Category Archives: BBM

Farkle gets multi-player support

10,000 Farkle has been updated to version 2.0 in BlackBerry AppWorld. This new version integrates with BBM to add the ability to play multi-player games.

How to Play

Farkle gives you six dice to roll and awards points for a straight, three pairs or three or more of the same number. Fewer points ares also awarded for each individual 1 and 5. Any dice that do not score can be re-rolled for additional points. If all 6 dice can be scored, then all of the dice can be re-rolled on the same turn.

The skill in this game comes from knowing how far to push your luck, and which scoring combinations to take, and when to re-roll.

The default game mode gives you 10 turns to score as many points as you can. The 10,000 point mode is the traditional way to play, where the goal is to reach 10,000 points in as few turns as possible. The competitive game modes (“vs Friend”, “vs Computer” “vs BBM Friend”) all use the traditional race to 10,000 points.

BBM Multi-player games

To play against one of your BBM friends, you first need to change the game mode in the menu to “vs BBM Friend”. You will then have the option to start a new game against one of your friends on BBM. It is required for both of you to have the game installed, so there is a second link that you can use to invite your friends who don’t yet have the app, to download it from AppWorld. The game then plays under the traditional rules, with the first over 10,000 points as the winner.

Links & Information

The benefits of BBM connected apps

Twinkle is an app that allows you to set and keep track of upcoming and past events, and share them with your friends. The app is free and contains a small advertisement that can be removed through an in-app purchase.

Because fetching the advertisement requires a request to a server, we can look at ad requests in order to get a look at approximate how often Twinkle is being used. While the app was released about a year and a half ago, the last few months worth of ad requests are shown in the chart below.

Version 3.0 of Twinkle added the ability to share events with your friends over BBM. Based on the above graph can you see when this update was released?

The existence of the BBM API has fundamentally changed the nature of this app. It has gone from a simple date tracker with calendar integration, to a complete social experience. While you can still choose to not make use of the app’s social features, it appears that most people are. Version 3.3 of Twinkle (coming soon) will expand these social features ever further with OS7 devices also able to share Twinkle events over Twitter, FaceBook, and Email. The typical usage of this app has completely changed from just five months ago.

Nine Men’s Morris updated

Nine Men’s Morris has been updated to version 1.1 in BlackBerry AppWorld. 9 Men’s Morris is a two player strategy game that you can play with your friends on BBM. The game itself is turn based and plays like a cross between checkers and tic-tac-toe.

New in Version 1.1

This updated includes more detailed in-game messages, as well as a system notification when it is your turn in the game.

How to Play

To start the game each player places 9 tokens onto the gameboard, with a random selection determining which player goes first. After all tokens are placed, the players take turns moving their own tokens to try and get three in a row to form a Mill. Forming a mill allows you to remove one of your opponents tokens from play. As with checkers you win after removing all of your opponents pieces, or by placing them in a position where they are unable to make a legal move. Your own pieces are always red, while your opponent is blue. For more details on the game see Wikipedia.

Device support

9 Men’s Morris supports all touchscreen BlackBerrys with a minimum OS of 5.0, and a minimum BBM version of 6.0

Links & Information

Pixelated updated to version 3.0

This weekend Pixelated was updated to version 3.0 adding BBM integration and support for 5 languages. The languages supported by Pixelated now include English, Spanish, Dutch, French, and Portuguese. This update also improves the stability and efficiency of the application. Pixelated is free to download and supports every BlackBerry device released in the last three years including the PlayBook.

BBM Integration

Pixelated now integrates with BlackBerry Messenger, allowing you to publish your best scores to your BBM personal message, and posting your achievements earned to a Pixelated profile box. You also have the option of inviting your friends to download Pixelated by using the “Share via BBM” button on the About page.

About Pixelated

Pixelated is an addicting puzzle based strategy game that requires a mixture of skill and luck in order to complete. Starting with the square in the upper left corner, the object of the game is to change the colour of the squares until the entire screen is a single solid colour. This is done by repeatedly by changing the colour of the blocks in order to match that of the surrounding squares until the entire screen is a single colour. The object of the game is to clear the screen in as few moves as possible.

Links & Information

9 Men’s Morris BBM game

Nine Men’s Morris is a two player strategy game that you can play with your friends on BBM. The game itself is turn based and plays like a cross between checkers and tic-tac-toe.

How to Play

To start the game each player places 9 tokens onto the gameboard, with a random selection determining which player goes first. After all tokens are placed, the players take turns moving their own tokens to try and get three in a row to form a Mill. Forming a mill allows you to remove one of your opponents tokens from play. As with checkers you win after removing all of your opponents pieces, or by placing them in a position where they are unable to make a legal move. Your own pieces are always red, while your opponent is blue. For more details on the game see Wikipedia.

Game Development

Development of this game started at the BBM Hackathon in New York City. The introduction of the BBM API solved many of the problems that multiplayer games traditionally have. By allowing you to challenge friends already listed in BBM you can avoid the hassle usually associated with finding your friends in game.

Device support

9 Men’s Morris supports all touchscreen BlackBerrys and requires a minimum OS of 5.0, as well as BBM 6.0

Links & Information

Pixelated Plus version 3.0

Pixelated Plus has been updated to version 3.0 in BlackBerry AppWorld. This update adds BBM integration, and expands language support to English, Spanish, Dutch, French, and Portuguese. This update also improves the stability and efficiency of the application.

BBM Integration

Pixelated Plus now integrates with BlackBerry Messenger, allowing you to publish your best scores to your BBM personal message, and posting your achievements earned to a Pixelated Plus profile box. You also have the option of inviting your friends to download Pixelated Plus by using the “Share via BBM” button on the About page.

About Pixelated Plus

Pixelated Plus is an addicting puzzle based strategy game that requires a mixture of skill and luck in order to accomplish. The object of the game is to change the colour of the squares until the entire screen is a single solid colour. Starting with the square in the upper left corner you can change the colour of the blocks in order to match that of the surrounding squares. This is done repeatedly until the entire screen is a single colour. The object of the game is to clear the screen in as few moves as possible. Under the default settings you must do so in under 22 moves in order to win.

Links & Information

Xploding Boxes version 2.1 released

Xploding Boxes has been updated to version 2.1 in BlackBerry AppWorld. This version adds 15 new levels, adds BBM profile boxes, and improves navigation on the level selection screen.

About Xploding Boxes

Xploding Boxes is a strategy game for BlackBerry where the goal of the game is to start a chain reaction that will explode all of the boxes on the screen. Each level gives you a different number of touches, and requires a different strategy to solve. The first 25 levels are free, while the full 230 levels can be accessed by making an in-application payment and requiring no further downloads. This game is available for both the PlayBook, and for most smartphones running OS 5.0 or higher.

Improved level selection screen

When launching the game, the level selection screen now automatically starts with the last level played pre-selected. This allows you to restart the game where you left off, and get you back to playing the actual game quicker. Also you can use the keyboard short cuts ‘T’ & ‘B’ to quickly navigate to the top and bottom of the level selection screen.

BBM Profile Box

This version of Xploding Boxes, also allow you to attach a box to the bottom of your BlackBerry Messenger profile, to show off your success in the game. This feature requires that you have BBM version 6.0.1 installed, and that you check the box to allow Xploding Boxes to “Post recent activities to my profile”. There is a direct link to these BBM options from the Xploding Boxes options page, in order to make this checkbox easier to find.

Links & Information

How to enable Profile Boxes using BBM SDK 1.2

In the original version of the BBM SDK it was a real pain for users to have to tweak the settings in order to enable apps to create profile boxes. Version 1.2 of the SDK still requires some work from the user but makes things a little better by allowing you to directly launch to screen where this needs to be edited. The code for doing so is as follows:

UiApplication.getUiApplication().invokeAndWait(new Runnable()
{
public void run()
{
try
{
if(platformContext.getSettingsManager().getSetting( SettingsManager.SETTING_PROFILE_BOX ) == SettingsManager.VALUE_DISABLED)
{
Dialog d = new Dialog(Dialog.D_OK,"In order to enable BBM Profile Boxes please check \"Post recent activities to my profile\" on the next screen", 0, null, 0 );
d.doModal();
platformContext.requestAppSettings();
}
}
catch(Exception e){}
}
});

This code assumes that platformContext is the name of your already created and registered BBMPlatformContext object. This code uses a check so, the user does not see anything if this feature is already enabled. The UiApplication invokeAndWait wrapper is required, as an exception will be thrown if this code is not run on a UI thread. Also note that this code requires v1.2 of the BBM SDK, and therefore version 6.0.1 of BBM.

Version 3.0 of Twinkle

Version 3.0 of Twinkle has been released through BlackBerry AppWorld. This version adds the ability to share events with friends through BBM, multi-language support for English, Spanish, & Dutch. As well as adding integration with the native BlackBerry options screen, and native support for the higher screen resolutions of the new OS 7 devices being released this week.

About Twinkle

Twinkle, which recently celebrated its first birthday, is a simple application that allows you to set and keep track of upcoming and past events. Twinkle will tell you how far away an event is, and allows you to send events to and from your BlackBerry’s native calendar, or to your friends on BBM. Twinkle gives you the ability to add and edit events, lets you keep track of how soon something is, or how long it has been since an event, and to search for all of these events through BlackBerry’s universal search. In recognition of this deep integration with the device, Twinkle was named a Regional Selections Winner in the 2010 BlackBerry Super Apps Challenge.

BBM support

New in version 3.0 is the ability to share events with your friends on BBM. You just select an event, and then choose to “Share Event” from the menu. Then select who you want to send the event to. If your friends do not yet have Twinkle on their BlackBerrys, you can send them a download invitation through a sharing button on the app’s about page.

Language Support

Data from June 2011 showed that despite only being available in English that 9.2% of Twinkle users actually had Spanish as their first language. Another 3.2% of users had their primary language as Dutch. As a result both of these languages were added as options in this version of Twinkle. When the app is first run it will detect the native language on the device automatically. After that the user is free to change it anytime they like from the options page.

Other new features

Version 3.0 also includes integration with the native BlackBerry menu option page. As a result all of the options within Twinkle can also be edited from the Third Party Apps section of the BlackBerry options page. Gray was also added as an additional background colour option for events. It may be a boring colour, but sometimes you have boring events.

Updates were also made in order to better support the higher screen resolution of the recently announced BlackBerry 7 devices such as the Bold 9900/9930, and the 9810, 9850, and 9860 Torch models.

Links & Information

RIM taking steps to prevent BBM pin spam

Back in January I complained about how the reviews in BlackBerry AppWorld were beginning to be overrun with people posting their BBM pin rather than leaving useful reviews of the applications. At the time I proposed that RIM filter out reviews in the same manner that they filter out curse words.

In the past two weeks it has appeared that RIM has begun to do this. While some pin spam is still getting through, around 80% of the reviews that include a pin have been automatically denied. Hopefully this is enough that it will discourage the whole culture of trolling for BBM contacts in application reviews. Then when looking for new applications, users will have actually relevant reviews to look at instead.

AppWorld reviews flooded with BBM PIN spam

Over the past few months the reviews on BlackBerry AppWorld have been overwhelmed by people leaving their BBM PIN’s instead of actual relevant reviews. The image to the right (full size) shows a few recent reviews of the puzzle game Pixelated. Only one of these reviewers does not post their BBM PIN, and despite the generally high ratings, most spend very little text actually reviewing the game.

Furthermore, publicly posting your PIN is just asking for trouble. The 24 year old girl pleading for perverts not to send her nude pictures is going to be disappointed. She could have saved herself (and the people who have to read through these reviews) a lot of effort by simply not posting her BBM PIN at all.

These types of reviews do not help out somebody actually trying to use them for their intended purpose of learning what other people think of the game. In this case the application is free, so they can simply download it with no risk, but these BBM PIN reviews are starting to become common in paid applications as well.

Given how out of control the situation is, I propose that RIM needs to step up and automatically deny any AppWorld review that contains a BBM PIN, in the same manner that they are already blocking reviews containing select curse words. It would be a drastic step, but the situation needs to be taken under control.