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Subject: Updated! Software cube tower : HtmlCubeTower v1.1 rss

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Paul Canfield
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I don't know you all but I really love the cube tower, however each time I use it I encounter the same set of logistical issues. The novelty has worn off and I'd rather not have to deal with it's quirks and instead focus on the strategic decisions of the game.

Problems:
1. Inconsistant performance
2. Accidental bumps cause cubes to fall out
3. Time consuming and fiddly
4. Results can be influenced through cube dropping techniques

I feel these flaws are in conflict with the spirit of the game. The result is that the cube tower presents an interesting mechanic but the implementation feels like a gimmick which fails to deliver.

Being a currently out of work web developer with a surplus of time on my hands I decided to hack together a digital cube tower that might alleviate some of the wonky bits, yet still deliver the compelling mechanic of action points and variable action choices.

It's built using HTML, CSS and Javascript. You should be able to download and extract the zip file. Then run the app by loading up index.html into any browser.

It's been optimized for iPads and iPhones (since those are the devices I've currently got short access to), however it should be compatible with any HTML5 browser. I feel it works particularly well on an iPad in landscape mode; It's also optimized for phones and narrow displays.

There are some variables that can be configured to suit your group's style of play. These can be accessed through the config menu.

Version Update 05/16/2014
- Undo Feature
- Game Log
- Splash Screen between rounds.
- End Game Splash Screen.
- Added turn tracker.
- Set custom tower seed.
- UI Improvements for Mobile/Desktop.
- Tower display that shows cubes in tower.
- Clicking header triggers setting menu.
- Removed reset button. (To reset game go to settings and click start)
- Lowered default chance for cube to get stuck in tower.

You can download it here or view it online:

Download: http://nerdhat.com/CubeTower.zip
Online: http://nerdhat.com/amerigo

Don't get too attached to these links, no promise that they won't end up broken randomly.

I'd love to hear some suggestions, trial runs, bugs, or problems.

Let me know what you think!
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Scott Kovatch
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Re: Software replacement for cube tower : HtmlCubeTower v1.0
Excellent job!

I'm now thinking about how to turn this into a native iOS application, or at the very least, package up the HTML into something that would work on iPad or Android.
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Tyler Bishop
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Re: Software replacement for cube tower : HtmlCubeTower v1.0
Spending just a couple minutes clicking at it, I feel like it isn't too close to how the actual tower has worked in my games. Namely, I think the cubes currently in the tower should affect the odds of more cubes getting stuck in the tower, and the earlier/longer a cube is in the tower, the higher its "steadfastness" should be. In my experience, if a cube hasn't come out after a round, it's probably nestled into a corner where it's not coming out the rest of the game. New cubes then tend to deflect off of those cubes sometimes instead of sitting on ledges.

Seeding in particular seems to way overestimate the number of stuck cubes as well. Still, pretty cool.
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Paul Canfield
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Re: Software replacement for cube tower : HtmlCubeTower v1.0
Hey Thanks a lot Scott, I'm glad you like it!

It should work on iPad or android. Just load up the url in a web browser on the device. I've got the css setup for retina graphics so it should look nice and sharp in a iPhone or iPad that supports it; also if it's working correctly responsive and will adjust to the narrow viewports of phones. That's how I'm planning to use it for my next session anyway. I figure since it works already through the browser I don't need to deal with the hassle of making it native and less compatible.

I think there's a way you can set it up to bookmark the page, do full screen and have a fancy icon on your home screen. But I think that only works with iOS devices. Maybe in a future update.

It would be nice to package it up so you'd not be reliant on interwebs connection...
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Paul Canfield
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Re: Software replacement for cube tower : HtmlCubeTower v1.0
Tyler, thanks!

You can adjust the variables in the config menu, if you find some values that you think are more accurate with the actual experience of the tower let me know. I'm still fiddling with the values.

I'd love to sit down and run through 100-200 different drops and seeds then do some statistical analysis to get the right values, but I really don't have that kind of time.

Right now I'm currently seeding each cube each time it drops. So each cube will have a unique value between 10-60% that it'll get stuck. Some will be more likely other ones less likely.

Then for how stuck each cube is it has a value between 10-60% steadfastness. The lower the value the more stuck it is the higher the more likely it'll be knocked off. I feel that's a good approximation on how stuck in the corner a cube might be. A higher number simulates closer to the edge.

Anyway thanks again!
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Jack Francisco
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Re: Software replacement for cube tower : HtmlCubeTower v1.0
Looks pretty cool. Even worked on my iPhone.
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Scott Kovatch
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Re: Software replacement for cube tower : HtmlCubeTower v1.0
Parodious wrote:
It would be nice to package it up so you'd not be reliant on interwebs connection...
This is actually what I had in mind. I'm an Objective-C guy, so making a full native app wouldn't be a huge stretch, but it also wouldn't be hard to make a standalone web view that just loaded the main HTML page, either.
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Re: Software replacement for cube tower : HtmlCubeTower v1.0
Seems pretty cool, but it would be great if it were more idiot-proof to prevent stuff like this (below):
- hitting seed again (or reset) in the middle of a game
- accidental double-clicks
Also, wouldn't it be great if you could undo (in case you do misclick)?
 
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Re: Software replacement for cube tower : HtmlCubeTower v1.0
Oh, and maybe throw up a splash screen with a little end-of-turn summary after the 7 rounds are done?
 
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Snooze Fest
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Re: Software replacement for cube tower : HtmlCubeTower v1.0
Just tried it on my iPhone (5): the cube takes up the whole screen, pretty much; might be nice to add a row of numbers at the bottom of that big beige square, color coded, to show how many of each color are already out (so you don't have to keep scrolling down to see for yourself), to better plan for which cubes might come out in the future.
 
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Paul Canfield
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Hey snoozefest! I just updated the cube tower and tried to address the issues you brought up, check it out and let me know what you think.

- I changed the flow of things so you can't accidentally restart as easily. To restart and/or reseed you'll have to first to open the settings menu, then click start button from the bottom of the form. Hopefully adding the extra click makes it less likely to accidentally trigger a restart.

- I removed the seed button and instead replaced it with turn/round tracker logic that only seeds the game at the appropriate time before the first round.

- I added an undo button for cases when the next round is triggered accidentally. Should you desire it'll go as far back as the beginning. There is no redo button, should you undo then redo a round it will play that round again, and as such you'll have a different result for the round. For reference of previous rounds a log feature has been added.

- I added a tower display which shows the cubes remaining in the tower. In desktop view the action squares and the tower display are a bit redundant. However it should resolve the issue of not knowing what cubes may come out when in mobile view. In narrow view mode it is setup to display at the bottom of the compass so you can easily see both compass and the potential cubes at the same time.

- A splash screen between rounds has been implemented, including reminders of the between round steps. Also an end of the game splash screen has been added which shows steps for final scoring.


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Hey, I think that looks great! The only changes I'd suggest:
- each turn, display the action value in large font on the right side of the compass (colors are easy to see, but counting cubes is harder if there are a bunch of cubes in display)
- on my iPhone, the settings button doesn't seem to work: the settings screen briefly appears, but immediately fades away

I hope you know I now expect a cut of the profits !
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James Clarke
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Parodious wrote:
I'd love to hear some suggestions, trial runs, bugs, or problems.

Let me know what you think!

Excellent work, thank you.

It would be nice to have an authentic sound effect to herald each delivery of cubes. And for the in-between silences, how about some ambient seafaring noises? waves, seagulls, creaking masts, sea shanties etc.

 
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Jennifer Schlickbernd
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I can't find the log on the screen. Also I'm going to work with it some more but it feels (note feels) like there are too many cubes coming out. Anyone have a suggestion for less cubes? Thanks.
 
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James Clarke
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jschlickbernd wrote:
I can't find the log on the screen. Also I'm going to work with it some more but it feels (note feels) like there are too many cubes coming out. Anyone have a suggestion for less cubes? Thanks.

It feels ok to me. The number of cubes coming out is (and should be) reasonably well balanced with to the number going in. If there were fewer cubes coming out, the tower's retained contents would gradually increase throughout the game and the tower's output would gradually dry up.

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Eric Brosius
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Some of the complaints are about the fact that the app doesn't behave like the real tower. My viewpoint is entirely different---the reason I would use an app is because it doesn't behave like the real tower, because the real tower ruined the game for us.
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Jonathan Degann
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There are aspects of the real tower I'd want to see retained and some improved upon.

I strongly disagree with the poster who wants to recreate the effect of cubes getting stuck. I think that's a bug, not a feature of the tower.

OTOH, I dislike the proposal of tossing cubes into a bag and then drawing out a random number because (I believe by intent) a cube dropped in is more likely to come out that turn than one that is in the tower. First, if it's the "brown" round, you want a few browns to emerge, probably more than any other color. Second, if the distribution is too equal, then you're going to get on average, lower actions per turn than if there is a tendency for many of the color tossed in to emerge.

I'd propose these guidelines generally:

The number of cubes overall to emerge should be related mostly to the number of cubes tossed in and also to those in the tower, along with a random component. Z = F(X) + F(T) +/- E, where Z is the number of cubes to come out, X is the number tossed in, T is the number of cubes in the tower, and E is a random variable with mean=0, symmetrical, and weighted to values closer to zero.

The number of each color should also be a function of X, Z, and a random variable, with a greater weight on X than on Z.
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Tim Holder
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Very very cool. Thanks for making this!!
 
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