Fading Light Review

Fading Light Review

Mar 8, 2016

Fading Light is an easy one to get with.

The visuals are clean, and seemingly meld retro with the glossy. It uses dark backgrounds to great effect, and this also allows the signature light effects pop more. We get pastels, shadows, perspective, and altogether, it has a vivid arcade feel, and the sounds to match.

The main concept is to make it through to the end line. Easy enough, yes, but we’re not talking about a straight line here. The playing area equates to a virtually dark maze, and the playing piece is an unassuming small square. Moving the playing piece is done by tapping either side to the screen — left to make the square bounce to the left, and right makes it bounce to the right. With a little bit of maneuvering, it is quite possible to move the square via continuous taps on either side, round corners and over ledges, on through the puzzle.

Another part of the challenge is that the square has an energy quotient of sorts. It is illuminated, and traveling along the maze kills some of that illumination. The problem therein is that if and/when that light goes completely dead, the run ends. Thankfully, there are several, lighted energy packs along the way that re-energize our little square.


The trick is getting to one of the light packs before the light dies out completely, and then make it all the way to the end line, so as to unlock the next level. Success is measured as a factor of the time and number of taps it takes to finish the level.

It all comes together well; it’s a simple simple methodology makes it easy to get into and enjoy over time. The in-game energy requirement works very well, allowing the player to have a degree of control over level completion. The game does get tougher as one goes on… as expected.

It’s a lot of the same, but it does do “same” pretty well, and is worth a look.

KickStarter Spotlight: Lumu

KickStarter Spotlight: Lumu

Jul 10, 2013

As an amateur film photographer I am astonished when my camera-savvy grandfather tells me that he used to just know the correct aperture and shutter speed for any situation. Light meters are the obvious solution to this, but they are really a pain to drag around and, for a quality item, can be well over $100. For the past few months I have been using various light metering mobile apps, but these obviously have their shortcomings and are not incredibly versatile. Also, they work using reflected light instead of the preferable incident lighting. Honestly, I was smitten immediately by Lumu, today’s KickStarter Spotlight, which solves all of these problems and delivers a tiny, powerful, and accurate mobile light meter.

So what makes a good light meter? Accuracy? Well Lumu is accurate up to +/- 0.1EV and can measure light from -4 to 20 EV or .15 – 250,000 lux. Okay, well how about usability? Lumu hits this ball out of the park, even including a custom made font to add a touch of class to their powerful Android and iOS app. Said app boasts an impressive bevy of features that are not limited to just photography. These include the standard exposure, aperture, and ISO, but add the ability to find the average value and contrast differences between multiple images as well as shutter angle and FPS time value for filmmakers. As I mentioned earlier, the app looks great and I have no doubts that it will be a total pleasure to use. But what about portability? Lumu is so small and understated that it borders absurdity. Coming with the appropriately titled Lumuneck, the quarter-sized Lumu and its headphone jack plug into a small necklace and the whole thing becomes a fashionable way to transport a full fledged light meter.


In short, I think I have shown my unrestrained love for this product. My only reservation is the price; with early-bird spots discounted to $79 and retail price probably at $99, the Lumu light meter is not as inexpensive as its size would suggest. This is partially due to the incredibly sensitive light sensor, but I still see this as turning off some of its core audience; namely those on a budget who want a quick and easy way to get exposure reading. But, all that aside, the project is great, and its funding has exceeded expectations literally tenfold. So, maybe this one doesn’t need the collective help from the internet, but it is still worth a look nonetheless.

KickStarter Spotlight: PuzzLight

KickStarter Spotlight: PuzzLight

Feb 13, 2013

Seeing as I have been perusing KickStarter for about a year now with these KickStarter Spotlight posts I have noticed some definite trends in the frequency of certain kinds of projects. Maybe it is because these projects are cheap or simple, but whatever the reason, short of games, the most common phone software/hardware project revolves around adjustable lighting applications. These would be projects that offer some kind of custom lighting solution with a hardware component or lighting system that wirelessly connects to any smartphone. Usually, these involve lighting devices which change color according to inputs from an UI intensive app. I’m not saying that these projects are bad ideas, mood lighting is something that is vastly underrated and there are not many things more relaxing than chilling in a room lit up with a blue glow.

Because of the large quantity of these posts it is not hard to imaging that there are quite a few Spotlights on them, and today we will be taking a look at another worthy candidate; PuzzLight. PuzzLight is interesting in that it is just one big lamp that is made up of smaller, geometric pieces and comes with some assembly required. It is basically a do-it-yourself kit with a companion app. A gripe I have with this is that even with the fact that there are different assembly configurations, it seems quite effeminate because of the flower-like connectors. I understand that geometrically, these are the most efficient way to work things, but I have doubts about this product appealing to every demographic. There are ways to make the PuzzLight take a more masculine shape, and honestly, I would not mind having one of these perched in the corner of my room. The minimalist, aluminum base looks great and with the matte white shade panels this is clearly a product that will be an addition to any room.

Like all KickStarter projects, the PuzzLight cannot become a reality without confirmed funding from the masses of the internet. At time of writing, PuzzLight was only about 2% funded, but with a month remaining there is still plenty of time to gain some momentum. I highly recommend checking this great project out, especially for those who are looking to add a little mood lighting into their lives.

KickStarter Spotlight: Lifx

KickStarter Spotlight: Lifx

Sep 26, 2012

In a house with five other guys, my room is a complete sanctuary. Because it is the only thing I can control in the house, I treat it like my heaven, and I am constantly looking for ways to make it more comfortable and convenient. A while back I looked into color-changing LED lightbulbs that operated on remote control. I thought the idea was brilliant; come in at night and relax with a nice blue light or maybe spice it up depending on the mood. Either way I was wholly disappointed in the product I received as it was broken and much smaller than expected. Because of that failure I was excited when I ran across the Lifx on KickStarter.

Lifx is an LED light that connects to any home wireless network and is controlled by a smartphone. It would have been easy for the developers to just simply stop at changing the color, and I, frankly, would have been satisfied. But seeing as this is a KickStarter project, it is a safe bet that these developers did not become complacent. Some simple additions, such as dimming and batch operation are included, but the one that I am most impressed by is the ability for the light to deliver phone notifications. Imagine every time a text message comes in the room blinks green or blue for Facebook notifications. There is also an option to program lights onto specific actions and cycles, such as dimming over a period of time or turning on every day at 8 am.

There is another feature that sets all the connected lights to music and instantly gives a club atmosphere to any room. As with most other programmable devices on KickStarter, Lifx is completely open source and comes with an SDK. As I have stated here multiple times, opening a device like this to hackers and programmers worldwide is essential to a start-up project taking off. One glaring issue I saw was the price. The lowest donation reward was set at $70, which gives one Lifx bulb. That price point needs to come down in order for this to gain any kind of traction with general consumers. But assuming that happens, Lifx is an amazing product and a great example of what happens when developers continually improve a solid initial design.

KickStarter Spotlight: L8 SmartLight

KickStarter Spotlight: L8 SmartLight

Jul 4, 2012

Looking through KickStarter today I saw a project that totally reaffirmed my appreciation for the creativity and originality of everything the internet and start-ups have to offer. Large companies generally target their products for one specific use and either because of a lack of or stifling of creativity these products rarely serve multiple, diverse functions. As I mentioned before with my look at the Portable Scoreboard, giving a product as many different and diverse uses is nothing but a good thing. Especially if that product is open to full user customization which is something that the corporate world treats like the Plague. Allowing internet users to come up with uses for a product is a no-brainer as it takes the creative forces of millions of people and puts them to work on this product; merely give them the tools in an attractive package and sit back.

This has reached, as far as I am concerned, its apex with L8 SmartLight, an 8×8 RGB LED grid that offers a mind boggling amount of possibilities with a bevy of internal sensors as well as an open SDK. The front face is a 8×8 grid of square lights each consisting of a large RBG LED lights as well as a very powerful super LED on the back. This allows the L8 to give off two different colors of light which makes for stunning, dynamic ambiance lighting. But that is only the tip of the iceberg, because the device is Bluetooth capable and programmable from a computer or smartphone it can do almost anything thanks to an ‘if-this-then-that’ set up. This means that the SmartLight can display Facebook notifications, text messages, phone calls, email alerts, GPS turn by turn directions and much more with its extremely portable and powerful super bright LEDs. The SmartLight also includes temperature, proximity, and luminosity sensors which means that it can double as a night light, display the temperature, and adjust to changing room conditions. Two sample situations on the project’s KickStarter page are making the ambiance lighting on a balcony or porch reflect the temperature outside, and having the L8 display current weather conditions and traffic updates as soon as it senses the user arise from bed or enter the bathroom in the morning.

The incredible amount of uses for this device are what really make it one of the best KickStarter projects I have seen. In the morning it can be used to display weather and traffic, then at work it’ll silently alert for incoming emails and back at home for incoming calls and texts, and finally later at night if company comes over for some dynamic mood lighting. The starting pledge to receive a L8 SmartLight is $69 and while it initially seemed steep; the more I thought about it the more I realized how good of a deal it was taking into account how simple this device is to program and use. I recommend immediately taking to KickStarter and making sure this project gets to market as soon as possible.