‘Jurassic Park Alive’ Brings Dinosaurs To The Real World

Augmented reality games are taking mobile app stores by storm this year as franchises like Harry Potter, Ghostbusters, Maguss, and now Jurassic Park.

Players will assume the role of a Dinosaur Protection Group (DPG) member tasked with saving dinosaurs from a second extinction.

Unlike other AR games that require the user to travel in the real world, ‘Alive’ will let players send out a drone to collect DNA samples.

The game will take on a realistic approach to collecting dinosaurs with players using location-based technology to track and observe dinosaurs habits in their natural habitats.

Users Collect rare and powerful breeds of dinosaur by flying a virtual drone in-game, and collecting DNA samples to maintain a full roster of dinosaurs in hand.

Battles will take place between dinosaur ‘strike teams’.

Collectible items will come in the form of supply drops which will contains in-game currency or things like battery life for the drone.

The game is set to release this spring according to a trailer released by Ludia, the developer of the game.

Interested dinosaur wranglers can pre-register here.

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How Virtual Reality Could Change The Face Of Film

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Imagine, a young moviegoer buys his ticket, gets his popcorn, and claims his seat in front of the screen displaying ads for snack bundles, movie ticket discounts and local commercials.

Instead of watching the screen, however, the young man puts on a helmet, straps into his seat and dives into the world of the film in virtual reality, or VR.

The scent of grass wafts through his nostrils as he arrives in the grassy plains of what seems to be a prehistoric age area. In the distance he can see dinosaurs chewing leaves from trees, enormously long necks and some smaller creatures prancing through the tall grass.

He can hear the sounds of the dinosaurs all around him and he swears he can feel the vibrations of their footsteps echoing in his head.

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Suddenly, the shadow of a larger dinosaur casts over him. He turns his head to look at what it is thats looming over his virtual body, there a Tyrannosauraus Rex, jaw wide, teeth dripping in saliva stares at him nearly eye to eye.

He turns his head, hoping the creature will go away, and when he turns back, the creature is gone, distracted by the characters of the film driving away in a Jeep as it gives chase.

This could be what film looks and feels like in the next couple of years thanks to the millions of dollars invested in virtual reality across the world of media.

The new technology could change the face of film, putting viewers directly in the movie, instead of posing as an outside viewpoint to the events unfolding on-screen.

Short films already utilzing this technology have been released on mobile devices and at several film festivals, and have been recieved well.

Filmmakers using this new technology have seen that viewers felt closer to the characters and developed stronger emotions during the film.

With this technology in the hands of educated filmmakers and studios, it could provide amazing new experiences in Hollywood, essentially opening a new era of film.

Since 1895 when the first film was shot and shown in paris, Cinema has allowed viewers the opportunity to epxlore unknown worlds, different planets, and even see personified emotions residing in a young teens head.

The cinema world is changing though, virtual reality is taking the stage and it is happening soon.

Marketers, journalists, and artists all make use of this rising technological marvel and cinema will be the next victim to the spectacle that is VR.

News publishers have already begun to report using 360-degree cameras and utlizing VR to help viewers witness things like the battles in Syria as if they were there themselves.

This type of technology is game-changing, quite literally.
Since the beginning of the era of film, seeing movies was an experience unattainable at home. Theaters contained speakers, projectors, and other technology that was meant to draw viewers in and keep their attentions wrapped around the film and its world.

In the era of VR, consumers want more, and film-makers want to feed that fire growing in the consumer market.

As VR becomes a more affordable product, huge changes are being made to the VR market. Headsets such as Oculus Rift, or the Samsung Gear VR, while originally meant for gaming, are opening doors to cinematic experiences opening doors to cinematic experiences unseen anywhere.

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Fox Searchlights Pictures launched a three-minute 360-degree film called “Wild” back in 2014 and studios are pouring thousands into VR firms and workshops to learn and utlize the infant technology to achieve films that could allow viewers to experience a whole new type of movie.

Of course, with VR headset prices drastically declining, home sales will increase, pushing theaters to jump on and adopt the new technology or fail and allow home sales to overtake the market.

Previously, movies could only be viewed at a fixed angle decided by the director and camera crew. With VR, the consumer can choose what angle to view the film in. If they want to turn away from the horrific killing of the main character, they can, or if they want to escape the gaze of the evil creature stirring in the dark, that is also a possibility.

This technology immerses the viewer in the world that the director and screenwriter are trying to portray.

While it still has a few years before it reaches a price friendly for the majority of consumers and filmmakers, it is a product that is likely here to stay and will likely change the way that we interface with technology.

Review: Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition

It is a true wonder when a mobile game impresses the gaming community, but that is exactly what happened when Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition was released on mobile devices just a week ago.

What began as a ‘do we really need this’ became a ‘this is truly a great portable edition of Final Fantasy XV’.

Honestly, who knew that the gaming community needed a 3DS-like ‘demake’ of an already great console (and now PC edition) game but it proves to be a great option for those who haven’t played Final Fantasy XV or those who just want to play through the game again portably.

GAMEPLAY

One thing players will notice about Pocket Edition is cutscenes are nearly perfectly recreated, though now in the ‘chibi’ graphic style.

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Players of the console edition of the game will feel right at home, with dialogue between characters copied word for word, complete with voice acting for nearly every text bubble.

Banter between characters is still funny and an important piece of the story and atmosphere.

Movement has been reduced to just tapping or holding onto a point on the screen but somehow it works, especially in battle.

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Though simplified, the battle system in Pocket Edition feels right. Attacks are automatic once you target an enemy with Noctis’ warp ability returning, and the having the camera facing down, you can see exactly what you are doing at all times, which is a breath of fresh air fom the hectic camera system in FF XV.

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Areas of the game are fairly large for a mobile game, though it certainly isn’t open-world.

Outside of battles players will explore areas looking for barrels to smash, or sand piles to grab items out of. Exploration is still fun, with features like camping returning.

Of course, Ignis’ cooking sessions have returned as well.

The first time I saw Ignis snap his finger and exclaim, “I’ve come up with a new recipe,” I smiled, knowing I was about to embark on another adventure with Noctis and gang.

GRAPHICS

The game is still beautiful, though everything has been shrunk down to ‘chibi’ size.

With graphic settings set to high, light blooms seep onto the scene, colors are deeper, but even with settings set to low, it feels like playing a 3DS game, which is an amazing feat for mobile.

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Battles are still action packed with effects and characters all working flawlessly.

I experienced almost no lag, though there were a few slowdowns in some areas when transitioning from one place to the next, though it isn’t always noticeable.

The game runs in 30fps by default but I found playing in 60fps was a more enjoyable experience personally.

SOUND

Everything is nearly identical to the console version in the sound department. Music, sound effects, dialogue, its nearly perfectly adapted to the mobile edition.

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Hearing ‘Somnus’ play on the main menu when opening up the game was a nice touch, and instantly made me want to play through the game again.

One noticeable difference is right in the beginning scene. When Noctis and the gang are pushing the car along the road, I expected ‘Stand by Me’ to start playing but instead another song began to play, with no lyrics.

It’s a small complaint but the only noticeable one during my playthrough of the game.

SUMMARY

Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition is a great feat for mobile gaming. It is a true Final Fantay experience that feels just like a 3DS remake of FF XV, which isn’t a bad thing at all.

It doesn’t feel like mobile game. I never once thought, ‘I’m playing on my phone right now’. Most of the time I was too engrossed in the game to worry about what device I was playing on.

Essentially, they recreated the entire game for mobile devices. Everything is intact, including cutscenes.

It is certainly an enjoyable experience for the price and definitely worth the investment.

Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition is available to try for free. The full game is $19.99 for all 10 chapters.

Tile: No Longer Just For Floors

Lost or misplaced items are a hassle.

They have been known to make people late, stressed out, and they can, in severe cases, be life-altering. But now you can keep track of those important items with a platform called Tiles.

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The app is designed to be paired with small “Tiles” using Bluetooth technology, which can be tracked directly from your Smartphone. Simply attach a tile to whatever you think might become lost and forget about it, literally.

The Tile app, when triggered, will send a signal to the specified tile which will then emit a beeping sound. It can be a revelation to those who can’t keep an eye on their keys, purse, anything you occasionally misplace.

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Since the app and corresponding Tiles use standard Bluetooth, you’ll have to be within 100-200 feet to trigger the beep.

So, for those thinking of putting it on the collar of any pesky dogs, think again. However, since the app uses a proximity indicator telling you when you get closer, maybe that’s not such a bad idea after all.

If, by chance, someone finds themselves out of range and unable to track their tagged possessions, they may still be in luck. By using “crowd GPS”, a function that utilizes virtually all phones which have downloaded the app, a user can report the lost item and any nearby user’s app will send an anonymous update to the item’s owner. Scavenger hunts may never be the same.

The Tiles associated with the app can be purchased as single units for $35 or $60 for a pack of two. Batteries within the Tiles cannot be replaced but, according to past users, they typically last for a year.

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Existing users can take advantage of the ReTile program, where one can send out their depleted Tile and receive a new one for $25.

If those car keys won’t stay put, that purse likes to go missing, or you just want to make a preemptive strike to keep prized possessions where you know where to find them, this might be the ultimate app for your smartphone.

Mario Kart Mobile Game Announced

In a short announcement on twitter, Nintendo of America revealed the next game in their line of mobile games planned for the next few years, Mario Kart Tour.

No details have been revealed other than the games release date, which Nintendo has touted for the fiscal year ending in March 2019.

With Nintendo slowly learning the ropes for the right amount of content in a mobile game, this could be great, or a disaster.

All hope is on Mario Kart Tour being a preview of what is to come to Nintendo Switch.

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Tap Here: A look into the appeal of Idle Games

You open your phone and click the ever enticing app with a cookie on it. The screen opens and a giant cookie is presented to click upon, and essentially, that’s all you do.

Tap, tap, tap, and keep tapping away at the virtual cookie until you gain enough to get more upgrades that allow you to tap faster and easier, or even just tap for you.

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Considering there is near to zero actual gameplay to idle games, what makes these incremental ‘games’ so appealing to people?

Of course, even I like these idle tapping games, between classes I often find myself tapping away, purchasing upgrades and leaving it go while I’m class, only to check in with the game later to see how much virtual currency I’ve made.

There’s a psychological appeal to it.

Gaining more and more money, more and more stuff, it makes you feel powerful, just for tapping the screen repeatedly.

Granted, these games can get extremely boring, very quickly.

Not every game is made to the same standard of quality as something like Cookie Clicker and can end very fast if there is nothing left to buy, or provides no motivation to players to continue.

There needs to be a tangible reason to continue tapping, just as there needs to be a tangible source of money dangling from a string for workers to continue working.

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Idle games’ popularity can most likely be attributed to their ‘fast food’ appeal. They are quick to adopt, quick to start, and quick to reward the player.

Right from the get go, tapping results in money, prizes, upgrades, and more.

Idle games have certainly grown, from tapping cookies to games that now present story as the player moves through the game, leveling up or collecting enough to move to another area.

There is no telling if the trend of popularity will continue or fizzle out, but for now, idle games are here, and they are steadily popular.

 

 

New Pokémon GO Feature Makes the Game More Realistic

In what was an unexpected update, Niantic, the developer behind Pokémon Go, revealed the newest game update will bring more realistic augmented reality to the game, thanks to Apple’s ARkit development software.

That’s right, android users are getting left behind for now as Niantic works to develop a feature exclusive to Apple devices.

This new feature will begin to implement ARkit, apples new flagship development kit for developers to utilize AR more fluently.

For example, according to Niantic, Pokémon GO will use the new technology to make Pokémon occupy a fixed point in space, allowing players to walk up close to The Pokémon and observe it from all angles instead of The Pokémon just floating around in the air.

Beyond cosmetics, players will now be able to essentially sneak up on Pokémon and gain a greater amount of experience and chance to catch The Pokémon depending on their awareness level.

Awareness level is a new feature inside battles. It is represented by a bar at the bottom that raises if the player gets too close to The Pokémon during the battle, or makes too many quick moves.

Niantic said players will have to be careful trying to sneak up on Pokémon like Charizard but will find it easier to sneak up on Pokémon like Snorlax.

After testing the new update, I can personally say it is somewhat buggy. Pokémon appeared on top of objects as an overlay and didn’t quite look like they were sitting on the ground like I imagined.

“This is our first step toward making AR capabilities in Pokémon GO even more awesome, opening up the framework for greater AR experiences in the future.”

Overall, the new feature adds a layer of depth to the game, even if it is just cosmetic in nature.

It’s Raining Pokemon

Pokemon Go players will soon see their local weather conditions reflected in-game as they are playing.

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This addition to the game comes in an update that also brings Generation 3 Pokemon to the game, adding to the limited selection of Gen 3 Pokemon that were added to the game during its Halloween event.

Niantic has not yet revealed a definitive list of the Pokemon that will be available from the start, but have confirmed Swablu, Wailord, Salamence, and Feebas, among others.

The game will reflect the current weather conditions, as well as the season. Different weather will have various effects on gameplay, such as certain Pokemon appearing more with a particular weather pattern.

The weather system will have other effects, such as “increasing Combat Power and earning more Stardust after catching a Pokemon.”

These new updates follow the release of Ho-Oh as a legendary, added at the end of November.

Niantic currently has one other project in development, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, a game using familiar elements of Pokemon Go but within the world of Harry Potter.

The developer has confirmed, however, that this new project does not mean it will stop supporting its other games.

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp Review

Outside the village players are used to playing in in Animal Crossing, mobile gamer’s are now going to get a taste of the camping life with the recent release of Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp.

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Pocket Camp has been out for two weeks now and having played for this long, this gamer can say that it is a true Animal Crossing title worthy of the series.

Despite its blatantly obvious in-app purchase model, the game can be enjoyed and experienced by everyone, regardless of premium currencies. As far as I can tell, all items in the game except for speed boosts are available with in-game currency.

Luckily, even the premium currency (leaf tickets) are easily obtained by completing quests.

The current holiday event gives out over 100 leaf tickets alone.

Gameplay

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp plays identically to previous titles in the series, with a few changes.

Players familiar with the world will feel at home while running around the new world shaking trees for fruit, fishing, or catching bugs, but old and new players will also love the new camp aspect.

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Whereas AC: New Leaf introduced the ability to customize the town with things like swings and lampposts, Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer is what probably inspired Pocket Camp the most.

The main idea is the game is to build an appealing campsite for visiting villagers to stay in while they’re on vacation at the various islands surrounding the camp.

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Players have the ability to craft furniture and amenities, new large-scale building projects that level-up villagers of that type (ex. Cute, Cool, Sporty, Natural). Furniture can be placed in the campsite, some of which is required to invite specific villagers to stay in the camp.

Players are also given an RV to customize and decorate. The inside can be decorated the same was as the camp, whereas the RV can be customized with paints and designs on the outside.

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Upgrades to the amount of space or adding rooms to the RV works the same way as previous iterations, with loans being taken out for the work. Players will then have to pay off the loans with the in-game currency, bells.

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One of the main features of the game is the requests system. When talking to villagers, whether they are visiting or permanently living in the campsite, they will present requests, which essentially are fetch quests for items around the various areas in the game.

Unfortunately, new players will likely run out of storage fairly fast as there are more items on the map then pocket space to put them in. Requests become a little mundane after a while when you realize you’re missing one Tiger Butterfly and there are none on the map.

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Luckily, the game still has familiar features such as the clothing shop and a very small version of Nook’s Cranny among other new features.

The game is sadly plagued with timers, some taking upwards of 48 hours to complete, but with several other activities to do, it never feels like you run out of things to do.

Graphics

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is a good looking game, or at least as good looking as an Animal Crossing game can look on mobile devices. The graphics are on-par or even better than Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Pocket Camp’s predecessor.

All the assets are nearly identical to past renditions of the titular series, the fish look fishy, the tree’s look tree-y, the villagers retain their cuteness, and for some, weirdness.

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The game perfectly retains the cute art style that Animal Crossing is known for, and some items are probably straight out of previous iterations of the series.

Sound

Music in Animal Crossing is chill and relaxing, like a mini-zen garden but with sound.

Pocket Camp manages to maintain that relaxing musical quality with songs changing across the various areas of the game, as well as the time of day. (yes, there are day and night cycles).

Summary

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp was thought to be just a town-builder with Animal Crossing slapped on the label but it turned out to be much more.

Pocket Camp is a full-fledged Animal Crossing title, worth of bearing the name of the series, and not just as a mobile game.

With frequent updates being promised by Nintendo and DeNA, players will likely enjoy the game for years to come with more features likely to appear over time.

Overall, the game gets a perfect score from Consumer Friendly. Though it has flaws it is a genuinely enjoyable Animal Crossing title with a lot of fun packed into a small package.

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is available for download on Google Play and the Apple App Store.

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