Galaxy Empire

This free on-line strategy game is extremely engaging and time-consuming. An iOS clone of OGame, it combines elements of science fiction, flight management, factory logistics, planetary exploration, and battle tactics. There are many upgrades including somewhat complex requirements dependencies. For example, the research lab needs to be at level 7 before researching hyperspace technology which is needed before developing hyperspace drives which are required to build battleships.

There are several paths a player can take in this game. For example, the tutorial introduces the mines, the shipyard, research, defenses, constructing a small fleet, attacking an enemy (other players), and colonizing a new planet. After the tutorial, although it might be tempting to try some more attacks, it only makes sense to go back to basics and focus on upgrading infrastructure (mining, defense, ship building, and research) until somewhat stronger.

Two worthwhile tips: 1) Colonize a planet in a system other than the starting system. 2) If a probe is detected by radar prior to attack, deploy all fleet to another colony along with as much material as possible. In the present version of the game, planetary structures (mines, research lab, shipyard, etc.) cannot be damaged or destroyed by enemy fire.

Review here
Explore tips here
Wiki here


Flight Tycoon tips: To maximize sales, first build the city next to your airport to a population of 50,000 - achievable before level 10 if you replace low-cost buildings with restaurants. When you reach this population, your outbound planes will be fully loaded with passengers.

Next, upgrade your planes as often as you can. The most efficient planes are the hardest to obtain due to the research and mastery process. The Concorde, however, can be purchased from the in-game store and earns about $19K per hour on short flights. If you can, stick to one or two cloud (measure of distance) routes since they pay the most, but require more frequent turn-arounds. Only fly into airports that return full loads.

If you buy fuel when the price dips, you can average under $6.20 a barrel. Expand your airport ramps as soon as you can afford it, but open then sequentially as you acquire aircraft so that friends don't take them all. To minimize losing a ramp when you upgrade an aircraft, buy your new plane first, then quickly drop the old route and build the new one. When friends do fly into your airport, turn them around as quickly as possible - you'll earn a bonus of 20% of the inbound route revenue.

If you follow these tips, you can achieve level 34 in two weeks.


Pocket Planes vs Flight Tycoon: Really enjoying the airport simulator genre. Flight Tycoon employs high resolution graphics while Pocket Planes (soon to be released) prefers low-res graphics like Tiny Tower. Both simulators are free on the iOS platform and share the common goal of growing a fleet of planes to ferry passengers. Presently, we're investigating how to maximize sales (flight earnings) using the most efficient planes and optimal destinations in Flight Tycoon. To learn more about Flight Tycoon, take a look at this walk-through. A preview of Pocket Planes can be found here.

Pocket Planes is expected to be available June 14. Watch the trailer available on YouTube.


Isoball 3: A challenging mental exercise where you construct a pathway for a ball using a fixed set of resources like blocks, inclined planes, bridges, elevators, and directional. In some cases there are multiple solutions to a level. This game is free and runs in Google Chrome.

In the attached photo of level 75, the blue ball drops from the chute, runs down the ramp, gets an added boost from the conveyer belt, makes a right and rolls across a power bridge though a tunnel that pops out at the upper right. From there, the ball goes down the 3-level elevator, makes two more right turns and heads into another tunnel popping out at the upper middle. After passing though the four tunnel openings, the target doors open in the lower left and the ball makes its final descent in the four-level elevator.


Shadow Cities: Still a strangely attractive world. Earned the red spider "sigil" this past weekend. Accomplished by assisting in the collaborative vanquishing of the powerful Arachne Weaver. One or more participants "gain" the Shadow Spirit at the end of the battle. Ten gains earns the red sigil.

Architect realm liking link


TripleTown: Solo board game that challenges you to build a small "city" by matching three of a kind objects to open up space to place yet more items. Haven't made it passed Outpost yet. Really silly looking bears.


SimCity 2000 on Windows 7 (x64): Although it runs great in almost every way on the relatively newer operating system, the SimCity 2000 program quits whenever Load or Save is selected. After investigating file permissions and compatibility suggestions found online, the only solution that worked for this studio is to run the program within Windows XP Mode and Windows Virtual PC. These tools are free from Microsoft here. Note: through Remote Desktop, performance is notably sluggish.

The screenshot below demonstrates SimCity running within the virtual environment. Just after program launch, the anticipated dialog box appears successfully upon selecting "Load Saved City". Yay!


James Franklin Hyde Chart: This colorful arrangement of elements has been a studio favorite since acquiring a pair of the posters in 1976. This one is mounted on a foam-core backing and it has held up nicely through the years. Notice the pivotal placement of hydrogen, carbon, and silicon at the center. Rather than calling it a periodic table of elements, one could describe it with adjectives such as curved, circular, spiral, rings, and looping.

J. F. Hyde, “A Newly Arranged Periodic Chart,” Chemistry, September 1976, 49(7), 15-18
See this bulletin for a little more history behind this chart.
See this bio on Mr. Hyde. Another from wayback.
Also check out this database of periodic tables.
See also wikipedia


Shadow Cities: On December 12th, game developer Gray Area released three more levels beyond 15. It is possible to level from 15 to 18 within 4 weeks, sooner with more effort.

Below is a chart of average damage at levels 11 through 18. The nine lower set of points are un-buffed hits. All data was collected while leveling up.

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