- Gavin McGruddy(gavmcgz)New Zealand
I'm a Web Developer from New Zealand who decided to combine my coding background with my interest in solo gaming to create free online apps that assist and streamline official and unofficial solo modes for board games.
Some reasons for engaging in this project:
One touch shuffling. Most Automa variants these days employ the use of cards to emulate another opponent. Now I've come to the conclusion that I seem to have a touch of OCD which means that I have a deck for minutes at a time before I can be reassured they are thoroughly shuffled. These apps mean that any Automa deck is shuffled by the press of a button, saving precious playing time for myself!
Automatic saves. Sometimes being pressed for time requires temporarily putting a solo game on hiatus for a period of time. For most of these apps, I've incorporated an automatic save feature that automatically saves the state after every single turn. Simply close your browser, and reopen it, and there should be a "Continue" button that enables you to pick up right where you left off.
Highlighting relevant information. Some Automa systems require that only a small portion of a card is used to evaluate a certain part of the Automas current action. Where possible, I've hidden/faded out the non relevant parts of the card to assist the player to know what they should be looking at.
Intuitive help system. I've converted the information relevant to the solo mode for each game into text and images to be incorporated into each online app, and organized these into easily identifiable categories and subjects. These means that there's no PDFs to load and navigate, but rather, clean & easy-to-read instructions.
Help quicklinks. On most of the online apps, when the Automa is to take an action, there will be a question mark generated in a prominent place on the screen. This will either take the user directly to the relevant help topic when clicked/pressed OR will first generate a list of potential actions if there are multiple actions displayed on the card at the time.
Automatic scoring. For some of the games (Gaia Project, Tapestry, Wingspan etc) based on the code calculating each action that the Automa takes (and sometime with some limited user input) it's possible to work out the exact score of the artificial opponent at the end of the game, saving the human player to do two lots of tedious book keeping.
Responsive design. I've tried (to the best of my ability) to make these apps responsive, so they should be able to be clearly and easily viewed on computers, tablets and mobile phones.
Variable setups. Included in the majority of these games is the option to automatically randomize the setup conditions for the board games, saving you shuffling (and potentially wearing down) the components in the games.
Recorded Move History. By going to the main menu -> move history, you can review the exact moves the Automa made during the game. this is helpful if you forget to action a move, or if you want to review how the Automa behaved during your game, perhaps comparing different difficulty levels.
In addition to creating these online apps to help streamline the managing of an artificial opponent, I've also started creating more simple apps that assist in the playing or setting up of solo games, such as PARKS and Space Base (read more about these apps below under each entry).
Anyway, that's enough from me! On with the solo gaming!
I hope you enjoy these apps, and stay safe and healthy!
- [+] Dice rolls