Mobile responsiveness went out, as scheduled, with patch 0.3.0a on January 26. It’s not fancy-shmancy, but most things should look decent on any size of screen. Hooray!

I released version 0.3.1.a on February 29 because, really, who can resist deploying on Leap Day? Not me, that’s who. It was just a tiny thing to add a small chance, under certain circumstances, to encounter a special event while foraging for food.

I was pretty excited to get this to work because it had basically given me a headache. But I persisted and got it done.

So now, I’m working on the first of the three challenges: The Rapids.

The thought here is that someone gets 5 random categories presented to them and they pick one. Then, they get 10 random questions from their selected category to answer. The catch? They have to answer as many as they can correctly within 60 seconds.

Obviously, since I wrote most of the questions, I can get through them quickly. I can get through ten in like, 30 seconds. Here’s a video of me showing the challenge as I work on it.

I’m definitely not exactly the target audience, but I figure I’ll start here with 10 questions and 60 seconds and I can either drop the number of questions or increase the time to 90 seconds. You don’t have to get all ten right (the pass mark will be six, I think) but the more you get right, the more bonuses you’ll get. At least, that’s the thought.

I’m literally at the point where I’ve got the ten questions submitting automatically at 60 seconds but, in my testing, I came across a bug.

Refreshing the category selection screen produces more choices. And the same thing happens with the questions that are generated.

So I’ve been working on storing this information in a new database table for challenge data. There will be three of them, so may as well give them their own table.

The table started out with 18 columns and then just grew as I copied it for more challenges. So this way, it’ll give you back the same categories and questions, if you reload, as they’ll be stored in the database.

Again, I wonder why I do this to myself. Why do I add complexity? LET PEOPLE CHEAT, JULIE!

But no, I don’t want people to “cheat” and refresh the categories regularly until they get one they can do, or refresh questions until they can solidly answer half or more. Stupid idea of “fair play” or something, I guess!

So what happens if you don’t pass the challenge? Well, good news — I’m going to wipe the values from the database during maintenance, so you have another chance the next day to get categories and questions that are maybe more favourable to you.

Frankly, I think it’s generous! A choice of five categories, not three, and a reset daily if you fail, with no other repercussions other than you cannot actually continue on your journey. Hell, you could set up camp and fish and forage for the rest of your time in the game, that’d be fine, if you wanted.

It’s times like this that I feel like an evil game designer, cackling to herself. Like the Super Mario Bros. designer who was like “oh yeah, let’s have 8-3 be a goddamn nightmare with the Hammer Brothers everywhere!” or the person who designed the Turbo Tunnel in Battletoads.

Still, I’m coming at this from the point of view of someone who loves games and has played them her entire life, starting with Pac-Man on the Atari 2600. River Raid was my favourite Atari game. I grew up on BBS games like Trade Wars 2002, Legend of the Red Dragon and Sky Mountain. I played Sierra games every chance I got, loving the quirky sense of humour found in the Space Quest games, the silly puns and odd happenings in the King’s Quest games and actually being scared by the happenings of the Police Quest games, so invested was I in the life of Sonny Bonds. I loved Déjà Vu and Déjà Vu II: Lost in Las Vegas, which taught me about how to hide evidence so I wouldn’t go down for a murder I didn’t commit, and how to cheat at poker with an old boxing buddy.

So, really, this is a game I’d like to play. It’s still in its nascent stages now, but I’m still working on it. Finishing up The Rapids is my goal this weekend. Fingers crossed!

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