Mac – a Followup

So after reading my last blog post “A Week on The Mac” the family cat had something to say about the subject too.

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A Week on the Mac

Well its now a couple of weeks into using my shiney new MacBook Pro 15″ and I have decided to do an early report on a few things I like / dont like about it. Its not an exhaustive list but just a small rant of my main pleasures / gripes.

Like:

The keyboard, I know you can get soft-touch keyboards for PC but I have never tried them before passing them off as “unnecessary” but having used this keyboard for a week now I am a changed man. Just the act of typing on the thing is a pure pleasure! Definately a plus if you are coding on the thing all day 😉 One slight negative is that there appear to be some keys missing from it such as the # key and the end and home buttons, not a biggie, im sure there are shortcuts in there somewhere.

exposeThe Expose show all windows feature is great! I have it activated on my middle mouse button right now. Right mouse button show all windows to get an overview of all the windows open then click on the one you want, simple, easy and less confusing that the Windows taskbar in my opinion.

The install / uninstall process. This one took a little bit of getting used to. At first I wasnt sure exactly what was going on, but now I understand that you just drag an application into the “applications” folder to install or drag it out to uninstall its a doddle, much better than Windows’ add / remove programs or even worse individual application uninstallers!

Dislike:

Finder. I may not have got it setup totally correctly yet but so far this app has been pissing me off more than any other so far. I dont like the way you delete files and folders from it by either having to drag them to the recycle bin or by having to press cmd & backspace, a simple backspace would have been better. Also copying files to and from folders is frustrating. In windows you select some files hit ctrl & c then select the folder for the files to go to then ctrl & v, do this in mac and your files and folders end up going in the root folder not the one you are navigating. The same goes for making a new folder, you would expect selecting a folder then going file -> new folder would create a new folder in the selected folder, nope, it goes in the root again 🙁

The cmd key. Why? What is the purpose of having control, alt and cmd? Im slowly getting used to using the cmd key for things such as cmd & w to close windows and tabs and cmd & n to open new things but I dont see why you couldnt just use ctrl for this purpose. Whats more, when I switch back to a windows computer at home I end up getting confused and hitting the alt key all the time :S

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The lack of right-click functionality on menu bar items. This is frustrating in some situations, one of the primary being GMarks for firefox. In the morning I like to check a few sites for news and see whats going on in the world. On windows I do this using the GoogleBookmarks plugin for Firefox called Gmarks. I normally right click my “Check Daily” GMarks bookmark folder then select “Open All in Tabs” button. Unfortunately however as you cant rightclick on menu bar items on the Mac you are unable to do this. My only solution so-far for this problem is to fireup parallels and then perform my morning ritual from within windows xp, hardly ideal.

Flash to iPhone: #1 MotherLoad / iDigIt

Every day I am seeing new game releases on the app store that have already seen a life in the flash game world. I dont know whether its the original developer that is making these iPhone ports or if the IP is being ripped off. Anyways I thought it may be a good idea to report on a few of these games ports, things I like / dislike with any changes made in the transition from flash to iPhone.

First up is one of my favorite flash games of all time MotherLoad.

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I loved the simplicity and addictiveness of this game. Basically you play a miner who digs down through the earth for minerals and then has to return to the surface to sell the minerals. With the cash you earn you can buy upgrades for you mining machine which allows you to go deeper and stay down for longer.

The graphics are simplistic but functional, giving you an easy to understand indicator of where the resources are and where you are to mine.

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You can quite easily play this game for hours, getting deeper and deeper.

The iPhone version of this game is called iDigIt and is by the developer inmotion software.

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The first thing you notice is that the graphics have been given a significant upgrade. I must admit I like the graphical additions, I think they give a needed boost of professionalism to the game especially if you are going to pay 59p to download it.

Once the pleasure of the new graphics wears off you start to notice a few issues.

Firstly the whole radar thing. In the original game you could mine down as far as you wanted and still see the minerIMG_0355als around you, in the iPhone version they have introduced a “fog of war” that shrouds your digger as you start to go deeper. You can buy radar upgrades that increase the distance you can see but I found this to have little effect as you get deeper (see screenshot to the right).The effect of this is that you cant see where the minerals are so you end up digging blindly into the dark.

Another issue is the control system. The game uses an on-screen joystick, im not a particularly massive fan of this method in the first place but its compounded by the fact that you have 360 degrees of freedom when underground. This is an issue as when digging you can only dig right, left, and down at 90 degree angles so having 360 degrees of freedom results in you often digging in the direction you werent intending. I would of liked to have seen the digging directions limited to 90 degree angles when the digger is on the ground.

As for replayability of the game, i dont think this game will have the same appeal as other games due to the fact that the only change the deeper you go is that you get higher quality minerals. There doesnt appear to be any other variation (i may be wrong here). In the flash version there were events like earthquakes to keep you interested, I would of liked to have seen this developed some more and improved on, perhaps some interesting creatures that you encounter. This would of also prevented the most efficient yet most boring tactic of just mining every single block in a strip fashion from left to right.

Overall the game is probably worth the 59p (cheap!) download but I think some of the game play features could of been extended and improved giving a richer more replayable experience.