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BlackBerry software news (WinMo: a quick look at the mobile port of Civ IV)

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This article may be of interest to not only BlackBerry users, but also those of Windows Mobile; particularly ones that would like to know more about Sid Meier's Civilization IV: War of Two Cities from Concrete Software, also promised for Windows Mobile. I’ll also elaborate on three titles also existing for Windows Mobile.

1. As has already been announced in my previous Games news article, Concrete Software have released Sid Meier's Civilization IV: War of Two Cities for the BlackBerry. The homepage of the title is HERE. Note that the game is also promised for the Windows Mobile platform.



Anyone hoping for a top-down view and turn-based strategy approach common with Civilization games will be pretty much at a loss: this title is pretty simple and is really only reminiscent of the “real” game in the tech tree. (However, not even the tech tree is as big as the original - see the screenshot above for a quick comparison.) It doesn’t seem to support multiplayer either, which is pretty much disappointing on an always-connected platform (BlackBerry). However, it still might be a nice game to kill some time with if you don’t really need a “real” Civilization on your handset. If you do, go for either the n0p’s DOSBox port + Civ1 combo on Windows Mobile or Revival (probably the best Civ-alike so far, apart from the no-longer-developed Pocket Humanity) on the WinMo, Palm OS and Symbian (no BB, sorry) platforms (additional review links HERE). Also see the user review HERE. Finally, I only hope that the two other, announced ports (Pirates and Railroad Tycoon) will be an exact replica of the original – after all, the original titles also used low-resolution and didn’t necessarily depend on the mouse.

Note that the trial version is pretty useless: it can be played through in about 5 minutes and only allows for the first two, very short scenarios. This also means you can’t go up the tech tree at all (except for one step).

2. The new beta of Viigo, probably the best, forthcoming RSS (and, hopefully, podcast) reader has been released; bumping up the major version number from 2 to 3. (About a month ago, the then-current version was 2.2.82; now, it’s 3.0.224.) It already has much nicer-looking and better settings (options) dialogs:



As can be seen in the following screenshot, the initial list also shows podcasting support (please see my related Podcasting bible for more info):


However, it’s still not working:


As soon as it starts working, I update the Podcasting bible. Note that I’ll also make some other changes to it; most importantly, include info on the just-released Kinoma Player’s podcasting capabilities and also elaborate on the latest, pretty nice pRSSreader. Note that I'll VERY soon publish the multiplatform RSS bible, which MAY already contain info on the iPhone too, which I plan to purchase next week. If my wife allows me to, that is ;)

3. The recently-released, new BlackBerry version (5.2.8) of IM+, the all-in-one messenger app, introduced a lot of long-awaited functionality; for example, file and voice clip sending (from the BB to any other client – but not in the opposite direction):


Also, conference talks are also possible:


Voice sending uses MP3 encoding, which guarantees low bandwidth usage, while providing excellent sound quality. However, IM+ takes a LOT of time to encode even short clips to MP3 and upload them via EDGE; that is, your experience probably won’t be as good as with the Windows Mobile Live Messenger client’s built-in voice upload support.

4. RDM+ (version 3.7.5 released in early August) has also received file transfer capabilities in the meantime. Definitely good news - the version I’ve reviewed in my initial multiplatform RDM+ review still didn’t have such support.


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