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News Word Up! (ow!)

 Word Up! (ow!)
SToPGAP  31 / Mar / 2008
WTFD! is no more... after some considerable deliberation on the matter I have decided to take the project forward as a commercial venture. As a result I will be able to dedicate quite a considerable amount of time to the project.

As part of the project I have decided to take the game in a new more dynamic direction. Renamed to "Word Up!" the game will feature a multi-faceted tile-based word game engine which will be capable of implementing rules, elements and methods of tile placement and selection from many of the classic word games including Scrabble, Boggle, Snake Words, Upwords and Mahjong. In addition to this range the game engine will be able to handle many exciting variants of Scrabble including takeScrabble, Scrabble snooker and many more besides. As well as these variants the engine will be fully configurable to allow creation of your own games and rule sets. As if all of that wasn't enough, I'm working on a few brand new word-tile-based game concepts which the engine will handle, although I will not be releasing details of these just yet as they are very much a work in progress.

Another new feature will be widget-style mini-games which will plug into the main game and allow solo/net play whilst awaiting your next turn as I've often found myself waiting during games for other players. The initial mini-games which I have planned are sudoku, tic-tac-toe, chequers, reversi, battleships and a few more. I plan to expand this library after the initial release.

Word Up! will continue to be developed as WTFD was, as a fully skinnable application, with language adaptation files and (as part of the engine customization features) the ability to design your own game board layouts and other game features. I have not decided exactly what features will be included as standard/premium or indeed whether I will be using that business model, there is much to do on that front.

Finally, and perhaps most exciting of all is the plan to make Word Up! truly cross platform. I will release it initially as Windows and possibly Vitalize; as MMF2 advances I will look to either develop it for Java in that or if it proves not to be up to the task I may program it from scratch in Java. I also plan to do the same for Java mobile edition so that mobile devices can run Word Up! and am considering working on a native Symbian version for Nokia S60 and UIQ devices, although this will come later towards the end of the year if I do.

I think I've said enough here now, I can't believe I typed all of this on my mobile phone! Keep an eye out on the updated project page and forums for more information soon.

  citizen 31 / Mar / 2008   - 12:33am
sounds cool!

  danjo 31 / Mar / 2008   - 02:43am
#1 - you dont believe in taking small steps do you simon
#2 - on your mobile.. you ARE a glutten for punishment !

  SToPGAP 31 / Mar / 2008   - 03:13am
Cheers Jason. I hope it will be!
Dan: hehe! No, no I don't I never have done things by halves In actuality I've already done a hell of a lot of groundwork on this, including programming. The big leap really was deciding to finally take the risk and do this as a commercial thing. Indeed re: my mobile, I didn't plan to write quite so much when I started out

  danjo 31 / Mar / 2008   - 04:46am
please do colours in RGB, not pastels (or is that a pittock trademark)

  chrisoch 31 / Mar / 2008   - 05:26am
Very ambitious! This would be really cool on the iPhone too. I got one for Xmas, and I am hungering for some games, lol!!

  SToPGAP 31 / Mar / 2008   - 05:56am
As I understand it the iPhone will support JavaME (if it doesn't already) so it should be portable to that

As for colours Dan, like I said... fully skinnable My initial skin design is most likely to be a brushed & high gloss metallic theme. I'm sure I'll include a pastel one too for those with whom that does agree, but customizability is the whole goal of this so a range is what I'm aiming for. Hey, if you really like I'll give you the skin editor when it's finished and you can make one yourself

  danjo 31 / Mar / 2008   - 06:36am
lol - cool

  Jimbob 31 / Mar / 2008   - 08:48am
Hehe, I can't wait to pan your asses at this game...
Sounds amazing.

  skn3 31 / Mar / 2008   - 02:12pm
good luck Sounds like a giant undertaking. I would be interested to see what happens especialy on the scrabble side of it, especialy with the "scrabulous" thing on facebook. Did you ever think of making a javascript/ajax client ? javascript is more then capabable of doing this kind of thing, so you could hit a whole new market.

  skn3 31 / Mar / 2008   - 02:12pm

  danjo 31 / Mar / 2008   - 02:35pm
its a pittock thing i reckon.

  SToPGAP 31 / Mar / 2008   - 03:38pm
I looked into JavaScript interface to this actually but I'm not convinced it will be secure enough for one, to protect the revenue streams of the game. There is also the issuse of the increased server load and all that brings with it (bandwidth, multiple servers needed more rapidly, technician to look after it more often etc.) I think Java would be the better option, or maybe even Silverlight depending on how popular that actually becomes... I'm not sure it really will be the hit M$ are touting though!

  skn3 31 / Mar / 2008   - 04:06pm

it would be down to how you program your server really, any software program is just as open to vulnerability as javascript. It is so easy for someone to use the client to make a connection, and then start faking packets. Anyone who is going to have the means to do it in javascript is also gonna have teh means to do it on your application.

The open-ness of the javascript source however is an issue. So its something to think about even for the compiled version.

Have you thought of playing over email? Not everyone is going to have the time to sit down and play an entire game, giving this option would be quite good!

I think the pastel thing comes from website design really, have to make websites eye pleasing so a bucket of contrast for long periods of times is not always a good thing. Unlike sign design which is meant to catch your eye. SO PLEASE NO BLOODY CONTRASTS

  SToPGAP 31 / Mar / 2008   - 07:43pm
Hehe. Contrast can be cool, but only with purpose and point. I will not of course just copy this but I'm sure many of you will have seen the l33t tile set that can be bought for Scrabble boards... a skin incorporating those sorts of elements could be very cool:
/" alt="l33t" style="width: 500px;">

As for data security, I plan to build in some reasonably hefty encryption which will feature some form of temporal key redundancy. If someone is determined enough then they will crack any encryption eventually however I plan to make it difficult enough to make it more bother than it's worth. It is after all only a game and there are more interesting things to do in life

This is another reason why I don't want to use script driven versions of this, as even if I do manage to implement sufficient security on data transmissions it is so easy to get into the source.

  danjo 01 / Apr / 2008   - 02:34am
lol jon.
all the java is skipping over my head in space somewhere..

  Rhodesy 01 / Apr / 2008   - 11:52pm
Mmmmmm Javascript, You do like undertaking large projects simon, how do you plan these? Do you have a plan or is it all in your head?

I'm about to start a project of my own, and im just wondering were to start, starting is my problem

  SToPGAP 02 / Apr / 2008   - 01:05pm
Indeed I do. By virtue of the way my memory works it is mostly all in my head, but I'm planning this one meticulously on computer too. There are so many things to document like data protocols and how the language/skins all work; that combined with the prospect of taking this onto other platforms led me to start with a wiki-based approach to documenting it and changes and bug-tracking. I've been making mind maps too.

  Rhodesy 02 / Apr / 2008   - 02:45pm
I've been looking at documentation lately, "NaturalDocs" is something i've looked at, shame its perl based.

I also want to setup a bug tracker for my stuff. Looked at bugzilla and trac, trac again is perl based i think.

Maybe if we get pro at documentation we can all do a group project ?

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