Poll

Which new feature do you want the most?

Auto-play singles
Themes
Puzzle Pack manager
More statistics
Colored digits
Undo mistakes
PocketPC version
Puzzle Pack creator
Undo/Redo
Improved keyboard handling
Snapshot
Pause game on idle

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Offline David

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Most wanted new feature?
« on: June 14, 2006, 06:26:49 AM »
You get three votes that could determine how long you'll be waiting for your favorite new feature!

I plan to implement all of these features eventually, but your feedback will help me to determine which features to do first.  Here's what I have in mind:

Auto-play singles
An option to automatically play forced moves.  If you've played Freecell and seen how it finishes up the game for you automatically when there are only trivial moves left, you've got the idea.

Themes
Download a theme or create your own and share it with the community.  Customize colors, layout of the grid, and provide a background image.

Puzzle Pack Manager
Download and open puzzle pack (.spp) files directly from your device (without having to download them to your PC first), sort and filter by difficulty level, restart puzzle packs, and remove completed puzzle packs to free up space.  I will also add display of credits to the puzzle pack author and consider supporting zip compression of the spp files to save space.

More Statistics
Puzzle pack statistics (in addition to per-puzzle statistics) and lifetime statistics for each difficulty level.

Colored Digits
An option to display each digit and pencil mark in a unique color.

Undo Mistakes
Undo the puzzle to the last point where it is solvable.

PocketPC Version
Self-explanatory.  I'll tell you now that this one will need a lot of votes to motivate me to delay new features that I want for my Smartphone to make you PocketPC users happy.  If you really, really want a PocketPC version right now, vote with the PayPal button. :)  Otherwise, I plan to finish up most of the Smartphone features and then do a PocketPC version.

Puzzle Pack Creator
A Windows application that will import puzzles from the clipboard and various file formats and allow you to save them as a puzzle pack.  Also view puzzles, rearrange them, and even merge puzzle packs.

Undo/Redo
An undo/redo mode where you can undo and redo your moves using the joypad, all the way back to the beginning of the game if you like.

Improved keyboard handling
"Bump" at the edge of the grid, don't change the grid until the key is released (makes the "press-and-hold" functions less weird), and support joypad up/down in highlight mode.

Backlight always on
Hate the way the backlight keeps going out while you're trying to concentrate?

Pause game on idle
Ever forget to exit or switch to the home screen, to find out later that the timer has been running for hours?

Snapshot save/restore
Save a snapshot of the game state and restore it when you like.

Features I don't want to implement
A puzzle generator, a hint system. (Puzzles that can be randomly generated on a Smartphone in a reasonable amount of time are usually lame anyway, and real Sudoku players don't want hints--or at least that's my story and I'm sticking to it. :))

Well, I have a bunch more features in mind, but those are the most interesting that I plan for the near future.  If you've got an idea for a feature that isn't on the list, post it!
« Last Edit: June 14, 2006, 05:05:05 PM by David »

Offline Rheuh

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Re: Most wanted new feature?
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2006, 10:57:04 AM »
In the same spirit as the undo/redo, a "take snapshot" / "revert to snapshot" function for backtracking. This way, no need to remember when to stop undoing. (is this correct English ? I doubt so, but I think you'll understand)

Offline David

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Re: Most wanted new feature?
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2006, 04:58:51 PM »
Yes, "snapshot" is a great idea.  I'll add that to the list.  Thanks!

Offline David

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Re: Most wanted new feature?
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2006, 05:56:47 AM »
Removing "Backlight always on" from the poll, since I implemented it in version 1.1.0.1.

Offline Neverwish

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Re: Most wanted new feature?
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2006, 06:09:30 PM »
Wow as I can see you haven't stopped hard working on the game (and also on this forum). Congratulations for your work, and thank you very much for your time you're giving us. It has become a high pleasure to play to Smoresoft Sudoku, and it doesn't seem to be finished. As far as I am concerned, the feature I would prefer would be the support of customisable themes.

Offline David

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Re: Most wanted new feature?
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2006, 07:42:54 AM »
Thanks, Neverwish! Good to see you back at the forum. :)

I already started on the undo/redo/snapshot and auto-play singles, since they're pretty easy features that I can finish in the short amount of free time I have available this weekend.  I hope to to finish them up tomorrow night, provided I survive my summit in the afternoon.

Themes will be next on my list, probably the following weekend.  I see the puzzle pack manager is in high demand, but I need a larger block of time for that so I'll get these smaller features out of the way first.

Offline David

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Re: Most wanted new feature?
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2006, 08:07:09 AM »
Rheuh, I created a feature called "Bookmark" which basically sets a save point in the undo buffer.  You can navigate to it with joypad up/down in the new undo mode. Enter undo mode by choosing "Undo Mode" from the menu or by holding down the Back button.  Exit undo mode by clicking the joypad button.

Let me know how this works for you.

Note that the undo buffer is currently not saved when you exit the game or open another puzzle pack, so you'll lose your bookmark.

Offline Rheuh

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Re: Most wanted new feature?
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2006, 12:07:03 PM »
All of this seems to work great.

BTW, I was thinking of the auto-pause option... could it be possible to have a simple pause key ? For example when I press the red hangup key, the game displays a blank screen with the single word "paused", stops the timer ; then when I press any key the game comes back and the timer wakes up.


Edit: while playing, I activated the auto-singles option. This is damn handy, but there's a little point I'd like to see enhanced : the grid I was playing on had about 50% cells already filled ; I tried to use the bookmark feature because at some point I needed backtracking. The first option proved immediately wrong, thanks to the auto-singles. So I entered the second option, and instantly, the grid was fully solved, even if there were almost 30 cells not fully decided. Could you add some temporization between auto-singles ? I mean, introduce some delay between each fill of a single cell. That way we could see the solution "spread" all amongst the grid (for now I write a cell with the pen, even if there are 30 cells missing, the grid is immediately solved). That'd be damn nice :)


Re-edit: after some grids... I'm starting to find that in fact, the auto-singles function is a fun-killer. It took me no more than 2 minutes and 5 seconds to solve a Fiendish puzzle. Perhaps it could be useful for beginners (with the delay I mentioned earlier in this post), but for experienced players, like I said, it removes all the fun of the game.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2006, 04:35:27 PM by Rheuh »

Offline David

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Re: Most wanted new feature?
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2006, 06:20:18 PM »
RE: The pause key, you already have one--it's just not advertised very well.  Press the "Statistics" button and the timer will pause and the backlight timer will be reactivated.  In fact, any time the game does not have focus (e.g., you go to the Home screen), the timer is paused automatically.

RE: Animation of auto-play singles, I agree this would be nice.  It's not very satisfying to have the grid instantly completed for you.  I'm not very fast at coding the animations, but I do plan to do them at some point.  (Not just for auto-play singles, but optionally when you complete a box, row, or column.)  I'll add this to the poll.

Wow, 2 minutes for a Fiendish puzzle is way faster than I can solve!  I think auto-play singles is not very good for beginners, since it instantly solves beginner puzzles. :)  It's probably best for advanced players who want to focus on difficult moves and don't have much play time for the easy moves.  But I agree it takes away a lot of the fun of playing the game.

I'm starting to have some feelings of regret about all of the assistance features I've added.  The game is not much like playing on paper anymore.  That said, you can turn all of the assistance off, but it's so tempting when it's available. :)

Offline David

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Re: Most wanted new feature?
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2006, 06:23:24 PM »
I forgot to mention that I limited the Undo buffer to the last 250 moves, which is rather arbitrary.  I think it is better to have a limit than potentially run out of memory.

But that means that the Bookmark will be lost if it was saved more than 250 moves in the past.

Offline Rheuh

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Re: Most wanted new feature?
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2006, 06:39:28 PM »
I too am feeling that assistance is starting to look more like assistantship (maybe this sentence has no meaning in English, but in French, assistantship means that you're too much assisted). Automatic pencilmarks and snapshot are very great features, but automatic singles is way too assistive.

I was not speaking of animations for auto-singles. Animations are useless, especially on low-end devices such as smartphones. Instead, I was just thinking of a small delay, say 1/4s or 1/3s between each auto-single. That could be (imho) easily implemented, there must exist a Delay() or Sleep() function in the standard libraries, huh?

Offline David

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Re: Most wanted new feature?
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2006, 11:40:47 PM »
It's a little tricky because the singles are completed in a lower-level class that doesn't interact with the user interface.  Basically, the UI calls a method, e.g., "PlaySingles", and all the singles are played before the method returns control to the UI where the display can be updated.  Also, my paint routine is not smart enough yet to update only small pieces of the grid, so it would have to redraw the entire grid to show each move, which would probably make it too slow.

So, just adding a Sleep won't do the trick--yes, it would slow things down, but you wouldn't see each move.  When I get a chance, I'll take a look to see if there is some other quick and dirty way that I can implement this.  If it looks like it will be a lot of work on the paint routine, I'll probably postpone it until I get a couple of other smaller things done.

Offline David

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Re: Most wanted new feature?
« Reply #12 on: June 22, 2006, 11:13:51 AM »
You should be able to watch the singles play now in version 1.2.0.1.  It's not the prettiest thing I've done, but it works for now.