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Syzygy for Win32, pre-pre-alpha release

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I'm releasing a prototype version of a puzzle game, Syzygy, that I intend eventually to port to iOS and possibly Android. The prototype is written to the Win32 API and should run on basically any Windows system without installing anything.

Syzygy can be downloaded here. Just unzip these three files into a directory and run the executable. I have the Syzygy prototype parametrized such that a single XML file defines its gameplay. I'm looking for play testers who are interested in abstract puzzle games to play the game and provide feedback regarding good values for the definable parameters. If I get multiple helpful submissions I'll give $60 via paypal to whoever has the best revised XML file. Here's a brief explanation of the XML file.

The game is a Scrabble-like word game re-imagined as a one-player action puzzle game. Here's a screenshot (click on the image for a full-sized version):
Basically the game works as follows:

  • The bar on the left is the game timer. When it is empty the game is over.
  • Letter tiles randomly appear and the player must position the tiles in a legal crossword-style crossword grid by dragging them with the mouse pointer.
  • When the player has positioned tiles such that they form two or more legal connected words, the player can double-click on one of the tiles to "lock them in" and the two or more words are then scored as follows (This is a modified version the scoring used in the game Literaxx, which is the public domain Scrabble variant):

    • Yellow tiles are 1 point, green tiles are 2, blue tiles are 3, and red tiles are 5
    • A tile on the a board cell of matching color receives triple its point value.
    • The 2x and 3x board cells are double and triple word scores.
    • There are two levels of parameter controlled bonuses for long words (see the PDF linked to above)
    • The remaining time in the game timer is increased proportionally to the point value earned by a successful lock in and the player's score is increased by the score value of a successful lock-in times a level multiplier.
    • Locked in tiles can be played off of but cannot be moved.
    • Each tile has a bar timer widget on its right. When this timer expire, the tile disappears negatively effecting the global timer if the tile that expires is not locked in.
    • There are three kinds of special tiles

      • Random tiles: Random tiles look like gray transparent letter tiles (the weird looking 'M' tile above is one). They cycle through the alphabet until they are dragged the first time at which point they behave like normal letter tiles with no point value.
      • Bomb tiles: (pictured above) When the user drags a bomb tile onto a group of connected locked-in or non-locked-in letter tiles, the target tiles will be destroyed without effecting the user's score or game timer.
      • Juice tiles: (appear as lightening bolt icons, not shown above) When user drags a juice tile onto a group of connected locked-in or non-locked-in letter tiles, the tiles' local timer widgets receive additional time.
      • The game levels up after a certain number of tiles are locked in. The game timer is re-filled at level transitions.

        Oh, and graphics, sound, interface and the Windows version itself are all temporary so I'm not really looking for feedback about this sort of stuff -- just gameplay, feature ideas, and any reproducible crashes, I guess.

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