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Topics - David

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Themes / How to create a theme
« on: September 02, 2006, 05:22:22 AM »
Smoresoft Sudoku players can completely change the look of the game by selecting from a list of theme files in the "Options", "Display" dialog.

A theme file contains the customizable settings that are used to display the Sudoku grid and background.  For example, a theme file may tell Smoresoft Sudoku to use the color green to display the clues or givens in a puzzle, and to display a picture of a sunset in the background.

Theme file name and location
A theme file must end with the extension ".theme".  For example, "MyTheme.theme" is a valid theme file name.

A theme file must be located in the "Themes" subfolder of the Smoresoft Sudoku installation folder.

For example, if the game is installed in "\Storage\Program Files\Smoresoft Sudoku", theme files will be in "\Storage\Program Files\Smoresoft Sudoku\Themes" (hereafter, the "Themes" folder).  Theme files can also be in any subfolder of the Themes folder, such as a "Themes\MyTheme" folder.

Theme file contents
A theme file is an XML document that can be edited with any text editor, such as Windows Notepad.  Following is a sample theme file:

Code: [Select]

 1. <configuration>
 2.  <theme>
 3.   <backColor>FFE6E1CF</backColor>
 4.   <backgroundImage>Glacier.jpg</backgroundImage>
 5.   <gridColor>FF6A4080</gridColor>
 6.   <gridBackColor>00000000</gridBackColor>
 7.   <oddBoxBackColor>FFD6CFE6</oddBoxBackColor>
 8.   <evenBoxBackColor>FFF7E6FF</evenBoxBackColor>
 9.   <givenColor>FF554080</givenColor>
10.   <inputColor>FF6030BF</inputColor>
11.   <invalidInputColor>FFE60066</invalidInputColor>
12.   <selectionColor>FFFFD700</selectionColor>
13.   <guideLineColor>FFFFEC8B</guideLineColor>
14.   <highlightColor>FFFFD700</highlightColor>
15.  </theme>
16. </configuration>

(NOTE: Line numbers are added to help explain the example.)

Line 1 is the configuration element. It is the container element for the theme settings.

Line 2 is the theme element. It indicates that the following XML content is a theme.

Line 3 is the first setting in the theme.  It specifies that the background color of the display should be set to the ARGB hexadecimal value "FFE6E1CF".  More on ARGB values later.

Line 4 specifies that the background image for the display should be read from the file "Glacier.jpg", which must be located in the same folder as the theme file.

Lines 5-14 contain the ARGB color settings for the rest of the display, such as the color of the lines used to draw the grid.

Lines 15 and 16 contain the closing XML tags that indicate the end of the theme file.

ARGB color values
"ARGB" stands for "Alpha", "Red", "Green", and "Blue", which are the components of every color that can be displayed in the game.  Each component is comprised of two hexadecimal digits, so the entire value is an 8-digit hexadecimal value.  "Alpha" is the transparency level, with "00" being completely transparent, and "FF" being completely opaque.  "Red", "Green", and "Blue" values simply represent the intensity of the respective colors, with "FF" being the most intense.  So, "FFFF0000" would be a completely opaque and intensely red color.

Fortunately, you don't have to know anything about ARGB values except that you can go to any number of web sites with a color palette, such as, click on a color, and the 6-digit RGB value will be displayed for you.  Then, all you have to do is add the "A" value, which is normally "FF" for completely opaque.

For example, the hexadecimal RGB value for "steel blue" is 4682B4, so the ARGB value for opaque steel blue is FF4682B4.

Once you've found the color you like, simply change the ARGB value between the XML tags for the color setting you wish to change. (See the "Reference" section below for a list of color settings.)

For example, to change the color of the digits entered while playing the game to steel blue, change the value between the "<inputColor>" and "</inputColor>" tags from FF6030BF to FF4682B4.

File name values
Some settings require a file name value, for example, the backgroundImage setting. The specified value should be the name of the file relative to the location containing the theme file.

Normally, you would install the image file in the same location as the theme file, so the value would simply be the name of the image file.

Installing your theme
Copy the theme file and any required resources, such as background images, to the "Themes" folder (see above), or, create a new folder under the "Themes" folder and copy your files there.

Your new theme should now show up in the list of themes in the "Options", "Display" dialog of the game.

The following theme settings are currently supported by Smoresoft Sudoku.

  • backColor is the ARGB background color of the screen.
  • backgroundImage is the filename of the image to display in the background of the screen, relative to the theme file. The image will be centered on the screen.
  • evenBoxBackColor is the ARGB background color of the even-numbered boxes of the grid.
  • givenColor is the ARGB color of the clues or "givens" that are provided at the beginning of the game.
  • gridBackColor is the ARGB background color of the grid.
  • gridColor is the ARGB color of the grid lines.
  • guideLineColor is the ARGB color of the vertical and horizontal selection guidelines.
  • highlightColor is the ARGB color used to highlight cells.
  • inputColor is the ARGB color of the digits you enter as you play the game.
  • invalidInputColor is the ARGB color of the invalid numbers you enter as you play the game.
  • oddBoxBackColor is the ARGB background color of the odd-numbered boxes of the grid.
  • selectionColor is the ARGB background color of the currently selected cell.

News and Updates / New web site design
« on: August 31, 2006, 08:14:42 AM »
Along with the new Smoresoft Sudoku 1.2 release, the Smoresoft web site has been redesigned for better looks and easier navigation.

The site continues to maintain the small page sizes and layout that work well on Pocket Internet Explorer for Windows Mobile Smartphone devices.

Let me know what you think of the new site!

Announcements / Smoresoft Sudoku 1.2 Final Released!
« on: August 31, 2006, 08:08:39 AM »
It's here!  Major new features in version 1.2:

  • Themes and background images.  Get more themes from the Themes board!
  • New full screen mode. Now you can use the menus without switching out of full screen mode.
  • New translations. Support for German, Spanish, and Swedish languages.
  • Translations included in the main download. Just install the game on a localized device and, if the language is supported, it will be displayed automatically.
  • ...and many more minor enhancements to make your Sudoku gaming experience better than ever!

Download this release from

Thanks to those of you who helped to make this release better by providing feedback from the 1.2 Preview releases!


Thanks to the translators, who make it possible for Sudoku gamers around the globe to play the game in their own language.

    Rheuh (Fran├žaise)
    Pa9an (Deutsch)
    Erick (Espa├▒ol)
    Mats Bjur (Svenska)

And last but not least, thanks to those of you who took the time to donate to this project.  Your support is very much appreciated!


Announcements / Smoresoft Sudoku 1.2 Preview 11 Released
« on: August 30, 2006, 07:38:52 AM »
  • NEW: Swedish translation (thanks Mats Bjur!)
  • NEW: Proper "About" dialog with credits for translations.

Feature Requests / Roadmap for version 1.3
« on: August 01, 2006, 09:22:11 AM »
The vision for version 1.3 is about making the game fun for players that are new to Sudoku.  A redesign of the web site is also planned, to include more detailed installation instructions for players that aren't familiar with installing software on their phones.

There will be some new features for advanced players as well, and of course, you'll be able to turn off any of the glitz that you find annoying.

"Fun" Features
  • Sound support for themes
  • In-game instructions
  • Hint system
  • Colored pencil marks
  • Flash completed regions
  • End-game animation
  • In-game links to download new puzzle packs and themes

Advanced Features
  • Save undo history between games
  • More statistics (e.g., average times)
  • Undo to solvable
  • Configurable keys

The much-requested puzzle pack manager feature will be the focus of the following release, and then, possibly, a Pocket PC version.

This is the current plan, but all of it is subject to change without notice.

Your feedback is appreciated and does influence each release.

Announcements / Smoresoft Sudoku 1.2 Preview 9 Released
« on: August 01, 2006, 08:31:12 AM »
NOTE: Uninstall any previous version of the game before installing this release.

  • NEW: Spanish translation (thanks Erick!)
  • NEW: "Purple" theme is installed with main download.
  • CHANGE: Moved "Sampler" puzzle pack to the "Puzzles" folder.
  • CHANGE: Renamed " Smoresoft Sudoku" to "Smoresoft Sudoku" in the "Remove Programs" menu.

Unless any problems are found with this preview, it will become the final version 1.2.


News and Updates / New forum features
« on: July 27, 2006, 10:39:43 AM »
Topic ratings in the Puzzles and Themes boards, CAPTCHA code verification (hopefully cuts down on the spambot posts), RSS feed icons for all boards, and last but not least, a donations button in the menu bar.  Enjoy!

Announcements / Smoresoft Sudoku 1.2 Preview 8 Released
« on: July 25, 2006, 08:45:54 AM »
  • NEW: Prompt for confirmation before abandoning a game in progress.
  • FIX: Fixed Puzzle Pack Browser to properly search in "My Documents" folders for puzzle packs.

Announcements / Smoresoft Sudoku 1.2 Preview 7 Released
« on: July 20, 2006, 07:09:32 AM »
  • CHANGE: Updated German translation (thanks Pa9an!)
  • CHANGE: Updated French translation (thanks Rheuh!)
  • FIX: Fixed CAB file to properly install multiple language resources. Preview 6 contains two copies of the German translation due to a bug in Microsoft's makecab utility.
  • FIX: Fixed crash when clicking on a selection in an options dialog in full screen mode.

Announcements / Smoresoft Sudoku 1.2 Preview 6 Released
« on: July 18, 2006, 07:27:20 AM »
  • CHANGE: Updated German translation (thanks Pa9an!)
  • NEW: Added menu items for "Undo", "Highlight Values", and "Highlight Sets". This functionality continues to be available via the Back, *, and # keys, respectively.
  • CHANGE: Moved "Undo Mode" under "Assistance" submenu to prevent the menu from scrolling on some devices.

Announcements / Smoresoft Sudoku 1.2 Preview 5 Released
« on: July 17, 2006, 08:55:44 AM »
  • NEW: German translation (thanks Pa9an!)
  • NEW: Menus can be used in full screen mode.
  • NEW: "Clear pencil marks" option under the "Assistance" menu.
  • CHANGE: Full screen is now a persistent mode, which can be selected under the "Options", "Display..." menu.
  • CHANGE: Translations are now included in the main download.
  • CHANGE: Rearranged menus so they fit on the Motorola Q without scrolling.
  • FIX: Selecting "Undo Mode" no longer modifies the current cell (broken in 1.2 Preview 2).
  • FIX: Pencil marks are no longer reset when restoring the game state.

Feature Requests / Shortcut keys and the left softkey button
« on: July 16, 2006, 09:59:26 PM »
There have been some feature request for shortcut keys using the left softkey button.

Microsoft developer guidelines say that the left softkey should not activate a menu, so that leaves me with only one action available for that key.  Right now, that action is "Statistics", but some players want a different action.

The option I'm considering now (suggested by [url url=";u=15"][/url]) is to allow the player to customize the game by choosing one of a list of actions to assign to the left softkey.

I may be able to extend this customization to other keys as well (e.g., the "*" and "#" keys).

Support / Full screen mode
« on: June 29, 2006, 04:24:50 PM »
Anywhere, I am wondering if it is possible to make the menu appear in full screen mode, without returning in normal mode, with the two lines on top and below.

I think that I have to switch out of full screen mode to show the menu, but I can switch back into full screen mode automatically after you make your menu selection.  I'll work on this for the next release.

Then, would it be possible to center the background image on screen in the non full screen mode?

Yes.  This will be in the next release.

Finally, when I finish a game into the full screen mode, the congratulation box doesn't want to desappear when I push 'ok'. However, it does in the normal mode.

I'll fix this in the next release.  For now, you can press the "Back" button to get back to the game.

Themes / Glacier theme
« on: June 28, 2006, 10:15:55 AM »
Here's a sample theme that includes a background image.

To install, download the attached files and copy them to the "Themes" folder under the location where you installed the game.  For example, if you installed in "\Storage\Program Files\Smoresoft Sudoku" folder, create a "Themes" subfolder at "\Storage\Program Files\Smoresoft Sudoku\Themes" and copy the attached files to the new folder.

Themes / Purple theme
« on: June 28, 2006, 10:13:59 AM »
Here's a simple theme I call "Purple".

To install, download the attached file and copy it to the "Themes" folder under the location where you installed the game.  For example, if you installed in "\Storage\Program Files\Smoresoft Sudoku" folder, create a "Themes" subfolder at "\Storage\Program Files\Smoresoft Sudoku\Themes" and copy the attached file ("Purple.theme") to the new folder.

I'll eventually make the installation easier, but I want to release an early sample theme in the hopes that someone more artistic will create something cool.

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