Archive for October, 2015

By October 30, 2015 Read More →

4 Recent Innovations in Video Game Development

Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 00.44.05The global video game industry is estimated to be worth £80bn and is one of the fastest growing sectors, overtaking the movie and music industries; in part due to an influx of new technologies and developments. We have looked at some of the recent trends and innovations that are shaping the video game industry:

 

Preview Programmes

Preview programmes are a new trend becoming popular with game studios, which allows gamers to feedback into the development process. Steam Early Access and the Xbox preview programme allow gamers to access new titles before they are finished so that they can have a say in the finished product. Small studios are breaking away from the traditional publishing models and incorporating gamers’ opinions into the development process to create a better gamer experience. 

Some studios are even live-streaming the development of their video games, making the whole process more transparent for gamers. Dutch independent game studio Vlambeer has 12,000 users subscribed to its live-stream; the closer audience interaction also means that there are more gamers advocating the game even from the early stages of development.

 

Virtual Reality 

A number of virtual reality gaming headsets are set to hit the market in 2016, including the much talked about Oculus Rift, Sony’s Project Morpheus and Microsoft’s HoloLens. The virtual reality field has so far been dominated by headset technology, but some companies are exploring different technologies; two Amazon patents recently released have revealed their plans to develop AI technology that avoids the need for a headset. This new take on virtual reality uses a projector and single light source to map a room in 3D space.

 

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

According to Microsoft, video games and AI research are ‘mutually beneficial’; AI technology can be used to create virtual characters that behave realistically and intelligently within the game world. 

For the gamer, this means that non-player characters are capable of planning and learning in a way that more closely mimics real-world situations. Google has already contributed by creating a network that can look at a complex image and describe in natural language what is happening.

For developers, this means utilising some of the new resources for game development that incorporate AI technology into the process. Recent versions of game engines such as Frostbite 3 for PlayStation and Xbox, or FPS creator Reloaded for Oculus Rift incorporate artificial intelligence into their development framework to create more realistic in-game experiences for the gamer.

 

Computer-Developed Games

Moving on from artificial intelligence within video games, a researcher at the UK University of Falmouth has created an AI program that develops its own games. The program is called ANGELA – ‘A Novel Game-Evolving Labrat I’ve Named Angela’, and it uses parameters set by its creator to develop video games.

It is essentially a computer algorithm that learns to make a game; as time goes on, ANGELA requires less and less input from its creator. So far, the games created by ANGELA don’t compare to human-developed video games, but as the program learns more over time the aim is that it will be able to write its own code and develop independently.

 

 

Posted in: Editorial, gaming
By October 28, 2015 Read More →

Asus ZenPad 8.0 unboxing

vlcsnap-error133Asus have been quietly releasing a slew of tablets and it would appear there is one for every taste on the market. If you have the patience you could track down every spec you desire in a tablet and not have to pay through the nose for it.

Here we take a look at one of the variants in the range. the Asus Zenpad 8.0 with the optional Power Case adapter to expand the battery life by an extra 10 – 13 hours with very little compromise.

In the inital unboxing there is a little confusion about the specs. Spending some time with the device, it is specced out as follows:

OS – Android 5.0 Lollipop
Processor – Intel Atom x3-C3200 Quad-core
Screen – IPS LCD 8.0 inches, 72.2% screen-to-body ratio, 800 x 1280 pixels, 189 ppi pixel density
Storage – 16 GB + microSD up to 64 GB
RAM – 2 GB
GPU – Mali-450MP4
Front Camera – 5 MP, 2592 х 1944 pixels, autofocus
Rear Camera – 2 MP, 1600 x 1200 pixels

Posted in: Tablets, Videos/Unboxings
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By October 27, 2015 Read More →

Hunter’s Moon – see the full spectacle in just a few hours!

starYou may have caught the news today that Jupiter, Venus and Mars will form a triangle in the sky just before sunrise this week. A rare planetary phenomenon which will not take place again until 2021.

If you find yourself getting a taste for star gazing but have no idea what it is you’re seeing, Universe2go’s great new gadget, the Sky Viewer (RRP: £69) gives you all the information you need, looking at the planets and stars in real time in any weather, thanks to the use of your smartphone’s GPS technology point to the sky and it will identify where you’re looking.

The brand new piece of kit is super easy to use, there’s no need to sync: all you need to do is download the free app, pop your phone into the star gazer and you’re off into the night sky. You can find your way around using just small head movements – a quick nod will zoom you to galaxies, star clusters or constellations. Plus, Universe2go provides commentary so you can learn all about life on Mars, Jupiter’s great red spot or Venus, the hottest planet in the solar system.

You’ll be able to see this impressive planetary triangle all week, so do let us know if you’d like to borrow a Universe2go Sky Viewer to try it out for yourself!

RRP: £69.00                                         

Stockist: via the Universe2go website (free shipping worldwide)

Posted in: Accessories, Wearables
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By October 25, 2015 Read More →

Whats new on Netflix 19-25th October

TWoNFLets take a look and see what has arrived on Netflix over the last week in the UK.

By October 25, 2015 Read More →

Whats new on Amazon Prime 19-25th October

Lets take a look and see what has arrived on Amazon Prime over the last week in the UK.TWoAP 4x5

By October 23, 2015 Read More →

Boomerang loops little videos for Instragram

downloadContinuing to evolve, Instagram has unleashed a new app that makes for fun and creative way to make short videos to share with your friends and family. Boomerang take 10 quick images and stitches them together to make a 1-second looping clip.

Like most video interaction in photo apps this is very simple to use, there’s just one button. Press it when you’re ready to record, and it does the rest. When you share the clip to Facebook or Instagram it’ll be on an infinite loop for anyone who wants to watch it.

For example:

 

Who’s not looking at you kid? #boomerang

A video posted by Gareth Myles (@garethmyles) on

 

Give it a quick download over at Google Play!

Posted in: Apps & Games, Cameras, News
By October 22, 2015 Read More →

Stylish iKlips flash drive iPhones and iPads

2Adam Elements, a leading smart lifestyle solutions brand, presents iKlips, an innovative flash drive solution designed specifically for iPhones, iPads and iPods. Not only does it add between 16 and 256 GB of additional mobile storage. Thanks to its Lightning / USB 3.0 dual interface, it also allows users to easily share data between iOS devices, PCs and Macs.

Award-winning design
Available in gray, gold, rose gold, silver and red colour options, the Apple “Made for iPod/iPhone/iPad” (MFi) certified iKlips perfectly matches the design of the latest iPhone 6s models (especially with the new rose gold colour), which makes it a seamless extension that could not look more natural. A slim, lightweight aluminium body and a clip on its back make it easy to carry iKlips around safely, e.g. attached to your pocket or bag. In June 2015, iKlips won the Red Dot Award in the “Product Design” category for its versatile, robust, portable and convenient design.

Simple and fast data sharing
iKlips is simply plugged into the iPhone’s, iPad’s or iPod’s Lightning port, which instantly expands the device’s storage capacity with up to 256 GB of additional memory, which can be flexibly removed and shared with other iOS devices. Even better, the flash drive boasts a USB 3.0 connector on its other end, which makes it easy to backup and share photos, videos, audio and other files with PCs or Macs and vice versa, all without using the internet, cloud storage or iTunes. The free iKlips iOS app makes managing the additional storage a breeze. Thanks to its support of the latest exFAT flash media format, iKlips also works with individual files larger than 4GB, facilitating long continuous recording of high-resolution video, which can exceed the 4 GB limit quickly, especially when filming 4K footage with the latest iPhone 6s.

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Premium components and craftsmanship
iKlips is one of the first flash drives to use top quality MLC flash memory components. These not only provide greater stability and a longer product lifespan, but also allow for high-end read/write speeds: 26/10 MB/s via Lightning and 140/70 MB/s via USB 3.0. Thanks to its extremely energy-efficient design, iKlips has absolutely no noticeable effect on the iPhone’s, iPad’s or iPod’s battery life. This impressive technology comes encased in a slim, colourful and exquisitely designed aluminium body. iKlips has been developed and is exclusively manufactured by Adam Elements in Taiwan, who is committed to offering the highest level of quality assurance for a trusted storage experience.

The ideal Christmas gift
iKlips is available now from the Taiwan-based Adam Store at www.adamelements.com/store/ and at Amazon.co.uk (currently via Amazon Marketplace, shortly also directly from Amazon.co.uk) in different colours and with with five storage capacities to choose from: 16 GB, 32 GB, 64 GB, 128 GB and 256 GB (MSRP: £49, £69, £89, £159, £359). Other retailers such as Expansys.com and MobileFun.co.uk will follow starting end of October 2015.

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For more information about iKlips and detailed product specifications, please visit www.adamelements.com

By October 21, 2015 Read More →

HTC One A9 has arrived

one a9 coverAnnounced on 20 October was HTC’s new flagship, originally codenamed the Hima Aero, the HTC One A9. HTC One A9 has a 5-inch display on the front, topped with Gorilla Glass 4. With a pixel resolution of 1920 x 1080 giving for a ppi of 440 leaving a beautiful crisp display. The HTC One A9 measures 145.75 x 70.8 x 7.26mm and is a lightweight 143g. Inside is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 chipset.

Like a number of manufacturers seem to be offering, there will be two versions available, one with 2gb and one with 3gb of RAM. Different territories will get different models. In the UK, we are penciled to get the 2GB version. There will be 16 and 32GB storage options too, although the HTC One A9 supports microSD card expansion up to 2TB.

The battery only has a capacity of 2150mAh which is likely to attract some criticism, however the 617 chipset maybe refined enough to make a difference alongside Android 6.0 Marshmallow’s battery saving techniques. HTC is promising you’ll get 16 hours of talk time from it, 60 hours of music playback or 18 days of standby.

one a9 white

A 13-megapixel sensor, with F/2.0 aperture, and optical image stablisation sits at the very top of the rear next to a dual tone flash. Video capture is limited to full HD so 4K UHD is not an option here, sadly. Like the M9 a 4-megapixel UltraPixel sensor has been placed on the front to increase selfie quality. However, missing from this is HTC’s much loved BoomSound speakers on the front, instead opting for a single speaker in the bottom.

The HTC One A9 will be available in Opal Silver, Deep Garnet, Topaz Gold and Carbon Grey.

UK availability

The 2GB of RAM and 16GB version of the HTC One A9 will be available SIM free from htc.com for £429.99. The HTC One A9 will be available in November.

Only two networks have announced the phone. O2 will offer the HTC One A9, including an exclusive Topaz Gold version. And if you want to trade in your old phone, you can use O2’s Recycle scheme. Giffgaff will offer the HTC One A9, but we’re waiting on specific pricing and release details.

Posted in: News, Phones
By October 20, 2015 Read More →

Help Lycamobile win Website of the Year and win goodies

downloadLycamobile has been nominated for Website of the Year. Your vote for the Website of the Year award could win some great prizes! This year there is a 1 Samsung Ultra HD TV, 2 Apple Watch Sport Edition smart watches and 5 AKG headphones to be won by some lucky voters. Lycamobile have a simple and easy to use website that clearly defines exactly what you get for your money, like all retail websites should.

The British public can vote for their favourite websites and rate the websites on their quality. Each category has two winners. The website with the highest quality score will win the award for Best Website. The award for Most Popular Website goes to the website with the highest number of votes. The website with the best relative assessment within their category will be the overall winner of the Website of the Year award. 

You can vote from 21 September up to and including 30 October.

Posted in: Competitions, Promotion
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By October 20, 2015 Read More →

Blackvue Dashcam Unboxing and Review

vlcsnap-error491The Blackvue is, simply put, a high end dashboard camera. Recording the daily routine with every feature you could imagine. In the following video we take a look at the key features of the camera, the additional hardware, the quality of the footage and the desktop software.

The Blackvue gives users the ability to record their journeys in full 1080p at 30 frame per second. A built in G-Sensor reacts to movement as you drive and adds additional peace of mind to the recording practice. Adding WiFi support allows for the unit to connect to a phone and utilise the Blackvue app to modify settings and preview footage on the go. Built in GPS ensures increased accuracy when travelling and integrates the position into the desktop suite to help locate any incidents that may have occurred with the added help of the G-sensor.

The camera is a wide angle 133 degree lens with an optional rear camera. A 16GB class 10 Micro SD card has been included however there is support for cards up to 64GB

You can purchase the single camera option from Mobilefun for £180:

Or the dual for £274