and charge $10-$20 more for the app.

The lesser issue is with my connectivity. I live in SF and AT&T’s network stinks, but the inability (on the part of the app or the iPhone) to switch between edge/3G while streaming the in-game audio is terrible. I have to wake my phone up just to get it to realize it should keep trying to get signal.

If you are usually in a wifi-zone like I am, though, you’ll be fine. We’re lucky to have At Bat on the iPhone and it is a steal at $9.99. As far as I know there are no blackouts for the radio stream.

Check out the gallery after the break for all the screens. Then go buy it from the app store.

Continue reading MLB At Bat 2009 Review (iPhone)

Wolfenstein 3D Updated, Cydia Pirates out of Luck

The pirates using the Cydia version of Wolfenstein 3D are now out of luck if they want the latest version. Wolfenstein 3D Classic for the iPhone (I reviewed it favorably here) has now been updated and the GPL release hasn’t been. So if you want the latest version of the app, you’re going to have to be legit and use the app store. Check out the full list of changes for Wolfenstein 3D Classic 1.1 after the break:
Continue reading Wolfenstein 3D Updated, Cydia Pirates out of Luck

Hoping to Make iPhone Toys as a Full-Time Job

The New York Times has an article up about the “iPhone Gold Rush”. It features iShoot developer Ethan Nicholas, and is pretty well written, go check it out. I’m not quite sure why it is in the fashion section, but at least it has some good sources. Like Ars Technica’s Erica Sadun.

Wolfenstein 3D and the Pirates of Cydia.

wolf3d-cydiaOne of the problems with releasing your source code with your data is when people stab you in the back for doing so.

Soon, my next set of iPhone game reviews will go up on AtomicGamer, including Wolfenstein 3D Classic. While investigating the game for review, I came across a version on the Jailbroken iPhone app store called Cydia.

This is all fine and dandy, since the source code was released under the GPL (v2). but the problem is that the scum of the earth who put the game out on the Cydia store (again, a store for Jailbroken iPhones only) disobeyed the license text included with the Wolf 3D source release. Specifically, as summarized by John Carmack himself:

You are on-your-honor to buy a copy at the App Store before using the data. 🙂  The source code is under the GPL, but the data is still strictly copyright Id Software with no license given to distribute outside this code release package or to use for any commercial purpose.  You are certainly free to replace all the data and make commercial applications, as long as the code is made available under the GPL.

What did these asshats do? Well, they put ads and a nag screen on the loading screen of the application so they can make money, which turns it into a commercial project. This is not cool, and I will try to contact these folks and see if they didn’t read the license text.

Update 1:

To be clear for people who didn’t read the text of what I’ve said and probably won’t read this list:

  • The game DATA is not GPL.
  • The game DATA is not to be used in any commercial sense outside of id software’s control
  • This is “ZODTTD” distributing and using the same data from the source zip file provided by id software and slapping his logo and ads on there which makes it commercial usage and thus violates the contract to my understanding.

Update 2:

To give you another example from the past of someone who screwed up this badly, if not worse, and the reaction he received which was (I think) extremely appropriate to the “crime.” Though the two issues were different, they both involve GPL code, and both will hopefully get a reaction from id software. I think most of us old die-hard Quake and id fans remember Slade. Here is how John Carmack dealt with him:

The idea isn’t to punish anyone, it is to have them comply with the license
and continue to contribute. QuakeLives has quite a few happy users, and it
is in everyone’s best interest to have development continue. It just has to
be by the rules.

That was a rather good statement and it holds up to this day. Though it is sad that in this case “ZODTTD” contributes nothing to the Wolf 3D Classic GPL release. I think there is something to be said for people playing a game who otherwise wouldn’t, but it isn’t like Wolf 3D Classic for free on Jailbroken iPhones and iPod touches (no matter how much I love the game itself) is a good argument for piracy. People know what Wolf 3D is, or I’d like to hope that they do, and have many options for playing it at various reasonable price levels.

One person (who I later found out has his site linked from ZODTTD) has posted a ridiculous troll comment here. He made the argument that putting advertisements on a program doesn’t make the distributon of the program commercial. I suspect he might feel differently about that if were to create a popular domain which embedded his site and put advertisements all over it. I suppose these types of arguments are inevitable when you attempt to make people aware of any kind of possibly controversial subject.

At the end of the day, what is really wrong here is that regardless of ZODTTD’s original intentions, he has spelled out some (intentions) with his actions, which are to release and profit off of Wolf 3D Classic via advertisements inserted into the loading screen. That isn’t cool.