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Portal Knights is an adorable looking 3D sandbox action-RPG developed by Keen Games and published by 505 Games. It was initially released on PC and consoles back in May of this year and has only recently been ported to Android and published on the Play Store. Its design is obviously very reminiscent of Minecraft, but it differentiates itself by including a few RPG character classes, a wide range of random instanced events, and plenty of epic boss battles.
The first thing I would like to point out that Portal Knights is indeed a console experience on mobile. Better yet, this Android release is priced at $4.99. When compared to its console and PC counterparts that cost $19.99, it is apparent that the Android price is most definitely a steal for the amount of content you receive in return. And despite the fact that the Play Store listing shows that there are in-app purchases included in the game, there are in fact none to be found.
You will start out by choosing your character’s class, which range from warrior, ranger, to mage. After you customize your character and name your universe, you will be plunked down into a randomly generated world. From here you will make your way through the game’s tutorial, which shows you the basic controls and general real-time fighting mechanics.
As for the gameplay, well, it offers just about what you would expect of a 3D sandbox action-RPG. You get to traverse plenty of unique environments, meet tons of NPC characters, discover a whole range of creatures and resources for crafting. Plus there are plenty of caves, lakes, and dungeons to make your way through that are filled with quite a few surprises. All of the combat is action-based, and there are plenty of ways to go about building a ton of different structures. You will also be tasked with collecting dozens of materials to craft those structures as well as all of your supplies.
The controls work well enough on a touchscreen, though the camera often needs correcting. I found the default camera sensitivity to be a little too high, though it can be adjusted in the game’s settings. But even with a lowered sensitivity the camera still feels as though it is lagging behind where you are moving it. This can be disorienting and does not help when you are in the middle of a battle. I also noticed that there is no HID controller support, which seems odd for a game ported from consoles and PC. I would say the controls are where I struggled the most.
Loading times are also a real pain. It takes forever for Portal Knights to boot up, with it only displaying a black screen that makes you think your phone has turned off. Then you have to deal with even more loading when opening up your universe. I’d say in total it takes a good 3-4 minutes to get into the game.
It is also worth noting that Google Play Games Services are supported with an auto-sign in and an achievement system. Glaringly absent is a cloud save feature. Honestly, at this point, I find it pretty confounding that cloud saving is not a staple for such prominent releases.
Oh, and as of version 1.2.7, the game takes up 519 MB of storage. So it may not be the largest release on Android, but it will take a little while to download the game in full, so be prepared.
All in all, I would say Portal Knights is a quality port that could still use a little polishing. The gameplay can be pretty fun even though you will have to fight with the camera alittle too often. Also, the lack of cloud saving is a major sore spot for me. Luckily the price point is just right, so these quibbles can be easily ignored when you consider just how much content and replayability you receive for $4.99. While I can’t say this is the next Minecraft, the slight changes to the standard sandbox formula and the addition of instanced events and boss battles gives the player a lot more to explore and a sense of progression that is difficult to deny.
Deal: Buy 3 Months, Get 3 Free. Unlimited Talk, Text.
Plans from $15/month
Portal is a beloved gaming franchise for many, and while fans still want a proper sequel to the game’s last release, it’s probably not happening anytime soon. Luckily, Portal is making a return, but by means of Bridge Constructor.
The best gifts for Android users
Valve, makers of Portal and Half-Life, today announced a partnership with Headsup Games and Clockstone Software to develop “Bridge Constructor Portal.” The licensed expansion of the Portal series pulls the design characters from those popular games into brand new gameplay set in the world of Aperture Laboratories.
Typical Bridge Constructor games are already pretty fun, but with Portal elements at play, players will have portals, repulsion and propulsion gels, and GLaDOS making things is all the more interesting.
Bridge Constructor Portal will blend the laws of structural engineering and technology straight from Aperture Laboratories into an exciting new game experience, all under the demanding gaze of GLaDOS.
“Bridge Constructor Portal” debuts on Windows, Linux, and macOS later this month on December 20th, and it’ll arrive on consoles such as the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and the Nintendo Switch early next year. It’ll also arrive on mobile devices, including Android, on the 20th.
Datalogic’s “DLR-PR001” RFID portal reader runs Linux on an Atom Z510, and offers 4x RFID antennas plus GbE, USB, serial, GPIO, and optional GPRS.
Italian RFID technology producer Datalogic has unveiled a high-end RFID portal reader designed for real-time inventory management in warehouse, automatic gate, and retail environments. The Linux-driven DLR-PR001 is essentially an IoT gateway for RFID and other inputs. It’s especially suited for “complex AutoID scenarios where data can be collected and fed directly to the reader from multiple sources such as smart card readers, bar code readers, GPS and other in-field sensors,” says the company.
(click images to enlarge)
The device’s embedded foundation eliminates the need for an external PC and associated cabling. All data can be handled locally through data buffering, filtering and aggregation, and can trigger local actuators and displays for in-field, real-time processes in standalone mode. It can also work with other Datalogic RFID products including the DLR-BT001 Bluetooth pocket reader, the DLR-TL001 temperature logger, and the DLR-DK001 desk/wall reader.
DLR-PR001 detail view
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The EPC Class 1 Gen 2 and ISO 18000-6C compliant DLR-PR001 is available in European (865.6 to 867.6 MHz) and U.S. (902.0 to 928.0 MHz) models. It features up to 4x antenna ports that enable connection to antennas or multiplexers at up to 32 dBm (1.6W) or 30 dBm (1W). The device can receive data at up to 400Kbps with the help of optional RFID antennas.
Full DLR-PR001 kit with RFID antenna (lower left), power supply, and cable (left) and concept image of multiple DLR-PR001-driven antennas collecting data
(click images to enlarge)
The DLR-PR001 runs Debian Linux on Intel’s first-gen, 1.1GHz Atom Z510 along with 2GB RAM and an 8GB microSD card that fits into an internal slot. The DLR-PR001 is equipped with a Gigabit Ethernet port, 2x USB 2.0 host ports, and a DB-9 serial port that can be used for Linux bash shell configuration. There’s also an external bidirectional I/O port with 13x GPIOs and an optional GPRS modem designed for “data acquisition and control in remote locations,” says Datalogic.
The 275 x 155 x 39mm device offers IP42 protection, and runs at 60W via a 9-36V input. The DLR-PR001 is designed for a temperature range of -10 to 50°C.
No pricing or availability information was provided for the DLR-PR001 RFID portal reader. More information may be found on Datalogic’s DLR-PR001 product page.
Bethlehem will soon be opening an internet portal through which a treasure trove of information — about things such as crime, demographics and traffic — it uses every day to make decisions will be opened up for public review.
On Tuesday night, City Council unanimously adopted an ordinance establishing an open data program and an open data online portal, a move council members say will make city government more transparent for constituents and perhaps lead to greater efficiency in service delivery and more economic development.
“This data has immense benefits that we aren’t aware of yet,” said council President J. William Reynolds, who proposed the ordinance.
The hope is that tech-savvy millennials, “civic hackers,” and citizen watchdogs will use the data to suggest better government policies. The data might also be useful for nonprofits who can use it to better target their services or for entrepreneurs who can spot a business opportunity in the data.
Establishing a new open data portal was part of an eight-part progressive policy plan Reynolds laid out in January for improving city government. Other goals included reducing the city’s carbon footprint, improving the city’s social media presence and limiting campaign contributions.
Open data has become a growing trend in government, though there are few cities as small as Bethlehem that have seized on it, according to Councilman Shawn Martell, who enthusiastically backed the plan.
“Open data really is a democratic thing,” he said.
In 2009, the federal government started posting huge data sets ranging from lists of failed banks to names of federal contractors. It has spurred other governments to do the same. Last year, Gov. Tom Wolf announced a portal for posting data on state contracts, state employees’ salaries and campaign finances, among other things.
The U.S. Open Data Census ranks 122 cities on availability of data, placing Las Vegas at the top for releasing 20 types of records including crime, zoning, building inspections, construction permits and campaign finances. It’s followed by Chicago; Austin, Texas; San Francisco; and Los Angeles. Two Pennsylvania cities made the list: Philadelphia ranks No. 8 and Pittsburgh 18.
Mayor Robert Donchez and his administration have also backed establishing the open data portal.
Business Administrator David Brong told council that the biggest obstacle has been finding a way to create an efficient interface between the city’s systems and the portal to make the data publicly available without needing to continually refresh the database. But he added that the solution could be as little as a month away.
“The possibilities that can come from this are limitless and exponential,” Councilman Adam Waldron said.
Daryl Nerl is a freelance writer.