Archive for April, 2011

Wordrix 2.0 if finally here!

April 29, 2011 2 comments

It’s been four long months but Wordrix 2.0 is finally here
and it’s got all the great features that the user community has been asking

You wanted more game modes – Wordrix now has 6 different
game modes.

You wanted a more intelligent letter dropping algorithm and
a faster pace of play – Wordrix will keep your mind racing as you maneuver the
board to set up 8 and 9 letter words.

You wanted leaderboards to track your prowess against other
Wordrix masters – Wordrix now has leaderboards for all game modes as well as
daily and weekly tournaments for all modes.

You wanted more UI themes, both light and dark to suit your
moods and surroundings – Wordrix now has 5 different themes to choose from.

You wanted to play online with/against your friends –
Wordrix now has an ‘Arena’ where you can go to compete online against the world
and put your skills to their greatest test. If just one game isn’t enough, you
can earn Arena Points and compete in our Daily and Weekly Arena tournaments.

At its core however, Wordrix remains true to its roots with
its uniquely innovative 5×5 dropping tile grid of letters and scoring system
that rewards those who pass up the 3 and 4 letter words to look for the longer
and more challenging words.

New Game Modes

In addition to the classic 2 minute race the clock mode that
Wordrix 1.0 introduced, Wordrix 2.0 adds 4 new local game modes and 1 new
online mode.

Classic 4 Minute
– Do you like the classic race the clock mode, but wish that you had a little
more time to really dig in and go for the more complex words? Then the Classic
4 minute game mode is for you. Slow things down a little and let yourself get
immersed into the grid.

Sprint 250
Don’t like being tied to a timer? Want to let your intellect and fingers run
full throttle in an all-out sprint? Then this mode is for you as the goal is to
get 250 points as fast as you can. This mode will get your heart pumping and
your fingers racing as the competition will be stiff. What’s the current
record? Well, the fastest time we’ve seen in testing so far is just a hair over
60 seconds, but that time is sure to be shattered once the existing Wordrix
user base gets warmed up and sprinting.

Sprint 500 – This mode is just like Sprint 250, but a lot less
likely to give you a heart attack. Getting to 500 points in a timely manner
requires a little bit of strategy and some pacing. Throwing down a couple big
70+ point words is crucial in this mode if you want to be competitive and that
will require working the board a little and maneuvering your vowels into place.

Sprint 1000
Shouldn’t even be called a sprint really, this mode is more like a marathon. It
takes a lot of words to get to 1000 points and one shouldn’t undertake such an
endeavor unless you’ve got a little time and a lot of patience available. But
for all the true Scrabble players out there who are accustomed to taking their
time and really studying the board to put together letter combinations, this
mode is sure to be a welcome addition into the Wordrix suite.

The Arena
Simply put, the Arena brings the Classic Wordrix 2 minute game from version 1
online for players to compete against each other en masse. Each player who
enters the arena will be presented with the same exact bucket of tiles, but how
you use those tiles and in what order will ultimately determine your fate in
the Arena. Our daily and weekly tournaments take the Arena to the next level
for those players who want more than just a one-and-done experience. After each
arena match, contestants will be awarded Arena Points based on how they ranked,
total participants, total words found, their biggest word, etc… These Arena
Points will then accumulate match after match towards both the daily and weekly
tournaments. Every night at midnight (PST) the daily champion will be crowned
and for the next 24 hours their Username will be immortalized on the Arena
Standings board. Every Saturday at midnight (PST) the weekly champion will be
crowned and for the next 7 days their Username will be posted on the Arena
Standings board for all to see.

Categories: Announcements

DevHelper is now available for free in the Marketplace

Whether you’re a developer looking to make the next great
app or just an enthusiast looking to play with your phones internal devices,
DevHelper can help. Internally your phone has many devices that are essential
to enabling great apps and games. The most important of which are the Touch
Input Panel, the Accelerometer and the GPS. These devices provide natural user
input from the user to your applications and DevHelper allows you to see the
real-time raw data streams from these devices. It makes for a great utility app
when developing apps and saves you having to write a bunch of debug code into
your app.

More about the Accelerometer

DevHelper Screenshot

The accelerometer provides X, Y and Z feedback on the
position of the phone within earth’s gravitation field so you can detect
rotational movement within that field. For a great article on the specific
details behind this see this Windows
blog post
. DevHelper shows you the real time values from the accelerometer
in a graph on your phone, as well as the ability to apply various smoothing
algorithms to that data.

DevHelper comes with 4 different algorithms for smoothing
the raw accelerometer data. Each algorithm has its specific strengths and
weaknesses, so play around with each and determine which is best for your application.

Simple Average

This smoothing algorithm does just what the name implies. It
takes the last N samples and averages them together. The more samples you use
the smoother the curve gets but you pay a price in latency. Typically just
keeping the last 2 or 3 samples is enough for most applications

Simple Low Pass

algorithm uses a simple low pass filter to smooth out the data. The algorithm
for this filter is:

On = On-1 + C(R – On-1) where:

R = Raw value sampled from the accelerometer

C = Coefficient used to control the filter

On-1 = The last calculated sample value

On = The current calculated sample value


values of C produce smoother curves, but introduces latency and tends to
prevent large jumps from quick movements. Larger values of C will bring the
output closer and closer to the input and from the equation you can see that
C=1 would pass the input through unchanged.


Low/High Control

One of the
drawbacks of the low pass filter is that in order to get a smooth curve for the
small changes you have to give up the large changes and visa-versa. The
Low/High control attempts to fix this by essentially allowing you to specify two
Coefficient values and a break point to determine when to each one. This way
you can smooth the parts of the curve that have relatively small changes in a
nice, low-latency fashion and then deal with the large changes in a different
manner. Setting the second coefficient to a really small number, like 0.05,
will essentially clamp the high frequencies and give you a true low pass
filter. Setting it to a higher number, like 0.75, will allow you to pass
through the high frequencies virtual unchanged while still smoothing the lower
frequencies nicely.



This filter
simply quantizes the input into discrete buckets. This allows you application
to avoid a lot of the ‘chatter’ from the input and deal with specific levels of
responsiveness. The quantization method built into DevHelper uses a sticky algorithm,
meaning that rather than switching buckets purely by rounding to the closest
bucket, there is a tendency to want to stay in one bucket until the values have
trended 75% of the way to a new bucket (as opposed to 50% which true rounding
give you). This cuts down on the random bucket oscillations you’ll get when the
value starts to float mid-way between two buckets.

Categories: Announcements

MACH 1.1 has passed Certification and is available

Fixed all reported bugs and tweaked the game play so it’s more responsive to the accelerometer and bumped the time limit up to 25 seconds per level to give folks more time to focus more on building their molecule and less on just racing the clock.

More info on the web site or you can download it from here for you Windows Phone 7.


Categories: Announcements