Pick a phone,any phone!

So I took the plunge and finally got a phone without a keyboard after quite a bit of debating I finally picked the HTC One, I’m pretty sure that without my Nexus last Christmas I wouldn’t have considered moving to touch-screen. Here is my thoughts and some of my reasoning.

The phone

HTC-ProductDetail-Hero-slide-04I have to admit the phone feels rather nice in your hand, the balance is perfect for me. As the case is built from a single piece of aluminium it’s alot lighter than I thought it would be. The only external buttons are the volume rocker and the power key, the power key placement is a little odd in that it’s on the top left and not right as it common with phone of this factor. But it soon became familiar practice to head to the left not right.

The resolution is very nice and the quality is rather better than I expected. There are dual front facing speakers with BoomSound which give a nice balanced sound over all the ranges. When these features are combined for example watching films on Netflix, the quality of the phone really stands out.

The OS

The HTC Sense brand of Android has taken a little getting used to, but as with anything there are new short-cuts and features to discover. Bear in mind that I have only used stock Android OS on my Nexus before now, so this in some cases feels like a step backwards as I find some things more limited.

The keyboard software is rather nice and I loaded up the stock Google one to compare, and there are a number of alterations that make it better suited to the Phone environment. The biggest feature that I will miss from my old phone will be configurable alerts on an app by app basis, as setting the Ringtone, Alerts & Alarm seems to be a little restrictive, I’m sure there is an app to help me somewhere.

Camera

The 4 UltraPixel camera is a mixed bag, perhaps it’s just my unfamiliarity with the camera but zooming doesn’t always result in good qulaity pictures. However I overlook that fact as the low-light pictures come out fantastically, which is good when your child isn’t fond of flashes on cameras.

There a number of addition features of the camera that drew me to this phone:

  • Zoe – this is a rather awesome piece of software, allowing for a short video instead of  a picture which allows you to remove moving objects & extract stills
  • Always smile looks good but I’ve yet to use it (I only know miserable people 😉
  • HD, Slow motion and highspeed video capture
  • Burst shots allow you to pick one to keep and remove the rest, ideal for toddlers

My case

As I travel on public transport for 10+ hours every week I wanted something tough enough for that and to also deal with my 3 year old too. Thankfully as this phone has been out for a little while there was a good range of cases on the market. In the end I opted for an Otterbox Defender which to be fair is more than I need, so I don’t by default use the outer case shell, but it’s always good to have the option there. Also the built in screen protector means I’m not worrying about it pealing off after a few weeks.

Picking a Phone

When I was trying to pick a new phone I read quite alot of reviews of the latest phones on the market.

The video below was the one that swayed my decision in the end, despite there being some incorrect information such as the camera quality and the ease of adding short-cuts, but maybe that was revised in the software since the video was filmed.  I am happy to say that I’m very please with my choice.

Barriers

When people talk about “Free to play” titles, there is usually a reference to removing barriers. Removing them from the entry to the game, purchase costs, monthly subscriptions, etc.
While this has a positive benefits in terms of players and accessibility, removal of these entry level barriers means that those looking to exploit a game can just roll new accounts when they get found out.

Come with me into the Past

Ghostly outlines

Let me take you back in time to 2006, this was before the free to play model was fully embraced as a viable business model and subscription was the order of the day.

To encourage more gamers to try out Planetside (1), SoE introduced a feature called Reserves for a period of 1 year. This allowed anyone to create a SoE account and earn 6 battle ranks levels and 2 command levels before they stopped gaining XP.

On the whole there were high-hopes that this would drive more players into picking up the game. However this single act, resulted in a massive influx of persons out to abuse the system. The worst part was that the continued free access granted them the ability to test out different hacks and “so we are led to believe” develop/use tools to achieve various hacks on the fly.

Sadly this wasn’t the revamp that Planetside needed and effectively paved the path for continued exploits and ongoing problems that plagued the game forever more.

Now?

Over the last week in PS2  I have encountered a player on three separate occasions who appeared to be using a wall/clipping hack combined with increased damage output, meaning you would be killed by an “invisible” enemy with 1 shot.

In a purely PvP orientated game like Planetside 1 or 2, the floodgates are wide opened for cheaters and trolls to apply their “trade”, thanks to the removal of barriers.

I am rather surprised that SoE didn’t seem to take anything away from the reserves experiment. Even their hacking detection seems to be as lacklustre as it was in 2006/2007, relying more on other players to report these events over actively seeking them out in real time.

I dreamed a freem

After only a few days of running the City of Titans KickStarter has reached it’s goal of $320,000. This is great news with a large number of City of Heroes fans giving the  project their support and blessing.

There a few stretch goals that will see the designer ported to Android and App Store, with the last listed goal being a Mac client being available at launch.

The Kickstarter has been updated at a good pace with an interesting mix of posts and articles. As the month progresses we may see some additional goals added, but I would think the Missing Worlds Media team, don’t want to nail too much down at this stage.