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Daily Puzzle suchlike

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Okay, standalone confusebox is basically done. I still need to add a "give up" button, as there's no convenient way to get back to the main menu if you, for example, realize that you're playing a game you don't want to play (wrong game number, size, etc). Your only solution to get back to the main menu is to complete the puzzle or quit the app.

And that could be a real problem if you're playing the 16x16 version, as it's fairly mind-numbing and it's certainly conceivable that you'll wanna quit back to the main menu before you beat a puzzle.

Since Flash games in browsers don't really have a concept of "quit" and my daily puzzles are designed to be played just once, that wasn't something I had to deal with.

Anyway, I'm trying to punch out a half-dozen standalone games so I can hand 'em out to beta testers in a big bunch. I'd much rather tackle a big pile of bugs all at once than a little trickle of bugs over a long period of time.

Started on Daily Puzzle number five. It's "BaffleBees", and it's a non-shameless ripoff of TANSTAAFL's Honeycomb game done in daily puzzle format. I say non-shameless because I actually paid him a few bucks about a year ago to license his game with the thought that I'd eventually release it as my own web and standalone game.

Again I worried about the design, as it has the same problem that ConFusebox has, and that is that it has a concept of a "perfect score". It's easy to get yourself to the top of the high-score table in ConFusebox, and I'll give you the secret. It's such a dirt-simple secret that I can't imagine you haven't figured it out yet.

Step 1: Load up today's game.
Step 2: Solve the puzzle, but don't submit it.
Step 3: Open up another browser to today's game, duplicate the solved puzzle in as few moves as possible and as quickly as possible, and submit.

I didn't panic about this obvious fact for two reasons.

1. I really intended the Daily Puzzle competition to be a casual thing, which is why you just get one game per day. I didn't figure I'd get any kind of "wars" between uber-competative players, as it's just a fun toy. Rather like a daily crossword puzzle.

2. This game, like most of my other games, appeals more to adults than kids. Kids would be more likely to cheat day after day. An adult might cheat once or twice, but he'll tire of it.

I was, for the most part, correct. People tend to cheat early on, but later just decide to play honestly to get a better assessment of their skills or abandon the game entirely. I was amused that a couple of people built cheat-bots for Voracity (which is NP-hard and doesn't have a trivial way to cheat), but those folks moved on too.

So I'm making BaffleBees Daily Puzzle. Like the previous games, it'll be casual and easy to play while you're on the phone or drinking your morning coffee (Shelly's ritual).

I also need to make all of the games better and a bit more integrated. That means:

- More and better sound.

- A consistent volume control in the games that carries over from game to game with a Flash-cookie, in the same way that the games now "remember" your name.

- A better display of what games you've played today. I currently do this on the last screen of the game, but it can certainly look better.

After that, if I have time I was thinking of adding a tiny horizontal stock-ticker crawl under the main menu that'll show the most recent players and scores. Yeah, it's pointless, but it'd be cute.



Screenshot of the day. Standalone ConFusebox at 16x16.

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