There are times when it's not possible to access the gaming PC, be it a hardware failure, summer vacation or a trip to family. In my case, the last two weeks was house repairs, which means the PC was hidden deep under furniture from the other rooms.
How to play EVE Online in such a case? Well, if you have a laptop with a separate video card, then you're lucky. But what if you're only left with an iPad?
Well, you won't be able to play EVE on it yet, but there surely are some other great AAA titles available.
First game I've played when my PC was unavailable was...
World of Tanks: Blitz
That's right, Wargaming made an excellent port of their flag game, World of Tanks for Apple iOS. It plays great and while it's easy to learn, it is very hard to master. It's worth mentioning, that the game is not an exact 1-to-1 port from PC. Game rules and the content are a little different.
First, there is only a Random Battle game mode, where during a seven minute match, two 7-player teams try to blow the other team up, or conquer "the base", whichever comes first.
Visuals are a little different, too. WoT: Blitz looks much like older PC version of WoT, but considering this game is running on iPhone or iPad, visuals are simply excellent.
Unfortunately for PC WoT players, all the progress that you've made on PC will not transfer to your tablet, mainly because there are only three Tech Trees: German, Soviet and US. The amount of available tanks is smaller, too.
World of Tanks: Blitz is free to play, just like it's PC counterpart, so in order to start playing, you don't have to pay. If you are willing to support Wargaming devs for their hard work, you can choose between buying premium tanks (which are usually faster, but weaker than their free counterparts), adding premium time (+50% to exp and rewards), or converting experience points earned by premium tanks to so called "free experience" that can be used to unlock more "free" tanks on the Tech Tree. If you don't want to pay, that's ok, you don't have to.
To sum up, you get a great quick fix PVP tank game, that looks much like it's PC counterpart, that you can play when your gaming rig is inaccessible.
What was the other game? You've guessed it right, it's...
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
Hearthstone is a digital Collectible Card Game by Blizzard, set in the Warcraft universe. This game is a complete port of the PC version. The cards you bought or unlocked on your PC will wait for you on your tablet. The same applies to progress and stats. When playing the game online, you play against both tablet and PC players.
Visuals are amazing and besides some textures being in a slightly lower resolution, the game looks exactly identical to the PC original.
The game has several playing modes, but all of them, even single player, require a network connection. You can test your deck and level the basic cards by playing against AI, you can play against other players in Casual mode, or in Ranked mode, where each win gives you a "star" (and a set of stars make a rank), and each loss above rank 20 takes a star from you. The last mode is "The Arena" which is nothing else, but a draft tournament. You choose your cards from a random pool and compete against other players.
Hearthstone is free to play, and you can buy additional cards either completely free by using in-game "gold" or with real money. The same applies to Arena entrance fee (150 gold or 1,79 EUR).
Is Hearthstone fun? Is it challenging? 20 Million players think it is.
As you can see, tablet games are already catching up to what's available on the PC. I hope a mobile client for EVE becomes available at some point (even with reduced set of things that a pilot can do).
New Eden is already expanding beyond the boundaries of EVE Online, and it's a fact. Blog Banter #50 touched an important topic of the future of EVE, and expansion to mobile devices is only natural thing to happen. It can already be happening, but we just don't know it yet...
EVE Valkyrie already has quite a history, even though the game itself haven't been released yet. It all started as a technological demo for Oculus Rift virtual reality headset presented on Fanfest 2013. A small crew of CCP employees have used existing EVE Online assets, imported them to Unity3D engine and created "EVE VR". Players who've tried it on Fanfest were so amazed, that the going question was "When can we have this?"
It only took a few months for CCP to come up with a business case for that demo, and on August the 21st CCP has confirmed that EVE VR will be released as a full game in 2014. The name "EVE VR" was also extended into "EVE Valkyrie". The remaining question, deliberately not answered by the devs is what platforms will this game run on.
Some players have already tried answering that question. It's not a secret that CCP cooperates heavily with Sony, so the first rumour was that Valkyrie might come to PS4 - you can read the entire Abaddon21's post here.
Recently something else came to my attention. Some time ago toucharcade.com has published this story about CCP planning a mobile release. We've already heard of DUST514 companion app called "Neocom" scheduled for release on Playstation Vita, but from the story above we can guess that there is possibly more mobile apps to come from CCP.
Could Valkyrie possibly be one of those apps?
To answer this question, first we need to answer another one: if it's technically feasible at all.
There's still very little we know about EVE Valkyrie, but let's have a look at what we know already:
- it will be a FPS dogfighter game,
- it will work on Oculus Rift virtual reality headset,
- it was created using Unity 3D engine
- which has a version for 10 platforms, including PC, Mac, Linux, Windows Phone, iOS and Android
But can mobile hardware handle it?
Okay, so Unity 3D is ready and available. But can mobile devices handle a game with visuals like that?
- First, there is Galaxy on Fire II, which is nothing but an FPS dogfighting shooter for iOS and Android:
- The same studio (Fishlabs) is now developing another game known as "Galaxy on Fire: Alliances" which is about planet colonization. Gameplay loosely reminds of Planetary Interaction in EVE Online:
Judging by the above screens, I'm pretty certain that Planetary Interaction could easily be made into a separate tablet game in the world of EVE.
- Then we have a completely different game, but one that shows what kind of visuals tablets and mobile phones can already provide: Infinity Blade Trilogy
Ok, what about the software?
We've mentioned Unity3D, which is a multiplatform 3D game engine that can run on 10 different platforms. The very basic version, which includes mobile device support, has the advantage of being free. There is already a bunch of games for Android and iOS made with Unity, for example Shadowgun or AngryBots. It's also worth mentioning that there are some well-known PC games running on Unity, I'm sure you've heard of Hearthstone and Kerbal Space Program? Games built with multi-platform engines can be easily ported to any supported platform without additional development (well, the resources sometimes have to be converted/resized, but that's all). It's worth mentioning that Unreal engine used by DUST514 also works on mobile devices (Infinity Blade I, II & III all run on this engine).
And then we have CREST, which is a new read-write API for EVE Online; one that is already used (in-house) by DUST-EVE integration. We could also mention some tech demos, for example the Alliance Tournament CREST endpoint, that provided live telemetry of Alliance Tournament ships. The amount of possibilities these kind of tools give is unprecedented. Not only we will have many new 3rd party apps for EVE and DUST, but it also opens a lot of opportunities for CCP themselves.
As you can see, both the technology and assets to make EVE-themed games for different platforms is already available.
Whether CCP acts based on the above facts or not, remains to be seen. Maybe Valkyrie will become a mobile game after all?
UPDATE: According to this interview with CCP Unifex on Crossing Zebras, EVE Valkyrie will not be coming to mobile devices:
Transcript begins at 7:55
Xander Phoena: So you are now currently leading the fledging Mobile division within CCP and the Valkyrie project. Which is taking most of your time at the moment? As one prioritized?
CCP_Unifex: Yeah absolutely, I mean, right now I've had the opportunity to work with Valkyrie so I'm spending the vast majority of my time doing that. And I had some good time, pretty much straight off the Fanfest where I was able to look at CCP strategy around mobile and got some good work done around that, and then Valkyrie kicked off [...] But the intention is like I said I'm gonna be handing over, so that I can actually go focus on Mobile.
As you can see, Valkyrie and Mobile are two different projects within CCP. That doesn't change most of the post below, because it's about technical possibilities, rather than only about Valkyrie.
PS. Thanks @valkrr for the heads up!
While for Apple fans this is a great news in itself, for people genuinely interested in mobile technology, this might be interesting as well. A closer look at the new iPad 4th gen and iPad mini specs unveils an LTE module, which is compatible with European LTE bands. The new A6X CPU is just a performance tuning really, as A5X had a hard time powering the huge Retina display.
Two models, namely A1460 (iPad with Retina display, 4th gen) and iPad mini A1455 support LTE bands 700 MHz, 850MHz, 1800 MHz, 1900 MHz and 2100 MHz. All LTE networks in Poland currently use the 1800 MHz band, so the 4th gen iPad as well as iPad mini should work without problems. The only issue, one might encounter, is the nano-SIM standard. Such SIM cards are not widespread yet and migh not be readily available.
It is worth mentioning, that both new iPads can use high speed WiFi using either 2.4 or 5 GHz bands (a/b/g/n), as well as 40MHz channel bonding mode in 802.11n, which can nearly double the throughput.
This is not all. Both models mentioned in the previous paragraph also support CDMA networks (EV-DO) such as American Verizon, or polish Orange Freedom Pro. Unfortunately the latter uses a very specific 450 MHz band, which is not widely used worldwide, and new iPads unfortunately don't support it. It might however become supported in future, which means iPad with cellular module might in future become The internet tablet, able to use nearly any band and almost any wireless technology. It would give Apple an unprecedented technological edge.
Help, my bookmarks are stuck!
The Apple Maps in iOS 6 is nothing. Give them enough time, and they will eventually catch up with reality (and maybe with Google at some point). I do have a rather serious issue with iCloud bookmarks sync, though. Since the release on 19th September, my Safari bookmarks have doubled first (breeding like rabbits!), then stopped syncing. Moreover, I am unable to delete them or add any new bookmarks (the Delete button accepts the tap, but then does exactly nothing). Switching iCloud sync for Safari on and off in Settings does nothing either. iCloud tabs keep working even though Safari has been disabled in iCloud options!
As a technical person I would not just sit and wait until someone else finds a solution: I've started digging myself. First thing I've checked was the Diagnostic Logs (Settings -> General -> About -> Diagnostic & Usage -> Diagnostic & Usage Data).
The culprit is a
small lesser daemon
Bingo! This is what I've found:
It seems that a process called webbookmarksd is killed by the kernel every few minutes with SIGSEGV. I bet this is eating a lot of battery, because CPU is wasting its time trying to restart the daemon every time it fails (and then wasting even more battery writing the crashlogs).
The next logical step was visiting Apple Support website, specifically the FAQ about problems with bookmarks (TS4001). Unfortunately, after reading through the FAQ and doing all the steps mentioned there - I'm still stuck with the problem.
For the time being I have filed a bug report on Apple Developer website and wait for Apple response or a working untethered jailbreak for iOS 6, whichever comes first.
You can read more about the issue on Apple Community Support forum: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/4313906?start=0&tstart=0
Solution already exists, no jailbreaking required
As I have initially have guessed, the issue was caused by a broken bookmarks file. Other users who have encountered that problem were able to resolve it with the procedure in this thread: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/4333351?start=15&tstart=0.
I have followed the procedure from the thread and it worked - my iPad 2 works just like new, bookmarks are syncing fine and they are no longer stuck:
- Disabled iCloud backup and did a standard backup to iTunes
- Edited the backup with iBackupBot, replaced the broken bookmarks.db with one from this address: dropbox link
- Restored the edited backup with iBackupBot
- iPad did not reboot and it was stuck at recovery screen
- I put the device into recovery mode again, by holding the power and home buttons. As soon as Apple logo appeared, I released only the power button.
- "Connect to iTunes" logo appeared
- I did a restore in iTunes now, usingthe same edited backup - it seems iBackupBot did something wrong.
- iPad has restored successfully, duplicate bookmarks are gone, no more crashing webbookmarksd
- Re-enabled iCloud backup and bookmarks sync
Remember, by following this procedure, you do so at your own risk!
PS. I did the iOS 6 update at the same time on both my iPad 2 and iPhone 3GS, which had iCloud sync working perfectly fine in iOS 5. iPhone 3GS was completely unaffected by this issue, even though the same set of bookmarks was used by both devices.
Overdue for about a month (devs from Fishlabs initially scheduled it for 30th of August), the "Supernova" expansion for the best space game for iOS has been finally released. Android version is rumored to follow. Exact date is not known yet.
Galaxy on Fire 2 is the closest thing to EVE Online one can get for mobile devices, including iOS and Android. "Supernova" is the second content expansion, which brings several new ships, weapons and another few hours worth of singleplayer campaign. Some of the features are available for free when you install the update, but the new campaign is a 5.49 EUR in-app purchase. It is also possible to buy both expansions (Valkyrie+Supernova) for 7.99 EUR.
This is what the official patch notes say in the App Store:
# # # SPECIAL FEATURES OF THE SUPERNOVA ADD-ON # # #
• An epic new storyline with more than 10 hours of action-packed sci-fi gameplay
• Eight new spaceships (incl. Most Wanted Ships)
• Dozens of new weapons, power-ups and commodities (incl. cluster missiles and gamma shields)
• New mission types and gameplay modes (e.g. bounty hunting, plasma collecting, hacking)
• Seven new star systems (incl. the spectacular Supernova systems)
• New capital ships and structures (e.g. Vossk Battlecruiser and Mido Mining Plant)
# # # SPECIAL FEATURES OF THE FREE UPDATE # # #
• New arcade mode “Supernova Challenge” incl. iOS6 support
• Six special ships (only available for owners of the Kaamo Club)
• One retro ship (the legendary Gryphon from the original GOF)
• Possibility to modify the stats and capabilities of your spaceships
• Kaamo Club VIP Card (for exclusive discounts on all Kaamo-Offers)
• Four new primary weapons
• Nine new achievements
• Complete German voice-over
• Minor bugfixes and enhancements
The story of Supernova expansion begins with an insterstellar disaster in the Midorian sector, forcing Mido out of their space and creating new ground for a conflict with Nivelians. Mido decide to ask Maxwell to become an emissary of peace to the Nivellians to negotiate treaty and aid. Despite his valiant efforts, the situation only gets worse. Slowly Keith realizes there must be a new, hidden enemy, who tries to make matters even worse.
According to the press information, the Supernova expansion brings about 10 hours of action, and believe me, this is a high quality entertainment. Players can expect new missions, new systems (and new hidden systems as well!) and loads of new content such as space ships, blueprints, weapons and commodities.
Let's dig deeper
The expansions brings several new ships, namely a heavy battleship "Bloodstar", which according to galaxyonfire wikia sports 180 cargo space, 1 turret, 4 primary weapons, and 4 secondary weapons. There is limited information regarding other ships, apart from their names (and looks - Fishlabs has published several screenshots).
- The new ships:
- Gator Custom
- Blue Fyre
- Ghost fighter
- Most Wanted - a bounty hunter office. Track and hunt down most wanted criminal bosses to be able to buy their ships in Loma/Kaamo later. These are really tough enemies!
- New modules:
- Gamma shield - to withstand the gamma radiation after the supernova explosion
- Repair laser (Large Remote Repairer I anyone?)
- Leech beam (another mod from EVE: Nosferatu!)
- New primary weapons:
- Sentry Turrets - similar to sentry drones in EVE. Launch them and allow them to shoot your enemies.
- Matador TS - new, manually controlled turret
- M6 A4 "Raccoon" - improved version of the M6 series
- Mass Driver MD 12 - improved version of the MD series
- New secondary weapons:
- Cluster missiles
- Improvements to mining
- Gas Harvesting: fire a ionization missile into a gas cloud, then once the cloud has been ionized and starts to disperse, you can harvest it with a plasma harvester (which is basically a turret, so you need a ship that has a turret slot).
- Mido Mining Plant at Coromesk in Skavac system will happily convert 30 units of ore into a single core.
PS. I still wonder if CCP could release an EVE-themed mobile game using the resources from "Classic" EVE Online client. This would work! Second expansion to Galaxy on Fire II is a "living" proof that mobile games can be profitable.
This post is a synergy of my interests. If you are a returning visitor, you have most likely noticed that I write not only about EVE Online, but also about all things mobile: tablet PCs, mobile operating systems and so on.
Smartphones have changed the mobile phone market forever: almost half of all the mobile phones nowadays are smartphones. With CCP giving the community an API to access the in-game information, it was just a matter of time until first EVE related third-party apps have arrived.
Most of the Apps available for the two biggest smartphone platforms, namely Android and iOS, can be divided into three large groups:
- character tracker
- market tracker
- industry helper
Majority of these third-party apps are free, but some of them use ads and donations to cover developer's costs.
Unfortunately I neither own a Windows Phone 7 device, nor have a working emulator of it, so this review will not cover WP7 apps. Sorry!
It is also worth mentioning, that CCP has plans to deliver their own mobile applications for DUST 514 and EVE in the near future. Developers did not reveal any specifics besides Neocom app for DUST 514, which will run on PS Vita and will deliver almost full interaction with the game, except for the core FPS gameplay. Neocom for PS Vita is said to allow managing fittings, accessing market and so on.
Read more about CCP plans for mobile devices:
Since this post is rather long, please click "Continue reading" -->
Controlled gossip is one of the most powerful marketing tools ever created by a man. Why? Because most of the features of the new iOS 6, such as new maps, Siri on iPad and Facebook integration have been widely discussed over the past few weeks.
Of course nothing is set-in-stone until Apple officially unveils it during one of their famous Keynotes.
This year WWDC conference not only brought new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro (with Retina display, with nearly 3 times as many pixels as Full HD), but also confirmed most of the iOS gossip mentioned earlier:
- New maps (with turn-by-turn navigation and introduce 3D fly-by view). Google maps are officially gone. In my opinion this was a premature step (of course justified from the lower 3rd party costs point-of-view). Google maps offer much more content than Apple's, with features such as Street View and new 3D maps, these are the most advanced maps publicly available in the world.
- Facebook integration - works just like Twitter integration in iOS 5: sign in once, and use for all apps.
- Siri comes to iPad (but to the new iPad only). The voice assistant has also become a bit smarter: now features more data sources (such as sports). You can also tell Siri to launch any app you have on your iDevice.
- Cover flow comes to all three iTunes stores.
And now the features that were not known before Tim Cook's keynote:
- Shared Photo Stream - share your photos with other iDevice users
- Safari improvements - it is now possible to upload photos directly from Safari as you would do on a Mac or PC. iCloud tabs allow viewing websites already opened on other devices such as Macs, iPads & iPhones. Full screen landscape mode for iPhone provides even more real estate on the iPhone screen.
- Mail improvements - adding images to a message is now easier. VIP inbox will highlight messages from the most important people.
- Phone app has received long awaited "Reject with a message". It is possible to "Reject + Remind to call back"
- "Do not disturb" mode which can silence all notifications and calls in a specific timeframe (let's say 10pm to 7am). In this mode only people on the Favorites list will sound the ring. It is also possible to allow the second call - if someone calls twice in the "Do not disturb" mode, the second call will not be silenced.
- Facetime is not tied to WiFi anymore and now works on 3G/LTE as well. Many people were complaining about this artificial limitation.
- Passbook - the center for electronic tickets and passes. It is now possible to manage tickets and boarding passes from one place. QR Codes allow third party devices to scan tickets directly form the iPhone screen.
- Accessibility improvements
In my eyes, iOS 6 is far from a breakthrough, but offers several features requested by the users and some cosmetic changes. The Apple policy of bringing new features, such as Siri to new models only might be justified by the revenue from selling new iPhones and iPads (and also allows to cut expenses on Siri cluster, because if too many users get access to Siri, they are more than likely to crash it), but makes no sense from end user point of view.
The exact release date has not been disclosed yet, but Apple says "iOS 6 is coming this fall", so we will see it sooner, than later.
You can now ask why the title of this post is "iOS 6 surprise". The answer is "Because iPhone 3GS is still supported, while original iPad is not". It is unusual for Apple to support a device for more than two generations of software. Both the original iPhone and iPhone 3G have only received two software updates, so did the original iPad. iPhone 3GS is still sold and supported, most likely to fill the gap for the budget smartphone; iPhones were always marketed as a high-end device. With Tim Cook at the helm this policy seems to change.
Aero2 is one of the less popular carriers in Poland, mainly because they do not advertise their services. Aero2 has won a frequency tender in which they have been granted 2600 MHz band for LTE, but the company has to provide a free mobile Internet access service until 2014. This free service is called "BDI" - more info about it is only available in polish here. The service itself is nothing fancy, with download speed limited to 512 kbit and PDP context re-set every 30 minutes. Still, as a free service (there is no catches - you only have to pay 20 PLN deposit fee for the SIM card), it is a very good choice for tablet owners.
Unfortunately, not every terminal is compatible with the service. Aero2 is only offering a data plan, without voice telepfony or text messaging. They limit the services at SIM card level, by disabling TS 11 and TS 21 services (see this 3GPP spec to see what the TS and BS services are), and allowing only the BS 70 service (packet data). iPad 2 can use the bearer service, but it does not show signal strength, and very often it goes into "Searching..." or "No service" mode. The weird part is, PDP context is still available even then (PDP context is the logical connection between user's terminal and an IP network - such as the Internet or internal company network). I have reported this bug to Apple.
EDIT: Apple bug reports are under NDA, so unfortunately I can't post the Apple Engineering team response.
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If you own an iDevice running iOS 5 or 5.1 you might have seen this window when trying to update or download an app from the App Store:
And if you've seen it, you've probably seen it more than once. So what does this error message really mean?
It means that you have a corrupted sqlite db file. Who would have thought? Unfortunately this is a known bug and has been happening to users all over the world. So far Apple did not fix the issue, but thanks to the internet, some clever folks have found & shared the solution on apple.com community forum.
If you are experiencing the problem above, just go to Settings -> General -> Software Update to update your device to iOS 5.1.1
If for whatever reason you can not/don't want to update your device, follow the tutorial below.
The tutorial is based on the forum info, but has some screenshots, which should make it even easier.
iOS version <= 5.1 (bug has been fixed by Apple in iOS 5.1.1 and above) - but jailbreak is not required!
1. Download iExplorer from their creator's website: http://www.macroplant.com/iexplorer/
2. Install iExplorer to your PC or Mac
3. Run iExplorer
4. Connect your iPhone or iPod Touch or iPad to your computer
5. Close iTunes if it starts automatically
6. Click "Mount iDevice" in the iExplorer window. You should now see list of files in the sandbox part of the device storage:
7. Browse to "Media" ->; "Downloads"
8. Find the file "downloads.*.sqlitedb"
9. Delete the file mentioned in 8.
10. Close iExplorer
11. Disconnect the device
12. Press the top "On/off" button and keep it pressed until "Slide to power-off" appears. Once it does, move the slider.
13. Wait for the device to shut down
14. Press the "On/off" button and wait for the device to boot up.
Done! The bug should be gone.
Writing this guide was possible thanks to just_jeepin and ya1950 posts on Apple Support Communities forum.
|new iPad||iPad 2 (last year)||iPad 2 (now)|
|16 GB WiFi||2099 PLN||2049 PLN||1699 PLN|
|32 GB WiFi||2499 PLN||2469 PLN||---|
|64 GB WiFi||2899 PLN||2899 PLN||---|
|16 GB WiFi/3G||2599 PLN||2549 PLN||2199 PLN|
|32 GB WiFi/3G||2999 PLN||2979 PLN||---|
|64 GB WiFi/3G||3399 PLN||3399 PLN||---|
All prices include 23% VAT.