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Elder Scrolls Blades starts roll out today

Bethesda’s previously accounced mobile based game based in the Elder Scrolls universe, Elder Scrolls Blades, has started its slow release out in the beta period for those folks who signed up for early access preview.

After a somewhat poor reception of a new Diablo game, Diablo: Immortal, based entirely on mobile from Blizzard at last year’s E3, as well as Fallout: 76’s rough start and poor upgrades post launch, Blades faces a potential lackluster launch to an audience that is growing more and more determined to get their hands on an Elder Scrolls 6 game, rather than a mobile counterpart.

Bethesda also already has their popular card game Elder Scrolls Legends, which is a direct competitor to Hearthstone by Blizzard and a number of iOS/Android Magic: The Gatheringgames.

I got to sample part of the beta before I could access the entire verion available, and the controls seemed fairly straight forward, however I tried it on a 11 Inch iPad Pro, and having only sampled one combat mechanic so far, slashing, it seems the game is better suited for a smaller screen.

As things get further along I will sample who the full beta handles.

You can see my initial preview below.

Concepts Android Beta First Look

So it took only 2 days, a fair few less than I had originally anticipated, for TopHatch to send the beta review invites out to those who initially signed up for the beta test.

I have used the feature laden version of iOS, the 1.0 and current patched version on Windows, and now this beta test.Safe to say, TopHatch know what their core app experience is, and they are keen on delivering that in as smooth and seamless way possible to Android users.

I should note that I am testing this on an older Galaxy Tab S3, and not on a more modern device. This personally gives me an interesting insight into how a device with an older Snapdragon 820 Quacore CPU at 1.6gh, a 2048×1536 Display (which stil holds up great against modern tablets and iPads I should comment), 4GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage with a 64GB Micro SD card – the app is installed to internal storage).

When you load the app, you are greeted with their default loading screen, in this case in the beta, it shows you your Drawings for that board. You can create a new board by pressing the plus button in the top right (at the time of this initial hands-on for the 0.4.9 version, there is no way to remove these board – so I have 3 boards Im currently not using taking up space), and you have pinch to zoom in or out to get a larger or smaller view of the board and what is on it. Once you are loaded within the drawing of your choice or you have made the new page you want to illustrate on, the familiar circular pen selector tool and a minimal UI is presented.

The Pen tool is as you would expect and loads a preset number of brushes and colours in the free version, and argulable the most pleasing function in the entire app, the colour swatch picker.This is the best looking animation and modal I have seen on an app, and is well translated across the app ecosystem on to android. Loading the swatch is smooth and selecting colours or just spinning the wheel to change colours is also aesthetically enjoyable.

Layers are also controlled here as well with the standard option to select individually what layers to edit on or edit the entire layer set directly.  You can also adjust the zoom and filters here too.

The app similarly has paid packages modes for more options for its Windows and iOS Counterparts. This adds more layer options, export options, feature enhancements and more brushes.
The packages from previous purchases aren’t transferable so if you are coming from another platform and using ChromeOS/Android to substitute an iPad, unfortunately you will need to pay again.

Overall, the app’s performance is consistent and decent on older hardware. So you don’t need to fork out huge dollars for the latest and greatest. I am no means an artist, but for what I do use apps like Concepts for, it suits my needs and does so very well.
This app is slowly giving me massive hope to a continuing future of better apps on Android and ensuring a smooth tablet experience on ChromeOS as it also grows into a more commercially available platform on better hardware, available in more countries and carries over these decent Android apps over onto the platform as well.

Once 1.0 comes out, there will be a full review posted.

TopHatch, Concepts App Developer, is Finally bringing their app to Android

I have used Concepts on iOS for years, and I covered the 1.0 release on this blog for the Windows version, and finally, I’m happy to see that there is an Android version coming very soon.

Pseudo announced on stage at the MadeByGoogle event, and a tweet accompanying the news on the 9th as well with a sign up form. TopHatch officially sent confirmation emails out to their email followers this afternoon US time. 

Concepts on Android would be a wonderful addition to a somewhat lacking amount of high-quality drawing apps. 
There are a few decent apps, like Autodesk Sketchbook, Adobe Illustrator draw, and Sketch to name a few, however, there are few that have the audience and the feature set the Concepts has. You can see on the Windows version alone, what TopHatch can bring to porting their apps to other platforms, which gives me hope as to the quality and features that should be available in a 1.0 Release.
Further to a previous post, I made on the quality of Chrome OS and the Pixel Slate, I believe Chrome OS is the definite future of Google’s Mobile productivity machine. 
Having a compelling drawing app on the platform I would hope to entice other users from iOS and Windows slates to consider using Chrome OS and  all the abilities it possesses, from Linux console use, right through to more advanced Android apps.

As the ecosystem grows, companies like TopHat are showing that the platform is still a product and capable platform to develop on and bring higher quality apps too. Serif bringing their apps (Affinity Photo & Designer) to iOS is a key example of that companies recognition of the power of portable computing. If they added their apps to Android for use on Tablets and Chrome OS, then this would definitely help open up more desktop based developers to bring high-quality ports to mobile OS’s (hopefully ChromeOS/Android, but more than likely iOS first, then Android).

I have signed up for a beta test, so as soon as I can get my hands on this I will give it a full breakdown and test of what the features are like in a pre 1.0 version.