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Dicetris, 4-bit puzzle game

Link to Binary

Hey everybody! A newcomer wishing you an awesome uDevGames 2011 with the entry called DICETRIS!

“Alea jacta est comrades! A new planetary system is finally in sight. It sure is a sight for sore eyes! The long cosmic journey home has finally come to an end.” Suddenly, an alarm sounds! “Captain, something has taken over our ship’s computer and we’re headed for the sun! The monitors are full of – DICE!” Why? What is it? Is it a higher life form – a GOD? Can we beat it? How much time is left? Was Einstein right?
Welcome! And good luck with your entry!
Here are the ground rules of Dicetris (The rules are subject to change):

A wall of dice is coming at you from the top of the screen. You are given a die that you rotate and shoot from the bottom of the screen at the wall. To rotate and shoot dice you use “the Hand”, a cybernetic limb that you control with the arrow keys and the space bar. On impact with the wall the new die becomes a part of the wall. If at this moment a combination between a group of dice (formed by the introduction of the new die) is triggered the group disappears. The names of the combinations and their definitions (in Esperanto) are:

1) “Sekvenco”: Sequences of three or more die, such as, 123, 234 or 3456.
2) “Speco”: Groups of three or more dice of the same value.
3) “Sepj”: Groups of two or more dice that amount to seven.

Score from a disappearance of a group is calculated as follows:

1) “Sekvenco”: The value of all dice multiplied together, for example, 1*2*3 or 3*4*5*6
2) “Speco”: The value of all dice added together, for example 1+1+1 or 2+2+2+2
3) “Sepj”: Seven points

Dice get pulled together by a light magnet, that is, if three dice were grouped together and the middle one disappears the two remaining ones get pulled together by a ray of light that functions like a rubberband. If the disappearance of a group triggers a disappearance of another group a multiplier is applied to the given score in the following sequence: 2x, 3x, 4x, and so on.

In addition there are power ups that appear at random with a probability of 1/10 when dice disappear. The power ups fall down and have to be caught by “the Hand” in order to activate. All powerups have the same probability of appearing. If during a powerup a new power is picked up the new powerup is switched on.

The power ups are:

1) Speedup “Rapideco” - speeds up the wall for 5 seconds
2) Slow down “Malrapideco” - slow down the wall
3) Laser - ability to shoot at the wall destroying dice for 7 seconds.
4) Bomb “Bombadi” - ability to toss a bomb at the wall destroying at maximum 6 dice for 7 seconds (slower than laser)
5) Turn dice “Rivoluado” - Turns all the dice in the wall 90 degrees towards the player.
6) Seven “Sep” - Functions like a Joker in Cards.
7) Automat “Roboto” - the computer takes over for 5 seconds (like Mr. Data playing the game)
8) Magnet “Magneto” - all isolated dice get pulled together and all groups get pulled together
9) Random “Aleatora” - all dice in the wall get new random face

Every level is 100 units in length notated by the letter u. The level starts at 1u and ends at 100u when a golden die appears. Once you make the golden die disappear all dice disappear and the level Boss appears. If the wall of dice or the end boss cross a border at the bottom of the screen it's game over.

Esperanto was chosen as the unified bureaucratic language “idiomo formale burokrata” in the Dicetris universe which caused a lot of headache and pain. It was common to be turned away by missing a certified document, a “dokumento legalizado perdita”, or having a spelling mistake “grafismo eraro” in your birth certificate.
Some mockups for Dicetris. I'm picturing the game field slightly tilted kind of semi 3D. I feel it might help when rotating the dice so that you see the bottom of the die also.

basic game play - getting a sequence:
[Image: img_0690.jpg]

level end monster:
[Image: img_0692.jpg]

game over:
[Image: img_0694.jpg]

[Image: img_0693.jpg]

Suddenly, I realized that if I use the arrow keys to rotate and space to shoot, how will the dice move horizontally in order to aim? Currently, the only thing I can think of is either moving the dice while holding the spacebar down or introducing two more keys, like <> or zx to move the hand horizontally.
I must say the mockups look very interesting. Good luck with your entry!

If the player's die always starts in the same orientation I'd quickly get used to knowing where all the sides are, and wouldn't need to see the hidden sides. Nonetheless, I was thinking about how to show more sides.

If you put a rounded, or several flat, mirrors under the player's die, the player could see 3 or 4 of the hidden surfaces. I think the rounded mirror might look rather cool, but you'd probably have to pre-render it's animations with a ray tracer though.

Or you could show simpler and more abstract cues: show the hidden left side as a translucent square to the left of the player die, the right side shown the right, etc.

Like I said, this maybe isn't needed if the player's die is always oriented the same way.. (Maybe hard mode (or a negative effect powerup) would scramble the player's die orientation?)

Fun game idea, looking forward to seeing more.
Hey Matt,

Mirrors do fit the story. Also, I had not thought about the initial die orientation at all! Good point. I will put some thought into it whether to scramble the orientation or not. It could be tied to levels, like level 1 there's always one facing you, level 2 two etc... It would be fun if you really start to visualize a die. I did some reading and there are different configurations in western and eastern dice. Lot's of beliefs revolve around these things. Lucky numbers and such.
Finally got something running:


Here's also a couple of new mockups:

The three different sequences:
[Image: dicetrismockup2.jpg]

Example of a combo:
[Image: dicetriscombo.png]

Here I though about how the next die should appear. I think in order to maintain a good flow it should appear in the same position as when it left the hand.
[Image: dicetrisdieposition.png]
[Image: dicetrisrt.jpg]
So glad to see paper mockups. More games need that!
(Aug 27, 2011 12:51 PM)funkboy Wrote: [ -> ]So glad to see paper mockups. More games need that!

I agree. It is a good fun way to figure things out. Also, it is something that everybody can understand from the system level programmer to the designer, even up to the sound guy!

[Image: captain.jpg]
Vladimir Umberto, head of cosmic exploration group.
"Snake Pliskin? I thought you were dead."

Dicetris binary is available for download.. Download link also on top.

I'm quite worn out but I'll link some images.

[Image: Dicetris.jpg]

[Image: A_new_planetary_system.jpg]

[Image: Cosmic_Explorer_1.jpg]

[Image: Dicetris_Gameplay_1.jpg]

[Image: Dicetris_Gameplay_2.jpg]

[Image: Encounter_strange_creatures.jpg]

You'll need to talk with seth to get your entry back into the contest, since it looks like you missed the deadline.
I think seth closed the contest early. I know he submitted it in time. Well, in the nick of time Smile
Link works:
The rules of the game are somewhat unintuitive, so you might have problems with people getting confused there. I found that for me the degenerate strategy of just trying to do 7s all the time was the easiest since each block was cleared out with its complement. At that point the only challenge was memorizing which side of the die was what number.
I didn't understand what I was supposed to do at the boss either, but beat it anyway somehow.
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