Horn game, iOS or Tegra3?

If you happen to have both and iOS device and a Tegra3 Android device, you may be wondering which version of Horn is the best before plunking down your hard earned money.

Well I’ve plunked down my hard earned on a copy for each device and have some observations that may help you out.

(*update* iOS Screenshots taken on a Retina display iPad, Tegra3 shots on an Asus Transformer Prime)

First, the Android Tegra3 version has some nice graphical touches that the iOS version doesn’t. For instance the main character, Horn, has a kind of scarf/cape in the Tegra3 version that sort of flows around depending on Horn’s movement.

Image

Note in the screenshot above the scarf thing hanging over the sword.

Image

Above is the iOS screenshot from a retina iPad. The scarf thing is missing.

The Tegra3 version also has some other touches, like lights floating around certain areas of the game world, as seen below near the lamps.

Image

Again, in the iOS version seen below, the lights are missing.

Image

The Tegra3 version also has rubble strewn about some parts of the world that reacts when Horn runs past them by bouncing out of his way. Unfortunately I couldn’t get the iPad screenshot feature to work properly in those areas, so you’ll just have to trust me, the rocks in the below Tegra3 screenshot are missing in the iOS version of the game.

Image

As for other areas of the game, as far as I can tell they are the same. The textures look the same across both versions. The Retina iPad has clearer text and icon buttons, but the world itself looks like it has shared textures across both games. The iOS version wins hands down for multi-tasking. It is much easier to back out to the homescreen and pick up right where you left off in the iOS version than it is in the Android one. For some reason, every time the Android home screen is pulled up, the game has to be restarted and you fall back to the last save point. iOS handles this much nicer, simply pausing the game and returning you to the exact moment you stopped when returning for more play time.

I’ve also heard about multiple crashes in the Android version, although I haven’t experienced any myself in the first hour or so of playtime. I’m sure that this will be corrected by patches and updates before too long. So if you have both devices and want the best graphical mobile experience I’d say go with the Tegra3/Android version but know that in the short term, while they patch up the game, you may experience crashes. And in the long term you won’t be able to hop out and into the game as smoothly as you would be able to on an iOS device. So if convenience is your thing, go with the iOS version.

Florida Motorsports in Tallahassee

Don’t ever take your motorcycle to Florida Motorsports in Tallahassee, even if they *are* the closest Aprilia dealership. After keeping the bike for 3 months, you’ll get it back,

adjusted improperly,

all scratched up, 10/06/2010

and still! leaking! 10/06/2010

And they’ll charge you $300 for the privilege even though the bike was still under warranty when you took it in.

Netflix streaming neat trick

Had to tell somebody… I was streaming a Netflix movie on the Xbox360 and thought it looked a little hitchy, not very smooth.  So I decided to stop it and move to the TivoHD, which I’ve used before and hadn’t noticed any issues watching Netflix on.

Well guess what, the movie picked up on the Tivo right where I’d stopped it on the Xbox360.  Basically resuming where I’d left off.  Pretty neat trick if you ask me.

Nothing special, but I wanted to share it.

ps. I haven’t forgotten about WMWiFiRouter, it worked great and I’ll have to pony up and buy it next time I go out of town.  Hopefully sometime soon I’ll have time to write a more detailed entry on how it did.

Got my Nokia Internet Tablet and T-Mobile Dash talking to each other

I had given up on getting my Dash and 770 to cooperate.  The bluetooth PAN/DUN workarounds and fixes were too much effort and honestly a little too scary for me to bother with considering I pretty much would only use the two devices together like that once a year or so.

It turns out that after giving up, an easy, cheap, simple solution presents itself.  WMWifiRouter turns your windows mobile device, in my case a T-Mobile Dash, into a wifi hotspot.  It not only works with my Nokia 770, it works with my laptop, Zune, PSP, and any other wifi enabled device.  If you don’t have a Windows Mobile device there’s JoikuSpot for some flavors of Symbian.  Of course, the symbian devices shouldn’t have any problems pairing with a Nokia Internet Tablet…

I’ve been using WMWifiRouter for the last couple of days and it works well.  It drains the battery of the  phone about like talking on it seems to and the phone gets warm, again, just like it normally does during a long conversation.  I will be using it on my upcoming vacation, where I will likely be disconnected from the net except for my phone.

These applications aren’t free, but there is a 21 day free trial with WMWifiRouter, which is plenty of time to decide whether it’s worth buying.

Skins for Zune and iPod

Gelaskins on Left, Decalgirl on Right

Gelaskins on Left, Decalgirl on Right

Being averse to the traditional bulky cases that are so popular for carrying your mp3 player, I decided to go with the vinyl skin option.

For the iPod, I went with a gelaskins cover.  They’ve got an amazing selection of art and the skins are very well made, thick, and precision cut.  They also include a “hard” or “crystal” screen protector.  They cost a little more than some of the other places, but the thickness of the skin along with the screen protector make it well worth it.  So far the skin has been extremely scratch resistant and hasn’t shown any signs of peeling up at the corners.

I would’ve like to go with gelaskins on the zune, but they don’t currently make anything for that application.  So I went with decalgirl.  The decalgirl skin is about half the cost of the gelaskins equivalent, but doesn’t include a screen protector.  The skin itself is well made although the printing doesn’t seem to be quite up to the same level of quality found on the gelaskins.  There are areas on the decalgirl skin that look a little low res.  Although the colors look quite good.  The decalgirl skin is also thinner than the gelaskins, and has taken a couple of scratches, nothing that has broken the skin, just little dents in the skin itself.  The cutouts for the large center button is well done, but the smaller play/pause and back buttons aren’t cutout at all, and the buttons must be pressed through the skin.  Which isn’t difficult, but does make the feel of the buttons a bit mushy.  Overall it’s not as nice as the gelaskins, but it is an acceptable alternative if gelaskins doesn’t make a skin for your device.

Since the decalgirl skin doesn’t include a screen cover, I decided to go with an Invisible Shield from zagg.com.  This is the same material used on the leading edge of helicopter blades to protect them from um… whatever damages helicopter blades?  The point is, it’s a very tough, resiliant piece of material.  They make designs that provide complete coverage for many devices, but since I have the vinyl skin already I chose the screen only option.  The material itself is soft and because of this reflects light differently than the naked screen or even a “crystal” screen protector.  It is extremely scratch resistant, it’s been on my phones screen for several months now, which I carry in my pocket, and it looks as good as the day I put it on.  On the zune, the Invisible Shield provides coverage for the whole screen, and since the decalgirl overlaps the screen a bit on the edges where there’s no image I’ve got some overlapping of the vinyl skin and the invisible shield.  It looks good like this and despite the doubling up, no bulk was added to the front of the device.

I think that the invisible shield will outlast the vinyl, and wish I had put it on first, with the vinyl covering it instead of the other way around.  As it is I will need to purchase another screen protector if I ever feel the need to change skins.All 3 skins/covers went on very easily and at the moment show no signs of pulling up at the corners and so far I’m quite happy with the results.

Alone in the Dark

I’d been slowly composing a quick write up for Alone in the Dark in my head over the last couple of days when I saw Zero Punctuation’s video review and realized I didn’t need to do anything. He’s done it better than I ever could have and my views align with his perfectly… we even stopped playing at the exact same point. So without further ado, here is a review I fully endorse and would’ve written if he hadn’t beat me to it. Just follow the link below for the video review.

NSFW Language

An argument for the Zune

I own both an iPod and a Zune.  I picked up the iPod first and because of that fact have built up a little collection of accessories that would make it hard on my wallet to switch my main mp3 player over to the Zune.  Despite that, I’m still considering the swap.  Let me tell you why.  Before anyone comments on this, I am comparing the hard drive based players.  The iPod Touch has a different interface and display than all the other iPods which would probably swing the score back in favor of the Apple device, but for me the lack of real storage space is a deal breaker.  I’ve got over 30gb of music alone and for whatever reason, I want to have it all with me, all the time.  Don’t know why… just because I can.

Device interface:  While the interface on the iPod certainly gets the job done, anyone who’s used a Zune and is honest with themselves will likely admit that it does a better job of laying out the various kinds of media available on the device.  Podcasts, Music, and Video are all easy to find and on both, but the Zune for me is easier to sort songs and navigate overall.  Point: Zune

Display:  No arguing the Zune has a larger display than the hd based iPods.  The Zune also allows me to set any photo on the device as a background, which then shows up behind the top menu.  When you start watching widescreen movies, the screen size disparity becomes even more apparent.  Point: Zune

Video Playback:  I may be alone in this, but I doubt it.  My iPod chokes on the movies I’ve converted and added to it.  It acts like it plays them, but nothing ever happens.  I have to reset the device to get it to respond to inputs after attempting to watch a movie on it. I imagine this wouldn’t be an issue with videos bought from the iTunes Store, but I’m of a mind that if I own a movie on DVD, it’s not hurting the studios for me to rip it and watch a part of it on my iPod… it it would work that is.  Podcasts from the iTunes Store don’t have this problem.  Plus as mentioned above, widescreen movies are basically the size of postage stamps on the iPod thanks to the effect of letterboxing.  The Zune on the other hand, has to this point played everything I’ve put on it.  Sure sometimes the syncing can take a while because it’s basically converting the video to the native Zune file types, but the movies I’ve put on the iPod are converted specifically for it and it still chokes.  Point: Zune

Niceties (IE: things you don’t notice till you use them for a bit): The iPod can keep track of what Podcasts you’ve watched and remove them from the device.  The Zune can remember where you stopped the podcast on the PC, and resume from that point on the Zune. The Zune has an FM radio, for the times that there’s just nothing in your library you want to hear right now and maybe there’s something good on the radio moments.  Scrolling through huge amounts of songs is easier on the Zune.  Just hold down the button as opposed to circling madly with a finger.  Both pop up the letters of the alphabet as you quickly scroll through large groups of titles.  Point: Zune

Destktop Software: Here I’ve got to hand it to iTunes.  (thank goodness, I was starting to feel bad about bashing the iPod)  It’s easier to find things in the iTunes Store than it is in the Zune Marketplace.  iTunes has more podcasts, more TV show, Movies, Music, basically more everything.  And it’s easier to navigate.  I waffle back and forth on which one I like better for navigating my media library.  I can find what I’m looking for easily and quickly with both.  Point: iPod

Syncing: Zune.  Zune all the way.  Aside from syncing the stopping point in the hour-long podcast I was listening to on the PC, I don’t have to eject the Zune.  If I have a charging station the Zune will sync up wirelessly.  Yes, wifi syncing works for me.  I’ve never hooked up the Zune only to have it freeze my device. (I’ve never actually had to reset my zune.  Yes, I’m aware of the irony)  The Zune software gives me a sync status so I have a general idea how long the sync will take.  Point: Zune

Aesthetics: iPod.  The original Zune is fugly.  The 2nd gen isn’t much better.  Point: iPod

Accessories: Oh-my-god iPod.  The iPod has so many car chargers, in-dash units, docks, stereos, battery powered speakers, FM transmitters, cases, covers, skins, you name it, it’s got it, probably from a dozen different manufacturers.  The Zune on the other hand… well, Microsoft makes a couple accessories.  It’s got an FM Transmitter, right? RightPoint: iPod

This post has gotten a little out of hand.  I intended to write a short post outlining my thoughts on switching from my iPod to my Zune and almost ended up writing a full length article.  I’m going to stop now and not even mention the wifi or social aspects of each player and go out and get the Zune Car Pack.  Since really, it’s pretty much a landslide for the little mp3 player that could, but probably won’t.