5 Things I Dislike About the Nintendo Switch

Previously, I talked about the 5 things I like about the Nintendo Switch. This time, let’s switch things up a bit and talk about my 5 dislikes about Nintendo’s latest console

Low Battery Life

A common complaint about the system. The Switch generally last between 2 and a half to 3 hours depending on the game you are playing. In comparison the 3DS has a battery life of 4 to 6 hours.

Low Storage Space

The Switch comes with a 32GB internal storage space, which is very low by today’s standard. Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild takes up 13.4GB which is roughly more than 40% of the available memory. In reality, we have less than 32GB since a certain portion is dedicated to the console’s operating system. Sure, you can easily increase the storage space by purchasing a SD card which brings me to my next point …

Hidden Costs

Alright, I need to clarify that this ‘hidden costs’ point is a case by case scenario. For an example, I myself didn’t purchase the Pro Controller (I find the Joy-Cons with the attachment works well enough) but I did buy a 64GB SD Card since game cartridges are hard to find (from where I’m from) and quite a number of games are digital only. Not to mention essential accessories like hard case, screen protector and cartridge holders. I personally find that the hard case is a must have for the Switch. 

Comparing that with a Playstation 4 or Xbox One, you don’t really need to purchase additional stuff to get it up and running, except for games of course …. or PSN Plus / Xbox Live …. or a TV … or a table to hold the TV … okay … think I’m getting off track here.

Oh and you might want to purchase a powerbank if you plan on using the Switch outdoors. That’s another hidden cost.

Unable to Backup Saves

At the time of this post, there’s absolutely no way to backup our game saves. While I’m sure Nintendo will eventually come out with a solution to fix this issue in the future, it’s quite baffling that we can’t even perform a simple copy-to-pc kind of backup.

Flimsy Kickstand

This is just a minor complaint but I wished Nintendo made a sturdier kickstand. While it is not as bad as how CNET made it out to be, the Switch does feel like it’s going to tip over when you try to operate the power or volume buttons with one hand.

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My First Impression of Unity Game Engine


For a long time I have always wanted to give Unity a try but somehow will end up putting my time elsewhere. With the release of I.R.I.S – DefOp and Ninjas Don’t Fall, I decided that now is the best time to dive in and give it a shot. I managed to complete two tutorials (both 2D games): a flappy bird clone and a top down space shooter.

From Corona to Unity

Transitioning from Corona SDK to Unity wasn’t easy for me. In Corona, pretty much everything is text based. There’s no UI (except for compiling) and any adjustments (from object position to sizes to color) are done using codes. The advantage of this is that, you only need to specify the stuff you need. For an example, if you don’t need to make any adjustments the object size, you can just leave the out the code that does the scaling. This in turn makes positioning objects a lot harder since you have to make a guess on the starting X and Y coordinates.

Having so used to everything being text only, it felt quite overwhelming to see Unity’s user interface at first. Just dragging an object into the Scene will display a whole list of options for you to adjust. So … many … things. Nevertheless, I pressed on with the tutorials.

My First Mistake

And that is to go with the top-down space shooter tutorial instead of the Flappy Bird clone. Now, I’m not saying that the shooter tutorial is bad by any means but the tutorial on flappy bird was by Unity themselves and they do a better job explaining the mechanics. The game’s scope is also much smaller making it easier for newcomers to grasp. By the time I completed the space shooter tutorial, I have pretty much forgotten the first half of it.

If you are starting out with Unity and plan to make 2D games, my advice is go with the Flappy Bird tutorial first.

My Quick Opinion of Unity

With two tutorials completed, I’m just barely scratching the surface of what Unity is capable of but all in all, I’m starting to get real fond of it. I like the fact that I am able to preview my game without having to compile it first. (Come to think of it, pretty much every other SDK allows you to do that except for Corona … hmmm). Being able to deploy to almost every platform (including the new Nintendo Switch) is a huge plus. This means that I will able to create HTML5 web games without having to use another SDK (currently I’m using Construct2). Unity also uses C# (C Sharp) which is a very popular programming language. Even if you are going to develop games with Unity, having knowledge of C# will definitely come in handy.

If I were to point out my one dislike about Unity, that would be the ‘complexity’ of the user interface. No doubt things will get easier as time passes but comparing Unity with Corona, Corona’s process in developing and compiling games is much simpler and straight forward. Corona is also much more resource friendly since it’s lightweight.

That’s about it for now. If you wish to try out the Unity tutorials mentioned above, just click on the respective links below. Happy coding!

Flappy Bird Tutorial
Top-Down Space Shooter

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Why You Should Get A Hard Case For Your Nintendo Switch

As a hybrid gaming console, you will probably find yourself playing the Nintendo Switch outside your home once in a while. Unlike the 3DS which sports a clam-shell design that gives it some form of protection, the Switch is pretty much ‘bare’. It doesn’t help that the Switch’s screen is using plastic material instead of glass, making it prone to scratches. As a Switch owner myself, I definitely recommend getting a hard case if you plan to bring the device outdoors.

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links which means I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you if you purchase through that link. This helps to keep my blog going. Thanks for your support!

Better Protection

A hard case provides better protection overall compared to sleeve ones. Sure, you sacrifice some slimness but knowing that your Switch will not likely to be crushed (when placed inside a luggage with other things) or damage during an accidental drop, I think it’s worth it.

Extra Storage

Most hard cases comes with extra storage space, allowing you to store things like game cartridges, Joy-Con’s wrist strap or ear phones.

Extra Leverage

Playing the Switch in tabletop mode can cause some strain on one’s neck since you need to look down at a certain angle. With a hard case, you can prop the Switch on it for extra height. It also protects the back of the Switch if you happen to accidentally knocked it over.

If you are looking to buy a hard case, I recommend that you get the official Nintendo Switch Carrying Case and Screen Protector bundle [Play-Asia], a product by Nintendo themselves. The one I’m currently using is by Keys Factory. Unfortunately it’s currently out of stock on Play-Asia and nowhere to be found on Amazon.

Alternatively, here are some other cases from Play-Asia

Posts that might interest you:
5 Things I Like About The Nintendo Switch

 

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The 5 Things I Like About The Nintendo Switch

After fighting through of what seems to be an endless horde of people, I managed to snatch the last Switch away from the store counter, emerging victorious. The scene of the battlefield was glorious … the crushing facial expressions of those behind me, the sound of girlfriends slapping their boyfriends, the cries of young children, the anger roar of parents … all because they failed to get a Switch.  It was truly a survival of the fittest.

……..

Okay I kid. I actually pre-ordered mine weeks before and just walked right in to pick it up. There were ample of stocks available for walk-in customers, at least at the game store where I bought my Switch from. I would imagine the above “glorious” scenario only applies to new iPhone releases.

Anyway, having played the Switch for a good 2 weeks now, here are the the 5 things I like about Nintendo’s latest console.

The Switch (umm … literally)

Without a doubt, the best feature of the Switch is the ability to switch between handheld and TV mode on the fly. The process is simple; pop the main unit into the dock and the game will appear on your TV screen within a few short seconds. Same goes to when you remove the main unit from the dock.

This is something I have always dreamed of having every since I started gaming during the 16 bit era. The closest thing we had at the time was the Sega Nomad but *sigh* it was much too late my dear friend.

Instantly Resume

While this feature isn’t something new (both the PS4 and Xbox One are capable of resuming from where you left off), the Switch allows you get back into the action fast. Just hit the Power button to pause or resume your game. I find myself doing this a lot, especially when you have a wife and kid.

Thin and Lightweight

The Switch weigh less than the Wii U Gamepad and it is much slimmer too, making it easy to carry around. Unfortunately due to its size, you probably still need to put it inside a bag or a carrying case.

Comfort

The Switch is surprisingly comfortable to hold. The Joy-Con buttons have a nice feel to it, similar to the ones found on the 3DS. Analog sticks are a bit on the small side but nothing game breaking.

After two hours of playing Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild, I did not experience any kind of cramp or discomfort.  Having said that, I did had to position my right hand at a certain angle in order to get a better feel of the right analog stick. To get the best BoTW experience, it is recommended to play with the the Joy-Cons attached to the Joy-Con grip or buy a Pro Controller.

Standard Charging Port

USB-C isn’t exactly a common standard (yet) compared to its A and B brothers, they are definitely better compared to proprietary charging ports. It allows us, the consumers to look for 3rd party alternatives, like this USB-C powerbank by Anker. I’m glad the folks over at Nintendo went with this decision.

That’s about it for this topic. Coming up next, 5 Things I dislike about the Nintendo Switch.

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Working on I.R.I.S – DefOp HTML5 Edition

With the release of I.R.I.S – DefOp version 1.0.3 on iOS, I was deciding on what to do next. The choice was either to work on a new game or create a web version of I.R.I.S. I chose the later because I wanted to take a break from programming and just focus on the design aspect.

Wait … making a game without programming you say? Is that even possible?

Short answer is yes. Back in 2013, I purchased a game making tool called Construct2. It allows you to create 2D games without any programming experience at all. What you do need is logic thinking; ‘what goes where’, ‘what happens if x is triggered’ and so on. I will talk more about Construct2 in my next blog post.

sample 'logic code' from I.R.I.S DefOp HTML5
sample ‘logic code’ from I.R.I.S DefOp HTML5

When it comes to making the HTML5 version, I didn’t want it to be just a straight up port of the mobile version. Having access to keyboard and mouse controls brings a whole new world to the table. No longer are you restricted to just touch controls. Having said that, I still want to keep the core gameplay of I.R.I.S intact while changing things up a little … whichhhhhh brings me to the idea of putting … turrets.

Whats better than having 1 turret? 2 turrets!

You see, in the mobile version of I.R.I.S, your main defensive weapons are the two beam gates located on each corner of the screen. Holding the L / R touch buttons will activate the beam, killing anything that collides with it. From here, you can probably see the limitations of this design concept. Yeap, all enemies will have to move past a certain area in order for the player to destroy them. I did manage to get creative with some of the enemies (the annoying Orange ship) but at the end, an object needs to move from point A to B, with B here being the secret lab.

With the addition of turrets, the game is no longer restricted to the original design concept. I can now create enemies that attacks from a distance away and their movement paths are much more open ended. I can even throw in boss battles now.

At the time of this post, the game is about 50% complete. I will post up an early build over at GameJolt soon so do hit that ‘Follow’ button to get notified. Oh, and if you haven’t register as a member at GameJolt, do sign up. It’s a cool place where you get to play both freeware and commercial games using either your browser or in downloadable format. See you there!

Edit: The game is available now.

Work In Progress. A lot of effects are still missing
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8BITDO SFC30 Gamepad

Recently, I was bitten by the nostalgic retro bug and decided to pick up the 8BITDO SFC30 Gamepad, a wireless Super Famicom controller that works with iOS, Android, Windows & Mac OS. Below is my bitesize review of the product.

Packaging


From the packaging itself, you can probably guess that this is going to be a well made product. The SFC30 Gamepad sits nicely between by 2 protective foams. Below it is a box containing the instruction booklet (in both English and Mandarin), a flat USB cable and a 30th Anniversary keychain. Color me impressed.

Product Quality

It has been over 20 years since I held an actual Super Famicom or Super Nintendo gamepad (yes, I’m pretty old) so I can’t really make a direct comparison between the SFC30 and the original. Holding the SFC30 Gamepad in my hands, it felt really good and sturdy with none of those cheap plastic feeling. Buttons have that nice ‘clicky’ sound and doesn’t feel mushy. The D-Pad however feels a tad too stiff for me. Not a deal breaker but would be nice if it was softer.

Getting Started

You have a choice between Bluetooth and wires USB connectivity. At the point of this writing, I’ve only tried connecting it to my PC via Bluetooth and it was up and running within minutes. As far as I can tell, there wasn’t any noticeable lag. Playing Contra 3 on the SNES (via emulation) felt really good, granted I died a lot. Geez I totally forgot how hard that game was.

Battery Life

I don’t have an exact measurement but the gamepad is still running since its first charge, clocking about 10 hours of gameplay in total. Considering how light the SFC30 was, I wasn’t expecting much from the battery life but this is a nice surprise. I heard it’s possible to get 20 hours of play time out of a single charge. Wow!

Overall Thoughts

When I first ordered the SFC30 Gamepad, my expectations weren’t much. When it comes to 3rd party retro gaming products, more than often the build quality doesn’t live up to the original. This product however, went beyond my expectations and blew it out the window. If you looking to get into retro gaming, look no further. I would assume the same build quality applies to all other 8BITDO products. Hmm … wonder when will I get bitten by the retro Sega bug?

If you are looking to buy the SFC30 or any other gaming related products, check out the links below. Each time you buy from them, you will be helping out the site, in return I will be able to bring in more product reviews in the future.

I picked up the SFC30 from Play-Asia, a popular online game store located in Hong Kong.

8BITDO SFC30 Gamepad (Super Famicom)
8BITDO SNES30 Gamepad (Super Nintendo)

Retro Receiver (SNES / Super Famicom)
This is a nifty product that allows you to connect and play on your SNES or Super Famicom system wirelessly using PS4, PS3, Wii Remote, Wii U Pro and all 8bitdo controllers.

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My Game, I.R.I.S – DefOp Has Launched On The AppStore

I’m happy announced that #ProjectBeamGate , now known as I.R.I.S – DefOp is now available on the App Store. It took me a lot longer than expected (considering my last post was back in May 2016) but a lot of extra time was spend tweaking the game and fixing bugs. Tons … of them. There were even some that only appeared after it was launched.

The game is free to download so do give it a try and let me know what you think. If you like it, please leave a rating on the stores. It will really help me out. Also, if you have any comments or suggestions, please leave a comment below or hit me up on twitter @dylestorm.

Cheers!

Oh and here’s the game trailer. Enjoy!

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Time To Talk Bout Project Beam Gates

ProjectBeamGate-Banner

It doesn’t take much to see that I’ve been neglecting my blog for quite some time, with the last post made back in April (and not game development related to boot). Unlike social media sites like Twitter or Facebook where you can easily popped in a quick thought or screenshot without spending too much time, making a blog post does take a bit more effort.

Today, I decided to gather any remaining strength I have from coding and talk about a new game I’m developing for iOS and Android codenamed Project Beam Gates (I haven’t finalize the game name yet). Before we get to the details, I would like to point out that the previous game I was working on (Project Wings) is currently on hold, at least until Project Beam Gate is completed. I didn’t like the way how the game is progressing and to be honest, the overall result would have been mediocre at best. Having said that, I did come out with some new interesting game mechanics for Project Wings. We shall see.

So what is Project Beam Gates? PBG is a game where you have to defend a secret arms lab from enemy invasion, using beam gates that somewhat look like a light saber. Successfully defend the lab for 5 days (stages) and you win.

Latest build of #ProjectBeamGate
Latest build of #ProjectBeamGate

If you think that this is a really simple game, I would have to say that you are absolutely …. RIGHT! The original plan was to create a single stage and then release it on the Appstore / Google Store within 2 weeks. As development progresses, I came to the decision to spread it out to 5 stages and include a simple background story explaining as to why the secret lab is being invaded. The main protagonist is a young woman called Erika, a character I’ve created during Project Wings development.

Sketches of Erika's character
Sketches of Erika’s character

At the time of posting, the game is about 80% complete. Gameplay mechanics still needed some tweaks and there are still game graphics to finish. By right Project Beam Gates should be out by end of May. I have taken measures to ensure that I don’t repeat the mistakes I made with Project Wings.

If you wish to keep up to date on my game devs, be sure to follow me on Twitter or like my Facebook page. I’m definitely a lot more active on Twitter.

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Using Hori Zero Air Pitahari Filter

 

zero-air-pitahari-filter-for-new-3ds

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links which means I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you if you purchase through that link. This helps to keep my blog going. Thanks for your support!

Over the years of owning portable game consoles (from DS / PSP to 3DS / Vita), Hori will always be my first choice when it comes to accessories. While I do admit that their products are a little high on the price side, their quality outweighs it. Just make sure that the Hori products you get are authentic ones. There are a lot of fakes out there.

For my New 3DS (n3DS for short), I went ahead and purchase the Zero Air Pitahari Filter. The difference between this and other Hori screen protectors is that small dirt particles doesn’t cause air bubbles to appear. Having said that, you would probably presume the price would be higher compared to regular protectors due to its ‘tech’. Surprisingly, Zero Air is actually cheaper compared to Hori’s Standard Film screen protector. Go figure.

I really have to give credit to Hori for coming out with ingenious ways to apply screen protectors. Just take a look at the video below and you will see what I mean.

*Sigh* if only such methods were available during the DS / PSP days. I remember going through 3 screen protectors while applying them on my PSP. Either it was misaligned or there are dust particles beneath it.

Overall, I’m satisfied with the Zero Air Pitahari Filter. It was easy to apply, there’s no loss in screen quality and there are no ‘rainbow’ effects from all viewing angles. The only negative point I can think of is that, once it’s applied onto your screen, it is pretty much ‘glued’ onto it. I personally had trouble peeling the bottom screen portion off to get rid of dust particles. To avoid this problem, just make sure the screen is dust free before applying the protector.

If you are looking for more Hori accessories, do check out Play-Asia.com. It’s one of the few places I know that sells authentic Hori products. Been buying from them since 2008.

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