Author Topic: Smurf's DS App reviews  (Read 3830 times)

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Offline alcohol smurf

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Smurf's DS App reviews
« on: August 25, 2009, 01:35:09 PM »
This is my review for the neocompo.
I grade based on:

Sound       
What do I hear? How appealing is it? Does it fit with the app's theme?
Graphics   
How pretty is it? Is the app appealing visually?
Usefulness 
How useful is this app? Is it practical and something I would use regularly?
Design     
How is the interface? Is it easy to navigate, as well as aesthetically pleasing?

Each of the above is worth 5 points.

The app gets an additional one point for motion and original entry.
I decided to not judge effort because it is a difficult category to measure. A beginning programmer may have spent days tracking down a bug while creating a simple application which would involve the same effort as a highly polished app so I decided against it. I only use four categories as it is much simpler to work with.



Japanese Hiragana & Katakana Review by DesertDog
 
   
    This app is designed to help you learn Japanese characters.  It's, by the author's own words, for someone who knows something about the Japanese.  I have no prior Japanese characters but I found this one of the most enjoyable apps around.  It functions much like a game.  Admittedly, I learned very little Japanese with it, but had fun finding the characters.  This is the app I used the most (grade F for both runs!), and I think the one that can grow the most.  It is functional but can improve in a lot of areas. However, it was the most enjoyable app for me.

[ 3 ] - Sound       
Basic and to the point. You hear the pronunciation of each character.  No background music.

[ 3 ] - Graphics
Nice and clean. Nothing too fancy, but nothing on the awful side.

[ 4 ] - Usefulness
Useful for those looking to sharpen up their Japanese.

[ 4 ] - Design
Easy to navigate; easy to work with.

[ 1 ] - Motion

[ 1 ] - Original

Bugs       
None found.
Suggestions 
  I have quite a few suggestions actually, mostly because I enjoyed the app so much. Though the app is geared towards slightly more advanced Jap students, I think it should also help the beginning one. I would suggest stages where one stage would just pronounce the word and the user would have to match the symbol. There should also be a repeat sound, which would help those who wish to learn the pronunciation as well. Also a flash the symbol once would be nice as well as english or any other language translation. If these were added to the app, I think it would definitely help others learn better.
   
Total:    [16]
 


DSi4DS by spinal

    This app gives the appearance of a dsi to your ds. Its skin mimics the look and feel of a dsi (presumably, I dont have a dsi). It can also boot your homebrew from within it. It doesn't do much more than that unfortunately and so has limited use. The interface is attractive but theres not much you can do with it and it is not something I would use.

[ 0 ] - Sound
None to be found. :(

[ 4 ] - Graphics
I liked the look. Looked much like a DS

[ 2 ] - Usefulness
This is basically a pretty boot loader. You can boot apps within your own firmware though so I can't imagine someone wanting to take extra time to boot this first just for a pretty interface.

[ 2 ] - Design
Easy to navigate, but theres not much to navigate.

[ 0 ] - Motion

[ 1 ] - Original

Bugs   
You can scroll past the available .nds files. These might be the non .nds files though, and if so, it would be nice to have labels on them. It sometimes shows corrupted text and graphics when I boot it.

Suggestions 
I dont really have any, as this wouldn't be something I would use, sorry. :(

Total:    [9]



UA Paint v1.30c by bassacegold

    This is a full featured paint app that offers many things not found among some of the other paint apps in the DS scene.  The current version sports a much improved visual interface; the layout is more unified and the graphics more consistent then in previous versions.  It's not without its quirks however.  I haven't tried the previous versions much, but there are a few minor bugs that should be fixed in the current build. There are also a few features that I would like to see implemented as well. Other than that, this is one of the best DS apps this year in the compo.

[ 4 ] - Sound       
You can play your own music. Quality is on the lower side though.

[ 5 ] - Graphics   
Very nice. The interface is very sleek and attractive.  As this is a paint app, you shouldn't expect any less.

[ 5 ] - Usefulness 
There will never be a day we dont need pictures. This app allows you to make them with many features.

[ 3 ] - Design   
All the new features had to come at some cost. The older versions followed a simple layout. The current one is more confusing, but that's to be expected with so many features.

[ 0 ] - Motion     

[ 0 ] - Original

Bugs         -
Being one of the more complex applications, it has more bugs then most of the other apps reviewed, albeit minor ones.    The slider on canvas select cannot go back to 256 once you slide it less then 256 pixels. You can set it to 256x192 with one of the four preset sizes though. The circle tool takes up the entire screen even if the canvas size is less than the screen size. There is transparency with the erase tool which just seems wrong to me. Erase should be fully opaque. The circle tool can also wrap around the screen! Edge marks are left on the right side and bottom of the screen if you draw on the edges on a canvas less than 256x192.

Suggestions  -
Layers would be nice. As would redo. A help button is definitely needed for an app this complex. Resizing an image should not erase the entire canvas.

Total:    [17]
 

   
DsOS v0.6 neocompo edition by Aurelio

    An app much like DSi4DS, it shows the contents of your flashcart as well as some info about your files. It is sadly, feature limited. You can view several different types of pictures as well as text files on it. It also froze on me when I attempted to open a few files. I can't think of much use for this app unless you badly need to know a file's filesize without popping it in your computer and the image viewer doesn't work for many images. It is also rather slow to load most pictures, including uncompressed bitmaps.
   
[ 0 ] - Sound     
None

[ 2 ] - Graphics
Clean but not much else to look at.

[ 3 ] - Usefulness   
Shows some basic info as well as opens a few images.

[ 2 ] - Design       
Easy to navigate. Rather simple.

[ 0 ] - Motion     

[ 1 ] - Original 

Bugs   
It freezes while attempting to open a few pictures, none of which were large.

Suggestions 
For version .6 of an app, I would've liked to see more features but if the planned features    are eventually implemented, it can be a usefeul app.

Total:    [8]     




SavSend by leinad

    This app allows you to download savs in your real DS carts. I tried retrieving a NSMB save file and it worked fine. It is a useful app if a game has limited save slots and you want to back up your existing ones. The interface could use a lot of work though, as it is entirely just text! Also the upload speed is painfully slow. A 256KB sav took 2 minutes and 40 seconds to upload to the webserver.
   
[ 0 ] - Sound       
None to be heard.

[ 2 ] - Graphics     
Text and nothing but.

[ 3 ] - Usefulness     
Very useful for backing up saves, but in these days of flashcarts and multiple save slots, not quite as useful as it could be.

[ 3 ] - Design       
Well I can't get lost in this interface. :)

[ 0 ] - Motion     

[ 1 ] - Original   

Bugs
None found.
Suggestions
I would like faster upload times of course, but also a more random url then http://savs.de.vu/d.php?f=9. It would be more useful if the url was more scrambled, like say f=DEJFDIC. A delete link would also be nice to have in case the download didn't go well and the sav got deleted already.

Total:    [9]




WintenDoS by darkyesus

    A Windows XP clone, Wintendos doesn't appear to offer much in the way of features. It froze on me repeatedly. Once it did work, it was rather limited. After inputting my info on initial startup, I booted to  WintenDosXP, where I was greeted with a familiar sound and desktop. Unfortunately, I couldn't do anything afterwards other than clicking to bring up a featureless start menu, which froze shortly thereafter. There really isn't much to it at the moment.
   
[ 3 ] - Sound
Couple of chirps here and there.

[ 3 ] - Graphics   
Looks like ripped graphics.

[ 1 ] - Usefulness   
I can't do anything on it.

[ 1 ] - Design     
It keeps freezing on me so I can't browse much.

[ 0 ] - Motion     

[ 0 ] - Original   

Bugs   
Freezes often.
Suggestions
Having the Neoflash, Scenery Beta, and R4 competition splash screens just seems rude to the Neoflash compo. Other than that, this app serves no real purpose. I'd suggest an English version, but this app wouldn't serve me better in any language.

Total:    [8]



NdsMiiMaker by Coin-Coin

Nds Miimaker is a fun app where you can make miis, much like on the wii. There are quite a few different facial features that you can edit (though I would still like to see more), but it is an amusing app that will occupy you for at least a little while. You can edit many parts of the face, from styling it, coloring, and positioning. With no save feature, it can be tedious remaking the same mii over and over again. Also theres no female character to select.

[ 0 ] - Sound     
None.

[ 3 ] - Graphics   
Not overly great, but not too bad either.

[ 3 ] - Usefulness
Saving would make this much more useful, but beyond that, what would you do with your mii?

[ 4 ] - Design 
Easy to navigate and move around.

[ 0 ] - Motion   

[ 1 ] - Original

Bugs       
 None
 
Suggestions 
More stuff! Saving/loading would be nice. As well as more in depth color changer, maybe a color picker to change many different parts' colors? Female version. Other than that it's a real good start.

Total:    [11]



SoundBoardDS by BranMuffin

    A very simple app where you can record your voice as well as hear sounds that accompany a button. For its great simplicity, I had a good amount of fun on it. The microphone quality is terrible but then again, the DS's mic has never been great. It's fun for a bit, but with no save or load, I wouldn't spend too much time with it as you can't piece together a long song. The customization is ok, but it is more user friendly to have the user just place a wav file (after all a raw is just a headerless wav, so strip the header!) and but the quality is acceptable. Only one customized sound at a time is unfortunate, as having a bunch of custom sounds in conjunction with a save and playback feature would be ideal.

[ 4 ] - Sound     
A sound app will naturally have an edge in this category. The sounds are simple and pleasing.

[ 3 ] - Graphics   
Clean graphics. Nothing to complain about here.

[ 2 ] - Usefulness 
Good program to keep you occupied for a few minutes, but with no save or load, wheres the "replayability"? Furthermore I can't create a string of beats which would be nice.

[ 3 ] - Design   
Easy to navigate.

[ 0 ] - Motion 

[ 1 ] - Original

Bugs   
None
Suggestions
Save and load of a string of beats is needed to keep a user interested for more than a few minutes. More custom sounds should be allowed and allow playback of a a string of sounds. This is one of the better apps. :)

Total:    [13]
   


Paint DS by s_hansse

    This is an underdeveloped paint app, but it's a good start. It's missing quite a few features that I would prefer to see in a paint app such as clear screen, line width, undo, and the save system is odd. I do not believe I can save except any time other then when loading the app? Also I cannot load anything. Quite a few features are missing. Pressing select surpised me. ;)
   
[ 0 ] - Sound   
None.

[ 3 ] - Graphics   
Not bad, just nothing out of this world.

[ 2 ] - Usefulness
Good start at a paint program, but it's missing a lot of features. Combined with the lack of a coherent load/save system, this would not be a paint app I would use.

[ 2 ] - Design 
Not the pretties interface, but easy to get things done with.

[ 0 ] - Motion 

[ 1 ] - Original

Bugs       
None.

Suggestions  -     
Undo, redo, layers, flip... basically just follow what most paint apps can do.

Total:    [8]



MorseDS by Aguilera_87

    MorseDS . The long intro screen wasn't too pleasing, but the multiple languages is always a plus, even if the bottom screen remained in Spanish. This is a somewhat limited app; I dont see much use for morse code nowadays but it isn't a bad one and is good for what it is: a morse code app. Perhaps sending it over wifi to another morse code app could make it more useful; other then that, it is only good for practicing some morse code.
   
[ 2 ] - Sound       
It's morse code so you can't expect anything more then beeps. Some sound in the menus would benefit this app.

[ 2 ] - Graphics     
Nothing too fancy here. It gets the point across and is clear what you're clicking.

[ 2 ] - Usefulness
Useful if you want to brush up or learn some morse code. Otherwise, it holds limited use.

[ 2 ] - Design     
Unattractive but easy to follow interface.

[ 0 ] - Motion   

[ 1 ] - Original

Bugs   
Some issues with drawing and flickering. Stability issues.

Suggestions 
DS to DS morse code would be slow to communicate with I'd imagine, but would increase the usefullness of this app.

Total:    [9]


   

DSecure by LucaFraga

    An app that secures your files and save games by locking access to your cart with a password. Very interesting and unique idea and at least a small deterrent to simpler minded folks. It does things well and is really a good idea.

[ 0 ] - Sound 
Nothing to be heard.

[ 2 ] - Graphics
From the little that did load, it wasn't great looking.

[ 4 ] - Usefulness 
Useful and unique, just didn't work that well.

[ 2 ] - Design   
Straightfoward

[ 0 ] - Motion   

[ 1 ] - Original   

Bugs     
It deleted itself the first time! Sometimes I am greeted with a keyboard to input text which I do. I'm not sure what to do with they keyboard.

Suggestions   
Perhaps have multiple different usernames and passwords? And allow these to access different files and folders.
Total:    [9]



Final Results

1.  17/20 UA Paint v1.30c by bassacegold
2.  17/20 Japanese Hiragana & Katakana Review by DesertDog
3.  13/20 SoundBoardDS by BranMuffin
4.  11/20 NdsMiiMaker by Coin-Coin
5.  09/20 MorseDS by Aguilera_87
6.  09/20 DSi4DS by spinal
7.  09/20 DSecure by LucaFraga
8.  09/20 SavSend by leinad
9.  08/20 DsOS v0.6 neocompo edition by Aurelio
10 08/20 Paint DS by s_hansse



   Final thoughts - This compo's apps are rather low quality unfortunately. There are some real gems this year, but many of the apps seem to be small apps quickly coded and submitted to the compo. I suppose most of the good ideas have run dry, but here's to hoping next NeoCompo will be much better with lots of good, new ideas. :)




Offline BassAceGold

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Re: Smurf's DS App reviews
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2009, 01:39:33 PM »
Small tip, read the readme.txt that come with homebrew :P You would see how things work and the controls in UA Paint if you took a look.

Offline alcohol smurf

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Re: Smurf's DS App reviews
« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2009, 01:44:30 PM »
Heres a tip myself: The conscientious person would also include  info from within the app itself. Afterall a few months from now , should I be on a trip without a computer and only my ds, it would be useful to have the onfo handy wouldnt it? 

Offline BassAceGold

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Re: Smurf's DS App reviews
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2009, 02:32:10 PM »
Sorry if I came across like a dick with my comment, it wasn't intended.

It just annoys me that people complain about not knowing how to use an app when they don't even read the manual that comes with it. You only really need to give it one glance over before you boot it up and you should be good.    :-\

Offline leinad

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Re: Smurf's DS App reviews
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2009, 10:41:54 PM »
Nice & well formatted review :)
I will just go trough the apps and try to give some comments, I hope you dont take it as flame x/
And as long you dont think something has to be changed in the review just leave it as it is :) I just wrote this to give some advice for other reviews (the points-thing) or to just clear up some things (the comments about some DSi4DS & SavSend)

First of all, I dont get why you decided to give up to 5 points for sound...
there are 4 apps having some sounds, of which one is intedned to be a sound-app (SoundBoardDS). On games it might be sensefull, but applications dont have much sounds in generall. So if you realy want to account sounds 2~3 PTS max would have been better, giving you some more points for something else.
(Adding those points to usefullness which is the main-intention in apps, or maybe adding something like "originality" in general. I mean, count all the Paint apps or Homebrew-Bootloaders on the DS and then search for something equal to e.g MorseDS)

@DSi4DS:
Just a word about what you stated in usefullness:
Most flashcards allow you to easily change the standard loader or at least have a  autobooting feature.
As long you dont use commercial-roms it is realy nice to switch to some homebrew-bootloader as they often are better-looking.

@Wintendos:
"I can't do anything on it." -> If there is no sound you give 0 points.
Why not give 0 points on usefullness when the app does nothing ?

@SavSend:
Wohay, my own app x3
Yeah it sux to be so slow, but the DS just has 10 kb/s max; And because wifilib sometime lags it can go down to 1kb/s :(
The URL thing:
I realy though about the uploading-system for some time. More complex URLs were used in the early stages, I changed it to numbers that are as low as possible to avoid typos and make it easier to keep it in mind.
A uploaded file gets deleted directly after downloading, a delete-link-system would lead to many save-files on the webspace that never get downloaded again :/ If you want to share the savefile with others (lol) there are tons of other Uploading-Services on the WWW.

-n00bey