Sol: Sun Clock update in the works

If you’re a user of our iOS app Sol: Sun Clock, you might have an issue using the forward arrow button, depending on your location and time of day.

We’re working on a fix. Thanks to everyone who sent us feedback (except for that person who gave us a 1-star review, that’s not very nice). Thanks for your patience. We’ll have an update in the App Store soon!

Having another issue? Please check the Sol: Sun Clock FAQ.

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Vector-Z comes to the Mac!

Vector-Z: Space Ranger, our classic retro-styled arcade game, is now in the Mac App Store.

It wasn’t as easy as I’d hoped to convert it from iOS to Mac OS X, despite using the cross-platform SpriteKit for most of the game. Much of the conversion work was finished a few months ago, and other (paid) work has been consuming us — but we’re finally pleased to announce that the Mac game is very much like the iPad experience.

Mac users, please check it out, and as always, please give us your feedback! This is a game that’s still in development, and there are some more goodies we plan to add incrementally as the game goes on.VECTORS MAC Screen Shot 2015-08-01 at 7.48.43 PM

 

 

 

 

Get Vector-Z in the Mac App Store or the iOS App Store.

Cheers and happy gaming!

Alec

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Sol: Sun Clock reviewed on “Cool Tools”

We’re super-pleased to discover that our sunlight planner app, Sol: Sun Clock has been reviewed at Kevin Kelly’s popular Cool Tools site. Many thanks to John Grigutis for the accolades!

Have you ever wanted to know exactly when the sun will rise or set or know exactly when the sun will be at its peak? This app for iOS will tell you that and more.

The interface is easy to understand and includes data such as sunrise/sunset times and durations and days from/to the last/next solar equinox or solstice. It will determine your current location by default, but you can calculate times for any location on the planet.

The nicest feature is being able to set alarms for certain solar events. I like using sunlight as much as possible and have come to rely on this app as a poor man’s curtain timer. I have set an alarm at sunrise and sunset so that I know when it’s time to open or close the curtains around the house. It changes slightly everyday, but stays in sync with the sun. Photographers will find the golden hour alarm setting useful for knowing the best time for taking outdoor photos.

It’s also interesting to see how much daylight saving time and choice of time zone have skewed the traditional notion of noon (solar noon). I live in Indiana (geographically in the Central Time Zone, but most of the state observes Eastern Time) and during the summer months, solar noon is almost 2 hours later than noon by the clock. (WTF Indiana?!)

While several weather apps now include sunrise and sunset times, the features offered by this app make it it well worth the price.

— John Grigutis
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Vector-Z: Space Ranger launch!

iOS Simulator Screen Shot Dec 19, 2014, 12.24.24 PMIf you’re following us on social media — and who isn’t, right? — you’ve probably discovered we did a “soft launch” of our retro arcade game for iOS we’ve been working on forever: Vector-Z: Space Ranger. (The working title was “Squadron Leader” if you’re wondering….)

Anyway, the game launched right before Christmas, and I’ve already made a couple quick bugfix updates to prevent crashing issues, so it’s at 1.0.2 already.

We’ve got a superb new mini-site thanks to Dan Haugh, and we’ve already got one pretty awesome write-up by Joe Corbett at Random Nerds, which pretty much tells you everything you need to know.

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Video: “Vector-Z” game demo in beta

We’re almost done with Vector-Z: Space Ranger (the working title was Squadron leader), our retro vector game for iOS. Here you can see gameplay in the iCade console, on an iPad 3.

 

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How Spore Could Have Been A Much Better Game

Spore, by Will Wright, was a very disappointing game for many people. Hyped for Sporeboxyears, this god-game from a genius designer was supposed to be everything that previous sim/playbox games were not. It was none of those things.

I realized this morning what could have made this game so much better: rather than letting you control the design and evolution of a single species, which battles it out with neighboring species in tribal battles where extermination is rewarded (just like Civilization and countless other games), Wright should have gone the opposite way.

What if, instead of following the usual path of playing one civ/species, your job was to try to create the most diverse biological and ecological planet you could? It would be a fascinating balancing act, trying to introduce new species without eliminating the old ones.  You might get extra points for introducing a predator but make sure the predator doesn’t eliminate its food source too quickly, or both might die off… The number of interesting combinations could be nearly infinite, in contrast to the almost endless but essentially boring superficial choices you have in Spore to customize your species’ looks (which have almost no impact on gameplay).

Of course Will Wright is probably most famous for SimCity, a truly excellent game even with its faults, but not many know he also made a game called SimEarth, which was very interesting but essentially a simulation that was difficult to interact with, in great deal because the game was too far ahead of its time. Maybe processing power is still not quite there to do a full simulation, but surely it’s hundreds or even thousands of times faster now as when SimEarth was around, taxing the 25Mhz 68040 processor of my Mac Quadra 630.

I hope Will Wright plays Dwarf Fortress, the most interesting sandbox world I’ve seen so far, and takes some inspiration from it, so that he can return to SimEarth and Spore and make a truly interesting biological/evolutionary game with endless gameplay.

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fun and games on tumblr

As we get closer to completing the game … I thought I’d play around with tumblr to post some of my favorite games over the years.

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iOS 8 date picker issue with Sol: Sun Clock 3.0.4

[UPDATE: This has been fixed with Sol: Sun Clock 3.1.0, available in the App Store now.]

If you are an iPhone user who updated to iOS 8 today, you may find that tapping the date on the main screen creates a blank dialog at the bottom that may cause the app to become unresponsive. We have applied the fix and are testing the next version now. We’ll have the update in the App Store as soon as possible, but it’s likely that Apple’s review board is super busy right now —yes, they review every update!

 

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“Squadron Leader” beta 8 demo

Here’s a demo of the early 80’s style/vector space shooter we’ve been working on….

“Squadron Leader” beta 8 demo

This will be available for iOS 7.

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Happy Equinox! Sol: Sun Clock is now 1/2 off.

Our five-star Sol: Sun Clock is now half off in the App Store for 24 hours!

It’s the first day of Spring for us Northern Hemispheroids*, and you can track the lengthening days with Sol: Sun Clock.

Every day gets longer until the Summer Solstice, and our beautifully designed app for iPhone and iPad will let you know when and where the great big ball of fire will be, for all your spring and summer plans. So useful that David Marsh, Director of Photography for such series as Downton Abbey, uses it to plan shoots. Download it now at https://itunes.apple.com/app/id491537291

* Apologies to our friends South of the Equator, everything we just said above is opposite for you…. but Sol: Sun Clock works as well in Perth and Buenos Aires as it does in Stavanger and Juneau.

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