Multiplayer game news

I dedicate a brand new article to this news item as I have a lot of great news and I don’t want them not to be noticed when posted to the original article. (NOTE: I’ve posted at least one update a day to the original article in the last two weeks, announcing new games, videos, price drops etc. You may want to subscribe to my articles you would like to get notified of updates because I very rarely post individual news items on subjects I’ve already dedicated a full roundup to to avoid completely flooding the iPhone Life frontpage with articles posted, say, every 6-7 hours.)

First of all, I’ve converted the so far static main game chart (direct link HERE) to be dynamic. This means you can just select, for example,

- “No Bluetooth” in the “Connection type:” drop-down list to disable displaying games that don’t support local Bluetooth games;

- “Head-to-head” in the “Multiplayer game type:” drop-down list to hide games where you need to play against someone. (The two other game categories are “Parallel”, where you only indirectly play against someone – because you both play against the time (examples are most Tetris clones and other color matching titles); and ”Collaborative”, where you need to join forces with another player (a well-known example is Siberian Strike)). Note that, here, selecting “No team play” hides all games where teaming up with a buddy against other people is not possible.

- “Only 2 players” in the “Number of players” list, should be there more than two of you and you wanted to quickly find a game that supports more than two players at the same time. A well-known example is Real Racing (when not operating over Bluetooth).

- “More than $1” in the “Price” menu to quickly hide titles costing more than $1.

- Finally, you can quickly hide titles that received a given rating (for both the current and all versions) from the US AppStore users. The same stands for my ratings; selecting a rating in “My rating for the multiplayer play” and “My rating for the play in the same category” quickly gets rid of games I’ve given the same rating.

This is a quick way of hiding games that received too low a rating from me or the AppStore users.

This feature has long been asked for; now that I had some spare time, I implemented it. (For the programmers / geeks around: I’ve also published the automated script that creates the “class” attribute for the “tr” tag. It’s HERE. It uses a MySQL database table as a data source. Dumping the original HTML chart to the database is really simple (basically, can be achieved through some search/replace operations in a simple text editor; these search/replace operations, using the Word syntax, are also listed in the script file, right after the table creation script); nevertheless, I also provide you with that script. It’s HERE, should you be interested in it. Finally, you can find the purely JavaScript runtime code doing the visibility toggle right in the beginning of the chart file. The original, fully static chart is HERE.)

Note that

- If you re-select something, it’ll be enabled (shown) again (that is, menu items have a “toggle” functionality)

- In order to make re-selecting (toggling) work, you must select some other menu item in the same list. Should you want to avoid hiding anything else, just select the (by default, when (re)loading the page, active) “Select!” menu item and, then, you can select the to-be-toggled menu item again. It’ll work.

- The conversion to the new, dynamic form has been done entirely from a program and, after that, I haven’t fixed the inconsistencies resulted from my, so far, not keeping in mind that, some time, I would indeed switch to a dynamic chart. That is, before the switch, I didn’t pay attention to using exactly the same expressions or notations. I’ve tried to handle the most widely used forms of my past entry in the Java converter program above; however, it, of course, wasn’t able to convert each and every record. Sorry for these. (Nevertheless, the vast majority – about 97-98% – of the records are converted without problems.) When I have some more time, I’ll fix them all. (Not now: I’ll leave for some two hours of swimming in about ten hours and I really want to take some long sleep before that.)

Second, I’ve added three new columns, all reflecting my opinion on the given game. (Incidentally, I’ve also referred to these new columns above – see my explanation of hiding titles having received a given rating.) Currently, all my ratings are integer numbers, unlike those of the AppStore folks; that is, 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5. As with AppStore, 1 is the worst and 5 is the best.

“My rating: MP” stands for how much I liked the title as a general multiplayer title. Note that my ratings may be, in cases, pretty different from those of the AppStore users (which you can find in the also recently-added – see my previous article updates – “All version avg rating” and “Current version avg rating” columns).

The following column, “Single Player”, explains how a given game behaves when playing in single player. Now that, currently, I’ve rated few games in this column (as opposed to the two other, new columns); in the future, I’ll also try to fill these columns. Basically, the point of this column is conveying information on whether a given title is worth playing in single player (against the iPhone) at all – if there’s a single player mode and whether the artificial intelligence is worthy enough. As has already been stated in a previous update, for example Light Riders 3D by DS Media Labs has a very weak AI you won’t ever want to play against.

Finally, “My rating for the play in the same category” directly compares to games in exactly the same category or genre. The rating here may be different from the multiplayer rating. For example, I’ve given a general rating of 3 (average) to Foosball World Cup by Better Day Wireless. However, comparing it to the other foosball (table soccer) games, I’ve given it a four, taking into the account that very few foosball games support wireless multiplayer and the ones that do are even less reliable than this title. The same is true with iFPS Online by Pick Up And Play. I’ve given it a general rating of “2” (meaning it’s better to avoid it altogether). However, given that there’re so few first person shooters on the iPhone, I’ve given it a 3 in its category, basically telling FPS fans to check it out if they really need a FPS game.

I’ve added two new games to the main chart, the excellent Sniper Vs Sniper: Online by Com2uS Corp (see the TouchArcade review / thread links in the last, “Remark” column) and the, in my opinion, pretty mediocre Harbor Master by Imangi Studios (a Flight Control clone, which has just received Bluetooth support).

Finally, note that I’ve uploaded multiplayer video demos for most of the games. These are exceptionally high-quality videos made with quality gear and well-controlled settings, not just some blurred, low-fps, stuttering cr@p made with a lousy mobile phone. Note that, as usual, I operate the two iPhones myself alone; that is, in non-turn based games, you can’t have as quick reactions and play as in the ideal case of two individual players operating both phones individually. Do not complain about this – I’ve done my best. Rest assured that, technically, my videos are far better than most other videos out there.


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UPDATE (10/24/2009 14:00 CET):

I’ve further enhanced the chart and made it even more user-friendly. Now, you can disable any of the columns (except for the title) if you find some of them uninteresting. Just un-tick the checkboxes of the columns (at the top) you don’t want to clutter the view.

UPDATE (10/28/2009): Frontpage at

Let me show you the picture accompanying the iPhone MVP article:

No comments are needed ;-)

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<p>Werner Ruotsalainen is an iOS and Java programming lecturer who is well-versed in programming, hacking, operating systems, and programming languages. Werner tries to generate unique articles on subjects not widely discussed. Some of his articles are highly technical and are intended for other programmers and coders.</p>
<p>Werner also is interested in photography and videography. He is a frequent contributor to not only mobile and computing publications, but also photo and video forums. He loves swimming, skiing, going to the gym, and using his iPads. English is one of several languages he speaks.</p>