Magic: The Gathering Creator is Making Location-Based Game, Map Monsters

Via Kickstarter, we’ve learned that Richard Garfield, the creator of famed allowance-eater Magic: The Gathering is working on “a free-to-play location-based adventure game.” Entitled Map Monsters, the upcoming title attempts to use location gaming as a secondary mechanic, rather than a primary one: players will not be obligated to actually go anywhere to catch the many monsters out there roaming the map. You’ll simply do better at it if you’re willing to move, though.

In the Kickstarter’s own words:

  • Location done right. Unlike other attempts at location-based games, our approach is to make location a secondary, not primary, mechanic. In Map Monsters, it’s not necessary to travel physically, although players that do will advance in the game more quickly.
  • Earth as a game board. We take raw map data from the four corners of the globe and roll a fictional world that mirrors our own.
  • Virtual travel. You’re not limited to what you can find in your physical location; walk your character through a virtual world teaming with new things to discover.
  • Explore. You never know what you’ll find in the game by checking in to new physical locations, or walking your character throughout the world.
  • Scarcity. You’ll find an abundance of some items in your area, but you’ll have to travel further afield or trade with others from far away places to succeed.
  • Build. Like to build stuff? Build mileposts, roads, goldmines, farms and more.
  • Social. Trade with your friends, use their roads, collaborate to fight monsters.
  • Available platforms. Available on iPhone and iPad initially; we plan to work on porting the game to Android subsequently.

Mind you, other games have tried this sort of thing in various ways; Shadow Cities allows you to travel far afield inside the game by leaping through your faction’s portals, which is a nice bit of team-oriented meta-gaming. Still, we’re always curious to see new variations on the location mechanic. Here’s hoping Garfield and Friends can kick the rest of their starter!

AndroidAppADay: Custom Car Home

If you’re like me, you enjoy taking your phone everywhere you go and especially in your car. I find myself making important phone calls or listening to music whenever I’m driving these days and making that process very simple should be as quick and easy of process as possible. Custom Car Home, while not the most robust app, does well in providing a sleek and easy interface as well as a few features that make your phone especially easy to use while driving.

Custom Car Home’s layout is very simple: It’s a large list of the most important apps that you’ll need when you’re on the go. Now, I don’t use these apps when at home very often so they’re not apps I would put on my main home screen so it’s nice that this app has a totally separate app display showing these car-centric apps.

Along with having a large interface designed to make your phone easy to use in the car, the app also has some ‘background’ features as well. You can set the phone to enable speakerphone, bluetooth automatically as well as tell it to keep the screen on permanently while the app is running. All very useful when stopped at a stoplight and need to check an app quickly.

Custom Car Home is currently available on the Android Market.

Twitter Releases Official Twitter App for Android

In a blog post yesterday, Twitter announced the immediate availability of Twitter for Android on the Android Market. The new client was announced a few weeks ago and has already caused quite a stir in the world of Droids.

The client is pretty. In fact, I’d say it’s probably the best looking Twitter client if we’re looking from a complete design perspective. All of the buttons are large, good looking and fit in with the standard Twitter simplicity we’ve come to know and love.

Along with the prettiness, the app is also robust featuring picture posting, replies, location features, URL shortening and everything else you’d expect from a modern Twitter app. It has honestly replaced every other Twitter app I’ve used on my Android phone, including the paid ones.

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Speaking of other, third party Twitter apps, the App discovery service AppAware showed that there were many installs of the new Twitter app, and a significant amount of users uninstalling alternative Twitter apps such as Twidroid or Seesmic. I don’t think these apps will be obsolete however, as they will always most likely have some sort of niche feature to keep people coming back.

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It is very nice to see an official app, a defacto Twitter app that anyone who just knows ‘Twitter’ can download. Below is a video done by AndroidCentral showcasing the new, beautiful app. Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Like us on Facebook using the ‘Goose bar below to keep up to date on all the latest social media news, including Twitter.

60,000 New Android Phones Being Activated Daily

During Google’s first quarter conference call, the company had a couple of interesting data points to share on Android’s rapid growth as a mobile platform.

The first is that the company is activating more than 60,000 new Android phones each, a pretty impressive number, especially considering the competition in the smartphone marketplace.

When you’re adding that  many users into the Android fold, it stands to reason that application downloads have gone up at similar rates–and they have. Google’s VP of Engineering Jeff Huber said that Android app download growth was up 70 percent during the fourth quarter of 2009.

This is good news for current Android users. As the platform continues to build itself, higher adoption rates means more market potential–which just feeds into more cool applications to download and increase the usefulness of your phone.

[via MobileMarketingWatch]