Saturday, October 01, 2005

Well, I've finally made a blog. This will be dedicated to Online-Scrabble though.. well, most of the time!

I'm open to suggestions for any other scrabble variations that you want added, but after adding the multiplayer, it seems as if I have added the lot. I suppose, a 3 / 4 multiplayer could be done, but I think I'll wait a while before I start any work on that.

One thing I am very keen on doing, is another 2 player version, except the second player is the computer. Some of the things I am thinking about for this, are:
  • AI. Now artificial intelligence for making the computer look at the letters given, and then finding a word that actually uses those letters, that is hard. Hell, I don't even know if it's possible with PHP. Other than a brute force method of searching the dictionary for a random word, and then checking to see if the letters are there, or searching the dictionary for a word beginning with one of the letters given and then checking if the other two letters are there, I'm out of ideas. I think I'm going to pass on that one.

  • More AI. Now, in theory, it shouldn't be too hard to get a random score for the computer to use each time. But it will look a bit silly if the letters given are Q U Z, and the computer gets a score of 7 for the word, it has to be at least 21. Therefore, what will happen, is the letters will be added up (10 + 1 + 10) and then a random number will be plucked out of thin air (maybe between 1 and 10) then to be added on to the 21. Now, it might not always work. The human might think, there is no possible word that has Q, U and a Z, that equals 31. Unfortunately, there's nothing that can be done about this. This bit of AI has got my tick of approval.

  • What about bad letters you might ask, maybe the letters were J X Q. Well, hopefully, 9 times out of 10, the computer will realise this and will also have to give up. The other time, the computer will get a score. The reason for this, is that not all of the times you have click Give Up, the letters have been impossible.
OK, I've got that out of the way, the other feature which is on the drawing board, is what will be called, "The Lookout".

In Tournament play, you can easily track your opponents score, it is right there on the screen when you add a word. But in Never Ending, which is arguably the most competitive game we have at, there is no tracking feature. You have to continually look on the High Scorers list. Then we come to another problem, if your opponent isn't on the leaderboard, you have to go to the memberlist, find their profile, and look there.

Well, "The Lookout" will completely eradicate the need to use these methods. Like I said, it is still on the drawing board, but I have a fairly good idea what it's going to be like.

You will have two options:
  1. Going to the actual lookout page. On this page, you can add your friends, relies, pet rock.. anyone that you want to track the score of. Then a table below, will outline the status over your little duel. Starting with the scores, rounds.. all the standard stuff. The row will be highlighted green if you are winning, red if you're trailing. If the game is fairly close (ie. Less than 1000 points in it), you will be given an achievable average to pass your opponents score.

  2. On the Lookout page, you can select your most heated dual, someone that you are hell bent on staying ahead of. This particular matchup will be printed at the bottom of the Never Ending page. Of course, only the basic details will be listed here (highlighting, opponents name, opponents rounds / scores) but it will be enough to tell you what you need to do, to get ahead (or stay in front!).
I'm open to any feedback and comment regarding any of the features I mentioned here.


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