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Bejeweled blitz basics of investing

bejeweled blitz basics of investing

(Juul ), yet Blitz uses the basic gameplay of Bejeweled to create a have to invest large amounts of time, not to improve your skills, but in. It's a great addition, because aside from the basic match-three concept, the gameplay is entirely different. In this mode, players rotate 2×2. EA is pulling the popular Bejeweled Blitz game. An. game usage wasn't high enough to justify the continued investment of resources. HOW TO SET UP SMART CONTRACTS ETHEREUM

Figure 1: Bejeweled Blitz PopCap Getting into Blitz Jesper: I think it is appropriate to discuss Bejeweled Blitz in a conversation because it is a game that is nominally single player, but for me has been completely determined by the existence of the updated friend's high score table on Facebook. When I first picked up Blitz, I think I saw it as just a quite shallow short-form version of Bejeweled. A few years ago, I spent some time writing a history of matching tile games, which in turn meant playing dozens or hundreds of different games.

I enjoyed looking at the minute differences between them, but from reviews and player reactions to these games, it was also clear that matching tile games are generally looked down upon as simple and shallow Juul At the same time, it seems intuitively true that a game played in a short time is necessarily less deep than a game played for a longer time, so it felt obvious that Blitz would not promote deep skills or strategies.

It was only when I saw the status updates from my high-scoring Facebook friends that I began to search seriously for deeper strategies in the game. There is competition with the other players, of course, but simply knowing that the game has depth fundamentally alters the way I play. I suppose this goes back to the high score table from early arcade games, but knowing the high scores of friends have certainly changed the way I see Blitz.

That was my story. You, on the other hand, seemed to be getting very high scores early on. How did you get into Blitz? Rasmus: I have an absolute love for puzzle action games. I think they occasionally outshine every other gaming genre with bursts of innovation and brilliance, crystallized into a standout game.

And I think Blitz is such a game. When Blitz came out, I was instantly hooked, because this was something I was already looking for; it seemed like the perfect action-puzzle hybrid, something I had been thinking of ever since Collapse Gamehouse I was always into match-3s, ever since Bejeweled came out, but the sequel did not really do anything for me.

With Bejeweled 2 PopCap Games a , it seemed like the game would always snatch the action away from you when things were finally heating up; you would have created a few flame gems, possibly a hypercube, and the level would just end, bam. Blitz, on the other hand, lets you build up meaty clusters of super gems and detonate them all in one phantasmagoric chain-explosion of fireworks.

It invites creativity, experimentation, and quick thinking in a way that previous games in the genre have not, so in that way it is almost a sandbox experience. In addition, I quickly found that Blitz tickled my core gamer bone in a way that few other casual games have managed to do; it is somewhat of a crossover in that respect. Therefore, Blitz challenges us to think about casual games in a new light.

Jesper: And see non-casual games in a new light, I might add. One of the things I find fascinating about casual games is how they are often described as a big "other". As if we have "real", "hardcore" video games played by "real" players over here, then at some distance there is a strange phenomenon called "casual games" that is assumed to work by entirely different principles. At the same time, nobody really likes those terms, but we do not have any better terms to use instead, and we have to acknowledge that the ideas of "casual" and "hardcore" play an important role in game culture, game design, and the game industry Juul Perhaps the best way to describe it is to say that match-3 games are strongly associated with the idea of casual games and casual players.

And in what order? Jesper: It was really when Jewel Quest iWin introduced the criteria you had to perform a match on every square in order to complete a level, that I started making long-term planning, thinking about matches several steps ahead. The second level of match-3 strategy came to me when I played Puzzle Quest Infinite Interactive , where preventing the opponent from getting a match becomes important. That made it necessary to think about the playing board in a negative sense: not just about maximizing opportunities in the following step, but about preventing opportunities from arising.

All of that carried over to Blitz. But to go back to the beginning, I think that the first thing a player will do is to memorize the three basic patterns that can be made into a match by moving a single piece: Since a match always involves placing similar pieces on a straight line, the player must move a piece that is either 1 along the length of the final match, 2 diagonal from pair of similar pieces or 3 in the middle between two similar pieces Figure 2.

These can then occur in mirrored and rotated forms. Figure 2: The three potential match-3 patterns in Bejeweled Since Blitz awards us with special objects for longer matches, we then learn to search for larger matches. Figure 3 shows the patterns that we look for in order to create a match 4- or 5.

Figure 3: The match-4 and match-5 patterns in Bejeweled. The five patterns in Figure 2 and Figure 3 are the basic patterns of match-3, not just because they are the easiest to learn, but also because they are the fundamental actions available to you.

Every single action performed in a match-3 is a variant or combination of these five basic patterns. However, I think that because we see more short matches, we become more attuned to them. For example, I often find myself in a position like in Figure 4. On a bad day, I will see the horizontal match possibility first and make a match-3, only to realize that I could have done the vertical match Returning to your question about strategies, I do not think of myself as strategic player in a fast game like Blitz.

As a player, I am rather trying to balance my instinctual recognition of the patterns above with longer-term strategic thinking. How long time should I spend searching for a useful match-4 or 5 if there is a not-so-useful match-3 available? On top of the patterns above, there are, of course a number of more complicated patterns: Making a match to move the next match into position; gradually chipping away at unrelated colors to get to a special object you want to activate; making matches at the bottom of the screen to shake things up.

Play theorist Brian Sutton-Smith has proposed that all play can be seen as a negotiation between your reflective capacities i. I do think that this describes the experience of Blitz very well: I am training some basic pattern-recognition skills that I am not really controlling consciously, and at the same time, I am trying to manage which patterns to look for at a given moment.

The strange thing about playing games like this with shared high score lists but no access to the strategies of other players is that where you'd regularly simply copy whatever strategies you see people using, the dynamic in Blitz is that you see someone's high score and that makes you realize that there is some strategy or trick out there that you haven't been using, but you have to figure out for yourself what that strategy is.

For Blitz, I simply did not understand how people could get This means that I think the strongest strategy is to allow yourself time to look for large matches in the beginning of a game since the multiplier will last the rest of the level, but to be more open to making lots of small matches at the end of a level.

How did your Blitz strategies evolve? Do you think very consciously about strategies? That being said, there is nothing wrong with internalizing a handful of rules to guide those reactions. Figure 6: Creating an L-shape The resulting explosion will almost always cause a new multiplier to appear, so it is extremely important to get these right. You simply have to evolve your reaction patterns over time; it may seem ridiculous, but it actually really feels like you can keep growing with the game.

Indeed, your progress through your Blitz "career" can be thought of as a series of realizations about the game's non-obvious strategies. While this may be true of any game, I think it is particularly interesting in the case of Blitz, because it also seems to be key to driving its adoption. The realization that "there must be something I'm missing here" drives players back to the game, I think, to uncover new strategies that they might in turn incorporate in their arsenal and use to beat their friends.

And absolutely key to that is the second time limit: "Hey, it's only one minute, why shouldn't I be able to do better than you? However, I am ambivalent about spending time developing strategies for a game with too much randomness, and I am ambivalent about score resets: I know I get the chance to make my mark again next week, but I worry more about losing the mark I made.

That is part of what makes it work week after week on Facebook, but on some level, I feel that it should be possible to have an all-time high-score prominently displayed. Perhaps that makes me old-fashioned, and perhaps it reflects that I have a completion instinct: I want to be finished with a game, and at least theoretically, I prefer games that are predictable. I dislike randomness. However, I am sucked into a game like this anyway, so my tastes are probably out of tune with my theoretical alignment here.

I have been thinking lately that all games create a lack that you want to remedy. This is what games do: they create lack and chaos, partially manageable chaos, out of order. Blitz is then meant to be played many, many times. The 1-minute game sessions make it easy to get into the game, easy to leave the game, and easy to return to the game. I was always philosophically opposed to games that feature large amounts of randomness.

Achieving a high score in Blitz largely comes down to quickly collecting multipliers at the beginning of a level, which in turn depends on a good starting pattern of jewels. In the beginning I thought this was not fair. On the other hand, randomness had the positive effect that by playing often, I was guaranteed that there would occasionally be games in which I achieved a very high score.

I felt that randomness was what kept me coming back to Blitz. Sure, I would improve my pattern recognition skills, I would be better at thinking several steps ahead, but I would get high scores in the games where I by sheer luck found several large matches in the beginning, leading to several multipliers, followed by several other large matches. It was in those games that I really felt an improvement. Even if your skills are not improving, randomness guarantees the occasional standout result.

Randomness also means that I never feel quite finished with Blitz. Thinking about the game, there's always that glimmer of hope, that I will come back and experience an unprecedented setup of jewels that will allow me to reach an equally unprecedented high score.

That hope is important if you dislike not having the highest score among your peers. Do you think of yourself as a completionist or as something else? What do you feel about randomness? And what is the highest score you are aware of? Rasmus: I did manage to score , in a single, mad game. That was a rush! Yet with 11 million people playing, you would think that there is probably someone out there who is doing considerably better. On the other hand, if such a leader board did exist, it might just scare people away from even competing.

How would you feel if someone had a score of 2,,? I think PopCap probably made a wise decision, commercially, in keeping it between friends. About randomness: actually, I think there is something quite beautiful about a game design which is so intrinsically dependent on randomness, yet still manages to produce a truly substantial play experience every time.

I am endlessly fascinated by the depth on display within this incredibly small design. It is the purest expression of game rules; a system that serves fresh challenges for you each play. Linear, level-based games have all these problems: while you get to rigidly control what the player experiences and when, it also inherently works against the replay value. You have level designers working for months on stuff that will ultimately be thrown away or glimpsed only briefly by players; you risk that some players will be frightened off by the steep learning curve, and others will be bored because they've already mastered similar challenges in other games.

You cannot afford to iterate too many times over the game mechanics, because that will throw the level design to the wind. With large 3D games, there is simply no practical way to attempt this level of auto-generation. However, with something small, simple and very focused, like Bejeweled, it is possible.

It allows the game designers to iterate a million times over the mechanics. But having said that, I would contest the assertion that Blitz is truly random. Have you noticed how your chances of success improve more and more, the better moves you are able to pull off? I think PopCap have found a way to tweak their gem-generating algorithm so that it favors you progressively, corresponding to how much havoc you're able to wreak.

Jesper: Unless you put all the numbers in a spreadsheet and analyze them, I think it is hard to judge whether a random generator is truly random. I know what you mean about the end board feeling more "springy", but can we rule out that it may be some kind of subjective distortion? I can appreciate randomness as something that gives you variation and gives everybody a chance at getting a high score, and I appreciate how this compares to family board and card games, wherein randomness adds to the social dimension of a game since winning will be more evenly distributed.

However, some part of me feels that it is wrong when I restart the game after 10 seconds. This seems to me like a throwback to early video games where I would reset my computer and reload the game sometimes.

Isn't this a design flaw on some fundamental level? Can this really be good design? Rasmus: To clarify, what you are talking about is the dreaded "No More Moves" scenario, which is unfortunately endemic to match-3s. The rules dictate that fresh gems appear at the top of the board as matches are cleared away below; if you continue to "trash the board", i. Fortunately, PopCap have taken it upon themselves to mitigate this problem by rigging Blitz' random algorithm to ensure that at least one match can be made on the board at any time.

But the thing is: if you can accept that this is the way these games work, it becomes just another strategy to work into your arsenal. If you get into this chasing-the-automatch cycle, you have clearly messed things up for yourself, and you should have been paying more attention at an earlier point.

If you are careful about the matches you make, and remember to shake up the lower part of the board regularly, there is no reason you should end in that scenario. Therefore, I can easily live with that design decision; it actually leans toward skill, which I think is ultimately what Blitz is all about. Jesper: But doesn't it also lean toward time? I am sure we agree that games on some fundamental level should consistently reward skill. Randomness evens out over time, of course, but this in turn means that you have to invest large amounts of time, not to improve your skills, but in order to get lucky with the random generator.

Most of all, what I really oppose is the "no more moves" situation as well as the workaround you discussed above. In such cases, I feel that game is wasting my time. I am a completionist, I want a game to be honest with me, and I want to be sure that if I perform poorly, it was my own fault. On the other hand, it probably depends on how you frame the game.

If you see it as a game you can complete on some level by getting a high score that will stand for years perhaps , then it may feel more unfair than if you see the randomness as something that keeps generating new puzzles for you. Is Blitz a sublime and noble battle, mano-a-mano, or is it like a Solitaire variant that keeps creating new interesting problems that you can solve?

Randomness has very different meanings in those two ways of framing it. Rasmus: I can certainly see what you mean. However, core games also waste your time, however honest you may think they are. When is the last time you had fun with corridors and crates? And yet every modern FPS is still chock full of that stuff. What is the purpose of all this getting from A to B? Yet, as core gamers, we do this for hours on end!

Core games are full of downtime. You will get into a heated firefight, and then spend 5 minutes roaming around, trying to find what amounts to the next key card. I decided to turn the exercise into a chance to geek out with an over-the-top solution. A few hours later, I had it working. Follow along: Step 1 Obtain a cheap webcam. Point it at the screen you will be playing the game on. Step 2 Dust off your favourite development platform.

Step 3 Fire up Facebook, and learn the mechanics of the game. If it takes you more than 30 seconds to work out how to play, might I suggest another sport? I hear watching grass grow is popular at this time of the year. Step 4 Write a bit of code to capture the image from the camera. Step 5 You'll probably need to mess about with the camera settings to obtain a decent picture.

I found the cheap web cams to not only be very "noisy" but also very poor in the way they differentiate colours. I had quite a hard time tweaking the colour settings on the camera to allow for a reliable differentiation between the red and orange shapes in the game. Damn you PopCap, next time you develop a game, can you spread the colours of your shapes more evenly around the RGB colour spectrum?

Step 6 With that out of the way, the next task is to get the computer to parse the image it sees. I did this by allowing the user to draw a clipping rectangle over frame of the image. Everything outside the grid is masked out. Then the grid clipping region is divided equally into 64 equal sized rectangles.

Rather than trying to use sophisticated shape detection, I divine the contents of each grid by simply averaging a selection of pixels from the centre of each grid and comparing the RGB values using a least-squares error function to a pre-computed table of known RGB values for the shapes. If you want to repeat my steps, I suggest storing these know values, like I did, in something like an Excel spreadsheet to allow constant tweaks until you get consistent, repeatable and reliable matches.

To make the tweaking easier, after the program processed the RGB values, I updated a grid on the form to echo these values so that I could make micro changes to the RGB values. Step 7 Next we train the computer where the Bejeweled game is on the screen. This is as simple as moving the mouse to the opposing corners of the player grid and reading the coordinates. I click a button which starts a five second countdown timer, giving me enough time to move the mouse to the top left corner of the Bejeweled application.

After a beep, another five seconds gives me chance to move to the lower right. From these two coordinates, I interpolate the mid-point coordinates of each cell. When it's time for the PC to make a move, the mouse is programmatically moved to the appropriate cell centroid, the message sent that the mouse button is pressed, then the move, then the mouse released.

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