About Google, Udacity and Bertelsmann handing out 10,000 scholarships in the EU

Seems like developers are either loosing interest in the Android platform, or someone thinks they are too expensive and need a bit more competition. I’m not going to speculate further on why Google sees a need to provide 10k scholarships, but for those interested in applying, I’d like to loose a few words on what you are going to sign up for. Read more ›

Posted in Rants

So, how Google dependent are you?

I just read this story here. In summary: a number of people buy the new Pixel smartphone directly from Google, then immediately resell the device. The TOS clearly forbids doing that (but apparently, nobody read them), so Google terminates the accounts of all offending parties and bans them from future service.

Read more ›

Posted in Rants

Explaining “privacy” to the layman (in easy terms)

Andrew has a dog named Chomper. Andrew isn’t as stupid as to use his dogs name anywhere as the answer to a password recovery question, but he doesn’t see why he should keep the name secret either. After all, he loudly calls his pet by name on the afternoon walks for everyone in the vicinity to hear. What harm could possibly come from posting a couple of selfies on the “proud dog owners” group on his preferred social network? Read more ›

Posted in Rants, Security

Increasing the downloadcount of your Apps on Google Play

I occasionally get mail from Android App developers asking me, if and how they can use Raccoon to boost their app’s install counter on the Playstore. Read more ›

Posted in Android

Artifex Mundi on Humble Bundle (go get it)

Time  to give Humble Bundle a second chance after that Broken Sword fiasco (still pissed about that). My expectations for the Artifex Mundi bundle weren’t to high to begin with. After all, a whopping 10 titles from just one developer in a single bundle for a minimum price of $0.50 each? Can you really expect quality work there? Turns out: yes you can!

First of all: all the APKs are at least half a gigabyte in size. That’s some serious amount of assets (even after factoring in that all of the graphics are included for multiple display resolutions). So far, I only managed to play through “Crime Secrets: Crimson Lily“. The other titles will probably be very similar to it (as in: different story, but same mechanics/engine).

In “Crime Secrets: Crimson Lily”, you assume the role of a nondescript (female) private detective on her way to a remote ski hotel for a well earned vacation, when suddenly: murder! Being cut off due to a snow storm, it is now your job to unmask and detain the killer. As cheesy as it sounds in summary, the story is actually quite enjoyable as you start completely in the dark and slowly work yourself towards the big picture. Speaking of pictures: the graphics are beautiful and already a reason to buy the game on their own.

Gameplay is where Artifex Mundi cut corners (at that price, they had to somewhere). The game engine is as cheap as it gets. Technically, Crime Secrets counts as a point and click adventure game, but it comes nowhere close to the works of LucasArts, Telltale or Revolution: there is no walking around in the scenes and most scenes are standalone puzzles. Only few objects will move between rooms and none stay in your inventory long enough for you to wonder what possible use they could have. Progress in the game, in fact, feels a lot like flipping through the pages of an illustrated and themed riddle book (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing). Basically every screen is either:

  • a (themed) logic puzzle
  • a hidden object scene /wimmelbook
  • a “clear the path” problem

None of them overly challenging, but there’s enough for a solid afternoon of entertainment. If nothing else, it’s probably a great interactive storybook for teaching kids how to read.

Posted in Rants

TextFiction really needs a bit of love…

Funny story: some three years ago or so, someone suggested that smartphones would be the ideal platform for playing text adventures (after all, people used to text like crazy). Seemed plausible, so I made TextFiction and lo and behold! Nobody cared back then! Read more ›

Posted in Tinkering

About the TextFiction game catalog

It hasn’t been a problem so far, but Id like to make the following statement concerning TextFiction and the catalog of games, I keep on my website: Read more ›

Posted in Tips and Tricks

And another day lost…

I have this 1920 x 1080 widescreen monitor and it was seriously one of the best hardware investments, I made in a long time. Totally silly of me to try to stick with 4:3 screens for as long as I did. Anyway, yesterday I started my favourite game and accidentally switched to fullscreen. For an unrelated reason, I had to reboot afterwards and lo and behold, suddenly,  1600 x 1200 was the highest resolution available. Read more ›

Posted in Rants

Update on the Pagination issue in Raccoon

Ok, I spent some time on figuring out why pagination is broken in Raccoon. About half of what I wrote previously is wrong. So much for trying to solve a problem late night. Current state of knowledge:

Read more ›

Posted in Android, Note to self

Google Play categories by number

I keep forgetting these, so I better write them down in case I find the time to develop Raccoon  into a full Google Play client (not just for downloading apps):

  1. Books
  2. Music
  3. Apps
  4. Movies
  5. Unknown/Unused
  6. Kiosk
Posted in Android, Coding, Note to self