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Dozen Days of Words: Growing Words


Making of Growing Words

Time is development time not real-world time.

Sunday March 29, 2009
0:00 - 1:00
The fourth episode is a semi-original game and as such means that the results
are not necessarily going to be good but the idea seems like it should be fun
so hopefully the results will be a fun game.The game revolves around building
all the words in a list before the game board is over-grown.

1:00 - 2:00 Game grid layout
The game layout is mostly made up of the game display. This has been set up
using a bunch of constants so that I can change my mind. The size of the game
display was my biggest concern with my decision to make it 12x12 being where we
currently are at. More important is the decision to make the game grid 480x480
and take the left side of the screen. The right side will hold the word list,
the quit button, and the score.

Saturday April 4, 2009
2:00 - 2:30
Randomly placing letters
As the game revolves around randomly placing letters on the screen, the
placement of the letters is kind of important. The easiest way of implementing
this functionality would be to simply select tiles at random until an empty
tile is found. This works, but as the board fills up the game will find it more
difficult to find empty tiles. So, my solution is to select a tile at random
then search from that tile through the rest of the tiles until an empty tile is
found. If no empty tile is found, the search wraps to the first tile and
continues until the initial starting tile is reached. If no empty tile is found
then the game is over.

2:30 - 4:30 GrowingList class started
The heart of the game is the word list. We also need to display the list of
words that the player has to build. Both these tasks get combined into the
GrowingList class. This class holds the words that are randomly selected to
form the word list. Currently I only created the first level worth of 3 letter
words, but once the game is in a runnable state then the remaining four levels
will be created. The display of words is simply a grid of TextFields that have
a solid background. The game levels will consist of 25 words, though I may
adjust this in the future. The words are randomly chosen from the word list for
the level so duplicate words are possible but if there is time then the lists
will be made long enough so that duplicates are rare.

Sunday April 5, 2009
4:30 - 5:30
Random letters based on words remaining
Rounding to the next half-hour can be costly when the task takes just slightly
over half an hour. I suppose that I could just combine this task with the next
one to save some of the time but as I want to take a break I will just take the
time loss. The letters are built from the letters that make up the words and
are chosen at random. When all the letters have been used, a new list is
generated from the remaining words in the level. The idea here is that the
letters that are presented to the player should always be useful to the player.

5:30 - 8:00 Gameplay
Getting the game-play to work consisted of a few inter-related tasks. First,
swapping tiles had to be done. Technically, it is not exactly swapping as
letters can only be moved to an empty location. Once the swapping is done, the
hard part comes. Because I have set word lengths for the levels, finding if the
words are in the game board becomes fairly simple. I loop through the board and
build horizontal and vertical words from the letters then check to see if the
letter is in the list. If the letter is a valid word, it gets removed from the
word list and from the board.

Tuesday April 14, 2009
8:00 - 12:30
At this point I thought that the game would be finished in 12 hours. Then I
started creating the proper word lists for use with the game. The next thing I
knew I had fairly decent word lists for the five levels, but over four hours
had passed placing the development time over 12 hours! The sad part is that I
just have the words that make up the levels, but the game current only handles
a single level.

Wednesday April 15, 2009
12:30 - 15:00
Fine tuning
Getting the game to work with multiple levels. Adding a skip function.
Adding Scoring.

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