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cedricshock

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Puzzle Codename: Flounder Reply to this Post
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Tug on and twist interwoven strings to creates patches and bolts of cloth.

Prototype Updated. Now with Twists!

Flounder Weaving Puzzle

There is an even newer prototype that demonstrates both the tugging and twisting moves. The old demo without the 2x2 restriction, and without twists, is still there.

We discussed this puzzle previously on the forums.

I'd greatly appreciate any comments and suggestions.
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Cleaver wrote: Crashing Puzzle Pirates with your giant rack just isn't a good user experience for anyone.

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[Edit 3 times, last edit by cedricshock at Oct 4, 2006 3:52:04 PM]
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tcarr

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very interesting!

I played the prototype for a while. Got one *awesome* chain going at one point; I was trying to set up a small clear and accidentally triggered one elsewhere on the board, and the filled in patches triggered another one, that triggered a 3rd, that went on for some time. I imagine the scoring would need to be similar to bilge for this; minor points for the chain reactions, larger ones for the first clear, and nice big points for larger clears, gosh-wow points for combos.

more feedback after I've had some time to think about it.
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LordKalvan of Otherwhen, all oceans but mostly Midnight
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Benzene265

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Play with more colors. There was far too much accidental poofing at the lower end. I'd say either start with a lot of colors (7-8), or gimp combo values on the able boards.
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A Ghyslaine and a Rhodin for every Ocean, but mostly on Viridian.
Make the natural choice for our oceans: Google Rhodin Blonde!
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tcarr

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I'm playing again now, using 8 colors. I'm still making lots of accidental clears (larger than the simple 4s that are about all my mind can grasp yet). This is feeling a lot like bilging that way. Most bilgers take a long time to learn how to [1] spot one move combos, and [2] avoid accidental clears (heck, I still booch bingos due to those accidental clears, and I've been Ult on Midnight for several months now).

We might need to make it more than 4 to make a clear.

Thanks for providing the prototype. It makes it a lot easier to get a feel for the game.

edit: after rereading the wiki proposal, I *think* that just changing the "what is a clear" to mean a rectangle (2x2, 2x3, etc) might help reduce the massive accidental clears.

I like this proposal. Before it could be coded we would need:
1. some feeling for number of moves (yes this could be a lobby parameter, but even that needs a default value)
2. how many moves do you lose for making a twist?
3. preliminary scoring formulas
4. gold bonus values, and lost gold penalty values; related issue: a guess as to probability of gold appearing on various difficulty levels
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LordKalvan of Otherwhen, all oceans but mostly Midnight
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[Edit 1 times, last edit by tcarr at Oct 3, 2006 8:47:07 AM]
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cedricshock

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For people who have already thought about this some:

I have been playing with a different topology that is more visually appealling. I have finally found a beautiful twist (using 4 threads instead of 2) that I'm happy with for it. It looks very nice for rectangular blocks (2x2, 2x3, etc...), but I am worried that it'd be almost impossible to form anything larger than 2x3. It is sure a lot less visually and graphically (in the nodes and edges sense) confusing though.

Here is a segment of a playing board with this property:



The player has just tugged a string. Everything in Orange (wood texture) would be removed.

Can anyone see how to make things larger than 2 by 3 (2 connected squares)? I can imagine 4 connected squares, or even more with fancy twists just to change the tugging topology, but I can't make a square of 4 squares in my head, even using a restricted match piece like gold.

In the above picture we can see a twist matching (these twists don't change what is where on the board, only how it is displayed and connected when tugged). There are two possible twists, one going to te left and one to the right. Both twists should be available in the same game. Twists can't be next to each other, but they can share a corner. These twists also makes cyclic threads possible, requiring a slightly more robust backfilling rule.

An interesting thing to note is that this requires a mere 5 graphics for each type of thread: A straight section, a small patch for where it goes over another thread, a bend for part of a twist, a corner for the edge of the board, and a dangling string to pull on.
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Sweetums
 
Cleaver wrote: Crashing Puzzle Pirates with your giant rack just isn't a good user experience for anyone.

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atteSmythe

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I actually really liked the other pattern - it put all the puzzle controls in a row, and while it may be visually complicated, the player should be able to sort those patterns out soon enough. I don't think it's insurmountable, anyways - I jumped into the demo and 'got' it pretty quickly, though it took me a while to figure out that only the top threads count for anything.
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cedricshock

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I actually really liked the other pattern - it put all the puzzle controls in a row, and while it may be visually complicated, the player should be able to sort those patterns out soon enough. I don't think it's insurmountable, anyways - I jumped into the demo and 'got' it pretty quickly, though it took me a while to figure out that only the top threads count for anything.


That picture's misleading. It's just a section from the center of the board, since I have a limited art "budget". The tugging strands would still all be on the bottom. The major difference is that there's only a top side. The biggest drawback I can see to this is having nowhere to hide key pieces (on the bottom side).
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Sweetums
 
Cleaver wrote: Crashing Puzzle Pirates with your giant rack just isn't a good user experience for anyone.

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atteSmythe

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I actually really liked the other pattern - it put all the puzzle controls in a row, and while it may be visually complicated, the player should be able to sort those patterns out soon enough. I don't think it's insurmountable, anyways - I jumped into the demo and 'got' it pretty quickly, though it took me a while to figure out that only the top threads count for anything.


That picture's misleading. It's just a section from the center of the board, since I have a limited art "budget". The tugging strands would still all be on the bottom. The major difference is that there's only a top side. The biggest drawback I can see to this is having nowhere to hide key pieces (on the bottom side).

Oh! I get it, but it would be a completely different game without the two-layer effect. That's a huge part of this puzzle's mechanism...
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cedricshock

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Lord Kalvan,

 
edit: after rereading the wiki proposal, I *think* that just changing the "what is a clear" to mean a rectangle (2x2, 2x3, etc) might help reduce the massive accidental clears.

I like this proposal. Before it could be coded we would need:
1. some feeling for number of moves (yes this could be a lobby parameter, but even that needs a default value)
2. how many moves do you lose for making a twist?
3. preliminary scoring formulas
4. gold bonus values, and lost gold penalty values; related issue: a guess as to probability of gold appearing on various difficulty levels


Done (with a new prototype) and done. I hate making up numbers without knowing what I'm talking about, but I did.

atteSmythe,

 
I jumped into the demo and 'got' it pretty quickly, though it took me a while to figure out that only the top threads count for anything.


I can think of no-one on Puzzle Pirates whose ability to "get it" would comfort me less.

 
Oh! I get it, but it would be a completely different game without the two-layer effect. That's a huge part of this puzzle's mechanism...


I agree, it's a completely different game, but it's probably (certainly) more accessible to people whose ability to "get it" would reassure me more. Also, I kind of like it for aesthetic reasons, not all visual. Anyway, I'm just tossing around more ideas than we have the discussion budget to cover.
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Sweetums
 
Cleaver wrote: Crashing Puzzle Pirates with your giant rack just isn't a good user experience for anyone.

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tcarr

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I just played the updated prototype. Far less of the chain reactions, and easier to build the 2x2 I was aiming at without setting off accidentals (but still some). /e likes!

I'll probably have time during my office hours this afternoon to reread the wiki proposal, but this one is looking pretty good as far as being able to be coded.
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LordKalvan of Otherwhen, all oceans but mostly Midnight
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jdnx429

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This proposal is quite developed and I've been playing the prototype a bit. It is an engaging game. The main question I have is about the twists......I just don't get them. What is their purpose? How do they work? I re-read that section but it still seems vague.
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Josephdaniel on Midnight.
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tcarr

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if the player is smart (i.e. better at this game than *I* am at the moment) then adding the right twist would mean getting a needed color to a location with perhaps a single click instead of needing lots of clicks or "I can't get both these greens here at the same time because they are on different parts of the same loop".

I like this one. still not officially nominating it *yet* because I haven't had uninterrupted time to reread the proposal (finished student #9 a few minutes ago, but he's going to be back in a few minutes I'm sure - he's floundering with a programming assignment for Algorithms Analysis that was due last Friday).
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LordKalvan of Otherwhen, all oceans but mostly Midnight
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atteSmythe

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Initial impressions, though I've not played with it a lot:
Clears involving the center threads are much more difficult than they used to be, because you can't extend a pattern up to take one difficult piece out of the mix. Perhaps scoring could depend in some way on the number of unique threads used in the pattern? The exact center pattern only involves two threads, where the edges use four.

Overall, the pace of the game changed dramatically. I was averaging 2 patterns per move by the end of the day yesterday (6 colors), and I think I'm averaging less than 1 pattern per move now (4 colors). Of course, I have to break myself of some habits. Yesterday felt more like bilging, where today feels more like alchemistry.

The important thing, I suppose, is that I still find it fun.

(Are these kinds of comments useful at this stage? I haven't kept up with the process...)
(Oh, and I'm actually not that good of a puzzler, though thank you for the compliment)
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Attesmythe receives loot: [Gauntlets of Social Responsibility]
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tcarr

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making a 2x2 in the center is a lot harder aye.

we could leave the scoring as is, and more experienced players would just know to not try to make patterns in the center. we could tweak the scoring so that using fewer distinct threads results in a higher score, but would have to balance this so that larger blocks and combos don't get penalized for using more threads. if we want to tackle this, it might be interesting, and cause experienced players to look *first* for the harder to spot blocks in the center.

slightly different games, both of them sound like fun. I'm not very good at this one (at least yet) but I like it, even without the twists implemented.
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LordKalvan of Otherwhen, all oceans but mostly Midnight
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cedricshock

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I'm making a new prototype tonight with twists implemented. I didn't do them before because they are almost impossible to render in a flattering way simply by setting the background color of table cells. There'll just be an icon for a twist, without the colors shown in the middle (you'll still see 'em at the edges). I might even merge the two prototypes together.

 
This proposal is quite developed and I've been playing the prototype a bit. It is an engaging game. The main question I have is about the twists......I just don't get them. What is their purpose? How do they work? I re-read that section but it still seems vague.


Currently the branching factor of this game (how many moves are possible at a time) is the number of dangling threads (about 10) while there are about 50 pieces on the board (I don't honestly know how big this board is; I'd have to count). Twists are moves made in the board, not on the edges, so they'd bring the number of possible moves up to the order of the number of pieces (about 25 possible twists). That's why I initially made them up. Their real purpose is to look cool.

What you want to hear is that they let you cut two threads apart and tie them back together so the threads are different, at the cost of changing the layout of the board. I like them just because they change the layout of the board.

 
(Are these kinds of comments useful at this stage? I haven't kept up with the process...)


As far as I'm concerned those kinds of comments are most helpful at this stage.

 
making a 2x2 in the center is a lot harder aye.


I noticed this too, but I expect it will almost entirely go away with twists. I actually like the idea of the game being harder to play in the middle, since most are harder to play on the edges.

Changing the shape of the board to, for example, 5x6 also changes what happens in the middle. Actually it keeps the current board and adds another row to the bottom. I might make an example, or turn on some board options. I don't think varying the board is a good idea for the finished product, and I kind of like the more regular boards.
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Sweetums
 
Cleaver wrote: Crashing Puzzle Pirates with your giant rack just isn't a good user experience for anyone.

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tcarr

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It's possible that my lack of patience with 200 moves is due to the slowness of the prototype. I'm now on my (4th? 5th?) game, and farther than I've gotten on any of the previous ones, but only at move #82. The only reason I got this far is that I left the game running when it was time to go to lab.

Please, when you redo the prototype, make a smaller number of moves for "one game". When we do the GameGardens version we can set that limit in the lobby so that our testers can determine what will result in a game that takes about 5 minutes for the average pirate. Clicking madly at random will take less time, being extremely careful will take more time.

p.s. I don't feel that I'm at all good at the puzzle yet, but on the default settings and move 82, my score is 980, squares 216, patterns 49 - whatever the heck that means.
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LordKalvan of Otherwhen, all oceans but mostly Midnight
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tcarr

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After careful reading of the wiki proposal, other than the complaint about 200 being too many moves, I am happy to officially nominate this as ready for coding. If the designer would prefer we discuss it more first, that's fine.

This counts as one programmer vote. We need 2 more votes. No, I am not interested in coding this one, at least at this time.
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LordKalvan of Otherwhen, all oceans but mostly Midnight
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cedricshock

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It's possible that my lack of patience with 200 moves is due to the slowness of the prototype.


I've never played past about 50 moves without running out of patience with the slow prototype.

 
Please, when you redo the prototype, make a smaller number of moves for "one game".


It's not implemented. It just keeps counting up the score forever.

 
I am happy to officially nominate this as ready for coding. If the designer would prefer we discuss it more first, that's fine.


I'm happy to program first, ask questions later at this point.

 
This counts as one programmer vote. We need 2 more votes. No, I am not interested in coding this one, at least at this time.


Thank you. I've been around the block a few times programming, but I'm not interested in programming this either. If we have someone comfortable with GameGardens and Java and graphics I can help, but I certainly can't do it myself. I absolutely cannot accomplish anything slick in the art department.

Aside: Since I'm working on game design, does that mean I can go give a design vote to someone else's project? I haven't managed to sort through all the organization material yet to figure this all out.
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Sweetums
 
Cleaver wrote: Crashing Puzzle Pirates with your giant rack just isn't a good user experience for anyone.

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tcarr

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Aside: Since I'm working on game design, does that mean I can go give a design vote to someone else's project? I haven't managed to sort through all the organization material yet to figure this all out.


yes, if you find another design that you think is ready to be coded, go ahead and nominate it! or add your vote to one that has been nominated. you are also encouraged to contribute to discussions of proposals that aren't ready to be coded yet.

I assume that you are willing to turn your prototype code into pseudocode and hand it to whoever volunteers to code this puzzle?
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LordKalvan of Otherwhen, all oceans but mostly Midnight
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cedricshock

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The prototype now has twists. I'm starting to think that even I don't understand them. Maybe we should charge 0 moves for twists because I can't do anything productive with them!

 
I assume that you are willing to turn your prototype code into pseudocode and hand it to whoever volunteers to code this puzzle?


Already doing this in my head... I'm looking forward to this. Java should be a wee bit cleaner than my horrible ugly PHP code with string data structures.
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Sweetums
 
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tcarr

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Already doing this in my head... I'm looking forward to this. Java should be a wee bit cleaner than my horrible ugly PHP code with string data structures.


it can't be any uglier than the FORTRAN code I was writing back in grad school around 1979. ;-) I remember writing a simulation of an operating system's memory management, without breaking it up into modules and testing the modules one by one. It took me 5 days to debug *one* line where I had put I = J and needed J = I. The next semester one of my profs was explaining the concepts of structured programming (which was a new idea at the time).

/e decides not to talk about the Data Structures course where we did all the programming in assembly language. "Aye, laddie - I walked 6 miles to school and back, uphill *both* ways!"
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LordKalvan of Otherwhen, all oceans but mostly Midnight
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[Edit 2 times, last edit by tcarr at Oct 4, 2006 4:06:31 PM]
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cedricshock

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This puzzle is actually a good programming project. It incorporates the following little versions of big ideas:

Automata, simulation:

The behaviour of the threads being pulled through the loom can be simulated with an object oriented model. The model requires a data structure that provides a neighborhood, such as a matrix (straighforward) or a reference graph. An elegant model requires use of polymorphic classes for the different elements of the loom and polymorphic updates (replacing an object of one class with a new object of another) for twisting and untwisting threads.

Search:

Search algorithms are demanded to find the parts of the puzzle that match the pattern of a patch or bolt of cloth. The exploration of the loom in search of threads to remove is simplified by using a transposition table to record fully exhausted areas.

Fancy stuff:

The black and gold threads add an extra level of complexity to the pattern finding. It may be necessary to use iterative constrait relaxation or strengthening to implement black and gold thread removal in a simple and satisfactory way.

Collaborative development:

As well as maintaing effective natural language communication and organization, we will need to take advantage of version control technology (such as CVS) both for collaboration and for addressing problems in development (some people call these bugs).

This project would also involve all the programming challenges which are inherent to any of the puzzle projects. These include:

User interface design and implementation
Graphics and Sound (hopefully)
Assimilating foreign APIs
Boilerplate, boilerplate, and more boilerplate
Adopting and adapting other people's work (see boilerplate above)
Client / server communication
Serialization and marshalling
etc.
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Sweetums
 
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/e decides not to talk about the Data Structures course where we did all the programming in assembly language. "Aye, laddie - I walked 6 miles to school and back, uphill *both* ways!"


Never did that! My only assembly experience was on a machine with 128 bytes of memory (and lots of these weren't implemented or weren't real memory but were multiplexed to I/0 or to the memory multiplexer controls) and 8 stack frames (stack of pointers to instructions). It had about 4k of instruction space though. Guess what year it was manufactured in. I'll give you a hint; I'm only 23.
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Sweetums
 
Cleaver wrote: Crashing Puzzle Pirates with your giant rack just isn't a good user experience for anyone.

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tcarr

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good old Knuth. "The Art of Computer Programming" in three volumes. does any college still use that as a textbook? all the coding was done using the MIX assembly language. MIX was a language Knuth designed himself, so we used a cross-assembler simulator.
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LordKalvan of Otherwhen, all oceans but mostly Midnight
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Well, I really like this puzzle and since we're pretty much playing it already, I'd like to give my official nomination as well. Though I'm still lost on twists..ha.
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Josephdaniel on Midnight.
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cedricshock

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Unless someone out there is a sprite or animation genious, this is going to be a pain to animate! I wonder how alchemy is animated. I suspect that, because the markings don't move with the fluid, it doesn't require an animation per piece per color, but just one animation per piece element. This seems to require an animation per piece element per color.
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tcarr

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Unless someone out there is a sprite or animation genious, this is going to be a pain to animate! I wonder how alchemy is animated. I suspect that, because the markings don't move with the fluid, it doesn't require an animation per piece per color, but just one animation per piece element. This seems to require an animation per piece element per color.


i don't think it's going to take an animation genius. it won't be something to hand to somebody without Java graphics experience though. i'll be up to me ears with Tench and Pickerel for the next couple of weeks most likely.
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LordKalvan of Otherwhen, all oceans but mostly Midnight
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I've been dinking around with this some in Java. The most I've got is a mummichog game with weaving pieces and different settings in the lobby. I now think it shouldn't be very difficult to animate. I am drowing trying to get java to express interesting ideas, and have mostly just given up and have started writing like I was using C with no macros, using lookup tables instead of classes, getting rid of accessor methods, etc.
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Sweetums
 
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[Oct 8, 2006 2:01:27 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
CraftingProj

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Re: Puzzle Codename: Flounder Reply to this Post
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Tcarr wrote: 
After careful reading of the wiki proposal, other than the complaint about 200 being too many moves, I am happy to officially nominate this as ready for coding. If the designer would prefer we discuss it more first, that's fine.

This counts as one programmer vote. We need 2 more votes. No, I am not interested in coding this one, at least at this time.


jdnx429 wrote: 
Well, I really like this puzzle and since we're pretty much playing it already, I'd like to give my official nomination as well. Though I'm still lost on twists..ha.



This has been nominated and seconded, then apparently ignored for over a week. Is anybody willing to either be the third vote or offer an objection (or suggestion for improvement)?
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[Edit 2 times, last edit by CraftingProj at Oct 15, 2006 6:19:56 PM]
[Oct 15, 2006 6:18:19 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
Bia
OceanMaster
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I would like to see this one more fully coded with scoring. I will officially nominate it.
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[Oct 16, 2006 2:19:01 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
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