Showing posts with label iPad. Show all posts
Showing posts with label iPad. Show all posts

Monday, August 22, 2011

Trade Nations 3.3 - Far East Additions

Trade Nations update 3.3 has been released for a few days now. This time round Trade Nations has introduced a touch of Far East by adding a number of new oriental theme shops / items. I am not sure where exactly to place these new additions - house, shops and decorative items, and maybe I should create a new oriental enclave for these far east 'immigrants'.

Trade Nations also changed the game mechanics a little by increasing the gold and experience cap to 300%. Well, the villagers will also be working harder when players enter the Trade Nations game - incentive to keep the players in the game longer each day.

For the new Far Eat items, the players need to build the 'Traveling Merchant' as a prerequisite.It cost 50,000 gold and other than a decorative item, I don't really see much use for this 'Traveling Merchant. Oh, it also unlock a new achievement when the Traveling Merchant is built. I was sort of hoping that this Traveling Merchant can actually sell exotic goods, i.e. as a new shop, rather than just decorative in nature.

The other additions that I have is the "Imperial House" and "Tai Chi". Imperial House cost 10,000 gold, 2,000 lumber, and 1,200 cut stones to build and it can house 4 new villagers. For this higher cost of built, the Imperial House rewards players with 20 experience and 25 gold (compared to 10 experience and 20 gold for Stone House) over a much shorter time frame. Quite worth it I must say. Tai Chi is just a new shop that helps to earn gold and experience, giving slightly higher rewards compared to the Firebreather and Juggler.

Other than the headache of where to place these additions such that they don't jar badly with my exiting layout (the themes are very different), overall the new additions are worth the effort for players to construct them.So update your Trade Nations to version 3.3 if you have not done so!

See also:

Monday, May 30, 2011

iPad - Trade Nations: Review & Guide Part 2

After Part 1 of the iPad Trade Nations Guide, here is the Part 2:

Build Menu
Under the Build menu, i.e. the hammer icon, a player can choose to build buildings, decorations, castle or to expand his land. Various description and information of the buildings / deco are available by clicking the small little 'i' circle. There are decorations which add to the gold and experience gained. Often these additions are in small amount, i.e. <1% to a few %. Some decorations, especially those purchased with magic beans, can have much more pronounced effect.

Shops come in different varieties. Some shops, e.g. the stalls selling fruits, meat etc need a villager to man it and no resources are required (wonder how they get their fruits and fishes). Other shops, e.g. Pubs, Carpenter, Baker do not need villagers as staff, but they will consume resources instead.

Personally I don't think the percentage boost is not as critical as managing the different goods production, i.e. a player in Trade Nations can level up and gain gold more easily by managing the goods production in his shops.

The keep / castle buildings are often the most expensive to build. For example, the current most expensive Citadel will need 500,000 gold, 50,000 lumber, 30,000 cloth, and 75,000 cut stones! These expensive advancements are needed in order to build other buildings.

The other expensive item to 'build' is the land expansion option. At some point players in Trade Nations will run out of space to put new buildings and decorations. There are current 9 land expansion stages. Resources are not needed for land expansion but he gold required is significantly more than the Keep / Castle selections. For example, 'Increase Land 8' option will cost the players 1.5 million gold!

Among the newer buildings and decorations available, those in the Carnival category are interesting. Trade Nations introduced them as a mean to liven up those little towns and villages that players are building. So players can have Theatre, clown, Big Top and many little carnival tents. These buildings seem to add more gold and experience faster than the traditional shops.

Market & Trade
Last but not least, Trade Nations has an innovative world wide 'market' function. When players produced too many resources to keep in the storage, it is profitable to sell them at the market. Click on the picture below to get a sense of the buying and selling prices of the different resources.

Here's a personal tip: buying and selling of resources from the market can yield great golds for the smart players in Trade Nations. For example, cut stones can be bought from as low as 220 gold for 100 cut stones, but it can be sold subsequently for near to 300 gold! So if a player has more space for storage, buying and selling of these resources will be worth the effort. 

The trade cycle in the market is not refreshed in real time, i.e. prices do not change instantly. Thus this means that when prices are high or low, the player could sell or buy respectively in infinite amount, barring the capacity of the storage.

Trade Nations is a fun game on the iPad platform. It is somewhat therapeutic to see the little villagers moving about in the town you created. Decorations and the buildings help to keep a flavour that reminded me of the story of Jack and Beanstalk somehow. The amount of time spent for Trade Nations is not all consuming, unlike other games with conquest elements. Thus overall Trade Nations is one of those games that keep the players coming back, and is worth your time to give it a try (if you have not).

See also:
- iPad - Trade Nations: Review & Guide Part 1
- Trade Nations - Building a Citadel without using Magic Beans
- Trade Nations 3.3 - Far East Additions 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

iPad - Trade Nations: Review & Guide Part 1

Trade Nations is one of those city building games that sucked up small amount of time each day. It is addictive, in part due to the cute graphics, but mostly because it is fun and easy to play. As a social game on iPhone and iPad, Trade Nations has earned quite a number of good reviews. The Trade Nations is developed by Z2Live.

When the player first starts the game, Trade Nations will prompt the player to build cottages and basic resource gathering. Creating buildings in the game is done via pressing the 'hammer' icon located at the bottom right of the screen. There are 4 options when the 'hammer' icon is activated:

1) Functional Buildings -e.g. farms, cottages, shops etc
2) Decorative items - e.g. tiles, flowers, trees, statues etc (some of the items grant bonus for gold and experience gathering)
3) Castle - upgrading of the Tower to more impressive buildings, including the Citadel. 
4) Land expansion - the little plot of land is insufficient for your Trade Nations to grow and thus expansion will be needed

After the buildings are built, they can still be shifted around or be given a different orientation (or even sold for gold). Pressing the icon to the left of the 'hammer' icon will activate this re-decoration mode.

In Trade Nations, the basic block of resources comprises of four basic types:

a) Wood - Gathered from Logging camp (need 2 villagers) and available early part of the game
b) Rock - Gathered from Quarry (need 2 villagers) and available early part of the game
c) Wheat - Produced from Farms (need 2 villagers) and available early part of the game.
d) Wool - Produced from Pen (need 2 villagers)

Picture of farms (4 farms in lower right corner), some shops and 3 quarries (upper right corner)

These basic resources are later processed into three other secondary resources. Wheat is just wheat, and is used directly by the shops for goods production.

a) Wood is made into lumber in Lumber Yard (2 cutter and 2 haulers)
b) Rock is made into Cut Stones in Stone Cutter (2 cutter and 1 haulers)
c) Wool is made into Cloth in the Loom (2 weavers and 2 haulers)

Cottages, Villagers, Jobs, Gold & Beans
Villagers are available if you build cottages for them. Higher level cottages will allow for more rooms, i.e. more villagers are available. The player needs to level up in Trade Nations in order to build more cottages as well as upgrading the cottages to higher level ones.

Picture of cottages - different designs are available in Trade Nations
Cottages will also provide gold  and experience in small amount. Gold is the basic currency in the game.It can be earned via processing the resources into goods in the shop. Not all the shops need resources to produce but the earlier one do.There are also magic beans that can be used to purchase special buildings, speed up resources gathering / processing etc. Magic beans are given when the player level up in Trade Nations (1 bean per level) or be purchased via real life cash.

The villagers will need to be assigned to different jobs, in both the shops as well as resources processing buildings. Of course, some shops do not need villagers. To assign jobs, it is easier to first select the idling villagers (they will be standing next to their cottages), then select the shops. The vacancy will be shown. Select the vacancy to assign that job to the idling villager. There is no difference (or I did not see any so far) between assigning jobs to male or female villagers.

I guess this is long enough for 1 part of the Trade Nations guide, and the others (market, castle, etc) will be covered in Part 2 of the Trade Nations: Review & Guide.
See also:

Thursday, April 14, 2011

iPad Apps by URA - Property Market Info & Master Plan 2008

With the increasing popularity of iPads among the Singapore residents, it is not surprising that we have more Singapore related apps. Nonetheless I am still pleasantly surprised that the government authorities, specifically URA, developed not just one, but 2 apps for the iPad. And both made it to the top 10 free iPad Apps when I checked at the Apps Store.

The 2 apps (in bold red ovals) are the Property Market Information, and the Master Plan 2008. URA's Property Market Information allows potential home buyers to compare prices (including rentals) across private properties in Singapore.

Since URA is only in charge of private properties and not public housing (which is under HDB), the app is restricted in its range of info. Nonetheless the info provided is pretty up to date, since the Property Market Information app can directly draw information from URA's servers.

It will be fun to use this app while while shopping for condos, especially when potential property buyers can compare the condo prices of near by properties in front of the property agents, that might help in their price bargaining.

The other URA app is the Masterplan 2008. Honestly this is less impressive. It is a digitised version of the Master Plan for Singapore, which shows how the different plots of land will be used. This includes the plot ratio and other details.

I am not sure how useful this app will be, other than for specific land developer users. Nonetheless Master Plan 2008 made it to the top 10 apps, so there are others with a different opinion about its usefulness.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

iPad - Syndicate: Review & Guide

Ever since iPad was released, there has been numerous games. Some of the games are similar to what are available on Facebook (e.g. Mafia Wars) where players engaged in tasks to build up gold / experience points for leveling and construction of their little empires.

One of the more interesting games in iPad is the Syndicate, a game that focus on building up a commercial empire with workers and a nice commercial building. Here's a screen shot of the Syndicate game on iPad. The building in the centre is built only after much leveling has been done, level 17 to be exact.

There are a few activities for the player that are listed on the left side of the screen. The main focus of the Syndicate game is the doing of jobs, that yield experience points and various amount of gold. The jobs come with pre-requisites including number of workers (i.e. staff), the player level, and the facilities that the player has. Facilities can be built and each new addition with have impact on staff morale and productivity. Productivity also affects the monetary rewards for the jobs.

For example, if the job pays $1000 normally and the productivity is 150%, the monetary reward is actually $1,500. The amount is also affected by when the player 'claims' the job rewards. When the job is completed (after a set timing, from 15 minutes to hours), bonus of 25% or 50% will be given if the player can claim the jobs rewards in time. Over time, the bonus drops to zero.

To hire more workers, just click on the 'Hire' tab, and a list of up to 10 workers will be shown. The workers are given funny games with funnier descriptions, e.g. worker George Skipper - Supposes that he is a ship captain. Some of the descriptions are pretty lame actually. During the initial levels, it costs less to hire a worker, and the cost per worker increases with new levels of the player. At times, the new hire will also cause a decrease in staff morale and productivity. So it is important to improve the facility of the rooms that help to increase staff morale and productivity.

Buildings and Rooms
The player starts off with a single room when the Syndicate is first started; 'Boss's Office' and the player can have as many as 6 rooms - Canteen, Working Area, Warehouse, Guard Desk and Expedition. Each room has many facilities for the player to purchase. For example, there is water cooler, plants etc etc.

The facilities will take time to build. Each facility improvement also costs money, except for one of the item related to human - e.g. the secretary, employee that must be purchased with the gold coin. Gold coins are sometimes given when job levels are completed. Each facility has 3 levels with different types of rewards. Of course, facilities cost more with the higher levels, and in the more advanced rooms.

Other than rooms, the players can also improve their buildings. To me, this is the fun part of the game, where there is some sense of achievement to see the game character owning bigger and nicer buildings. There are two category of buildings, one purchased with money and the other using gold coins. The latter comes with additional benefits. Of course, to have ore gold coins mean the player needs to spend real life money to purchase them.

There are 3 pre-requisites to build new buildings, level of player, number of workers, and of course the amount of money / gold coins available. Buildings too will take some time to complete.

Rewards & Bonus
Rewards are given when jobs are completed, and the player can use these rewards to improve various game statistics. There are bonus that immediately completes all jobs, bonus that affect staff morale, productivity etc etc. Players can also purchase mroe of these bonus using money or the gold coins.

When the player levels up, bonus will also be given. To see what bonuses are given with each level, just tap on the portrait of the game character and the lists, as well as other statistics will be shown.

If you have friends playing the Syndicate game, do add them, and they can be relied upon for the Pyramid function, i.e. the player earns money when their added friends complete jobs. Of course, being a social game, the Syndicate also has the friends visiting function. Players can even visit other Syndicate players who are not 'friends' per se.

Overall the Syndicate game is pretty fun to play with. The jobs get repetitive after a while but since the game doesn't consume too much time, it is good to while away 10-15 minutes every couple of hours or so. Honestly, many games on iPad get repetitive after a while.

One small tip for the beginning player - do the jobs if you have enough staff, even after the jobs have reached maximum level and do not yield any more experience. This will help you gain more money faster.