Wednesday, December 3

Herod's Lost Tomb scores a 8/10 on IGN Wireless

It feels really good to read positive reviews of your games. IGN Wireless recently reviewed our latest game, Herod's Lost Tomb for the iPhone:


The game looks fantastic. The scenes are high-res and colorful; they pop off the iPhone screen. The game is also complemented by a great score, including the famous National Geographic theme at the beginning of the game.

I dig biblical history, so Herod's Lost Tomb had me at shalom. The lack of penalties makes the game a push-over if you don't have the strength to use the offered shortcuts. The special tools and between-stage puzzles are good additions. I got two plays out of the game before I was ready to move on, making it a solid value at its current $4 price.

Read the review at IGN.com
Download the full version of Herod's Lost Tomb
Downlaod the lite version of Herod's Lost Tomb

Sunday, October 26

Mobile phones: a brief history of the models I have owned

Trium Aria-@ (Mitsubishi)

I was still in high school when I got my first mobile phone as a christmas present. One of my friends pushed me into a swimming pool while I was carrying it on my pocket.

Nokia 5210
After 6 months saving money  looking for a new mobile phone, I came across the Nokia 5210 on a magazine and fell in love with its rubberized design. It is now resting somewhere in the Pyrenees.

Nokia N-Gage QD
At just 199€ on its release date, it was the cheapest, sim unlocked Series 60 phone. It ran Symbian 6.0, and allowed me to code 3D games for the now extinct Mophun platform from Synergenix Kayak Interactive Oberon Media. It fell off the pocket of my jacket during a crazy night.

Nokia N70
Again, after a couple of months disconnected from the world, and attracted by Yoigo's mobile internet flat fee, I got a Nokia N70. A pretty decent handset —bulky yet powerful—,  handy to connect my PowerBook to the internet on the road. But then the iPhone 3G came to Spain...

iPhone 3G
After three consecutive Nokia phones, Apple made me jump ship. I had high expectations for it, and it didn't let me down: it just blew away anything I had tried before. At a minimum cost of 27€/month in Spain, it's not cheap, but what you get is well worth it. This is a phone I would not think of buying without a contract with unlimited internet access, as it would feel crippled and lose most of its appeal (for me).

Next?
Unless the smartphone market changes radically in the next two years, my next phone will probably be the next thing from Apple.

Sunday, September 14

Another japanese language learning game is coming

DSFanboy.com has new screens of "My Japanese Coach". Link:

http://www.dsfanboy.com/2008/07/28/my-screenshot-coaches/

This time, Ubisoft *was* in the Competitor Analysis section of my business plan (which is a valuable tool, despite what some other industry people once told me). The game also seems to sport some kind of handwritting recognition.

Tuesday, September 9

Virgin Play to release Japanese learning game

Link: http://www.v2play.com/paginas/juego.php?Cod=19
More: http://www.siliconera.com/2008/06/06/virgin-play-brings-ds-japanese-training-to-europe/

On one hand, I'm sad because I was/am trying to do something very similar with my project. On the other hand, I'm happy because somehow I was right about the mainstream appeal of the game. So there it goes, non believers. Can't wait to play the game when it gets released... it will probably sell well even if it's bad.

PD: Yep, the second link is from 6/6/2008. Google Alerts is supposed to brief me once a week about any news on "japanese game learning ds", but somehow missed the most important articles on the topic. That, or I don't know how to use Google Alerts properly.

Monday, August 25

Tuesday, August 5

Tachikoma-looking PC mod

Pictures of an awesome self-made tachikoma (featured in Ghost in The Shell: S.A.C. anime series) containing a PC:


Tachikoma pc mod Tachikoma pc mod

Seen at Campus Party, Valencia.

Sunday, July 13

BugMeNot widget 1.02

I have released an update for the Dashboard BugMeNot widget. The widget had stopped working some months ago for some reason, but I didn't look into it until today. 

First, I looked at the BugMeNot.com HTML output and realized that it was now a bit more difficult to parse the accounts data due to some new javascript code. Reading the FireFox extension's source code revealed a special URL that makes BugMeNot.com to output the old HTML, so I made the widget to send all petitions to that URL instead. 

BugMeNot widget website


LemonTeam.com gets a revamp

The new Lemon Team website replaces the previous, two years old design. The revamp was needed to better reflect the recent activities and work of Lemon Team. The archive with old games is gone for the moment, but I will try to put a link to it somewhere on this blog soon.

Lemon Team

Wednesday, July 9

Visiting the tower of Collserola, Barcelona

During the MPM Stage we enjoyed a guided tour of the Tower of Collserola. Wikipedia says:

Torre de Collserola (or Torre Foster) is a uniquely designed tower located on the Tibidabo hill in the Serra de Collserola, in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. It was designed by architect Lord Norman Foster, and built in 1992 for the 1992 Summer Olympics. It features a pod for floor space like many towers but uses guide lines for lateral support like a mast. Mainly used as a TV and radio transmitter, this futuristic design provides the highest viewpoint over the city. The top antenna reaches 288.4m (946 ft) and the top of the pod, which has thirteen floors, reaches 152m (499 ft).
We were not allowed to take pictures of the 'war room', so I can only show the tower from the outside:





Tuesday, June 10

Video of Digital Legend's Kroll at the WWDC 2008

I've uploaded to Youtube the participation of Digital Legend's Xavier Carrillo at the WWDC 2008, where he introduces Kroll for the iPhone. Enjoy:

Saturday, June 7

Books I've read this year (so far)

FireFox just ate the full text of this post, and I'm not writing it again. In brief: project management, typography, motivation, presenting and warfare are the topics of the five books I've read so far in 2008 (see picture below).

I'll probably pick up one of the Edward Tufte's books next.

Saturday, May 3

Less than two months away from the MPM Stage

I don't think I have commented on it here yet, but since last october I've been taking La Salle BES' online Master in Project Management, or MPM in short. But, what is it for? The programme introduction reads:
The Master in Project Management (MPM) is aimed at professionals whose positions demand coordination skills and who are either presently in charge of project development or will be in the near future.

During the 'stage' in Barcelona —27th June to 5th July— I will be attending the final lectures and seminars of the course. I'll also have some spare time so anybody reading from Barcelona: just drop me a line if you want to meet up =)

Tuesday, April 15

AirportMania is out!

AirportMania is out!

Although my involvement in this game –developed by SouthWindsGames for Reflexive– is limited to the development the Mac version (I don't like the term 'port'), it is really a project I'm proud of having worked on.


The game has been designed by Rusell Carroll from Reflexive, and the programming has been the doing of Juan Pablo Ferreyra, a friend with whom I already collaborated on Dylo's Adventure. Some interesting excerpts from the interview with Rusell Caroll on GameTunnel.

Q - So it sounds like Airport Mania had a three person team working on it then?
A - Well the team was a little larger than that. I did the game design and also the level design, South Winds Games had 3 people involved, doing coding, art and Mac porting. Reflexive, who is the financer and owner of the game, also had several people involved doing sound and music (along with lots of interesting suggestions and feedback along the way).

Q - Sounds like a pretty big project then?
A - It was, especially for Juan and I, though we've both worked on games before, neither of us has been involved with something of this scope. Creating the full game, start to finish, ended up taking close to 14 months.

Q - So with it being an easy game with friendly graphics, doesn't that make it a kid's game?
A - You know, I'm always disappointed at that kind of generalization. Airport Mania is really for everyone who is a kid at heart. Unfortunately, I have seen some people turn up their noses at the game's graphics, so I would guess that some people feel it is somehow beneath them. While I did make the game easy, there are a lot of challenges built in to push players of different skill levels.


Wednesday, March 19

I finally jumped in



The new prices of Xbox 360 bundles were too good to pass on them, so I finally bought one. Obviously I don't have many games yet, but I plan on getting Halo 3 and COD4 in th future. Feel free to add me as a friend on Xbox live or leave your gamertags on the comments section : )

Monday, March 10

Caracol of Duty [WIP]

I'm developing a 2D game with other students as part of a video games course at university. This is a work-in-progress capture of the first thing you see when you start the game:



By the way, 'Caracol' means snail in Spanish. More details in a few weeks.

Tuesday, February 12

Do you carry sensitive data on your laptop?

Do you carry sensitive or confidential data on your laptop on a daily basis? Have you ever thought what would happen if you got it robbed?

Despite the obvious loss of the laptop, it's the data loss that matters. Because I usually carry source code and other information that is supposed to be confidential on my laptop, I use Mac OS X's Filevault to keep the contents of my home folder encrypted. In Apple's marketing dept. words:
FileVault secures your home directory by encrypting its entire contents using the Advanced Encryption Standard with 128-bit keys. This high-performance algorithm automatically encrypts and decrypts in real time, so you don’t even know it’s happening.
Although Filevault uses 3DES effective 112bit, AES-128, and RSA-1024, it has some limitations. Firstly, it is vulnerable to dictionary attacks. But you probably are using a 'secure' password, don't you? Secondly, some proof-of-concept Filevault attacks have been developed by hackers, although certain special conditions must be met and it would be very rare for a thief to have enough knowledge to use them on your laptop.

If you want to know more about he internals of Filevault and how good it is from a security standpoint, be sure to check the following resources:

Unlocking Filevault: An analysis of Apple's disk encryption system
http://crypto.nsa.org/vilefault/23C3-VileFault.pdf

Secure Your Mac workshop at METALAB
http://metalab.at/wiki/SYMWorkshop

Saturday, February 9

Using hash_map on GCC

If you have tried to use some STL containers with GCC, such as hash_map:

// error: hash_map: No such file or directory
#include <hash_map>

int
main()
{


// error: ‘hash_map’ is not a member of ‘std’
std::hash_map<int,int> hm;

return
0;
}

Then you have realized that the code above does not compile. That's because on GCC, hash_map is not regarded as a standard container, but rather as a extension included in the __gnu_cxx namespace. In order to use hash_map and other extended containers with a minimum impact in your code (which is very important if it's intended to be cross-platform), you can use the following solution:

#ifdef __GNUC__
#include <ext/hash_map>
#else
#include <hash_map>
#endif


namespace
std
{

using namespace
__gnu_cxx;
}


int
main()
{


std::hash_map<int,int> hm;

return
0;
}
Hope that helps.

Monday, January 14

It's a great time to buy foreign goods


EUR 1 = USD 1,489


GBP 1 = EUR 1,318

If your currency is Euro, now is the time to buy some stuff on Steam, E-bay, Amazon or Macheist. Shall I recommend:

Friday, January 4

Where's my flat stomach?

Oh, the horror. For the first time in my life, my stomach isn't flat anymore. Damn christmas. However, I am not letting this last too long! This shall be hereby one of my new year's resolution.

How am I going to do it? Well, I used to do some light abdominal and weight-lifting at home for muscle-building. Gotta go back to it to get rid of this small fat belly. But this is not a clear enough goal. What's my goal 'flatness'? How often am I going to train? When will I stop? Should I stop at all?

Oh noes!


Let's set an S.M.A.R.T. goal:

  1. Specific – Objectives should specify what they want to achieve -> I want to get my flat stomach back.

  2. Measurable – You should be able to measure whether you are meeting the objectives or not -> Is the curvature of my belly zero?

  3. Achievable - Are the objectives you set, achievable and attainable? -> I hope so. Probably it's not too late.

  4. Realistic – Can you realistically achieve the objectives with the resources you have? -> My resource here is time and determination. Hmmm.. this is a risk, as I am not sure if I have those.

  5. Time – When do you want to achieve the set objectives? -> Before spring comes would be EPIC WIN, after summer would be EPIC FAIL.

So I got an smart goal. However, I detected a risk: I may not have the time or determination to train often. I must do something to mitigate this risk. I know, I'll set a training schedule, this will help me allocate the time I need:
  • 45-60 min aerobic, abdominal and light weight-lifting sessions at home, five times a week.
Ok, I can surely find time for that, even during exams. In order to maximize my determination, I will be hearing one episode of the PM Podcast every session, and will never give up until the show is finished. So.. that's it, I could keep narrowing my goal and making my training schedule more specific, but I think that will make it for now.

And rest assured, I won't post any "after and before" pictures ; )