Rethymno, mini SD card crash, and games

Last night I returned from Rethymno, Crete, Greece, after a week of heavy activity!
Uhm, yeah…

spmwinkel rethymno beach

Most activity was in trying to not get my face burned by the sun, and trying to avoid the endless jewelry, (hand)bag, clothes and shoe stores. Anyway, the beach, sea and sun made up for that! The boulevard and city of Blanes where I spent my holiday in 2005 was better, though.

As for my PPC – right before I left my mini SD card wasn’t recognized by my device anymore. Neither was it recognized by my laptop, so I couldn’t even format it! I’ve been using it continuously so I’m thinking it just couldn’t take any more, but the day before my holiday isn’t the best day to say “bye bye”. I couldn’t go to the store to get a new one (it was sunday) so I took a mini SD card from my mom and quickly installed the necessary programs, did a backup to both my device AND the mini SD card, AND copied the most important .cab files to the Storage card so I could install my things on the move if needed. Luckily, all went well. I did get my new card immediately at the airport so that I wouldn’t have to find a store after getting back home – this morning I immediately replaced my mom’s card with my new SanDisk, Ultra 2, 1 GB, Mini SD card.
Just one more backup to the new Mini SD card with SK Tools and I’ll be back to normal.
Backing up stuff is a though item, since it’s hard to find the right balance. I don’t want my life to be all about backups, but of course it’s a relief to have one when your device or card crashes.

Anyway, I did have a good time playing a game of Machines at War by Isotope244 every evening. I just played at the easiest setting, and tried to apply the same strategy every time to get the hang of it. Most games lasted a little over 30 minutes and by that time I had a small city with the necessary buildings, protected by a wall, some defensive units, and mostly airports from which I used the plains to destroy my enemy in various sessions.

When I had less time, I had lots of fun with eSoft Interactive Earth Day which appears to be a lot better than I initially though when I saw the screenshots. I saw a game that takes place on just one screen, and all you do is rotate your planet and watch how an automatic fire kills the enemy attackers, collecting some powerups along the way. However, the powerups appeared to allow for playing with different strategies, and the game (probably not lasting for more than 15 minutes, but with a really progressing and well-balanced difficulty) turned out to be everything that I didn’t expect it to be. My strategy is to spend two of the initial weapon points on Clones (to have three guns instead of one), and the other on Rapid fire. Then, when I collect new Weapon points, I first max out my Clones to have 4 guns, then Rapid fire and Firepower, and finally, if I still manage to shoot satellites AND get the Weapon points, I work on the Rotational speed and Force Field.

When I came home I read about the coming update to Orions: Legend of Wizards on the PocketMore Games website. I didn’t own Orions yet, but I had been looking at it for quite some time already after the very positive and useful articles from Doug Goldring (JAMM) HERE, Ben Stanley (SP&PPC Mag) HERE, and Werner “Menneisyys” Ruotsalainen HERE. Reading them before and after trying the (short) trial is highly recommended. I also really liked the trial of Azgard Defence (article by Doug Goldring on JAMM HERE and Ben Stanley for SP&PPC Mag HERE). So I decided to purchase both games, knowing that they (together with the two games mentioned above) will be able to fulfill my gaming needs for the rest of the holiday. I haven’t even played Orions yet after purchasing, I first played Azgard Defence and I really like it. Playing after the trial limitations you can start to develop strategies to protect your tower as best as possible, and that’s what I really like so far. I know that an expansion pack for Orions is coming this month, along with some feature improvements, and that it will be priced at just below $ 10. I *will* play Orions before getting the expansion pack, but knowing that the upgrade will probably balance the game better (in addition to the new cards) it will probably improve my gaming experience if I get the upgrade before I get used to the “old style” Orions.

So even though the weather in the Netherlands today isn’t really what you would expect in the summer, I don’t have to be bored!

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11 thoughts on “Rethymno, mini SD card crash, and games

  1. Welcome back, Stefan!

    Nice to see your latest posting show up in Spb Insight on my device. I, too, am looking forward to the Orions update this month. It’s a stunning game….and looks to get even better with v1.1.

    Enjoy the rest of your Summer….

  2. One more quick mention….I was just checking the SBSH iLauncher 3.0 User Manual for a couple of tweaks I wanted to make to iLauncher on my Cingular 8525….when I noticed that YOU were the author of the User Manual!

    Gee, Stefan, you seem to be everywhere in the PPC world! That’s great!

    Best Regards!

  3. Hehe well the SBSH apps were the first I purchased for my Wizard, and it’s the place I have learned almost everything I know about PPC’s. I’m also active on the forums there – in fact that’s why I was approached for the user manuals. :)
    You should also be able to find my name on the PhoneWeaver, ContactBreeze and MyList manuals, but I don’t have an agreement to do every manual, I just see if I have time for it. ;)

    There are many people that are way more active than I am, I think you just found the places that I am active on! :D

    I do hope that you found the answer to your question though! ;) The manuals are not updated for each minor .x update so there are probably quite some things missing already in the various manuals…

    btw – I’ve just completed my third Easy game in Orions (trying to collect the Item trophies) and I really love how I start to develop strategies, it’s really exciting!
    Too bad there is not an active topic on the PocketMoreGames forum where many people actively share strategies. There are some tips here and there, but I like to read a lot.

  4. I totally agree with you on how much fun it is to develop strategies for games like Orions. It’s the precise reason why I love in-depth, challenging strategy games like Orions, Machines at War, and, of course, my old favorite, SimCity….just to name a few. I honestly find games like these far more fun than say, the “ultimate” strategy game, Chess!

    The learning, experimenting and, then, finally, figuring out how to beat the AI is extremely satisfying and enjoyable.

    Time permiting, have you considered approaching companies like Pocket More Games to, perhaps, prepare a strategy guide for games like Orions? I honestly don’t know if there is any decent compensation for such ventures….but you might be able to continue to turn something that you thoroughly enjoy into and most useful and, possibly, money-making project.

    I found a wonderful strategy guide online for SimCity 2000 (PPC) a few months ago that a man in Oregon, USA, had prepared some years ago (and keeps updating it!). It rekindled my enjoyment of SimCity and I spent a lot of my free time, as are you now, developing strategies to “win” at SimCity. Now, I join you in trying to master Orions…..and Machines at War. (There’s supposed to be a significant update to Machines at War — v1.1? — coming out anytime now. Apparently, a much-improved user interface. I’m looking forward to that,too.)

    And, finally, YES! The iLauncher User Guide very clearly answered my questions about the features I was concerned with. Just for your info…..what was giving me problems was that the “Phone” application of my Cingular 8525 (HTC Hermes) was no longer minimizing when I would click the “X” button from iLauncher after using my device as a phone. There was, actually no response at all. Why this behavior change, I don’t know. So I researched the functions of the iLauncher Task Manager in the Manual…..then emailed SBSH on the issue and, voila, the answer!: the “Phone” application is NOT supposed to “Close” under any circumstances in response to the iLaucher “X” button, only minimize. This is the default setting built into iLauncher. But sometimes, the registry loses this setting….and “Phone” will no longer respond to iLauncher. The fix: set the iLauncher Task Manager to to “Ignore” “Phone” and set it to “Minimize” the “Phone” app when the “X” button is clicked. It worked! It reset the correct registry settings….and no more problem.

    OK….back to Machines at War now…..(the REALLY important stuff during August, huh?!) ENJOY!

  5. ARGH! I typed a really lengthy reply here but when I submitted it something crashed and the reply was lost. :( I have to leave now, if I don’t forget I’ll reply here later today or tomorrow morning! ;)

  6. Happens all the time…..drives one insane, huh!? Before I send ANYTHING anymore, I right-click and “Copy” so I can just paste if things go wrong.

  7. Okay the a-bit-shorter version ;). (typed in Word and saved regularly :P)

    I initially thought these strategy games would be too hard for me, there’s lots of information to take into account when you make (hopefully well-balanced) choices. But exactly as you say – understanding the game and finding out a strategy that will beat the enemy is very satisfying. It’s different from games like Chuzzle where you can also improve your skills/speed, but there is no enemy to beat!

    The idea about strategy guides is interesting, I never thought of that! The user manuals I wrote did earn me money and that,s going to be a nice bit of help when my 2year contract is over and I can get a new device. On the other hand, I’ve been helping betatest those applications from when the betatests strarted (for iLauncher just version 3 and further) so I could really get to know an application and I had followed it development for a while. That made it a lot easier to work on the manual! And for the strategy games, I just don’t master them on any other level than the Easy level :p. So if you can win those levels, we’re equally good ;). But from Doug Goldrings review on Orions (see link in post) I understand that the strategies significantly change on harder levels (read the discussion in the comments for that). So I nearly don’t know the game well enough, since I think that also avarage to good people should be able to find new and interesting things in such a strategy guide. I might come close to avarage (don’t know how many people play higher than Easy), but the people that would be most interested in strategy guides just might be the people that are quite good already.

    Also check out Menneisyys’ article on Orions (also linked in my post), the chart might be useful once you understand the system :). I almost never have my laptop around when I play Orions so I never actually used the guide, but it’s nice to examine.

    Finally, as for the strategies, I hoped that there would be user discussions in forums, but the strategy discussions in the PocketMoreGames forums are very limited, and Isotope244 doesn’t have a forum unfortunately. In my longer reply I had some comments about my strategy in easy Orions games, but for now let me just say that if the enemy is only 10 Orions away from my starting position, I don’t need to purchase additional cards so I can: a) focus my experience points on Strength and Intelligence, and b) I don’t need to pay attention to the economy which saves a lot of time building crysol generators and converters! Until now I did build them everytime, but I could manage without them if I can finish the game in ~10 steps. Anyway, I’d like to be safe so I build all these building every turn anyway ;).
    Thanks for the news about MaW, I didn’t know that! I’ll keep an eye on their website!

    As for the iLauncher Phone issue, that was discussed some times in the SBSH user forums (could have been the closed beta forums, not sure) so you were not alone in that! ;)

    Finally – how do you beat your enemy in MaW? I first work on my own ‘village’ without paying attention to the enemy (only when I need to defend myself), and once I’m satisfied with my village and the amount of Airports I start to build groups of planes. Then I let a wave of plains attack the enemy (it’s annoying if it has a lot of defensive units, I try to attack the enemy from the back) and build new planes in the meantime for a new wave, if the first one is destroyed. If you have a very different strategy, I’d love to hear it! :D

  8. According to James Bryant, the developer of Machines at War, he is planning to make MaW “slightly easier” by some adjustments to the AI in the upcoming version.

    As far as strategies are concerned, I’ll give you one strategy that James advised…..and one hint that I discovered:

    Strategy (according to James) — go out and EXPLORE your map area and find the enemy before he finds you. Bottom line: be less defensive and more offensive shortly after quickly building your initial defenses. Radars are GOOD, too!

    Hint (according to me, Nick) — analyze how the AI builds up its forces by looking at the charts after your next “defeat.” The patterns followed by the AI — as illustrated by the charts — are quite interesting! (I won’t say more right now, because your discovery & analysis of this is one of the most interesting and fun parts of this game….so I don’t want to give this away and deprive you of the enjoyment!)

    GOOD LUCK!

  9. I never use radars – next time I play MaW I’ll see how I can make them useful for me. And I did notice some differences between the way I spend my resources, build units, etc, but I’ll give it a closer look – thanks! :)

  10. Stefan —

    Just heard from the developer of Machines at War, James Bryant….he is holding-off on an update to the mobile version for a couple of months as, right now, he only envisions very minor tweaks. This corrects my earlier info about an update coming “soon.”

    Hope you are having a wonderful time on your drive through Western Europe. Enjoy!

    (I am preparing to sail in a couple of weeks on Holland America Line’s ms Amsterdam across the Pacific Ocean from Seattle to Singapore (via Russia, Japan, South Korea, China and Hong Kong) — a 6-week voyage. It will be an excellent test of my Cingular 8525’s connectivity across half of the world via GSM and WiFi!)

    Back in November…..

    Best Regards!

  11. Thanks for this news! I’m sure I’ll find out about an update pretty soon after it arrives (hooray for RSS feeds on JAMM, SolSie.com, etc). :)

    Sounds like your trip will be a REAL test indeed, crossing the ocean like that. I hope you don’t forget to take your charger with you or anything like that! ;)
    I hope you have lots of fun and don’t get sea-sick!

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