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Blogs and design

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johnhattan

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First off, next month is the tenth anniversary of your humble reporter's Bargain Basement Blog. Since tenth birthdays of blogs are rare things (so rare in fact that I can only think of a couple other examples), I must do something interesting to commemorate the event.

And I'm thinking a contest. Here are my ideas.

1. Haiku contest with a cash prize. Yeah, it's been done, but it was fun last time.

2. Whomever can successfully get Wil Wheaton to wish my blog a happy birthday from his blog gets a fabulous cash prize.

3. Whomever can successfully drive the most traffic to www.thecodezone.com gets a prize. While this would work out best for me, I'm not sure how to score such a thing.



On another note, I'm at a design quandry. I'm working on a sequel to my most popular online game. And since I wanna be as obscure as possible, I'm going with the enigmatic name of "ConFusebox 2". Thus far it's going to have three different modes of play.

1. Standard ConFusebox. The one you know and love (google for it if you haven't played).

2. Loop ConFusebox. Instead of a maze with bulbs, the board is a big loop that connects to itself. I have that working now. It plays just fine and is a bit easier than the classic, so I compensate by making the board denser. Shelly likes it.

3. Connect ConFusebox. This is gonna be a licensed knockoff of TANS's "connect" javascript game.


In addition to that, I'm going to have easy/medium/hard buttons for each game type, so ConFusebox 2 will really be nine games in one (three different ways to play, with three levels of difficulty for each). And there's no problem there. What I'm wondering is if there's really a way to make a coherent scoring model outta that mess. Many of the more successful Flash game portals have global high score tables. I connect to many of 'em now, and it's a good way to drive traffic to your game, because people like to beat their buddies at the game.

There are problems, though. The object of ConFusebox is to get the lowest score, and I have yet to run across a system that does "low is best" tables. While I could easily remedy this by doing "bonus" style scoring (i.e. your score is (250-moves) plus (240-seconds)), that doesn't solve the problem of having so many different modes. It'll be nigh impossible to get a scoring model that'll fairly score an easy loop-level against a hard standard-level. A couple of game portals have remedied this by having multiple tables, so I could do something like this. . .

submitScore(120, "Loop Level - Easy Difficulty")

and it'd add the score to that named table so people playing on easy levels are scored against the same. Most game-portals don't do this, though.

The easiest solution is to not mess with high score tables, as ConFusebox isn't really a good candidate for scoring outside the model of the "even playing field" scoring that I have for my daily puzzles.

My other worry is that if ConFusebox 2 has all the functionality of ConFusebox 1, am I possibly cannibalizing my hits from the original game and/or would game portals feel like ConFusebox 1 is an anachronism because 2 does all the original did and more?

Your opinions?
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Just remember to avoid the mistake (at least in my own opinion) that was made with the jump from Bejewelled to Bejewelled 2, which I felt ruined the purity of the game.

Really, then, CB2 becomes a closely related set of 3 games(a maze puzzle playset) rather than a single game, and the apples should not be compared to the oranges or the bananas.

using a unicursal maze is an interesting variant I had not thought of....



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