Feeds
70%
appToyz appBlaster

appToyz appBlaster

Gunning for control

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Mobile application security vulnerability report

iGamer Gaming peripherals have a bad reputation, and not without good reason. From the sublime Steel Battalion controller to every ridiculous Wii peripheral, these plastic appendages have one thing in common: they make gamers look sublimely ridiculous.

appToyz appBlaster

Point and shoot: appToyz appBlaster

Even those which actually enhance gameplay - force feedback steering wheels, Guitar Hero's guitars and Samba di Amigo's maracas spring to mind – still manage to waft a stench of puerility over a pastime already much derided as an infantile pursuit.

The appBlaster is no exception. Quite simply, any post-pubescent gamer is going to look like a right tool moving around their living room brandishing a plastic gun. Get beyond this, though, and you'll discover that while the appBlaster is itself far from revolutionary, it may just be the inadvertent harbinger of a revolution in FPS gaming.

OK, so how do I get from a moulded plastic toy gun onto which you clamp your iPhone or iPod Touch to a revolution in FPS gaming? Well, like any technological advancement, iteratively of course.

The gyroscopes and accelerometers in smartphones and tablets already allow for 1:1 head tracking – games like Rage and NOVA 2 proving their accuracy for looking around 3D environments. Yet holding out your device and straining to press touchscreen controls whilst turning through 360 degrees feels contrived.

appToyz appBlaster

Fire at will

By clamping an iDevice on the top one of man's deadliest ergonomic designs, the appBlaster simply places the viewpoint in a natural position, in this case, aiming down the barrel of a gun. Better still, the appBlaster employs two triggers – one by the grip and one by the magazine – to independently control prodders and thus mimic finger taps on touchscreen controls.

3D environments require another vital control element, of course, that of movement. And it's here the appBlaster understandably fails. It's perfect for duck shoots like the simple but fun Augmented Reality game Alien Attack!!!free to download from iTunes – in which you shoot down incoming waves of aliens, but it can't control movement in full first-person games. So while NOVA 2's control scheme, for example, can be customised to relocate its trigger points under the appBlaster's prodders, you'll need to revert to touchscreen controls to move around, which proves highly impractical.

If you're reading appToyz – or indeed anyone interested in developing a multi-million selling peripheral – all that's required to realise the appBlaster's potential and turn it from mildly entertaining toy into revolutionary control scheme is a Bluetooth thumbstick and triggers, and perhaps the odd additional button or two. I'd even go so far as to suggest you place the thumbstick behind the magazine, in easy and comfortable reach to the secondary-fire trigger.

appToyz appBlaster

Room for improvement – even a revolution in gaming

It would be easier on Android phones and tablets, naturally. Thanks to Google's open Bluetooth policy, PS3 controllers have already been fully paired with devices to control emulator and homebrew games. But with enough support from the big developers, you might just even convince Apple to reconsider it's closed-shop approach.

Verdict

By bringing ergonomics to bear on the iDevices' own spatial technology, the appBlaster is one of those rare gaming peripherals that actually enhances gameplay. It's also something of a missed opportunity, however. With no way of controlling movement, your feet are stuck firmly on the firing range. And without Bluetooth mods to put a revolutionary controller in your hands, I'm afraid to say, when Rambo-ing around your living room with a fake, plastic gun, you're still going to look like a right tool. ®

Thanks to Red5 for the loan of the review sample.

iGamer covers the latest in mobile gaming, from Android to iPad, every other Wednesday. If you think there's a great game we really should cover, please let us know.

Boost IT visibility and business value

70%
appToyz appBlaster

appToyz appBlaster

appWheels and Wii golf clubs are no match for a good blaster at your side, Kid.
Price: £20 RRP

More from The Register

next story
Report: American tech firms charge Britons a thumping nationality tax
Without representation, too. Time for a Boston (Lincs) Macbook Party?
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple ran off to IBM
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Apple gets patent for WRIST-PUTER: iTime for a smartwatch
It does everything a smartwatch should do ... but Apple owns it
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Child diagnosed as allergic to iPad
Apple's fondleslab is the tablet dermatitis sufferers won't want to take
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
For Lenovo US, 8-inch Windows tablets are DEAD – long live 8-inch Windows tablets
Reports it's killing off smaller slabs are greatly exaggerated
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.