Real Life apps

Posted by writer | Posted in Soc.io News | Posted on 25-07-2014 | Comments 0

We talked about gamification in our previous article “Gamifying Games”, but we feel that we need to stress even more how this process is growing and what could be achieved by using it. First of all most of us have jobs that start from 9AM and end at 5PM which leaves really low amounts of time for family, friends, home-cooked diet and continuous physical training. There are many apps that contribute in keeping you as far from these things as possible, but there are those that do completely the opposite.

Games like: Habit RPG, Fitocracy, SuperBetter and ZombiesRUN all prove that there are ways to motivate even the greatest couch potatoes to get up from their TV positions and do some real exercise and work while still keeping the motivating and fun elements intact. This is the true power of gamification- to help you achieve things in your real life, not just in a game.

So if you find us advising our dear developers to produce more game apps in our articles, believe us, we have lots of reasons to do that. So take a look at these examples and share some ideas with us in the comments on how would YOU turn these browser-based types of games into mobile apps:

HabitRPG is a game where your own tasks and to do lists give you experience point and levels.

http://lifehacker.com/5976476/habitrpg-turns-better-behavior-into-a-game-of-survival

Lots of apps are connected to self-improving fitness. This browser game brings a PvP element to the famous formula.

http://lifehacker.com/5909997/fitness-tracking-site-fitocracy-unveils-player+versus+player-battles-for-all-of-your-competitive-exercise-needs

Mindbloom puts the whole formula visually, representing your life as a tree. The things you do evolve different branches of your life tree.

http://lifehacker.com/5844586/mindbloom-is-a-game-that-rewards-you-for-living-a-rich-full-life

Spend some time studying different parts of these games and try to learn what works for you and how could you implement some of the elements to your business or your app. There is much more to this subject than meets the eye.

 

Read more on:

http://lifehacker.com/the-psychology-of-gamification-can-apps-keep-you-motiv-1521754385

Image Credits:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/cfeldman10/

Gamifying Games

Posted by writer | Posted in Soc.io News | Posted on 24-07-2014 | Comments 0

There are a lot of things you should bear in mind when crafting your first mobile game. You should think about it on a global level, creating something that will be fun for everyone (lots of game design issues). Then there are the challenges connected to language barriers. Early on, you should also think about the business model that will fit in your game content and the method of implementing it in your design (Really important when using ads). You can read a lot about these subjects on our blog. But besides different business models and the ways to monetize your app through them, today we’ll talk a bit about the process of development itself. No, we’ll not cover coding, or art and game design.

Gamificiation is today’s subject.

Gamification is the process of using game elements and mechanics in real life events and activities.

 

Even before this term was adopted, an old therapeutic system used in psychology called “Token economy“ introduced the first private achievement and reward system. It’s rather simple really.

Basically, you need three things to get this system going:

  • A task/goal (any private like “clean my room”, or job related tasks like “do a report” will do)

  • A reward for completing the task or as it is called a “Token”, (a piece of candy for example)

  • A simple system to exchange the reward for something greater. For example exchanging 5 pieces of candy for a chocolate.

If you want someone else to give you the Tokens, you can easily set this up with a friend, but many people have had a lot of success using this system on their own. This system is similar in almost any way when compared to in game reward systems, and can be seen in many games as an “Achievement system” or “Trophy system”.

This is one of many reasons why people stay deeply focused and engaged in games and are less focused while doing other activities such as working, cleaning the house etc. Fun should be a major component in our lives and it should not be regarded as a separate thing. Working on your mobile game app, should be as fun as playing a game app. This system has been used by one of the greatest companies Blizzard which rewards employees for their long term commitment with real steel swords, shields, rings and even crowns. This keeps the employees even more motivated than regular salaries and bonuses. It doesn’t matter if you’re a CEO or an independent developer working with a friend. Get a bowl of sweets, a vase of roses, or anything that fits the character of your business, set some goals, and once they’re finished you’ll feel like you’ve accomplished something much greater when you finish your daily report.

Read more on:

http://www.minddisorders.com/Py-Z/Token-economy-system.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reward_system

http://us.blizzard.com/en-us/company/about/b20/sword-and-shield.html

Image credits:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/nikobogio/

Traveling apps- A challenge for Developers

Posted by writer | Posted in Soc.io News | Posted on 18-07-2014 | Comments 0

According to a survey conducted by Frommer’s Unlimited the proportion of people using their smartphone on vacation has increased to 52% from just 27% in 2010, although the figure is even higher for people between the ages of 18 and 34, with 72% using their smartphones on vacation. Although people used their laptops for booking and some used mobile apps to rejuvenate their memories once they’ve returned, now smartphone users tend to use their phones while actually being abroad. This brings new types of challenges to developers.

Creating useful international apps that will work exactly the same wherever you are.

This difficult task was accomplished by some notable apps: “Global Taxis” can find a taxi for you no matter what county you’re in, “Wordlens” can translate signs from pictures you’ve taken and “Help Call” can automatically connect users to emergency services in 126 different countries. Unfortunately, many international apps are still limited by location. Some apps don’t work outside of their origin country, different roaming services might cause trouble to others, and high-data streaming apps may have limited functionality only. Apps that are focused on major cities work poorly while in small towns or less populated regions. Language barrier is another issue especially when having China in mind. These are the challenges which stand before developers. Luckily these difficult tasks are not just theirs to solve. True mobility requires excellent network coverage and lower charges for international travelers.

 

Read more on:

http://www.mobilecommercepress.com/far-can-mobile-technology-travel/859680/

http://www.timeout.com/travel/features/1169/50-must-have-travel-apps

Image credits:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/smarkapps/

Mobile Video Ads- done right

Posted by writer | Posted in Soc.io News | Posted on 17-07-2014 | Comments 0

When they appeared, mobile video ads felt like small extensions from desktop video ads. That’s because they were exactly that. Blurry graphics, long buffering and play time, mixed up screen sizes… these things brought annoyance with them across mobile devices. But times have changed. According to eMarketer, watching video on smartphones doubled from 2012 to 2013(from 4 to 8 minutes), tripled on tablets (from 4 to 12 minutes) and it will surely rise in 2014. The long commercials are gone, replaced by 15 to 30 second video ads that could keep the attention of users.

 

But the problem still lies in the creative.

“The future of creative is smaller stuff,” Ian Schafer, CEO of Deep Focus, said. “But culturally, that’s not the way a lot of agencies work.”

 

Vungle’s platform allows mobile apps and brands to run 15-second promotional videos within apps in its network of more than 3,000 titles (“Cut the rope” and “Fruit Ninja” among them). It boasts an in-house production capability for quickly creating HD-quality videos that serve as trailers for games and other apps. With the new infusion of capital, the company plans to launch a mobile video ad exchange and introduce other tools for monetizing apps later this year. The Vungle Exchange would enable real-time bidding (RTB) for in-app video ads on a programmatic basis. In-app video ads can be really problematic when taking into consideration, different types of smart devices, connection speed, ad formats…but Vungle states that they’re committed in providing the best quality in-app videos and the could do the creative also. Besides advertising your game through this platform, businesses could transform even their TV ads for mobile when the “first ever video ad exchange” is completed.

 

Read more on:

http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/218916/vungle-raises-another-17-million-launches-mobile.html

http://techcrunch.com/2014/02/06/vungle-series-b/

http://www.vungle.com/

http://digiday.com/publishers/mobile-video-still-afterthought-brands/

Soc.io Review:Run for Your Line

Posted by writer | Posted in Soc.io Reviews | Posted on 14-07-2014 | Comments 0

Frustration elements (annoying music & sound effects, bad art, disturbing themes, extreme difficulty…) are present in many games nowadays. Often, players leave an app and uninstall it from their Android device instantly.The level of frustration goes so high at times that the popular gamer term “rage quit” becomes a regular thing.

Yet sometimes that same frustration motivates players to move forward and rejoice on their small achievements although they usually lose moments after they’ve earned them (common with Flappy Bird). Run for Your Line is one of those games.

Run for Your Line gives you a pattern on which you have to draw your line. The line moves on its own. The player needs to tap only for direction change. Tap to early, you lose, tap too late, you lose.

 

Yes it’s a game that requires perfect timing even from level 1!

And it requires much more after a couple minutes of gameplay. The screen starts to shake and rotate, the color of the background changes, the pattern which guides your way disappears or sometimes gets really thin, the line gets hidden and the speed increases. You can skip hard levels(this doesn’t imply that there ARE easy ones) by using “skip points” which can be earned with every 10 000 points of your score.

All of these “frustration boosters” affect all players equally. But all gamers are different. Therefore some will leave quickly. But those who stay and get to know the game through all 2500 levels will find a uniquely addictive and fun experience. So before letting your emotions get the best of you, give another go at this great android game.

 

Run for your line and tell us how far you ran in the comments below.

 

Download now:

http://mall.soc.io/apps/1015836966

Soc.io Review: Super Line Rush

Posted by writer | Posted in Soc.io Reviews | Posted on 11-07-2014 | Comments 0

Music has always been a really important part in games. Combining electronic music with any type of art (especially zoomed in pixel art) mixed with some flashy colors formed a new type of games that were named “Music Games” or “Rhythm games” usually featuring some music related puzzle.

“Super Line Rush” by the popular developer Jyri Kilpeläinen has that type of art and the appropriate electronic music, yet it is not one of those games. However music still plays a heavy role when atmosphere is concerned. You start off controlling a white 2D circle traveling endlessly upward in a narrow space that looks like a canyon if observed from above. You can only move the circle left and right by tapping the appropriate side of your device. The background color changes constantly and the “road” curves get really sharp as you progress.

Night-player?  There’s a night mode too!

 

But no matter what time you play, the rule is always the same:

Exit the limits of the road and you lose.

 

Loosing seems impossible in the beginning when you’re moving slow, but later on speed becomes a great issue! Colors flash, electronic music drives you to tap faster, guiding squares in the middle of the road might confuse you, and the rapid change of curves make a really hallucinatory optical illusion. This could seem a bit messy in the beginning, but believe us it’s that type of mess you’d love to see over and over again. Every time you lose you get the option to share your distance on twitter to compete with friends

Super Line Rush features a multiplayer mode too! Two players take opposite sides of the device (horizontal split screen works great on phone and tablet) and move their own white circles towards each other. This brings the excitement to a whole other level.

 

This game uses non-intrusive interstitial ads which can be removed with an in-app purchase.

What are you waiting for? Download this app and step into the pixelated canyon.

http://mall.soc.io/apps/Super+Line+Rush

Enjoy the ride!

Soc.io Review: Tower Box

Posted by writer | Posted in Soc.io Reviews | Posted on 10-07-2014 | Comments 0

Physics was and will be a great feature in games. We just love to see things fall naturally using unnatural gravity. The popularity of Angry Birds didn’t owe everything to its wonderful art and characters…it was Rovio’s perfect physics engine that made players of all ages realize that they have real control over that popular slingshot which sent birds flying towards those green pigs.

 

Many games followed suite by using their own tricks to make physics fun but ended up too complicated for their own good. A great game that brought that same tension (when you wait whether an item will barely fall of an edge or won’t) and the same smooth movement is Tower Box by Nexoworks.

In Tower Box you need to make a tower out of wooden boxes. You control a box by tapping the left and right side of the screen which boosts the box in the same direction(left or right). With every tap you can actually feel the friction of the air and the speed of gravity getting higher and higher as your box starts falling down. Gently placing boxes one on top of another your tower gets bigger and you unlock new heights that you need to reach, but while going up in the start seems fun, the tension gets bigger when you reach the sky. You have a shaky tower that struggles for balance and new boxes that keep coming. If you’re successful some boxes on the bottom start getting a stone texture making them strong.

Manage to stay calm and you’ll have a tower made of stone which is really hard to be torn down by that evil gravity! Climb on official high score charts, share your score on Twitter, Facebook, g+ and Whatsapp to compete with friends.

 

Have the highest tower of them all, but watch out, even the greatest success can crumble quickly in Tower Box.

Download now:

http://mall.soc.io/apps/1015707656

Soc.io Review: Monster Tap and Run

Posted by writer | Posted in Soc.io Reviews | Posted on 09-07-2014 | Comments 0

Endless runners? Yes, we’ve seen a lot of them since the start of the mobile revolution. Canabalt, Temple Run and Jetpack Joyride started this mobile trend and from that moment on, endless runners just keep on coming. Highscores? Been there. Social Sharing? Done that. So what could be the key ingredient to refresh this genre? Multiplayer maybe? Well sort of…

“Monsters Tap & Run” is an Android game that features two separate monsters endlessly running in a 2D environment one above the other in a classic split screen style. A cartoony design together with a simple guitar tune follow players in the background and various silly jumping sound effects make for a hilarious experience. The ability to control two characters at the same time proves to be fun and challenging. Small & big totems come and go at different times and various speed testing your reflexes and eye to hand coordination. What we found really interesting was the fact that this game leaves you with the choice to try and run endlessly solo or with a friend. But even with the help of your closest, the difficulty gets high only after 80 seconds, so try not to trip on totems as long as you can because seconds are your score! High Scores can be shared with friends over any channel you can think of (facebook, twitter, gmail, hangouts, SMS, Skype, Viber…you name it).

“Monsters Tap & Run” uses banner ads and interstitial ads but never in an interruptive or intrusive way. You’ll see a full screen interstitial ad upon finishing a level or exiting the game and the banner ads never ruin the user experience.

On the whole “Monsters Tap & Run” is a fun little game that takes a new twist on the endless running genre with the simple two character control mechanic. It’s  fun and easy to play and runs great on basically any Android smartphone.

 

Download the game and start running!

http://mall.soc.io/apps/Monster+Tap+and+Run

Soc.io app Review: Swipey Circle

Posted by writer | Posted in Soc.io Reviews | Posted on 07-07-2014 | Comments 0

We are living in an age of technology, no doubts about that. And in these days we are getting used to the best possible entertainment available. Games have moved a step up featuring realistic graphics, high quality sound, hundreds of hours of gameplay, professional voice acting, awesomely directed cut scenes, high poly counts, fluid animations and much more.

Yet the indie developers (with their retro mini games) proved that there are a lot of people still hungry for the old rather than the new. Simple mechanics, fun repetitive gameplay, modern minimalistic design (or even pixel art) that’s a big YES for smartphones.

Swipey1.png

Swipey Circle from T-Me Games is all of these things. It has that modern minimalistic feel, one sound effect and a goal that couldn’t be simpler to understand.

Swipe the moving circles that match the color with the static circle. Miss the right color and you lose.

Swipey3.pngSwipey4.pngSwipey5.png

Sounds too simple? Believe us, It gets a lot harder! Circles move faster and faster as you progress and a lot of random events start to occur like: color change, slower time, extra colors, color-blind, time rewind and many other traps and power ups that put your reflexes to the ultimate test. You’ll lose a lot(we did), but in the end there’s always a funny “YOU LOSE” message that brings a smile to your face and makes you have another go.

Swipey2.png

Share your score on facebook and participate in online challenges where you compete against other players to reach high scores. This little game monetizes through interstitial ads and in-app purchases. You can remove the ads with an in-app purchase from the built-in store which also comes with a premium 4 life mode that is forgiving up to 3 of your mistakes. Overall Swipey Circle is an IMMENSELY fun game. Its short game sessions (lasting less than a minute) enable players to enjoy on the go and get their reflexes on a whole other level.

Download now and start swiping!

http://mall.soc.io/apps/1015691589

 

Be Mobile Safe

Posted by writer | Posted in Soc.io News | Posted on 04-07-2014 | Comments 0

More and more people are using mobile payments (via NFC) as their preferred payment method. There are even countries in which mobile is becoming the only way a user can connect to the World Wide Web. There is no question that the demand for a stable and secure mobile payment system is getting higher and higher as people want to engage in e-commerce while on the go. But the question still stands? Are mobile devices safe enough to be entrusted with your money?

The answer is not yet clear, but you can be sure that everything possible is being made to make the mobile world safe. Yet, there are still millions of users without any installed protection on their smart devices, please do not be one of them.

Nowadays there are many mobile payment methods which prove to be safer than the traditional electronic payment made from a PC.

For instance, certain types of payment practically don’t require you to give out any information apart from your cell number, so you don’t have the risk sharing your information online. Likewise, in direct, bar code payment, you are not required to trust someone with your credit card, while NFC systems are quite secure, and mostly use encoding when performing transactions. But we can never say that a system is 100% safe, yet there are some mobile safety precautions that we should all take:

http://www.staysafeonline.org/stay-safe-online/mobile-and-on-the-go/mobile-devices

We are all happy with AVG’s mobile security, but you should see which antivirus system suits you the most:

http://mall.soc.io/apps/AVG+AntiVirus+FREE

Read more:

http://www.mobilecommercepress.com/mobile-payments-safe/859937/