I've tried to make it intuitive enough that you don't have to read a page of instructions first but let me know if I've missed the mark. I'm hoping you can learn the gameplay mechanics as you play.
One thing that may make this easier is beveling the edges of the tiles slightly so you don't accidentally select letters on either side of the diagonal unintentionally.
> One thing that may make this easier is beveling the edges of the tiles slightly so you don't accidentally select letters on either side of the diagonal unintentionally.
Thanks, I'll have a play with that. If you use your web devtools to inspect the HTML, you should see over each letter tile, there's actually an invisible tile on top of each one at a 45 degree angle that's being used as the real touch/mouse target for selecting letters (as accidental selection is awful if you use the actual tile as the target). Maybe there's a more reliable way but playing with the target shapes and sizes will probably help.
And maybe I wanted vowels and consonants to look different (maybe a subtle-ish color change) so I could see at a quick glance how I'm doing at board management. But who knows if this would be useful in practice. (Actually now I wonder if I can do this myself in CSS...)
I partly moved from 5x5 originally to 5x6 because it looked better on mobile/portrait but then I found in play testing more letters gave people more room to manoeuvre when the orange/bonus tiles start appearing (where you want to delay using them).
> 1. "?" is a wild card, right? (meaning it can stand in for any letter)
Yep! It'll autocomplete to a valid letter as you use it - there should be tons of valid 3 letter words so I was hoping people would figure it out with a quick bit of experimenting. Try just making up a long word to see if you can find one for big points (at the cost of the time it takes you to guess).
> 2. I once got a diphthong "qu" in a single tile - not sure if it was a glitch?
Yep, there's no "q" tile, only a "qu" tile to make it easier to spell something. Adding diphthong to my personal dictionary!
> 3. Why is a tile sometimes yellow?
- Word scores directly depend on the length the word and goes up quick e.g. for a 3 letter word you get only 1 point (a deliberately lame amount), then 4 points for 4 letters, 9 points for 5 letters, 16 points for 6 letters, 25 points for 7 letters.
- The exception is yellow/bonus tiles are counted like they were two letters when calculating the word score, so one or more bonus tiles in a word grows the word score massively e.g. a 5 letter word using 2 bonus tiles will get you 25 points instead of the usual 9.
- You get rewarded a bonus tile if you spell a long word (this one for sure isn't obvious unless you play several games).
One of the core strategies is to earn a few bonus tiles with longer words, then make maximum use of them to level up by spelling words using multiple bonus tiles at once.
For the scoring, I was hoping for players to go through this thought process 1) "hmm, 3 letters words only give you a single point" 2) "4 and 5 letter words get way more points, and the score goes up rapidly by the length of the word" 3) "the bonus/yellow tiles boost the score up even faster". Sounds like this needs more work though so thanks.
You actually get an extra second before your time runs out to increase the chance of "just in time" saves. :)
After a few levels I found clusters of letters I was having trouble with building up over time (there was an “X” right in the middle, and like six “I”s clumped up). I found myself wishing there was some mechanic that could clear them out. Maybe that would make it too easy though.
I really love the animation when you make it to the next level, very satisfying.
On mobile safari, holding your finger on a tile for too long causes a text selection.
I’d love a “zen mode” with no timer!
> After a few levels I found clusters of letters I was having trouble with building up over time (there was an “X” right in the middle, and like six “I”s clumped up). I found myself wishing there was some mechanic that could clear them out. Maybe that would make it too easy though.
Yep, this seems worthwhile looking at. Maybe smarter letter randomisation would help this e.g. don't allow a new "I" tile in a place that has two "I" tiles already, don't allow clusters of consonants.
> I really love the animation when you make it to the next level, very satisfying.
Great! I thought I needed something flashier so I'm happy this could be enough.
> On mobile safari, holding your finger on a tile for too long causes a text selection.
Ah, thought I caught that. Thanks!
> I’d love a “zen mode” with no timer!
Yep, I want to figure something out for this. It's pretty fun thinking of different scoring mechanics and how this impacts gameplay strategy.
Haha, we have the same confetti effect at the end. Nice work! Is the situation with iOS and PWAs any better since you last worked on it (I saw your note about a few issues on the GitHub page)?
PWA’s are slowly becoming better on ios, there was another new release of safari that fixed a lot of bugs. But it’s still very niche, since Add to Home Screen is so hard to find for users