Category Archives: News

This is the news! The latest goings on in the world of genre media

Your Guide To Self-Publishing. From Print To Kindle And Beyond by Christian Cawley

My Latest Ebook: From Print To Kindle And Beyond

I’ve just discovered that my latest eBook, From Print To Kindle And Beyond, has been published. Available through MakeUseOf and on Amazon for Kindle devices, the book draws on my experiences writing and publishing Ultimate Regeneration in 2010-2011.

Your Guide To Self-Publishing. From Print To Kindle And Beyond by Christian CawleyFor me, the process was a massive learning curve. Continue reading

am-contributors

Catch My Contributions to Android Magazine!

Although my updates here have been sparse of late – something I hope to remedy soon – I’ve been busy elsewhere.

One organ that has seen several contributions is Android Magazine from Imagine Publishing. I was lucky enough to be contacted by editor Andy Betts through this very website and I’ve been fortunate enough to contribute tutorial articles to issues 23 to 29 to date.

Continue reading

Elite: Dangerous can be backed on Kickstarter

More from Elite: Dangerous

Now halfway towards the massive total of £1.25 million needed to meet the development costs of Elite: Dangerous and with just under a month still to go, if you haven’t checked out the videos on the project’s Kickstarter page, you’re missing out!

Elite: Dangerous can be backed on Kickstarter

The project appears to be as ambitious as hoped, with the Kickstarter page playing host to a variety of movie clips and stunning stills (like the one above).

Developer diaries, interviews and podcasts are all present, and things are looking extremely exciting – but the project still has only 50% of the required funding.

“Elite: Dangerous” is the latest installment of a long series of epic space games, starting with “Elite” - one of the most successful games of the 1980s.

Fight, trade, hunt your way across a giant galaxy of billions of star systems, starting with a basic starship and a few credits. You can make money from trading goods between the many star systems, by destroying pirate ships (and collecting bounty), or even by attacking traders and collecting their cargo (which in turn will get a bounty on your head!). There will be missions too, and exploration. Most people will do some combination of these things. Upgrade your ship and specialise in one activity – have a trader with a huge cargo bay, or use the space for weapons and maneuverability.

Real Freedom – Go where you like, be what you like – pirate, bounty hunter, trader, assassin, or some mix of all of these.

Trade – Buy low, cross dangerous space lanes, evade or destroy pirates en route, then sell high, if you make the journey!

Fight – Take on the pirates or be one yourself

Progress – Get your pilot rating all the way from “Harmless” to “Elite”

Explore – Head out to the far reaches of space and discover amazing sights

And the best part – you can do all this online with your friends, or other “Elite” pilots like yourself, or even alone. The choice is yours…

The details above paint a picture of a much-wanted update to a much-missed game (responsible for the loss of many hours of many a teenage lad’s life), and the various rewards such as digital newsletters, in-game decals and Commander name reservation (not to mention a copy of Elite: Dangerous) that are available for the sub £30 pledges are certainly worth having.

If you’re interested in seeing a classic game brought back to life, please head over to the Kickstarter page now and help this dream become a reality. We have, because we really want to play it – you should too!

Call of Duty: Black Ops - massive sales couldn't help the games industry in 2012

Game Sales Dip – Not the Beginning of the End

Consumer research firm NPD has revealed that annual US video game sales have dropped, despite the strong showing of the latest Call of Duty and Halo sequels.

Call of Duty: Black Ops - massive sales couldn't help the games industry in 2012

According to NPD, the overall drop is due to lower sales on less popular titles.

“Despite an overall retail video game decline of 11%, November had the smallest year-over-year decrease we have seen for dollar and unit sales so far this year,” it said in a statement.

“Overall entertainment software units decreased by 15%, however, when comparing the performance of the top five titles from this year to last, we see a rise in unit sales of 5% – games outside of the top five sold less, leading to overall declines.”

On top of this, November 2012 saw fewer releases than the same period in 2011. However, all is not lost – this isn’t the end of digital gaming, despite what some doom mongers might be claiming. NPD don’t include figures for Steam and mobile gaming, while general belt tightening and high unemployment in the USA could of course be contributing. Add to this the recent release of the Nintendo Wii U potentially holding off potential purchases to gauge reception and even the expected release of the new PlayStation and Xbox consoles in 2013, and you can see that it really is business as usual.

After all, Activision reports Call of Duty Black Ops 2 sold over $1bn (£624m; 773m euros) copies worldwide during its first 15 days of release. And hasn’t the way we play games changed anyway?

Homemade Transforming robot made with a 3D printer!

Homemade 3D Printed Motorized Transformer!

I’m a big fan of Transformers, ever since I was bought an original Bumblebee back in 1984 and received Hound for Christmas a few months later.

Over the years I got progressively larger Transformer toys, more and more often, a bit like a drug habit, always chasing the next fix. At one point I even owned Trypticon (a rare motorised Decepticon) and have a version of Optimus Prime that features some automation.

However, I was always intrigued by the possibilities of motorized transformation, but it wasn’t something that Hasbro seemed able to bring to the range with any confidence.

Fortunately, I no longer have to imagine what it would be like – thanks to this guy and his 3D printer, neither do you…

Amazing stuff. Altogether now: I want one!

If this doesn’t convince you of the power of 3D printing, nothing will…

wpid-windows.png

Windows Phone Apps Mysteriously Dropped…

Playing with my new Nokia Lumia 920 this week, I noticed that there were few titles missing from the Windows Phone Marketplace.

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I don’t mean missing as in “there’s no app/it’s shit!” but in the sense of they were there a few weeks ago on my Windows Phone 7.5 handset, but where are they now?

Most crucially, I wanted to restore the same app set to my new Windows Phone 8 device, but the lack of some key apps and games made this impossible.

My list at present consists of:

  • Spotify
  • Crimson Dragon
  • Sid Meier’s Pirates
  • Pulse
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • Tango
  • AskZiggy
  • TuneIn Radio

These are apps that I consider usable on Windows Phone 8 as far as functionality goes. Games speak for themselves.

The biggest omission is obviously Spotify, followed by TuneIn Radio. I’m a big fan of the latter, and I’m really missing the lack of any public response from Microsoft or the app developers.

Three weeks into Windows Phone 8 going live, I don’t think that this is good enough. The SDK has been available for months – it’s not as though the developers of these titles didn’t know about it.

Can Megan Fox talk to dolphins?

Megan Fox: She Talks to the Animals!

You know, virtually every red blooded male on the planet fancies Transformers actress Megan Fox – but who knew that her real dream wasn’t to act, but to become a real-life Doctor Doolittle? (Note that this is a post sponsored by Acer).

Thanks to the new Acer S7 running Windows 8, Megan “Foxy” Fox was able to achieve her amazing ambition of chatting with dolphins – with the help of a bunch of nerdy scientists, of course…

 

 

The Acer S7 series of ultrabooks is an extremely impressive line, sporting a 12.2mm slimline form, back-lit keyboard, 180° opening and Gorilla Glass-protected Full HD display and comes in two versions, the 13.3″ model or the ultra-mobile 11.6″ build. Wielding Intel Core i5 or i7 processors, 4 GB of RAM and a minimum 256 GB SSD, these are hardcore professional portable computers.

Find out more at us.acer.com/ac/en/US/content/series/aspires7.

Nokia Lumia 920 gets new UK advertising campaign

New Windows Phone Ad Sneak Peak

Not content with lacing soap operas and other shows with their Lumia phones, Nokia’s flagship Windows Phone, the Lumia 920, plays a leading role in a new TV advertising campaign starring Holly Willoughby (This Morning, Dancing on Ice, Celebrity Juice).

Promoting the phone to busy working Mum’s and highlighting the Kids’ Corner hub is a wise move, however, and if the campaign gets the right audience – namely those watching Willoughby on a weekday morning – then this could certainly prove in Nokia and Microsoft’s favour.

For those Metro naysayers out there, a word in your shell-like. If Windows Phone can gain some good market share, Nokia should be able to survive – something that is in everyone’s best interests. Additionally, if Windows Phone can make a decent stab at the market, perhaps it might inspire Apple to try something different with their tired rows of icons…

Apple - technology giant

Has Apple’s Legal Team Made a Big Mistake?

Forget Bill Gates, forget Samsung. There’s a new enemy in town for Apple: US District Judge Phyllis Hamilton.

Apple - technology giant

She’s the plain talking lawmaker overseeing the nonsensical claim over the English language currently being made by Apple as they attempt to take ownership of the phrase “app store”, thereby preventing everyone’s favourite tax-dodging tax evading Internet retailer Amazon from using it on their collection of Android games and applications.

A number of ridiculous details have arisen in this case:

  1. Hamilton previously indicated (in 2011) she was unimpressed by Apple’s arguments and denied them a preliminary injunction.
  2. Apple claims that Amazon’s promotion of its own “Appstore” is false advertising.
  3. Apple’s lawyer, David Eberhart.

Yep, Eberhart is a bit of a character. If he’s not a complete maverick employed by the Apple legal department to pull a victory from the jaws of defeat, then he’s in completely the wrong area of the legal profession in our opinion. Apparently Apple claims that Amazon had deceived customers with by using the term “Appstore”, but Eberhart isn’t making a great case.

“They [Amazon employees] admit they targeted Apple customers, because Apple set the benchmark for what consumers expected. When you combine that with our evidence consumers associate the term ‘app store’ with Apple…”

However our new hero Judge Hamilton is completely unimpressed by this.

“Everyone who uses a smartphone knows the difference between the Apple iOS system and the Android system. Where’s the confusion? There’s some suggestion [by Apple] that if Amazon is using the ‘Appstore’ term someone might think they have as many apps as Apple does. Well, why? And how, in fact, does that contribute to any deception on the part of Amazon?”

This is a woman who has successfully brought some plain talking into Apple’s relentless attack on its non-Microsoft competitors over the past few years. Indeed, it is a shame that more of the judges involved in these cases haven’t taken a similar no-nonsense attitude.

Because, dear reader – and forgive me for bringing this up – but Apple is on the verge of losing all respect among the tech blogging community (and I mean actual bloggers, not those bought-and-paid-for technology “journalists” who are littered with shiny white Cupertino hardware every year). The once mighty company is falling into hole, becoming a shadow of its former self as it wages a 1990s Microsoft-style war against companies it deems to be using its technologies.

It’s sad, and unless there is a change in policy it’s going to have a severely negative impact on Apple’s public face over the next couple of years.

And as for apps, well I was buying them from Handango back in 2004. I don’t recall them launching any lawsuits against Apple for stealing their idea of providing an easily accessible marketplace for apps to be downloaded and installed. Which brings us back to Eberhart:

“Consumers will see this kind of advertising and import their associations with Apple service. They understand what the App Store by Apple entails—hundreds of thousands of apps, and an ease of service unmatched by any others,” said Eberhart. “When a consumer sees something like this they will be deceived into thinking the Amazon store has the same types of qualities.”

So, who invented single-click purchasing?

Back Elite Dangerous on Kickstarter

David Braben Launches Elite Sequel Project on Kickstarter

In what is likely to be a very popular crowd sourcing project, Elite designer David Braben has announced a Kickstarter project to raise the $2 million needed to program and release an updated version of the 8 bit classic.

Speaking to the BBC, Braben confessed that “Elite is a game that I’ve wanted to come back to for a very, very long time. It’s the sort of game that I would very much like to play today.”

Hailing from 1984 and featuring the wireframe graphics you see above, Elite possessed a surprising amount of depth, offering gamers to live the life of a Han Solo-style smuggler and trader.

Time has been very kind to Elite, leaving it as one of those rarities, a classic pioneering title uttered alongside names such as Tetris and Pac-man. However, its position as an old school title means that bringing it up to date could prove tricky, especially with a raft of modern pretenders already up and running.

Eve Online brings the concept of Elite to the MMORPG generation, while another Kickstarter project, Star Citizen, shares some similarities with Elite. At the same time Minecraft creator Markus Persson is developing a space simulation 0x10c.

You can back Elite on Kickstarter by visiting www.kickstarter.com/projects/1461411552/elite-dangerous – with just under 60 days to go, you can pledge at least £1, with rewards including having your name in the game, being part of beta testing, and even dinner with the developers!
Back Elite Dangerous on Kickstarter