Daily Roundup: Home theater holiday gift guide, Ubisoft’s Snowdrop engine, NSA Xbox Live spying and more!
You might say the day is never really done in consumer technology news. Your workday, however, hopefully draws to a close at some point. This is the Daily Roundup on Engadget, a quick peek back at the top headlines for the past 24 hours -- all ...
Did you design video game levels when you were a kid? Growing up in the era of the SNES and Genesis, I spent countless hours drawing pits of fire and dragon's lairs, dreaming of the day when I could lead a pixelated hero to victory over the villain who rules my levels. It was a nice dream, but it was out of reach when I was 10. While development has gotten easier in the time since, it still requires you too know something about coding. But Pixel Press is aiming to fix that.
Pixel Press is a mobile and web app that lets users design their own video game levels from their own drawings. The project recently finished its initial Kickstarter funding campaign, surpassing the original funding goal by US$8,950 dollars.
The app's level creator lets you design five floors of a video game level, much like the different stages found in Super Mario Bros., which saw you move across fields, then underground, then back through fields, until you finally ended up at the castle of the boss. Simply draw your level map on the free Sketch Kit paper provided by Pixel Press and draw your level. Using a simple system of shorthand, you can add platforms, spikes, traps and portals.
When you're done, snap a picture of your level with your iOS device and the app digitizes your drawing into a customizable world. With the aid of the app's design tools, you can color in your level as well as add textures, music, sound effects, different characters and fine details.
Once you finish, play your level and/or share it with others in the apps community as you try your hand at the work of other users.
Upgrades to the app, including new templates and level skins, will be available using in-game credits. When asked by Kickstarter supporters to explain if Pixel Press is going to be
ruined dominated with in-app purchases, the developers explained their system accordingly:
A lot of users are wondering if Pixel Press will be like many of the other games out there, where in-app purchasing dominates the experience. Pixel Press will work something like this: Items like new level skin packs will be available periodically, you can buy these to use for your levels OR you can download them for free using the credits/points you earn for playing other peoples levels, submitting levels, etc.
Given how much potential this app has to allow me to fulfill the childhood dream of building my own video game, I'm inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt.
You can watch a trailer for Pixel Press below. While it's still months from release, its successful Kickstarter campaign makes this as good a time as any to put it on your radar. Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Pixel Press wants to turn your drawings into video game levels originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Mon, 09 Dec 2013 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
This week's Blu-ray movie release list has several highlights, but fans of the Fast & Furious movies should look out for the sixth movie as it arrives just days after the sudden death of star Paul Walker. On TV we're looking at a slew of midseason ...
45 years ago today, an engineer named Douglas Engelbart unveiled to the world, for the first time, the very first computer mouse.
The unveiling came in the form of a 90 minute demo at the Fall Joint Computer Conference. Engelbart's presentation is regarded as being so epic and influential that it's now referred to as the "Mother of All Demos." It even has its own dedicated Wikipedia page.
Engelbart's first mouse prototype was a bulky wooden contraption with two wheels located on its underside. Engelbart spent about 4-5 years working on his mouse idea before showing it off to the world on December 9, 1968.
Engelbart applied for a patent for the device in 1967, though back then it referred to it as an "x-y position indicator."
The patent reads in part:
An X-Y position indicator control for movement by the hand over any surface to move a cursor over the display on a cathode ray tube, the indicator control generating signals indicating its position to cause a cursor to be displayed on the tube at the corresponding position.
The computer mouse, like many other technologies and innovations, may not have been invented by Apple but was nonetheless thrust into the mainstream via an Apple product. Though the first computer to ship with a mouse was a Xerox workstation from 1981, it wasn't until Apple rolled out the Mac in 1984 that the mouse became a mainstream input device for computing. The Lisa, released in early 1983, also had a mouse but was so expensive that it never became a popular computer.
While Apple helped the mouse became a household product, the company's mouse offerings haven't always been top notch. For instance, Apple has long clung to the notion of a one-button mouse, thought it eventually introduced right-click functionality when it released the Mighty Mouse in 2005.
Speaking of the Mighty Mouse, it featured a scroll wheel that would all too often "stick" on account of dust and/or dirt buildup. Still, it was eons better than the ill-fated and poorly received Hockey Puck mouse Apple introduced alongside the first iMac.
Remember this bad boy?
Today, iMacs ship with a wireless Magic Mouse that is as sleek as it is functional. I only wish Apple would add the ability to activate Exposé from the mouse itself, a feature that was once possible via the side buttons on the Mighty Mouse.
45 years ago today, the computer mouse was unveiled to the world originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Mon, 09 Dec 2013 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Internet account security is frequently a black box; you may not know that something's wrong until there's a notification email or a credit card bill. If you use a Microsoft account, though, you now have some preventative tools. A new security ...
For all the convenience digital games sales have brought us, they've come at the cost of the return policy. Buy a downloadable title you don't like? Tough noogies, kid - no take-backs. Well, unless you bought from Good Old Games. To help stem ...
You're going to see a lot of gift guides this year with things like the iPad Air, iPhone 5s, and MacBook Pro gracing their pages, but you already know those devices are drop-dead awesome, right? So what do you get an Apple fan that already has all the Apple gear they could ever want? You get them weird accessories and Apple-inspired gifts that they never even knew they wanted, of course!
Behold! Today is the first day of a 12-day feature where we'll show you the strangest Apple-flavored gifts we can find.
Day 1: An "iPhone" flask
The holidays are stressful, and there's a good chance you'll be in a number of situations over the next month where 4 ounces of your favorite adult beverage would ease your nerves. But you can't exactly whip out a bottle of scotch at a family gathering without getting some weird looks, so avoid the awkward conversations and potential intervention and conceal your tasty treat within a fake iPhone lookalike!
The "iPhone Flask Smart Phone 4 Oz. Pocket Flask Realistic Smart Flask Design" (yeah, it's a generic product with an SEO-grabbing name) is priced at a rock-bottom US$5.95 and features rubber lining and a "realistic look." Ok, so that last bullet point is pretty questionable, but maybe you'll believe it's a real phone once you've emptied the contents into your belly.
The 12 Days of iMas, Day 1: An iPhone flask and a holiday hangover originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Mon, 09 Dec 2013 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Android users worried that the government is spying on their smartphone now have a new privacy option: CyanogenMod. Starting with today's nightly 10.2 build, the custom firmware will encrypt SMS and MMS messages sent to any device using the ...
I live in Maine, which means I get the sun before everyone else, and the weather usually later. This past week is a great example. Winter storm Dion has allowed me to track the storm's progress as it made its way from the panhandle of Texas all the way to the easternmost part of my home state. My app of choice to follow this storm was Radar Cast Elite from WeatherSphere.
The radar app is chock-full of features, but the most important one is its past and future radar images. The app shows a storm's movement by including both previous radar images and future ones to predict where a storm is headed. It plays these images back in a loop, allowing you to see the track of a storm. You can change the duration of time displayed in the radar loop as well as the loop speed to fine-tune what you see. These past and FutureCast radar images provide an excellent look at your weather conditions right now. They also show how conditions will change in the immediate future.
Besides its convenient radar images, the app has a handful of other helpful features. There are weather forecasts, severe weather warnings, hurricane tracks, real-time lightning strikes and more. The app can even show storm start and stop times on the map, which, along with the weather-based driving directions, will help you plan your daily travels around hazardous conditions.
RadarCast is great for weather aficionados looking for another radar app to add their collection. It's also perfect for folks who want to monitor the weather in real time so they can adjust their plans accordingly.
Radar Cast Elite is available in the iOS App Store for US$2.99. Some features like pilot weather data and tide charts require an in-app purchase of $9.99 or less.
Daily iPhone App: Radar Cast helps you stay on top of the weather originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Mon, 09 Dec 2013 17:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
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