ActionChess 1.1.3 – release notes and update plan

Just thought I’d write a quick note to let you all know that the bug-fix-only release has hit both ActionChess and ActionChess Lite today. (Yesterday now.) I don’t think I’ll have the next update submitted until at least this weekend. I’m planning on at least one of the following features (but hopefully all of them) in the next update:

  • A new game mode: Puzzle Mode
  • Global High Scores (working with GeoCade)
  • Multiple Game Saves (one per game mode)

Realistically, if I shoot for all of them (and I am), it might not be until the following weekend. But we’ll see. I’ll keep you posted.

Update (5-10): I may have been a bit ambitious guestimating two weeks for these three features. It’s been two weeks now, and I’m partway through all of them. I should finish the multiple saves tonight. Maybe I’ll push that to apple for approval before the other two, but I’m not sure yet. So far, I’ve got about a half-dozen puzzles for puzzle mode. It’s harder to make puzzles than it is to solve them, but I’m far enough along that I’m now confident it’s worth the effort. My only worry is that it may be difficult for me to make mid-level difficulty puzzles. So far all of them have been really easy, or really pretty hard. We’ll see. I’d like to launch the feature with 100 puzzles. I don’t know how realistic that is, but it’s my goal for now.

ActionChess 1.1.3 submitted

ActionChess 0.1.1 was released last Thursday (along with ActionChess Lite). I submitted another update to ActionChess tonight that fixes a bunch of bugs (see below). I think ActionChess Lite will probably lag a day or two behind it, since I just need to port these changes to it. I wanted to get a lot more into the second ActionChess update, (how about a new game mode or two?!?), but alas it was just not to be. I had too much going on this weekend, and too many bugs to squash.

Here’s the changelog:

* fixed bug with saving multiple high scores after a game
* fixed can click start game from the info screen (and possibly config)
* fixed can click “(opens in safari)” text to open a text input box
* fixed game didn’t save when sleep button is pressed
* replaced Icon.png with better render

Special thanks go out to my friend and co-worker Justin (Dez) for finding a lot of these bugs the day the update was released. Thanks Dez!

ActionChess available in the App store …and the first update has been submitted

I just received the approval letter, but I don’t know how long it’ll take to show up in the app store.

I spent all afternoon working on a bug where the up button will occasionally get stuck, ending your game prematurely if you’re not quick enough to pause or hit the physical home button to “unstick” it. I hope the bug is not terrible to play with, but I’ve already submitted the update to apple, and I think the way the up button works now is a significant improvement.

Also in the update is a new menu image. The designer of my chess pieces, Peter Wong, saw the previous menu image and sent me an upscaled version without my even asking! Anyway, hopefully apple won’t take a week to approve the update.

Very minor release today (1.1). I just fixed the bug where you couldn’t press “M” when entering your name at the end of the game. (Because it took you to the main menu instead. Oops.)

I also registered, which simply redirects to the game page for now. I’m thinking I’ll probably offload go-tetris onto it’s domain when I get some free cycles. I was going to do this today, but I forgot that I’m using chesstris’s database for the high scores, and I’m not sure if flash will transmit the high scores correctly across domains, so I’ll want to do some testing before I make that plunge.

Go Tetris! 0.8 Alpha

A couple of minor updates tonight.

  • You can now rotate counter-clockwise! (With the “u” key.)
  • Fixed that pesky bug where the last character of the score was cut off if you got more than 1,000,000 points.

Thanks to stillflame for the comment about how to implement the “rotate left”. It’s a bit of a hack, because all the spaces for all three right rotations have to be empty for it to work… so there might be some weird behavior if you’re rotating at the last minute, but it’ll have to do for now.

For that matter, thanks to everyone who has left comments!!! I love hearing everyone’s thoughts and suggestions.

My next feature will be either a high score list, (with “submit your name” functionality), or possibly expanding the number of empty spaces that can be considered for an eye. I know how I’m going to implement that one, but it’s still going to take me an afternoon or two. That means I probably won’t get to it until I have a good solid day to spend.

Thanks for playing!

Go Tetris! 0.7 Alpha released!

Well, it’s taken me long enough, but I’ve finally finished the “two eyes” feature. It’s a big one, and one that I think really changes the gameplay. The only other change is that it now takes MUCH longer to go up a level. The next level is now reached when your total captures and total “living” stone captures equal LEVEL x LEVEL x 10. So to get to the second level, you only need ten captures, but for the second you need 40, and third you need 90. This means the game will get harder only very slowly, especially for new players.

I also added a check for those pesky “floating” stones that were basically hanging in mid-air all by themselves. Unfortunately, it’s much harder to check for groups of hanging stones, so those could still occur in the right circumstances.

I do think the new gameplay is very forgiving, and should make for a less stressful experience overall. More time for strategy and thinking!

A forthcoming post will explain how to make captures with two-eye groups.

Go Tetris! 0.6 alpha

New version tonight just fixes a bug introduced in the last version when you pause the game while the pieces are “exed” out. General wonkiness would ensue. Sorry about that, it’s fixed now. Thanks go to Dave for pointing yet another bug out! (This one before I noticed it!)

Bonus link of the day while I’m at it: I’ve been totally addicted to this game called “Ununicum“, a flash game by some guy who calls himself TONYPA. All of his games are worth checking out, but this latest one is especially addicting to me. I really like how there is no time constraint, it’s all strategy (and a bit of luck, I suppose), but anyway, there’s no feeling of hurry that is often paramount to puzzle games in general.

Go Tetris 0.5 alpha

New version tonight! I haven’t had a lot of time to work on the game this week, but this new version does have some good stuff in it. One you’ll notice right away, and a couple of others you might not:

  • Stones are now marked with a red “x” before they are removed from the board. This slows the game down minutely, and also gives you visual feedback on why the pieces are breaking.
  • New key mappings! Now you can play with jkl & i… I added the details to the instructions page.
  • Finally, when you break any stones now, if a part of the piece you just dropped is still “hanging” in the air, it’ll fall and rest on the next lowest resting point. This is ONLY if you break some stones with that piece. This is a very subtle change, but I think it will improve gameplay. (And fixes the dubious “bug” where you could leave a stone hanging in the air with no other stones touching it if it was played in a position to capture some pieces directly beneath one of the columns but not all of them.)

I still have tons to do, but I’d love feedback on these new features. Especially if you have any opinions about the timing of the new red “x”es marking captures. Do they stay too long? Too short? Does it seem okay?