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New App Review Series 1: ’45’ Demonstrates How Fun Simple Apps Can Be

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Welcome to Hacked’s first series, which is yet to be named. This series will focus on reviewing new (mainly indie) mobile applications, with the hopes of encouraging indie developers to create apps. I will write new reviews for this series periodically, likely every other week. The first review will be on the application ‘45’, available in the App Store. This review will be on v1.0 of the iPhone application.

Objective & Background

A screenshot of an iPhone. There is an advertisement at the top of the screen for a game (whose name is blurred out). The actual game has 10 variously-colored rectangles, and a timer at the top of the game shows that there are 15.78 seconds left in the game. Above the timer is a text box saying that the player has 25 points, and another text box to the right of that says that the player is on level 5. A button to the top left of the game has two bars, meaning that the player can tap this to pause the game.45 was released to the App Store on January 3rd, 2015, so it’s very new. It was developed by a developer named Vince Kramers, founder and CEO of Limitless Development.

Also read: Mobile Application Wakie Starts Your Day Off Right

While 45 may look fairly complex, once you figure out how to play, you’ll see how simple it is.

The game opens with a screen filled with rectangles of various colors. When the player taps on a rectangle, it changes color. The colors change in a pattern: purple, beige, orange, brown, yellow, red, blue, and finally green. The goal of the game is to tap each and every rectangle enough times to get them to the green-colored rectangle. When every rectangle on the screen is green, the player advances to the next level. The player is given 45 seconds to make as many rectangles green as they can.

45 utilizes Apple’s Game Center for keeping track of high scores. The current high score is tied at 57 points (you get one point per green rectangle). I am ranked fourth, with 51 points. The Game Center provides friendly competition with other players around the world.

Review

45 is an addictive, yet very simple game, which is somewhat of a pattern in mobile applications (e.g. Doodle Jump, Flappy Bird, Temple Run, and many others). A major similarity of all of these games is that the player restarts from the beginning when they lose, which usually happens fairly quickly (within a minute). This keeps the player wanting to improve their score, especially since they can attempt to do so every minute.

A significant difference from 45 and the apps used as examples above is that 45 is not an endless running game, a game that theoretically never ends and newly generated obstacles are placed in the player’s path. With 45, the game will end in 45 seconds regardless of what the player does. The player needs to tap quickly, and practice certainly makes them better.

Here are a few strategies I’ve utilized:

  • I know that tapping blue once will get me to green, tapping red twice will get me to green, and tapping yellow three times will get me to green. I attempt to get all of my rectangles to these colors so I can quickly know how many times to tap them.
  • If there is only one rectangle left to fill in (every other one is green), just keep tapping it. When it turns green, you will advance to the next level. You don’t need to be careful on the last rectangle.
  • If you want to increase your scores, I highly suggest trying to use two (or more!) fingers. I am currently only using two, but a major way to improve your score in 45 is to be able to focus on more than one rectangle at once. You need to be able to change more than one rectangle at once if you hope to hit a score of 50 or higher.

One thing I noticed that interested me was the lack of instructions. Sure, there is a basic explanation in the App Store, but I actually prefer the obscurity. The only instructions in-game are when you tap the play button, you are given a countdown from 3 to prepare yourself to play and the text “make all the tiles green!” appears on the screen. These scarce instructions encourage the player to figure out how to play the game themselves, which shouldn’t take more than a minute. I appreciate this, and I’m not sure whether it was intentional by the developer. Another thing I’ve been pondering is how the app could be improved. I can’t decide whether adding additional minigames would make it more fun or take away from the simplicity that makes me admire it.

Overall, I am impressed with this app. I have not found a single bug, and this is its first version! The app is free, but it has banner ads at the top of the screen. Fortunately I’ve found these ads to not be intrusive of gameplay, and I don’t even realize that they’re there during the game. I have fortunately yet to accidentally tap on an ad during a game.

The next installment of this series is scheduled to be published in two weeks, so be sure to check back if you enjoyed this review!

Images from ’45,’ Simone Mescolini and Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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Interested in science, cryptography, new technology, and applications.




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Entrepreneurship

We attended the Terra Virtua pre-ICO launch in London: here’s what you need to know about decentralized VR

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We attended the pre-ICO launch event for Terra Virtua at BAFTA in London last Thursday to find out from the team themselves exactly what they are about.

Their coin will utilize the TERRA ‘TVT’ handle, and it will be used to support a disruptive consumer and social platform and marketplace Virtual Reality (VR) entertainment software.

Terra Virtua incorporates decentralised blockchain technology for their ecosystem to fulfil their goal of delivering a Netflix-style subscription service for VR experiences. They promise to offer a wide selection of titles: from video games, to movies and other types of entertainment.

A Partnership of Epic Proportions

Video game developer Epic games solidified their support for Terra Virtua’s platform with their presence on the day of the pre-ICO launch, with graphics card manufacturer Nvidia (who provided the high-tech hardware and software used for VR demonstration at the event).

One of the experiences on display was ‘Robo-Recall’, which is a virtual reality video-game in which the player is tasked with destroying an army of enemy robots using a variety of guns. It takes place in a stunningly realistic semi-futuristic metropolis setting, and the immersion were results of advanced high frame-rate eyeball-tracking systems. Advanced controllers combined with accurate hand movement synchronisation & dynamic software coding meant that combat and in-world interactions felt almost real.

Epic Games cut their teeth developing early PC video game titles in the 90s, and more recently have released internationally successful titles like Fortnight, along with the extremely prolific Unreal Engine. This development suite has been licensed for use by Terra Virtua for their eponymous ‘virtual platform’ – used for player navigation and social interaction between VR games and experiences.

The Speakers and Speeches

Many of the Terra Virtua senior leadership team were present on the day. Several delivered words to the crowd regarding the platform, and their roles in its development. Additional speakers included a handful of the team’s partners and associates.

The series of speakers was preceded by Jawad Ashraf, Terra Virtua’s Founder. His ability to draw a team together should speak for itself, however he has significant experience in the industry as well. In addition to working as Head of Technology at the Entertainer in Dubai (strategic leadership for high profile mobile applications in the Middle East), Ashraf is currently known best for his investments and professional contributions in both mobile application companies, as well as VR.

After this introduction, we were introduced to the company’s CEO Gary Bracey, an accomplished player in the video and computer gaming industry for over 35 years, with his early prominent successes including the foundation of seminal development/publishing house Ocean Software

Chief Technology Officer Kish Hirani (ex-Sony PlayStation, BAFTA VR advisory group) did not make a formal speech on the day; however, he made a strong presence networking amongst the various journalists, investors and others present.

Peter Bergstrom is the head cryptocurrency expert on the team, acting in the capacity as Chief Strategy Officer. His portfolio of experiences and successes in across the blockchain scene goes as far back as 2011 where his enthusiasm towards cryptocurrencies began with personal investment and evangelism of the Bitcoin ecosystem. Other key speakers included Nick Button-Brown, the chairman of BAFTA Games.

If you would like to see the full set of speeches – they are currently online over here on Facebook. Furthermore, you can find out more on the upcoming ICO event as well as the platform and coin themselves on the official website. They also have an active presence on Twitter and Facebook.

The Terra Virtua ICO is set to launch later this month. Check out their official media for the latest updates.

BAFTA Terra Virtua Launch Event

Posted by Terra Virtua on Thursday, March 29, 2018

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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Artificial Intelligence

Students Create Doom AI Which Learns Visually and Kills Humans in Deathmatch

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Two students from Carnegie Mellon University recently placed second in an artificial intelligence competition for their submission of a program that was able to learn the game Doom the same way humans do – by playing.

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Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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5 stars on average, based on 2 rated postsP. H. Madore has covered the cryptocurrency beat over the course of hundreds of articles for Hacked's sister site, CryptoCoinsNews, as well as some of her competitors. He is a major contributing developer to the Woodcoin project, and has made technical contributions on a number of other cryptocurrency projects. In spare time, he recently began a more personalized, weekly newsletter at http://ico.phm.link




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Communication

Sony Introduces 2FA for PlayStation Users

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In a long-awaited and overdue move, Sony has finally introduced two-factor authentication to PlayStation users who can now enable the security feature on their PlayStation Network (PSN) accounts.

Five years after suffering a devastating hack that compromised the user details of some 77 million PlayStation Network users, Sony has introduced two-factor authentication (2FA) on PSN accounts. Sony confirmed the news with a tweet last night, explaining how the feature works.

“By requiring two forms of identification for sign-in, your account and personal information will be better protected.” Sony wrote in its blog.

Users will be asked to provide a verification code that will be texted to their mobile phones at the time of signing into their PSN account. While the feature isn’t hack-proof (nothing is, really), it provides a much-needed extra layer of protection that a large platform like the PlayStation Network, with over 100 million uses, deserves.

Sony PS 2FA

Sony added:

Passwords can be compromised if you use the same password for multiple accounts, click on malicious links, open phishing emails and other methods.

If your password is compromised and becomes known to someone other than yourself, your account will still require a verification code to gain access when you activate 2-Step Verification.

With the feature, Sony caught up with its console rival Microsoft. The Redmond-based software giant had introduced 2FA for Xbox back in 2013, during the days of Xbox 360. Other platforms which sees millions of users such as Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter and others have been offering 2FA security for years.

It is perhaps baffling that Sony took as long as it did to introduce 2FA security, after the 2011 breach. At the time, the hack had Sony admitting that names, email addresses, billing addresses, account passwords and some credit card numbers were all exposed. The fallout saw Sony fined by the UK government. Furthermore, Sony also agreed to a settlement in a class action lawsuit, worth millions, granting PSN users in the United States the means to claim damages if they suffered identity theft as a result of the data breach.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4 stars on average, based on 1 rated postsSamburaj is the contributing editor at Hacked and keeps tabs on science, technology and cyber security.




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