Pseudoku: Feedback to the Feedback

By Shamus
on Feb 7, 2017
Filed under:
Programming

Last Tuesday I released a preview build of my half-finished puzzle game. At first it was really discouraging. I hadn’t included the right DLL files so the game didn’t run for some people, and then Windows gave inexplicable error messages that pointed me in the opposite direction of the problem. We got it sorted out, though. Probably.

So let’s try again.

The new build has been tested on Windows 8 and Windows 10 and appears to work properly on both. You can get it here:

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.

Feedback on everything (stability, interface, gameplay, puzzles, presentation) appreciated. I’m seriously considering putting this thing on Steam Greenlight. It’s only $100 to do so, and I’m sure I can make that back. I’d only need to sell about 44 copies at $5 eachYou need to sell more than $100 to MAKE $100, because Steam takes 30%, and taxes take 30% of what’s left.. It all depends on how much work it needs. I’m willing to spend a few days on it even if it’s not going to make any real money, but if it needs weeks of work then I need to shelve the project. I can’t afford that kind of time investment right now.

Changelist

The new all-letters tileset.

The new all-letters tileset.

  • A “Next Level” button pops up once you’ve solved a puzzle.
  • Made the number tileset use all numbers instead of hex. So tile #10 is now “10” instead of “A”.
  • Made a new tileset with only letters. I’m really pushing the alternate tilesets because I’ve observed that some people just won’t look at puzzles with numbers in it. They enjoy abstract logic, but as soon as you throw numerals into the mix they recoil. I’m not sure what causes this, but since one of my goals is to make Sudoku more sexy to people put off by the old numeric grids, it seems like this could help.
  • The puzzle grid now has 9 tiers of 9 puzzles. (Some remain empty / disabled because I haven’t really made content for them yet.)
  • Added “sad” sound effect when an incorrect tile is placed.
  • Fixed a bunch of little problems with the way sounds and music behave when game loses focus.
  • Loose tiles are now organized when starting a puzzle, instead of them appearing in a big random heap. Player can press TAB at any time to re-organize them.
  • You can now resize / maximize the window. Known issue: If you make the window too narrow (or play on a square monitor) it won’t look right. Haven’t decided how to address this yet, but at least you can play maximized on a standard monitor.
  • User can press a number key to have a tile with that number taken from the pile and placed on the square the mouse is pointing at. This works even if you’re using the non-numeric tileset, although it’s not going to make a lot of sense. (1 is a heart? 3 is a plus sign?) If you’re playing on one of the advanced puzzles that have tiles higher than 12, then you’ll have to drag tiles around manually like some kind of Pleistocene savage.
  • Horizontal groups no longer clutter up the right side of the screen with lines.
  • Volume levels are a little less crazy. In particular, winning a puzzle shouldn’t make the music twice as loud.
  • A couple of new music tracks have been added.
  • Fixed bug where right-clicking while holding a tile could produce odd behavior.
  • Puzzle state should now be saved if you exit an unfinished puzzle.
  • Game now remembers window size and maximized status.

ToDo List

I`m curious which background people will prefer: Light or dark.

I`m curious which background people will prefer: Light or dark.

If the game is going to go on Steam, then I’d need to integrate Steamworks. I have no idea how much trouble that is. Arvind handled that last time around.

MAYBE an “infinite” puzzle mode that would auto-generate more puzzles. That’s actually a hard problem to solve and test. It sounds like an interesting and fun problem to work on, but it’s not the kind of thing I’m keen to PROMISE.

A way to reset your save so you can start over. (For now you can go to User/AppData/Roaming/ and delete the Pseudoku folder.)

I need a bunch more puzzles to fill out the grid.

I need one more music track for the final puzzle tier.

Need to make some sort of coherent fallback behavior for square monitors. I need something that will keep all gameplay elements visible and all the fonts readable. This is one of those things that seems like it should be easy but will probably be a nightmare.

Enjoyed this post? Please share!

Footnotes:

[1] You need to sell more than $100 to MAKE $100, because Steam takes 30%, and taxes take 30% of what’s left.


A Hundred!2016There are 136 comments here. I really hope you like reading.

From the Archives:

  1. Kamica says:

    The block/row/whatever complete sound sounds like I’ve made a mistake =). Might wanna make it a bit higher pitched and happier?

    Edit: Erm… the rough sound went away on its own? I think I might’ve arrived at a bug somehow =S. (Might have something to do with completing a row or block which also causes an error? I’ll have to check to actually check this hypothesis, and then it probably got fixed when I muted the audio and unmuted it)

  2. DGM says:

    Just downloaded and unzipped. First observation: It would be nice if the contents of the .zip were a “Pseudoko” folder with everything else inside it. That would make it easier to unpack the .zip by simply dragging and dropping the main folder wherever you wanted it to go.

    • Echo Tango says:

      This actually depends on what program you’re using to unzip. IIRC Winzip, and definitely 7zip both automatically extract files to a folder with the same name as the zip file. The default archive program on Ubuntu, just dumps the files into whatever directory the zip file happens to be in. i.e. Right now, we get some people with double folders, and some people with no folders, and some fraction of people have it behave in the “correct” way for them.

      So, for you and Ubuntu, the change would make it less annoying. For people using Winzip or 7zip, it would be more annoying, because the current behaviour is “correct”. Personally, I think the behaviour of the file as-is / Winzip / 7zip behaviour is the correct behaviour, but I’d actually just like all archive programs to just do it in one, standard way. :)

      • DGM says:

        >> “For people using Winzip or 7zip, it would be more annoying”

        Fair enough.

      • mwchase says:

        The funnest outcome is when you forget what your unzipper does, make an empty folder to unzip into, and into that folder it puts… a folder in a folder.

      • King Marth says:

        7zip can do both, the context actions it adds are ‘Extract Here’ (for dumping the zipped contents in the same directory as the zip file) and ‘Extract to “/”‘ (for making a new folder with the zip file’s name and putting the contents in there).

        There is no standard, so I open every zip file first to see what absurd logic the creator used when zipping. Zip files are passively supported by Windows Explorer, so that’s nice and easy; more obscure formats like .rar and .tar.gz usually have me opening the file in 7zip, closing the 7zip window, and using the context action relevant to the situation.

        • Writiosity says:

          … how is .rar obscure? That’s been more of a standard than zip for YEARS now, largely because zip is a trash format and really needs to die already. Honestly don’t know of anyone beyond maybe my parents who even uses zip now.

          • Niriel says:

            Not really on Linux. Not even on Windows. Windows has built-in zip integration, you can look into it, copy delete and move without noticing you’re working with a zip rather than a folder, for the most part. A lot of software on Linux will happily open a zip as if it were its unzipped content. It is true that rar has been out for a long time and often compresses better than zip, but zip is still more standard.

      • tmtvl says:

        Ark defaults to “autodetect subfolder” (if things aren’t in one folder, it creates a folder to put everything into).

  3. DGM says:

    Just finished the first set.

    While having the tiles scattered around looks cute at first it just makes more work getting them where they need to be. I’d rather have them all grouped by type and closer to the board. Better still would be getting to select tiles by type instead of individually and then just clicking on squares I want them to go in, as I often find myself placing multiples of the same type in a row. Letting me select the type with the mouse wheel would reduce unnecessary movement even more.

    On the plus side the music and the aesthetic are both nice.

  4. Ninety-Three says:

    User can press a number key to have a tile with that number taken from the pile and placed on the square the mouse is pointing at.

    Holy crap, this is actually better than the interface for most Sudoku tools I’ve used. Normally it’s “Click square, then press number”, reducing the click to a mouseover feels surprisingly good.

    However, there’s a bug with this functionality. Under some circumstances (I can’t yet make it happen consistently, but it’ll happen about once every level or two), it will just target the wrong square. I’ll be clearly moused over one square, press the number key, and the game will assign that number to a completely different square (usually one already containing a number), often many squares away from where I was mousing.

    • Halceon says:

      Observed similar.

      Happens when key-placing a tile on an already occupied space. The previous tile gets shifted to a limbo space. There’s always one limbo space for each puzzle and tiles get shunted there from everywhere. (even itself)
      On this space, the top visible tile is the one that was there originally. The active tile in both checking the puzzle and clicking on it is the newly placed one. The glow effect from all tiles is added on top, making the top visible tile illegible.
      Removing the active tile from the stack doesn’t make the next tile active. They are still in the same space, but not considered as placed in the puzzle. They are also not considered in the pool of available tiles, so key-placing doesn’t move them. Since there can be inactive tiles on a space on the board, it’s possible to have a board that looks finished, but doesn’t register as such. You can also have a tile hovering over an illegal position, without the group being marked red.
      There is no visual distinction between a normal tile and a single inactive tile.

  5. HT says:

    I am the kind of person that would buy this game. One thing I would request though – an option to turn on or off “Tell me if I’ve made a mistake”. By this I mean the sound when you place a tile and the little “sad” noise when you place an incorrect tile.
    I play a lot of logic games and I prefer games to let me make mistakes. If a game gives me any indication that I my choice is right or wrong (especially if the board state means that tile could go either way and it can’t be proven right or wrong with what’s on screen), it’s a big turn-off for me. I understand a lot of people wouldn’t want to find themselves untangling an almost finished board trying to find out where they went wrong (especially if this game is the one getting them into logic puzzles), so it would be nice to make this optional and please both groups.

    • Narida says:

      As far as I can see, the error sound only plays if the tile you played directly leads to an incorrect game board, not if the error only becomes apparent later.

      • Ilseroth says:

        This, it just essentially focuses on the feedback the game gave already, the red lines telling you there are already contradictory numbers that block you from that move.Technically those red lines can be from numbers that are already in the wrong place. It’s less that you put the tile in the wrong place and more to say “hey there’s a contradiction here.”

  6. Ninety-Three says:

    More unhelpful bug reports: I somehow managed to get the game into this state, where the puzzle was complete but the “next level” arrow wasn’t showing up. I grabbed a random tile, dragged it off the puzzle and back on, then the arrow showed up.

    • pdk1359 says:

      I too have had this occur. It felt really odd to have the last piece in place, and no red lines, no triumphant music. took me a moment to try an move a thing; swapped two block and swapped them back

      I really like the point-and-hit-key thing for the puzzles, as well as the nonstandard layouts, especially the overlapping bits. I probably spend ~a hour or so every week on 24-hour http://www.247sudoku.com/ trying to best my times; if you do decide/manage to implement any sort of random game, please have a timer? I mean, you probably would, but yeah.

      actually if you get the save/account reset function added, then having a total time to completion would be nice

      Edit; i think the error is related to when a tile is shunted from it’s space to another when you point-set a new tile by hitting the number key. i could be wrong?

  7. Narida says:

    I think the modifications to the original sudoku formula (overlapping areas, non-square areas etc.) are interesting enough to make it worth releasing. I’ve only played the couple first levels but I hope there’s more of that later.

    Apart from that, I’m not a big fan of the drag and drop interface. EDIT: Just read the keyboard/mouseover thing, nevermind.

  8. Bropocalypse says:

    Hopefully Steamworks integration will be simple enough; Valve has a vested interest in it being a streamlined process, and it seems like thousands of indie designers manage to pull it off.

  9. David says:

    I saw that you were very interested in video feedback last time, so I recorded my live impressions this time:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSVz8E684t4

    Up until about 20:15, I give general feedback, mostly positive about the changes made since the previous version. Starting at 20:15 I kind of fixated on certain patterns I was noticing in each puzzle. Most significantly, I was able to solve many of the “diamond” puzzles simply by following patterns rather than logical deduction. I’m not sure how much of this was due to the specific puzzles vs. the general puzzle structure, but I can say at least that level 6-3 didn’t fit the sorts of patterns I was using for the others, so I believe it was the overall structure of the other puzzles that was causing this. For a puzzle listed as anything more than “easy” difficulty, I would consider this a serious problem. As I understand it, humans are prone to seeing patterns, even when there aren’t any really there. So if a puzzle is solvable by noticing a pattern, that seems like it would be undesirable unless that’s the intended way to solve it.

    Edit: Oh, it doesn’t seem to have recorded the sound from the game, but I didn’t really say much about that, so no big deal.

    • Shamus says:

      “This video is unavailable.”

      :(

      • David says:

        Sorry, I don’t normally upload videos. I got “private” and “unlisted” mixed up. Should be good now?

        BTW, the puzzle starting at ~37:40 is where I start looking at the patterns of the diamond puzzles specifically.

        • Shamus says:

          Okay, you’re right that there is some serious repetitive symmetry, particularly in the early puzzles. The good news is that it’s not a shortcoming of the 6×6 puzzles. That symmetry doesn’t NEED to exist.

          Instead, the cause is simple laziness. Early in the project I was just throwing these things together for testing. Properly filling in a grid by hand is time consuming, so I took this shortcut.

          I haven’t looked at the early puzzles in ages and totally forgot I’d done this. All of those puzzles will need to be replaced. Luckily, I just wrote some good auto-fill code on Friday and so now this should be fairly painless.

          • David says:

            Cool. I’ll probably focus on this sort of stuff for the next version, since everyone else seems to be focusing on things like UI and UX etc. If I have time and inspiration, I might also look at more general mathematics about your “diamond” levels.

    • Piflik says:

      I noticed near the end of the video you were able to go from 6-3 to 7-1 via the next-level button, although tier 7 was not unlcoked yet.

  10. Lee says:

    Played through 1-6 on Windows 7 Enterprise. Works fine.

    My first request would be a volume slider. I’m OK with the music and sound effects, but they’re too loud for me, and if I have to change my computer’s sound level to fix that, it messes up every other application I’ve already got set to the level I want.

    • WJS says:

      Windows can set the volume for individual programs. Right-click on the sound icon in the tray and choose “Volume Mixer”. Individual volume sliders for each program.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Yes,but its still preferable that the application you are using provide you with a tool to do so from within.

        • WJS says:

          Debatable. A program re-implementing OS features is arguably a waste of time, and anyway I was mainly responding to the claim that without such a slider, you’d have to reduce your main system volume, which is false.
          EDIT: Of course, if a program has multiple sound channels, then the more granularity I’m given in terms of volume level options, the better. But a program with just a single master slider is no better than one with no slider at all.

  11. Patrick says:

    Running on Win 7 (only option at work). I am getting the following error when trying to open the game:
    Pseudoku.exe has stopped working.

    Anyone have a fix?

  12. MichaelGC says:

    Still think the help text for the first row could do with just a little bit of work, whilst not being especially enamoured of my own suggestions:

    http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=36764#comment-1090123

    I will insist that “1980s” shouldn’t have an apostrophe, though! – at least not the way it’s used in 1-8. (There are gray areas where the usage is pseudo-possessive, but 1-8 isn’t one of them.)

  13. MichaelGC says:

    Just curious, but: how are you creating the puzzles? It seems to me like that would be harder than solving them, although I’ve never attempted the one, and only seldom attempted the other. Do you start with a full board and pull tiles off, or can you get the computer to do it somehow? Or do you just use the Force, style o’ fing?

  14. Jonathan says:

    Does it run on XP or 7?
    I will never own a computer running Win8 or Win10. We are on XP and Linux, and each time an XP computer goes down it’ll transition to Linux.

    30% taxes on Steam income? That seems pretty high. Self-employment taxes?

    • Shamus says:

      “Does it run on XP or 7?”

      I’m wondering the same thing. Hopefully the feedback will make this clear. I mean, it SHOULD. I’m certainly not using anything that explicitly needs Win 8+, but without testing I won’t know for sure.

      And yes, self-employment taxes are pretty high.

      • Jonathan says:

        Ok, downloaded. It always amazes me how large modern games are (72MB). I still remember how many games fit on the 1.2MB hdd back in the late 1990s. I suspect most of the file size is the music.

        I get an “is not a valid Win32 application.” error.

      • ulrichomega says:

        I’m running it fine on Windows 7 (when I couldn’t with the version in the last post’s comments), so it’s at least not an OS-wide problem.

      • CrushU says:

        The only good thing about self-employment income is that you can take expenses related to that income against it; so like the $100 to put the game on Steam can be marked as an expense to counteract any income…

        But Self-Employment Income is one of the things where if you have it, I recommend you see an actual tax preparer; it has the potential to make things super complicated, really fast.

        (Used to work in a tax software company, was required to take the test to become a volunteer tax preparer. That was several years ago, but it was enough that I can always do my own taxes.)

      • Rack says:

        Worked for me on Win7 if that helps. I’ve not really any more feedback because Sudoku isn’t my jam but I played through a few puzzles and didn’t run into any bugs.

      • Dt3r says:

        Windows 7, SP1 runs it with no problems. (God only knows how many VC++ redistributables I have because of Steam though)

        Overall, I’m impressed with the quality of what you have. I’m not a huge fan of sudoku, but the drag-and-drop interface and tilesets make a big difference. Not sure what it is about the tilesets… maybe the colors and simple shapes are much easier to process at a glance than numbers? I know that with the alphabet tileset I don’t even pay attention to the letters.

      • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

        FICA getting you?

      • Mike Andersen says:

        Working on Win 7 for me and my girlfriend, who cannot stop playing it. Good work!

      • Miguk says:

        It works fine for me on Win7. I’m not interested in Sudoku so I don’t have anything to say about the gameplay, but I can tell you that it looks and sounds beautiful.

    • Halceon says:

      Win7 here. Runs neatly.

    • lethal_guitar says:

      Runs fine on 7 for me, too

  15. DGM says:

    Played through most of the second set. I have to stop now, but before I go:

    1) The music is getting repetitive. You might want to have it loop through multiple tracks.

    2) The Tab key has some strange ideas about how to organize my remaining tiles. It’s mostly useless.

    3) If you try to drop a tile above, below or to the left of the board it gets moved as though the game is trying to place it in a square. It usually misses but sometimes lands in a square and displaces whatever was there before.

    4) It’s a little hard to tell the difference between the hexagon and octagon tiles at a glance. A color change might help.

    5) Some method of keeping track of invalid solutions would help. At the very least how about letting us right-click to place/remove a big red X in an empty square?

    I don’t know if you’ve ever played any of Everett Kaser’s logic games, but they usually have systems to help keep track of eliminated possibilities. Check out Sherlock (http://www.kaser.com/sherwin.html). Honeycomb Hotel (http://www.kaser.com/hotel.html) also has a what-if system that might be useful. Both have free demos.

  16. Angelo says:

    User can press a number key to have a tile with that number taken from the pile and placed on the square the mouse is pointing at. This works even if you’re using the non-numeric tileset, although it’s not going to make a lot of sense. (1 is a heart? 3 is a plus sign?)

    Why don’t you do it like this:
    Circle = 1 line = 1
    Heart = 2 lines = 2
    Triangle (3), square or rhombus (4), pentagon or flower (5), hexagon or arrow thing (6), something with 7 lines, pointy cross/twinkle thing (8), plus sign/Swiss cross (9), star (10), something with 11 lines, hexagram (12).

  17. Piflik says:

    One little suggestion: would it be possible for future test/feedback versions to have all levels unlocked? Don’t know if it was my firewall preventing the save or if this version was incompatible with the old save, but I had to start over, and since I wanted to specifically test if numbers greater than 9 work on a German keyboard (they do!), I had to cheat to unlock the lates tier.

    Other than that I really like it. Two small things:

    – I’d like it, if a right-click on the ‘shapes’ button cycled backwards through the options

    – the corners of the boxes are annyoing me, since they ‘break’ when a box is highlighted (completed puzzle or hovering with the mouse). It looks like you are just extruding the edgesto make them thicker. I know this is a minor detail and I am overly nitpicky, but I can’t help noticing it.

    • Shamus says:

      Spoiler on how to unlock all levels:

      1) Start program with command-line option: -console
      2) At the main menu, open the console using tilde ~
      3) Type “unlock” into the console.

      • ulrichomega says:

        Is this using the same console library from… Frontier? Octant? I forget which project it was.

        • Bryan says:

          Octant never had its source released (that I saw), and I know I’d seen the source for whatever program was using the console. So I think it was Frontier.

          (Not that it *really* matters, but hey, something I know! :-P )

  18. JKPolk says:

    Maybe an option to replace the click and drag mechanic with click once to highlight a tile and click again to place it where you want it?

  19. DGM says:

    One more thought. I think you can turn this into a game worth paying for with a little work, but $5 might be too low. That low a price signals shovelware to some people, and between the grouping mechanics and the aesthetic fans of Sudokulikes might be willing to pay more. Consider giving the first couple of sets away as a demo and charging a higher price for the rest.

  20. Simplex says:

    I am not a native speaker of English and was not entirely sure what I was supposed to do, I somehow managed to blindly pass first 3-4 levels through trial and error but I was never sure exactly how I achieved that.

    Disclaimer: I never played sudoku, I have no idea about the rules, maybe that was the reason. Or maybe I’m just not smart enough.

    • DGM says:

      The squares on the board belong to different groups, usually more than 1 group per square. As you pass the cursor over the board the different groups will be highlighted. Each group of squares on the board must have 1 (no more, no less) of each kind of tile in it.

      That’s it.

  21. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Feedback to the Pseudoku: Feedback to the Feedback:

    Runs on win7.The music bugs have been fixed,thats great.But the “win” sound doesnt play when the music is on.The “error” sound does.ADENDUM:Nevermind,it plays the “set finished” sound,but that one is too much like “you fumbled”,so maybe you should change that.

    Suggestion:Could you make the fruit or the letters be the default tileset?The shapes are a bit too random,and the numbers may put some people off,like you said.

    Anyway,Ive spotted a weird bug.If you use the numbers to place a tile over a tile that youve placed already,it will move the tile that was there somewhere else*.If that place is occupied however,the tile will still be moved there,but below the one that was already there.

    Example:

    If I have 1-2-3 and want to place a 4 over the 1,the result will end up being 4-2-3,with 1 below that 3.

    Now both of those tiles can be moved,but unless you spot the bug you wont be able to see where the missing one is hiding.Though when stacked,that spot does brighten up.

    Also,if you want to place a tile over an unmovable one,the same bug will happen,but to the tile you tried to place.And with this,I was able to place all of the tiles in a single spot.Heres the picture of how that ended up:

    http://i.imgur.com/4E3ukFP.png

    *At first,it was the rightmost top place.But once Ive fiddled with that one,it changed to somewhere else.And it kept changing.

  22. Daemian Lucifer says:

    As for the infinite puzzle,you should read up the mathematics theory for sudoku.That problem has been solved and is easy to implement(you just need to plug in 17+ random numbers into the grid,and youll have a unique puzzle every time).As for how it would translate into a different sized board,Im sure there have been works done on that,but not sure if its solved.

    Heres a paper on how many numbers is the minimum required for a single solution sudoku puzzle to exist:

    https://arxiv.org/abs/1201.0749

    And if you want professional help,maybe you could contact that author,or maybe Dr Grime(he is probably easier to get in touch with):

    http://singingbanana.com/contact/

    Here is his video discussing that paper:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlyTq-xVkQE

    • Piflik says:

      While the minimum number of clues for a valid Sudoku is indeed 17, just randomly placing 17 numbers in a Sudoku grid does not automatically make a valid one. One trivial counter example would be to place two complete sets of numbers (like all 1s and all 2s). Creating a Sudoku with only a single solution is not easy (it is actually NP-hard) and I don’t know of any algorithm that does not rely on trial-and-error.

      Here is a Stackoverflow thread on the topic.

      Edit: There are some obvious ways to generate a valid Sudoku grid from an already existing valid Sudoku grid, like swapping rows/columns or swapping numbers (e.g. replace all 5s with 1s). In essence all ways James used to simplify the exhaustive search for a 16-clue puzzle. These do not necessarily constitute ‘new’ puzzles, but the general user will probably not notice, so that could be a way to at least generate a big set of puzzles.

      • Thomas says:

        That’s interesting, given that solving a puzzle is just a simple linear programming problem.

        • Piflik says:

          I don’t see how it could be a linear problem to solve a (non-trivial) Sudoku. You can write some neat and short code with Constraint Programming, but the program still has to go over the puzzle multiple times, make guesses and reject invalid ones.

          • EricF says:

            My sudoku solver uses process of elimination (and multiple passes over every square in the grid) to solve any sudoku grid below “black belt” or “5-star” level. At that difficulty level, some of them require making a guess, checking for contradiction, and back-tracking if one is found.

            I’m guessing that Thomas meant “linear” in the sense of “linear algebra”

            • Thomas says:

              Yes, “Linear programming” is the name of a branch of mathematical optimisation, so called because the problems are linear in the sense of linear algebra.
              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linear_programming

              Solving Sodoku’s is one of the easier problems. (And linear programming is one of the easier branches of optimisation). It is optimisation, so it does involve guessing, but there are a lot of well-defined algorithms for linear programming that are pretty good.

          • Bloodsquirrel says:

            Strange- I wrote a sudoku solver once that solved every puzzle I threw at it without ever having to “guess”.

            All it did was systematically eliminate invalid numbers from each square until only one number was left.

    • gresman says:

      After a short visit to my thinking place I came up with the following algorithm idea, which is neither pretty nor efficient I think.
      1. Randomly select a layout
      2. Randomly fill out one complete region
      3. Fill the rest of the board to get a complete solution. With a bit of validity checking and randomness.
      4. Randomly delete a predetermined number of tiles to adjust the difficulty (less deletions for easier puzzles)

      That would be my first idea how to attack this problem.

      • evilmrhenry says:

        That will work to create a grid with at least one solution, but you want one with exactly one solution.

        One thing that could help is if you create a generator, but it’s not perfect, you can still use it to generate levels, as long as you test them first. This doesn’t give you infinite levels, but it does make creating more levels easier.

        • evilmrhenry says:

          I just thought of something; replace step 4 with “Repeatedly delete tiles that can be determined from the remaining clues”. This ensures that the puzzle only has a single solution.

  23. Ryan says:

    Yeah, I can’t get it to run at all. Win10 Pro. I unzipped, and then tried to run the EXE from the folder, and it just locks up the explorer window for that folder entirely (doesn’t even do the greyed out “not responding” thing). I can’t even move or minimize it. I tried 3 times, all with the same result. The only way to kill the locked-up window is through task manager, which is taking down the entire explorer.exe (my whole desktop). I looked in the processes list just to be sure, and the game never appears at all.

    Edit: I also tried running in compatibility mode, as well as running with admin privileges, no luck.

  24. mwchase says:

    Anyone have any luck getting it to run under Wine? I put the folder into a virtual disk, tried to launch it, got a crash almost immediately, and went “well, I tried”.

    • Bryan says:

      Crashes for me under wine as well still, but the fact that one other person is seeing it makes me think that maybe it’s less of a single-system issue than I thought last time. (I saw the same behavior on the earlier release after I got openal32.dll to be 32-bit.)

      It’s trying to execute code at 0, so it looks to me like it’s calling through a NULL pointer that it got from somewhere.

      Register dump:
      CS:0023 SS:002b DS:002b ES:002b FS:0063 GS:006b
      EIP:00000000 ESP:0032f264 EBP:0032fdd0 EFLAGS:00010296( R- — I S -A-P- )
      EAX:0032fdc8 EBX:00000001 ECX:ffffffff EDX:7ddd3000
      ESI:00751538 EDI:00000000
      Stack dump:
      0x0032f264: 0042f150 00000001 004780d4 00000000
      0x0032f274: 00751538 007864a0 007894f8 00000080
      0x0032f284: 0032fbe8 00000000 00000000 00000000
      0x0032f294: 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000
      0x0032f2a4: 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000
      0x0032f2b4: 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000
      Backtrace:
      =>0 0x00000000 (0x0032fdd0)
      1 0x00429f70 in pseudoku (+0x29f6f) (0x0032fde0)
      2 0x0042a19c in pseudoku (+0x2a19b) (0x0032fe14)
      3 0x00448929 in pseudoku (+0x48928) (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 —

      This is still in thread ID 9 in the pseudoku.exe process. I tried with Wine reporting winxp last time; this time I tried reporting win8 as well, and it made no difference.

      Unfortunately I don’t see a good way to attach a debugger anymore… I wonder if I turned that off or if wine did. Hmm. Would be interesting to see the disassembly up one or two stack frames, to see if I can tell where the NULL came from.

      But offset 0x29f6f into the code in pseudoku.exe is the right place to start looking…

    • Anorak says:

      Runs fine in wine 2.0 for me, windows xp mode . I will try it in an empty wineprefix with no winetricks to compare behavior

  25. ulrichomega says:

    I’m loving the region mechanic, especially in the tutorial levels where you have overlapping square regions with two columns/rows.

    The “Number selects tile to put on cursor’d space” mechanic is great, but it took me a while to figure out what you meant, which is probably more reading comprehension on my part than anything.

    The different tilesets are cool, but I think discoverability might be an issue.

    When a tile is removed from the board it goes to a random place. Having it go back to where it came from would be much better. You might have to remember the grouping from the last time the tiles were grouped and then return it to the group, or have each tile remember their last location from the pile. Or maybe have them got to the biggest group of like-tiles remaining? There’s a few ways to do it.

    Highlighting finished regions is very well done. It’s a nice level of satisfying to see a region light up. My only suggestion is that being able to see which tiles a region needs at a glance would be nice, but I’m not sure how you’d accomplish that. I wanted to suggest a sort of color-coded thing where you’re adding colors to a region until it becomes pure white, but there’s a tileset that’s black&white so that wouldn’t work.

  26. Blakeyrat says:

    Aspect ratio issue: Be lazy and black-bar it. Square (by which I assume you mean 4:3) monitors are pretty rare nowadays.

    Not having time to finish: you could consider selling it. Auction off the game’s code to someone else who’d be willing to finish it in your stead. Write up a quick contract that keeps your name in the credits.

  27. Zanmatoer says:

    Got a few oddities during my testing (Win 10):

    You can stack multiple tiles on the same spot using the numpad.
    On 3-6 I finished the puzzle with a tile left over.
    I completed a puzzle (2-2) but didn’t get any feedback that it was correct (no sound or next puzzle button)

    Looks great other than that!

  28. gresman says:

    Did play the first and half of the second tier of puzzles or something like that.
    I would definitely pay 5 currency units for that.

    Just a few usability annotations:
    – Please change either the colour or the icon of the turquoise and green tiles. They are really difficult to differentiate.
    – On a related note: Sometimes the tiles are also a bit difficult to differentiate due to the glow effect on the ones in the pile. Maybe you could reduce the intensity of the glow effect.
    – For me the hint text is barely readable using both colour schemes. For the dark one I would have suggested brightening the background of the hintbox. But that would not solve the issue for the light colour scheme.
    – A cool feature that could be helpful would be if all tiles on the board of the same type as the one I am hovering over in the pile get a highlight.
    – An alternative drag and drop behaviour where you just click once to stick a tile to the cursor and click again to release it would be a cool option.

    As for steamworks:
    From my limited experience with that and what I heard from colleagues talking about it it should be quite straightforward. You just trigger events which are caught by the Steam API and they in turn trigger achievements. But I did only testing of these kind of things and helped with entering them into the system so my knowledge what exactly needs to be done in the code is limited.

  29. The Unforgiven says:

    For various reasons, I can’t test the game out right now, despite really wanting to. Hopefully I’ll be able to soon. I have good news, though. I did the math, and you actually only need to sell 41 copies at $5 each. If you do, you’ll make a cool 75 cents in profit.

  30. Henson says:

    So some reactions (playing on Windows 7):

    -Level 3-6 has an extra ‘1’ tile. Is this by design? It threw me for a loop because I noticed towards the end that not all of my ‘1’ tiles would fit, and so I thought maybe I had made a mistake (which would actually be impossible by that point).

    -The program could use an attractive taskbar symbol when it’s running. Currently, it’s the default “this program does not have a picture” icon.

    -In regards to how the music briefly adds a layer to the track after completing a row/box: I think it would be good to make this addition permanent after a certain percentage of the tiles or rows are correctly filled in. Sort of like a “you’re almost there!” excitement-builder.

    EDIT: One more thing. On my monitor, in fullscreen, the title at the top-right of the screen denoting the level (“Level 7-1”) often blocks a tile, making it difficult to determine which number is in that place.

  31. evileeyore says:

    MAYBE an “infinite” puzzle mode that would auto-generate more puzzles. That’s actually a hard problem to solve and test. It sounds like an interesting and fun problem to work on, but it’s not the kind of thing I’m keen to PROMISE.”

    Half-Life 3 confirmed.

  32. Michael says:

    Well, i’ll definitely pick it up if you put it on steam; considering my normal habits of “buy games on sale and then rarely if ever play them”, i’ve already gotten more fun out of that first demo you put up than many games i’ve bought for more than 5 bucks :-P

    The changes look awesome, but i have to ask, are there any new puzzles compared to the first version? If not i prolly won’t download this version, since i already played through them all at least once.

  33. jalapeno_dude says:

    I posted this feedback on the last post; will repeat it here since you said above that you are actually looking for feedback on the puzzles. Apparently I can’t just copy-paste old comments because they get marked as spam, so this will be shorter and blunter. This applies to the previous version of the game; disregard if you changed the puzzles in this version.

    Many/most of the puzzles obey a certain pattern which is not typical of Sudoku puzzles: their rows consist of permutations of a sequential subset of the numbers in the puzzle. In particular, most/all of the solutions to the classic 9×9 puzzles are made entirely of 3×3 squares in which one row contains the numbers 1-3 in some order, one row contains the numbers 4-6 in some order, and one row contains the numbers 7-9 in some order. See e.g. this puzzle. (The problem isn’t confined to the 9×9 puzzles; I can give more examples if it’s not obvious from that but putting too many links in a comment seems to make it get marked as spam.) Once I realized this pattern I could solve the puzzle extremely quickly by just filling in the appropriate numbers. This totally destroyed my enjoyment of the puzzles, since doing them the “correct” way was slower and just confirmed what I already knew would be true.

    Part of why I noticed this was the color-coding. You could make it a lot less obvious by just mapping the numbers 1-9 to some random permutation of that–at least that way instead of having [4,5,6] together in every row you might have [8,2,5] which doesn’t stand out as visually. But ultimately I think you need to rethink entirely how you’re designing the puzzles–most of them should not have this sort of trick to them which makes it possible to skip actually working out the solution properly.

    • jalapeno_dude says:

      In case it’s not obvious how noticing the pattern helps me solve things: in the example I just linked, by mindlessly following the rule of “whenever I see a 3-long row in a 3×3 square with two numbers already filled in, fill in the third according to the pattern” (so in the top left the row with a 7 and 8 must also contain a 9, and in the top right the row with a 6 and 5 must contain a 4) I can instantly fill in 11 spots on the grid without even looking at anything other than the individual 3-long rows of the 3×3 squares. I can’t justify these choices, since I’m not even looking at full rows or columns, but in fact they’re correct since the solution does obey the pattern I’ve described.

  34. Paul Spooner says:

    An idea for the option buttons in the lower-right corner.
    Right now there are Tileset, Light/dark, volume, music.
    It’s really nice to be able to just click the button and toggle things. But, as others have also mentioned, it’s good to have finer control.
    Since you already have a tile drag-and-drop mechanic established in the rest of the interface, I suggest extending the metaphor would be appropriate. Make a ghosted “slot” box appear above the button when you mouse-over it. The normal toggle operation can be the same if you click the button, or drag it only a short way, but if you drag it up and drop it in the slot, a menu fades in. Maybe something like this for volume.

    For the light/dark, it would be cool to be able to pick any color you want. As long as a color picker isn’t too hard to implement.

    For the tiles, it would be super cool if the option menu made a big grid pop up, and you could drag the symbols around, so you could have mixed up fruits, shapes, letters, etc.

    If you’re interested in some more tilesets, those based around 4 elements present/absent could work (binary counting basically). Maybe something like this?

  35. Mephane says:

    Some random thoughts and feedback:

    * I’d love to see a random/procedural puzzle generator. It’s what made Hexcells Infinite so appealing ultimately, I can always fire it up and solve a completely new puzzle.

    * And Shamus, please, I implore you if it is not too much work, gives us an option (need to even a UI element, just somewhere in a configuration file for us to change) to switch from click-and-hold to move a tile, to click-to-pickup-click-again-to-drop controls.

    * I don’t think I said this in the previous comment thread: thank you for the dark mode. I generally prefer darker backgrounds on any backlit screen because my eyes are above-average sensitive to brightness, so thank you a lot for this option. :)

    • Mephane says:

      A minor issue I just noticed: if you drag a tile somewhere that is not a grid slot (e.g. outside the grind, to sort them, they behave as if “magnetically pushed away” from the edge of the screen. Sometimes I can already tell a certain tile must go into a certain row and move it to the most likely end of the row (but not into a grid slot), and if I do so at the left, top or bottom of the grid, they get pushed inside the grid (but not a slot).

      I guess the purpose of this behaviour is to prevent people from accidentally shoving a tile outside of the screen, in that case the “magnetic pushing” range is just too large, it should maybe only start when the tile you be at least halfway off the screen when dropped.

  36. Sam Atkins says:

    I enjoyed this a lot more than I expected to. I used to like sudoku, but got burned out on it after a while. This feels more fun. I especially like the non-standard puzzles, that’s a twist I haven’t seen before and it does make it more interesting.

    Presentation is good, though some anti-aliasing on the rotated tiles would be nice, they look a big jaggedy. The way the different audio tracks fade in and out as you play feels really good.

    Placing tiles by hitting numbers is nice, though awkward when not using a numeric tileset. I’m not sure what could be done to improve that, maybe holding shift could overlay the tiles with the numbers? Or unused tiles could be arranged into distinct rows, with a number before it. (I’ve only played a couple of sets of puzzles so far, so maybe there would not be room to do this later on.)

    But yeah, I like it! Feels similar to Hexcells/Squarecells, in a good way.

  37. Syal says:

    I’m still being told alut.dll is missing, when I can see it in the folder. Windows 10 with 7 Zip. (And Avast.)

  38. Daemian Lucifer says:

    3-1 and 3-2 are nearly identical.And because they are near one another,this is even more obvious.

  39. Tintenseher says:

    First off, just want to jump on the dual trains of “I would definitely buy this” and “an infinite mode would be amazing given my current addiction to Hexcells”. (I’ve played ~35 hours of Hexcells in the last few weeks, all thanks to judicious daily usage of the infinite generation.) Don’t burn yourself out trying to make it work, though! Better to have a fun and self-contained Pseudoku that entertains for a few hours than no Pseudoku at all. Would be such a waste of a good pun.

    Other comments:

    * The dark mode is really nice to have, but in light mode, the menu icons in the bottom right are a little hard to make out (mostly on the main menu when you shine the “light” of your cursor on it). Also, the light following the cursor is really cute.

    * I’m sure this is something you already have in mind, but it seems to me like there’s a good bit of wasted screen space. The main menu can of course be easily filled in, but on puzzle screens I’d at least like to see the text in the level box (the one giving you a hint or fun fact) be bigger; it’s kind of hard to read at a glance.

    * Also on the text, it seems kinda…stretched? Not sure if it’s the font or the resolution or what, but it just looks a liiittle off.

    * The difference between a locked tile and an open tile isn’t really clear at a glance, when pretty much everything else in the puzzle is. Making the border a little thicker/brighter or adding a darker black border to locked tiles would help a lot. Or both.

    * A button to clear all tiles would be nice. Tab to reorganize and right-click to clear individual tiles are both really helpful, but I found myself wanting to just wipe the puzzle clean once or twice. (To stop it from being horribly frustrating when hit by accident, maybe it should be pressed/clicked twice, or perhaps there could also be an undo button?)

    * It feels like there should be a quick reminder of all the shortcuts somewhere. Just like a little controls screen. I know I’ll end up forgetting them eventually.

    * Interface, mouse movement, auditory and visual feedback are all really smooth and attractive. I wasn’t expecting that from the pictures, so make sure when you put it up on Steam you include a short video of some high-octane puzzle solving!

    All in all, 8.8/10, Gamespot seal of approval. (Is that joke still relevant?)

  40. as for the square monitor problem, it might be solved with a slide out tile drawer.

    The board could be centered, and when you move the mouse to the right side of the screen, the drawer slides out, partially covering the board, and when you click to pick up a tile, the draw slides back so you can drop the tile in the correct space.

  41. Henson says:

    Oooh neat! I just had to redo a later puzzle due to a mistake, but removing all my tiles made them a huge jumble to the side. But when I maximized/restored down the window, it automatically ordered my tiles!

  42. Varil says:

    Very nice game! I’m enjoying how it comes together, and the variants are interesting.

    I’m not 100% behind the squat cursor, but that’s such a minor quibble that it can be ignored altogether.

    I *would* like some way to make notations on what numbers a square could be. On bigger, more complex puzzles it can be helpful when stuck to note what numbers can work on a given square. Not always, and not strictly necessary(especially on the smaller puzzles I’m still working through), but it’s still something I’ve used for solving pencil-and-paper Sudoku puzzles.

    Maybe as a little hover-over note or as tiny numbers/letters/symbols on the square?

    I also like the little factoids in the upper right. I don’t know if they run out or not but I have seen one or two levels without any. I encourage more little comments!

    I also agree that the game’s price range could be a nudge higher than 5. Maybe not 10. 7-8 dollars is a weird number but feels right to me.

  43. Gresman says:

    Just a few questions that came to my mind:
    What do the star and diamond in the level icons in the main menu mean? If I had to guess I would say star are sudoku style and diamond are variations but I am a bit unclear about that.

    is it only possible to play puzzles 4-9 in tiers 4-9 only by using the next level button?

    • Henson says:

      So I’m not the only one having this problem, then? My upper levels are no longer available from the main menu either, which means that if I want to play a new puzzle, I have to first complete one I’ve already solved.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      One of the level hints does say that star levels are classical sudoku like ones,while diamonds are weirder.

  44. Philadelphus says:

    Made a new tileset with only letters. I’m really pushing the alternate tilesets because I’ve observed that some people just won’t look at puzzles with numbers in it. They enjoy abstract logic, but as soon as you throw numerals into the mix they recoil. I’m not sure what causes this, but since one of my goals is to make Sudoku more sexy to people put off by the old numeric grids, it seems like this could help.

    Interesting! I’ve never had the slightest temptation to do a Sudoku puzzle before, until I saw that first screenshot with the letters and had a flicker of “hey, that actually looks somewhat interesting.” Now you have me introspecting trying to figure out why this should be so, but in the meantime, should you decide to put this up on Steam (and good luck if you do!), I would suggest making sure your advertising pictures/videos prominently display alternate tilesets.

    • Syal says:

      Probably that numbers are usually supposed to be mashed together to make different numbers you aren’t told about, while letters and shapes are supposed to just sit quietly next to each other and keep being exactly what they look like.

  45. evileeyore says:

    Hrm… is this going to be a “Steam Only” thing? Or can we get a GOG release too?

    • evilmrhenry says:

      I don’t think GOG would accept it, but there are some indie-focused game stores that could take it if you’re interested in a non-Steam platform.

    • Shamus says:

      I’d put it on GoG in a heartbeat. Heck, I’d rather put it there FIRST. But they’re not generally interested in stuff like this. We applied to have Good Robot added, and weeks later got a rejection letter.

    • evileeyore says:

      I mentioned GOG as i like patronizing them and want to see them continue to thrive. However I’d happily accept any release that was “buy it and own it” and not the Steam style of “buy the rights to play it so long as Steam remains in business”

      • Nixitur says:

        There are plenty of games on Steam that have no DRM whatsoever, so if you download them, you can play them forever, even if Steam’s not running. There’s no reason why Pseudoku would have to rely on Steam.
        Unless, of course, Shamus integrates Steamworks in which case it will probably simply not run without Steam. I’ve heard that it’s possible to have a game that does just run as-is, but has extra features if started from within Steam, but a) I’m not even sure if that’s true and b) it sounds like it would be quite annoying to make work.

        • WJS says:

          I don’t see why it should, I mean it’s not like it’s heavily integrated with Steam (or at all, as of this beta). It could be as simple as wrapping any Steamworks functions in if() blocks. (It’s probably not as simple as wrapping Steam functions in if() blocks)

  46. Lanthanide says:

    I haven’t played this ’cause Sudoku is not really my kind of thing, and I haven’t read all of the responses above either.

    But it sounds like from your post that when you get to 11 or higher, the ‘mouse over + number’ won’t work?

    Here’s a suggestion, if your puzzle goes up to 16, then 1 to 0 can work for the 1 to 10 numbers.

    Then to get 11 to 16 working, you could make it a double-press on the number, eg mouse over a slot and press 4 and you get 4, press 4 twice and you get 14. Press 7 twice and you just get 7, since the board doesn’t have 17.

    Make sense?

    • Decius says:

      Allow arbitrary keybinding for sophisticated users. I normally game with r-hand mouse, l-hand razor orbweaver, which if I don’t take the time to manually configure per program gives me the keys in a box from backquote to v on my hand without moving. I could bind 1-0 on the top two rows for your game, but configuring a properly set up program to use the keys it natively inputs is easier.

  47. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

    Unzipped to my games folder on Windows 10. Worked fine.
    Played first three puzzles and got stuck.

    Well, I could probably figure it out, but I don’t actually like Sudoku that much (more of a crossword puzzle person). The interface was fun. The music was kind of mindless and didn’t bug me. This is the kind of thing I would recommend to my family who like sudoku, but it wouldn’t convert me.

  48. Mistwraithe says:

    If you do add a mode to generate new puzzles then I suggest you let the player optionally enter a seed value (and see the seed value of puzzles that have previously been randomly generated). That way they can pass the seeds to friends so they can play the same levels.

    The seed values can be pure numbers or you can turn it into letters if that is going to be easier for people to remember (would also allow player to enter their own name or similar just to see what game they get out of that seed).

  49. Daniel says:

    I’m getting the feeling the colors on the fixed tiles (faded) don’t quite match, when I’m scanning the board for a certain tile I tend to miss the faded ones.

    Btw, amazing name for the game ;)

  50. Aristabulus says:

    The only bit of feedback I have for you… Gotta do something about that title.

    I suppose it’s pronounced the same as the vanilla puzzle, which will be an endless source of confusion.

    “So I’ve been playing this new game, Pseudoku…”
    “Sudoku isn’t new, dude. It’s been around for decades.”
    “No, this one is a video game, and spelled differently…”
    “Huh?”

    Or worse, people could mispronounce it, and put you in a nitch you don’t want to be in.

    (Don’t be the Ohneeders; it’s not a good look, and I want you to do well in whatever you do with this game.)

    • Retsam says:

      It’s pronounced “oh-neh-ders” actually.

      Personally, I think the title is fine: simple and memorable trumps the bit of ambiguity of trying to verbally communicate the name. (“Pseudoku with a ps” is not great but not the end of the world, either)

      • Cuthalion says:

        I agree. I like the little pun in the title, and it describes the game well — sudoku, but with a few variations and some alternate puzzles. Neil D below may have a point about math-averse players avoiding it because they think they don’t like sudoku. But, I’m not sure that changing the title will solve that attraction problem, while it would make it harder to find and less recognizable.

    • Neil D says:

      There is a point here too, that people who are already adverse to Sudoku because “oh-no maths”, may not stop to look at this just because of the name. Which, aren’t they the primary reason this sprang into being in the first place?

      New site contest, name the game? First prize is a day hanging out with Josh. Second prize is two days hanging out with Josh.

  51. Linda S says:

    I’ve played through most of the first level on my Surface (Windows 10) using the touchscreen interface, and I’m enjoying it so far. My only minor quibble is that some of the color/shape combinations are a little too similar and probably shouldn’t be in the same puzzle.

    I hope you decide to release the game–I would definitely pay $5 for it.

  52. Lal says:

    I don’t know if that could be implemented but would it be possible to choose the colours of the tiles yourself? People with synesthesia have a really hard time reading colourful text when the words/letters are not the same colour as in their heads. Same goes with numbers.

    If that means hours of coding then I guess it’s not worth it as I doubt there are that many synesthetes.

    • WJS says:

      You could just use the symbol tiles. Or, that would be a really easy mod. The textures for the tiles are just png files in a folder. Just swap them so they match. That would be way easier than implementing all the functionality the game would need to do that.

  53. Stormcaller says:

    Doing level 3-6 – completed it with a spare “1” left over…

    http://lookpic.com/O/i2/924/ZXP5W47a.png

    (it was one with a pattern to the solve, so i guess it is on your replacement list anyway…

  54. Akri says:

    I have made a Very Important Discovery: if you press tab repeatedly it makes the tiles look like they’re dancing. You’re welcome.

    More seriously, I’m really digging the whole “physical tiles you can move around and place manually” thing. It seems like it actually helps me think through solutions a bit easier when I can set a tile down near where I think it should go. A few gripes though:

    – Tiles should be click to pick up and click to put down
    – The tile sorting at the start isn’t quite working. Tiles will be grouped, but usually there will be two groups of the same type, which I find mildly irritating. But this may just be me. YMMV.
    – Some of the tiles can be hard to tell apart because of similar shapes or really strong glow affects. (And on a related note, I personally would like to have a black-and-white version of every tileset, provided the shapes are clearly distinguishable. Sometimes I get tired of all the color and want something more toned-down to look at)
    – I would appreciate a “start over” button for when I’ve completely screwed up a puzzle

  55. IT would look nice (and cheerful) if the background changed to a different background color for each puzzle. (And make a option somewhere to let the player choose Dark/Light/Colorfull modes.)

  56. Megaybte says:

    This is really cool! I would pay a few bucks for a puzzle game like this!

    Question: Is there a way to set the game into fullscreen mode, or to perhaps reduce the resolution to something like 1024×768? My poor laptop’s monitor isn’t “Full HD”. I was still able to play the game. The window was just a little cut off at the top.

    I really liked the music too! It has that quality that is both meditative, yet exciting as you make forward progress. I’m also a sucker for electronica instruments!

  57. Burning says:

    Pretty nice. I like the introduction of the less traditional puzzle formats. The alternate tile-sets are nice as well.

    A few minor comments.

    It would be nice to have a way to reset a solved or in progress puzzle back to its starting state in one action.

    The solved section highlighting in dark mode isn’t that easy to tell from the partially filled highlighting. Otherwise I prefer the dark mode to the light mode. Minor point, since you can see that all fields are filled.

    Purely personal aesthetic gripe: I keep wanting there to be some significance to the sound you get when you put a tile in place. Instead it seems random. It ends up bugging me when I get a loud decisive sounding click for a move that doesn’t seem to have any particular significance and then a really quiet click when I place the last tile in a row or rectangle.

    No bugs so far.

    Thanks, it’s a neat program.

  58. Decius says:

    level 2-3 tip needs to avoid the use of “The right way to play is…”

    It looks like sometimes when a number is pressed and the cursor is on an occupied tile, the tile already in the destination goes to the center square, even if there is a tile on the center square already. Expected behavior is that replaced tiles go where they would go if you rclick them.

  59. Jon Ericson says:

    The name is genius. I used to do Sudoku in the paper every day, but stopped because it felt kinda boring and repetitive. The variations are a good change of pace. I can’t use some of my normal solving methods because they don’t work on the overlapping regions. Having to come up with other shortcuts for those sounds like a good time.

    Paper puzzles are also a pain when you mess up because it’s a lot easier to start from scratch than try to back out your moves to the mistake. This version solved that by blocking illegal moves. It feels a bit like cheating, but it’s far better user experience. Having the remaining tiles is also a nice touch since I usually go for numbers that have been used the most. Letter and picture tiles are great too. I can easily imagine unlocking new tilesets rather than having them all available from the start. (Not sure if that’s a good idea, but it seems natural.)

    2-4’s top row is 123456 (or ABCDEF). Easter egg or clue to how that puzzle was made?

    This feels like a natural fit for mobile. (I know, I know.) So I looked at a top-rated free Sudoku on iOS. They were kinda awful. For some reason they all require you to tap the square first and then tap a number. I have no idea why they don’t allow dragging the number into place or even just selecting the number ber the square. Perhaps the er-version of sudoku did it that way and every copy followed along. Also, they are so busy and flashy it’s hard to concentrate. If you managed to sell a few copies on Steam, I’d be willing to bet you could find plenty of people who would be able to port it to a phone for a small fee. Certainly there is a spot in the market for an inventive (and calm) sudoku-like puzzle for iOS.

    At any rate, I’m glad to have tried it out. Good stuff.

  60. Aerik says:

    My wife and I both tried this tonight, and really enjoyed it! It’s in good shape already, Shamus.

    Suggestions/observations:
    -Hover text for the options buttons?
    -Option to turn off error noise/red light?
    -The areas (zones? the big squares that you fill with tiles) were a little hard for her to see in the light color scheme. I suggested the dark, and that was much better.
    -Once, she dropped a tile onto a blank spot on the board, and it stayed right there, and she thought she had placed it, when really, it was hanging in limbo, and there was no slot there. Maybe if you drop it on a blank spot on the board, have it zoom back to the “bin” area?
    -Maybe for the 10+ tiles (formerly A-whatever), you could leave the keyboard shortcuts as A, B, C, etc. I found myself playing with my right hand on the mouse, and my left hand on the number row. A, B, C, D, E, and F are all on the left half of the keyboard, anyway, so they wouldn’t be far.
    -Maybe an optional timer, so you could try to beat your best times? Rachel plays a lot of online puzzles, and tries for the best time.

    We had a lot of fun! I would pay $5, especially with Steam achievements. Rachel played with a glass of wine in her left hand, and observed that she really appreciated a game you could play one-handed. :P

  61. Iunnrais says:

    Works for me on Win 10 on an old unstable dying craptop that crashes if you even throw too big a video file at it, so that’s a good sign for stability. Game itself is fun– could use a few more music tracks, more puzzles, and the ability to mark a square for what CAN’T go there. Seriously, for a sudoku game, that is an absolute MUST feature. Either that, or marking possibilities that can go there, which you then remove as you reveal impossibilities.

  62. Lanelor says:

    Bug?

    I point to a square and press a number key from the keyboard (using the number line, not the num block :) ). If there is already something there, it flies east outside the field. But sometimes, the current block flies to another field, possibly overlapping whatever is there. Also, sometimes I can stack 2+ blocks one over the other.

  63. WJS says:

    The sorting behaviour is a little odd. Well, I say “sorting”, it’s really more like “grouping”, and even that doesn’t always work. It would be better if it actually sorted the tiles, like this:
    4444
    777
    555
    33
    1
    So you could see at a glance how many of each type were left. Also, there really needs to be a “reset” button for a puzzle when you get halfway through one and realise that you’ve made it unsolvable at some point, but you don’t know where.

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