Ludum Dare 34 — December 11th-14th, 2015 — Theme Tied: Two Button Controls, Growing

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Shahid Kamal Ahmad

by shahid - Compo Entry

In WordUp your aim is to grow a word more than the computer can. The computer places a letter. Then it's your turn. If the computer can't continue the word on its turn, you win and get a point for every letter placed. If you choose a letter that creates a word not in the ENABLE word list, you lose and start again with zero points. That's it.

I've rated the game as mature audiences because the word list contains offensive words and could be chosen by the player or the computer. Future versions might well change this.

The game prototype for the Mac uses:
- C++ code, the game written from scratch starting for Ludlum Dare (growing theme) solo in under 48 hours
- The ENABLE word list
- The Cinder Library
- The Apple San Francisco system font
- Tile graphics created in Acorn
- Sound effects created in BFXR

I plan to continue developing this prototype into a full game.

Downloads and Links




frankA says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 2:42pm

First off - hats off to you for making a game in 48hrs from scratch! A non-trivial task!

Love the simplicity and immediacy of play

Playing against CPU is hard because essentially the CPU is "cheating" always... it always knows the next letter, so you are effectively competing against yourself... which is both good and bad! And clearly I'm terrible... my best score is only 30! :(

Because CPU goes first always, you need to create a word that completes on an even number of letters to win, otherwise CPU adds in a final letter to take your prize!

I think the basis for something beyond a game jam is here, depends where the game expands to, i.e. whether that be a larger meta game or some overall goal, or playing multiple words simultaneously or a more "complex" scoring i.e. bonus for longer words, bonus point timer if place letter faster, etc.

I feel that playing it on anything other than a device with a full keyboard may be a bit trickier. For example on mobile, the keyboard interface is going to be taking up a lot of screen real-estate... my worry would be that the game *may* lose its immediacy due to input constraints. (Of course there are other ways to enter letters i.e. cut-down keyboard, subset of possible letters, user draws letter with finger, etc)

Look forward to seeing it progress! :)

Aaants says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 5:19pm

Love it! The screenshots make it looks quiet slim on the content front but I've spent more time playing this one than any other entry.

Mobile version please :)

shahid says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 4:49pm

Thanks both for your lovely comments.
@frankA - all those things would go in a more fleshed out version. I just didn't have time to put any of that in, they're all excellent suggestions. I'd have different word lists for different difficulty levels and a variable strength AI to come up with the next letter or none. Taking turns for sure. Different starting word stems of different lengths too. Lots of scoring ideas and power ups and so on.

@aaants it's meant for mobile, though frankA's concerns around screen real estate would have to be addressed. It's definitely slim on the content front. My aim was to finish something, so everything was totally stripped down. It's also lovely to hear you've played this more than other entries. I'll work on making it fuller!

Kimau says ...
Dec 29, 2015 @ 3:27pm

Really great fun. The difficulty is rather far off and it might be nice to see the possible words when you fail, if there are any. Though mostly some work to offer difficulty levels would be great.
An alternative to making the computer "easier" would be to offer say 3 letter suggestions only 1 or 2 of which are valid. Might be nicer for mobile as well.

Really clean and elegant idea. A real GEM! Nice work Shahid. Love the clean design of the sound and visuals.

shahid says ...
Dec 29, 2015 @ 8:47pm

Thank you so much Kimau, you made my day! :)

Dec 29, 2015 @ 11:18pm

Interesting game. Would love to see a multiplayer version.

Xanjos says ...
Dec 29, 2015 @ 11:56pm

Don't know if it's just me but it seems like the AI just randomly picks a letter just to screw up your combo and it could do with some sort of visual indicator telling whose turn it is but I like the concept a lot.

Dec 30, 2015 @ 12:09am

Doesn't seem to run on my windows 7 lap top, I think everything is up to date.

radmars says ...
Dec 30, 2015 @ 7:37am

Wow, I can't believe you came up with a word game that is so simple yet so unique! Major kudos, I played this a lot longer than I expected to. It's like pearls before swine in word form- the challenge is mathematically tricking the computer! I found that abusing common suffixes was the best strategy; -s, -es, -ed, -ing, that kind of stuff.

I'm not sure I'm a fan of the scoring system as it stands. At the very least, add a highest score field! Losing all my progress feels bad, man.

Jeasonfire says ...
Dec 30, 2015 @ 8:55pm

The graphics are nice and the game.. works very well? It's very good at what it does. Also, I'm very bad at the game, though I imagine not being a native english speaker might contribute to that somewhat :D

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