Saturday, December 22, 2012

Board games on the iPad: a technology showcase

Of the thousands and thousands of titles available for the iPad and tablets generally, a genre where the device comes into its own is that of board game conversions.
Stone Age screenshot

A number of excellent implementations of genuinely absorbing strategy board games (as well as more traditional games such as Scrabble and Monopoly) are now available, with more being continually added to the list. Here are a couple of favourites I have reviewed recently:

  • Settlers of Catan, something of a "classic" among strategy board game fans, works particularly well on the iPad and in this implementation includes (as in-app purchases) the Seafarers and Knights & Barbarians extensions, making the iPad version extremely good value for money.
  • Stone Age is a more recent board game, involving a combination of "resource gathering" as found in Catan along with turn play revolving around "strategic choice of actions". The iPhone implementation discussed in the review is very playable, faithful to the original and attractively presented, with a high-resolution iPad version on the way. In the meanwhile, the iPhone version will play on the iPad, albeit in slightly low resolution if you have a non-retina iPad.
  • Puerto Rico and its card game cousin San Juan are both available for iPad. Puerto Rico features an admitted slightly crowded screen in order to fit on the entire game board and islands of up to 5 players. Its card game cousin San Juan is slickly presented and its less complicated layout lends itself well to the iPad.

A key features of all of these implementations is pass and play mode, to which the iPad clearly lends itself. Like many other board game fans, I look forward to seeing what further offerings become available over the coming months and will post reviews of my favourites to the Multimobilia site.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

LetterMeister for iPhone free for limited period

The LetterMeister word puzzle game published on this site is now free to download for a limited period, reduced from the regular price of $1.99 Take advantage to download your copy now!

If you have a QR Code reader for iPhone, then scan the image to the right. Else search for LetterMeister in the App Store for more information.

The desktop version is also available for Windows, Linux and Mac OS.

Monday, December 10, 2012

New comments and links facility being rolled out

On most pages of the Javamex programming site, you can now add feedback and questions to the articles. Look out for comments boxes in the following locations:

  • in the box to the right of the main page;
  • in the box at the top right of certain "popular" articles;
  • in the box at the bottom of the page beneath most articles.
Some popular articles on the site where we may expect to see comments include the sections on the Java volatile keyword and synchronisation, Java threads (which includes various tutorials on threading and multitasking in general, including thread scheduling) and random numbers, which looks at various pitfalls associated with using the standard Java random algorithm and how and when better algorithms should be used, e.g. for security purposes or to improve "simulation" type applications.

It is hoped that by having this comments facility, both regular and new readers of the Javamex programming tutorials will be able to engage in discussion and improve both their knowledge and the content of the tutorials.