Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Board Games With Scott

  1. I'm a big board game geek
  2. I don't like boring American games like Sorry, Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit or Candy Land... I like designer/Euro games that are really good. Like Ticket to Ride, Diamant and For Sale.
  3. Since I'm a board game geek I like to learn about board games.
  4. I like Scott Nicholson's Board Games with Scott
. Check it out. Scott's really funny, plus you'll learn about some cool games. Also. He's a librarian!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Kindle, Pizza and Solitaire

Kelly's Kindle 2

Kelly's Kindle 2 (e-Book from Amazon) is broken. Well, the screen is broken. The upper-right corner looks all jumbled and there are some stray vertical and horizontal white lines too. I accused her like 7 times of dropping it or doing something bad. But she denied any wrong-doing. I googled around and the same thing has happened to other Kindle owners. I wonder if the screen is fragile or if it might be some other issue.

Amazon support wrote me back quickly and gave me a number to call. I called and the guy was very nice and they're sending out a replacement Kindle tomorrow. I wonder now if there was a defect in it, if it's really delicate, if a kid juggled it or what. And I wonder if the new one will have the same problem.

Save/Restore undo history in Solitaire (aka "Boring")

I'm adding "Undo" save and restore to Solitaire for the iPhone. So it'll remember your moves when you quit and resume later. It ought to be easy since it already worked for Palm OS...

Pizza Hut Coupons?

We just got a sheet of Pizza Hut coupons at our door. I don't like Pizza Hut, but I looked at these and I'm going. And we've even been making our own pizzas from scratch. Although they're only so-so. They'd be good except that the weird (tiny) European oven we have only goes up to 450 degrees. And there's only a top burner. So no crispy crust for us. Stupid oven.

The first coupon is $3 for a medium 1 topping pizza. That's like free. I mean, they don't make money on that do they? I thought that was so cheap that at first I didn't notice the next coupon. Now that I've studied it, it's my favorite coupon of all time:

Any Pizza
Any Size
Up to 3 Toppings or Specialty

So what they're saying here is "OMG The economy is really bad. We really want you to start coming to our shop or we're going out of business. Here's the deal: You buy ANY pizza, small, extra large, large with a hole in the middle, whatever you want. We don't care. We'll put anything on it. ANYTHING. You want another pizza on it? No prob. You want a Tower of Hanoi pizza with 7 pizzas each a different diameter? It's in the oven now. You want to bring your so-so pizza from home and have us wrap it up with one of ours and then deep fry it? Done. Whatever you want, okay? $10. Please. Please, just come to our store. Look, we'll send someone over -- you show them the $10 and they'll pull you to the store in a wagon. $10. Any pizza, and you get a free wagon ride. Okay?"

Monday, June 22, 2009

My Favorite iPhone Games

I've tried a lot of iPhone games. Here are my two favorites.

The Creeps!

There are lots of Tower Defense games for the iPhone. This is my favorite. Cartoony monsters try to wake up the sleeping kid. You have to stop them. There's no scrolling or zooming, everything is on-screen. There are multiple modes and lots of levels for each that offer a good variety of game play. The best game design element is that the player doesn't just have to stop the bad guys to do well, they also have to clear out the trees/rocks/shells/whatever from the field. So there's always a choice during the game whether you should focus on shooting the bad guys or clear out some space for money and to make room for more defense weapons. The graphics and sound could be better but they're good. It's $0.99 and you should buy it.


Peggle's a great game on desktop machines and they've ported the same game to the iPhone and did a great job. It's like super fancy pachinko. It has so many rewarding particle effects and random rewards that you'll want to keep playing and you'll be sure you're getting really good at it. I'm not convinced a player's skill at the game makes much difference... but it's still really fun. It's $5 as I write this, but it was on sale for $0.99 recently.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Eric's iPhone Solitaire and more

The casual game I was working on at PlayFirst, DinerTown Tycoon, finally shipped! I finished fixing bugs early and moved onto the web version of the game. Unfortunately I was done with the web game super early (normally that's good), but then it was canceled. I'm bummed they didn't cancel it before I did the work. It's sad to see your work thrown out. Then I helped out on the SDK and with other projects and when there wasn't more to do they laid me off. What does this mean for you, the consumer? Ha. It means I'm finishing Solitaire for the iPhone which, once I line up an artist, will whoop the pants off of the competition. I'm also looking for a job or contract with a company that's got good management, makes cool consumer stuff, and cares about making things good so the employees can be proud of them.

I found a great audio guy for Solitaire but I'm still looking for an artist.

So far I'm 0 for 9 on artists. They're either too busy, get hired away to NAMCO, are too far away, are too expensive, or don't understand solitaire. I added an animated Loading screen although the game loads so fast maybe it's a waste. The new iPhones are even faster. It's the right place to show the game's title etc though. A lot of apps just show their title screen with Default.png, the static image that's shown as an app is loading, but before its code is actually running. Apple suggests developers set up that image to look like the first thing a user will see once the app really starts though. The idea is that it'll seem like the application has loaded more quickly, and there won't be a sudden change that surprises the user. Some games put instructions on that static image. It's a mistake though... on a faster device users will never have time to read the info. Also -- it can't be localized (i.e. Translated into another language) since it's just an image and the text is baked into the image.

In other news: We still have five hens and combined they lay 3-4 eggs a day. Some squirrels moved in recently and one figured out how to open the gate to the chicken coop, let all the chickens out, and then go eat their food. What the hell? I thought the stuff I learned from Warner Brothers cartoons was all made up. But clearly those cartoons were based on reality. I'm going to set up an anvil-based squirrel trap next week.

Jonah (and I) finished ~90% of Lego Star Wars for Wii over the past year. It's a fantastically designed game. There are so many great ideas and really good gameplay. I didn't expect it to be 1/10 as good as it is. It's so well designed and they sell it for ~$15. I recommend it to anyone who has a Wii. And if you have a 5+ year-old-kid it's a great game to play together. Plus it's cheap and there's a TON of game play. Plus. It's Star Wars.

Also, we're growing some tomatoes upside down. Cousin Dan dug a hole to put the post in. Ari wanted to get in on the action.