Pokémon Go ‘Curveballs’ (& More Bugs!)

 

pokemon-goCurveballs – they score you an extra 10 points in the Pokémon Go game – but when is a curveball not a curveball?

Literally thousands of people have vented their frustration at unintentional curveballs in the app – they swear blind that there were not trying to do a curveball as they watch there perfect throw suddenly veer off suddenly to the left of the screen.  A few pokéballs later and they’ve given up.  Is it dodgy fingers or is there something more sinister?

Well, we can’t rule out dodgy throws – we’ve all done them (go on, admit it!).  But when it seems like time after time, whilst trying to catch the same Pokémon your ball curves off at around 60 degrees and flies off the screen it can’t be just a bad throw that’s to blame surely?

Well, you’re right.  I have to say that in nearly a month of playing I haven’t encountered the whoopsie curveball phenomenon…. until today.

I was with everyone else, saying to everyone who was moaning, ‘look, your throw must suck sometimes, you can’t blame the app’.  Well it turns out you can.

Now I’m not sure if this bug has been recently introduced (I’ve not experience since the UK launch date until today) but after a little while, particularly if you’ve had your phone in your pocket and you get the buzz or the beep to alert you to a Pokémon, you touch the Pokémon on screen, thanking your lucky stars that the app hasn’t done it’s favourite trick of ‘freezing’ up on you and you throw your first pokéball.

Bam – it flies off the screen.   You put it down to a bad throw.  You try again.  Bam – it flies off the screen again!  Your cursing your terrible throw at this point.  Why can’t you throw pokéballs all of a sudden?  You try again and bam!  It flies off the screen again – and always to the left.  You then notice that pretty much no matter how you throw it, it ends up curving off at a pretty steep angle to the left – the only realistic chance you have of catching this Pokémon now is if you aim way off right, in which case, the pokéball might land on the Pokémon you’re trying to catch – if you’re lucky.

When I first encountered this bug, it was coincidentally my first time using a ‘Great Ball’.  Now they are beasts.  I thought that maybe they were harder to throw and aim deliberately because they made catching the Pokémon easier – however, as I later found out, it turns out I was wrong.

I quit the app, restarted, and then (luckily) the same Pokémon appeared again.  I throw my ‘Great Ball’ and lo and behold, it’s dead centre and catches the little critter without much ado.

So guys, in the hard life of a Pokémon Trainer, we’ve stumbled across yet another bug (sorry!).  If you suddenly find your balls all straying drastically off to the left, there is unfortunately only one way to resolve this.  And that’s the tried and tested way of quitting the app and trying again.

Of course we shouldn’t have to do this – this is a bug.  And as it only seems to have started happening recently it may well have been introduced in one of the recent updates.  Hopefully developers at Niantic will track down this non-Pokémon bug soon and squash it out of the game.

Reassuringly, we’re not going mad and our aims haven’t all get 100% worse!

Humble Bundle – Grab Games Dirt Cheap & Donate To Charity At The Same Time!

 

humble-bundleGames, they’re great.  They’re even more great, dare I say awesome for geeks!  And we always love a bargain.

If you anything like me, you see a game that you kind of want (but not a lot) and think, if I can get a deal on it, consider it sold!

However, there isn’t only now somewhere that you can get a great deal on selected games – but, you can also donate part (or in theory, all) of the money you pay for these games to a charity of your choosing – double win!

Get the games to quench your thirst, support a great organisation and donate some money to the charity that you choose – you can’t lose!

Who are they?

The name is Humble Bundle.  They’ve got a new ‘humble bundle’ each month.  There’s also subscriptions and a standard game e-store but we’re going to focus on the monthly Humble Bundle for now.

Essentially, this is a ‘pay what you want’ model (with some minimums – albeit very low minimums).  The more you donate, the more games you get.

And with prices starting at $1 (approximately £0.76), you really can’t grumble and it’s worth having a punt with almost any game at that price!

How does it work?

View the Humble Bundle on the website, there’s a new one every month.  Decide what you want to donate, and what split you want between the developers of the games in the bundle, the lovely people behind Humble Bundle itself and a charity of your choosing.  The you get the games delivered to you in super rapid (pretty much instant, according to the reports we’ve heard) to your inbox.

Games are provided as codes – i.e. Steam codes.  Pop them into your Steam client and the game will start to download and install.  Easy peasy – much better than in the good old days of waiting for the Royal Mail to deliver you games to you a few days later!

What’s in it?

The contents of the Humble Bundle change each month, so even if you don’t like anything that’s in it one month, make sure to head back their next – there could be a game that you’ve been waiting for at a knock down price.

Let’s have a look at what’s in it this month.

For the bargain price of $1 (£0.76 approx) we’ve got:

humblebundle-july2016-1

OK, so Duke Nukem Forever is the game that took the developers a bazillion years and is critically panned, but for 25p, it’s worth a go!  The Darkness II and Special Ops: The Line are also included.

Willing to pay a little bit more?  Well the middle ‘band’ is interesting – it fluctuates between the lower and upper bands based on what people have been willing to pay.  Currently the middle band and next tier sit at $9.28 (£7.05 approx).  For that, you get the three games from tier one above and also:

humblebundle-july2016-2

Now, you get your money’s worth out of this purely for the inclusion of the superb Civilization V.  For those who haven’t played the others (and for those that have even more), Civ V is well worth a play – great strategy game that can lead to hours and hours of fun as standard!

For the basketball fans we’ve also got NBA 2016.  Thrown in for good measure is Mafia II – Directors Cut and the Battleborn Start Skin Pack.  Followed by Freedom Force, Freedom Force vs The Third Reich, The Bureau: XCOM Declassified and the secret guilty pleasure of many a person out there (yes, you know you’ve played the demo!) Railroad Tycoon 3.

£0.64 per game so far – great value I hear you say.  Truly exceptional value in my book.

And if you’ve got a little more cash, it’ll get you some more goodies – pay $15 (£11.39 approx) and they’ll throw in more Battleborn games and add-ons:

humblebundle-july2016-3

Still not enough?  I hear you.  They’ll also throw these in on top of the tier three bundle:

humblebundle-july2016-4

Conclusion

Awesome games, unbelievable price and you get to help a chosen charity at the same time – all for one low price.  Now our gaming habits can help good causes as well as enabling us to get our fix and save a ton of money at the same time.

With a collective RRP of $360, all yours for as little as $15, this is a no-brainer.

What are you waiting for?!  Go out and grab your bundle now!

Pokémon Go Plagued By Freezing App

 

pokemon-goPokémon Go – the new app craze that is taking the world by storm – is unfortunately, despite recent efforts, continued to be plagued by a freezing and crashing app to much frustration of Pokémon trainers worldwide.

The latest augmented reality craze that we covered recently has had numerous problems since launch including logins failing (particularly through the Pokémon Trainer Club) and the app being extremely unreliable.

Despite much fixing going on behind the scenes at developer Niantic, unfortunately the dreaded freezing app issue still remains.  What’s causing it?  Let’s take a look.

What’s Happening?

The app freezes – seemingly randomly.  But rather than crashing (i.e. the apps doing nothing or quits unexpectedly), most of the time the app continues to ‘play on’ but no longer responds to user input (i.e. touching the screen, attempting to open the menu or catch a Pokémon).

What’s Causing It?

Well, we can likely rule out a few things here.

Firstly, it’s unlikely to be demand on the servers.  By now, almost a month after the UK launch, we expect that Niantic have finally managed to boost capacity on their servers to cope with the numbers of players.  Also, as with any new craze or fad, things have likely died down a little recently, many people downloading and playing the app but who have since given up.

Secondly, Internet connectivity.  It’s unlikely to be the source of the problem as internet connectivity issues across so many different devices and so many different internet connections are unlikely to be coincidentally dropping out at the point the app freezes.  Furthermore, when the app ‘freezes’ it seems to continue to be fully operational apart from the fact that it no longer responds to user input (which, I admit, makes the app pretty useless – unless all you’re doing is walking to hatch your currently incubated eggs, in which case you should be OK).  Having tested this out, although the app does have a tenancy to stop responding and/or crash when your internet connection drops or you are switching from one connection to another (i.e. your home wifi to 3G/4G when you leave your home), the app also has a tendency to freeze when there’s no connection drop or switching of connection – so whilst this is a possibility (and more likely than the first reason), it’s still down there on the list of possible causes.

So… what’s likely to be causing it?

I’m putting my money on a bug in the application.  Yes, I know they’ve been working on it – but a developers work is never done!  And with the tendency to throw an app out there and then fix the bugs, it wouldn’t surprise us if this was the case.  Even once you are aware of the effect of a bug, the cause is not always evident or easy to track down.

To be honest, this bug has probably been bottom of the pile (hopefully, until now) because of the much more severe problems that Niantic have had to be busy fixing – namely people not being able to play the app at all, rather than it crashing during use (albeit fairly frequently).

What Can I Do (How Do I Fix This)?

This depends on the way you’re asking the question.

How do you fix this – as in, how do you resolve the problem / bug that is causing this to happen?  The answer is, you can’t.  We’ll have to leave this one in the hands of the developers at Niantic I’m afraid.

But fear not – there’s a relatively pain free solution as a temporary workaround – and it’s quite easy.

If (when) the Pokémon Go app stops responding to your inputs (i.e. when you touch the screen), simply quit the app and restart.  When the app starts again, you’ll notice that it is once again responding to your inputs and you can play normally again.  Please note:  if you are walking at the time of doing this, you may lose a few fractions of a kilometer whilst the app restarts.  Sorry, there’s little way to avoid this, unless you stop walking when you quit the app and don’t start again until the apps reloaded.  However, the impact of this is going to be negligible – particularly when you consider the dodgy straight line GPS tracking that Pokémon Go employs!

To quit the app on an iPhone, double tap the home button and then swipe the Pokémon Go app upwards.  Then start the app again as normal.

For Android phones, go to the Application Manager (in Settings), click the name of the app, and then select ‘Force Quit’.  Start the app again as normal.

Conclusion

It’s pretty annoying – I’ll admit being totally frustrated with this myself.  We’ve got to sit tight and pray Niantic answer our calls.  Until then, use the fix above and Pokémon Go should just be a mildly frustrating yet addictive app to play, rather than a totally unplayable one!

Rocket League – Are You a Replay A**hole?

CAUTION: Semi-strong language ahead.  Probably nothing your kids haven’t heard anyway these days (remember the good old days?).  Anyway, consider yourself duly cautioned!

Rocket LeagueRocket League is a fantastic game available on a variety of platforms including PC (via Steam) and Playstation 4 (via PS Store).  If you don’t know what Rocket League is, where have you been for the last few years?!?  Seriously though, for those unfamiliar with Rocket League think FIFA combined with F1 (football racing style) and you’ve probably got quite an accurate picture in your head.

Now everyone has an official profile on Rocket League which is pretty much based on your Playstation account or Steam profile – you might be ‘ilovecats123’ or ‘chickensaretakingover’ – whatever.  That’s your official profile.

But even Rocketeer (or Rocket Leaguer) also has an unofficial sub-profile. Not many people know this.  It essentially is a compilation of attributes about how you play and/or use the game.  Everyone has this secret sub-profile.  Trust me.  I kinda created them!

One attribute that you could be assigned on this super-secret, community moderated, sub-profile is that of ‘Replay Asshole’.  Let me explain.

Taken from the completely unofficial and totally unauthorised  Rocket League Dictionary ((allegedly) by David Smith)

replay asshole.  n.  A Rocket Leaguer who enjoys basking totally in his/her glory after the score a goal, insisting on watching every last millisecond of the replay.  Optionally they may also add smart ass comments such as ‘What a save!’ despite no legitimate attempt to save it made by the opposition.  This person will also insist on pounding the skip replay button (even before the replay has started) to indicate to the opposition that they most definitely would not like to watch a single millisecond of a goal scored against them.

So, we’ve got the definition out of the way.  Unfortunately, the only weapon that can be effectively used against such ‘replay assholes’ is to in turn behave like a replay asshole.  This is particularly effective if you are a few goals down and then you come back to trash them – they find this very annoying and may, if angered enough, resort to shouting ‘SKIP’ as you enjoy the replay of your end-to-end goal.

There are many such attributes that are assigned to the secret profile that I’ve created.  I’ll periodically create a new post to explain the many different attributes.  In the meantime, why not have a go at creating your own sub-profiles – after all, we all know at least one replay asshole!

Trust me, you’ll find it fun.  The best part is if you have any replays that you can then upload to YouTube (anything from a goal, to a bit of chat, to the full match) and post their full ‘sub profile’ in the description.  Totally fun for us all to watch back.

Seen any RL videos recently that fit into this category?  Have you got any yourself that you’d like to share?  Do you know a replay asshole?  Perfect opportunity to name and shame them or maybe send them an link to this post! Let us know in the comments.

Happy Rocket Leaguing!