Designer Jiho Jang has created GIFTY, a digital camera that integrates a Zero Ink printer that captures and prints animated GIFs as a little flip books. The GIFTY camera is only a concept and not yet available for purchase. Good idea!
Definitive Plants vs. Zombies Guide: How to grow more plants faster, kill more zombies deader, get more money quicker!
While we’re all waiting for the Plants vs. Zombies 2 to show up in the iPhone and iPad App Store, the original version is still providing tons of fun, not to mention frenetic plant on zombie action! I’ve lost many a nights sleep playing PvZ since it launched, and I’ve accumulated a bunch of really handy tips, hints, and cheats. Here are my top 10!
- Planning out your sunflowers Sunflowers are the power of this game. If you have too few sunflowers you won’t be able to afford enough of the right plants to defend your lawn from the zombies who want to “eat your brainz”. Sunflowers are your primary concern when you start the level. Plant two rows of sunflowers in the back of your lawn where they are mostly pretty protected. Then, when the first zombie enters the screen, plant the single pea shooter 3.5 squares away from the first zombie. This pea shooter will kill the zombie just before it eats your plant, maximizing your time. Then keep planting sunflowers until the next zombie enters the screen. Repeat until all two rows of sunflowers are planted.
- Check which zombies are coming before you select your plants Before you start the level you get a glimpse at which zombies will attack on that level. That lets you know the proper plants to choose for that level. There are some zombies which are only beaten by certain plants, such, as the bungee zombie, and you want to make sure you have the right plant, like canopy plant, to stop them dead(er).
- Check your almanac After you have encountered a zombie it is added to your almanac. So if ever you forget how to defeat one of the zombies you can just take a look at the almanac for its weaknesses and special quirks. You can do this before you have selected your plants, which will make sure you are not left defenceless.
- Farm the Yeti to earn money more quicklyThe yeti zombie is cute yet reclusive. He is only found on one level (4-10) and only after you have completed the levels once in full, and then gone back to complete them again. However, you can use the second time to farm the yeti and get three diamonds. If you dont see the yeti zombie in the preview restart the game a second time or kill the game in the task bar. The yeti zombie will run if he takes too much damage so always make sure to put some plants behind him to slow his escape. You can keep farming him for as long as you want with this method, just don’t pass the level. (Apologies for the fog in the picture it is hard to take pictures during a lightning storm!)
- Getting Zen Garden plants Make sure that you have at least one spot open in your main zen garden for the new plant to be placed. If it gets filled up when one drops in a game, exit the game and sell another plant so you have a spot free in case another drops. Make sure you also have 10 chocolates. There’s nothing worse than getting a drop of chocolate instead of a plant. The fastest way is through the bonus games. I like whack-a-zombie since it is fast and there is a chance each time you chew up a grave as well.
- Play “Last Stand” to make more money fast. Play the mini game “Last Stand” to earn even more quick cash. The best part of earning money this way is that after the set up you can just let the game play itself out without worry, as you don’t have to care if you pass the level or not. The golden magnets will collect the gold for you and you can earn about 5k in two of the 5 flags.
- Grow your plants immediately If you don’t feel like waiting on your plants to grow or if Crazy Dave’s Shop is fully sold out of items which respawn the next day, you can move time forward. Using this trick you will replenish in moments instead of days. The first thing you do is make sure your plants are fully watered and fed for the day. Then leave the application. Next double click the home button to open the task bar and press the minus button kill the application. Then Settings > General > Date & Time > Set Automatically > Off > Move day one ahead. Exit and go back to your game with your plants will have grown up before your eyes. Repeat the same steps for putting the time back. Make sure to kill the application before you move the time ahead.
- Use the umbrella leaf sparingly The umbrella leaf plant will make your time on the roof much more relaxing, as it protects your plants from the bungee zombie. The bungee zombie will steal any plants it targets. You only need 4 umbrella leaf plants to protect almost the whole screen, as each one defends a 3 by 3 square.
- Cat of nine tails If you are playing a level in the pool, the cat of nine tails is just about the only attack you really need. They are really exceptionally efficient as they always go after the zombie which is closest to your home and will shoot down balloon zombies as well. They also shoot guided arrows to anywhere on screen so you dont need to worry about which row they are in or if the attack is behind or in front of them. (The zomboni zombie may need some spike weed though.)
- Finding water plants In order to find a water plant you need to be on a water level. That does not mean that each spawn will be a water plant though, but it does add water plants to the selection chances.
Regardless of whether your 3D television is a plasma or LCD and regardless of whether it uses passive or active glasses, they all use the same basic principle to deliver 3D images. Essentially what all 3D TVs do is display two images and by wearing a special pair of glasses the two images are split so that each eye only sees one of the two images. It is as simple as that but where the clever part comes in is how the brain interprets these two images.
When comparing these left and right eye images, every object in the scene is horizontally displaced by a small amount. The brain assumes these two displaced objects are actually one object and tries to fuse them together. The only way it can do this is to assume that the object is either in front of or behind the screen. The direction and the amount of displacement define where each object is in the 3D space. The wider the displacement, the further behind the screen the object appears and conversely the narrower the displacement, the further in front of the screen the object appears.
When it comes to the glasses that are used to differentiate these two images there are two approaches – passive and active. In its simplest terms the passive 3D approach uses a pair of polarised glasses and a polarised filter on the front of the TV screen. You can’t normally see this filter but when you put on the glasses it ensures that the each eye sees alternate lines on the high definition picture, creating a discrete image for each eye that the brain then combines to create the 3D image.
The alternative approach is active 3D, which uses glasses that have LCD lenses in each eye that are synchronised with the image being displayed by the 3D TV. Each view is displayed on the screen sequentially and, thanks to a battery in the glasses, when a small electrical current is passed through the lens it goes dark, thus the left eye sees the left eye view whilst the right eye is blacked out and vice versa. This process is synched to the 3D TV via an IR (infra-red) or RF (radio frequency) emitter and the alternating views are shown hundreds of times a second, so that once again the brain combines the left eye and right eye views to create a 3D image.
As with regular TV, there when buying a high definition 3D TV you can choose between either a Plasma 3D TV or a LCD 3D TV and which you choose is generally a matter of preference. At present all the plasma 3D TVs on the market use the active 3D approach which means they deliver Full HD 3D and tend to offer larger screen sizes from 50 inches up to 65 inches and above, which makes for a more immersive 3D experience. Due to the inherent superiority of plasma over LCD, the best 3D TVs available tend to be plasmas and this is in part due to the faster response times of the panels which minimises the problem of crosstalk as well as the better motion handling.
Alternatively, LCD 3D TVs offer a choice of both passive and active 3D, depending on the manufacturer and also include smaller screen sizes, down to 40 inches and below which tends to make them more suitable for 3D gaming. They also offer much slimmer designs and are capable of delivering much brighter images which can combat the inherent dimming caused by the 3D glasses. The major disadvantage of LCD, especially when combined with active shutter glasses, is that the slower response times of the panels in both the TV and the glasses can result in crosstalk. This is when the image for one eye is still visible when the image for the other is being displayed, which results in ghosting.
Once you have decided which type of 3D TV and which method of 3D delivery is best for you, then next question is how to source 3D content. After all, there isn’t much point having a 3D TV if there’s nothing to watch. There are a number of methods for delivering 3D into the home, including digital off-air, satellite, cable, the internet, video game consoles and Blu-ray players. However, at the moment there are no special compression standards designed for 3D, therefore existing standards must be adapted. The left and right signals need to be combined into one high definition frame sequence and sent over a normal transmission system.
There are two basic ways of delivering 3D into the home and these are called ‘side-by-side’ and ‘frame sequential’. The side-by-side method is more commonly used by broadcasters and in fact if you have ever looked at SKY’s 3D service or the BBC’s recent 3D broadcasts on their HD channel with a normal television, you will literally have seen two images side by side. Those two images are the left and right eye views, which the 3D TV can detect and then display as a 3D image and the reason this approach is good for broadcasters is because the bandwidth and frame rate are the same as a normal transmission. Unfortunately the downside of this method is that the horizontal resolution is halved for side-by-side broadcasts which can give rise to jaggies in the image.
The development of 3D broadcasting has largely been spearheaded by SKY in the UK and they launched a dedicated 3D channel in 2010. This channel provides a range of 3D content including sport such as Premiership matches, concerts, ballet, documentaries and movies. The first major sporting 3D broadcast was the 2010 FIFA World Cup from South Africa but since then other events such as the Ryder Cup have been broadcast in 3D. Most recently the BBC transmitted the first ever free-to-air 3D broadcasts when they broadcast the Men’s semi-finals and final and the Women’s final from Wimbledon will be broadcast in the format.
The other method is frame sequential which is good for local connections such as Blu-ray players and game consoles, both of which can handle the higher bandwidth required. Frame sequential 3D, as the name implies, consists of a sequence of alternating frames wherein each successive frame carries the image meant for one or the other eye. This means that if the first frame contains the image for the left eye, then second frame carries the image meant for the right eye, the third frame again carrying the image for the left eye, and so on. This format has proved popular because unlike side-by-side, it can deliver Full HD 3D and for this reason it is part of the 3D Blu-Ray specifications. The number of 3D Blu-rays is increasing with every passing month and so are the numbers of 3D enabled games that can be played on the PS3 or the X-Box 360.
There is of course one final way of creating 3D content and that is using the 2D to 3D conversion featured included on many 3D TVs. However be warned, this is not real 3D but an approximation created in real time by algorithms built into the software on the 3D TV. As such it is very unrealistic and prone to errors and artefacts when the convertor becomes confused by the original 2D image. Here at AVForums we feel that the 2D to 3D conversion features on 3D TVs are little more than a gimmick and best avoided.