Leaving the cave

About learning, technology and raising kids…

by Dieter

Touch interface and games – Vice Versa

As discussed in a previous blogpost, the interface is important for a game. I gave an example of a PC game that was recoded for an iOS device.

This time it’s the other way around. If you are familiar with iOS games, you certainly know Angry Birds. Something similar is the game Cut The Rope (iTunes Link). Since a few weeks, it is available as a browser game, completely written in HTML5: http://www.cuttherope.ie/ (I tried it in IE9 and Chrome).

This game has been around for a while. If you do not know it, a look at the trailer will learn you a lot more: http://youtu.be/8xPUdFaraoQ.

Having played Cut the Rope from time to time, I really enjoy it. The only thing that can be frustrating is that sometimes I am not fast enough. Yes, you read that correctly, not fast enough. Even with TEN fingers.

If you are from time to time not fast enough with ten fingers, how can you be fast enough with one mousepointer in the browser version?

The developers are no idiots, and that’s probably one of the reasons why some levels from the iOS app are not available in the browser version.

Let’s take a look at two identical levels in the two versions:








As you can see, there is no real difference in look.

The difference is the interface. This game works great if you can control it with your fingers, and cut the ropes, or push the balloons. When using a mousepointer, you lose all the feeling.

On the plus side, the browser version is a great demo for the capabilities of HTML5.

by Dieter

Touch interface and games

I use my iPad for casual gaming, and discovered something annoying.

IMHO, it is not possible to transfer all games to a touch interface. Take these two examples.

1. Bejeweled Blitz (iTunes App Store link)

Most of you are familiar with the concept of this game, but for those who are not: you must score as many points as possible within 60 seconds by aligning three or more identical gems. You can only switch the position of two adjacent gems, if one of those gems will form a line of three or more. You tap the gems to select them.

This is the interface:


2. Diamond Dash (iTunes App Store link)

A very similar game. Within 60 seconds, you must score as many points as possible by removing three or more adjacent blocks. In order to remove the blocks, you need to tap on them.

This is the – rather equal – interface:

Here is the issue I face: being a lefty (and proud of it), and tapping along the right side of my iPad screen, I cannot see the left side of the screen. How can I play a game like that, when I cannot see half the interface?

Is it me? Should I use both my hands? Being in my early thirties, I am not yet trained to do that.

Or are the game developers jumping on the iOS cart, because it still is the mobile operating system with the largest user base?

Whatever the reason, it is not a given that everything that works on desktop computer with a mouse, can work as well on a touchscreen device. Just like learning content: because a presentation works in a classroom environment, it will not (a priori) work in standalone mode with a voiceover…


by Dieter

Hide and seek

Ever since my kids were born, I wondered how they would perform in the hide and seek game. I now have a 2y and a 4y old. You can spot them both in the picture below.

And there are some things I noticed:
The 2y old does not get it (neither did the older one when she was 2), but learns fast by imitating his sister.
The 4y old starts to get it, but does not yet realise that her hiding place must be a secret. When she is hidden, she do is invisible for me (most of the time, not when she hides behind a tree). But she must always make some noice, like saying “I am here”.
And she understands the concept of the game: someone counts, the others hide, and then the searching starts.
Nevertheless, it is a great game to play regularly. Each time we play it, she learns a new hiding place, and she even find new ones.
Kids are so great!