I'm building a word game

posted by Jeff | Thursday, March 24, 2022, 8:15 PM | comments: 0

Inspired by the Wordle phenomenon, which I suspect may be waning, I decided to build a word game myself. I've been going at it for a few hours every night this week, and I'm really having a good time with it. When I do put it out to the world, I don't know if it will get any attraction, and honestly it doesn't matter. It's the most fun I've had writing code since I wrote MLocker, which by the way I use every single day.

While I've written software most of my professional life, or in more recent years mostly managed software projects and people, I've always wanted to write a game, but couldn't think of any good ideas, and I wasn't sure where to start. The tools are pretty easy to come by these days, and there are a bunch of open source game engines, many leveraging the .NET stuff that I already know, able to run on all platforms. It's kind of a magical time in that sense. But going back to Wordle, the thing I loved most about it is that it's purely a web app. There's nothing to download; you just point your browser at it. I know how to build web apps, so doing a text-based game in a browser is particularly well suited to my existing skills.

I'm using Blazor again for this, because it's super easy to do front-end work with it, and since it's compiled to WebAssembly, it's harder to cheat. It's not hard to poke at Wordle with browser dev tools to get the answer (it took me maybe two minutes). In my case, I think I'm going to send your score back to the server, so the next day you can see how you did compared to the rest of the world. Definitely don't want cheating in that case. I dunno, I haven't thought that through very much.

I've been messing with some old school CSS stuff that I've largely ignored for years, specifically animation and flex layouts. They aren't hard to figure out, but getting to know the quirks and best practices has been interesting. Going back to something simple like CSS is a lot more fun than trying to understand IAM policies in AWS (and for the record I don't understand the latter at all).

Thinking about the game in terms of rules and overall gameplay has been fun as well. Once you come up with a basic premise, you have to start asking yourself what it means to win, if there should be time limits, scores, etc. I've put it in front of just a few friends for feedback, but with only one board to do, it's not very compelling at the moment. I think there's a lot there to experiment with still.

When will I release it to the world? I dunno. I imagine probably a few more weeks. The basic game is more or less done, but the part where you would compare your score to others would take an extra few days. I can probably make that optional or add it later.


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