The XX Show #4: The Mobile eXperience Show

Join Nate and Troy as they discuss the ins and outs of mobile gaming. Listen as they examine how older games such as Ascendancy perform on an iPad and newer 4X games like Planar Conquest compare to their PC brethren. All this and the audience question XX Show #4!

eXplorminate Music by MangaDrive

Show notes:

14 replies »

  1. The notion that games made in recent years perform poorly because they “have not been optimized” is nonsense. If anything, it’s even more important to write fast code now than it was two decades ago. Certainly the idea that advances in hardware have led to a lax attitude in software development is a complete misconception.
    That’s not to say that all games are coded well, far from it, but this has more to do with the increased complexity of the technology involved compared to 20 years ago, the size of the teams producing the games, and the skill and experience of the programmers themselves than it does with attitude toward computing power.


    • Hey BTA,

      Perhaps it’s a misnomer, but if you have a game that works on one machine and not on another, when the machines are comparable (maybe MB or VC is slightly different) while running the same OS, what else can it be?

      Mind you, I am not trying to be a programming expert (which I certainly am not) or a game machine building expert (another thing I’m not) either. Meanwhile the hardware makers meet the medium or even high end specs for running the game.

      Take XCOM 2 for example. I am using a couple of year old gaming laptop, and my game runs great with an occasional slowdown. Rob is running a a top of the line gaming laptop beast, and it barely works on his. By all measures, I should not be the ones with a practically flawless experience, and yet I am.

      Thanks for listening by the way.



      • That could be due to any number of system factors well beyond the performance specs. Could be some obscure driver conflict, or an installed codec pack, or a particular in-game graphic setting, or a flaw in a hardware capacitor, or too many background processes running, or high system temperatures.

        Optmization is about the efficiency of the code itself. And, I imagine, optimizing the code too much might actually cause or increase performance issues if you aren’t sufficiently accommodating the range of potential hardware that’s running the game. So it’s a balance always. But we digress :)


  2. Just another footnote on why Starbase Orion is ahead of itself ….

    You mentioned hardware limits on mobile making turn processing (e.g. AI processing) slow down. You know what Starbase Orion has? Cloud AI processing. If you are connected to the internet, the game can connect to a cloud service behind the scenes. Turn processing late game drops from making 30 seconds or more in some cases down to less than a second. Pretty awesome :)


  3. Don’t forget to answer our question at the end of the podcast! We’re wanting to do another community-based episode soon, so we’d love to hear your thoughts. You never know what we might choose to discuss, and getting your feedback really helps! :)


  4. I really enjoy tablet gaming because I’m already on my computer 8-10 hours a day for work purposes. So getting back onto my computer for recreation can seem like a chore even if it’s to play XCOM 2. Several years ago the mobile scene was great filled with premium apps from big and small developers. However lately the freemium model has dominated and developers have struggled with sales of premium apps. There’s still some good premium games being released but it has slowed down to a trickle.

    Here’s some of the games that I like in no particular order:
    Crowntakers, Space Grunts, Warbits, Eclipse, SuperTribes, Suburbia, Papers Please, Galactic Keep, Auro, XCOM:EW, Harbinger, FTL, DotE, Starbase Orion, Ticket to Ride, Carscassonne, Templar Battleforce


      • Yeup :) That lists looks an awful like the one in the …. uhh …. thing I’m writing for the site ;)

        Stay tuned for more on the mobile front!

        You think premium games have slowed to a “trickle” ? I feel like I still hage a huge backlog of old and new games (premium ones) that I want to try out. And with more and more games going cross-plaform, I feel like there is always a handful of big iOS apps on the horizon I’m waiting for (Twilight Struggle is the next big one). Maybe it’s small relative to the number of free games, but I still feel like the absolute magnitude of titles is pretty healthy still.


  5. I haven’t given up on mobile. Just like you mentioned I have a huge backlog of iOS games that were either underplayed or still need to be purchased. I’m just a little dishearten because the mobile platform had some much promise and then it fell right back to earth. Many of the big developers have either pulled out or gone exclusively F2P. Hopefully that trend will eventually ease up and things will level out. I’m glad the Explorminate and others are giving exposer to mobile games to hardcore fans. Hopefully that will help build a base of fans for quality premium games.


  6. The new 4X setting I would like is Post-Apocalyptic like the Gamma World role playing game. Plants and animals mutated into walking talking threats could account for the factions other than just Human.
    Tech tree could be trying to reclaim lost tech so many years after the devastation. You start with one city and can salvage stuff from others and take them over through eXpansion. Rather than space ships you build “road warrior” vehicles and do battle with them. Your faction would be a “gang” maybe. So sorta Endless legend with nuclear mutated gangs of humans, animals, and plant life. Perhaps one faction of “true” humans who were underground and suffered no mutations etc.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I would love to see a really well-made steampunk or cyberpunk 4X. Victory conditions could vary – domination, liberation from megacorps, advancing to a new and different technological era. Lore and character could be likewise pretty awesome if executed well.



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