Pseudoku Feedback

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Jan 31, 2017

Filed under: Programming 175 comments

Like I said on the podcast last week: I have another a game that’s reasonably close to complete in terms of programming, but in need of more content and polish if I wanted it to see commercial release. I’m not sure what the project needs or if it’s worth spending more time on, so I’m releasing this alpha version in the hopes of getting feedback.

I already had this game in development before the release of Good Robot. But then Good Robot was kind of a disappointment in terms of sales and I started thinking that maybe there were better uses of my time where I could entertain more people with less effort. So I shelved the project.

I rediscovered the project a couple of weeks ago and started thinking that I ought to at least throw it out to the public and see what people thought of it. So that’s what we’re doing.

The main menu. Each square represents a puzzle.
The main menu. Each square represents a puzzle.

The game is inspired by Sudoku, the pencil-and-paper game where you have to fit all of the digits 1-9 into a 9×9 grid using logic. I really enjoy the gameplay, but the newspaper version is SO 20th century. This could be a lot more convenient on the computer.

Now, there are Sudoku videogames out there. There are several free versions and I’m pretty sure there are even some that can create unlimited puzzles for you. But they all suffer from a couple of problems:

  1. Not on GoG, Steam, or any other major gaming platform.
  2. They look terrible. Just boring and awful.

You might argue that this is a puzzle game and that “looks” shouldn’t matter. I would counter by pointing out that PopCap et al have made a pretty good case that looks do indeed matter. Imagine Bejeweled, but with a Windows 3.1 style presentation. It’s just as engaging mechanically, but it lacks all of the audio and visual stimulus that makes these kinds of games tickle the other parts of your brain.

One of the mid-tier sudoku-style puzzles. This one is played with 8 tiles instead of the usual 9.
One of the mid-tier sudoku-style puzzles. This one is played with 8 tiles instead of the usual 9.

I can’t compete artistically with classic PopCap of course. And now that they’ve been bought out by EA, I suppose PopCap can’t either. But whatever. I can at least do better than what’s out there. Give it some color, some music, some sound effects, and you’ve got something that isn’t going to be confused with math homework.

Pseudoku is intended to be an introduction to Sudoku. Rather than throwing the player into the deep end with 9×9 grids, it builds the game up from fist concepts using minimalist puzzles. For the presentation, I’m kind of aiming at something a bit like Hexcells, which was something I was really into back in 2015.

Is the game more appealing with geometric shapes, or with numerals? Would it be better on a light background or a dark one? Bah, just make it an option.
Is the game more appealing with geometric shapes, or with numerals? Would it be better on a light background or a dark one? Bah, just make it an option.

To keep things interesting, Pseudoku also throws in a few novelty puzzles that don’t follow the strict Sudoku grid format.

The game is designed to be played “casual style” using only the mouse. Which means instead of clicking on squares and typing in numbers, the player just clicks and drags tiles onto the board. The presentation makes a game a tiny bit easier. It highlights if you’ve got two identical symbols in the same group, and you can see how many of each symbol remain because they’re in a pile on the right side of the screen.

I don’t want to say too much more about it. I’m not going to explain how to play, since one of the goals is for the game to explain itself.

One of the mid-tier sudoku-style puzzles, which is played with 8 tiles instead of 9.
One of the mid-tier sudoku-style puzzles, which is played with 8 tiles instead of 9.

It feels like there needs to be a “next puzzle” button when you complete the current one. And it feels like there ought to be 9 tiers of 9 puzzles. And obviously I need to add multiplayer deathmatch. Other than that, I don’t know what it needs.

If you’re interested, download the game, unzip the files, and give it a try. Assuming it works, let me know how it goes. Is it fun? What’s broken? Too easy? Too hard? What annoyed you?

EDIT: Sorry, I have taken down the early builds. It turns out it’s really annoying to get bug reports and feature requests for problems that were fixed months ago.


From The Archives:

175 thoughts on “Pseudoku Feedback

  1. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I’ll try the game when I come home, but immediately I can tell you one thing that it needs :
    Engrish announcer that yells “shamefur dispray” if you mess up

    1. tmtvl says:

      Commit sudoku! Oh wait…

      1. Starker says:

        I think you meant “commit pseudoku”.

    2. D-Frame says:

      Hilarious! I would buy the game for that alone.

  2. Dreadjaws says:

    Hey, I never thought of that. How come there aren’t any good Sudoku games on Steam? You’d figure it’d be a given, but the closest thing to it is Everyday Genius: Squarelogic. That game is fun and relaxing, but it’s not Sudoku. Meanwhile, the only three actual Sudoku games are either ugly-looking, buggy or just annoying to play.

    Anyway, I can’t load your game in my work computer (not because I don’t have time, but because this darn thing is running Windows XP and calls it an invalid application), so I’ll have to wait all day until I get home to try it.

    Edit: also, if you need someone to translate the game into spanish, I will contribute for free.

    1. Tizzy says:

      So… You’re using WinXP at work? I’m really sorry to hear that…

      Onto your question: my guess is that it’s really hard to generate good Sudoku puzzles. Writing a solver is easy, so you can check that any puzzle is solvable (as in, not under determined). And you can check that the player solved it correctly.

      But a human player needs a variety of puzzles, needs a difficulty rating, needs to find the puzzles appealing. I don’t know that there is a way to generate puzzles in this way without collecting a LOT of feedback from a fairly diverse player base.

      1. Dreadjaws says:

        Yeah, see, literally every other PC at work except mine has at least Windows 7 or Linux. I’m the one saddled with XP. I can’t complain much because I have the better internet, though.

  3. Rax says:

    I’m just getting an “The application was unable to start correctly (0x00007b)” error. Is there a specific VC++/.net/whatever version it depends on?

    System info for completeness’ sake:
    Win10 Pro x64 (14393 with anniversary update), i7-6700k, GTX 980, 16GB DDR4-2100, .net 3.5 and 4.6, dozens of Visual C++ redistributables (thanks, steam).

    1. David says:

      I’m getting the same error.

      Windows 10 Pro 64, i5-6500, GTX 960, 16GB RAM (not sure what type offhand), not sure what redistributables I have from Steam games

      1. Content Consumer says:

        Oh dear, same error.
        Windows 7 home 64bit, i7-2700k gtx580, 16gb ram, who knows what else.

    2. newplan says:

      Yeah, I’m getting the same error.

      EDIT – Oh, it was so simple – fixed it.

  4. Todd says:

    The pictures are pretty, but I’m getting the same error too.

  5. Windows 10 is the world’s greatest innovation. It’s like, it doesn’t want you to play good games or do anything for that matter! So no, I can’t play it right now. But I’ll get around to it as soon as I can figure out how to fix my awful laptop.

  6. Content Consumer says:

    And obviously I need to add multiplayer deathmatch. Other than that, I don't know what it needs.

    Hats, of course.

    1. MichaelGC says:

      Hats need to be introduced at a later stage, so we can moan about how it used to be much better without them.

    2. Zekiel says:

      And microtransactions, of course.

      1. Zekiel says:

        And what DRM solution are you using?

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Uplay of course. And place it only on win10 store

          1. Zekiel says:

            Excellent. You can’t be too careful.

            1. CLuhrsen says:

              A voiced protagonist and cinematic cut-scenes.

  7. Kennet Haunstrup says:

    OpenAL32.dll is apparently missing from my computer. At least, that’s what the error prompt says. Twice.

    1. MichaelGC says:

      I downloaded that from here:

      but now I’m getting the same 0xc000007b error as everyone else, so I’m downloading various versions of the .NET framework. Or trying to – it says it’s installed 3.5 but it’s a damn liar as far as I can tell.

      1. MichaelGC says:

        OK, have now tried everything apart from overwriting .dll files in System32 or SysWoW64, which I’m not going to start doing on this machine…

      2. Oh wow! Don’t do that. That is the old creative soundblaster openal from like many years ago, it’s abandoned (AFAIK).

        The latest is at
        The mailing list is active (if low volume) and the git project is active (last commit 2 days ago).

        A shorter url is

        1. MichaelGC says:

          Cool, thanks! It got me nowhere anyway, so I uninstalled it pretty swiftly.

  8. Rack says:

    I got an exciting different error, unable to start because openal32.dll was not found. After a quick google-fu and installing Hotline Miami this error was replaced by the one everyone else is getting. Only there’s a c in 0xc000007b

    1. Piflik says:

      I second this error. First I thought my firewall was interfering, but the error also poped up, after disabling it.

      But without having tried it: I really like the name. Consider putting it on mobile.

  9. BigTiki says:

    As a game design idea and name combo : pseudoqueue. Replace the scrabble box top of tiles with a set of queues of tiles? Add specials to split queues into smaller stacks?

  10. Viktor says:

    You should look at porting it to mobile. This game is far lighter than most PC games, but right at what people want to play while waiting at the mechanic/drs office/whatever.

    1. tmtvl says:

      Seconded, seems like a hidden hit waiting to happen.

    2. Echo Tango says:

      First thing I thought when I read about the click-and-drag mechanic was, “This is a game interface that would work better on a touchscreen than with a mouse.”

      1. Mephane says:

        I haven’t tried the game yet, so I will get back to this once I had the chance, but I am very skeptical of a click-and-drag UI for this on the PC. Intuitively, I’d expect the UI to function like this:

        * Press any numpad key to pick up an item of that number from the pile (repeated presses drop the previous tile). Error sound effect if there is none left.
        * Left-click a tile on the grid to drop the item into that tile, replacing the current one where applicable and allowed. Error sound if the tile is unchangeable as part of the puzzle.
        * Right-lick a tile to clear it. Error sound if the tile is unchangeable as part of the puzzle.

        I generally don’t like doing repeated swiping mouse movements, and utilize hotkeys to skip them whereever possible. Moving the pointer back and forth between the pile and the grid could get quite tedious imo.

        But I may be entirely wrong and in this instance it works just right, I will post once I have found out. :)

        1. Jamas Enright says:

          Also without having played it I was going to make a similar comment, to whit: I would want to click on a square and press the number that I want to appear there. Clicking and dragging is not something I’m immediately drawn to with this (but have played plenty of other games where this is what happens and liked them).

        2. Mephane says:

          Trying it now. First thing to notice, mouse cursor movement in the window feels… wrong. I can’t even say whether it is slower or faster than outside, or maybe just reacting with a delay, but it feels wrong.

  11. Echo Tango says:

    Anyone know what voodoo I’ll need to download to get this game to run with Wine?

    1. gorthol says:

      After replacing OpenAL32.dll (see other comments) and chmod u+x, it worked out of the box with wine (fresh wine prefix). Using wine2.0, ubuntu 14.04, nvidia card.

      1. Bryan says:

        Probably something strange on my system, but it’s crashing under wine (built from git around a year ago, version 1.9.4 ish) here. Not sure if this helps anything, but the crash dump info:

        Unhandled exception: page fault on read access to 0x00000000 in 32-bit code (0x00000000).
        Register dump:
        CS:0023 SS:002b DS:002b ES:002b FS:0063 GS:006b
        EIP:00000000 ESP:0032f264 EBP:0032fdd0 EFLAGS:00210296( R- — I S -A-P- )
        EAX:0032fdc8 EBX:00000001 ECX:ffffffff EDX:7ddca000
        ESI:00741538 EDI:00000000
        Stack dump:
        0x0032f264: 0042bee0 00000001 00470084 00000000
        0x0032f274: 00741538 000000b8 00000000 589179b9
        0x0032f284: 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000
        0x0032f294: 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000
        0x0032f2a4: 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000
        0x0032f2b4: 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000
        =>0 0x00000000 (0x0032fdd0)
        1 0x00426eb0 in pseudoku (+0x26eaf) (0x0032fde0)
        2 0x004270dc in pseudoku (+0x270db) (0x0032fe14)
        3 0x004452db in pseudoku (+0x452da) (0x0032fe60)
        4 0x7b85c70c in kernel32 (+0x4c70b) (0x0032fe78)
        5 0x7b85d66a in kernel32 (+0x4d669) (0x0032fea8)
        6 0x7bc7d73c (0x0032fec8)
        7 0x7bc80519 (0x0032ffa8)
        8 0x7bc7d71a (0x0032ffc8)
        9 0x7bc51ae7 (0x0032ffe8)
        0x00000000: — no code accessible —
        Module Address Debug info Name (32 modules)
        PE 330000- 3f3000 Deferred sdl2
        PE 400000- 47a000 Export pseudoku
        PE 480000- 73e000 Deferred devil
        PE 10000000-10008000 Deferred alut
        PE 62e80000-62e98000 Deferred zlib1
        PE 6b400000-6b485000 Deferred freetype6
        PE 6b800000-6b8cc000 Deferred openal32
        PE 7a820000-7a824000 Deferred opengl32
        PE 7b810000-7b9af000 Export kernel32
        PE 7bc10000-7bc14000 Deferred ntdll
        PE 7d260000-7d264000 Deferred dsound
        PE 7d3d0000-7d3d3000 Deferred winealsa
        PE 7d530000-7d534000 Deferred mmdevapi
        PE 7d610000-7d614000 Deferred winex11
        PE 7dbd0000-7dbd8000 Deferred oleaut32
        PE 7dcf0000-7dcf4000 Deferred imm32
        PE 7dd30000-7dd34000 Deferred msvcr80
        PE 7de10000-7de13000 Deferred msvcp80
        PE 7df40000-7dfb8000 Deferred winmm
        PE 7e000000-7e008000 Deferred ole32
        PE 7e140000-7e144000 Deferred msvcrt
        PE 7e200000-7e209000 Deferred msacm32
        PE 7e240000-7e244000 Deferred rpcrt4
        PE 7e7d0000-7e7d3000 Deferred glu32
        PE 7e7f0000-7e7f3000 Deferred msvcr120
        PE 7e8f0000-7e8f3000 Deferred msvcp120
        PE 7e9e0000-7e9e4000 Deferred version
        PE 7ea00000-7ea04000 Deferred advapi32
        PE 7ea80000-7ea87000 Deferred gdi32
        PE 7eb90000-7ebcb000 Deferred user32
        PE 7ece0000-7ece8000 Deferred shlwapi
        PE 7ed60000-7eebf000 Deferred shell32
        process tid prio (all id:s are in hex)
        00000008 (D) F:\pseudoku\Pseudoku.exe
        00000028 15
        00000027 0
        00000026 0
        00000025 0
        00000009 0 <==
        0000000e services.exe
        0000001d 0
        0000001c 0
        00000014 0
        00000010 0
        0000000f 0
        00000012 winedevice.exe
        00000019 0
        00000018 0
        00000013 0
        0000001a plugplay.exe
        0000001f 0
        0000001e 0
        0000001b 0
        00000020 explorer.exe
        00000024 0
        00000023 0
        00000022 0
        00000021 0
        System information:
        Wine build: wine-1.9.4-83-g71a68df
        Platform: i386
        Version: Windows XP
        Host system: Linux
        Host version: 4.8.4

        So it looks like it’s calling into a NULL pointer. (Which is why I think it might be this system: the system may be returning errors to API calls that you — that is, Shamus — don’t expect to ever error out.) If you have the symbols, you may be able to track down the functions in the stack…

  12. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Have you tried the dependency walker?It may reveal where the error is:

  13. If you check with or similar, it will tell you the shipped OpenAL32.dll and SDL2.dll are 64bit, but that the .exe is 32bit. That should be simply enough to fix.

    And sure enough, fixing those two problems makes it launch for me. So, it’s not fundamentally broken – keep hacking on it.

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      Ok, so you fixed it? How did you fix it?

      1. Al says:

        I’m sure you’ve heard all about how bad of an idea it is to download sketchy links from the internet, but here’s a working version of his game.

        You can do it yourself by replacing OpenAL32.dll (version 6.14.357.24/32 bit) with the version from
        and SDL2.dll (version 2.0.40/32 bit) from

  14. Daemian Lucifer says:

    And once I learn the platform and burn the time, I'd be trying to sell the game in the mobile wasteland where the only way to make money is to squeeze people for microtransactions.

    Not quite.The games that are “pay upfront,never get any ads or other crap” are far easier to search for on mobile markets,much rarer,and thus can be more profitable than freemium bullshit.

  15. Shamus says:

    If anyone is interested in giving this another try to help me figure this out:

    This download includes the OpenAL.dll:

    This MIGHT be the .NET people are missing:

    Let me know how it goes.

    1. Shamus says:

      No! Ignore this fool! Try dowloading this version of the game instead, which should include both OpenAL and SDL2:

      1. Ander says:

        It works without any alterations. Win10 Pro, Intel i7 6700 using onboard graphics

      2. David says:

        This works for me

      3. Groboclown says:

        On my Windows 8.1 computer (Intel i7 6600), I’m still seeing the 0xc000007b error message.

      4. ulrichomega says:

        Does not work on Win7 i5-4300U, .NET 2.0.50727, 3, 3.5, 4, 4.0 (?). There might be something Win10 specific in there somehow?

        Pseudoku.exe – Application Error
        The application was unable to start correctly (0xc000007b). Click OK to close the application.

        1. Groo says:

          I don’t think so… Windows 7 here and I am getting the same error.

          Anyone have any other ideas?

          1. MichaelGC says:

            No dice here, either. I’m also on Win 7 Pro, and I’ve tried with & without .NET Framework 4.6.2 installed, and with & without .NET 3.5.1 switched on in Windows Features. (Also tried running as administrator and in Windows XP SP 2 Compatibility Mode, because Win 7 seemed to think that was a good idea.)

        2. Paul Spooner says:

          Getting (0xc000007b) I’m on Win 7 Professional (64 bit). Looks like it relies on a library that ships with Win 10?

          Looks like Win 10 ships with .NET Framework 4.6(.1, .2) and .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 as an option. Since Win 7 has 3.5.1 as a core part of the OS, it’s probably the .NET 4.6 that’s missing. I already have 4.6.1 installed, and a repair didn’t fix the error. Installed 4.6.2 which also didn’t fix it. Tried restarting the computer. No go.
          So, maybe it’s something else with the difference in how Win 10 vs Win 7 works.
          So, basically, let me know if anyone figures out how to get it to run on Win 7. Otherwise, I’ll try it on my Win 10 machine tonight and see what happens.

      5. Shamus says:

        This is a Very Annoying Problem

        Technically Visual Studio is making my code dependent on a particular .NET runtime. But then it doesn’t tell me which one.

        I’m using VS2015 Community, but I’m compiling using the 2013 toolset. SOME combination of these downloads should fix it:

        But I can’t test which ones. I should set up a VM for testing stuff like this rather than throwing it at the masses. Arg.

        1. The Seed Bismuth says:

          the games working now maybe edit these commits into the post itself. on feed back for the game itself I guess I’d add an un-happy sound when you make a red light mistake and a mini animation of celebration when you solved the puzzle. cause for me sound cues works so much better than visual cues

          1. Paul Spooner says:

            I don’t know what you did to get it working, but Roger Hà¥gensen found a solution (below) that works for me too, in Windows 7.
            You can download the fixed version here.
            For the slightly less lazy, download this, and copy it over the file in your pseudoku050b folder.

            1. Groo says:

              This version of OpenAL32.dll fixed it for me!


              1. Groo says:

                HOLY CRAP I cannot express enough how much I like this game. In the few minutes I since I posted above I have completed the first section and half the second.

                Really liking this… it really does need a “next” puzzle button, or something a little more visual to let you know that you completed it successfully if you want to give that little dopamine rush.

                1. Groo says:

                  Also maybe chance the dark light icon to show a moon icon to go dark and the existing sun icon to go light.

                  That seems nitpicky but I think it’s a pretty easily accomplished bit of polish that brings the game forward just a tad.

        2. Blakeyrat says:

          Ok, a lot of people talking about .net, but if the project’s in C++ wouldn’t it instead require a Visual C++ Runtime? Visual Studio won’t add .net dependency to C++ projects unless you’re doing something very very unusual with it. (Or using which has been deprecated for like a decade.) (In addition, there’s only 4 C# runtimes in existence: 1.0, 1.1, 2.x and 4.x, and the vast majority of computers have all of them except 1.0, which is also deprecated for like a decade.)

          I think people who are having trouble getting it to work are listing their .net version in an effort to be complete about their system configuration, but I wager it has nothing to do with trying to run the application.

          The easiest solution would be to just rebuild it in whatever C++ compiler your current copy of Visual Studio is using, then you’d know for sure which C++ redist it needs to run on other people’s computers.

          (And to lecture a bit, if you had written it in which is an amazing language that blows C++ out of the water, it’d likely be working fine now with no dependencies and also a mobile port would be 5 times quicker since a ton of mobile frameworks use C# natively.)

        3. Sector47 says:

          I was able to fix the original upload by replacing the sdl2.dll with the 32 bit version

      6. krellen says:

        Unhelpful: the game runs just fine for me on my non-anniversary version of Windows 10.

      7. Tektotherriggen says:

        It works perfectly for me (Windows 10, 64-bit, NVidia graphics). I could send you more specs if it would help.

      8. Al says:

        Hey! I got it working by replacing OpenAL32.dll with version 6.14.357.24/32 bit from
        and SDL2.dll version 2.0.40/32 bit from

        That fixed the issue for me at least.

      9. Content Consumer says:

        This version is working fine for me.
        I have a couple of suggestions (I know some other people have already suggested some of these):

        I occasionally have difficulty telling the pentagons and hexagons apart at a glance. I would recommend replacing one with a sort of 4-pointed star shape.

        I’d like the ability to turn off the row/column graphic and just have the white box option. So I’d guess an option to turn off either/or/both?

        A “reset puzzle” button that removes all tiles might be helpful.

      10. Aanok says:

        Tried this one and it works. Have a DxDiag and installed version of VC++ redistributable packages.

        I’ve played the tutorial levels and the game itself feels very nice, although a few things could probably be improved: the message box is hard to read in “dark mode”, I second the need for a “next level” button but I think also right-clicking on an empty spot should take you back to the main menu.
        Also, from your post you’ve almost certainly thought of it, but procedural generation of levels would really add value to the game.

        Not going to lie though, this should definitely be a mobile game. The interface really feels built for that, with the drag and drop idea (which is clever). And, as a matter of fact, I wonder if there is a market at all for this kind of game on desktop anymore; perhaps it’s not without reason nobody has made one yet.

  16. DmL says:

    The game works fine for me. No review yet, but the version of MSVCP120 and MSVCR120 that the game is asking for/my system supplies to it are from Oct of 2013 if that helps anybody out.

    EDIT: I see ya’ll probably figured it out, nvm.

    EDIT2: Very juicy!
    1) Seconding the “next puzzle” button.
    2) A button to remove all tiles from the board would be nice.

    EDIT3: There’s a part of me that wants the “thump” sound that plays when you lay down a tile to be on the beat (so you could lerp the tile to the board until the next 16th of 1/8th note in the song, perhaps) — just a thought.

    EDIT4: 1) Maybe you are doing the SFX on the beat… can’t quite tell.
    2) Love the music, it’s a serious ear-worm.
    3) The way the drums come in when you win is neat. My 4 year old could instantly and intuitively tell I had won just from that cue. That said, it’s a little jarring moving from one puzzle to the other, maybe you could have a drum fill/outro beat instead of the quick fade you have now.
    4) As a veteran sudokist, it took me a few minutes to get into the flow of it, but once I realized that it’s the same, but you’re just *hiding some filled tiles* it clicked for me. AWESOME IDEA!

    Edit5: Okay, yeah, thump is not on the beat, I was just instinctively waiting for the beat to drop it!

    1. DmL says:

      I also love that the tiles are there on the side, in a bin. While keeping track of what numbers I still have in my “mental bin” is one of the more brain-teaser-y parts of actual sudoku, having the system keep track of that for me is nice for a “get the feeling of winning without the stress” sort of way.

      Edit: Sometimes when you drop a tile it plays a “not thump” sound, which confused me for a while, I thought I had done something wrong. It’s not random, tho. Weird.

  17. Daemian Lucifer says:

    To everyone with the bug:Go here,download the 32 bit version and replace the one in the Shamus’s folder with it.It will work.

  18. Gibz says:

    The thing with proper sudoku apps looking ugly is more about function than lack of artistic ideas. Once you start getting past the “there is only one actual place this number isn’t directly in conflict with the rest of the board” phase, you need to start putting candidates in each cell. Fitting up to nine numbers in each cell requires a degree of clarity that you wouldn’t be able to replicate with 5/6/8 sided shapes.

    Once you start getting into the more complicated/interesting techniques, cell highlighting and clarity become imperative. Trying to find a sashimi jellyfish or the like is tough enough in the best of circumstances, let alone if you are trying to see it on a wood background with a bad font, as some apps would like you to try. And then there are methods that require multiple highlighting colours… It can get messy.

  19. Daemian Lucifer says:

    First couple of tips:

    1)When the puzzle is solved,instead of keeping the all white border,turn those bars to green.This confused me a bit at first,because there usually is some sign for “puzzle finished”,either a green flash,or text of sorts.

    2)When you only have one symbol to put into a bunch of empty tiles,include an auto fill option.Right mouse button outside of the play area or double click would do the trick.At this point,the puzzle is essentially done,and its just busywork to put all those tiles into corresponding places.

    1. Falterfire says:

      To keep the suggestions in one place:

      When you tab out and back in, the sound and music are turned on even if you have the setting for them set to off. You have to toggle the setting back on and then to off again each time you tab back in.

  20. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Also,let me say that this is precisely the type of game I was looking for for a long time.I love sudoku,and I have a few versions of it already.Heck,I even have a dedicated sudoku machine that I got for one birthday.So if you decide to release it,you already have at least one customer.And if you decide to port it to mobile,Ill buy it there as well.

    This,of course,provided that you dont charge $60 for it.

    1. Shamus says:

      It would be ridiculous to charge $60 for this game.

      Obviously $59.99 is the industry standard!

      (But I was thinking $5.)

      1. evileeyore says:


        I’ve been hunting for a good Sodoku game for a few years… one that works without requiring internet. I’d throw my money at this, the screenshots alone look awesome.

        1. evileeyore says:

          Played through all current levels. Fun and light. I’d pay $5 to see this in a finished state.

          By which I mean I finished all the ones that started unloicked.

          Don’t have time today to get tot he actual challenging ones, but they very promising.

      2. Erik says:

        As a confirmed sudokuholic, I like this implementation. The non-standard grid breaks all my standard patterns and makes me actually pay attention, the action is smooth & clear, the music is a great earworm, and the sfx for tile drop are perfect.

        Minor suggestions: Next puzzle button, of course; in the draw pile, try to keep the tiles from overlapping more than (say) 50%, as having to drag one tile off another just to see what it is gets mildly annoying; slightly more contrasty colors would be nice (the palette is soothing, but I have to peer sometimes to clearly distinguish tiles – shapes are a little small and the palette is a little grayed. Damn it, I hate getting older!).

        9/10, would play again, would be happy to buy at the more reasonable quoted price.

  21. Fawkes says:

    Hey, this is actually pretty fun. There is something nice about Symbols, more pattern matching than numbers, which does feel more mathematical. Later puzzles will likely make numbers required though. At the moment the Hexagon and Octogon look far too similar as it is, (Not helped by the coloring, Green versus Cyany-green.)

    I’d also love it if the sound when placing a tile on another tile on the side-board happened whenever you dropped the tile. It’s a fun sound, and I sort of purposefully drop them on top of each other for now to get it.

    Nth Agreement on Next Puzzle button.


    Mute, uh, doesn’t exactly stick. Mute the music, leave the window’s focus, return, Music comes back. Have to re-enable music, then mute it again to silence it.

    Otherwise, it’s fairly relaxing and fun version of Sudoku, and yes, a mobile version would be that sort of perfect thing for the Drag & Drop style, but I understand not wanting to open up that Pandora’s Box of development.

    1. LCF says:

      Same, except for mobile (but this is moot anyway). Got thirteen of them done.

      Congratulation, Shamus, and thank you.

    2. WJS says:

      Seconding that similar colour + similar shape = bad.

  22. David says:

    Slight bug: I turned off the music, then alt-tabbed to another window, and when I went back to the game, the music started playing again. I had to turn the music on then off again to disable it again.

  23. Daemian Lucifer says:

    A bug:
    When you turn the music off,alt+tab to a different window,then alt+tab back,the music starts again.Turning it back on just makes it start from the beginning,like it was turned off the whole time.

    Tied to that,the sound for tiles you used for when the music is off is better than the simple one for when the music is on.

    Also a suggestion:Sliders instead of the binary on/off.

  24. WWWebb says:

    Not on GoG, Steam, or any other major gaming platform.

    Wow…PC Master Race much?

    Steam doesn’t have many dedicated Sudoku-only games (about half a dozen), but there are HUNDREDS of Sudoku games in every app store (including Windows’). Then there are the dozens of websites where you can play in a browser. It would be tough to make back the fee to get listed on the Steam store…which is probably why there aren’t many listings. As a person who plays a lot of puzzle games, I will say that Sudoku puzzles get thrown in fairly often so there probably are more than 100 instances of Sudoku on Steam.

    …but that’s just business criticism. The gameplay looks fine. The “drag over a tile” mechanic would make it great for tablets, but take up too much space for phones. Most Sudoku games I’ve seen (my wife likes them) don’t highlight mistakes as you make them once you get past the tutorial. Getting to the end, then having to figure out where you made a mistake is half the fun.

    If you really want to mix in the novelty versions, I suggest reading a Scientific American article from a few years ago (accessible here) about “The Science behind Sudoku”. It mentions some different board layouts beside squares and other variations like using dominoes (pairs of tiles) to fill in the board.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Wow…PC Master Race much?

      Well,he is a pc programmer,so naturally that is his focus.

      1. Alex says:

        I understand the criticism to mean “Steam does not equal PC Gaming in the target-demographics for Sudoku” which is a fair point. Indeed, I’d be very surprised if a Sudoku-Game at the $5 price point was marketable. The again I’d love for Shamus to go ahead and prove me wrong. I wish him every success there is.

  25. Orillion says:

    I thought I hated Sudoku, but it turns out I hate working with monochromatic numbers when the actual number is meaningless. The shape/colour distinction makes this really work for me.

    I would definitely be interested in buying Pseudoku were you to complete and polish it.

    1. Orillion says:

      Actual feedback: Levels 4 and 5 have very homogeneous colour palettes that make it kind of hard to distinguish the pieces (at least the shapes, though the fruits don’t fare all that much better) at a glance. It doesn’t help that green, yellow-green, and cyan also have regular polygons which get even further muddled by the blur.

      1. Matt Downie says:

        (Reminder: Color differentiation is good, but don’t rely too much on colors when making this kind of game as that’s a bit harsh on colorblind people.)

        1. Tizzy says:

          There should be decent resources online for colorblind friendly color scales. Everyone should seriously consider using them, at least as an option.

          1. Viktor says:

            On a random unrelated note, check out Overwatch with the colorblind settings turned on sometime. It actually looks better imo.

            1. MichaelGC says:

              Just whilst we’re on the subject of colours – with the pieces with numbers, I’m finding the locked tiles very different in colour (or possibly just brightness?) from their moveable counterparts. They seem to be much more different than just not having a white border, which isn’t helping the at-a-glance-itude.

  26. Paul Spooner says:

    I’m glad to see that you are playing with the representation. It always annoyed me when people say “Oh, I don’t like Sudoku, I’m no good with math.” It’s not math! It’s logic! Though, to be fair, if you can’t tell the difference, you’re probably not much good at logic either.

    Anyway, using letters instead of numbers would be cool. Or just have a palate of all the symbols on the side, and allow the user to customize them (mixture of letters, numbers, and other symbols. Select your own coloring, etc). Could be nice if you’re trying to isolate a set of symbols and want a particular group to stand out. You could have a “reset to level default” button to easily return to a non-ugly scheme.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Dont know about other places,but in my country introductory logic is taught(or rather skimmed over)in mathematics classes.So its not technically wrong to lump the two together.Broadly speaking.

      1. Tizzy says:

        I would argue that Sudoku is a lot more deserving of the term “math” than the figure heavy arithmetic that these people have in mind when they say they’re not good at math. But that particular perception problem is not going away any time soon.

      2. Paul Spooner says:

        Well, sure, and parsing language is just a multi-dimensional coordinate mapping, so literature is mathematics too. Point being logic is Boolean maths, and the use of Arabic numerals is a somewhat misleading trapping that I’m glad to see switched out.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          But you arent being taught literature in your maths class is my point.

          Though I agree,having sudoku with different shapes makes it more accessible to people who dont like numbers.

  27. RichardW says:

    Never played Sudoku before but this is actually pretty fun. The symbols feel more friendly to work with than numbers for me. I love how the music changes when you’re on the right track with a puzzle, like in Portal 2. Really nice touch. Just need a few more cues to draw attention to the tooltips / hints I think.

  28. Ardyvee says:

    I can definitely see myself playing a game not unlike this on the train while commuting. I wish it had more music that I could hear come together as I get more parts of the puzzle right, sort of like auditorium.

    Otherwise, yeah, I was playing it while listening to the Spoiler Warning 7th anniversary episode Dead End Road and it was pretty cool!

  29. Eric says:

    The download worked fine on Windows 10 for me. Playing using the touch pad became a pain, but it worked really well with the touch screen. A tablet is almost certainly the ideal medium for it, gameplay-wise. The sudoku puzzles worked well, but I really liked the non-traditional ones.

    Some notes: (for reference my preferred tile layout was the coloured numbers)
    -The “thud” sound effect when placing a tile when the music is on makes it sound like it’s been placed in the wrong spot. The drums that play when the music is off are much better. As some have mentioned above, these sound effects playing on the beat would be a nice improvement.
    -The colours of the “4” and “5” , as well as the “8” and “9” tiles are too similar, which makes it tough to tell at a glance what number you’re missing from an area.
    -Puzzle 3-6 had an extra “1” tile. I think this is unintentional since I didn’t see leftover tiles in any other puzzle, but I could be wrong as I only made it to the fifth set.
    -In harder sudoku, I generally end up having to guess between valid tile locations, continue until I figure out whether the guess was correct or not, and then go back if the guess was wrong. The option to tag tiles (with a black dot in the corner or something along those lines) would help reset back to before an incorrect guess.
    -An option to disable the red highlight when you place a tile in an incorrect location would add a little bit of optional difficulty for anyone that wants it.

    Also, I love the name.

    1. Syal says:

      Puzzle 3-6 had an extra “1” tile.

      You mean you didn’t find the secret exit?

  30. HiEv says:

    Got it working thanks to the links from others who’ve posted here.

    Most of the levels seem pretty trivial to beat. I got all of “Effortless” and “Straightforward”, and tried the first ones of “Manageable” and “Demanding” and didn’t feel much of a difficulty difference, they just took longer because there were more tiles. But maybe that’s just me.

    The game needs a few things:

    1) As you’ve already said, a “Next” button is needed.

    2) There need to be volume sliders for the music and sound effects. I ended up turning the music off because it was too loud and I didn’t want to mess with my volume settings, which were perfect for everything else I play. (Honestly, I expected the speaker button to be the volume controls, instead of the sound effects toggle.)

    3) Either the tiles should be sorted on the side, or a sort button should be added. I usually ended up manually sorting the tiles before I started on the larger levels. (Of course, doing so makes it trivial to see which tiles you should be starting with.)

    4) There should be a “Place remaining tiles” button that becomes enabled if all the remaining tiles are of the same type.

    5) You might want to differentiate colors a bit more for colorblind people. Circles, pentagons, and hexagons are a bit hard to distinguish (at least with my aging eyes) without the color cues. (I’m not colorblind myself, but it’s one of the things you have to keep in mind when designing a GUI.)

    6) The lines that go outside the grid shouldn’t overlap the textbox in the upper right.

    7) The game needs randomly generated puzzles. If it’s just these few premade ones it’s not going to have much replay value. I dunno, maybe unlock random once you’ve completed the whole row on the main screen?

    8) The game probably should allow multiple users, so more than one person can complete the parts on their own.

    9) You might want to keep a timer so that people can try to beat their own record times.

    10) It might be nice to be able to mark a box as “either a 1 or a 5” by dragging tiles with a right-click instead of a left-click, and have it leave a tiny tile in the box. So for the previous example, by right-click dragging a “1” and a “5” tile onto an empty grid box there would be a tiny “1” tile in the upper left of that grid box and a tiny “5” in the center of that grid box, denoting that it’s either a “1” or a “5”. (A sudoku game I used to play a lot had that feature and it was very useful.)

    Anyways, those are my thoughts and suggestions.

    1. Pretty good critique. Might want to add that a settings button would be nice (and move the SFX and light change and music buttons inside there instead).
      Heck maybe move the power off button there too and call the window the button opens for “Menu” instead (use that 3 line hamburger aka menu character maybe?)

      I also miss a fullscreen option, or at least a maximize window option.

      I love how the music picks up as you get the puzzle right though, music that changes to gameplay is always awesome.

    2. Todd says:

      This is pretty similar to what I was thinking.

      Also I don’t like the “thud” sound effect when you place pieces – for whatever reason it makes me think that the game is telling me I’ve done something wrong.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Turn the music off,the sounds are better then.

    3. Daemian Lucifer says:

      3) Either the tiles should be sorted on the side, or a sort button should be added. I usually ended up manually sorting the tiles before I started on the larger levels. (Of course, doing so makes it trivial to see which tiles you should be starting with.)

      But sorting them is half the fun.

      7) The game needs randomly generated puzzles.

      Agreed.Shamus,you should check the underlying mathematics of sudoku so that you can implement a “generate random X*Y puzzle of Z difficulty”.

      9) You might want to keep a timer so that people can try to beat their own record times.

      I wanted to suggest a “scored” mode,where youd either be scored by having as few mistakes as possible,or a timer,or a combination of both.Not necessarily as an online thing,but rather as a “I want to beat my record” thing.

    4. WJS says:

      Gah! Multiple users should be done on the OS level, not the application level! Needless boilerplate that’s completely un-needed if you put the save files in the right place!

  31. Here’s how I fixed the “7b” error here.

    Go to
    Extract and go to the sub-folder bin\Win32 and copy the file called soft_oal.dll to the game directory. Now delete (or rename) the OpenAL32.dll file in the game directory and rename soft_oal.dll to OpenAL32.dll

    OpenAL-Soft if from last year while OpenAL (Creative) is from 2009 at latest, or in the case of Shamus’ zip it’s from 2006.

    OpenAL-Soft do not rely on hardware (since Microsoft dropped hardware audio with Vista and onwards).

    The guy that did OpenAL-Soft made it a drop-in replacement.

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      Works for me too. Thanks Roger!
      For the lazy, you can download the packaged pseudoku050c here with the fix applied.
      For the slightly less lazy, download this, and copy it over the file in your pseudoku050b folder.

    2. Sord says:

      The OpenAl32.dll was what my Windows 10 system needed (used Paul’s link for convenience). Thanks!

  32. Shamus, when looking at this I can’t help but feel that it could easily be ported to HTML5+CSS+Javascript or possibly HTML5+Javascript+WebGL.

    Maybe making a HTML5+Javascript+WebGL (+ a sprinkling of CSS) game engine framework would be worth the effort?

    1. Retsam says:

      Yeah, I actually think a web stack makes a ton of sense for a game like this (based on what I can see of the screenshots).

      There are performance limitations to the web stack which would make something like Good Robot largely infeasible (then again, Bastion was ported to WebGL years ago)… but in exchange you get really good portability, and my understanding is it’s even pretty easy to make a mobile app with something like Phonegap. (Though I’ve never tried it personally)

      But, I don’t think Shamus knows much web development and I have a hunch that he’d absolutely hate it. I guess we’d get some really entertaining scathing blog posts about the topic, so that’s a plus.

      1. “There are performance limitations to the web stack which would make something like Good Robot largely infeasible” those limitations are mostly myths. Epic for example let you export Unreal 4 engine games to WebGL.

        Take a look at this, that’s the Unreal 3 engine:

        And here’s Unreal 4 demo running in Firefox

        One more vid

      2. inhumator says:

        I’ve stumbled upon JS game engine some time ago. It’s far from perfect but seems to be pretty cool.

  33. lllVentuslll says:

    Made a video recording my first impression of the game raw, I advise watching it at LEAST 1.5x speed and using the time codes in the description to jump around liberally.

    Here’s the link:

    1. Cuthalion says:

      Watched some of this. Game actually looks nice and chill and pretty fun. I hope Shamus polishes it up and tries to sell it somewhere! (Although audiovisually, it’s pretty polished already.)

      As for pricing, I think he mentioned $5 somewhere. That makes sense if the puzzles are all pre-determined. He could add new puzzle packs as DLC for $2 or $3 or something to add more later if he wanted, or if he comes up with code to procedurally generate more, he could include a random puzzle mode and up the base price since it would be replayable.

    2. Shamus says:

      Thanks so much for doing this. This was INCREDIBLY useful feedback. It’s one thing to have someone say “There needs to be a next level button”, but nothing drives the point home like seeing the user be momentarily frustrated or baffled by something that was intended to be obvious. Also, this gave me a look at all those nit-picky little things that most people wouldn’t bother writing down after the fact.

      I was feeling pretty disheartened by all the obscure errors people were getting, but this made me want to open the project up right away and start fixing stuff. I know it takes time to record and upload stuff like this, and I’m grateful for the effort.

      1. lllVentuslll says:

        Hey Shamus, really happy that it was helpful and reinvigorating, you made my morning! Thanks for taking the time to check it out and good luck pushing further with the project, I’m excited to see where it goes! :)

  34. Natomic says:

    Have all the menu tiles in a row have a different symbols and when you beat all the levels and return to the menu, most of the level select tiles fall off and then the menu turns into the final puzzle, which when beaten unlocks a hidden additional column that provides randomly generated puzzles of the difficulty of your choice

    1. DmL says:

      That’s great!

  35. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Another suggestion:If you plan to sell this to non programmers(as is the case,I guess),you should replace the A,B and C tiles with 10,11 and 12.That only slightly breaks the “one symbol per tile” thing you are going for,but its a bit more intuitive for non programmers.

  36. lethal_guitar says:

    It's entirely possible this would need to be entirely re-written for mobiles

    Not necessarily. You can develop for mobile using C++ and OpenGL ES, and some games actually do that for performance reasons. SDL supports Android and iOS, so assuming your code doesn’t use Windows-specific stuff and ignoring OpenGL for the moment, the effort might be fairly low, mostly getting the code to compile on gcc and setting up the respective development environments. Then for rendering, OpenGL ES is relatively close to OpenGL 3 (core) minus a bunch of features (e.g. instancing) that you will likely not need for a 2D game anyway. It’s certainly possible to re-use the same code for GL/GL ES with only the function loader and context creation being different. Shaders are trickier, but again, in a 2D game they won’t be that complicated usually, so it might still be possible to reuse code with the help of some preprocessor defines.

    1. John says:

      There’s also LibGDX, which will (allegedly) allow you to develop for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, and HTML 5 simultaneously and take care of most of the porting for you. I’ve been meaning to try it myself for ages now. Unfortunately for Shamus, it’s a Java thing rather than a C or C++ thing. You can in principle use it with any IDE or even the command line, but most of the documentation and tutorials I’ve seen assume that you’re using Netbeans, Eclipse, or Intellij (as I think it’s called).

  37. Alpakka says:

    The 0.50b version worked for me directly, without any extra downloads. I have Windows 10 x64, with newest updates. Dependency walker did give several warnings/errors about missing things, 32/64bit differences, and circular dependencies when I checked that.

    Seems like casual fun. The first thing that I noticed was that there could be more response when you get a puzzle correct, and what to do next. E.g. “Next puzzle” button that obviously becomes active when the puzzle is ready.

    It could also be somehow a bit clearer when there are squares, for some reason I missed them in a few puzzles at first and felt they were somewhat difficult.

    Both those issues didn’t really bother anymore after a few more puzzles.

    The colored numbers seemed clearest to me, and I think I like to play more without music, since then it’s possible to clearly hear the satisfying clunks when you place the tiles, and the solution sound.

    I like that there are differently shaped puzzles, instead of just the traditional sudoku, and how the squares can overlap.

  38. Simon Lolk says:

    I have only played a few levels, but I really like it. It is simple to get, and the soundtrack is neat. I do think more levels would be nice and a next button.

    I have not experienced any of the bugs other people have mentioned, as the game started with no problems for me.

  39. Paul Spooner says:

    Okay, now that I have the program working, here’s my suggestion.
    Scrap this project and write a procedural music generator program.
    The victory cymbals fading in is just that good! And it would play into your song composition hobby! It’s the perfect plan and nothing can go wrong!

    But, for the actual puzzle game, here are a few more suggestions that I didn’t see above:
    I like arranging the tiles around the board beforehand, but there’s no space on some of the levels.
    A way to mark slots, ghost placing? When I’m solving “real” puzzles like this, I mark out all the possible places a piece can go. Maybe it’s unneccessary since the computer version has easily placed and moved markers?
    Hotkey to re-load textures (for re-skinning development)
    Building music complexity in the title screen as you complete puzzles (a great place to use that procedural music generator!)
    Music continues when window looses focus. I want to be able to listen to the music while I’m doing other things.
    Progress is NOT automatically saved, despite the LIES level 2-1 tells me.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Nah,his next music project has to be a full song in factorio,now that they have speakers.

  40. Daemian Lucifer says:

    The hint system:At least have the “is there another X in this group” thing be toggleable.But,if you want to go further into it,there are multiple hint options you could consider:
    – Only say if the puzzle is solved or not(the hardest)
    – Highlight all of the duplicates when every square is filled
    – Highlight only the incorrect elements once every square is filled
    – The current system
    – “Solve one element for me” button

  41. Tektotherriggen says:

    I don’t think I’d buy a Sudoku game; but this is a very pleasant entry in not-my-genre. Did you take any tips from Lyne? If not, you should take a look; it’s the perfect example of minimalist game design, even though the puzzles themselves get a bit too samey to hold my interest.

    – The tilted tiles look really ugly, they need a bit of antialiasing.
    – I love the flashing squares/lines when you beat a board. It looks like the game is happy for me! But it definitely needs a “next puzzle” button that un-greys itself to make it obvious.
    – I haven’t done all the puzzles yet, but if you need more inspiration, have a look here, here, or indeed, anywhere.
    – The symbol/number/colour options are very cute.

    I agree with others that serious puzzle fans will want some way to make notes on the board. Perhaps if you right-click on a space, it pops up a tiny menu to cross out the various options (perhaps you can have “No”, “Maybe”, “Definite” choices like Minesweeper). But that’s probably a lot more programming…

  42. Mephane says:

    I talked about the controls above, but now about the gameplay, I like it. I am not yet very far in, but what I have seen was simple yet clever, and after an initial moment of semi-random guessing, I noticed that the puzzles are actually solvable purely through deduction, mostly by excluding possibilities. :)

  43. Grimwear says:

    Just downloaded the files, unzipped them and it runs fine for me so I’ve avoided the first hurdle. Playing through now but first issue I notice is that if I mute the music then click to anything else (an internet tab for instance) when I click back onto the game window the music starts playing again. The icon shows it muted so I then need to click the music button twice (once to unmute then again to mute) in order to remute it.

  44. Darker says:

    Just to clarify some of the issues (this is based on

    1) If you get an error saying that MSVCP120.dll is missing you need Visual C++ 2013 runtime. You can download it here: Visual C++ Redistributable Packages for Visual Studio 2013 (you want the x86 version). Most people have this already installed so they don’t run into this error.

    2) The 0xc000007b error is caused by the included OpenAL32.dll being 64-bit. If people don’t get this error it is because they already have correct OpenAL32.dll in System32 or SysWOW64. Solution for this issue was already mentioned above (OpenAL-Soft).

    You don’t need .NET Framework.

    1. MichaelGC says:

      Thanks! I’d given up…

    2. “Most people have this already installed so they don't run into this error.” and most devs should put such dlls in the application’s own folder. The user should not have to download a c++ run time installer, nor should a dev have to distribute the installer with them.

      There is nothing wrong with putting the needed dlls in the application folder (MicroSoft does not forbid it).
      It also keeps programs self contained so you could easily back up a program/game or move it to another system and it will just run without any issues. And if the OS is re-installed (and the program was not on the same drive) then the program will work on the newly installed OS despite not having been re-installed.

      1. Darker says:

        I agree, just wanted to explain why it works for some people and not for others. Apparently statically linking the runtime is also supported, though it might have problems of its own.

  45. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Well,those “fun” puzzles sure were fun.

  46. Mike C says:

    Perhaps start a UserVoice to organize the suggestions, and allow people to vote on them, in order to get them ranked by popularity?

  47. Von Krieger says:

    Never been a big fan of sudoku on paper, but the drag and drop really works. I just played for two hours poking around in it and got a goodly portion of the puzzles done. I rather like it.

    A little victory thingy and heading back to the puzzle select screen when you complete the puzzle would be nice.

  48. Ilseroth says:

    Alright so after downloading one of the fixes I got it to work.

    Normally I don’t really go for puzzle games but I figured I’d give it a fair shake and its good fun. I finished all the first two ranks of puzzles and am currently working on the 3rd, taking a short break to write this.

    So far, good stuff, as you yourself said, next puzzle is a highly required feature, as well as possibly notification somewhere of which level you are on (Manageable-3 or what have you).

    The visuals look clean but they lack a bit of flourish to get them looking attractive. As others have said, a volume slider would be a godsend, I like the music but it’s too loud and everyone will have their own preference on that.

    I love the non-numbered tiles, and that you can change them whenever you want.

    As other have said, a randomly generated puzzle, maybe a daily challenge or what have you.

    I honestly think it’s in a good place, the presentation/polish is the main thing from stopping it as it is from looking like a product ready to purchase.

    It would be a good fit for mobile, but as you said, that would take a while to learn, and that marketplace is impossible ot get noticed in.

  49. Ninety-Three says:

    Typo patrol: “Barring a rvelation”

    1. MichaelGC says:

      Can probably just ditch that section entirely, given the subsequent rvelations!

  50. Paul Spooner says:

    Found a transparency problem. Reproduction instructions:
    *Place a tile near a socket
    *Place a second tile in the socket
    :The border of the tile not in the socket will occlude the one in the socket. Example, occluded green pentagon.

  51. MichaelGC says:

    I had a bash at rewriting some of the help text – not ‘cos I think any of it’s wrong, but just to try and make the first few entries a little simpler, as it’s these first few which are really key if you’ve not sudokued before (as I haven’t).

    So, just suggestions:

    1-1 The squares on the board are grouped together into columns and rows. Click and drag one tile of each color into a group to complete it.

    1-2 Groups usually overlap with multiple other groups, so a single tile can end up in more than one. The goal is to make sure each group contains one tile of each color.

    1-3 Sometimes tiles will already be on the board, locked into place. These locked tiles don’t have a white border, unlike the tiles you can place on the board and move around.

    1-4 Groups aren’t always rows and columns – they can also be rectangles. The rule stays the same: each group must contain exactly one of each available tile.

    (It was 1-3 which gave me the idea – I think that one could definitely be a little more straightforward, and so the other three are much more ‘well, whilst I’m at it…’)

    1. MichaelGC says:

      Some final derisory suggestions just to finish off that first ‘tutorial’ row, really:

      1-5 When a group is solved, it will turn white. If a group is incomplete, it will stay grey. If you place two identical tiles into the same group, it’ll turn red.

      1-8 No apostrophe in “1980s.”

      1-9 Maybe just remove the “Prefer a more conventional Sudoku aesthetic?” line, to keep things nice & simple.

      1. MichaelGC says:

        I should also mention that this is really fun – not my usual sort of thing, but it’s got that ‘ah, just one more and then I really must go to bed’ quality to it. Definitely something I’d be happy to throw four quid at (at current exchange rates) if you get to that stage.

  52. Rick C says:

    Warning: I read three comments and skipped down here to post; apologies if someone else figured it out in the comments.

    I’ve seen this exact error before (except with an earlier version of the runtime.) You need both the C and C++ runtimes. If there’s any way to rebuild the libraries you’re using that are C, as C++, you might be able to get away with getting rid of one of them.

    Anyways, check this page on MSDN out–it should help you resolve the problem.

    Edited to add: You need the Visual C++ 2013 Redistributable. I got both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions, so I don’t know which one you need (I just reinstalled Windows yesterday so I don’t have VS yet myself, so I can’t tell what bitness your application is.)

    Having said that, now Windows throws a message box that says “The application was unable to start correctly (0xc000007b). Click OK to close the application.”

    1. Rick C says:

      It looks like Openal32.dll is actually 64-bit, although I’m not positive. Can you get or compile a 32-bit version of the DLL, Shamus?

      1. Rick C says:

        LOL. And so I found the 32-bit openal32.dll, and the game started, so I started scrolling back and I see people’ve already figured it out.

  53. krellen says:

    So I have now beat every level except 5-3 (the logic on that one just eludes me, feels like there isn’t enough starting information). I guess that means it’s really fun, because that’s how I spent my day.

    I certainly think this would be worth $5.

    (Edit: took another stab at 5-3 with another approach and I have now solved all of them.)

  54. Dreadjaws says:

    OK, I tried it for a bit, and it’s certainly fun, but I do agree with other comments up there that the way the gameplay is designed, it fits much better on a touchscreen. Granted, as you say, porting to mobile isn’t an easy task, so maybe tweaking the controls would improve it.

    How about if, instead of dragging and dropping you had a system in which the cursor was the tile anytime the mouse was on the board? That way you could change between different tiles by scrolling the mousewheel or doing a right-click. Left click would still place the tile, but you wouldn’t need to be moving the mouse back and forth to pick the tiles up. It would make the game feel better on a PC than a mobile platform.

    Of course, you’d still need a way to tell the player how many of each tiles are left. I suggest simply making a screen to the right that looks something like this:

    [ ] = 5
    (o) = 3
    /_\ = 3
    [| |] = 4

    You know, each tile design with a number on the right saying how many tiles of that style are left. Don’t just give up on the project, Shamus! It has lots of potential.

  55. ARW says:

    Worked with the OpenAL and SDL2 fix (didn’t try the original).

    I love the sounds and animations of it. You are right about the candy crush effect, the extra polish makes it more fun to interact with it. Too bad that you will shelve this project.

  56. Syal says:

    I guess I’m the only one being told alut.dll doesn’t work? Probably doesn’t matter as programming solutions are the purest of Greek.

    Anyway, what this game needs is about a dozen tilesets, followed by a map that continually goes black and comes back with different tilesets.

    Also sliding block squares where when you put a tile on them the whole row shifts over a few slots.

    And teleport squares.

  57. David says:

    OK, now that I’ve finished every level except 5-3, I have some puzzle-related comments. I definitely like how the diamond levels work, though I’m so far having trouble finding a way to start level 5-3. For the star levels, I appreciate what you’re trying to do, but I think I prefer the symmetry of the traditional 9×9 grid, with it’s square zones. However, I’m not sure how much of that is just due to my experience of doing sudoku in the school paper while sitting in lecture. I think that a 4×4 and a 16×16 could work as sort of “easy” and “hard” modes that keep that square concept, though that may be a significant jump in difficulty.

    I believe some other commenters have mentioned that continuing counting “…8, 9, A, B, …” could be confusing to non-programmers, and I think I agree that it would be better to continue with “…10, 11, …”. In that vein, I think having a different symbol set of just the alphabet could be a good idea, and obviously extensible up to 26×26 which would become somewhat unwieldy anyway.

    1. David says:

      For UI-related feedback, I’m sure others have mentioned some/most of this, but here’s my input: A “next puzzle” button would definitely be appreciated. I think I’m okay with the drag-n-drop tiles, but the fact that they sometimes (often) overlap and obscure each other is a problem. Also, I personally prefer to have my windows, and especially games, either maximized or fullscreen, and there’s no way to do that. Even regardless of any artifacts that might result from making it larger, the “maximize” button of the window is completely disabled.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      For 5-3 and simiar puzzles,consider filling in all the possible places one of the elements can occupy.

      If you want specifics,look around the 3.There is only one place where you can place a 1.That leads to you being able to fill in all the 1s.Keep in mind that every group needs to have at least one of every element.So every line vertically and horizontally,and every box that you can highlight.

      Then you can do it with 4s(start on the bottom left box).When you are left with three 4s to fill in,you can pick up the pace with other stuff.

      If you want more specifics,the bottom left box is:

  58. Michael says:

    Very fun :-) I like the “pile of tiles” bit, but i’d request a button (or maybe a preference option) to sort them, since i’d spend the first couple minutes on each level sorting them into rows by number so i’d have an idea at a glance of how many of each number remained. Also, while I like that the preset numbers have a clear difference, on a number of occasions I’d be glancing about and go “oh hey that section is missing a “, because I didn’t see the color that number had…only then i’d realize it did have that number, it just didn’t register because it was darker. Maybe like a thick border, or a pattern on the number, leaving the color alone? I think there was something else, but I played through them all during/between classes so I can’t remember anymore…

  59. Kalil says:

    0.5.0r is running fine for me. Up to level 3-3. I definitely like it.
    I think Dreadjaws suggestion, above, it pretty good. Switching tiles with the mousewheel would feel pretty natural, although you’d need a solution for unfortunates using a laptop touchpad. I find I spend a bit of time at the beggning of the game sorting my tiles into stacks, so I can track the numbers, and I’d already been thinking that an ‘auto-sort’ would be really handy.

  60. Sigilis says:

    As a programmer, I’ve installed every library known to man, so I can run it which is nice.

    I like it, it’s enjoyable. Will show to my finance, see what they think about it.

    I played it without sound, though I’m looking forward to hearing what tunes you’ve bundled.

    Definitely would work better as a mobile game. Touchscreen controls would be a great fit for the manipulation of individual tiles. There should be a level complete message, or at least something more significant than the lightly pulsating sections. Upon level completion the “return to level selection” button should be more obvious. Perhaps make it pulse white?

  61. modus0 says:

    Played a bit, though I think it’s going to need something like random puzzles or it will be a “play until all puzzles are completed, never touch again” thing.

    I’ll get a copy to my mother (she loves sudoku) and try to get some feedback from her about it this weekend.

  62. John Beltman says:

    This would have MUCH wider appeal than Good Robot. My Mum would play this game. It seems like exactly the kind of game to be mobile. If you like learning and experimenting with new technologies then this would be a good candidate for it.

    I also think that if you want to be a freelance game developer/creator, then you should be tighter lipped with your intellectual property. This idea is potentially worth money. Show don’t tell. Be first to market.

    Good luck.

  63. hannibal ad portas says:

    I got the game to work from the link posted in the main article. I certainly enjoyed this version with its juice more than the plane old newspaper version.

  64. Falling says:

    You know one thing that would be endlessly entertaining? If you mute the music (because you are listening to a podcast), the pieces moving are really musical. It would be really fun if the different coloured pieces had different series of notes that by clicking, you could almost get your own song going. I wouldn’t at all change the current sound, it’s really awesome to point where I’m clicking just to get my own beat going. But if there were a few different sounds that matched that first sound… oh boy.

    Also agree with the next puzzle button appearing when you finished. The first puzzle I was rather confused and wasn’t sure if I had finished as there was no words saying I won (understandable, it’s alpha). After I went back and tried another, I realized the musical queues whether the music is muted or not indicate that you’ve beaten the puzzle, and I went on from there.

    Very fun. I like logic puzzles a lot and I think you should continue with this. Definitely a mobile sort of game, but I like having it on my computer as well. It’s rather relaxing way of listening to podcasts… until I have to think too hard.

    You could also up create a higher challenge level on each puzzle without upping the difficulty by tracking how many moves were made to solve. No punishment for solving it with lots of moves, but certainly a challenge to solve it in fewer for those that care.

  65. It works for me. However, I do graphics development so I likely have the dependencies already installed. Was this built with Visual Studio? If so, which version? It probably requires some of the MSVS redistributable libraries that are part of the .NET framework. Older versions of Windows (7 and older?) used to inform the user which DLL was missing, but it Windows 10 you just get a useless, cryptic error.

    I’ll have to play later when I have time. Thanks for sharing!

  66. Angelo says:

    I played all of the available puzzles. It worked straight away, and I have to say that it was really well made. I’m going to donate a few bucks, because from my perspective I definitely got something worthwhile.

    There’s a couple of things I’d like to point out:
    – I’m not sure how to explain this properly, but in “fun” if you try to partially stack the A, B and C tiles they occasionally get a “transparent” border that shows the background through any tile.
    – I noticed that if you put the tiles close to the border of the window they get pushed inward. I see why it needs to be so, but I think the borders could be a little thinner.
    – I liked the sound the tiles make if you disable the music, but something about it sounds a bit repetitive, especially if you move many tiles in quick succession. Part of it is probably the fact that the note that accompanies the beat – usually the fourth one – is always the same.

    Outside of these, as others have said, there’s the music alt-tabbing bug and the lack of a “next puzzle” prompt.
    Finally, I think you should try out Picross. If you have a 2/3DS you can try the “Picross e” series, otherwise there should be some alternatives out there.

  67. Joey245 says:

    I don’t even like sudoku puzzles all that much (never was a fan of pencil and paper puzzles) but this game…I started playing at about 8:30, and before I knew it I looked at my clock and saw that it was 10:20. So, any game that can make me lose track of time like that is a solid game, in my books.

    The music is entrancing, the colored tiles stand out nicely against the gray backdrop, and the whole thing is just alluring. I’d gladly pay money for this kind of thing, if you feel like you want to continue it further.

    I also liked how it was easy enough to introduce you to the concepts, but not really all that hand-holdy. You’ve got something nice here, Shamus, and I’d love to see where else it can go.

    I didn’t have any technical problems, though I’m running Windows 7 (not sure if that has anything to do with it or not). Regardless, love it, would love to see more!

  68. Please finish this!

    It seems like something that would sell enough to justify the work put into it

  69. Ok, so I’m appending this to my last comment as I actually managed to run the game now (originally I just saw that video of the guy playing it).

    First thing that happened when I opened the game was just kind of start laughing. Not in the funny way, but in the “Holy shit this is actually really good,” type way. The soundtrack wasn’t too much, and the way the music built up was really impressive.

    The graphics are simple, and it looks and plays really well. I remember not liking the menu UI of good robot very much, but considering this game is nothing but a UI you really nailed it.

    I will agree with everyone else though about the next level button. I thought I was doing the first level wrong for like 5 minutes thinking I am a class “A” idiot until I realized I had already beaten it and just had to switch levels manually XD

    I usually hate Sudoku. It reminds me of old women and boring people. This actually made me give it a second go

  70. Ahiya says:

    Visual Studio 2015 can compile for Android and is free with the Community edition, so building for mobile might not be as hard as you think.

  71. lethal_guitar says:

    Finally got a chance to play, really liking it so far. I have to admit the textual explanations in the first few stages were pretty confusing to me, I don’t think I’d be able to “get” the concept (I do already know Sudoku) from the text in its current state. But nothing that couldn’t be fixed with a bit of user testing and tweaking, I think.

    I really dig the game-feel in general, the various hover effects and sounds are perfect. The music didn’t work that well for me, I do like the way it dynamically reacts to your progress, but it was a bit too loud and didn’t feel like the right kind of track for this kind of game. The sound effects are great though, as I already mentioned.

    One thing I noticed about the visuals is that while I generally like the style a lot, it looks kind of blurry overall and lacks a bit of “punch” for lack of a better term (“contrast”? “pop”? really not sure how to describe it). Instinctively, I would say you would want “vector graphics” instead of textures for the icons, but not sure.

    Now that I’ve also tried the bright variant, I noticed that the latter looks much “sharper”, I don’t get that “blurry” feeling at all there. I definitely prefer the dark version, but it seems the bright one is more polished/balanced better?

    Overall, I think this is a really great idea, and I could absolutely imagine playing this once it’s polished more. Also, I know you already gave your thoughts on that, but I do think this would work perfectly as a mobile game, especially on tablets (phone screens might be too small).

  72. Sector47 says:

    Loving the game so far, I enjoy how it changes how you have to think about the puzzle compared to normal sudoku. My one suggestion is to move the puzzle it self to the center more so you can rearrange pieces all around it to allow for organization of possible solutions.

  73. jalapeno_dude says:

    This presumably isn’t really the type of feedback you’re looking for, but some of the puzzle solutions seem…lazy? Lots of numbers in sequence/almost in sequence and keeping 1-4 and 5-8 separate, e.g. rows which go 12346578 or 43215786. Most egregious example I’ve seen is this one. I would have been much less likely to have noticed this if you’d just mapped [1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8] -> [8,6,3,1,4,2,7,5] or something like that after designing the solutions (though the color-coding might have made me figure it out after a while).

    It would also be nice to have a way to automatically fill in the last space in a group when all but one of the other squares have been filled, to save you from having to manually check which number is left over and then find an appropriate tile. Maybe something like double-clicking on the empty square?

    1. jalapeno_dude says:

      Following up on my previous comment, most/all of the classic 9×9 sudoku puzzles, e.g. this one become trivial to solve once you intuit that *literally every row in every square* is made up either of numbers from 1-3 or from 4-6 or from 7-9. Maybe this was actually intentional on your part? But this is definitely *not* a property of typical sudoku grids, isn’t mentioned in any of the text in the game, and makes it disappointing to solve “correctly” since I’m going through significantly more work to deduce things that I could already have figured out if I had “cheated” and only inserted numbers that fit the pattern I’ve described.

  74. Grimwear says:

    Not sure if it’s been mentioned but while playing 7-3 it became apparent that it would be very nice to be able to highlight/lock some tiles kind of like the flag in minesweeper so I can keep track of which tiles I’m 100% certain are right and also having a reset button (which does not affect the locked ones).

  75. Zaxares says:

    I REALLY dislike sudoku and math puzzles, so I’ll pass on this one, Shamus. ;) I wish you all the best with Pseudoku, however! Oh, and I do have a UI suggestion too. Might I suggest putting in the ability to move tiles onto the board by just clicking on the square and then clicking on the tile (or vice versa)? I can guarantee that there will be players who will want to do it that way instead of clicking and dragging.

  76. Martin Ender says:

    I really like where this is going. :)

    The puzzles with the overlapping squares were interesting at first, but then I noticed that most of them all have a very simple symmetry in their solution which is usually already apparent from the first few given squares. At that point I didn’t really solve them any more, but just filled in the tiles according to that symmetry. I’m not sure whether that’s a necessity of the layout or just of the particular puzzles you chose, but it should probably be avoided.

  77. Paul Spooner says:

    Hey Shamus. I took down the “fixed” 050c downloads since the new version made them obsolete. Could you remove the links from these two comments so there are no dead links?


  78. WJS says:

    Bloody Microsoft, huh? Crap like that is why you shouldn’t use their development tools. C++ and OpenGL should not bind you to Microsoft libraries!

    If you’re still interested in feedback on this version:
    – Next button, obviously.
    – Mouse cursor should disappear on mouseout. I don’t personally like windowed programs that change the cursor, but having two cursors on screen is even worse.
    – The colours for some shapes are too similar, and this coincides with similar shapes. Bad! Change this so similar coloured tiles have obviously different symbols.
    – More feedback on puzzle completion. I believe someone mentioned changing the groups to green? That sounds good.
    – The unused tiles are a mess. It would be better if they were pre-sorted, since it’s easier to work that way. Having to sort the tiles manually doesn’t make the puzzle harder, it’s just meaningless busy-work.

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