Sunday, December 5, 2010

DDTe1 Hour 1 - Planning

As tempting as it was to take the day off and play Recettear, work has finally begun on Dozen Days of Tiles. I happen to be a big fan of the Sudoku puzzles that appear in the free paper that is delivered here so while solving the puzzle in todays paper thoughts of how to create my own sudoku player game started coming to mind. I grabbed a piece of graph paper and spent about an hour planning out the game. This is probably more time than I usually spend planning out a small game such as this. Usually scratches on scrap paper is what my planning for small games consists of. Larger projects, especially when multiple people are involved, require much more planning but a game that can be finished in under 24 hours of development time shouldn't need much planning otherwise you may be too ambitious with your plans. As I am separating the player from the puzzle generator I am hoping that I am not being too ambitious with this project but we will know for sure soon enough.

Even before starting on this project, I had decided to separate the generator from the player. The reason for this is that clearly the generation of random sudoku puzzles is going to be a difficult enough task on its own without the requirement of having a player component as well. The player should be designed so it can easily accept the puzzles generated from the generator, have other puzzles (hand created or from third parties), and even a blank puzzle so the player can be used for playing puzzles from a newspaper without the user having to create some type of data file.

As a player of the game myself, the requirement that I have, one which the computer sudoku games that I have seen often fail at, is being able to easily mark up the blank tiles. I tend to write the possible numbers down and if it is clear that some numbers must belong to one or two tiles (required by a row or column, for example) will underline those numbers.  My thoughts would be to solve this by having a notes block that appears for the currently selected tile. If the tile is empty then the notes will appear as mini-tiles within that tile.

Here is the planned layout for my sudoku player. I think it is clear enough how it will be used, but I am biased. The next step is to start creating the basic tile class which will probably take a few hours.

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