While attending the iOSDevConference 2010 I was introduced to an incredible game for the iPad. It makes unique and innovative use of the iPad platform to enhance and make game play on the iPad so much more enjoyable. Let me introduce you to Pinball HD.
First this is a great implementation of the classic Pinball game. It includes three different games standard. A marine themed one, a Wild West themed one, and a jungle theme based one. The jungle based one includes four paddles and and the Deep multiple balls (I have only seen two) at some point. Each one has a very detailed 3D world and appropriate music and sound affects.
The paddles respond just as you would expect with no noticeable lag. The ball(s) also appear to follow the laws of gravity as one would expect. It is very engaging and tough to put down once you start playing it.
The most innovative feature is when you allow your iPad to respond to changing the orientation. In Portrait mode your view is zoomed in on the ball and it follows the ball as it moves around the game background just as if you were in an aircraft over the field of play. If you prefer you can lock the orientation down to landscape mode and the view is fixed of the entire screen.
You can also share your scores with the rest of the world or if you prefer keep them private. Another really innovative feature is the lack of crashes. Five people have played the game for multiple hours at a time in my house hold without one crash occurring. Compared to other programs and games this is quite an amazing achievement and speaks loudly to the quality of the programmers involved with this program.
This game is a product of a Ukrainian Company called Gameprom.com and I was able to speak with a few of their programmers at the iOS 2010DevConference and they are indeed a very impressive bunch.
A rather amusing characteristic is the voices that are used. If you listen carefully they seem to have a very definite Russian (Ukrainian ?) accent. I think this just adds to the ambiance of the game myself.
I have been using the Police Radio App now for about a month. Before this app I was using and continue to use the ActionScanner app and I will compare the two. I have to say it never occurred to me that Apps such as this would appear on the iPhone and iPad devices. I am a long time Radio Scanner user and have quite a collection of radios at my disposal. I don’t see myself getting rid of my Radios any time soon, but the the Radio Apps provide some interesting new capabilities that were not easily available before.
For those who don’t know about Scanner Radios they allow you to listen to the Police, Fire, Ambulances and many others (Not Cell Phone Users). Each radio may have hundreds or thousands of channels that have to be programmed with the frequency that you wan to listen to. So you have to find the frequencies, program them into the Radio and then you can listen to that frequency. If you have thousands of the these frequencies this can be quite tedious as you can imagine. There are portable walkie-talkie like versions of these Radios and there are desk top version and versions for your car.
So the Police Radio Scanner apps provide much of the same functionality for your iDevice. This allows you to unobtrusively take your scanner with you just by having your iDevice with you. With earphones no one would be the wiser that you are listening to a scanner !!!!!
In some ways these scanner apps are much easier to use then the scanner radios. For instance you don’t have to know anything about frequencies. You are provided a list of available channels that have an English description of what they are and you just select what you want to listen to. This is where the first limitation occurs. The Police Radio doesn’t scan as it only allows you to listen to one channel at a time. This is opposed to real Radios that allow you to scan up to thousands of channels per second. The ActionScanner actually provides scanning capability although very limited. You get four banks of channels that contain up to four different channels. And when you select a particular bank ActionScanner does scan all four channels in that bank. Again that is in comparison to thousands of channels that a typical Radio scanner might be scanning.
But the Radio Scanner Apps have a capability that most real Radio Scanners don’t have. Your Radio scanner has to be able to HEAR the radio channel in order for you to listen to it. This means that at most the Radio Transmitter has to be within 100 miles or so of your location. The Radio APPS listen over the Internet to radio channels. This means that you can be in San Jose and listen to the Hawaii 5.0 or Atlanta Fire or New York Rescue. This is a very cool NEW capability. So I see these apps as supplements to most Radio Scanner hobbyists probably not a replacement. But for those new to the Radio Scanning hobby these apps could be an entry into the hobby. This also means that you are at the mercy of the audio stream provider as to what channels are available and if they are working or not.
So lets get down to details. ActionScanner allows you to scan multiple channels so this is a big plus. For a Radio Scanner enthusiast this works more like what they are used to. I have had this app crash a lot so that is check mark against it. Also many times the channel I want to listen to is not available for some reason. It doesn’t say why so that is another check mark against it. ActionScanner is available in the app store for$1.99. There is not a specific version for the iPad. I give this app 2 loopyfroggers.