Saturday, September 18, 2010

Potential change for Alpha 3 UI

Original Jotto (tm)
I've been considering the conundrum I've made for myself with this text coloring issue. I've not be able to get the text to display as I wanted without having to almost completely draw it by hand (and make using the Cocoa Touch classes worthless). I did, however, have something of an epiphany while deciding what to do. What I considered is this - what if the word the player picked was EERIE. Would a blue "I" be that terribly visible to a player? It would like very much like this: EERIE (the I is bolded in that word). In other words, yes, the word EERIE looks good when it's laid out in regular text, but for the game, it might make more sense to instead display the letters independently in boxes/labels, rather than try to just change the colors of individual letters. Stumbling upon this epiphany was kind of interesting. I had been, just to get the bloody thing done, considering doing some "lights" under the letters to show which were correct/right position, etc. But then it dawned on me that it's not a fixed font - it's proportional. Which meant that some letters, like W, would be very obviously green or blue, but that others, like I and J, would be much harder to see with colors.
Detail of the Jotto (tm) sheet
I had been thinking of NOT doing this but in retrospect it's what the original game does as well (as shown to the left). And yes, that was lifted from Wiki. Using the boxes (which will need to be dynamic, based on the number of letters in the game) will change the look of the game a little bit, but I think it will make it a lot cleaner in terms of what the player is viewing and should help simplify the display issues I was seeing. I just kind of wish that I had thought of this sooner.
On an amusing aside, before the advent of real word processors, my mom and I used to play this game a lot. Unfortunately, we ended up going through a lot of sheets and had an issue where we couldn't play without making sheets of our own. The places where we would normally buy the game didn't carry it anymore (it had sort of petered out in popularity by then), so we were kind of out of luck. There's only so much time you want to spend making tally sheets versus actually playing the game. My grandmother lives in New York (on Long Island) and there was actually a distributor of Jotto there on Long Island.
The notice at the bottom of the sheet
I recall the two of us driving there to get what felt like boxes and boxes of sheets. I then took those back with me to Laramie where we probably played a full box in the first two weeks I was home. Ahhh, good times.
I'm hoping this new direction will make things a lot easier moving forward. It should simplify the work that needs to be done and only slightly complicates the code (need to figure out which labels I'll be using for the different length words). Beyond that, though, I'm actually thinking I might be able to get this puppy done by Wednesday if things continue going as well as they have. Which they won't, so we're likely looking at Halloween. Here's hoping!