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So one of the stories of the development of the word game so far is how the design has changed. The look, but especially the gameplay: it's hard to really describe how different it is — It's gone from a gadget to something with a fair amount of strategic depth (which, despite the kind of games I've done before, still surprised me. That's really not where I expected it to go at all).

Setup Screen

Things that haven't changed? Well, it's still untimed (which was a non-negotiable design choice from the very beginning). It still involves spelling words. It might still be multilingual, although the jury is still out there. So far I've only configured it for English and a minimal "test" language (although even with English the word list needs some tweaking). The code itself supports arbitrary languages, though, both for the interface and for gameplay.

So why did it change so much? Mainly because of the process of playing (read: testing) the prototypes during development. it's still basically an alpha (which means that I'm pretty much the only person playing it), though hopefully it'll go to beta fairly soon (i.e., more people will be playing it). Which is to say I've made quite a bit of progress on it and have reached the point where the gameplay has settled down enough that I've been able to spend the last week or so[1] almost exclusively tightening up and balancing the game (as well as spending quite a bit of time working on the visual aspects), instead of figuring out how to fix mechanics that were still pretty clearly broken or uninteresting.

Anyway, it still needs a name. Most of the other things that need to be done can wait until after the beta opens, but the name I want ready before I start putting it out there. And with a name will come icon art and a web page and screen shots and such.

[1] this is really the first work I've done on it since the first half of the month when I was still in Germany — not only did we spend about a week visiting family or sightseeing in Europe, when we got back we discovered that the AC was out. During a major heat wave. So, uh, took about a week to get that fixed, and in the meantime was either crashing at a friend's place or generally broiling. Either way, didn't have much energy until that was dealt with.


Tags: alpha testing, word game

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These are Doug's bloggish thoughts on game development, specifically on the games he's writing for Lensflare, or on Lensflare-related topics more generally. Or whatever he wants to write here, really, but those are the sorts of things to expect. Doug has strong opinions (loosely held) about many things — he could claim that he doesn't speak for Lensflare Games, but that'd be silly considering that (for all practical purposes) he is Lensflare Games. Still (for what little it matters) he's not always wearing that hat here. And yes, this is an actual picture of Doug (okay, not really, but the story behind it is too long to go into right now).

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