Nvidia has announced the Tegra Note, an Android-based reference tablet that has some powerful stuff inside of it, as well as an extended stylus support system, DirectStylus. The target price for manufacturers is set at $199, and release dates for any tablets using the technology are floating around the ether, so wait for further announcements. Technical and other details can be found here: Official NVidia Blog
1 hour and 25 minutes. That’s quite a long time, is it not? Watch a film, do your weekly shopping – who knows what you could do in 85 minutes. One thing that could be done is complete a single mission of ARMA Tactics THD. One thing that shouldn’t be done is complete a single mission of ARMA Tactics THD.
ARMA Tactics THD is a turn-based strategy game that gives the player the control of four soldiers each with their own strengths and stats. With the success of the recent X-COM game, which I hugely enjoyed, there was hope that ARMA Tactics THD would scratch the same itch.
The game is simply too slow. Characters have a pre-determined amount of movement per turn and it’s simply not large enough to make getting around the game’s large maps fun. Everything becomes bogged down by the character’s inability to move at enough of a pace. Hopping from cover to cover stops being tense and exciting and quickly leaves you bored and frustrated.
There is opportunity to improve the character’s movement stats, but this takes so much time that, again, boredom sets in due to the game’s slow pace.
It doesn’t help that the crux of the game, its battles and firefights, get bogged down as well. The camera spends time moving from different points-of-interest, but is sometimes comically off target, leaving the player looking at a dirt floor whilst gunfire can be heard. Another thorn in the side of the player will be the element of luck that dictates success or failure throughout the game. The number of ‘50% shots’ that I missed during my time was close to 80%. In fact, any shot less than 70% just wasn’t worth taking. This meant my tactic changed from ‘careful and cautious’ to ‘get in their face and who cares’.
Off course, as mentioned, everything can be ‘improved’ by playing through and raising the soldier’s stats, but why? The missions aren’t compelling and are interrupted by awful voice-over work that makes you want to place each loud-mouthed soldier in the middle of the street with a target taped to their back.
Another area that causes concern and difficulty is the controls. Dragging a line from your soldier to a piece of cover shouldn’t be that hard, but often ended up with soldiers heading to the wrong side of a wall with fatal results.
It’s a shame. The presentation takes advantage of the fact it’s for Tegra devices only and there’s some serious amount of content here. The large maps, as mentioned, could have given ample opportunity for some great tactical action. The large number of weapons and stats should have allowed players to build a squad that plays uniquely to any over.
As it is, ARMA Tactics THD is a missed opportunity that makes me wonder when, or if, X-COM will be ported to Android.
The Android world has kept a watchful eye on the Ouya, the Kickstarter project for an Android-powered game console, which got funded in one day. Not just that, but it has over 38,000 backers and has raised over $4.8 million dollars so far. Apparently there was some demand for the prospect of a gaming console that would be low-cost, yet have a fairly capable gaming chip in it in the Tegra 3, and would be based on a foundation of games that would all have some kind of free version available â€“ whether it be a demo, subscription-based, or just free with IAP.
But look for the important feature in that list: Tegra 3. That’s the key.
Look, Apple has found their success thanks in part to the A* line of chips the last few years, starting with the A4 in the iPad 1, iPhone 4, iPod touch 4th generation, and 2nd generation Apple TV (the current model is the 3rd generation). Later devices use similar chip architecture that’s more powerful. These are integrated systems on a chip, and they give Apple the benefit of keeping costs down via manufacturing, not to mention minimizing fragmentation issues.
So, if a chip manufacturer has made a line of chips that can be produced cheaply enough to be in $99 devices, and $199 tablets, then why isn’t Google jumping on this? Why buy Motorola Mobility, when they’re using others’ processors? If Google really wanted to help solve Android’s problems, they’d be promoting an integrated chipset like the Tegra line. Make it a case where manufacturers could go their own way with their own chips, but then they’d be on their own, and making it more difficult for developers and users to get useful apps.
Android needs standardization of some sort. Manufacturers should still be allowed to make the kinds of phones that they want, and Android’s openness ensure that anyone can do what they want with the OS, but to start incentivizing standardization. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon and Samsung’s Exynos might be marginalized by this, and Samsung in particular might be against the idea, but a simplified ecosystem may be what’s best for Google and for Android as a whole.
And to think, this was all inspired by a gaming console. Maybe the form factor isn’t dead after all.
Nvidia has launched a special digital magazine for owners of Tegra-powered tablets to help them find info on games, entertainment, and technology, entitled NVision. This slick app features categories for news and reviews on Android games, with the ability to swipe to find additional stories. There’s a section on Android apps, featuring content like lists. News on gaming in general, covering console and PC games (those are still a thing, apparently). Want movie news, including the ability to watch featured trailers? That’s here as well. News on the latest gadgets including Android devices? There’s a Gadgets section for that. As well, there’s a general tech news section. All articles can be shared via email, Twitter, or Facebook.
All this content is produced exclusively for the magazine, which is free to download, but exclusive to Tegra devices on Google Play. This includes the Motorola Xoom family, and the Transformer family of devices. Just don’t forget about us after reading it!
It’s undeniable, NVIDIA and their Tegra 2 mobile super chip absolutely dominated CES and this years lineup of devices. Powered by the world’s first mobile dual-core CPU, these devices promise to bring a whole new gaming experience to the mobile world. Think of Angry Birds as todays smartphone processing power and then Tegra 2 as “Exorbitantly Infuriated Raging Feathered Projectiles!”