Improving Zapster Solitaire’s Game Design

Zapster Solitaire is a game made for taking just a few minutes to play something light, and I’ve been dogfooding it a lot in that capacity. In all my playtime, I’ve found a strong point in the game’s design as well as several weaknesses, in addition to the “false coin flip” I discussed previously:

  • 👍 Jacks are by far the most interesting element of the game’s challenge. Their varying badness depending on which numbers you have, as well as their ability to introduce duplicate cards in your cells, creates a lot of space in strategizing how to use your zaps.
    • 👎 However, they’re made a little less interesting when they use an ace and add only one card.
  • 👎 It too often feels like the RNG (random number generator) just hates you and doesn’t want you to win. I accept this as inevitable to an extent due to this being a highly luck-based game, but I think things are tilted a little too strong in that direction right now.
    • 👎 This is especially true in the early game, when all ranks are equally represented in the draw pile and you have only six cells.

I want not just to address the weaknesses, but build on that strength. I’ve got a draft of a redesign that could do all those things: Cards of rank 10 will be put back in the game, aces will go out, and starting cells will be increased to 7. In theory, the early game will be more survivable and the false coin flip gone with the extra cell, and the higher 10-cell maximum will improve overall survivability. Jacks will keep the game interesting despite that by drawing at least two cards, and an average of one more (when they have numbered cards to use at all).

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I rewrote the lyrics of a classic video game song, imitating the speech of Nathan W. Pyle‘s Strange Planet’s denizens:

Let us all competitively run faster than sound.
Maintain physical contact with the earth, if possible.
For those who competitively run faster than sound,
Sightseeing cannot be placed on the schedule.
We will merely competitively run faster than sound,
Until we reach a threshold that forbids backtracking.
Let us all competitively run faster than sound.
Please permit combustion.

Don’t recognize the song? Head this way~

Taming the Beast of the Core

Deviant Love is a browser extension that finds all the art on a DeviantArt Faves page, organizes it by which artist made it, and sorts the artists in “most faved art” order, letting you know exactly who to thank for all this lovely artwork. It’s one of my all-time favorite projects to work on, to the point of it being my gateway back into Web development, but at its core is a hunk of code that caused me a lot of grief a while ago. I’d like to do some programmer talk about this file.Read More »

Signs of Life Intro/Roadmap

(x-posted from the Community)

Signs of Life is a puzzle game where you’re given a math equation where all the numbers are known – but the signs are missing, and you need to fill them in!

Or, I should say all the ​digits​ are known – you can leave a space unfilled and let the digits be one big number.

You can play version 1.4.1 right now on​. v1.5 will be released both there and soon, and the game will be considered 100% complete when v2.0 is released later this year.​

Right now, I’m working on improving the account system (which is optional to use, but you can carry your game data across devices if you do) so that you can log in from in-game and use your account. Once that’s done, I’ll put the finishing touches on v1.5, including mobile support.

v2 is an ambitious project where I plan to include:

  • Many more puzzles, most of which will require payment, but I’ll leave at least 33 free
  • Puzzles with 7 or more digits
  • Sounds and music
  • A redesigned interface that’ll be much more lively and have a variety of puzzle backgrounds
  • Gamepad support & improved keyboard support, including the ability to enter specific signs with their given keys/buttons
  • Offline support, whether or not you use the app
  • An easy way to compare scores with friends, including fair comparisons with friends who have bought more/fewer puzzles

I hope you’ll enjoy Signs of Life, now and in the future!

Iron Pixie Adventure Party

This is a post about Steel-Fairy Pokémon, because it’s my blog and no one can make me not dedicate a post to Steel-Fairy Pokémon. It’s a fantastic defensive typing with 10 resistances, 2 immunities, and only 2 weaknesses, but what I really want to talk about are some amusing coincidences concerning Pokémon with such typing.

There are exactly three species of Steel-Fairies – Mawile, Klefki, and Magearna. It so happens that each one specializes in a different category of move:

  • Mawile is a Physical specialist, having a movepool that’s well-suited to physical attacking, and a good Attack stat that goes sky-high if it Mega Evolves
  • Magearna is a Special specialist, having excellent Sp. Attack and the exclusive Fleur Cannon move
  • Klefki is a Status specialist, having the Prankster ability and learning many status moves, including the exclusive Fairy Lock and the rare Crafty Shield

This may bring to mind the RPG character archetypes of Fighter, Mage, Thief. In fact, according to Pokemon Sun’s Pokédex, Klefki is literally a thief (source).

If a fanartist would do me a favor and draw Mawile, Magearna, & Klefki as a Fighter, Mage, & Thief adventuring party, I’d love that~

2018 Web Wonders Goals

I’ve posted about specific improvements I want to make to my Web apps before, but I have some overall goals for all my Web Wonders that I’d like to write down now and get down throughout 2018.

  • Release a new game! This will be partially or entirely a paid game, as per my previous post on monetization.
  • Every app should be mobile-friendly, so that users can enjoy them no matter how they browse. (Depending on which idea for my new game I work on, it may require the controller fidelity of a keyboard or gamepad, so for now it is exempt.)
  • Every app should be a Progressive Web App, working even without an Internet connection. (This doesn’t make sense for Cookie Hunt, so it is exempt.)
  • My apps will have FAIRIES, and fairies will be a part of my signature style. Because fairies are cute and lovable and endearing❤️ (Non-game apps other than Logo Creator will be exempt.)

Here’s all the above in table form, because I’m nerdy like that. Items marked with ◐ are planned for completion by the end of June.

Released Mobile
Web App
Signs of Life ✔️
Wackyland ✔️ ✔️
Zapster Solitaire ✔️ ✔️
Wacky Bingo ✔️
Cookie Hunt ✔️ N/A
Logo Creator ✔️
Magic Puddle ✔️ N/A
Reverse Metronome ✔️ N/A
[New game!] N/A