Etc.

Well, I think my latest gaming obsession, strangely enough with Infinity Blade on the iPhone, is coming to the end. I’ve "mastered" every object in the game, killed the god king multiple times over, and have nothing left to prove…. until the expected update with new areas and multiplayer comes out, at least.

Up next, perhaps, is some form of Dead Space—either on the PC or the iPhone. I was tempted to pick up a copy of Dead Space 2 recently, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. See, I never did finish the original on the PC, so I reinstalled it the other night and got to shooting. As is my custom, I kept the save game file from 2008 since I’d never finished the game, but I figured I might as well start over at this point. Trouble is, the plodding pacing of the game and the sluggish controls, even with the worst problems handled, have made me less than enthusiastic about playing all the way through this one. That leaves me wondering: what is the statute of limitations on a save game file? I don’t think I remember key plot points from the middle of the game, so I’d probably be lost if I jumped back to where I was back then.

Another option I’m considering is, yep, the iPhone version of Dead Space, which has a ridiculous number of rave reviews at the app store and, crucially, seems to get the control scheme right. I’ve not yet tried it, but I understand you use one finger to control movement while the other controls aiming, both on "virtual touchpads" on the right and left sides of the screen. There’s no specific, pre-defined area for left/right/forward/back, either. Lifting a finger off and putting it back down creates a new "anchor point," and you can slide any direction from that point to move that way.

Here’s a video of the scheme in action:

Watching that makes me think someone has finally nailed shooter controls on a touch screen, something past attempts have miserably failed to do. The graphics are very solid, too. If the gameplay is up to snuff, wow, iOS devices are starting too look like a heck of a gaming platform—I mean for real, hard-core gaming, not just so-called "casual" puzzle games and such, which are fine but sometimes feel a little limited. That’s gonna be a problem for the PC industry, don’t you think? I mean, look, the iPad doing this blows away most netbooks and ultraportables, right?

Comments closed
    • designerfx
    • 9 years ago

    Wow, I do like that control scheme. The anchoring bit is definitely lacking on most current touch games.

    • bfar
    • 9 years ago

    My PSP got scant use due to cramped fingers, squinty eyes and a stiff neck.
    I can’t see how any ultraportable devices that are currently available, are any more suitable for hardcore gaming than a PSP. Their small size and limited input controls make them far too limited and fiddly to implement a comfortable gaming control system.

    Even the best touch screen implemetation for game control is a poor substitute for a keyboard/mouse combo, or a console controller. The latter two are far from perfect, but they’re ergonomically far more suitable for that kind of usage.

    Even games aside; the idea that portable devices will replace larger devices in everyday use is a marketing driven myth. I’m personally far more comfortable and happy surfing the web on a 22′ screen with a keyboard and mouse in my palms, than fidgeting around a little smartphone or slate touch screen. And that’s before I even think about performance. While I’d admit that these products are very early into their evolution cycle, the portables will be nothing more than great portable complementary devices, and they will have their place alongside their larger, more capable and comfortable cousins. It’s a bit like bikes and cars; there’s plenty of market for both.

    • Meadows
    • 9 years ago

    [i<]Watching that makes me think someone has finally nailed shooter controls on a touch screen, something past attempts have miserably failed to do.[/i<] Intensely ironic, considering how poor aiming was in the actual first Dead Space PC game.

    • FireGryphon
    • 9 years ago

    [quote<]That's gonna be a problem for the PC industry, don't you think? I mean, look, the iPad doing this blows away most netbooks and ultraportables, right?[/quote<] It looks attractive and will usher in more health problems: CTS from holding your hands on a touchscreen unergonomically for long periods. I also think that gaming on a big screen (either PC or console) is more attractive than smaller screen gaming.

      • indeego
      • 9 years ago

      I was trying to figure out how he had that mounted where this wouldn’t get very tiresome or the display didn’t move around a bit.

      I’ve yet to see someone use an iPad without some degree of awkwardness in doing so. But I guess bluetooth never stopped people from looking silly so why should this?

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 9 years ago

    Hey guys,

    Really soon I’ll be submitting my own iPad/iPhone game to Apple. I’ll let you know when it’s available for purchase. I hope you’ll like it.

    • mcnabney
    • 9 years ago

    Graphics look pretty good for the low resolution.

    I am a bit confused at the controlling aspect. I can see the fingers controlling the action (at about 1/5 the speed and accuracy of a M/KB). However, is this being played with the iPad on a table and the user hunched over it? Some of the finger gestures don’t look possible if the iPad is held.

    Which brings up another issue. Weight. Holding an iPad is going to wear you out after an hour or two. Hell, I can’t hold a console controller up for that long before my wrists/forearms are on my lap/legs. I just can see this being a very ‘comfortable’ method of gaming in a serious way. Casual, sure. But I just can’t see playing something as long and developed as a Bioware release using this type of method.

    • flip-mode
    • 9 years ago

    [quote<]iOS devices are starting too look like a heck of a gaming platform—I mean for real, hard-core gaming, not just so-called "casual" puzzle games and such, which are fine but sometimes feel a little limited. That's gonna be a problem for the PC industry, don't you think?[/quote<] Hmm.... First: "real, hard-core gaming" is something that seems to be changing in definition. To me, that means premium graphical detail, and premium sound detail, usually in a darkened room without much noise pollution and distraction. All of this is in pursuit of immersion. Scott, is that what you mean by hard-core gaming or is the meaning of the term something different than I thought? Regardless, I don't see iOS devices delivering immersive game play. They may, though, deliver fun game play by the truck load. I ask you, does Dead Space on the iPhone deliver the same scare factor that it does on the PC? PC gaming may be in trouble for any number of reasons and "trouble" may mean any number of things: stagnation of graphics, console port issues, game market share, wildly variant hardware configurations to target, the fact that some games look like poo and run at 100 FPS while a select few games look like Zeus but run at 8 FPS, hardware costs, sharing the computer with others, viruses and malware, single user platform, requires essentially a dedicated room/space, no DX10/11 for XP, old games won't work on Vista/7. PC gaming may end up fading to irrelevance, but it's more due to the fact that developers are aiming lower and broader. The PC is the pinnacle gaming platform. You're not going to get the same experience from anything else. But just because it's the best doesn't mean it's going to be the most successful or even that it will continue to exist.

      • Meadows
      • 9 years ago

      To me, “hardcore gaming” stands for unparalleled dedication and enthusiasm in the subject. For example, none of what you described applies to Quake Live champions, but they’re still more hardcore than anyone on this site.

        • flip-mode
        • 9 years ago

        The obvious issue with that: you’re going off the topic of hardware/platform, there’s also a grammatical issue when applying your description to the term “gaming”, which is an act or action. You’re talking about the “gamer” which is the actor. Regardless, neither is reflected by the iOS gaming scenario.

          • Meadows
          • 9 years ago

          If anyone spent hours of gametime before on an iPhone or anything, then by all means (considering the fact it’s a phone) that’s hardcore.

    • swaaye
    • 9 years ago

    This reminds me of the Wii Dead Space port. It’s not a PC version with the quality settings reduced. It has what look like unique game assets undoubtedly designed for much lower poly counts and such (look at how simple the suit is).

    Looks like it runs perfectly as it should.

    Actually it looks simpler than the Wii game perhaps.. but thankfully it’s no rail shooter this time.

    • blastdoor
    • 9 years ago

    This was a really useful post for me — I had not realized that so much progress had been made in solving the FPS control problem for iDevices…

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 9 years ago

    I think valve showing how if you buy a game from them it will bridge platforms is the future. The day a 3rd party license is good on all your major platforms is the day that pc will rein supreme.

    • bdwilcox
    • 9 years ago

    “As is my custom, I kept the save game file from 2008 since I’d never finished the game, but I figured I might as well start over at this point.”
    –Isn’t that the definition of insanity? And, as as aside, the iPad needs a cartridge port.

      • Corrado
      • 9 years ago

      Why does it need a cartridge port? Its got flash inside it, and the place to get the games inside it… so why?

        • bdwilcox
        • 9 years ago

        Because they’re durable, portable and RESELLABLE (plus, it makes it a cool portable console).

          • eitje
          • 9 years ago

          If it’s resellable, Apple doesn’t want it in their product.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 9 years ago

    So when are you guys putting up some articles?

    • anotherengineer
    • 9 years ago

    Scott, I wish I had your spare time 🙁

    • Duck
    • 9 years ago

    I’m not easily impressed. Crysis 2 screen shots… meh. This game running on an ipad? :O Looks very nice. I’m impressed at how well it runs. I mean if I saw this vid 1st I would have expected something like a CULV tablet at the very minimum. If not CULV with a 5450M or similar.

    • l33t-g4m3r
    • 9 years ago

    [quote<]I mean, look, the iPad doing this blows away most netbooks and ultraportables, right?[/quote<] Lol, no. That's a loaded statement if I ever read one. The only reason dead space runs so well here is because the app is designed and optimized for the platform it is running on. Kind of like how a DS-lite can run Metroid Prime really well, but not so good on a quake2 homebrew port. Oh, and dead space 1 is really fun if you get it working right. I think it's been the closest game to a system shock 2 sequel yet to come out. PS. The game looks better on a radeon, IMO. Seemed to have sharper textures/lighting.

      • Damage
      • 9 years ago

      Well, yes, optimization is one of the key things that contributes to a good experience here versus, say, trying to run a top-flight PC game on a netbook. That is a problem for the PC industry, though, is it not? The experience is better on a competing device in the same price class. I’m certainly not just talking about hardware specifications, which aren’t likely to sway the average consumer looking to play a game.

        • l33t-g4m3r
        • 9 years ago

        The ridiculous thing about the supposed “handicap” netbooks have isn’t the specs, it’s that game developers are not catering detail levels to this market. Looking at the graphics shown in that video, I don’t see any reason why that game can’t be run on a decent netbook, except that they don’t want to release games for those people. Their loss, because anyone who does support netbooks will be making money. Probably a good market for indie devs.

          • Damage
          • 9 years ago

          Now we have to define netbooks, because if you’re talking about AMD Brazos-based systems, you might have a point.

          If you’re talking Atoms, well, that IGP is arguably less capable than the Imagination Tech core in the iPhone/iPad (it’s DX9/SM2.0 without robust texture format support and probably software vertex shaders), and the hardware is only a starting point. Intel’s graphics drivers and focus on supporting game developers–and its pathetic AppUp thing–is a big bundle of hurt compared to what Apple’s doing with its iOS drivers, devices, and the App Store.

          And don’t get me started on PC makers, laptops, and graphics driver updates.

          I don’t think you can blame major game developers for lack of participation given the way the primary custodians of the PC platform have treated mobile gaming.

            • l33t-g4m3r
            • 9 years ago

            [quote<]App Store[/quote<] Steam. [quote<]I don't think you can blame major game developers for lack of participation given the way the primary custodians of the PC platform have treated mobile gaming.[/quote<] Maybe it's the other way around? I think if they make the option available, regardless of other factors, there will be sales. There really is too much catering to liquid nitrogen cooled quad-sli systems going on in the pc world, and it's cannibalizing the midrange market. You're not going to make sales by pushing more "Crysis" clones, and even Crytek knows this, which ironically is why Crysis2 is much leaner. I will say this about Ipad gaming: I love touchscreen controls. I haven't used an apple device, but from my limited experience with a DS, I think touchscreen is the future.

            • swaaye
            • 9 years ago

            There are a few games on Steam that have a “netbook” mode. The problem is that Intel’s GMAs rule the roost and they are really poor. They have somewhere around GeForce 2/3 performance and their supposed DX9 support is truly worthless. I’ve spent a lot of time with GMA 900/950 and I’m pretty sure the latest Atom GPU is effectively the same thing.

            You can play 3D stuff from 2001 and older pretty well and games that use only 2D are of course perfectly fine. So think of UT99 / Quake 3 engine games, puzzle and adventures.

            • glynor
            • 9 years ago

            Unfortunately, when it comes to the Intel GMA, not even all old 2D-only games are fine.

            I have a friend who has an (otherwise very nice) ASUS UL-30V, and he has had no end of problems getting Worms to run on it (I don’t remember which version exactly, but one of the older non-3D ones). We did finally get it to mostly-work, after using some third-party GPU driver tweaks, but it still crashes here and there and there are graphical issues on many of the menus and loading screens.

            For a long while, I thought it was just Windows 7 causing the issues. But the same game runs beautifully on my Macbook (with a Nvidia GPU) under Win7 64-bit.

            • bfar
            • 9 years ago

            Intel have tried to convince themselves and their customers that we don’t need a good level of GPU performance on our devices.

            It’s a huge mistake, and has allowed the mobile market with all it’s well implemented next-gen UIs and flashy whizz-bangs, to make Intel devices look very ordinary, boring and tired. At least on the surface. It’s the same old lesson; you can’t tell your customers what they want; you listen to them.

            It’s a wonder that a chip company with that kind of clout and cash hasn’t managed to plug that hole. Even AMD is far better positioned to build a product range that spans all kinds of devices from ultra-portable to high performance.

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 9 years ago

            It wasn’t just Intel.

            I don’t see the system builders hurrying to put decent GPUs in their devices.

            To Apple’s credit, they seem to understand that making the experience of using a computer as smooth as possible is more important than making it as cheap as possible.

            I just don’t understand why there isn’t a market for Windows based systems with the slightly higher build quality and attention to detail Apples have, but a price between where they are now and where Apples are.

      • cynan
      • 9 years ago

      Netbooks maybe (especially if you exclude the new AMD C30 and C50 powered models and the Atom powered models with ION 2 graphics). But I would heartily disagree about ultraportables. If you want to buy an ultraportable (defined as 13.3″ or smaller and weighing about 4 Ibs or less) designed for gaming, you can get easily outdo performance of a smartphone.

      Dell m11x with the Nvidia G335m or the Acer TimelineX 3820tg with the HD5650 or HD6550 GPUs are a couple of examples of decent gaming notebooks in small and light form factors.

      And if you are referring to the control aspect, you can always connect any number of USB game contrllers (ie, Xbox 360 controller), not to mention a full keyboard and mouse, that surely must be better than using a touch screen to play a shooter.

    • ChangWang
    • 9 years ago

    Hey Scott,

    Don’t remember if your using a Radeon or not, but what worked for me was disabling vsync in game and forcing Triple Buffering and vsync by using D3DOverrider (its in the RivaTuner package).

    It’s been a while, but I thing nvidia has these options in their control panel all ready

      • Damage
      • 9 years ago

      Like I said, I have those problems worked out. Still don’t like the way aim mode is slower than regular mode, and it doesn’t feel as good as a top-flight id Software or Unreal Engine game.

        • l33t-g4m3r
        • 9 years ago

        Tip: don’t use aim mode until you have to shoot. The side camera was also a big complaint many people had, but you get used to it, and once you do the game is very enjoyable.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This