Wordament Snap Attack — Now Available on Android

We are proud to announce that, as of today: Snap Attack is available on all platforms! Android was our final platform and we are available in the Google Play Store right now. Snap Attack on Android offers all of the great features of Snap Attack on other platforms, including fun, addictive real-time multiplayer word building and support for Xbox with 10 free achievements and 50 Gamerscore. You can also sign in with your Facebook or play anonymously as a guest. Puzzles are available in four languages: English, Spanish, French, and Italian and we fully support all device shapes and sizes from phones to phablets to tablets. So if you have an Android device… give us a whirl!

Snap Attack Android

Here’s our original announcement post when we shipped on Windows and Windows Phone earlier this year:

Announcing Wordament Snap Attack®

We hope you enjoy Snap Attack and we look forward to playing with you in the leaderboards!

Wordament Snap Attack — Now available on iOS

Today we are excited to announce the availability of Snap Attack on iOS. It is a universal app and takes full advantage of both the iPhone and iPad, and is available in four puzzle languages: English, Spanish, French, and Italian. Like Wordament on iOS, we support Xbox sign-in with 10 achievements and 50 Gamescore. We also support Facebook and Guest sign-in, although when playing as a Guest you will not collect personal statistics or appear in our persistent leaderboards.

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Check out Wordament.com for more information, including valuable tips and tricks. Here’s our original announcement post when we shipped on Windows and Windows Phone earlier this year:

Announcing Wordament Snap Attack®

We hope you enjoy Snap Attack and we look forward to playing with you in the leaderboards!

What to do when the ‘V’ has you stuck

A few weeks back, we asked on Facebook what letters are the most challenging for you in Wordament Snap Attack.  ‘V’ was one of the top answers to that question.  We did a little digging and pulled out the top ‘V’ words you should know.  The following lists were made by searching through all the past puzzles we have served, and counting the occurrence of words that contain a ‘V’ in a Snap.  Here are the top 20 ‘V’ words, that appear most frequently in our Snaps, bucketed by length.

 

4-letter

5-letter

6-letter

7-letter

rive

alive

olives

erosive

vier

oaves

livers

oversea

voes

vires

revise

ravines

vees

elves

slieve

diverse

eave

verse

lavers

alevins

leva

veils

ravels

valines

vera

rives

slaver

leviers

vale

evils

salver

salvoes

lave

lives

varies

laveers

rave

raves

reaves

leavier

vise

saver

aivers

ovaries

revs

avers

selvas

sleaves

vela

valse

loaves

reviles

veal

eaves

averse

vealier

eves

selva

slaves

vealers

vies

vales

salves

reveals

aver

salve

valise

valises

save

veals

sleave

leavers

vase

slave

leaves

several

aves

laves

silvae

relives

Wordament theme pack for Windows

Show off your Wordament and Snap Attack pride with the new Wordament Desktop Theme.  This theme pack contains 24 stunning Wordament and Snap Attack background images for your Windows PC.  We run them in the office and we thought we should share them with the Wordament community.

You can download the zip here.

Here are a couple examples of the backgrounds.  Enjoy.

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unlock World Champ in Wordament

100k_3So you’ve been playing Wordament for years now but you still haven’t unlocked that World Champ achievement… How about we strike a little deal? If we all work together and get our Facebook page up to 100K likes in the month of June, then we award World Champ to anyone that plays a full round of Wordament on July 4th.  It’s that simple, get the page to 100K likes, and you can get that coveted World Champ achievement.

How you can help:

  • Step 1: Go Like our Facebook page.
  • Step 2: Ask others in your own social circles to like our page. You can do that by sharing this blog post.
  • Step 3: Spread the word in any other communities you participate in.

Then on July 4th, come play a round of Wordament.

Please note, we have to hit 100K likes in the month of June or we won’t be able to do this.

Wordament Snap Attack 1.0.1

addict

Today we shipped an updated version of Snap Attack for Windows and Windows Phone, which bumps the version number to 1.0.1. For the most part, this build fixes some performance and stability issues that we heard from players during the first few weeks since shipping.

There are two notable changes that we want to call out:

  • Snap Attack will not play the home screen music if you are already playing background music through any music app.
  • We’ve updated the text of the Addict achievement to properly match when it unlocks: at 2,500,000 points. We had incorrectly listed it as 250,000 points, which was a typo from the World Champ achievement in Wordament.

Continue reading

What does getting over 20K in Snap Attack look like?

When we make new games like Snap Attack, we are never exactly sure how great players are going to play the game.  Sure, we make our best guesses at what top scores will be and what the best strategies are, but the truth is, you don’t really know much until you ship. Now that we have been released for a few weeks, we are starting to see what great players really look like.  Anecdotally, before we shipped, nobody on the development team scored over 11K.

Today I’m proud to show you playback from three legitimate games over 20K. Continue reading

Q but no U, what to do…

QLike the 2 letter word list we published last week, it can be very helpful to know the Q words that don’t require a U.  This is useful in both Wordament and Snap Attack.  So over the weekend, we combed through our English lexicon and created two lists.  The first list contains all the words that can be played with a Q and don’t require a U.  The second list shows Q words that contain a U, but not a QU digraph.  Commit these to memory if you want to get big scores and impress your friends. Continue reading

Snap Attack puzzle names

Did you know there are 16 different puzzle types in Snap Attack?  While developing the game we needed a way to talk about the various puzzle types, so we gave them code names.  We felt it would be helpful to introduce these so we have a common way to identify the puzzles.

The “givens” are the words formed by the immovable black tiles when the round first starts.  Many of the puzzle types are named after the shape suggested by the layout of the givens.  These shapes are sometimes shifted one way or another, and are often flipped horizontally, vertically or both.

Each puzzle also contains multiple word and letter bonus tiles.  Using these bonuses effectively is one of the best ways to reach a higher score.  In most puzzles types the bonuses are positioned randomly, but in some puzzles types the word bonuses are in fixed, never-changing positions.  In all cases we make sure that plenty of snaps can hit the bonuses – this helps ensure high scoring rounds and makes the game more fun.

Here are the currently running puzzle types.  Come tell us which ones are your favorites on Facebook.

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Continue reading

Improve your Snap Attack score by striking gold

The first game of Wordament Snap Attack ever played was many months ago and it was on a piece of paper. The development team sat around one of our conference room tables with a print out, made in PowerPoint that resembled the boards we now play in Snap Attack. We wrote down lists of Snaps we could make and then we hand scored them after an hour glass ran out. There were no sounds, no animations and no leaderboards, but we knew were on to something fun. After that first round, we started talking strategy and in the coming months we watched as some of us became better players than others by employing various approaches to the game. Continue reading

“Get in Shape” with Snap Attack

In Snap Attack, it is not uncommon to be able to play the same word in multiple places on the board. Each of these Snaps is scored, so you can easily rack up points by playing the same words all over the board. This is unlike Wordament, where you may only earn points for a single word once per round. The reason for this is in the very nature of the two games: Wordament is about word finding–and you are rewarded for each unique word you can find. Snap Attack is about Snap building–you are rewarded not for the words, but for each unique Snap (or collection of words) that you can build. This is why each Snap is shown with a little graphic next to it: That graphic represents that specific Snap’s shape. Notice in the image below, that when the Snap for LAKE is built and attached to the E in LANCES, the little shape shows your blue tiles, along with the black tile where you attached. Continue reading

Wordament Snap Attack’s two-letter words

One of the key strategies in Snap Attack is to build two-letter words. Lots of them. So, you need to know your two letter words to be a terrific player. Below, are the legal two letter words accepted by Snap Attack in each puzzle language we support. Because we are native English speakers, we added definitions for each of the two-letter words.

UPDATE: Thanks to the help of our terrific community of players, we now have definitions in Spanish, French, Italian, and Finnish! We will get these edited and up here soon! Continue reading

Announcing Wordament Snap Attack®

Today we are thrilled to unveil the newest member of the Wordament franchise: Wordament® Snap Attack® – the constant word tournament. Snap Attack is available today on Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8.1.

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Snap Attack is an entirely new kind of word building game built on the heritage of the Wordament, with a new game mechanic that we think you’ll love—we know we do! Snap Attack is game about building combinations of words. In each 2 ½ minute round, you compete with thousands of other players at once, trying to get the best score. All players use the exact same board and rack of tiles. Points are earned by building combinations of words, or as we call them, “Snaps.” Your score is then ranked against everyone that just played that round and you’ll immediately see how you did. Continue reading

Hall of Fame 2013

Today we are unveiling the 2013 Hall of Fame results on Wordament.com. This contains the top 250 players in each puzzle language from April – December 2013. Why April? Well, our app originally shipped as an indie game on April 1, 2011. We published our first Hall of Fame at the one-year mark for our app, and it summarized all of our top players way back before we had either Xbox or Facebook sign-in. On April 28th, 2012, we shipped the first version of Microsoft Wordament on Windows Phones, and then released the 2012 Hall of Fame in April of 2013 (one year later). As we’ve grown up, we have moved into better and better cadences of doing things. This year, we reset our leaderboards on the year, just as we said we would, back in April.

Looking back, 2013 was a great year for Wordament and a great year for our team. Continue reading

Unlocking the World Champ Achievement, or “Why is this achievement so difficult?”

This is a question we’ve been hearing quite a bit lately, so we thought we would explain our reason for why it’s so difficult to unlock and then tell you what you’ll need to concentrate on if you truly wish to conquer this achievement.

To be perfectly honest: we made this achievement difficult because we wanted to make certain that it goes to the game’s true champions. This achievement is a mark of a deeply committed player to our game and IS achievable by anyone that wants to get it… but you have to earn it.

The achievement text itself is deceptively simple: “Appear in the top 250 positions in any of the Top Players leaderboards.” Part of the reason it’s not more descriptive is that’s about the longest piece of text we can write there. Digging a little deeper, there’s some additional details. Continue reading

Wordament for Windows 8.1

Today we shipped an update to Wordament for Windows 8.0 and 8.1 (both RT and x86) that has been in the works for many months. This update brings to Windows all of the great features you’ve come to know and love on Windows Phone, including Facebook sign-in, Guest mode and Tap to share scores. In addition to these great features we’ve also added fluid layout support. So, if you are running on Windows 8.1 you can now size Wordament to any size you like and we will layout in a way that best takes advantage of the space. This was no small feat. It’s hard enough to design great software, but to do it seamlessly at arbitrary sizes, took some careful planning. We are really happy with how this release has turned out. The coolest thing about the new Wordament on Windows 8.x, though? It’s an engineering feature–and it’s really nerdy. Historically, though, many readers have appreciated engineering tales, so we’ll share:

w1 Continue reading

LyndseyBrowning: Wordament’s new speed demon

If you have been watching the leaderboard lately you might recognize the name LyndseyBrowning. Today we are officially announcing her as the NEW Wordament Champion! She has set the new speed record in a single, 2:00 round: 193 words. Here’s a little about her, from Lyndsey herself:

I am a 27 year old Web Developer from the South Wales valleys (UK) who loves word games. I started playing word games around 10-11 years ago, which back then included Scrabble and any Boggle variation that I could get my hands on (or keyboard rather!).

I was drawn to Wordament due to its live multiplayer aspect, and being a competitive person by nature, I found myself right at home! I’m also a fan of the themed boards, which provide a challenge, even for an advanced player like myself. The Either/Or theme for example, doesn’t follow the typical 16×16 style and is therefore a great challenge, testing your focus!

I also particularly like the Long Word theme as longer words are usually my weakness but these boards give me an opportunity to find words I wouldn’t normally dream of finding. On a themed board recently I managed to find CONSTELLATION, which I was very proud of :)

One piece of advice I always give to beginners is to always study the words missed at the end of each round. You will be surprised how much you will take in and remember from that, especially as you start to see the same word patterns being missed. Secondly, don’t focus on the game timer, focus only on finding words. It can be a distraction and once you’re in the flow of the game, you don’t need any distractions.

I also tend to tell people to find an area of the board to begin with and find all words you can in that area before moving on to the next. This allows you to scan other areas of the board whilst you are swiping words in your current area.

Finally, learn some common anagrams, they will help. One of my favourites is RETAINS, which can make:

ANESTRI ANTSIER NASTIER RETINAS RETSINA RETAINS RATINES, STEARIN STAINER

And S is your friend! Most words can be pluralised. Even if you aren’t sure, just try it! Also consider suffixes such as ED, ER, IER, ING, ION, IEST… And prefixes such as RE, PRE, PRO, MIS (which incidentally can sometimes be found on themed boards).

Continue reading

New platforms, New puzzles, New languages, New players

It’s been a really busy week at the Wordament Headquarters and we have lots to talk about. Today we are pleased to announce a Windows Phone 8 native version of Wordament in the Marketplace. Previously, Wordament was a Windows Phone 7 native app, which would work on Windows Phone 8, but depending on your screen aspect ratio you might end up with the dreaded letterboxing. This is no longer a problem; with the new release Wordament will fill up a HTC 8X as well as it does a Nokia 1020. If you docked us a star in the marketplace for this in the past, it might be a good time to go re-rate us ;) Continue reading

Wordament 2.5 released for Windows Phone and iOS

Today we are proud to release an update to Windows Phone and iOS versions of Wordament. This app update, which we call Wordament 2.5, brings with it features that players have been asking for, as well as a host of stability and performance bug fixes. We’ve been hard at work for months on this update and we are excited to share it with you today. Here is what’s new:

Sign in with Facebook

We’ve heard from many players who want the ability to sign in to Wordament with a Facebook account. In Wordament 2.5 we have two ways to sign in: with an Xbox LIVE account or a Facebook account. Sign in how you like, everyone still plays in the same room. Both types of accounts can play Wordament, show up in Wordament’s Leaderboards and compete with Frenemies, however the only way to earn Gamerscore and Achievements is with an Xbox LIVE account.

SignIn01 SignIn02 SignIn03

Signing in to Wordament with a Facebook account Continue reading

Puzzle updates

Sometimes, I don’t think we give enough credit to the folks that work so hard to keep Wordament’s puzzles always great and always fresh. Some of those people are members of our game community, like Echo Foxtrot DJ, Autogrin and Buffy42 that have provided us with many of the great theme puzzles we all play, but we also have help from our two part-time team members: oOo Scruff oOo and Rogosh Wot. This week, we’ve introduced Autogrin and Buffy’s latest English theme creation: Construction. When you see it, look for words like: BRICKWORK, CARPENTRY, DRYWALL, SCAFFOLDING, TILE, and TOOLS. Continue reading

Welcome to Competition Year 3!

Today, we are proud to “reset” our leaderboards to begin a new year of competition. Last year, as we launched on Xbox, it was truly a full, forced reset of everything. At that time, we were resetting everyone’s player account to move everyone to Xbox. This year, existing players get to retain all of their personal player stats. This includes your personal bests, like number of top 10 wins and your best word. Continue reading

Wordament’s highest scoring English board

As we quickly approach the end of Wordament’s Year 2 Competition, we hit a milestone in English that we are pretty excited about: We ran our highest scoring board to date, and have a new, top English Wordament Champion: BoomRShine!

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BoomRShine is a long-time player and always keeping people on their toes at the top, but we’ve never been able to credit him as a “Wordament Champ”… until now. In this round, he earned 2,450 points on 106 words — our best score on an English board to date! Other people actually found more words, but BoomR had the right combination of words and score to oust everyone in a clean victory! Great work BoomRShine! You are our newest Wordament Champion. Continue reading

Wordament – now in Danish and Norwegian

We love continuing to expand the reach of Wordament to every possible player. Today we are launching one new BETA language edition: “Dansk BETA.” The interesting thing about Danish is that it also appears to overlap about 99% with Bokmål (one of the two major Norwegian languages—the “Book language” as described on Wikipedia) – so we are effectively getting a two for one here. Sorry fans of Nynorsk, we don’t have anything for you today. Smile

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This BETA launch is also the first language edition we’ve shipped with all puzzle features in right from the get go. So, you will find normal, Digram, and themed puzzles if you give the game a try today. Also, this language edition, like all of the others, is available to all of our game clients: Windows Phone, Windows 8, iOS, and Web. So, if you or someone you know enjoys Danish or Norwegian – let them know that Wordament now speaks their language!

To try it out, you need to have an Xbox account and go to Help and Options, where you can select Puzzle language. The new “Dansk BETA” will be in the list and ready to try!

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New English puzzle types, better themes for all languages

We have a very small studio – we are just a handful of team members – and we love continuous improvement. Wordament is coming close to its 2nd anniversary, and I can’t even tell you at this point how many times we’ve shipped! One of the ways that we ship is with new, carefully crafted puzzles that go live each week. In fact, we generate 10 days worth of new puzzles every 7 days, so that IF something goes wrong, we have 3 days to fix it without having to give up a whole weekend. After all, like you, we need to play too!

New English puzzle types

Today we are shipping a new batch of puzzles with some fun new “mix-ins.” A while back we introduced a “4th category of puzzles” – what we on the team lovingly refer to as “Potpourri puzzles” – like the High Value X, or X in the corners, or Long Word. Today we have three new varieties added in, and a new “5th category of puzzle”:

new-puzzle-types

  • Prefix – There’s one tile on the board that can only be used to START words. It cannot be used in the middle or end of words.
  • Either/Or – There’s a special tile, like V/U on the board. It can be used as either a V or a U. There will never be a case where it can be used as both within the same puzzle. For example, you won’t find an E / S tile where both E-A-T and S-A-T are playable.
  • Suffix – There’s one tile on the board that can only be used to END words. Like prefix, it can’t be used at the beginning or middle of words. Also, and you might find this frustrating – you can’t add anything after the suffix. So, if the suffix is –ING, you can make E-N-D-ING, but not E-N-D-ING-S.

Each new tile has a subtle, but special appearance on the board. The prefix tile ends with a hyphen, so “UN-” or “RE-”. The Either / Or tile has a slash: “J / K”. And the suffix tile begins with a hyphen, as in “-ED” or “-ING.”

We are also unveiling a new 5th category of puzzle, which for now appears every other set of five puzzles and introduces the “Speed Round”. For those that like to keep track, our puzzle progression is:

Normal – Potpourri – Digram – Normal / Speed – Theme

The Speed Round is an all out race where word count matters MUCH more than word score. Why? Because all words are worth exactly 10 points. If you look close, you’ll even notice that none of the tiles have values… just letters. So, in this round, 25 words = 250 points. No bonuses, no perks for finding a long word. Just go as fast as you can. We want to give special thanks to Wicketewok who suggested this puzzle during one of our many conversations about Wordament.

For now, we are running the Speed Round only every 10th puzzle. Based on feedback, we may run it more (every set of 5) or less (demote it to a Potpourri puzzle), but for now, we believe it is worth it’s own category.

Improved themes for all languages

This work item was less about the words and more about the way we generate themed puzzles. We hope that you find that the theme diversity is much better and that the hidden words include a better variety. All of our themes have hundreds of words, but not all of them run. This is a step towards getting much richer variation in the words that run. We have also made it so that EACH theme needs to run once before they repeat, so you will not see the Chickens theme running back-to-back, which has happened before.

Available in all versions: right now

The last thing is: no client update is required for these new features. They will just show up automatically. So, whether you have Windows Phone, Windows 8, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, or Web Beta, you have access to these cool new puzzles right now.

What are you waiting for… see you in the leaderboards!

Wordament… one more thing…

Over the past two years, one of the requests we’ve gotten time-and-again was to please bring Wordament to Windows 7. Today, we are unveiling a Wordament experiment… a Web-based version of our game that you can play with your mouse in Internet Explorer 8, 9, and 10, Google Chrome, and Firefox browsers. Have a Mac and want to try Wordament? You’ll need Chrome, but you can play too in this HTML5 version of Wordament. With this release, you can play the in the same puzzles as everyone else in the world all at the same time.

Wordament Web Beta, like our other versions of Wordament, allows everyone to play together in one continuous, world-wide tournament. We support the same 12 puzzle languages in the Web version, just the same as on Windows 8 PCs and phones. And, like other versions of Wordament, the Web beta lets you sign-in to your Xbox account and earn ten achievements worth 50 Gamerscore.

Even though this is a beta, this is a screen-for-screen match to our existing versions. You can view your stats, manage frenemies, check the leaderboards and of course play!

To access the web version, browse to http://www.xbox.com/marketplace/product/wordament.

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When you access the Wordament Web Beta, you can jump in and play as a Guest by simply swiping PLAY. If you already have an Xbox account, then you can sign in to start earning achievements and have your results displayed on the Leaderboards. If you’d like to create a free Xbox account, you can click Sign in, and click the Sign Up button.

So, where do we go from here with this Beta? That depends largely on the feedback and engagement we get. This is an experiment and we are eager to see what happens.

Enjoy!

Wordament now on iOS

We would like to send a warm “Welcome!” to all of the gamers on iPod Touch, iPhones, and iPads. If you have one of these devices, then, we’ve got a fun game available for you! In our continuing quest to bring Wordament to every player, on every device, we are really happy to announce that Wordament is now available in the Apple App Store – and real-time, competitive word finding will never be the same!

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To download it from iTunes (in the US marketplace), click here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/wordament/id580935508?mt=8

Wordament on iOS is “pure Wordament” – it connects to the same servers, plays with the same players as Windows Phone and Windows 8. Everyone plays together in one continuous world-wide tournament in 12 puzzle languages across all devices. Our iOS version supports 7 UI languages as well: English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Dutch, and Swedish. If you’ve ever played Wordament – you will feel right at home. We’ve worked hard to make it screen-for-screen identical with our Window Phone version. If you’re just hearing about Wordament for the first time: Welcome! We hope you like what you find!

Once you’ve downloaded Wordament, you will be presented with our Sign In screen. If you already have an Xbox account, or any free Microsoft Account (Hotmail, SkyDrive, or a Windows 8 account), then you can enter that and you will be in playing right away. If you don’t already have one, you can jump in and play as a Guest by clicking the link at the bottom of the screen. Guests do not rank in our leaderboards, but this option offers a quick and fun way to see what the game is all about.

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Wordament is the first Xbox title to come to iOS with real Xbox Achievements! When you sign in with your free Microsoft account, you can earn up to 50 Gamerscore from our 10 achievements and you’ll have access to all of your Xbox Friends and Wordament Frenemies. If you’ve played on Windows Phone or Window 8 and jump to the iOS version, all of your player stats and friends will follow your account automatically.

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So, please install it and give it a try—and tell your friends! We are very proud of our first version of this great game coming to all the iOS devices in the world.

Team Wordament

Wordament Goes Global!

Today is such a great day! Wordament has passed 1,000,000 downloads on Windows Phone and we’ve gone even more global by upping support to 12 languages across both Windows and Windows Phone! Our friends at PlayXBLA even took a few minutes to write about it!

One of the reasons this has all been possible is the tremendous community of friends and players that help spread the word. We also love the fact that being inside of Microsoft Studios gives us access to an incredible wealth of talent and resources—like the fact that we have gone to 12 puzzle languages and 39 user interface languages. Working with our central media team and in support of Windows 8, we asked for a trailer for our game for use in the Windows 8 Games app and one the web. Check it out!

Wordament: now in 12 puzzle languages!

Ever since we revealed that we were going to support multiple language editions, we’ve had a continuous stream of requests from players around the world. We started with 7 languages: English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Dutch, and Swedish. All but Swedish left beta last week—and yesterday, we launched Themed puzzles—the final missing feature of Swedish for Beta.

Today, we are launch our next set of languages:

  • Brazilian Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Polish
  • Finnish
  • Arabic
Wordament-Arabic Wordament-Russian

Wordament – Arabic

Wordament – Russian

Each of these languages is great in it’s own way, but we find the boards for Russian, Polish, and Arabic beautiful – because it’s the first time we’ve had non-Western characters on the board.

Even more incredible, from our perspective, is support for Arabic – a right-to-left language. We were approached by the natural language experts in Microsoft Research – Egypt and they asked if we would be interested in trying an “experiment” with them. They make the Office lexicons for spell-checking throughout the Middle East and they had been considering making their own word game—but they knew about and liked Wordament. Given that we deeply appreciate languages, we were excited to partner up and see what happened.

The first thing we found was that Windows Phone 7.x doesn’t natively support Arabic as a user-interface language. But, because it uses the native Windows TrueType font rasterizer, all of the incredibly scripted beauty of the language shows up and works. That made shipping the language possible across both Windows Phone and Windows 8. Within days, we had it “working”, but we continued to work and refine it. We decided to wait for Windows 8 to launch all of these languages, as being on two platforms increases the number of players able to play in each language.

These new editions are BETA. They are NOT perfect—we know that. In the case of Arabic, it’s one of the hardest betas for us to support—as we don’t speak a word of the language. So, when you send feedback—please be patient with us! As with all of our language editions, we’ve listened and continue to work and refine each edition each week to make this one of the best and most global word games anywhere.

We hope you enjoy the new languages to play in!

To select a puzzle language on a Windows Phone:

Pivot to the Help & Options section, and select the Puzzle language drop down:

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To select a puzzle language on Windows 8:

Press Help & Options from the Start screen, and then select Puzzle language:

win8-puzzle-language

LanguagePicker-Win8

مرحبًا يا, Bem-vindo, Добро пожаловать, Witaj, and Tervetuloa

Or for those English players, Welcome! With the recent Wordament Windows Phone updated (v2.3), we’ve added 17 new UI languages to Windows Phone Wordament. This brings our total supported UI languages to 24. You’ll want to go get this client update because very shortly we will launch new game rooms that support some of these languages.swipes  Stay tuned.

Newly added Wordament UI Languages
- Czech
- Danish
- Greek
- English (GB)
- Finnish
- Hungarian
- Indonesian
- Japanese
- Korean
- Malay
- Norwegian (Bokm?l)
- Polish
- Portuguese (Brazil)
- Portuguese (Portugal)
- Russian
- Chinese (Simplified
- Chinese (Taiwan)

-Team Wordament

Language Updates (part 2): Spanish, French, Italian, and Dutch

One of the importance differences between most of our language editions today, and English and German is the lack of Themed puzzles. It’s the of the top reason that these editions are still called “Beta” – they don’t have the full feature set of English.

That changes today. We’ve just updated the puzzles across Spanish, French, Italian and Dutch to include both Themed puzzles and Potpourri puzzles. This means you will have the opportunity, for the first time in those languages, to earn all of the remaining Xbox achievements and gamerscore. We also think these kinds of puzzles add fun and variety.

For today, we have implemented our most popular subset of English themes into the new languages:

  • Animals
  • The Body
  • Colors
  • Crime
  • Family
  • Food
  • Geography
  • Occupations
  • Sounds
  • Transportation
  • Weather

For Potpourri puzzles, we’ve added the following two types:

  • High value X – Where one tile is worth at least 10 points, but not more than double letter score.
  • X in the corners – A single tile is in each of the four corners of the puzzle.

And, while all of our themes were professionally translated by native speakers, we expect that you might find words that should be included, but are not. In those cases, please email us: wordament@microsoft.com with the specific theme and list of words that you believe should be included.

We hope you enjoy this update! Based on the feedback we receive, we believe these languages are ready to leave BETA at the end of this week. Thanks for listening!

Language Updates (part 1): English

We love language. All languages. It’s what compelled us to launch Wordament in 7 languages back in April, and it’s one of the things that’s been keeping us busy for the past few months. Over the next few weeks we are going to talk more about languages–lots of languages. But, the conversation starts today with several exciting new changes to English.

A richer English lexicon

From the outset, we’ve taken all of our lexicons very seriously. We’ve worked hard to make improvements to each Language Edition as we’ve launched them, but little has been done to fundamentally change our English lexicon. It’s already a great lexicon! But, one of our pet peeves with most word games is all the restrictions they place on legal words. We agree that some restrictions are necessary: proper nouns are too “regional” and acronyms quickly make lexicons ridiculous. Soon every combination of letters means something.

But, what about everyday words that always get the axe: compound words, hyphenated words, and contractions? Well, as of today the Wordament lexicon features all of them. Word’s like:

  • c’mon
  • s’mores
  • ’twas
  • say-so
  • tick-tock
  • cast-iron
  • haven’t
  • shouldn’t

We take changes like this very seriously, and believe me, we’ve thought about this a lot. Our principal is: any word that is a “regular”, non-proper word, and not an acronym, and that’s used in main-stream books and publications and also accepted by major lexicons and dictionaries should be accepted in our game. When you finger in a word like T-W-A-S, we will properly display it as ’twas. If you play C-A-S-T-I-R-O-N, we will display it as cast-iron. The punctuation is automatic and seamless. But, what about cases that are tied, such as were and we’re or cant and can’t. In that case, the uncontracted form takes precedence. So, while you will see doesn’t, you won’t see won’t… it’s wont. :-)

Introducing Potpourri Puzzles to English

Eagle-eyed players have no doubt learned our puzzle pattern in English: normal, normal, digram, normal, theme. Why the normal, normal? Well, a couple of reasons: First, we wanted to space out the frequency of digrams and themes. But, we’ve also wanted to save room for new fun categories. Today, we are altering our puzzle pattern in English to: normal, potpourri, digram, normal, theme. The potpourri category will take on one of three different puzzle types to start:

  • X in the corners – each of the corners has exactly one letter and that’s the only place that letter exists.
  • High value X – a single tile on the board is significantly boosted, like an E or an N. Use it to supercharge the scores of normal words.
  • Long word – this is a special kind of themed puzzle where we hide one long word, much longer than every other word in the puzzle.

We think these changes are fun and add new spice and variety without significantly altering gameplay. Ultimately, you will be the judge. Let us know what you think! How are we doing? We are always listening.

Microsoft’s Gaming4Giving Tournament

One of the things we are most proud of as Microsoft employees is our dedication to our community. Every October, Microsoft sponsors an annual Giving campaign. During the campaign, numerous events are organized and employees are encouraged to support their favorite charities by giving money or time, which Microsoft matches up to $12,000 per employee, per year. Last year’s Giving campaign raised over $100 million for various charities around the world!

In celebration of the 30th Anniversary of Microsoft’s Giving Campaign, the Wordament team and several other gaming groups are participating in a special Gaming4Giving Tournament. Microsoft employees can donate and compete in one or more gaming tournaments. Wordament’s tournament begins this Sunday, October 14th, and runs through Wednesday, October 17th, at 5pm.

The eight participants with the highest accumulated total score over the course of the tournament will be invited to a final face-off at Microsoft Studios (Wordament’s headquarters) for a best of three real-time competition. The player with the highest accumulated score over the three games will win an great prize!

Microsoft employees can sign up internally. If you are a Microsoft employee, and you’d like to join, please send us mail to wordament@microsoft.com with the Subject line: Gaming4Giving and we will send you more details. Next week, we’ll be keeping everyone up-to-date on the tournament and the finalists–via our Facebook page—who will compete on Friday, October 19th, LIVE. As always, we will be on hand to record and we will post the outcome. We are really proud to be a part of this event and it’s just one of team’s efforts to help save the world in 2:45 increments!

Unable to connect?

If you are unable to connect to Xbox on your Windows Phone and can’t start Wordament, please note that Xbox recently updated its Terms of Service. You need to accept the updated terms in order to play. We apologize for the inconvenience and for the fact that this change to the Terms of Service cannot be directly handled within our game.

To resolve the issue, please go into the Xbox LIVE Games hub on your Windows Phone and a full screen message should appear. If it doesn’t, hit the … in the lower right corner and select refresh. As soon as you accept the terms of service, you will be able to sign into Xbox and play Wordament again. Hope to see you back in the leader boards soon!

Windows 8 Wordament refresh now available

When we first launched Wordament on Windows 8 we were launching a beta version of Wordament on a beta operating system with a beta release of Xbox LIVE. Given the state of the world, we had to make some tough choices about what features we could get up and running well. So we initially focused on core game play in an attempt to keep quality high. Since that time the platform has RTM’d, Xbox came out of beta and we’ve been cranking out the code to bring Windows 8 Wordament on par with the version on Windows Phone 7. I’m proud to announce we just completed the certification process and the fruits of our labor are now available in the Windows 8 Store.

This new build brings some features that are unique to Wordament on Windows 8 as well as some features that were missing from the previous builds. Here is what is new and noteworthy:

Achievements

This is the first release of Wordament on Windows 8 to have Xbox Achievements. There is 200 gamerscore available on Windows 8 and for those that have played on Windows Phone 7 you will be familiar with them as we used the same set. We’ve blogged about our achievements before.

imageGood news for those hard to reach server side achievements. If you ever unlocked a server side achievement on Windows Phone 7 you will instantly unlock that achievement by just launching the Windows 8 version. So if you unlocked “Best of the Hour” or “Champ” on Windows Phone 7 you automatically unlock in on Windows 8 when you run Wordament.  The reverse is true as well. If you unlock Champ on Window 8 you will automatically unlock Champ on Windows Phone the next time you play on your phone.  Other achievements unlock the old fashion way, you need to unlock them on each platform.

Themes

In addition to our orange and blue theme we now offer a stunning selection of colored backgrounds and tiles similar to what Wordament on Windows Phone 7 offers. To check them out swipe in the Settings and select “Game Options –> Theme color”.

image

There are 20 themes to choose from.  Here are few samples:

imageimageimageimage

Portrait views everywhere

All the various screens of Wordament have been made to work great in portrait.  Playing the game in portrait is fun, frankly much more fun than we had anticipated.  We lovingly refer to this mode as “Big phone”.  If you have played with Wordament on Windows Phone 7 you will quickly understand why.

imageimageimage

Wordament on Windows RT

With this release we officially add ARM to the list of supported architectures for Wordament.  While we have been listed in the ARM store previously, it wasn’t officially supported until this build.  We’re happy to say it plays great on Windows RT devices.

Thanks for bearing with us as we brought Wordament on Windows 8 up to snuff with it’s phone counterpart.  We really appreciate all the feedback we have received and we’ve tried to listen every step of the way.  In the coming weeks we will be announcing even more improvements including new puzzle languages that we can support because of the great international support on Windows 8.

-John and Jason

mztan vs. Disco Pidgeon showdown video

It was quite the show Friday as we watched mztan and Disco Pidgeon battle it out face to face at Wordament headquarters.  BoomRshine made a virtual cameo as well ranking #2 in round 1.  Thank you to all of you who came out!  For those of you who couldn’t make it in person, we had the cameras rolling.  It is truly amazing to watch the fingers of players of this caliber.  Enjoy.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYeCYS7hk-g&w=448&h=252&hd=1]

-John and Jason

Friday! Friday! Friday! It’s the Wordament clash of the titans!

image

We couldn’t be more excited about this! It came together pretty last minute, but we have the top two Wordament players in the world here in Seattle for an epic face-off: DiscoPidgeon vs. mztan. Both of these players have had epic moments. Prior to August 3rd, DiscoPidgeon held the world record, but then, mztan fingered in his own 140 followed by a 145!

In preparation for this event, we looked at the scores for these two and were amazed with what we found. In just the past 4 weeks, DiscoPidgeon has finished 24 games with more than 120 words. In the exact same period, mztan did it 25 times!

This will be the battle of battles! And we will be running it live on stage at the Microsoft campus in the heart of the Commons! Microsoft employees are welcome to come and join us for the live event at 12:00 PM PST sharp! For everyone else: join us in the game at 12:00 PM to see who takes the title of “Top Wordament Player” in a best of three games for the title.

John and I will be video recording the games and we will post a whole wrap up after, including clips of the games and their results.

Good luck to our contestants. We can’t wait!

Wordament’s fastest player: mztan

This one slipped past us a few weeks ago, but it’s never too late to declare the best! And, as of today that’s mztan with a certified win with 145 words in just 2:00. This feat was accomplished in a game on August 3rd, 2012 at 8:28 AM PST, where he earned 2,085 points in that round, and set our new world record for most words in a game.

Congratulations mztan — Wordament fastest player world champion! You have once again astonished us with your amazing skills!

Because we all love to see the breakdown: Here’s the game and its epic result:

image

Word Score
cardsharps 78
cardsharp 73
schappes 55
scratch 47
schappe 40
repatch 36
sappers 34
shapers 34a
rappers 34a
tappers 34a
chards 32a
chasers 32a
sharps 32
chapes 32
cratch 32
charts 30a
papers 30
sapper 30
scraps 30
shaper 30a
shapes 30a
shards 30a
tapper 30a
askers 30
rapper 30a
raspers 30
repasts 30
sparest 30
craps 29a
cards 28a
chaser 28a
drapes 28
parsec 28
scrape 28
straps 28a
chares 28a
crapes 28
sprats 28
cadres 26
carats 26
rapers 26a
repast 26
shares 26a
spares 26a
sparse 26
tapers 26a
arepas 26
aspers 26
rasper 26
scarts 26
stapes 26
streps 26
trapes 26
crests 24
traces 24a
cestas 24
escars 24
rarest 22a
stares 22a
chaps 22a
patch 22
rasers 22
tasers 22
chard 21a
harps 21
paths 21a
sharp 21
chape 21
dreks 21
hasps 21
asker 19
chars 19a
chart 19a
chats 19a
crash 19a
paper 19
ratch 19
scrap 19
shape 19a
shard 19a
treks 19
hards 19a
pards 19
repps 19
aces 18a
chase 18a
drape 18
parts 18a
pasts 18a
rasps 18
scads 18
spars 18a
spats 18a
stash 18a
strap 18a
tarps 18
traps 18
trash 18a
chare 18a
crape 18
harts 18a
prats 18
sprat 18
ace 16a
cadre 16
carat 16
carts 16a
darts 16a
drats 16
hares 16a
pares 16a
parse 16
pests 16
raper 16a
rapes 16a
scars 16
share 16a
spare 16a
strep 16
taper 16a
tapes 16a
apers 16
arepa 16
asper 16
daces 16a
prase 16
sards 16
scart 16
acres 15
cares 15a
crest 15
dares 15
races 15a
scare 15
stars 15a
trace 15a
areca 15
carse 15
cesta 15
drest 15
escar 15
serac 15
tsars 15
chap 13a
rares 13a
rests 13
stare 13a
tares 13a
keps 13a
raser 13
resat 13
skep 13a
taser 13
apps 12a
haps 12a
harp 12
hasp 12
path 12a
task 12
drek 12
paps 12
pash 12a
char 11a
chat 11a
hard 11a
trek 11
crap 11a
kep 11a
pard 11
repp 11
app 10a
ask 10
asps 10
cads 10
card 10a
ceps 10a
hap 10a
hart 10a
hast 10
hats 10a
pap 10
part 10a
past 10a
pats 10a
pecs 10a
raps 10a
rash 10a
rasp 10a
saps 10a
sash 10a
scad 10
spar 10a
spas 10
spat 10a
spec 10
taps 10a
tarp 10
trap 10
pah 10a
para 10
pars 10a
prat 10
rath 10
tsk 10
apes 9a
arcs 9a
cars 9a
cart 9a
dart 9a
drat 9
hare 9a
pare 9a
pert 9
pest 9
rape 9a
reps 9a
scar 9
tape 9a
aper 9
apse 9
dace 9a
pase 9
rads 9a
sard 9
trad 9a
acre 8
arts 8a
ash 8
cad 8
care 8a
cep 8a
dare 8
has 8
hat 8a
par 8a
pas 8
pat 8a
pec 8a
race 8a
rap 8a
rats 8a
recs 8a
sap 8a
spa 8
star 8a
tap 8a
tars 8a
tsar 8
ahs 8
asp 8a
pst 8
rah 8a
sha 8a
ads 7
ape 7a
arc 7a
car 7a
eras 7
erst 7
per 7a
rad 7a
rare 7a
rep 7a
rest 7
tare 7a
ares 7a
pes 7
rase 7
sera 7
sers 7a
tres 7
art 6a
rat 6a
rec 6a
sat 6
sec 6a
tar 6a
ars 6
ras 6a
tas 6
are 5a
era 5
ers 5
res 5
ser 5a

mztan at Wordament HQ

Yesterday Black Snapper and I had the pleasure to sit down and chat with one of the best Wordament players out there, Mztan.  Mztan hails from Beijing and currently holds the record for the second most words found in a single round – 137.  That doesn’t seem possible until you watch him play.  So here is a video, not sped up, to prove he is fast and after that we have the breakdown of his epic 137 word game up on our blog shortly.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzrxJugMP-4&w=448&h=252&hd=1]

In the video you might wonder what sort of phone he is playing on.  That’s no phone.  It’s an ARM tablet running Window 8 Wordament.  When you put the tablet into its portrait view Wordament goes into what we are calling it the Big Phone layout.  All of us in the office were very surprised at how fun it is to play in Big Phone.

-John / Manthor10 & Jason / Black Snapper

Trigram Game Type in German and Swedish

Both German and Swedish are complex languages with a more challenging lexicon than English. This makes it harder for us to make the same, high-quality puzzles that player’s have come to expect from English Edition. For fun, we added a special puzzle type called “Digram” to English Edition a long time ago. In that puzzle there is exactly one two-letter character that can be used to make words. Finding words with it unlocks achievements: CH-A-CH-I-NG and Digram Master.

As we moved into new language editions, we discovered that in order to handle the length and complexity of words, we needed to use digrams and trigrams all the time. This use of digrams was distinct to these languages; our others had digrams only used in a special puzzle type. While we were able to make standard games fun to play, we deprived these languages a fun, specialized type of puzzle.

Image     Image

So, today we are introducing a special puzzle type for German and Swedish Editions. We have changed the structure of puzzles such that our “normal” puzzles now use only single-character letters and digrams. We have reserved the trigrams for a specific Trigram puzzle type. This new puzzle type is actually exactly the same as the Digram type in other languages: you can even now get the “CH-A-CH-I-NG” and “Digram Master” achievement in German and Swedish by finding a word using the Trigram, or by getting all the Trigram words in a Trigram puzzle.

Image     Image

The new Trigram puzzle is in the rotation now. Swedish puzzles have a five-puzzle rotation with Trigrams on the third and fifth puzzle. The German puzzles have a 10 puzzle rotation with Trigrams on the third, fifth, and eighth puzzle with a themed puzzle in the 10th position. As a treat, the trigram puzzles also have the possibility of getting a word using only the trigram tile, so don’t forget that case when going for the Digram Master achievement in these languages!

Tim / Rogosh Wot

German Themed Puzzles

After a few donated lists from EchoFoxtrot and a bit of puzzle tweaking to optimize for German we have our first themed puzzles outside of English. There are 10 themes to start, which is fewer than English, but we are already staged to have this grow over time as edited lists are finished.

Image

Since we have fewer themes than in English, we don’t want to oversaturate play from a particular theme. As such, only 1 in 10 puzzles is currently themed in German. Please let us know how this play feels so we can adjust for the best gameplay experience.

 

Wordament’s Youngest Champ

Once in a while a story comes our way that’s almost too good to be true. Such is the case with Wordament player Joseph (using his Dad’s Xbox LIVE Gamertag ‘CJL714’). He can consistently get into the top 10%—which, in itself is great—but when you consider that he’s 5-years-old and hasn’t started Kindergarten yet… it’s downright incredible!  Joseph’s dad sent us along this in e-mail:

First, thanks for Wordament! My wife, son, and I are all addicted. My son is 5 years old, hasn’t started kindergarten yet, but loves it. It’s been a great thing for him to develop words and spelling. He’s also impressively good at it! He’s regularly scoring in the 90%+ range.

I know that DiscoPidgeon is a kid (maybe 12?) but how many pre-first graders do you have?

He also sent us a nice video with his son playing a FULL game for Themed, Digram, and Normal puzzles to prove that this wasn’t “just talk.” We were blown away. So, we asked if he would be comfortable trimming the video and posting it to YouTube, he said “sure.” Without further ado, please welcome the player that we believe is Wordament’s Youngest Champ!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-45lKeHMZog&feature=youtu.be]

 

We can’t help but feel a little more humble when we lose to him!

Jason / Black Snapper

Wordament Preview on Xbox LIVE on Windows 8 Release Preview

We’ve been working hard to bring the Release Preview version of Wordament to everyone as quickly as possible. But, this was no small undertaking! This is our first Windows 8 version to use Xbox LIVE, meaning that your same identity on Windows Phone is also your identity on Windows 8: your Xbox LIVE gamertag. We’ve also been getting ready for users around the world. Our user interface is now localized into a staggering 39 languages. Puzzle languages remain in seven languages, at this time: English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Swedish, and Dutch (though more are on the way!). Please note that this release does not have Achievements, as we are waiting for Windows to ship before bringing those to the party. The Release Preview of Wordament uses your gamertag, your friends and frenemies, and of course, our competitive leaderboards.

For some users, we are listed in the Windows Store under Games right now. For others, you need to go into the Store and search for “Wordament”. It appears that Wordament is rolling out to all regions as we speak. One of the things we love about this game is it’s community. We discovered that Wordament had shipped this morning thanks to a tip on our Facebook page.

So, please go and try out our new release! We look forward to playing with all of the Windows 8 players again in the same room. Lastly, please remember: This is a release preview. This is not final, shipping software. We are on a pre-release operating system, with pre-release Xbox LIVE, and pre-release Wordament. We will be continuing to tweak and improve the game, as we always do as we all move toward final release.

Wordament Italian Edition Beta

As we’ve added new languages, it’s been great to see the enthusiasm increase for languages we haven’t released. It’s especially satisfying when we see a lot of requests for a language that we are actively prepping but haven’t flipped the switch to release it publicly. With the near daily requests for Italian we’ve had over the last few weeks, we’re proud to release our seventh language.

The Italian puzzles are much like the French, Dutch, and Spanish puzzles with normal and digram puzzles. The smaller alphabet makes for puzzles that may have a different feel from other languages as the high score of rare letters such as x and j in other languages aren’t available. However, the higher prevalence of doubled consonants leads to long words being found more often.

As we put this language edition out to beta, we’d love to hear your feedback on any errors or omissions. We hope you enjoy this addition to our family of supported puzzle languages.

To play, swipe over to ‘Guida e opzioni’ and select ‘Lingua puzzle’ and choose Italiano BETA

Thanks,

The Wordament Team

Wordament 2.2 update is available in the WP7 Marketplace

One of my hobbies when not building software is woodworking. Woodworking is a reductive craft. You start with raw materials, which are generally larger than what you intend to build and you reduce them with tools until you have something beautiful and refined.  I often use woodworking analogies to describe software problems and processes, but in reality building software works pretty differently. When making an app you start with virtually nothing and you build and build until you have some raw materials, then you refine to create something beautiful.

This morning we did a little more sanding on Wordament WP7.  V2.2 should be available shortly and will reduce how often you see “Can’t connect to Xbox LIVE” or “Can’t connect to Wordament.net”. While there are still situations where those errors will legitimately display themselves, they are now even more resilient to network failures. If you have had connectivity issues with previous versions of Wordament this build should help. 

We would love to hear from you if you are on v2.2 and experiencing improved connectivity.

Thanks,

John / Manthor10

Wordament French Edition Beta

As we release each new language edition we’ve seen an uptick in feedback for more and more languages. All we can say is that we’re pedaling as fast as we can to keep up with demand. So, after a detour to update our engineering backend to handle more languages efficiently, we have switched gears to get our next batch of languages live, starting with French. So, for everyone who has waited patiently over the last few weeks and contacted us asking for French: here it is!

One of the first things to notice is that accents aren’t in the puzzle grid. After a bad experience in Spanish of putting in diacritical marks, we went with eliminating accents from the puzzle. So, ete and été will both be found by swiping E-T-E with the most commonly used accenting showing up in the list of found words. Words with ligatures such as œuvre will be found by swiping O-E-U-V-R-E. The puzzles will come in two flavors: normal and digram. As we tune our French lexicon we will also be bringing French Themed puzzles into the mix!

We’d also like to thank Laurent Bonnet for his effort in trying out this Language Edition and helping us gauge where we’re at. In his own words, he says:

“When a colleague introduced me to Wordament in English, I found the game entertaining and with a fun touch experience, so I gave it a try but found out quickly that lots of words recognized were unknown to me, so my points stayed awfully low. Now that I had the chance to onboard the French words edition, I immediately had better results, and I started remembering various combinations of letters from a past Scrabble competitor life, as I did participate in many tournaments 25 years ago. After 100 games and a top score of 874, I look forward to target the 1000 barrier soon :). But I’ll probably buy a slightly bigger screen that matches better my fingers – though the “touch” on Windows Phone is really precise and adds to the entertaining experience of Wordament!”

While we feel the puzzles are high quality and fun to play, we know there are things we won’t see, since we aren’t native speakers. Also, this lexicon covers both Continental French as well as some global French (including French Canadian). So, if you see something, please say something so we can get the puzzles as good as they can be!

To get started, pivot over to Aide & Options and pop open the Langue des puzzles and select Francais BETA.

Thanks,

The Wordament Team

Wordament interview with DiscoPidgeon

This is a real treat! We had a chance late last week to sit down with Wordament’s fastest word finder: DiscoPidgeon. He recently took the title of fastest by finding 136 words in a single game as discussed here.

In this quick 13 minute interview, we get to ask lots of questions we’ve heard you ask us on our Facebook page about him, and at the 10:00 mark, you can watch Disco play a full round game getting 1st place with 99 words. Amazing.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8U_WOgS8XtI&feature=youtu.be]

Update to Wordament available soon in the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace

We pride ourselves on listening to the community and addressing the concerns of our players. Over the past 6 weeks we have launched a number of new puzzle languages, while simultaneously building a new Windows 8 Xbox LIVE-enabled version as well as working on updates for Phone. Many of you have shared feature ideas and issues you have encountered with the Phone app and we are taking an opportunity to address them. Today we are excited to announce that a new build of Wordament for Windows Phone 7 will be appearing in the marketplace shortly. Wordament 2.1 addresses many of the top comments we have received since launching and we can’t wait to hear what you think. So here is what you are going to get:

The systray is back

systrayThe systray is that little bar at the top of the screen that tells you what time it is, your signal strength and how much battery you have. We took it out in Xbox LIVE version of Wordament because we honestly didn’t know you could have a “full bleed app” and still show this. Once we removed to it, we thought it was a cleaner look and we wanted the pixel space on certain screens. What we didn’t take into account was how many of you really like to know what time it is when you’re playing Wordament. We’ve even heard stories from people about missing classes and even their train because they got so immersed! So we’ve brought the systray back during the game board, main menu and individual results. It’s still hidden on the real time leaderboards and screens where we need the headroom. Now you never need to wonder if you are going to be late if you play one more game. Simply swipe from the top of the phone, onto the screen and the tray will appear.

Monochrome background

We have heard from a group of individuals who don’t like the color orange yet love the accent color blue. In fact some players downright detest orange with a passion. We actually got some boarder line scary mails and manifestos from some players who apparently don’t get along with red and yellow mixed together. Like it or not the orange color is part of the Wordament brand these days and we aren’t going to pull a “New Coke” at this time swap it. But, we decided there is a worthwhile feature we could do and that is to allow the game board to be played on a muted, neutral background. In Wordament 1.1 we’ve added a new setting to help and options, “Game background”. This settings lets you choose if you want to play on a colorful, saturated background or on a neutral, monochrome background. The choice is yours. Playing with a monochrome background will not change the background in the main menus, that remains tied to your accent color but it will change the in-game background to a much more subtle background. For those of you that really disliked the look, please come back and give us another try. I think you will find it much easier on your eyes.

saturated-setting            monochrome-setting

saturated            monochrome

Improved connectivity

Right after launching Wordament we started getting a new class of email showing up in our inbox: the user that can’t connect. We quickly figured out all the tricks to making a phone connect to Xbox LIVE and to Wordament and we documented them all in a FAQ to help folks out. That’s nice, if you can find the FAQ. In this new build we are much smarter about explaining why the game can’t connect, whose fault it is and in many cases we can provide advice on how to fix it. This should significantly help new users facing connection problems.

Along with better error logic, we also reduced the number of calls we make on startup as well as the amount of data we transmit between our service and phone client. This results in better connectivity, particularly on slower 2G networks that still exist in many parts of the world. We would love to hear from you if this new build works for you where the old one didn’t.

There is nothing worse than playing the game of your life and then being forced out to the main menu to see you lost connection. Rest assured we are doing everything we can to try to prevent that and in Wordament 2.1 you should see the “Can’t connect to Wordament.net” error less during game play. We improved our network retry logic such that it is more resilient to temporal network glitches.

Better touch experience on Bigger screens (i.e. Nokia Lumia 900s)

For about a year, the device that the Wordament dev staff carried around as our daily phone was a Samsung Focus. As a result, we played lots of Wordament on the Focus and basically spent hundreds of hours tuning the code on that device. For the first gen of phones that approach proved fine and we saw pretty consistent touch performance across a wide range of hardware. Then we got some Lumia 900s right around the time we shipped v1 and we started to notice that several of us didn’t score as high on the Lumia 900 as we did on the Focus. At first we wrote this off to user error: “it’s a bigger screen”, “the glass feels different”, or “we’ve played thousands of games on the focus” etc. After all, the differences in scores we were talking about were pretty minor. But that was starting to feel like a poor excuse as we started to hear other player agree with us. So I sat down one evening and debugged it. Some of our code that tuned Wordament to work so well on the Focus actually made the Lumia a bit less responsive to word swipes on the game board. I’m happy to announce that we have solved this in the update you are about to get. Touch performance on the Lumia 900 is as good as any other device now.

Updates roll out around the world and to different phones in a staged manor so it could take a day or two before you see it on your phone. At some point in the near future we will ask all players to upgrade to Wordament 2.1 in large part due to the connectivity improvements.

Enjoy,

John / Manthor10

DiscoPidgeon sets the new Wordament speed record: 136 words

Update: DiscoPidgeon has done it again! On June 22nd, he found 140 words in a single game!

This is simply unbelievable. Congratulations to DiscoPidgeon for the best recorded result we’ve had yet! He has already earned the “World Champ” achievement, but this result puts him into an entirely different league!

The previous best word counts for a single game (since launching Wordament on Xbox LIVE) were 131 (Wicketewok69) and 130 (mztan). Disco’s result is 3.8% better—and at these these speeds—that is amazing.

His average “word find rate” was 0.5 seconds with a “finger in rate” was 0.38 seconds, for an elapsed average time of 0.87 seconds / word SUSTAINED for 2:00!

Here’s his winning board:

image

Because this result is so amazing, we analyzed it six-ways-from-Sunday. We are huge word geeks and wanted to understand how this was even possible. The magic appears to come from his ability to pattern match all of the similar patterns with a given set of letters. We’ll be sure to ask. We have him coming in for an interview with us, and we are VERY excited to share that with you all soon.

Without further ado, here’s his amazing result:

Found words by commonness

(sorted by highest to lowest score)

Common Obscure
swans +32 shoats +28
moles +28 washy +28
shales +28 solans +26
stales +24 swash +24
claws +24 snaws +21
shows +24 hales +18
cows +23 hants +18
sows +22 shoat +18
swan +22 coles +16
cow +21 solan +16
owl +21 haws +14
snows +21 hows +14
wales +21 nows +12
wants +21 snaw +12
mole +20 staw +12
sow +20 taws +12
ants +18 wale +12
sole +18 wans +12
colas +18 wons +12
holes +18 awl +11
shale +18 cosh +11
ant +16 hant +10
coast +16 hons +10
coats +16 taw +10
loans +16 cole +9
sales +15 lats +9
stale +15 moc +9
tales +15 mol +9
claw +14 sola +9
cowl +14 col +8
mows +14 lase +8
shaw +14 oast +8
show +14 oles +8
wash +14 sha +8
awol +13 cos +7
laws +13 hes +7
lows +13 lat +7
hash +12 noes +7
haw +12 sal +7
how +12 sol +7
mow +12 sel +6
snow +12 tas +6
want +12 oes +5
wast +12 ose +5
wats +12
lash +11
law +11
low +11
clat +10
cola +10
coy +10
hale +10
hast +10
hats +10
hole +10
naw +10
now +10
sash +10
saw +10
wan +10
wat +10
won +10
coat +9
cons +9
hoes +9
hose +9
last +9
loan +9
shoe +9
ales +8
ash +8
has +8
hat +8
hon +8
lose +8
oats +8
sale +8
tale +8
tans +8
con +7
hoe +7
las +7
nose +7
ale +6
nos +6
oat +6
ole +6
ons +6
sat +6
sec +6
son +6
tan +6

Words found by similarity of letters

(sorted alphabetically)

ale, ales
ant, ants
ash
awl, awol
clat
claw, claws
coat, coats, coast
col, cola, colas
cole, coles
con, cons
cos, cosh
cow, cowl, cows
coy
hale, hales
hant, hants
has, hash, hast
hat, hats
haw, haws
hes
hoe, hoes
hole, holes
hon, hones
hose
how, hows
las, lase, lash, last
lat, lats
law, laws
loan, loans
lose
low, lows
moc
mol
mole, moles
mow, mows
naw
noes, nos, nose, ose, ons
now, nows
oast, oat, oats
ole, oles
owl
sal, sale, sales
sash
sat
saw
sec
sel
sha, shale, shales
shaw
shoat, shoats
shoe
show, shows
snaw, snaws
snow, snows
sol, sola, solan, solans
sole
son
sow, sows
stale, stales, staw
swan, swans, swash
tale, tales
tan, tans
tas
taw, taws
wale, wales
wan, wans, want, wants
wash, washy
wast
wat, wats
won, wons

Words in the order found

(sorted by time found)

Word

Start

Elapsed

haw +12 0.2 0.3
haws +14 0.6 0.4
shaw +14 1.1 0.4
saw +10 1.6 0.3
awl +11 2.5 0.3
law +11 2.9 0.2
laws +13 3.3 0.4
low +11 3.7 0.3
lows +13 4.1 0.4
cow +21 4.6 0.3
cows +23 4.9 0.5
cowl +14 5.9 0.6
owl +21 6.6 0.3
won +10 7.9 0.3
wons +12 8.2 0.4
wan +10 8.7 0.2
wans +12 9.0 0.3
swan +22 9.4 0.3
swans +32 9.8 0.4
naw +10 10.7 0.2
snaw +12 11.4 0.4
snaws +21 12.2 0.5
sat +6 12.9 0.3
ant +16 13.6 0.3
ants +18 14.0 0.3
tan +6 14.4 0.3
tans +8 14.8 0.4
ash +8 15.3 0.3
wash +14 15.7 0.4
washy +28 16.3 0.5
claw +14 19.2 0.4
claws +24 19.7 0.6
clat +10 20.4 0.3
lats +9 20.9 1.0
lat +7 22.8 0.2
last +9 23.2 0.6
loan +9 24.4 0.4
loans +16 24.8 0.5
col +8 25.9 0.3
cole +9 26.4 0.4
coles +16 26.8 0.5
ole +6 27.4 0.3
oles +8 27.8 0.4
hoe +7 28.3 0.3
hoes +9 28.7 0.4
hose +9 29.2 0.4
shoe +9 29.7 0.4
hole +10 30.5 0.4
holes +18 32.1 0.5
wale +12 32.7 0.4
wales +21 33.2 0.5
awol +13 33.9 0.4
ale +6 35.0 0.3
ales +8 36.1 0.4
sal +7 36.6 0.3
sale +8 37.0 0.4
sales +15 37.5 0.5
stale +15 38.2 0.6
stales +24 38.8 0.7
tale +8 40.2 0.3
tales +15 40.7 0.5
ons +6 41.5 0.4
son +6 42.0 0.3
hon +8 42.5 0.3
hons +10 42.8 0.4
oat +6 43.8 0.3
oats +8 44.1 0.4
shoat +18 45.9 0.5
shoats +28 46.6 0.6
show +14 47.3 0.4
shows +24 47.8 0.6
now +10 49.2 0.2
nows +12 49.5 0.4
snow +12 50.0 0.4
snows +21 50.5 0.5
want +12 52.4 0.4
wants +21 52.9 0.4
hant +10 53.4 0.3
hants +18 54.6 0.5
hat +8 55.1 0.3
hats +10 56.6 0.5
hast +10 57.1 0.4
mol +9 61.8 0.3
mow +12 62.2 0.3
mows +14 62.5 0.3
mole +20 63.4 0.3
moles +28 63.8 0.4
moc +9 65.3 0.3
con +7 67.5 0.3
cons +9 67.9 0.4
coat +9 68.4 0.4
coats +16 68.9 0.5
oast +8 70.3 0.3
coast +16 70.8 0.5
wat +10 71.4 0.3
wats +12 71.8 0.3
wast +12 72.3 0.3
taw +10 72.8 0.3
taws +12 73.6 0.4
staw +12 74.1 0.4
has +8 75.7 0.3
sha +8 76.5 0.4
shale +18 77.4 0.6
shales +28 78.5 0.7
hale +10 79.4 0.4
hales +18 79.9 0.6
nos +6 82.1 0.3
lose +8 82.6 0.5
nose +7 83.1 0.4
noes +7 83.7 0.3
oes +5 84.1 0.3
ose +5 84.8 0.3
hes +7 86.3 0.4
how +12 88.4 0.3
hows +14 89.0 0.4
sow +20 90.0 0.3
sows +22 90.3 0.4
sol +7 90.9 0.3
sole +18 91.2 0.3
las +7 93.5 0.3
lase +8 94.0 0.4
lash +11 94.5 0.3
sash +10 95.4 0.4
swash +24 97.1 0.5
hash +12 97.9 0.3
tas +6 99.5 0.3
coy +10 104.5 0.3
sel +6 106.5 0.3
sola +9 107.7 0.5
solan +16 111.3 0.5
solans +26 112.2 0.5
cola +10 113.3 0.4
colas +18 114.2 0.6
cos +7 116.1 0.3
cosh +11 116.5 0.4
sec +6 117.9 0.2

Where’s Wordament on Windows 8 Release Preview?

“What happened to Wordament? Where did it go?”

We’ve been getting this question a lot today, as Microsoft just released the Release Preview of Windows 8. It’s a very exciting release of Windows and moves Windows one step closer to final release!

As you can probably guess, we are working hard to bring Wordament on Windows 8 to you, at high-quality, and using Xbox LIVE. Back in April, when we shipped Wordament on Xbox LIVE on Windows Phone, we had to fragment the user base—Players on Phone came to Xbox LIVE and players on Windows 8 Consumer Preview stayed on our older Wordament screen name system. We never want fragment our player base like that again. We like having one user base and one set of Friends and Frenemies.

When we arrive on Windows 8 again, it will be with Xbox LIVE and there won’t be any need for an “Unlock code”. Your Xbox LIVE account will just work across Phone and Windows. It will be great.

So, stay tuned for an announcement on our blog about the new Wordament on Windows 8 with Xbox LIVE. It will have many of the same great features as the Phone version, including Language Editions, sound, and a single player base. We are getting close…

Jason / Black Snapper

Wordament German Edition BETA

heading

We LOVE the passion of Wordament players! It’s why we read and try and answer every single piece of email we get. We appreciate the fact that people take time out of their lives to chat with us about a free word game. For this blog post, this particular piece of player mail seemed really appropriate:

Guys, plz… Dutch, Swedish,Spnaish???? This is rediciolous!

Why not german? German is the offical language in:
Germany
Austria
Switzerland
Liechtenstein
Luxembourg
and Belgium!

Recognised minority language in
Czech Republic
Denmark
Hungary
Kazakhstan
Italy
Namibia (National language; official language 1984–90)
Poland (Auxiliary language in 28 municipalities in Opole Voivodeship and 1 in Silesian Voivodeship)
Romania
Russia
Slovakia (Official municipal language of Krahule/Blaufuß)
Vatican City (Administrative and commanding language of the Swiss Guard)

… Means maby over 150 mio people talkin in German and you bring is Dutch???? Whats wrong with you?!
So pleaaase do somthing for the German talking people :/

:-) And our response:

Thanks for your comments. German Edition is next. We understand EXACTLY how important German is, so we didn’t rush garbage out the door in haste. We’ve been busily working and testing it to bring online as a Beta NEXT WEEK. We will likely still have gaps in our lexicon, but we are working hard to have this language be solid as we agree with you: It’s really important.

Start

So, tonight (or this morning if you are in Germany), we proudly unveil our BETA of Wordament German Edition. We are pretty proud of all of our Language Editions, but this one had some extra care and help from a native speaker and a close friend of Wordament: EchoFoxtrotDJ (formerly DidjaRedo). Echo and his whole family and have been big community supporters of our game for as long as we can remember and they have contributed more themed word lists to English Edition than anyone except oOo Scruff oOo who helps out the team every night.

Like all of our other Language Editions, German is BETA. We think it’s a high quality BETA, but we know there will be words that are legal that are missing, and words that are illegal that are included. In particular, we had to allow some proper nouns in (by accident) to make sure we had the correct coverage of everyday words.

GameBoard     IR2

So, please enjoy and help us tune and improve this version. As with all of our other Language Editions, here’s how you can help us:

1) Please be specific! Know that we are here to get this right and that we acknowledge that it’s not perfect, right now… so, when you do contact us, please be specific! What words aren’t words? Which words are we missing? In many cases our lexicon already has everything—but valid words have been removed or abbreviations have been left. We start from a really rich Microsoft German Lexicon, but are slicing and dicing it to convert it from a “spell check” lexicon to a “word game lexicon”—they are very different things. In particular, please help us with last names that aren’t words. We know we have some of these, but they are hard to find and remove.

2) Please be patient with us! We are rolling new puzzles out for each language each day right now as we learn and refine. If the puzzles are “terrible” today, then try again tomorrow. If you sent us specific feedback, we’ll have heard you and may have been able to fix it.

3) Know that all features will appear in time! Today, we are launching with “Normal” puzzles, which feature Digrams or a Trigram in every puzzle.We do not have German “themed puzzles” yet—but they will be coming!

Thanks in advance for the help you can provide us to improving this Language Edition. To play in German Edition, pivot to Hilfe & Optionen and select Deutsch BETA in the Rätsel-Sprache picker. 

HelpAndOptions

As Bing Translate says “Viel Glück und genießen!” (Good luck and enjoy!)

Amazing players!

Tonight marks 3 weeks of availability of Wordament on Xbox LIVE on Windows Phone. In the transition to Xbox LIVE, we started a new one-year tournament and we are nothing short of amazed at some of the great players and results we are seeing. We used to commemorate these moments with a clip art trophy and call that person a Champ. These days, accomplishing these tasks actually unlocks that Achievement!

Top players

Just a couple of days ago, our first player racked up 1,000,000 points and 1,000,000 words found. In the couple of days since: 10 people have done this:

  • Preppy
  • BoomRShine
  • Nandigam
  • Slizos
  • deirdrethedub
  • HeDish96
  • st deacon
  • Wicketwok69
  • juliemacmartin
  • hiatus105 (at time of this post, this player was at 998,562 points)

As it currently stands, to get the Champ achievement by Total Score, position #250 is at 441,000 points.

Average Scores

On the Average Score (all time) leaderboard, the top results are nothing short of incredible. The top 35 players all average 800+ points per full game they play.

“Fingers of Fury”

The final milestone to call out is number of words found in a single game. Here are our top finishers:

  • Wicketewok69 – 131 words (in the Xbox LIVE version), 133 all time.
  • mztan – 130 words (Xbox LIVE), 131 all time.

Boy would we love to see a video of play like that! One of the things that particularly impresses us with these classes of results is that these players almost never hit “You’re guessing!” They have memorized and can recall visual patterns that make all of these words. Remember, this is more than 1 word per second sustained! And, for all of the new players to Wordament that think these players are cheaters—let us assure you they are not! We know them personally and have seen them get results like these. But, don’t take our word for it:

Wicketewok vs. DiscoPidgeon–As shot by SniffleBump

There are many more like this on YouTube!

Thanks for making the competition hotter than ever!

– Jason / Black Snapper

Swedish Edition Lexicon and Puzzle Update

header

We wanted to take a minute to update you on some changes we’ve made to our newest Language Edition. Thanks to the help from lots of players that have contacted us, our trusty language developer Tim has been able to resolve an issue that was blocking about 70,000 words from being accepted in our game. We also found that the tile values and total puzzle scores weren’t right. We updated those too recently, and now our puzzles are much closer to the same generation criteria as English Edition, including scoring range. If you haven’t played in the last day or so, give it another try!

We’ve had several hundred “missing words” reported to us. Those really help! Of those, and after we fixed the issue with word removal, our Swedish lexicon “naturally included” about 2/3rds of the reported words. We are still looking at why the remaining 1/3 of the reported words are still missing or being removed. Swedish will continue to improve in the coming days and weeks—so please keep the feedback rolling in! We are listening.

– Jason / Black Snapper

Wordament Swedish Edition BETA

As we’ve progressed down the Language Editions path, a number of people questioned our order: Why Spanish, then Dutch, then Swedish? In part, it was because those were the languages that were most “requested.” Not the most spoken world-wide, but in the microcosm of Wordament—Swedish is a top requested language. It’s also a really hard language to do with 16 tiles. In fact, the only language that we think will be harder, is German. And that’s next.

Start

So, with even more humility than for Dutch Edition BETA, we launch Swedish Edition BETA today. The first thing you will notice is that every board has at least one “N-gram”. In English, Spanish, and Dutch, we have a special Digram round.

Game-Board-2     Game-Board-1

For Swedish, we need at least one Digram in every board—the words are just longer. Round-over-round you will get boards with either:

  • 1 – 4, non-adjacent Digrams
  • 1 Trigram (like the ARN) above

We have no special rounds for Swedish Edition BETA yet. But, we believe the lexicon is ready and we believe the puzzles are good enough to try this. Here’s how you can help us when you provide feedback:

1) Please be specific! Know that we are here to get this right and that we acknowledge that it’s not perfect, right now… so, when you do contact us, please be specific! What words aren’t words? Which words are we missing? In many cases our lexicon already has everything—but valid words have been removed or abbreviations have been left. We start from a really rich Microsoft Swedish Lexicon, but are slicing and dicing it to convert it from a “spell check” lexicon to a “word game lexicon”—they are very different things.

2) Please be patient with us! We are rolling new puzzles out for each language each day right now as we learn and refine. If the puzzles are “terrible” today, then try again tomorrow. If you sent us specific feedback, we’ll have heard you and may have been able to fix it.

3) Know that all features will appear in time! Today, we are launching with “Normal” puzzles, which feature Digrams or a Trigram in every puzzle.We do not have Swedish “themed puzzles” yet.

Thanks in advance for the help you can provide us to improve this Language Edition. To play in Swedish Edition, pivot to Hjälp & alternativ and select Svenska BETA in the Pusselpråk picker. We are so proud to offer this game to Swedish speaking players!

As Bing Translate says “Lycka till!” (Good luck!)

Help-and-Options

Achievement Unlocked: World Champ

The day has come. We’ve just enabled the World Champ achievement and awarded hundreds of achievements across all languages. Here are the specifics so you too, can unlock this achievement:

Total score (all time)

You must appear in the top 250 players in the Total score (all time) leaderboard AND earned at least 250,000 total points. If you are in the top 250, but don’t have 250,000 points, keep earning and it will unlock.

Average score (all time)

You must appear in the top 250 players in the Average score (all time) leaderboard AND have earned at least 85,000 total points, and have completed at least 100 FULL games (meaning you have the Sore Fingers achievement). We made these rules strict, to ensure that the players that appear here are Champs. We don’t want players with solvers playing 5 games, getting to the top and unlocking the achievement. If you are going to use a word solver, you are going to have to do it 100 times, at which point we will have caught you. :-)

Congratulations to our first wave of Achievement Unlockers. Now let the battle for position 250, begin in earnest. All you need to do, is touch 250 after any single game, and it will unlock at your next sign in to Wordament.

– Black Snapper

Wordament Dutch Edition BETA

Tonight, we humbly launch Dutch Edition BETA. With our recent Spanish Edition BETA, each member of our team had some experience with LATAM Spanish, but for Dutch, we are much less experienced. We appreciate your patience as we work to leave the BETA phase together. Each Language Edition that we launch will leave BETA when we, together, are proud of it. Spanish is SO much better this week than last week, but it’s still imperfect—it’s a BETA. We’re hoping that we’ve learned a lot of lessons from that experience and applied them to this launch, but you will be the judge of our starting quality.

Here’s how you can help us:

1) Please be specific! Know that we are here to get this right and that we acknowledge that it’s not perfect, right now… so, when you do contact us, please be specific! What words aren’t words? Which words are we missing? In many cases our lexicon already has everything—but valid words have been removed or abbreviations have been left. We start from a really rich Microsoft Dutch Lexicon, but are slicing and dicing it to convert it from a “spell check” lexicon to a “word game lexicon”—they are very different things.

2) Please be patient with us! We are rolling new puzzles out for each language each day right now as we learn and refine. If the puzzles are “terrible” today, then try again tomorrow. If you sent us specific feedback, we’ll have heard you and may have been able to fix it.

3) Know that all features will appear in time! Today, we are launching with Normal and Digram puzzles. We do not have Dutch “themed puzzles” yet. We will. But not today, or tomorrow, or even next week. They will be here though! If you want to help, start creating themed word lists!

Thanks in advance for all the help you will provide us! Now, to get in there, start Wordament and pivot to Help & Opties and select Nederlands in the Puzzeltaal dropdown.

Home   Help   Change   Dutch

A los jugadores…

A los jugadores hispanohablantes, muchas gracias por todo lo que nos han dicho. Hemos mejorado el diccionario que usamos. Vocablos que son al ambos nombres propios y palabras (como julio, que es al mismo tiempo un nombre propio y mes) habían sido removidos del diccionario original, pero ya son aceptados. Algunas palabras comunes que deberían haber estado en el primer diccionario han sido añadidas. Así mismo, muchas palabras que son acrónimos u onomatopeyas han sido removidas del diccionario, así como palabras en inglés. Ahora, los juegos deben ser más disfrutables.

Una vez más, gracias por jugar.

Wordament totalmente en español

Hola! Soy Tim (Rogosh wot en Xbox LIVE), soy un desarrollador nuevo en el equipo de Wordament. Empecé este lunes y la primera cosa que hice fue crear los juegos nuevos en Español. Queremos establecer comunicación con los nuevos jugadores de cada lenguaje que agregamos.

El día de hoy anunciamos Wordament totalmente en español. Todas las palabras que están en el juego están en Español. Sin embargo, nadie en este equipo habla el idioma aunque algunos lo han estudiado. Posiblemente encontraran algunos errores. Por ejemplo, si encuentras una palabra que este totalmente fuera de lugar (como “iiij”) o en inglés (como “hello”), por favor, ¡comunícate con nosotros! Queremos mejorar los juegos día a día y semana tras semana con sus sugerencias. Dinos si vamos mejorando o empeorando, queremos recibir tu opinión para mejorar la versión de Wordament en Español.

Contáctanos vía wordament@microsoft.com para reportar palabras no adecuadas, problemas, o para proporcionar cualquier comentario o sugerencia. Si la interface de Wordament es “es-ES” el lenguaje del juego será español. Si tienes el juego en otro lenguaje puedes utilizar la pagina que se muestra abajo para seleccionar “Spanish”.

spanish welcomespanish settingsSpanish puzzle pickerspanish reboot

Announcing The One Year Tournament

4/1/2011 was the day Wordament opened its doors. At that time we had only one leaderboard: the real-time, in-game leaderboard. As the game grew, we added more and more leaderboards. We are still growing and over the next year we plan to do even more interesting leaderboards. Leaderboards are at the core of Wordament.

Today we want to announce that we are going to start a one year leaderboard. We plan to archive all the results from the past year of play and enshrine the top 2500 player on our Facebook page for the lifespan of Wordament. Every year on 4/1 we plan to snap the yearly leaderboard. Think of it like the dusty trophy closet at your Alma Mater. So fear not those of you who don’t like that we cleared your stats for Wordament on Xbox LIVE. Your legend will live on.

I realize some might question our decision to clear all the stats. The simple fact is: there was no other choice available to us. When it came time to move our identity system from screen names to Xbox LIVE we had a significant technical and policy problem on our hands.

We discussed and prototyped solutions to merge results from screen names with gamertags but the results were not satisfactory. For instance, existing players would already have unlocked most of the achievements without ever playing. It also felt very weird to launch a newly branded Xbox LIVE title that had players with millions of points. You can trust me when I say we thought through ever solution and outcome we could conceive for weeks. We finally landed on the One Year Tournament being an acceptable way to part ties with screen names and allow every player the ability to experience the game anew.

We think the One Year Leaderboard will be a very exciting leaderboard to watch, as it will add all new life and reason to play. Sure you were the best last year… but how about this year? Maybe some of the top players are “done.” Fine! Now’s your chance to be the best. We know we are excited to participate from scratch again, and hope you are too!

The new 2011 Hall of Fame will be available in the coming days. We will blog about it when it’s live.

-John and Jason

Enabling Xbox LIVE on your Phone

We’ve had a small number of folks mention that they can’t connect to Wordament after the update. In every case so far (knock on wood), it’s been due to the Phone having Xbox LIVE disabled. Here’s how you can fix that:

  • From the phone’s Home screen, go to Settings.
  • In Settings, pivot over to applications
  • Tap on games
  • Make sure that Connect with Xbox LIVE is set to On.

Let us know if you have any trouble: wordament@microsoft.com

Jason / Black Snapper

The new look and design of results

As I sat down to write about all the improvements we have coming to the results pages, it hit me that it would be nice to demonstrate how things work. Here is a short video of the results screens for Wordament on Xbox LIVE which I captured in the development emulator.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWAyeCguLCM&w=584&h=327&hd=1]

There are two types of results, Individual Results and the Real-time Leaderboard. Individual Results is the first screen you see as soon as the game has ended. Its purpose is to show the player how well they played against the board only. The Real-time Leaderboard is the second screen and it shows how well the player did against everyone else that just played that round. As you can see from the video, we have done a little remodeling on these screens. In an earlier post, I talked about how careful Jason and I try to avoid introducing change for change sake. We took a really long look at how we had been laying out these screens and decided that a few simple improvements would make them easier to read and more useful.

Individual Results

The first thing we focused on was performance. By profiling our code and experimenting with different list rendering strategies we were able to load our word lists faster than ever before, which in turn means these pages load quicker. This makes for a more responsive experience.

clip_image002Then we took a hard look at all the data we were trying to convey and thought about how to lay it out so it could be quickly parsed and so that it would localize well to other languages. That led us down the path of dividing the screen with the top being stats and the bottom using a pivot control for all the word lists. We play-tested several designs and this one came out the clear favorite.

Many players have asked for the ability to touch a tile during Individual Results and see what words contain that particular tile. We have always thought that was a fantastic idea and I’m proud to say we got it added to this release as you can see in the video.

 

Real-time Leaderboards

We played with a couple concepts in the real-time leaderboards. Jason and I were convinced that one in particular would be really cool: we wanted to add the best word each player found to the Real-time Leaderboards just like we do in the Persistent Leaderboards. When we tried this, it was a lot of information and the only way to do it involved using 2 rows for each player result. We showed the design to a few friends of Wordament and we quickly realized that we had to proceed with caution as too much data harmed the experience and diminished what players care about the most: their position in the leaderboard. You don’t want to “gild the lily,” as player test_gal so eloquently put it during one of our conversations. So we decided to leave the content of the list largely alone and we focused on performance and some minor refinements to the stats part of this screen.

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The new stats area shows your rank in two ways: your actual rank on the left and a percentile rank on the right. The top number on left is simply your achieved rank with ties taken into consideration. The bottom number is the total number of players that reported results in the round. Players have told us that they compete with themselves on their percentage ranking because it’s very comparable round over round. So we decided to make it a more prominent part of our user interface.

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The final change that we introduced was “real-time ties” in a way that’s consistent with our Persistent Leaderboards. You can see the vertical bars that show tied ranks and that we no longer duplicate the number when you place in the same rank as someone else. We continue to decide ties strictly on Score, leaving Words out of the picture.

Overall, we think we’ve taken the results experience and made just the minimal changes it needed to be even better. We hope you find these changes to be improvements that make the game more fun and playable.

John and Jason

Digram and Themed Puzzle Countdown

Today’s feature is a small one, but a great one. Ever since we introduced Digram and Themed puzzles, we’ve had a special “title bar” that contains the board’s title and description, but it’s always been static… until now.

The idea for this feature came from Asa Kaplan (minieme12358) who wrote to us in January with this message:

I just had 2 quick suggestions and a bug report. With the themes, it would be nice to have it count down both obscure and common ones as you get them. This would prevent those frantic searches after a category is finished :P

Second one, I am unsure of this, but possibly a category completion reward?

With Wordament on Xbox LIVE, we’ve added both of these. First, the title bar now counts down the number of items left to find (which for Digrams is only the Common words, not the Obscure). Each time you find a word, the title pulses like the tiles and counts goes down. Get down to 0 and… ka-click! Achievement Unlocked: Digram Master or Theme Titan, depending on the kind of puzzle. We think it’s really fun.

1   3   4

You’ll also notice that we’ve moved the title bar above the board in all cases. This is to address another problem: Many people have written us and said “I didn’t know it was a themed round until the end!” Well, now, we have a couple of fixes for that too:

1) The title bar is at the top

2) It pulses when the round begins

3) It pulses with each digram or themed word you find

4) We have a unique round start sound for themed rounds—when you have sound enabled—which are on by default.

We hope you like it. We think it’s a great change, and best of all—it was a change recommended by our terrific community.

10   11   12

– Black Snapper

Wordament Tournament and Launch Party

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We can’t think of a better way to launch Wordament on Xbox Live than a party and a Wordament tournament. We are very excited about the Microsoft Store as a venue as well as the fantastic prizes we have to give away. Nokia was kind enough to provide us with a white Lumia 900 as the grand prize for the Wordament Champion of the evening. If you haven’t played with one of these phones yet, the Microsoft Store has them on display. It’s a beautiful piece of hardware.

We are going to run this tournament a bit different than the previous one. It will be a bracketed tournament. This requires you to come in and sign up for a time to play. We will start handing out time slots at 6:30. You will then play a round with 8-12 others at your assigned time and if you get the highest score of the round you will advance to the winner’s round. The champ of the winners round will win a Kinect sensor. These mini tournaments will run every 30 minutes until 8:30, at which time we will ask all champs of the winners round to play in the grand prize battle. The winner of the grand prize battle can opt to trade their Kinect sensor for the Nokia 900.

There will also be a free drawing which anyone can enter to win an Xbox 360 Limted Edition Kinect Star Wars Bundle and other great prizes. The drawing will happen right after the Championship round at 8:30. You must be present to win. All participants will receive a Wordament T-shirt or Wordament Frisbee.

Come early as tournament spots will be limited and will fill quickly. The entire development team will be hanging out all night ready to talk about all things Wordament. We hope to see you there!

Friends and Frenemies

When we first launched Wordament, we didn’t have any sort of “social” features. John and I have joked many times that Wordament is the “antisocial network”—or perhaps more correctly stated: Wordament provides “crowd-based gaming.” Everyone is effectively doing their own thing, and trying their best. And, because everyone gets the same board and the same period of time and the game has no chance-based elements, it is possible to rank everyone against each other with complete fairness and correctness.

Because we started from nothing, and had neither a brand, a community, or any idea whether this game would go anywhere, we took took some simplifying engineering shortcuts. In our real-time leaderboard, we simply downloaded the full results of every player into every phone after every game. But, by early summer of 2011 we had a problem. We started getting 110 – 150 results per round. Not only did this produce a large download of text (remember most phones are still on 3G and some are on Edge—and often people are playing in challenging environments like busses and trains with lots of other data-heavy users competing for airwaves). The result was that it started taking so long to download, process, and format the results, that people got about 5 seconds to peek at the results before the next game started.

This led to a feat of necessity: Frenemies. We knew that it would be cool to be able to follow your close friends and family—so that was one component of where the feature came from. We also needed to cull the results down to something manageable if we were going to continue to grow our player base. Frenemies solved this too! By allowing players to specify who they wanted to follow, it meant that we could reduce the results to the three windows that matter:

  • Your Frenemies (the people you care to compete with the most)
  • The Top players (the folks that all make us feel like we flunked 3rd grade spelling)
  • Results near your rank (people that are most likely to be able to compete with you round-over-round in a competitive way.

Beyond these windows of results, we could drop everything else. This means that regardless of how many players there are, you can see results and how you did in the tiny amount of time we allocate for real-time results.

The other thing we really liked about Frenemies was the friction-free experience associated with making someone a Frenemy. Just tap their name in the results. There was no confirmation required from the Frenemy, because we don’t let you communicate.

Players have asked time-over-time: tell me who is tracking me! “No”, we say—for the simple reason that we don’t want Frenemies to become this complicated and frictionful experience when you just want to watch how other people that you know (whether in-person or by screen name) are doing.

One of our biggest concerns with moving to Xbox LIVE was: what do we do with Frenemies? Xbox LIVE has a great system to keeping deep, meaningful player relationships: Friends. We knew that we wanted to support that, but we also really liked the fact that it’s possible to Frenemy people you don’t know. This is where that earlier sentiment of “crowd based gaming” comes in. In a crowd of people, some are “more interesting to watch” than others. Just because you see someone interesting, though, doesn’t mean you want to get to know them. You may not want to engage in chat, or video, or game parties with these people, just because they can find words better than you. So, we’ve always made an intentional and explicit choice to not offer social features that might explode into weird chat room shenanigans or creepy stalker stuff where people would have to be warned and banned for inappropriate conduct.

Xbox LIVE solves this problem for us. In the new Wordament, we get to have our cake and eat it too. When you sign in to the new Xbox LIVE enabled Wordament, all of your Xbox LIVE friends are automatically added to your list of Frenemies. You don’t have to do anything—it just happens. But, you still have the really simple and frictionless ability to follow people that you see in the results without having to make a full Xbox LIVE Friend request. My close friends and family are on my Xbox LIVE Friends list. And others, whose Wordament skills I admire, but will probably never meet, can be on my Frenemies list. To accommodate the inclusion of Xbox LIVE Friends, we’ve now moved the Frenemy limit to 150. This allows players that have a full 100 Friends to also have room for an additional 50 Wordament Frenemies. Beyond that point, we are back to the problem that got us here in the first place: too many results being downloaded and rendered, takes too much time between rounds.

Below is a look at the Frenemies pivot off of Wordament’s new Start screen:

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“But what about CHAT?” This is still an interesting comment that we get. Given that we are all trying to focus and do our best during the 2:00 game window, I don’t know how anyone could hope to chat. You wouldn’t. “Make a chat room” some say… we have one: it’s called Facebook. Over the past year, some of our best players have Liked us on Facebook and we have thousands of players that interact with us and each other there. If you want to brag about your score: tell us there! We love hearing about it. If you join our Facebook page, you can meet other players, hear the latest news, and chat.

The last thing we wanted to talk about was our new Frenemies management experience. Because Xbox LIVE has Gametags and Avatars, one of the things that we thought would be really fun, would be to allow you to “see your Frenemies”. Wanna see what Wicketewok looks like? Well, you can’t. But you can look at his Avatar! As you scroll through your list of Friends and Frenemies, you can tap on a Gamer Picture to see that player’s avatar. It’s fun and we think it adds to the Friends and Frenemies experience in a nice way.

IMG_20042012_223353

We hope you like what we’ve done with Friends and Frenemies. We think it extends an already simple concept without requiring any additional friction or complication. Let us know what you think!

– Black Snapper

Wordament’s Achievements

Those of you who have been playing Xbox LIVE games for a while know that Achievements and Gamerscore can make a fun game even more fun. Recently, we discovered how fun they are to design and implement too!

When we first sat down to design the Achievements for Wordament, we brainstormed out a list of about 20 – 30 fun and challenging goals for our players. We had a mix of easy, hard and very difficult goals. As we started talking with players about our list, we realized that there was more to a good Achievement than just a list of hard things to accomplish. Being engineers, we sat down and tried to design a framework for what makes a “fun”
Achievement. We came up with a few simple guidelines based on several discussions with players and other game designers. Before we show you the list of Wordament’s Achievements, we wanted to explain our approach.

1. Achievements don’t need herculean efforts to be rewarding

At first, we were very tempted to make the majority of our Achievements require “super human” tasks. As game designers, it feels natural to want to make players work for their Gamerscore. Wordament is, after all, a game of skill. After several late night conversations with the team, it became clear that the leaderboards are the best place for players to brag and show off their skill. We didn’t want all of our Achievements to become just another leaderboard. That’s not to say that we didn’t sprinkle in a few leaderboard-related Achievements, but they are not the bulk.

2. Good Achievements help players explore and learn to play the game

While coding up support for our new multi-language Editions, we started to see a design problem emerge: How was the casual user going to discover that they could play Wordament in languages beyond English (or their native language)? The setting to change Editions is fairly buried in our options pane. As we discussed various ideas about how we could promote this to the players, it hit us that this would be a great use of Achievements. By creating an Achievement that requires users to play in multiple languages, we could both expose them to the fact that we had that feature, while also rewarding them for trying it out–even if they have a really hard time finding any words in the new Edition.

3. Reward both skill and dedication

We wanted to have a few achievements for dedicated players. For instance, if you stick with Wordament for 100 games we thought that was worthy of a high five. It’s not an Achievement that requires a lot of skill, but it does require a level of dedication–and that separates that player from the those who don’t put in the effort. In case you are wondering: you do actually have to play the game 100 full times to get this. Just letting the boards go by with 0 score won’t unlock it.

4. Don’t use odd numbers for Gamerscore

This was hilarious. We laughed about this like we were being “hazed” or something. We learned from some producers at Microsoft that, in the past, some games would award an odd number of Gamerscore, say 7G, for a given Achievement. Apparently this is a “no-no”, as it can cause a player’s Gamerscore to be stuck at an odd number seemingly forever. There are a set of players out there (you know who you are) who very much dislike the idea of their total Gamerscore ending in anything but a 0. We were skeptical that this was real thing, but after asking around a bunch, we heard the tale so many times for it not to be true. So we did the world a favor: all of our Gamerscore is a multiple of 10.

5. Make a good mix

After applying these rules we netted out with 17 achievements, the bulk of which can be earned by anyone who plays. A small segment is about dedication and will take a little time to for an engaged player to earn, but it will mean something when you do. An even smaller segment is about being a really great player. We couldn’t resist having a couple Achievements in the mix that provide some serious bragging rights. Without further ado here is the list:

UPDATE: The first version of this post listed a few Gamerscores values incorrectly such that the sum of Wordament’s Gamerscore was 230G.  It’s only 200G.  The graphic has been updated.

Achievement list raw 3

Server-side Achievements

We also wanted to take a moment to talk about how the “Win the hour” and “World Champ” Achievement’s work. With those achievements we had an interesting problem: The phone code can’t actually determine if you should unlock those Achievements because they require calculations to be done inside Wordament’s service. On the engineering team, we refer to these as Server-side Achievements. Server-side Achievements won’t unlock instantly the way an Achievement like “Swipe those tiles” does, because the service needs to first figure out who is eligible by computing the persistent leaderboards. Once the service has the list of World Champs, it needs to inform the Wordament game client. That means that, in practice, these achievements can unlock after you are done playing a game session. Don’t worry, though! They aren’t lost. The next time you start Wordament, the game will check to see if you have any pending Achievements and unlock them instantly.

“World champ” also has one other caveat: Next week we expect the persistent leaderboard to be jumping around as everyone is on-boarding. Given that it will take a few weeks for the new leaderboards to stabilize, we won’t be unlocking “World champ” just yet. The service will start rewarding when the leaderboards have settled out in about two weeks. We didn’t think it was fair to let that Achievement unlock just because you were the first player in the room on April 25th.

Happy Gamerscore mining and we can’t wait to hear from the first person that successfully unlocks them all!  We’ll leave you with a screenshot of what the Achievements pivot looks like in game.

Achievements crop

-John

Designing Wordament on Xbox LIVE

One of the first tasks I took on after starting full-time in Microsoft Studios was to try to figure out how to marry the visual design of Wordament with the features Xbox LIVE provides. We take change to our design pretty seriously and we try our best to only introduce changes that results in what we feel is a 100% improvement. We’ve learned from countless experiences throughout the years that change is bad; unless it’s great. In fact, that is one of the guiding principles in software design here at Microsoft. So while I was very excited about all the goodness that Xbox LIVE brought with it, I was also nervous about integrating it in a way that would feel like the natural evolution of Wordament. We had to carefully balance “adding a lot of great new functionality” against “staying true to Wordament’s heritage.”

We started off with a couple ideas and these soon morphed into our cornerstone principles:

  • The gameplay works, don’t break it – we rejected any design that fundamentally changed the game board or how the game mechanics work
  • Wordament should cheer you on more – We decided that we wanted Wordament to greet you at launch with a friendly “hello” and some data about how well you have been playing. Additionally we wanted to create challenging achievements to give every player something to strive for.
  • Make competition with Friends and Frenemies easy – Many players love to compare themselves against their Frenemies so we wanted to make this easier than ever.
  • Listen to players – we’ve added countless little features because you asked for them, without compromising the simplicity of the game.

From these principles we started noodling on patterns for the start screen. While we could have simply extended our indie design with more buttons for things like Achievements, Settings, etc. we decided that was just going to land us with a cluttered design. So, we quickly gravitated to using a pivot control, which was something we had used in our very first release of Wordament.

Capture

The pivot allows Wordament to display lots of great top-level information without the feeling of clutter. With each swipe, you can view pivots for:

  • Rank and stats –how well you are doing?
  • Frenemies –how well have you played against your Frenemies over the past 24 hours?
  • Achievements – this pivot shows what Xbox LIVE Achievements you have earned as well as instructions on how to earn the ones you have yet to earn.
  • Help & Options – here you can do things like turn off sound, change your puzzle language, update your country code and read the full rules of the game
  • About – all the info you need to contact us

We only pivot the bottom half of the page, so it’s always one swipe to do the most important thing: play the game.

Another key element is Wordament’s look. Wordament has a history of using the accent color on Windows Phone throughout its user interface. Many players love this feature and it was something we wanted to both maintain as well as evolve. As we started digging into Windows 8 design and development, we noticed that the new Windows 8 Metro-style apps often sported fancy “tattooed backgrounds.” That got us thinking about what Wordament might look like with a clean and modern background. We started drawing. We came up with about 30 different varieties of background designs and we narrowed it down to the one we liked the best. From there, we carefully chose colors for the backgrounds to pair with the accent colors on the phone. I’ll let you be the judge, but I really like how this came out. We ended up with 20 stunning color variations.

spin

The new backgrounds are also part of the game design:

game IR results

As you can see, we tweaked the way the results screens’ layout too, and we find them to be easier to read. We’ve also made some really good performance improvements in our word list code that make these views the snappiest that they have ever been. There are lots of other new features in these screens, and we will blog about those over the next couple days. We are anxious to get this in your hands and see what you think!

- John

How to setup an Xbox LIVE gamertag and avatar

We’ve been mentioning for a few weeks now that you should go secure a free Xbox LIVE gamertag so you can seamlessly transition to Wordament on Xbox LIVE on April 25th. Your gamertag will be your identity in Wordament as well as in any other Xbox LIVE game you play.  So how do you go about getting one? It’s quite easy and best of all it’s free.

The easiest way to get started is to grab your Windows Phone.   If you already have an Xbox LIVE account, you can use your existing account and gamertag.  Otherwise it’s simple to create a new account.

1. On Start, tap Xbox LIVE clip_image001.

2. In Games, tap Join Xbox LIVE or sign in.

3. You’ll be asked to set up your phone with a Windows Live ID, set up your Xbox LIVE account, or sign in.

Once you have an account, you can see your gamertag, check your gamerscore, customize your avatar, and more in the Games Hub.

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more details at:  http://www.microsoft.com/windowsphone/en-us/howto/wp7/apps/set-up-an-xbox-live-account.aspx

After your gamertag is created you can design your avatar. 

Your Avatar is the visual counterpart to your gamertag.  You can customize your Avatar to look just like you or as wild as you like.  If you just created a new account there will be a gray avatar in the games hub, that’s the default avatar and you definitely want to customize it.   You can do this on the phone by tapping on the gray avatar in the games hub.

If the phone feels a bit too cramped for creating your digital persona you can always jump on a PC and head www.xbox.com where you can sign in and edit your avatar in the browser.

Once you’re all setup your avatar will be waiting to greet you in Wordament on Xbox LIVE .

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Let us know if you have any troubles!

Wordament’s newest champion: Herbz

We love these moments! We have a new champion with a new single-game best ever score:

  • Screen name: Herbz
  • 2,248 points
  • 88 words

Here’s the puzzle:

  • “CK” Digram
  • 4,193 possible points
  • 202 possible words

2609-best_game

Here’s the words found:

2609-best_words

Here’s what we know about Herbz:

  • Player since: 11/28/2011
  • Best word: QUARTERBACKS (on 4/9/2011)
  • Lifetime Average Score: 575
  • 371 1st place wins
  • 3,556 top 10 wins

Congratulations Herbz!

Wordament on Xbox LIVE: April 25th

We are really proud to announce the launch date for the next release of Wordament! Although the Wordament service updates daily, the app on Windows Phone hasn’t changed since September 2011. That’s a long time! And we’ve been busy. This is going to be a big update. So big, in fact, that we are planning to spend the next 10 days telling you about the new features, with one new post each day. Today we are announcing two important events:

  • April 25th, 2012 – Wordament on Xbox LIVE will be available world-wide in the Windows Phone Marketplace for free. That’s just over a week away!
     
  • April 26th, 2012 – We will be hosting an evening Wordament Tournament and open house at the Microsoft Store at the Bellevue Square Mall in Bellevue, WA.

Wordament on Xbox LIVE

We are very happy with all the work that has gone into this new update for Wordament. This free release updates and replaces the current version that you have and adds a number of fun and top player-requested features. The most notable change is that we are retiring our screen name system and moving exclusively to Xbox LIVE Gamertags. Screen names have served us well to this point, but we have out grown them in many ways. Xbox LIVE has a great identity system in place and we think that Wordament works great with it. So starting April 25th, when you sign into Wordament, it will use your Xbox LIVE Gamertag only. That means you need to go and secure a free, Xbox LIVE account for your phone, if you haven’t done so already.

Also, at launch we will be rolling out a really exciting new feature: Language Editions. Each Edition will feature puzzles in a specific language. On the 25th, we will be releasing the new English Edition and we will be opening up the Spanish Edition BETA. Each Edition has its own set of stats and leaderboards where you can compete to be a champ in all of the typical categories: including Best of and Top Players. Over the next couple months we will be rolling out additional Editions for Dutch, Swedish, French, German, and Italian. We are marking these new Editions as BETA until we feel that we have reached the quality, playability, and fun that we’ve achieved in the English Edition’s puzzles that we all play today. So please send us your feedback when you play in the new BETA Editions.

There is a lot more to talk about when it comes to Wordament on Xbox LIVE and we will be writing posts about all of the new features over the coming days leading up to launch.

Party time!

You’ve asked for another Wordament Tournament, and what better way to celebrate than with our new, free update! On April 26th the whole Wordament crew will be at the Microsoft Store at the Bellevue Square Mall running a Wordament Tournament complete with food, giveaways, and prizes. We will announce all the details in a few days. We would love to see you there!

Lastly, thank you for playing Wordament! Without the support and enthusiasm we receive from the community we would never have been able to build this new Xbox LIVE release. We hope you enjoy playing it as much as we enjoy making it.

- John and Jason

Thank you for a great year!

One year ago today we penned our first blog entry and launched the very first edition of Wordament. A fine fellow named Mark (DEU) was the first person to play in the room with us and from that day forward we’ve been fortunate to have hundreds of thousands of players like you follow suit.

For those of you who never saw that first build, here’s the screenshots that we submitted to the Marketplace:

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Our favorite thing about these screens is that since we had not launched, we had to fake the results screen. We chose to put 10 people in the results. We were pretty convinced that if we could get 10 people playing together at the same time, then we would have really accomplished something. Truth be told, we didn’t really know what would happen if we had 10 people playing since we only had 4 phones on our team! We also love that in the original build we simply showed all the results from everyone that played. It wasn’t until a couple releases later that we had reached a scale where it was necessary to cull down the results to keep them humanly readable.

While this first release is missing lots of features that make Wordament the game it is today, it established the base for everything we did this year. We felt that there was something elegant in its approachability and simplicity that we didn’t want to lose that as we continually updated it. With every feature we’ve added, we challenged ourselves to not complicate the game. Ultimately our players are the judge of this and when we made mistakes we listened and learned.

Anniversaries are fun because they are a chance to look back and to look forward. Looking back, we’re stunned and grateful by the many fortunate opportunities this game has brought us. While it’s been fun and exciting to solve technical problems, watch the user base grow, and engage with the press, we think that the best thing about this year is the number of friends we have made through Wordament. The community that has grown up around Wordament in the past year has been so great, whether when we compete round-over-round, chat together on Facebook, help and support issues that arise, or work with community members in the creation of custom themed word lists.

For the majority of this past year we were only working on Wordament part time. It’s only been since November that we have had the luxury of working during our day time hours on Wordament. I was reminded of a Harvey MacKay quote this week that basically sums up how we feel about our current jobs: Find something you love to do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life. That’s not to say we haven’t had our fair share of long hours and hard work, but the reward of building this game and participating in this community is so worth the effort that we put into it that this job often doesn’t feel like a job at all. We couldn’t be more thankful for opportunity Microsoft has provided us by making this our full-time jobs.

We just recently hired a 3rd, full-time developer to our little team. We will talk more about Mr. Tim O’Connor in the weeks to come. However, a new developer plus the ability to focus full-time on Wordament are going to combine to make this coming year even more productive and exciting than the last. We hope you continue to come along for the ride!

Just last week we started doing the final touches on Wordament on Xbox LIVE for Windows Phone. We are really proud of this upcoming release and we think you will really enjoy it. This build of Wordament will bring some long awaited features including multiple puzzle languages, guest mode, and better real-time statistics and results. We are really anxious to get this into everyone’s hands and hear the reception. As we have talked about before: this release will transition users to Xbox LIVE Gamertags and we will no longer support screen names. So go get your Xbox LIVE Gamertag hooked up to your phone today in preparation.

Wordament on Xbox LIVE on Windows 8 is also right around the corner and it is a huge release for us. We are busy cranking out lots of JavaScript and HTML5 to make sure that we have a great experience on Windows 8. Thank you to all those folks who have been playing the Wordament BETA and providing feedback. We really appreciate your help!

Lastly, we’ve had lots of requests to throw another Wordament Tournament and we are going to do just that. The final date is still being worked out, but there will be another in-person Tournament in the Redmond, WA area in the near future. Follow our blog and Facebook page for details.

Thanks again for taking this ride with us and thanks for playing Wordament,

John & Jason

aka “john” and “Black Snapper”

Wordament on Windows 8 Update

The Windows Store just notified us that our newest update is available for download into your Windows 8 Consumer Preview system. This release fixes all of the known and reported issues. As always, thanks to our community for helping us find some of these issues. Our favorite goes out to a couple of folks on the opposite side of the planet from us, that reported that “Wordament games are counting down from 32:00 to 30:00”!

It turns out that JavaScript deals with date and times a little less robustly that C#, and this was a time zone bug. One of the things we also learned from this is that there are 8 time zones in the world that don’t snap to the hour. Seven of them are on the 30 minute mark, but one: “Kathmandu” is on the 45 minute mark! So, we checked, and sure enough, if you set your time zone to Kathmandu, then Wordament played games from 47:00 down to 45:00 minutes. Fun!

There are no new “features” in this build. This was a pure bug fix release and it includes:

  • Support for suspend / resume
  • Support to auto-recover on network hiccups
  • Support for future, required updates
  • Fixed the “time zone” bug for non-hour-based time zones
  • Fixed a bunch of UI layout glitches, including better “Aero Snap” that even more closely resembles it’s Windows Phone sibling
  • Fixed the mirror image mini board bug when transitioning from Game board to Individual results
  • Fixed the layout of How to Play, Leaderboards, and Frenemies in Aero Snap
  • Fixes the positioning of the Wordament logo on non-Full screen launches

The most significant reason to download this update is the first two items. When Windows suspends, Wordament was getting permanently stuck in “Connectivity required.” We are now, correctly, handling all the suspend, resume, and networking states to remain playable during those events.

Hope you like it! If you do, please rate us in the Store!

– Black Snapper

The Wordament Theme

You ask for it… we deliver it. I was initially a little dubious about this theme. We don’t want folks thinking we are doing this out of self-importance. We made this list because a few folks on Facebook suggested it, and then others chimed in with “that would be fun!”

The list includes words that either come from the “essence of the game”, or from words in our reviews. Because this puzzle is by the community, for the community, we are dumping this list here. If you think there’s words we should add or remove, then as always, mail us: wordament@live.com.

We hope you enjoy it!

– Black Snapper

 

addict
addicting
addictive
app
average
averages
blog
board
boards
box
boxes
brain
brainteaser
brainy
challenge
challenger
challengers
challenges
challenging
champion
champions
clock
color
colors
common
community
compete
competes
competing
competition
competitions
count
countdown
countdowns
countries
country
counts
cryptic
decipher
diagrams
digram
fast
finger
fingering
free
frenemies
frenemy
fun
game

games
gaming
grid
grids
guess
guesses
guessing
hunt
hunting
improving
intellectual
internet
leaderboard
leaderboards
learn
learning
letter
letters
lexicon
link
linking
links
list
lists
love
metro
minutes
obscure
percentage
percentages
percentile
phone
phones
play
player
players
playing
plays
point
points
puzzle
puzzles
puzzling
race
races
racing
rank
ranked
ranking

rankings
ranks
review
reviews
round
rounds
rules
score
scores
scoring
search
searching
seconds
slide
slides
sliding
smart
star
stars
stat
stats
swipe
swipes
swiping
theme
themed
themes
thumb
tile
tiles
time
timer
tournament
tournaments
unscramble
value
values
vocabulary
win
winning
wins
word
words
wordsearch
worldwide

 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

image

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day—a holiday celebrated around the world as a cultural appreciation of Ireland—we wanted to do our part by posting a look at the best players in Ireland (image IRL), as reported by their in-game country codes:

Top 25 players Irish players (by Total score):

image

What’s particularly fun and interesting in this list is the sub-competition between deirdrethedub and Mutor, which independently oscillate as the best player in Ireland on a number of different pivots:

image

We raise our pints to you tonight great players of Ireland! And Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to everyone!

– Black Snapper

Porting Wordament to Windows 8

With the release of our first beta of Wordament on Windows 8, we made a big move. On Windows Phone, your two options for app development are XAML (Silverlight) / C# and XNA (DirectX-like APIs) / C#. So, either way, you are writing in C#—which is a terrific language. On Windows, you have nearly unlimited coding options, but the three primaries during Consumer Preview are: HTML / JS, XAML / C#, and DirectX / C++. We chose HTML / JS. Why? Why on earth would we choose to port a substantial and relatively stable code base? A variety of reasons, some of which we can talk about today:

  • We love HTML, and JavaScript is OK.Honestly, our preferred option would have been HTML + C#. HTML is a tremendous forms and layout package with tons of standards and support. There’s nothing easier than running into a problem and being able to find 1,000+ solutions on the interwebs and Stack Overflow because you often aren’t the first person to run into that problem. HTML has evolved SO much in that past five years and Internet Explorer-based HTML with full GPU acceleration is GREAT for 2D + 2.5D games. We aren’t even using a canvas!

    JavaScript is a pretty good language. It’s no C#, but with the right combination of tools and approach, it’s not terrible. Some aspects (like the fact that you don’t need to rigidly define every last type) makes things much more developer efficient. Perhaps the most important thing to consider as a JavaScript developer is: which JavaScript “denomination” you want to abide by (more on that below).

  • Long-term developer efficiency. This one is going to sound a bit backwards. Porting is never faster than a recompile, is it? Well, there was going to be porting either way. The XAML page model is slightly different on Phone than Windows 8, and going from 3.5” to 11.6” is more than a port. It’s a reimagination of the layout. A good app is highly optimized for its environment. The XAML we have on Phone would conceptually port as well to XAML on Windows 8 as would rewriting it in HTML. One of the truly great things about Windows 8 is “tablet-style multitasking” which includes Full, Filled, and Snap layouts and that’s where we spent the bulk of our CSS time—making sure that the app looked right in all the various layouts. We still have bugs, obviously, but for a time-sensitive first stab for Beta, we are pretty proud of how much we got done so quickly. Long-term, it seems logical (at least to me) that across the industry there will be more investment in HTML than in XAML. I’m sure the XAML folks don’t like me saying that, but if you think about it as purely a numbers game, there are more devs in the world working on HTML in every way than there ever will be on XAML. So, if you can’t beat ’em… might as well join ’em.
  • Testing out the newest Windows 8 Dev Platform. While our managers in Microsoft Studios don’t care what languages we choose to use, we thought that for the greater benefit of Microsoft, it would be a good experience to try and port a decent-sized mobile app from one set of technologies to the other at which point we could share our findings with the Windows team (which we’ve since done). Having powerful tools like the DOM Explorer in Visual Studio is a game changer for UI devs. Click an element, figure out why it’s wrong… fix it… bug resolved. Wow. Also, building Metro-style Windows apps feels really fast and FUN.
  • Does our code port? This was purely a feel-good exercise for us. Last year, John and I went kind of crazy learning MVC and MVVM (we are closer to MVC than MVVM), and last July we rewrote the entire Wordament client (the version you are currently playing on Phone) as an MVC-style app. We were really happy to see how easily our code ported to JavaScript. In particularly, the C# and the JavaScript (pre-obfuscation) are almost line-for-line identical.

The only real downside of the entire adventure was the time it took us to hand port the JavaScript. I love learning new languages (an ECMAScript5 is not your father’s JavaScript). I started by reading the following terrific books (I recommend all of them):

The problem with JavaScript is: everyone has independently evolved their own ways of doing things. The first two books provide excellent guidance on “how to do it the right way” so you don’t fall into the pits that many other have discovered. The big gotcha we ran into during the port was selecting the right “JavaScript Denomination”. I say that, because it is almost like a religious decision—meaning there’s no “right” choice between different sets of people—and selecting one will choose your fate. You can change later, but it’s a rewrite to do that.

So, what am I talking about exactly? Determining how you want to write object-oriented code in JavaScript is a big deal. There are four different ways—all equally valid—as outlined by Crockford in Chapter 4 of JavaScript the Best Parts:

  • The Method Invocation Pattern
  • The Function Invocation Pattern
  • The Constructor Invocation Pattern
  • and the Apply Invocation Pattern

We started with the Method Invocation pattern, but have since abandoned that for the Constructor Invocation Pattern, because that’s what Google’s Closure prefers. We didn’t start with Closure, but have ended up using it as a tool in our build process because it:

  1. Adds additional “compile time checks”—stupid things like capitalization errors no longer plague our JavaScript.
  2. Optimizes JavaScript like an optimizing compiler would
  3. Minifies and obfuscates.

At this point, our build process is almost as straight-forward for JavaScript as it was for C# and our code performs great. By moving to HTML / JS, many of our animations are done in CSS and are “off the UI thread.” This leaves our JavaScript to doing the important stuff—commanding the game and responding to top-level events and operations.

Sadly, I think the biggest problem facing green horn developers today is the sheer number of tech-stack options you have to learn to really get moving: Want to write server stuff? Cool, learn PHP, Python, Java, C#, or Ruby. Want to write client stuff? Cool, learn Objective-C, Java, C#, or C++. Have you noticed something? There’s almost no overlap!

We could almost live in an all C# world is we wanted to only ever run on Microsoft devices, but even then… consoles require C++ and Web requires JavaScript. Our service was all Java and now it’s all C#. We could rewrite it to Node.js on Azure, but there’s a ton of OpEd pieces out there that call Node.js “cancer”. Harsh words.

At the end of the day, John and I want to build games. Fun ones that develop a great community like we’ve all discovered together with Wordament. We are developers by training, but UX and project managers by experience. We engineer because we have to—but what we really want to do is just build great games and communities. Any choice that simplifies our future will be one we are willing to take—even if there’s a short term cost to doing that. If we were to do it all over again, we obviously wouldn’t change anything. To get on Windows Phone means XAML and C#. To get on Windows 8 means picking. We are happy with our choices, and we hope this helps folks considering what to learn as they pick their Windows 8 coding option.

– Black Snapper

Our newest Wordament Champion: test_gal!

OK, there’s been some back-and-forth contention between our top players Wicketewok and test_gal lately, but regardless of whether this lasts 10 minutes or 10 years, we wanted to recognize test_gal as a Wordament Champion. She’s been with us since May 18, 2011 and has been not only a great player, but also a great member of Wordament’s extended family. test_gal contacts us frequently with everything from game play suggestions, lexicon updates, possible cheaters, and is just a great ear when we have questions about future directions (most recently, she helped vet the design of the Account Unlock Code, thanks to her experience in computer security, policy, and privacy management at Microsoft). Thank you test_gal, we love having you here and we love competing with you!

Here’s some fun stats about test_gal:

  • Location: USA (Seattle, WA)
  • Player since: May 18, 2011
  • Best word: PEPPERMINTS (on Feb 1, 2012) for 99 points
  • First place wins: > 1,000
  • Top ten wins: > 12,000

– Black Snapper

Wordament on Xbox LIVE

We’ve been waiting for today for quite a while! We’ve been pretty quiet—a lot more quiet than we used to be—about future directions over the past few months. We’ve had a lot of questions, for instance, about “When are new puzzle languages coming out?” and, of course, we’ve had a lot of questions about “When will you be on platform X?” Both of these have been good questions, but we’ve been deferring answering, because we wanted to time our news about Xbox LIVE correctly and we wanted to wait until we were closer to releasing something.

For those of you who’ve played Wordament for a long time, you might know that John and I are both long-time Microsoft employees. And today, we still are, but we now work full-time on Wordament inside of Microsoft Studios. It’s an incredible opportunity for us to spend all of our energies on this really fun game that we love to play, support, and improve! The hardest part of staying quiet all this time is that we’ve made a lot of improvements to Wordament and we haven’t been able to discuss them!

The first thing we’d like to talk about (and the topic of this post) is Xbox LIVE. What does it mean to have Wordament be an Xbox LIVE title? Well, Xbox LIVE brings a lot of great functionality to the table: your Gamertag, Gamerscore, Achievements, Avatars, Friends, and Leaderboards. We will be using each of these great features in an appropriate way, but we also want to stay true to this game that we all play and all love.

To take advantage of any of this functionality, though, means one important change: Moving from your existing Wordament screen name to an Xbox LIVE account and Gamertag. The good news is: Xbox LIVE accounts are free and easy to set up on the Phone, Windows 8, your Xbox game console, the Web (at www.xbox.com) or even on your iPhone with the Xbox LIVE app for iPhone.

This gets to some of the tough questions: what if my screen name is already taken and what happens to the stats from my old Wordament account? We know that there will be cases where your screen name may overlap with an existing Xbox LIVE Gamertag. In those cases, unfortunately, the account is taken. Both “scruff” and “john”, from the Wordament team are in this case, and they will need to get new names when they move to Xbox LIVE Gamertags. We will be providing an optional registry on Wordament.com if you are interested in leaving your old name and your new name, so folks can figure out who’s who and to continue to follow people as Frenemies. We’ll be talking more about that at a later date.

On the stats front, we’ve decided that with the launch on Xbox LIVE, we will be resetting everything to zero and starting a new tournament. Most importantly: We will be creating a “hall of fame” for players to go and see how they had done in our indie version. This leaderboard will be frozen in time, and our new Xbox LIVE version’s leaderboards will all use Xbox LIVE Gamertags and manage your new stats.

Why are we doing this? A lot of reasons, all of which we think are right for everyone: First, we want everyone to be able to experience Achievements. What does that mean, though, if you’ve already played hundreds of games? In many cases, it would mean that long-time players would start with nearly all achievements unlocked. While that would be great for your Gamerscore, we think it’s a lot of fun to earn the achievements.

The next benefit of resetting stats is that we think it will encourage people that have never tried the game to try it… because the playing field is initially leveled. In fact, we are considering making the “reset and archive to the hall of fame” an annual occurrence. If you were the best player in 2011, that’s terrific! And, you can be again in 2012, if you work at it. But, this brings a whole new opportunity for players to compete and best each other. Players that have moved on will not appear in this year’s leaderboard unless they play, but will be visible for all time in the Hall of Fame.

Another big benefit of moving to Xbox LIVE from an account perspective, is that it gives you—the player—all the power to self-service your account. Over the course of the past year, the single biggest support challenge for us has been player account support and management. We made a decision early on to be “as frictionless as possible” during the first run experience. This resulted in us asking you for a screen name, but no password, pin, e-mail address, or other identifying information. This has caused us a bunch of grief when phones got hard reset, when people got new Windows Live IDs, or when people wanted to change their name, country code, or merge an old Wordament account with another new Wordament account.

Xbox LIVE solves the account management problems because they are your single identity across games and across platforms. Now, we don’t need to collect ANY information from you, and you can control your account in all ways: what’s your Gamertag this week? What’s your country? and so on.

Achievements

Achievements are a really fun way to show yourself and your friends how great you are at a game. Some games take achievements to a level that requires “super human” acts, and while we appreciate the small set of super human players that we have in Wordament, our fundamental principle was to make achievements fun and accessible to everyone. We are not going to list the final set of achievements in this post, but we will say that at least 60% of all Achievements are easily earnable by everyone. The remainder will take some work, but most will be achievable by everyone. We do not, for example, have an Achievement called “be the best in the world” that only would award Wicketewok. Similarly, we have no achievements that are speed based, like “get 80 words in a single game.” We have folks that do that all day long, but that bragging right is already visible in the leaderboard, and doesn’t need to be an achievement.

Friends

You may have noticed a “bug” in our Frenemies management page in our existing Windows Phone 7 and Windows 8 apps. Some of you have more than the stated “25” maximum Frenemies. For example, you might have 37/25 Frenemies. This is because we are only “sort of” enforcing the 25 limit at the moment. Our Frenemies system has been massively scaled up for the coming release because on Xbox LIVE, every player can have 100 Xbox LIVE Friends.

“But, wait… Friends aren’t Frenemies!” you say! That’s right… They aren’t. And we are going to stay true to Wordament on this point. When you sign in to Wordament with your Xbox LIVE Gamertag, all of your Xbox LIVE Friends will automatically become Frenemies. But, just as today, you will continue to be able to “tap to follow” people without the added friction of having to make them a full Xbox LIVE Friend. If you know (or want to know) the person you are watching, “and they want to accept you as a friend”, then you can also, by all means, send a friend request. But, if you want to keep an eye on someone that plays near your rank, go ahead and tap on them. You will be able to track Frenemies just as today.

Avatars

Xbox LIVE has a great feature called Avatars, that lets you dress and style a character however you like—in your likeness, or not. With our move to Xbox LIVE, we thought it was really fun to include your Avatar on the start screen next to your stats. We also have a new Frenemies management area where you can see all of your Xbox LIVE Friends and Wordament Frenemies in one spot, and see their Avatars. Ever wonder what Wicketewok looks like? Well, we won’t help you with that! But, we will show his Avatar!

clip_image001

Leaderboards

Wordament’s Leaderboards are already great and will continue to improve as we continue working on this game. The launch of Wordament on Xbox LIVE is just the beginning of our next chapter, and not the final page in our saga. We expect to continue to improve and refine Wordament as long as players still come in and play. So, know that we’ve heard all of your requests for more features in the Leaderboards and we will be working hard to deliver many of your requests. Top amongst those that we’ve heard are returning a Frenemies-specific leaderboard, and providing different windows to your personal stats, like Average Score. About a month ago, we moved from “Best by Average Score (last 50 games)” to “Best by Average Score (all time)”. In the future we will be bringing (this month) and (this week) slices to average score so you can watch how you’ve improved. But, that is behind getting Wordament finalized on Windows Phone 7 (with Xbox LIVE) and Windows 8 (with Xbox LIVE).

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Playing together

In the past week, we launched an app preview of Wordament on Windows 8. This app straddles the two points on the timeline where we currently exist: our existing, in-market Wordament app for Windows Phone 7 and our future Wordament for Windows Phone 7 (with Xbox LIVE). The most important thing about the Windows 8 version (other than shipping) was making sure that everyone could play together. This was a huge opportunity for us to begin our quest for “cross screen gaming”—and we did it. If you download the Windows 8 Consumer Preview build, you can download Wordament and play with everyone else on Windows Phone. As we move forward with the transition to Xbox LIVE, we will be migrating everyone across both Phone and Windows 8 so that we can all continue to play together.

Languages

With the announcement of Wordament on Xbox LIVE also came our support for new languages: 7 to start: English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Dutch, and Swedish. That will cover the UI languages for the app. We will also, separately, be launching a Beta of Wordament Spanish Edition when we ship Wordament (English Edition), followed by the other five languages. One of the reasons that language support took so long is that getting high quality lexicons in other languages is very difficult, if you want to do it legally. By having Wordament as a Microsoft title, we have the full power of Microsoft’s language resources at our disposal, including the full lexicons used by Microsoft for things like spell checking.

While this is really exciting, it has taken us about a year to get to the quality of English puzzles that we have today—and that’s been with continuous improvement. When we start in other languages (and we don’t speak many of these languages)—know that it’s going to take a little while to get the puzzles as great as they are in English. We are hoping that starting with Spanish Beta, the community can help us, as you always have, by providing feedback on what’s working and what’s not.

Last, but not least, we will continue to add more languages with time—so be sure to tell us the languages you’d like to play in next!

Platforms

With the first preview of Wordament on Windows 8 last week, we showed that we can build a game and service that scales to multiple devices and multiple screen sizes. We aren’t announcing any other platforms at this time, but know that our desire to bring Wordament to as many players as possible remains as clear to us as ever. We know you want to see Wordament on all sorts of screens, and so do we.

Thanks for reading!

If you got this far: “Thanks!” It’s been a real pleasure to build this game and play with everyone over the past 11 months. As we move forward, we are looking to make Wordament even better, but not break the things that make it simple, fun, and addictive. This post was really centered on Xbox LIVE integration. In future posts, we will be discussing some of the great new features and improvements we’ve made to the game. We think we’ve added something great for everyone! See you in the leaderboards,

– Black Snapper

Wordament on Windows 8, play it today

This morning Microsoft unveiled the Consumer Preview of Windows 8 to the world.  We have been looking forward to this day for a long time as it now means you can play Wordament on Windows 8, as well as on your Windows Phone 7.  That’s right, Windows Phone and Windows 8 machines can battle it out in the same room.  Once you have the Consumer Preview build setup, head to the Store where you can install Wordament.  Here is a little video we made which shows the process.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQCxzWMn7hY&w=448&h=252&hd=1]

 

You can download the Consumer Preview of Windows 8 here

Once you have it installed you’ll want to try out Snap.  We are becoming very fond of playing Wordament in this mode.  It really shows off the power of the Windows 8 design which allows you to do more than one thing at once.

Snap

This is a beta version of Wordament running on a prerelease version of Windows.  In practice it has been very stable, but it’s possible you will run into some glitches.  As always we would love to hear about your experiences, good and bad.  Drop us a line at wordament@live.com.

Thanks for playing.  Good luck!

Congrats to test_gal! Congrats to Wicketewok

We had two pretty exciting events happen today in the leaderboards.

1) We now have 2 players over 10,000,000 total points – test_gal and Wicketewok

2) Wicketewok lost his title as #1 rank by total score for a period of time today to test_gal

We will certainly be following this race closely over the next couple days.  As of this post Wicketewok has reclaimed his position in #1 but test_gal is right there with him.

Happy Valentine’s Day

valentines_day_wordament

Valentine’s Day is a big day at Wordament Headquarters! Today is the anniversary of Wordament’s conception. Our team had been playing with various ideas and building mobile apps for a while (nothing of note, though), before deciding that we wanted to try our hand at a casual word game that would let us play with people any time—day or night—and the idea of a massively multiple mobile word game was created.

Here we are one year later with a lot of Frenemies and really fun game, and we just wanted to say “Thanks!” to everyone that has helped make this such a great year for us. Our newest baby (shown behind our existing love) is getting close to Store submission and we hope you will try it, whether with a mouse, or with a finger. We are really excited to “unite the screens” and bring players together with the same great puzzles across a variety of devices in the same competitive room.

So, Happy Valentine’s Day, and thanks for playing Wordament with us!

The Windows 8 Question?

Hey Wordament Fans!
Let me start off by saying HI! This is Derek, the newest member to the Wordament Team! Just like you, I’m a huge fan of the game and like so many of you, I play every day. It’s an honor to work on a game with this much love, and it only inspires me to make the game even better.

We’ve received a plethora of questions around Windows 8, and there’s been a little mis-information out there. Let’s clear it up, straight from us horses mouths. Well, at least as much as we can say right now!

Windows 8, we’re definitely going there. You’ve seen us on-stage a couple times and in some screen shots. But we’re not going to be installed on every machine. You’ll have to connect to the store and download Wordament. But that’s about it! It’ll be easy to get, and I’ve played the prototype, and I’ll tell you- it’s FUN!

We’ll have more specific news at the end of the month, and this will be the caliber of stuff that we hope will make everyone happy!

See you in the next game! Happy word-hunting!

Wordament… Will you marry me?

This story is so special and so great that we asked permission to share it with everyone. One of our fellow players (screen name: munkiiyebee) and his girlfriend are evidently big fans of Wordament! They wrote to us recently in mail to tell us about how he had created a special Wordament look-a-like to use to propose to his girlfriend. The best news, of course, is that she said “Yes!” But beyond that, we were just so honored that munkii liked the game enough to make a version for his proposal. He asked if we’d like to see the video, and of course, we said “Yes!” too. Smile

Here’s an excerpt of the mail we received:

Myself and my girlfriend are big fans of Wordament and often play it together. I recently decided that it was time to ask her to marry me and I wanted a fun and original way of doing it. I thought about how cool it would be to have a custom game of Wordament where some of the words were “will”, “you”, “marry” and “me”.

As a WP7 dev I decided to create a private, one-off version of Wordament just for us, for that night.

I just wanted to thank you guys for a great game and being the inspiration for my marriage proposal.

Here’s the video:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90PaandEZCk&w=448&h=252&hd=1]
A Wordament Wedding Proposal

Thank you and congratulations to Munkiiyebee and Jenny from the whole Wordament team!

Introducing Slice-and-Dice Persistent Leaderboards

We have wanted this feature forever. This is another example of something we just couldn’t do sensibly on Google AppEngine. Windows Azure with MVC3 and Razor make this feature so terrifically simple and great. We are so happy to finally have consistency in the look and functionality across all of our leaderboards: both real-time in-game and persistent for post-game.

persistent-bestof     persistent-topplayers

This also addresses a number of requests we’ve had over time to have “better Frenemies views.” As you can see, we now show you “information about you” at the top, then Frenemies, Top players, and Players Near Your Rank across all of our leaderboards. In the Top Players’ leaderboards, you need to be in the top 2500 players to get listed. In the “Best of” leaderboards, you will show if you played.

We sure hope you like this improvement. This has been an impossible dream for some time, so we are really happy to release this now. Thanks for listening,

– Black Snapper
Engineer / Gamer
You vs. the Internet

Superhuman… all over again!

Wow! It is our pleasure to announce that cpt doodoo has set the new high score in Wordament. Funnily enough, I think our old service running on Google AppEngine would likely have fallen over in this case! We never really expected people to get more than 2000 points!

Here’s a peek at the top 15 finishers for that round:

Rank Name Score Words Best Country
1 cpt doodoo 2150 100 CRACKERS USA
2 tommyhans999 1858 76 CRACKERS SGP
3 kiomera 1690 79 PACKERS DEU
4 MartyMcFly 1671 81 CRACKERS USA
5 shrikecorp 1590 63 CRACKERS USA
6 q21701 1559 80 SNACKERS USA
7 ndxbox 1552 68 SPARKERS USA
8 yo7 1543 74 CRACKERS USA
9 ChipChop 1447 56 CRACKERS VNM
10 cgt 1427 50 CRACKERS USA
11 Tornado Tim 1333 47 CRACKERS USA
12 blckguyinwa 1314 47 CRACKERS USA
13 Spunkybunkster 1308 49 CRACKERS USA
14 deirdrethedub 1303 70 PACKERS IRL
15 durrrrrrp 1267 58 CRACKERS USA

Here’s what we know about the cpt doodoo:

  • Player since: May 21st, 2011
  • Geo IP suggests Los Angeles, CA, USA (71% certainty)
  • Best word: CRACKER (achieved in this game!)
  • Finished in the top 10 > 3,000 times, with 871 1st place finishes.

All bow to our new word liege!

Below, is the full word data as found by the cpt’ in that great game!

All founds words only, by score All words by score
>
Word Common Score
packets X 48
pecans X 47
cracks X 46
rackers X 42
snacker X 42
sackers   42
rackets X 40
racker X 38
sacker X 38
racket X 36
recaps X 36
scrape X 36
pecan X 35
packs X 33
aspers   30
rasper   30
rances   28
pasty X 27
sacks X 27
scrap X 25
peaty   25
recks   25
capes X 24
recap X 24
crape   24
pear X 21
peas X 21
nasty X 21
skean   21
peck X 19
rapes X 19
scans X 19
apres   19
asper   19
carns   19
races X 18
escar   18
rack X 16
sack X 16
oncet   16
caps X 15
reck X 15
sex X 15
crap   15
pacs   15
cape X 14
pans X 12
pec X 12
raps X 12
rasp X 12
cans X 11
carn X 11
rape X 11
reps X 11
scan X 11
scar X 11
pean   11
aces X 10
once X 10
pest X 10
sap X 10
ape X 9
can X 9
rep X 9
sac X 9
pes   9
ace X 8
naos   8
earn X 7
nos X 6
oar X 6
ons X 6
sea X 5
ers   5
sae   5
Found Word Common Score
  crackers X 78
  cracker X 60
  sparkers   60
  snackers   57
  packers X 50
  repacks   50
X packets X 48
  capers X 47
X pecans X 47
X cracks X 46
  packer X 46
  specks X 46
  repack   46
  packet X 44
  parkers   44
  reparks   44
  sparker   44
X rackers X 42
X snacker X 42
  sparks X 42
X sackers   42
  parker X 40
X rackets X 40
  scraper X 40
  snacks X 40
  repark   40
  spacers   40
X racker X 38
X sacker X 38
  scraps X 38
  pacers X 36
X racket X 36
X recaps X 36
X scrape X 36
  spacer X 36
  spaces X 36
  crapes   36
  secpar   36
  caper X 35
X pecan X 35
  raspers   34
  snarks   34
  soapers   34
X packs X 33
  stepson X 32
  skeans   32
  trepans   32
  crack X 31
  pecks X 31
  speck X 31
  rapers X 30
X aspers   30
X rasper   30
  soaper   30
  racers X 28
  treaty X 28
  parks X 28
  spark X 28
X rances   28
  streps   28
  trepan   28
X pasty X 27
  racks X 27
X sacks X 27
  snack X 27
  carks   27
  skeps   27
  craps X 25
X scrap X 25
  types X 25
X peaty   25
X recks   25
  ceps X 24
  treason X 24
X capes X 24
  pacer X 24
  paces X 24
X recap X 24
  scape X 24
  space X 24
  specs X 24
X crape   24
  cep X 22
  reason X 22
  season X 22
  narks X 22
  snark X 22
  sarks   22
X pear X 21
X peas X 21
  apex X 21
X nasty X 21
  prex   21
X skean   21
  pack X 20
  kex   20
  pea X 19
  napes X 19
X peck X 19
  raper X 19
X rapes X 19
X scans X 19
  spear X 19
  treks X 19
  apers   19
X apres   19
X asper   19
  canso   19
X carns   19
  narcs   19
  peans   19
  psoae   19
  reaps   19
  spaes   19
  spean   19
  racer X 18
X races X 18
  steps X 18
  strep X 18
X escar   18
  prest   18
  rance   18
  tepas   18
  park X 17
X rack X 16
X sack X 16
  cark   16
  keps   16
X oncet   16
  paty   16
  skep   16
X caps X 15
X reck X 15
X sex X 15
  type X 15
X crap   15
X pacs   15
  rex   15
  sonar   15
X cape X 14
  pace X 14
  pecs X 14
  spec X 14
  kep   14
  arks X 13
  cap X 13
  earns X 13
  nark X 13
  pac   13
  sark &nbs
p;
13
  naps X 12
X pans X 12
X pec X 12
X raps X 12
X rasp X 12
  snap X 12
  soap X 12
  span X 12
  spar X 12
  keas   12
  apes X 11
  arcs X 11
  ark X 11
X cans X 11
X carn X 11
  nape X 11
X rape X 11
  reap X 11
X reps X 11
  sacs X 11
X scan X 11
X scar X 11
  trek X 11
  aper   11
  narc   11
X pean   11
  spae   11
X aces X 10
  nap X 10
X once X 10
  pan X 10
  par X 10
  pas X 10
  pert X 10
X pest X 10
  pets X 10
  race X 10
  rap X 10
  recs X 10
X sap X 10
  spa X 10
  step X 10
  sty X 10
  asp   10
  kea   10
  tepa   10
  tsk   10
X ape X 9
  arc X 9
X can X 9
  car X 9
  per X 9
X rep X 9
X sac X 9
X pes   9
X ace X 8
  pet X 8
  rec X 8
  sec X 8
  soar X 8
X naos   8
  osar   8
X earn X 7
  rear X 7
  sear X 7
  seas X 7
  erst X 6
X nos X 6
X oar X 6
X ons X 6
  ran X 6
  rest X 6
  son X 6
  tear X 6
  teas X 6
  ras   6
  rets   6
  tres   6
  ear X 5
X sea X 5
X ers   5
  nae   5
  res   5
X sae   5
  ser   5
set X 4
  tea X 4
  ret   4

Welcome to Wordament on Windows Azure

We’ve been quiet for a while. A little too quiet. We haven’t gone anywhere, and we aren’t ignoring Wordament. Wordament is an amazing game and we love it, we love the competition, and we love the opportunity we have make this game even bigger and better than it is today.

We’ve been working ridiculously hard to get ready for the future. While we love the Windows Phone platform (and continue to work on updates on that platform), the biggest platforms in the world have yet to be addressed. To even consider that possibility, though, means being ready for big scale. Our previous cloud platform, Google AppEngine, was starting to really give us concerns. So, we moved to Windows Azure.

CloudDirectory

Before we go any further, I feel compelled to remind readers that John and I are (and have been) long-time Microsoft employees. I say this, because I want you to put your own filters on our statements and know that we are being completely honest in the choices and reasons why we migrated to Azure. Our company, You vs. the Internet made the decision to jump to Azure back in the summer after a large AppEngine outage where we felt powerless when something went wrong. We were also unhappy about the fact that the “nearly free hosting” on Google AppEngine was about to be replaced by a production service that was the most expensive cloud platform, but offered no scalability targets and no support. That brought the choices down to two: Azure and AWS. AWS is a very interesting platform. It is extremely affordable. And, most of the internet that’s “powered by the cloud” runs on that. Our decision was ultimately swayed to Azure for the following reasons:

  • We aren’t Linux experts (and Linux hosted AWS is the affordable option)
  • We have a huge volume of code in C#, Java, HTML, and JavaScript – porting all of our code to C# and HTML seemed like a great choice.
  • Microsoft provided us with a BizSpark account with 3 years of free, trial-sized Azure.
  • Windows Azure has published scalability targets that basically promise that, if you design your architecture within their guidelines, you won’t fail.

When you look at all of these factors, Azure was a great decision. So, what does this provide you, our players? A lot. It turns out that Windows Azure has a lot of great features and capabilities that were previously impossible for us on AppEngine. Because as designers you are required to think about computers and software with Azure, you can make decisions based on the fact that you are renting computers. (To be fair, AWS offers this same advantage over AppEngine), but this is really one of the key differences between the two cloud platform choices (and yes, for the more tech-savvy out there, we know about dedicated AppEngine Backends that you can rent—we’ve been renting those for months).

With the announcement today that we are hosted on Windows Azure, we are also ready to talk about the following features that many of you have been asking for:

  • Better, real-time ranked leaderboards that take ties into account. Our previous in-game leaderboards used Ordinal ranking and we arbitrarily chose who ranked above who in the case of ties.
  • Real-time player stats. We’ve been offering personal player stats for a long time, but some of the most interesting (average score), depended on an offline data warehouse to download all of the game results each day and “crunch the numbers.” This suffered every time we had a power failure, a network glitch, or a ton of results. With the new system, your results are always up to date.
  • Real-time persistent leaderboards for Top Players. The Top Players by Average Score leaderboard was previously updated only once per day. It, like all of the other leaderboards, is now real-time.
  • “Best word” in the leaderboard. If you look at any of the “Best of” persistent leaderboards, you will now see player’s “Best words” for that game, hour, day, or week. We think this is a really fun way to see the kind and quality of words that people are playing. It also provides even more transparency to those players using tools to help themselves find the best words in the puzzle to cheat to 1st place. Smile
  • Support for players across a range of devices and screen sizes all playing in the same puzzle language, at the same time.

This update came with one down-side: We are requiring you to update to the most recent version of Wordament in the Marketplace. Don’t worry—it’s still free—and over 80% of your already have it. It was released about 3 months ago. We’ve tried really hard to stay backwards compatible with each update. But, with the migration from AppEngine to Azure, we just didn’t want to try and mimic old behaviors from AppEngine. We just wanted our latest version, which is our most tested version, connecting to our services. Sorry for the inconvenience for those of you that need to take the update.

We plan to spend more time in the coming week talking about each of these features in more depth. We sure hope you like the updates. This is only part of a much larger plan that we are working on, but is all we are prepared to discuss today. 2012 is going to be a big year for Wordament, and we are so thankful to have you playing this game with us!

– Black Snapper

Happy Holidays and Thanks!

As the calendar year is coming to a close and the holidays approach for many of us, I wanted to reflect on the past year and say “thanks!” to all the players that have spent time with us–we’ve really enjoyed spending time with and competing with you! Derek, one of our newest team members, put together an amazing word cloud from all of our reviews from this year and we  thought it would be fun to share:

wordament cloud

Wordament has a lot more to offer and we think 2012 is going to be a great year for players. Thanks for helping make 2011 so great, and thanks for playing with us!

– the Wordament team

We are excited about the Windows 8 store

If you follow the tech blogosphere you may have seen that Microsoft announced the Windows 8 store yesterday at a small event in San Francisco. We were lucky enough to be selected with an early version of Wordament ( running on Windows 8 ) to be featured at the event.  Here is some of the press that followed.

Microsoft’s Windows store blog ran some screen shots.  You can see us peeking off the side here.

Start screen of unmanaged Nike device

Engadget posted this shot:

There are also a couple videos out there if you search around.  Around 0:24 you can our preliminary Store icon and at 0:50 our app is shown!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_PV41rwUOg&w=448&h=252&hd=1]
Wordament on stage

We have lots of projects going on here at You vs. the Internet but we are especially excited about the opportunity Windows 8 is going to offer.

-john

Tournament Sweden!

This event was so cool that I had to ask if I could blog about it. A few weeks back, Taurus, a long-time player contacted us about the possibility of running a local contest in Sweden. Evidently, the idea was started by catoholic (another long time player from Sweden) on a Facebook group called ‘Vi som gillar Windows Phone 7’ (We who like Windows Phone 7).

The goal was to get the highest score amongst a set of self-selected players over the course of a week. The prize was a pair of movie tickets. They played, we tallied their stats, and the contest turned out as:

Top finishers (all from Sweden):

Rank Screen name Score Words Date achieved
1. Taurus 710 45 Sunday, November 20, 2011
2. tessifufu 678 37 Tuesday, November 22, 2011
3. lasse 475 27 Thursday, November 17, 2011
4. catoholic 457 29 Wednesday, November 23, 2011
5. Fub 395 26 Sunday, November 20, 2011
6. terrores 351 33 Tuesday, November 22, 2011
7. tonlof 345 26 Monday, November 21, 2011
8. maskrosus 333 27 Friday, November 18, 2011
9. Cristian 263 29 Wednesday, November 16, 2011
10. Mr Leandersson 258 25 Tuesday, November 22, 2011
11. MikaelDui 232 33 Wednesday, November 16, 2011
12. samme 231 24 Friday, November 18, 2011
13. bergburk 222 18 Monday, November 21, 2011

We are really happy that players find Wordament fun enough to want to self-organize contests! It gave us some ideas for future features too…

Jason (aka “Black Snapper”)

Super Human

Update 2 (11/7/11): Wicketewok is once again the undisputed record holder, securing 130 words in a single game and gathering 1408 points!

Update: In response to this article, Wicketewok pulled out two big performances today achieving 123 and 125 words across two games. So, now the top record is tied between mztan and Wicketewok. Great competition!!!

Wow… There has been some healthy competition over who can get the most words in two minutes for a while. The title has been consistently set by Wicketewok time-and-time again. His long time frenemy bballin316 always in close pursuit. Just last week, FAFRF tied Wicketewok’s best at 119. Today, mztan blew the doors off the previous best of 119 words. He achieved 125 words in just 2 minutes… that’s more than one word every second! I have no idea how he did it! But, it’s amazing. So, amazing, that we decided to pull the result to share with everybody. There is no funny business here either. The telemetry we collected on this game clearly indicates that he really pulled this off and the result is stunning.

mztan, congratulations! You are now in the hall of fame as the first person to break 120 words in 2:00. Here’s some fun facts about mztan:

  • Country: USA (Reverse geo IP lookup indicates Washington state)
  • Games played: > 1,000
  • Best score: 1598 points
  • Longest word found: 12 letters
  • Playing since: June 7, 2011

Here’s his result:

mztan-125-board

mztan-125-results

Mythical Creatures Theme

One of our team members likes to curate the fun themed word lists in her spare time. For her newest category, she thought it would be fun to ask interested players to review and recommend additional words to the theme. The rules are simple: we aren’t allowing any proper nouns. That means no names like Zeus, Mars, Perseus, or other great mythical names… just creatures. Here’s what our themed list currently looks like:

  • apparition
  • appartions
  • automaton
  • automatons
  • banshee
  • banshees
  • basilisk
  • basilisks
  • beserker
  • beserkers
  • bigfoot
  • blob
  • blobs
  • bogeyman
  • bogeymen
  • brownie
  • brownies
  • bunyip
  • centaur
  • centaurs
  • cherbubs
  • cherub
  • chimera
  • chimeras
  • conjurer
  • conjurers
  • cyclops
  • demon
  • demons
  • dragon
  • dragons
  • dryad
  • dryads
  • dwarf
  • dwarves
  • elemental
  • elementals
  • elf
  • elves
  • fae
  • faerie
  • faeries
  • faes
  • fairies
  • fairy
  • faun
  • fauns
  • genie
  • genies
  • ghost
  • ghosts
  • ghoul
  • ghouls
  • giant
  • giants
  • gnome
  • gnomes
  • goblin
  • goblinoid
  • goblinoids
  • goblins
  • gorgon
  • gorgons
  • gremlin
  • gremlins
  • griffin
  • griffins
  • hobbit
  • hobbits
  • hobgoblin
  • hobgoblins
  • imp
  • imps
  • incubi
  • incubus
  • incubuses
  • jelly
  • jellies
  • jinn
  • jinns
  • kelpie
  • kelpies
  • leprechaun
  • leprechauns
  • leviathon
  • leviathons
  • magician
  • magicians
  • manticore
  • manticores
  • mermaid
  • mermaids
  • merman
  • mermen
  • minotaur
  • monster
  • monsters
  • nessie
  • nymph
  • nymphs
  • ogre
  • ogres
  • orc
  • orcs
  • phantom
  • phantoms
  • phoenix
  • phoenixes
  • pixie
  • pixies
  • pixy
  • sasquatch
  • satyr
  • satyrs
  • siren
  • sirens
  • skeleton
  • skeleton
  • skeletons
  • sorcerer
  • sorceress
  • specter
  • specters
  • spectre
  • spectres
  • sphinx
  • sphinxes
  • spirit
  • spirits
  • sprite
  • sprites
  • tomte
  • troll
  • trolls
  • undead
  • unicorn
  • unicorns
  • vampire
  • vampires
  • warlock
  • warlocks
  • wendigo
  • wendigos
  • werewolf
  • werewolves
  • windigo
  • windigos
  • witch
  • witches
  • wivern
  • wiverns
  • wizard
  • wizards
  • wolfman
  • wolfmen 
  • wraith
  • wraiths
  • wyvern
  • wyverns
  • yeti
  • yetis
  • yowie
  • zombie
  • zombies

What are we missing? Also, what do you think about our policy of not allowing proper nouns in themed puzzles? Personally, we are worried that it opens an inconsistency in the game and a bit of a Pandora’s box, but this is your game too and we’d like your thoughts.

– Black Snapper

“It’s awesome” – 2 stars

While working on some forth coming updates this evening we started chatting about some of our favorite Wordament reviews in the Windows Marketplace. We take our rating very seriously and daily we look over the latest user comments in our email, blog and in the Marketplace. There is a great tool called Distimo Monitor which lets developers track ratings, ranking and sales across not only the Windows Marketplace but also Apple and Android app stores. We use Distimo to categorize and label all the feedback we get from the Marketplace.

Here is a snapshot of how our ratings stand by stars this evening:

image

We are coming up on 6 months in the Marketplace and I thought I would share some of our all-time favorite Marketplace comments for your enjoyment. While I might get a little snarky below, please recognize that I truly appreciate every review. The feedback has been amazingly useful and motivating. Thank you to everyone that has taken the time to craft and submit a review. Now without further ado, our favorite ratings and my commentary, lowest to highest:

“Too constricting” clip_image004by Player980794206 – I hate it when my word games fit me like a bad pair of trousers. Perhaps you would be more comfortable in a 5×5 grid Mr. Player980794206?

“Expect to be blocked if you play well :’(“clip_image004[1] by clacs – Nope, expect to be blocked if we can prove you are cheating. We don’t block great players! I know the incident that incited this player to leave this review. We challenged him about some very dubious games where he only found the best, highest scoring words to which he basically said it was none of our business how he played. The truth is it is literally our business. Wordament is only fun if the competition is square and its necessary that we have measures in place to enforce this.

“Problem has been resolved. May have been due to hotmail being down” clip_image004[2]by notthefbi05 – This one is tough because it’s a poor review for something that is likely out of our hands. It’s not a review we can take action on and it sounds like whatever was happening isn’t anymore. At least I can go to bed feeling like this user is in a place where he can play if he wants too.

Registers words that aren’t words. Wat is not a word…all kinds of words like this in the game. I guess for people who can’t spell this game might be fun.” clip_image006 by Baramontious – Early on we got lots of feedback like this and it was a driving force behind our introduction of common and obscure pivots on the results page. Dictionary discussions are still a large portion of the mails we receive on a daily basis. It’s funny just how many folks assume a word isn’t a word if they have never seen it. I have the opposite reaction. I see a word I don’t recognize and I’m diving in trying to figure out how to use it in my daily vocab. A wat, if you’re still following along Baramontious, is a Buddhist temple.

“The game is decent, but half of the words used aren’t even words. Somewhat pointless because you can’t form a lot of words from the random letters given.” clip_image006[1]by itsARobin – this one strikes me funny because every board has 150 or more words in it. Those that follow the blog know that our letters are anything but random. One could pretty easily argue all games are pointless, my parents did a pretty good job of it growing up as I wasted my youth away on my Nintendo.

“It’s awesome” 2 stars by:jamieboi999 andGreat game. Very addictive!=Dclip_image007 by uduck – This class of review is my favorite. We have several low star reviews that have a comment that makes you feel like the user is in love with Wordament. One of two things is happening here. The user has never rated an app before and actually thinks 2 stars is great! Or, they are trying to do us a favor and pepper even the bad reviews with great comments. Either way, I wouldn’t change this review for anything. It simply makes me smile.

“This is confusing and boring” clip_image009by DogLover326 – This review is confusing and boring.  :) Well at least it’s 3 stars worth of confusion and boredom. I would kill to see the other reviews DogLover326 has written for other apps.

“I would like to extend the time but it’s good reminds me how dumb I amclip_image011 by Player226166971 – Hey, you aren’t that dumb, you at least know that 4 stars is better than 1. Wait, maybe you met to leave 1 star?!?!

“Great game, sadly it is very hard if English is not your first language. It would be 5 stars if it had more languages” clip_image011[1]by dlezama – This is exactly the type of review I love as a developer. It’s clear what we need to do to be 5 stars in dlezama’s eyes and we are working on it. The only thing that would make this review better is if it implied what language is most important to dlezama.

“Best phone game ever” clip_image013 by Friscette- There are lots of reviews like Friscettes and I have to say nothing makes me want to stay up late and squash a bug like a review like this. I encourage you to leave this sort of review on any app that you love. I never get tired of reading reviews like this one.

“This is the best thing since cable tv” clip_image013[1] by Michael Perusse– Really?!?!? Better than CSPAN or HBO? More details please. Seriously though, it’s an incredible feeling to have someone take the time to write something so grand about your app.  Thanks Michael, you made my day.

“Absolutely superb. The in game theme mirroring the phone theme is a classy idea that is very well implemented. The game play itself, and strong online support, make this a must download.” clip_image014 By ScoundrelDays – It’s so nice when a user notices the fine points of our work. I got the chance to meet David Bazan of Pedro the Lion fame once and I told him I loved the way his drums sound on his album Control. It’s probably a rare thing that a fan comments on drum sound so he immediately engaged in conversation with me as if we were friends. That is how I feel about this comment. We’ve literally spent days working out the kinks of using the phones color everywhere and it’s really cool when a player gets it. Thanks.

“Truly love this game and the way it is made. Thought of everything and works so well. If ever got a chance would love to shake hands with the guy who made this game :D” clip_image014[1] by amitaggrwl – If you are ever in the Seattle area amitaggrwl send us a message. We’d love to shake your hand too.

All kidding aside, we are so thankful for every player we have. It is such a thrill to work on a piece of software that can make 2 minutes of your day fun. Thanks for all the ratings, and most of all thanks for playing!

-john

Themed puzzles

Reflecting on the past few weeks, it struck us today that we never did justice to one of the newest features we launched in Beta, then pulled, tweaked, and re-launched. Part of the reason for the stealth launch was that we were unsure whether the concept would work. We’ve had Digram puzzles for a long time, but actual themed puzzles were something we really wanted to try out. It’s part of the reason we introduced the title bar beneath the puzzle way back when…

Some of you have mentioned that the “title bar is hard to notice” or that “sometimes a themed puzzle comes and goes without noticing it until the end.” We intentionally put the title bar beneath the puzzle because of the ergonomics of the phone and the various hand postures we know that you play with (both from play testing as well as our YouTube T-shirt contest). If we shifted the puzzle down to have the title on top, the game would be less comfortable and you might accidentally hit one of the soft-key buttons. Although some folks go out of their way to make their ads get accidentally clicked, we have always tried to be low-key about the fact that we use advertising to fund the cost of running our server-infrastructure. Ad clicks certainly do help us, though, so we wouldn’t complain if you clicked a few on occasion to support our advertisers!

Back to the themes, we currently have 22 themed word lists that we are building puzzles from. They are:

  • Animals
  • Beach
  • Birds
  • Boats
  • Clothing
  • Colors
  • Computers
  • Cooking
  • Desserts
  • Farm
  • Finances
  • Flowers
  • Food/Drink
  • Fruits
  • Furniture
  • Instruments
  • Pirates
  • Sports
  • Transportation
  • Trees
  • Weather

We always require a minimum of 6 words, or 21 letters making up themed words. We are continuing to tweak both the word lists, the categories, and the puzzle maker to ensure that our variety and quality is always improving.

On the scoring front, themed puzzles (but not Digrams) have a slight change to the scoring: Themed words get both an extra 5% added to their score, and then an extra 10 points. Why? Because we know that finding words in a given theme takes time, and if you start hunting for those, we don’t want you to be penalized for chasing the secondary goal. During our beta period, the scoring was a bit too aggressive and the themed puzzles just destroyed the play balance. So, we analyzed the scores possible on themed puzzles and the words everyone was finding and tuned the scoring to this, which feels “about right.”

As always, we’d love your feedback on these. In particular, are their categories you’d like to see? Heck, you can even contribute word lists to us! That would be great. Also, let us know when you think a word should have been “in category.” A number of you already have to our support mail alias–so thanks for that!

Also, I want to say thanks to all the players that noticed these puzzles during our beta period and asked for us to return them when we shut them off for a few days to better tune our words and categories. Initially, we had three more categories, but they got scrapped during that blackout: art, elements, and materials–they were just too obscure. It made us feel really good to know that players see the puzzle changes we make and ask for them when they disappear.

Thanks for listening!

–Black Snapper

Revisiting Average Score and Top Players

When we introduced the Top Players leaderboard a while back, the intention was to create a place that tracked each player’s average score and then ranked everyone based on that average score. Some folks have noticed that in the past 24 hours, this leaderboard just changed significantly, and stopped stagnating. Why?

Because, we realized that our computation of Average Score was naïve and wrong. So, we fixed it. Since we launched it, we’ve only been counting full games (for completeness, we define a “full game” as any game that you’ve played in for longer than 1:50). But, when we computed your average score, we did so by taking every complete game you’ve EVER played and doing the math. The problem with this, as observed by Puzzlex28, is that it doesn’t take “improvement over time” into consideration. For example, here’s an aggregated stats chart of one of our best players:

image

The black line demonstrates the average score over time, and also, the player’s trend. With our old averaging system, all of the early games were still holding down the newer, improved later games. With our new system, we are sampling a much smaller window of scores, so it much more accurately tells you where you stand in average score.

This change has brought a lot of dynamicism to the Top Players leaderboard (which was the original intent), and demonstrates who is consistently clocking in the highest scores over time.

Hope this helps explain what’s going on!

– Black Snapper

It’s never too late to learn something elementary.

Tonight, I got a great piece of mail from a player (sadly, I don’t know her screen name or I’d share it)! It was about one of our features that we like a lot: Digraphs… or um… uh… “Digrams” – yeah, that’s what we’ve meant all this time.

Here’s what she wrote:

I’m enjoying playing your game but wish to make a point of the use of the term “digraph” in the game. I am an elementary school teacher and have learned a lot about phonics over the years. A digraph isn’t just a pair of letters, but rather a pair of letters that make a unique sound – one you can’t make by simply saying the individual sounds of each letter in that pairing. For example, “sh” is a digraph because if you say the ‘s’ sound and then the ‘h’ sound, you wouldn’t make the ‘sh’ sound as in “shore”. Other examples of digraphs are ‘th’, ‘ch’ ‘wh’ ‘ea” as in ‘bread.” On the other hand, something like ‘tr’ is called a blend because when reading a word with that blend you are blending the ‘t’ sound and the ‘r’ sound together. Other examples of blends are ‘st’ ‘str’ ‘bl’ ‘br’ ‘fr’…..I thought you’d like to know.

I don’t remember where I first started calling two letter pairs Digraphs, but when we started making two letter pairs—I think I looked up this definition in Merriam Webster:

Definition of DIGRAPH

1 : a group of two successive letters whose phonetic value is a single sound (as ea in bread or ng in sing) or whose value is not the sum of a value borne by each in other occurrences (as ch in chin where the value is t + sh)

2 : a group of two successive letters

It turns out that, even though definition 2 is what we are doing, the definition is missing the key subtly: A digraph is where two letters make a single sound. It turns out that there’s a more general form, call multigraphs, which contains trigraphs (tch as in watch) and tetragraphs (four letters like –ough as in through), and more.

So, we were ignorant, and we’ve learned. The correct term for what we are doing is “DIGRAM”. I had no idea that was even a word! And, while it is sometimes a synonym of Digraph, it comes with the shade of meaning that it’s two successive letters, and less about “making a single sound.”

Definition of DIGRAM

1 : a sequence of two adjacent letters or symbols.

So, we will be changing our “Digraph” category name to “Digram” this evening. And thank you, wise player, for smartening us up here! It’s our pleasure to learn things and make this game better.

– Black Snapper

How we improved Wordament

Now that our v1.6 release is out in the Marketplace, I wanted to take a minute to write an engineering blog on what it took to improve our dreaded finger lag problem: we’ve been battling it for quite a while, so I really hope that some of this content is helpful to other Windows Phone 7 developers out there. We LOVE this platform, and we love the phone, and anything we can do to help other developers not stumble on our mistakes is great, in our opinion.

Fundamentally, Wordament was struggling with two different problems: we had some code running on the UI thread that shouldn’t have, and we had a memory leak—a pretty severe one, actually. We were losing memory game-over-game in a really unclear way, but it was slowly, but surely killing our game’s performance in builds prior to 1.6. In fact, you could sometimes feel the lag start as early as game #3. We knew we had a problem, but we just didn’t have to tools to fix the problem.

Tip #1: If you are a developer and you want some insight into what your app is really doing: go and get the Windows Phone 7.1 (Mango) dev tools RIGHT NOW. Even if you aren’t shipping an app for Mango, these tools are going to help you find your problems in your 7.0 app (just make a copy of your project and upgrade that to 7.1 and the profile becomes available to you). The most important of these tools is the terrific new “Windows Phone Performance Analysis” app. We spent a bunch of time trying to figure out how to get all of our code “off the UI thread” and this tool does a great job of showing you where you are holding up the UI, and where your app is running poorly.

Tip #2: For Windows Phone 7.0 (RTM or NoDo): you need to periodically call the Garbage Collector, explicitly. We didn’t know until recently that the 7.0 release didn’t have a “generational garbage collector”, so to stay light-and-lean, you need to call GC.Collect often (we call it on a regular heartbeat now)—and that makes a really big difference to our working set. Even though we never really got too “fat” memory wise (we never get to the dreaded 90MB auto kill limit), it seems that once your app gets into the 35+ MB limit, the app starts to slow down. We understand that Mango comes with a better garbage collector, so perhaps this tip will no longer be necessary in the future.

Tip #3: Track what you create, track what you delete. This was a bit of a tough pill for us to swallow. C# has a garbage collector and that magically cleans up after you, right? Sort of. Aside from Tip 2 (above), you still have to be careful to explicitly clean up things if you want them to release. For Wordament, we now have a pretty elaborate “Heap tracking system” that watches every allocation and deallocation of objects we create (in Debug builds). We dump the total list in our debug spew every 10 – 15 seconds and watch that count like a hawk. For places where we needed to create Collections, like Lists and Dictionaries, we created our own, generic Debug subclass of those to make sure we are getting rid of those too. The most important little gotchas that we found are:

  • Be very careful to unhook every event handler you hook in your Loaded event in your Unloaded event. Only hook Loaded and Unloaded inside your constructor. Every other event handler should be hooked up in Loaded and Unloaded so that page-to-page navigation cleans itself up. We found a bunch of cases where pages wouldn’t dispose if you had event handlers still hooked.
  • Stop DispatcherTimers, unhook their Tick event, and set them to null! Timers keep pages around if they are enabled.
  • If you use HttpWebRequest, be super vigilant in your error handling that you don’t leave a Stream or Response object open. Close all your streams! Network flakiness on cellphones is a thing. The MSDN sample here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/system.net.httpwebrequest.begingetresponse(VS.71).aspx is very good, but still has some lingering memory leaks in flakey network scenarios. We scratched our heads a bunch to find them all. Leaking network objects is bad!
  • Be very careful with List databinding. Do not assume that list clean-up is automatic. If you trickle fill lists, be sure to explicitly clear them when you are done, or all of the item they reference can dangle around.
  • Be very careful with Databinding in general. It’s beauty is its simplicity. Debugging it can be hell. We don’t use Databinding anymore.
  • If you have to sit on a single page for a REALLY long time, consider using controls that you can create and destroy.

Tip #4: If fingering performance matters to you—you have to use Touch.FrameReported and avoid mouse events. This adds a lot of complexity, but the perf win is huge. In many cases, you will be doing your own hit testing (using Silverlight’s FindElementsInHostCoordinates method): here’s an example: http://blogs.microsoft.co.il/blogs/alex_golesh/archive/2009/08/11/silverlight-quick-tip-how-to-perform-a-hit-test.aspx

Tip #5: Don’t forward navigate… Pages are never deleted when you forward navigate, and are only sometimes deleted when you press BACK (in practice the phone seems to free pages that are two navigates away). Again, if you want it to appear like you are navigating forward, consider having one page with multiple view states and multiple controls that you create / destroy.

Tip #6: Try to never have more than one DispatcherTimer. There are instances where we need to have two (where the second is temporary), but you should try really hard to only have one.

Tip #7: Inline all of your DataTemplates! Silverlight has a list template memory leak, that causes whole lists to leak over time: http://forums.silverlight.net/t/171739.aspx (this bug repros on Windows Phone 7.0’s RTM and NoDo Silverlight).

We hope these tips help! We know we have been searching for stuff like this ourselves, so hopefully we can save you some time in the future. If you got here because you are a developer, and haven’t played Wordament, you can thank us by downloading our app and rating us. You might also find that you really like our game!

Thanks for listening,

Team Wordament

Our English lexicon just got better… a whole lot better… thanks to all of you!

Back in late May we decided to start a tally of every word ever found, in any completed game of Wordament. It’s been a couple of months, and during that time, we all found over 150 million words! And you know what? Together, we just crowd-sourced an even better lexicon (a lexicon is a fancy for for “word list” – in this case, the master Wordament word list).

Tonight, our new lexicon went into production. The main thing this helped was to further clean-up and differentiate our common word list from our obscure word list. We have a pretty good idea of what’s common now—based on what we are all finding. The interesting thing is: we all seem to find a lot of short, very obscure words (like TAE)! And, while we are leaving them as obscure, I think it’s fascinating to learn the words we all find the most. And, because we love sharing what we learn, I’d like to tell you what we’ve found.

First, what are the words have we offered the most, game-over-game? Remember: no two Wordament puzzles are ever the same, but there’s still a lot of words that appear over and over. Here’s the list:

Top 20 words offered by Wordament, by word length:

  3 4 5 6 7
1. ATE ATES EATER ENATES ARENITE
2. ETA SETA SETAE NEATER ENTREAT
3. TEA RATE EATEN SENATE THEREAT
4. EAT TEAR ENATE RETAIN RETAINS
5. TAE TARE NEATS ENTERA REDATES
6. SET TEAS TEASE EASTER RETASTE
7. RET EATS NATES SEATER RETINAE
8. ARE ETAS STANE TEARED RESTATE
9. EAR SATE TREAT SATEEN STAINER
10. ERA SEAT STARE TREATS ITERATE
11. TEN NEAT RATES RENTES HEARTEN
12. NET EAST ANTES DERATE THEATER
13. SEA ANTE ORATE REDATE ENTIRES
14. SAE RETS ESTER ELATES RELATES
15. RAT NETS ASTER RATINE TREATED
16. TAR ETNA TEATS ATONES STEALER
17. ANE NEST IRATE TESTAE STEARIN
18. NAE SENT STEER RETINA NEATEST
19. SEN REST STENO TINEAS RETINAS
20. TAS TENS SENTE SEATED DERATES

And now, how does this compare to what you find?

Top 20 words found in Wordament, by word length:

>
  3 4 5 6 7
1. RAT RATE RATES STARED TRAINED
2. TEN TEAR TONES STONED STAINER
3. TEA LATE DATES STONES STAINED
4. SET DATE LATER STONER STANDER
5. SAT SEAT STONE STORED STARTED
6. TAN TARE NOTES STORES TOASTER
7. TAR TONE STORE HEATER SHOOTER
8. NET SENT HATER THERES STARTER
9. TIN RENT RATED RENTED CHEATER
10. ATE TORE RENTS SLATED CHEATED
11. TEE REST STARE TEARED QUARTER
12. TOE TENS TINES HEATED TOASTED
13. EAT RATS THERE TREATS QUESTER
14. ROT TOES MATES RESTED HOOTERS
15. RED HATE HATES SEATED HEARTED
16. TON TEES TALES LASTED TAINTED
17. LET HEAT TIRES QUOTES STEAMER
18. NOT TEAS DATER STATER STEAMED
19. SIT TIRE HEATS SLATER QUESTED
20. SEE TALE TEENS RAINED TRAINER

Words that are bold and italic are common to both lists. The interesting thing for me, here, is the amount of difference between these lists. There are 150 words shown in the “most offered” list, and yet only 22 of those (14.6%) are being found regularly. Now, granted, some of these words are quite obscure, but… if I wanted to maximize my score, these are the words I’d be on the lookout for.

Anyway, enough word geeking for now! Thanks for helping us clean up our lexicon. We hope you find that our English puzzles just got even better and more fun, and that they now offer even more words and letter varieties.

“Black Snapper”

Earn Your Own Free Wordament T-shirt!

A few weeks back we had our first ever Wordament Tournament Meet-up and we made a limited edition run of Wordament T-shirts just for the event. The shirts came out great and people have been asking us if they could buy one. While we might eventually sell them, we’d rather just give them away to our best players and biggest fans. So now is your chance to get a shirt completely free, postageCheck out my Wordament T-Shirt included, and at no cost to you. But first you have to prove your worthiness!

To earn a free shirt follow these simple steps:

  1. Grab a video camera, web cam or another phone
  2. Set up that camera or grab a friend to record you playing Wordament
  3. Score above 250 points in a single, recorded game, showing the full 2:00 minutes of play, individual results, and results with your ranking and screen name visible.
  4. Upload your video to YouTube
  5. Send us a link to your video, the shirt size you would like, and the address where you would like the shirt mailed. Email us at: wordament@live.com.

The first 50 folks to complete the task will get a free shirt shipped to their home. It’s that simple! Now our lawyers insist that we also say that this is void where prohibited by law and that we reserve the right to cancel this contest at any time without notice. Limit one shirt per screen name. In return for the shirt, you are providing us a perpetual, royalty-free license to use your video in our promotional materials.

Have fun and go earn yourself a shirt!

- Team Wordament

Bienvenida•Bienvenue•Benvenuto•Welcome

You have been asking us to build Wordament in other languages and we are doing just that. We recently submitted v1.6 of Wordament to certification and it should show up in the Marketplace shortly. With this update we’ve localized Wordament so that users playing on Spanish, French and Italian phones will now see the user interface in their native language. All you have to do is set the phone’s language setting to Spanish, French or Italian and Wordament will display the newly translated text. Additionally we have made a minor rebrand to the Wordament you know and love. You’ll notice when you launch the new build that we have some subtext under the Wordament banner that reads “English Edition”.

Start-ESStart-FRStart-ITStart-EN

English Edition means the puzzles are all English puzzles and you only can score words that are English. Yes, we know that’s not really what you have been asking for but in the near future we will be releasing Spanish, French and Italian Editions where the puzzles and dictionaries will be in these languages.

Localizing the user interface for English Edition is the first step in getting the other language editions in the marketplace. If you are a native speaker of any of the new languages you can help us by providing us feedback on the text we have chosen. Neither Black Snapper or I are bilingual so we’ve been doing our best to create accurate translations. We have no doubt made some translation errors and we would love to hear from any native speakers about how we could improve the user interface. Just drop us a note at wordament@live .com, preferably in English. :) We are very excited about the upcoming releases and we hope you are too.

-John

Player: “1”, Anti-cheating system: “0”.

You know… sometimes things that look too good to be true, turn out to be true… and we need to suspend our inner skeptic. And, in the case of AngryPanda, this weekend, our system failed him—and I apologize. We’ve been getting a fair number of complaints in our Marketplace reviews that there are “too many cheaters” and we understand that the value of a community tournament is ruined if a cheater gets in an makes a farce of the system. Early on, in our very first build, we had a bug where people could carry scores from previous games on into future games getting a monotonically higher and higher score and word count. Because of the (at the time) 7-day Microsoft certification process, we couldn’t address the issue fast enough by waiting for it to “go through cert.”

So, we started building an anti-cheating system in both the phone and our Wordament.net service. We’ve been ratcheting the rules recently, but went too far in a couple of cases. I feel bad about AngryPanda in particular—who reached out an asked today, “What’s wrong my my account?” It turns out our cheating system had flagged him as a cheater in a game where he got 1493 points on 52 words. Incredible.

We had a great conversation and he shared a lot of tips that I thought I’d pass on to folks, who also encounter players that seem “inhumanly good”:

  • If you look at the words I got, you’ll see that most of them used the digraph tile and were fairly long. I had another game today where I broke 1100 with a digraph and few words. One of them scored +93, which blew my mind. I think it was “secretest” with the “re”.
  • As far as high average scores, here’s my history, I hope it will clear things up. I started playing Boggle-like games in 2000 with Tangleword, but I wasn’t a fast enough typer for 3-4 letter words. Using the mouse, though, I became a monster at the 5-6-7, and eventually 8-letter boards. For a while in college I would copy the missing words lists and read them aloud like bedtime prayers. Have you ever played Word Dojo on a MegaTouch machine? My high score on that is 2.1 million. When I play Boggle with family I am restricted to 5 letter words or longer. If there is an “ing”, I can only do 6. Nobody plays Scrabble with me because I’m obnoxious about getting big scores, as my wife will attest.
  • Here are my tips for getting high scores: I always take about 3 seconds to look at the board and strategize before I touch it. I scan for prefixes, suffixes, digraphs, blends, and high scoring tiles. Then I go to town. My fingers are huge, too, so I get tons of mistakes and it thinks I am guessing all the time. I probably lose 10 seconds a game due to finger size. But the long words save me.

So, welcome back AngryPanda. We will all have to sit up a little straighter in our chairs when you are playing in there!

“Black Snapper”
Engineer / Gamer
You vs. the Internet

103 words in a single game. That’s a new record!

Last night Wicketewok found 103 words in a single game. That’s incredible, and beats the previous best of 101 held by both Wicketewok and bballin316. Here’s a look at the top 20 games in the past two months by total word count.

Rank ScreenName Score Words found Longest word Best play Finishing rank
1. Wicketewok 901 103 6 24 1
2. Wicketewok 757 101 6 20 1
3. bballin316 729 101 6 22 1
4. robopuppycc 849 99 6 24 1
5. Telegnostic 837 99 6 30 1
6. Briff05 808 99 6 20 1
7. bballin316 698 99 5 15 1
8. Wicketewok 983 99 5 22 1
9. Wicketewok 1025 98 5 31 1
10. robopuppycc 1319 97 7 36 1
11. Telegnostic 1004 97 6 30 1
12. Wicketewok 786 97 6 24 1
13. Wicketewok 713 96 6 20 1
14. Briff05 975 96 6 32 1
15. Bryan F 831 96 6 32 2
16. bballin316 822 95 5 25 1
17. Wicketewok 560 95 5 13 2
18. Wicketewok 669 94 5 15 1
19. bs angel 828 94 6 24 1
20. Wicketewok 677 94 6 20 1

Now, before anyone cries CHEATER! I thought I’d also share the board and the words that he found:

image

Common   Obscure
eight="20">Word Score   Word Score
AID 5   AIDER 12
AIDE 6   AIN 5
AIM 6   AIRN 7
AIR 5   AMI 6
AIRS 7   AMIDE 13
AMID 8   AMIN 8
AMOK 11   AMINE 13
AND 5   AMINO 15
ANEW 7   AMIR 8
CAIN 8   AMIRS 15
CAN 6   AMOKS 19
CANE 7   ANE 4
DEN 5   ANI 5
DENIM 15   ANIMI 15
DEW 6   ANOMIC 26
DEWS 8   CAID 8
DIM 7   CAIRD 15
DIN 6   CAIRN 15
DINE 7   CAIRNED 26
DINER 13   CAM 7
END 5   CAMION 26
INERT 12   CAMO 9
INMOST 24   CAMOS 16
IRON 8   CANED 13
IRONED 22   CANER 13
KRONER 28   CANID 15
MAID 8   CION 9
MAIDEN 22   DENI 7
MAIN 8   DEWORM 26
MAN 6   DINO 8
MANE 7   DINOS 15
MANOR 15   ENAMOR 22
MICA 9   ENAMORS 26
MID 7   ENORM 15
MIND 9   ENOW 8
MINDER 24   ENOWS 15
MINE 8   IMID 9
MINED 15   IMIDE 15
MINER 15   IMINE 15
MINOR 16   IMINO 16
MINORS 26   INERTS 20
MON ="xl69" align="right">7   ION 6
MONDE 15   IRK 9
MOST 8   IRKS 11
MOW 8   IRONE 13
MOWED 16   IRONER 22
MOWER 16   KOI 9
MOWN 10   KOR 9
NET 4   KORMA 19
NETS 6   KORS le="background-color:black;border-top-style:none;vertical-align:bottom;padding:1px 1px 0;" class="xl66" align="right">11
NETWORK 32   KOS 9
NEW 6   KRONA 18
NEWS 8   KRONE 18
NOIR 8   MAC 7
NOR 6   MAIR 8
NORM 9   MAIRS 15
NOS 6   MANED 13
NOT 5   MANO 8
NOTE 6   MANORS 24
NOTED 12   MANOS 15
NOW 7   MIC 8
ONE 5   MINA 8
OWE 6   MIR 7
OWED 8   MIRK 12
OWN 7   MIRKS 21
OWNED 15   MIRS 9
OWNER 15   MOR
7
RED 5   MORS 9
REND 7   MOS 7
RID 6   MOSK 12
RIDE 7   MOSTE 13
RIDER 13   MOT 6
RIM 7   MOTE 7
RIND 8   MOTS 8
RIOT 7   MOWS 10
RIOTS 13   NAM 6
ROMAN 15   NERTS 12
ROSTER 20   NETWORKS 54
ROT 5   NEWT 7
ROTE 6   NEWTS 13
ROW 7   NIDE 7
ROWED 15   NIM 7
ROWS 9   NOIRS 15
SON 6   NOM 7
SOW 7   NOMA 8
SOWED 15   NORI 8
SOWER 15   NORIA 13
SOWN 9   NOTER 12
STENO 12   NOWS 9
STEW 7   NOWT 8
STOIC 15   NOWTS 15
STONE 12   ORS 6
STONED 20   REDIA 12
STONER 20   RET 4
STORK 18   RETS 6
STORM 15   REWON 15
STOW 8   REWORK 30
STOWED 22   REWORKS 34
STREW 13   RIA 5
STREWN 22   RIN 6
TEN 4   RIOTED 20
TEND 6   RIOTER 20
TENOR 12   ROM 7
TOM 6   ROMAINE 26
TON 5   ROTS 7
TONE 6   ROWEN 15
TONED 12   ROWER 15
TOW 6   SOM 7
TOWED 13   SOMA 8
TOWER 13   SOMAN 15
TOWN 8   SONDE 13
TREND 12   SONDER 22
TWO 6   SONE 7
TWOS 8   SORI 8
WED 6   SOT 5
WEND 8   SRI 6
WET 5   STOMA 13
WOMAN 16   > SWOT 8
WON 7   TED 4
WONDER 24   TENIA 10
WORK 12   TENORS 20
WORKS 21   TEW 5
WORM 10   TEWS 7
WORST 15   TOMAN 13
WORSTED 26   TONDI 13
WREN 8   TONER 12
      TOR 5
      TORI 7
      TORIC 15
      TORS 7
      TORSK 18
      TOWS 8
      TREWS 13
      TSK 8
      WEN 6
      WERT 7
      WETS 7
      WOK 10
      WOKS 12
      WOMANED 28
      WOS 7
      WOST 8
      WOT 6
      WOTS 8

Great job Wicketewok!

Spotlight: Wicketewok

One of the requests that many of you have had is to see how a great player plays. Some don’t believe it is possible to get 50, 60, 70, or even 100 words in a two minute game. It is, and it doesn’t require a cheating tool. In fact, if you are a cheater and you are using a tool to get 100 words, you are really doing it wrong!

At our recent Wordament Meet Up, our reigning champ Wicketewok was kind enough to let us record him playing a game. In this game, he found “only” 70 words. We’re sorry that the video is blurry, but you can definitely see “how he does it” and “how fast he’s able to move.” I can only imagine how fast he must have moved in the game were he recently got 101 words. Crazy!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DV1yWwEEKk&w=448&h=277&hd=1]
Wicketewok gets 70 words while being recorded

 

In addition to showing you this blurry video, we pulled this game from our service and have not only the puzzle, and possible words, but also have highlighted the words that Wicketewok found in this game. Pretty cool, huh? It took us a while to get this level of reporting out of our system, but it’s something we have now, so expect to see other amazing games and player spotlights up here in the future.

wicketewok

wicketewok-words

Who’s awesome? You’re awesome!

We love it when you play with us, and you tell us in reviews that one of your favorite aspects of this game is it’s competitiveness. One of our goals from the get go was to create a game and a community where you’d never be alone. With some word games, like Words With Friends, it’s really fun to play when your friends / opponents are playing. But, it’s slow and lonely when people won’t play with you.

That was one of the biggest inspirations behind “You vs. the Internet” and Wordament—make a game where you always have people to play with. And, while our real-time leaderboards are really powerful—we also know that persistent leaderboards are important too. That’s why we introduced them back in May. Tonight, and in cooperation with our 1.5 update that went live last week, we’ve taken another giant step ahead in our leaderboards, with:

  • Better personal stats
  • Personal rankings in our all-time best leaderboards, even if you aren’t in the top 250
  • A new “Top players” leaderboard
  • A Frenemies leaderboard

Better personal stats

One of the features you’ve been asking for lately is: tell me my best rankings and how many great finishes I’ve had. With the new Me leaderboard, we’ve added this in, along with better averages (more on that in a minute). Here’s my Me page:

Me

Things to note in here are:

  • The new Averages
  • # of First place wins (if you’ve ever had at least one)
  • # of Top ten wins (if you’ve ever had any)
  • Best ranking: (if you haven’t taken 1st yet, this is your personal best)

Total points (now with your personal ranking)

Once you’ve played enough games with us to be eligible, we now show your personal stats in the Total points and Top players leaderboards, even if you aren’t in the top 250 players:

TotalPoints

Notice my “accent colored” tile underneath the leaderboard “tiles.” You can see that I’m currently ranked at 419th. This stat will refresh once per day with my progress or loss (not playing will allow others to pass you!).

Also, notice that we’ve selected a new, nicer Frenemies color (the blue) which is compatible with all phone theme colors in both light and dark and looks great across both OLED and LCD screens. In every leaderboard, you will highlight in your accent color and your Frenemies will highlight in the darker blue.

Top players (another way to be the best)

Another feature that the community has been asking for for awhile now is “rankings by average score.” This one is tricky (and why it took a while to get to). Computing your average score by summing up the total number of points / number of games played works, but is susceptible to problems with “warm up games” and games where you don’t play (and get a zero). With the Top players leaderboard, we only compute your average for “eligible games” – and even then, we are picking games that are statistically in your norm. So, this list represents our players that are able to consistently “kill it” over time and always dial in the best scores:

TopPlayers

Again, you can see, I’m not anywhere near the best player in the world! Smile 

The other stat of merit in here is the “average ranking”—this is where you typically place when you play, across all of your eligible games. Now, one important thing about this: Many of our international players and a few of our insomniacs play in the middle of the night when competition is lower, so this ranking really depends on the competitiveness of when you play, and shouldn’t be taken as a strict measure of who is better than whom.

Frenemies

When we introduced Frenemies back in early July, we knew that having a personal leaderboard of you vs. your Frenemies would be key. We now have that leaderboard too:

Frenemies

In this image, you can see some of the folks I follow when I play, and where they rank. I’m in here… just at the bottom. Smile

Keep the fight alive

With all of these great leaderboards, the spirit is to maintain the fun of watching yourself improve and compete with your Frenemies. We hope you find these leaderboards as fun and engaging as we do!

—john and Black Snapper

Wordament has a new champion!

Congratulations to Wicketewok! Our new top player. Briff05 has been seemingly untouchable for months since she pulled into 1st place on May 22nd. Tonight, after many long stretches of dedicated playing, Wicketewok has moved into the top spot. Who knows how long it will last! Will Briff05 come back with a vengeance and regain her crown?

Congrats on the huge effort, Wicketewok, and please feel free to introduce yourself on our Facebook page!

We should also mentioned that there’s been a lot of exciting action in the top 10 in general in the last month. Poor scruff, who was our very first Wordament champion is now in 4th place, replaced by abbs in the past week, and may soon move to 5th with test_gal close on her heels! Here’s the top 10 as of this writing:

image

It’s also great to see both Indonesia and Sweden in the top 10! We think it’s so great to see all of the action and competition. Our players and our community make this game. So thanks for being part of one of the most fun projects of my life and making our little game and company successful! We can’t wait to see where our community takes us next!

– Black Snapper

First ever Wordament Tournament meetup

It’s party time! 8/1 is Wordament’s four month birthday. We are throwing the first ever Wordament Tournament. We’ll start playing Wordament at 6PM PST or 9PM EST. Go mark your calendar right now!
For those in the Seattle area come out to the Rock Bottom in Bellevue and meet the crew of You vs. the Internet. We will be the ones in the stylish Wordament tees. If you’re a good enough player, you might even walk home with one for yourself. Grab a beer and join us for a couple games or hang out with us all night. We really want to meet the community that has been so awesome to us. Wordament is nothing without you. Happy hour ends at 6, so if you want a cheap drink, be sure to get down to Bellevue early with your Windows Phone 7 and get your Wordament on.  We can’t wait to meet each of you and see who will be the evening’s Wordament champion.

If you’re not in the Seattle area and you want to plan to meet up with other local players feel free to pick a spot and we will help market your event.  Just contact us at wordament@live.com

John, Black Snapper, Scruff and Kathleen – You vs. the Internet LLC

Phone differences

Today, Microsoft very generously loaned us an HTC Trophy phone for the weekend. This is the phone that has received the lion share of the bug reports with Wordament, so we really wanted to get to the bottom of this. On the engineering team we only have Samsung Focus devices, but we thought that the “Windows Phone 7 chassis specification” basically ensured a level of consistency across every Windows Phone 7 device. For the most part it does. But, even with just a few minutes of playing with the Trophy, we’ve seen some really interesting differences from the Focus. Our snap takeaway was: we need to have a few more test models on the team because there ARE subtle, but important differences across phone models.

Here’s what we’ve heard from many of you with the Trophy:

  • The phone gets very hot within a few games
  • The battery drains very quickly
  • The touch response isn’t great
  • There are noticeable network hangs at several points during the game, particularly at the 1:00 mark
  • After the latest change, “green is unplayable”

We intend to get to the bottom of these. We care A LOT about your experience and making this game great on this platform. Of all of the issues above, the last one (about the green) was the strangest and hardest to believe. But now, having seen a Trophy, we understand it: it’s the screen tech.

The Samsung Focus has a screen called “Super AMOLED” – it’s basically a display driven by a set of special chemicals that emit light under voltage. The tech is super cool and originated with the same chemicals that make fireflies light up. The Trophy (and a few other models) have a backlit LCD screen. We didn’t expect as much difference in image quality as we saw. We are now investigating the following visual issues:

  • It appears that the accent colors on LCD-based devices are different than on AMOLED devices. In our latest update, we color matched by comparing your theme’s accent color against some hardcoded values (from the Focus). Whoops! It turns out that doesn’t work because the color codes on the Trophy are different than the Focus. One consequence of this is that our Start screen doesn’t show your name in some theme combinations (if you have an HTC Trophy, try the Dark Red theme).
  • The “Correct” word green is almost impossible to see – it looks white – we will pick a more visible color that works on both screen technologies.
  • In our most recent 1.4 update, we chose to follow the Windows Phone 7 “Metro” design guidelines even closer, and go with “white text on accent colored background” in the Light theme. We now understand that fifth issue above: it’s impossible to see on the Lime theme.

So, OK, shame on us. We need to own some extra phones. We are going to use our loaner this weekend and acquire at least a Trophy this coming week. We had no idea that the difference would be this significant.  But, we aren’t going to leave you hanging. We are going to get to the bottom of all of these issues and release another update in the coming weeks.

If you know of other issues that are bugging you, please let us know! We’d prefer them in email at wordament@live.com. Thanks for your interest and thanks for playing!

– Black Snapper

Wordament gets a few quotes on CNet’s news.com about Google’s outage

http://news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-20079701-264/google-app-engine-suffers-availability-problems/?tag=cnetRiver

Obviously, we would have preferred not to have been down at all, but at least this article helps explain what happened. Sorry if you were hit by a “Connectivity Required” message last night. That message in our app either means “You don’t have any internet connectivity right now” or “we can’t talk to our service from your phone.”

We actually did a bunch of work in Wordament to fail gracefully in a number of error conditions—but we never expected the case that AppEngine would be 100% down. We’ve only ever seen one or two components go down at a time. Last night we couldn’t even get our “hello” message back from the server—which was why we couldn’t do anything accept tell you that “Connectivity was required.”

For all of you that hit this, we are sorry—it hit all of us—and it sucked for all of us. As of now, our service appears back up and running smoothly. The issue was not our newest update or your phone—it was Google. We are reconsidering our options for cloud redundancy now.

Wordament lives!

Well, I think I aged a few years tonight. That really, really sucked. The worst part? Google never acknowledged that they had a problem. Down the line of their Service Status was “Normal.” And yet, we were running 0 servers. The other part that really sucked was our powerlessness to do anything. We couldn’t even contact support. Sigh.

outage

Well, we appear to be back now, thankfully. Believe us: we will be considering our options for redundancy. It seems that one cloud may not be sufficient. Thanks for your understanding tonight, but I do expect a bunch of bad reviews from new players that tried to sign up and got the horrible experience.

Wanna do us a favor? Re-rate our new update. That will help dilute any of the bad reviews we are likely to get and will help keep us growing and relevant. We appreciate your support and we love that you play with us!

– Black Snapper

Well, this sucks!

Wordament has been down for 4 hours now due to a continued outage of Google App Engine (our infrastructure provider). We are aware of the issue and doing what we can to return service to life ASAP. We are really sorry to not be able to play with you.

More updates as we learn more… :`(

– Black Snapper

Wordament 1.4 is rolling into a Marketplace near you!

We got the news from Microsoft today at noon (PST) that version 1.4 had been approved for release. It is slowly but surely rolling out around the world as we speak. There are already almost 500 of you with the newest build. We sure hope you like the new start screen, leaderboards, and Frenemies features! We also think you’ll be happy with the new performance improvements and bug fixes we’ve added, particularly for those lagging at the 1:00 mark and at the “Time’s up” screen. Please let us know what you think!

We think the Frenemies feature (which shows you a specific sorted list of your friends online right now) in the results is going to make this game even more fun and engaging! Here’s a preview:

Looking forward to more great games with you!

– Black Snapper

450 concurrent players!

We had a nice little milestone last evening at 8:00 PM PST: 450 concurrent users! Thanks for playing… that was a very exciting few rounds and proves that our scale work was successful. We were having no server performance problems and expect that we can still handle many multiples more than that.

– Black Snapper

Wordament 1.4 is submitted for certification!

Tonight, we are very pleased to announce that the latest update to Wordament has just been submitted for certification to the Windows Phone 7 marketplace. We expect the turn-around will be about 48 hours. This is a big update and we are very proud of it. We think you will love it. Our recent Beta was to get feedback on the stability and performance work that we completed… but there’s a couple of fun new features and surprises in this build. Here’s a little teaser:

This release takes Wordament to new heights with an amazing new feature: FrenemiesTM. Now, you not only play with everyone else in the world; you can keep your friends close, but your enemies closer! Tap names in the results list to add them to your personal list of Frenemies, which is shown at the end of every game. Compare yourself to them, or to everyone else. How you play and how you win is up to you!

We have a lot more to talk about in the coming days. Thanks for all of the continued support and feedback! We really appreciate it and we love playing with you.

– john and Black Snapper

Download the Wordament Public Beta

Update:  The public beta is now closed.  Thanks for all the valuable feedback.  We plan to submit for Marketplace certification this week.

It’s been thrilling to watch the Wordament community grow week over week.  As developers it’s amazing to think that our code is running on so many devices, 24 hours a day.  It’s also a bit terrifying.  Terrifying from the standpoint that every change we make in the name of progress has the potential to introduce an unintended consequence, a.k.a. bug.  So, Black Snapper and I have decided that in addition to running all changes through our tester we will also be doing public betas before we go live with new releases of Wordament.  This is your chance to get an early sneak peak at what’s coming in Wordament as well has help us validate bug fixes.

To install a public beta you will need a developer unlocked Windows Phone 7.  To unlock your phone you need to be part of the Windows Phone 7 developer program or have a friend who is.  Instructions for unlocking can be found here. Once unlocked, you can deploy the Wordament Public Beta via the Application Deployment tool found in the Windows Phone 7 SDK.

The build we are posting has the following improvements:

  • No more hiccups around the 1:00 mark.  The game should now play smooth all the way through, on all phones.  This problem seemed more prevalent on the HTC Trophy.
  • “Times up” didn’t always display.  Now it will always show when the game is over.
  • Improved performance on slower network connections.
  • Faster transitions between screens.  This means you have more time to look at your result and rank.
  • Fixed top crashing bugs as reported by users

We really appreciate the help in verifying that this build is a good one.  Give us a shout if you find bugs or if you think it looks good.

Thanks,

John and Black Snapper

Stats!

We are so happy to receive feedback! We read and try to respond to every piece of feedback we get. Lately, we’ve gotten some requests about improving our stats. I thought I’d take a minute to talk about what we gather and what we are working on around stats.

First, we’ve all been busy playing! Across all the players that have gathered, we have played many millions of games… I couldn’t believe it was that many! Behind all of that is a giant data warehouse that we’ve been quietly building. We have been collecting lots of data on every game since launch. Our leaderboards, today, only show things that are easy to compute in our service with no “offline” data analysis or crunching. That’s about to change. The top few requested things that people have asked for in the stats space are:

  • Show me my (and other people’s) best words
  • Create a leaderboard based on “average score”
  • Fix my average score, because it looks too low

Let’s start with words: We’ve been collecting the words you play for a while now. Part of this is to help tune our dictionary. Another part of this is to look for cheaters, like the one we caught the other day (skitzo, including his response), and lastly, to improve the leaderboards with fun stats about the words that you and everyone else is finding.

On the average scoring front, let’s talk about “warm up games.” You know: the game you jump into as the first in a series? It turns out that with Wordament, like Pringles, “you can’t stop with just one.” In fact, most of us are playing at least 4 games in a session. But, we record any game where you get a non-zero score, and non-zero word count. So, if you are really concerned about your average, then don’t play the half games. But, here’s why it doesn’t matter:

  • We are working on a new system for computing your average score that doesn’t just take sum(score) / count(games). We are looking at something like: dropping the top 5% and the bottom 25% of all game scores and averaging the rest. This will be a lot closer to each of our “real skill level” and should make each of us much more comparable.

When we do this, we will add a new leaderboard and announce it here on the blog. With all of our leaderboards, we really want to have lots of ways for people to look at themselves. This will be one more pivot.

We love this game, and love to hear what you like and want too. Please continue to drop us notes. We are listening and are continuing to make this a great game.

– Black Snapper

Performance update 2

I’ve been mentioning in blog posts and comments that we have plans “to really scale up Wordament.” Tonight, the next phase of that plan went live. If you were playing with us between 8:00 PM and 11:00 PM PST, you may have seen some messed up results screens or leaderboards every couple of games. Sorry about that! The eagle-eyed amongst you may have even noticed “scruff” as near the top as she could get (you guys are relentless these days!) and “Black Snapper” in the lowest possible position – making sure that the tail end of results were working. That was us! We were in there manually testing every use case for our new scaled-up service.

How many concurrent users can we handle now? LOTS. We’ve been getting a lot of new players and interest in the past few weeks, so this scale up should help all of us. The goal for the work that went live tonight was “not to be noticed,” and to that end, we’ve been testing it in parallel with our “stable” system for the past several days. But, when you finally “flip the switch for good” we ran into a couple of small issues and we corrected them.

Thanks for bearing with us. We are ready for many more users… now we just need to invite them in. Smile

– Black Snapper

YOU have made us the #1 word game on Windows Phone 7

Thank you! We are so honored and grateful to be in this position, and it’s all thanks to you! We still have more work to do to make sure that this game works great for everyone. Your feedback is deeply valued, and your time spent playing is the reason we can do this. So, thanks!

– john and Black Snapper

Performance update

Hello friends and players, and Happy Father’s Day!

After a really nice picnic with my family in Eastern Washington this afternoon, I got back to work this evening and I’m really pleased to announce two changes to Wordament that should make everyone a bit happier about our performance! First, we are no longer capped to 220 players. We were seeing a strange issue where we kept pegging at 220 players. That is now resolved. We don’t know what our new player limit is (but we have seen over 320) and we are working on an even better update (coming soon) that should allow our service to go to crazy big concurrency (meaning: lots more players at the same time).

The second change that went into effect tonight is that every one will start seeing “trimmed results,” like our players on 3G have seen for a while. This means you will always see about 100 results, but which 100 will be determined by where you place. If you are in the top 100, you will see the top 100. If you are not in the top 100, we will show you the top 25, followed by the 70 nearest players around you: 35 above and 35 below.

Unfortunately, this fix today means that your friends will only highlight if they are in the visible set of results that we show you. Don’t worry—we are working on that too—to make sure you ALWAYS see all of your friends.

Thanks for playing. We hope this helps everyone get to see the results list for a little bit longer.

– Black Snapper

The magic of 220.

It’s been a little while since we’ve written and I wanted to give you all an update on where we are. First: THANK YOU FOR PLAYING! We are in there too everyday and we LOVE this game and we LOVE having you play with us. It’s so much fun.

But, we are not resting… Well… OK, both john and I (“Black Snapper”) each took our first vacations since launching, but we are back and we are dedicated to making things even better. Top of the list is the subject of this post.

When we first launched Wordament, we didn’t know how many players we could handle. My gut reaction was: 250. We actually don’t know what the reality was. We’ve had games with 260 players, but lately we’ve been seeing an eerily similar number: 220. That appears to be the number of players we are handling, and some of you are getting “dropped.” You will see this, when you are shown as either 0 points, or the only person in the results list.

Believe me, if I had a nickel for every tear I’ve shed over this, I would be sitting on a beach in Mexico for the rest of my life. We are not satisfied with where we are at and we have a pretty exciting plan to get higher than this in the next fews weeks. So, if you are one of the “unlucky ones” that sees a 0 score or only you in the leaderboard, know that we are working hard to continue to make this game scale and grow to support you, your friends, and the hoard of other folks that have discovered and enjoy this game.

– Black Snapper

New in Wordament: Personal Stats

You’ve been asking for “personal stats”, so tonight we rolled out a “Me” tab in the Leaderboards on the phone. When you go to the Leaderboards, just click on the large “Me” tab at the top, and you will get some of the stats we have collected about you and your game playing. Here’s an example (of me):

PersonalStats

Hope you like it!

– Black Snapper

What language do you want to play Wordament in next?

One of our ambitions here at You vs. the Internet is to offer new editions of Wordament in languages besides English.  We think it will be fun and educational for both native speakers and those trying to learn new languages.  Not all languages are great canidates for a 4×4 grid but we would love to hear from you what languages you want to see next.  If we missed a language in the poll leave a comment and we’ll add it.

http://polldaddy.com/poll/5081508/

We know you like to look at yourself

In the first week we released Wordament we were thrilled to see games with 20 people playing.  Back then it was easy to see where you ranked in the results because they fit on one page.  Gone are those days and now it’s not unusual to be playing a round of Wordament with over 200 people!  As fantastic as that is it makes scrolling to find your results a imagebit cumbersome.  So in the latest builds we added a feature we call the You Tile.

The You Tile is the accent colored area that has your rank and your detailed results for the last round.  There is also a hidden feature here.  We know everyone loves to scroll to find themselves in the results so we made that easy.  Simply tap on the You Tile and the results list is scrolled to your position.  Try it in your next round.

Also you may have noticed that sometimes you don’t get to see all the results for a particular game and instead you only see the top 10 and the 30 or so around you.  This is something we do when you are playing on a slower cellular connection like 3G.  We did extensive testing and realized that we just can’t push down a full 200+ results on a 3G network and expect to have a good performance.  So we cull the results on slower connections to the leaders and those around your score.  If you join your phone to a wifi network you will get full results returned just like in the earlier builds.

Lastly I know some of you are still seeing some performance issues with the newer builds.  Please continue to report these to us.  We take our performance very seriously and have spent countless hours tuning both the server and client to make the game play great.  We won’t rest until we’ve understood and addressed every last issue.

-john

Congratulations to Briff05: Our new Wordament Champion!

Wow, what a big day! We have a new Wordament Champion: Briff05! You’ve overtaken “scruff” as the best player of all time. Amazing work!

For the past 48 hours scruff has been playing hard and watching Briff05 nipping at her heels. Today, the tide turned. Here’s what we know about our new champ:

  • Screen name: Briff05
  • Country: USA
  • Location: (IP lookup indicates Minneapolis, Minnesota)
  •  Single best game score: 881 points
  • Most words found in a single game: 77
  • Best single word: 9 letters, +75 points
  • Average word score: 8 points
  • Average word count per game: 42
  • Average score per game: 329 points
  • Player since: 4/7/2011
  • Games played: more than 3500

Congratulations Briff05 — you totally deserve the title of Champion! We will be battling you! Thanks for playing!

New in Wordament: Digraph puzzles

Did you know that the English language actually has 39 letters? It turns out that if you consider all of the 26 single letters plus the top two-letter pairs (also called Digraphs), such as QU, ES, DE, ER, and so on, you end up with a language with 39 common letters.

If you couldn’t already tell, we are total word geeks. And, as such, we really dig on the statistics and analytics of letters and words. So, we are now building a set of puzzles that choose from up to 39 letters. To be clear: Not every puzzle will have this feature. In fact, only a maximum of 33% of our puzzles will contain a digraph. And, when one does appear, it will be the only one. This means you will not see a “QU” and an “ES” in the same puzzle, ever.

We think this addition makes our game even more challenging and fun. In fact, we’ve added a little announcement (and taunt) when a Digraph appears: We will specifically tell you how many words can use that tile. See how many you can find!

digraph2        digraph3

As further incentive, we’ve included a special “star color” for Digraph words, so you get rewarded for finding them, and it’s easier to see them in the Found / Not found lists in the end game.

Let us know what you think? Does this make the game more or less fun? As always, we love hearing your feedback and we are actively listening! Thanks for playing,

– Black Snapper

Quick-fix update coming to the Marketplace within the next 12 hours

We’ve just received word from Microsoft that our “quick fix” update to our newest build will be available (depending on your time zone) within the next 24 hours. This is a minor update (there are no new features), but it addresses a few critical bugs that we discovered within the first day of having everyone get the update earlier this week. Specifically, we fixed:

  • A crashing bug at start up – if you tap the screen during launch, the game could crash.
  • A long hang at start up on some models of phones.
  • An issue where you could accidentally start playing without a screen name, thus never letting you be seen in the leaderboard.
  • An issue where some players were getting their scores dropped on the phone results screen, but not on the Phone or Web leaderboards.
  • An issue with the (missing) text on the “Connectivity required” screen
  • An issue where “Time’s up!” didn’t always appear, making the phone appear hung

Unfortunately, this doesn’t fix every issue that’s been reported, but it does fix everything that we know how to fix. We are reaching out to get some help from Microsoft on the new, long lag between the end of a game and the “Your Score” screen appearing. We have used every tool in the toolbox to try and figure out what’s what, but all the tools say: “our code is correct and speedy” both on the device and in our emulator… and yet, there is clearly lag.

We’re sorry about that and ask that you overlook it short term while we work to find a fix. Thank you all so much for the support, suggestions, and great feedback!

– Black Snapper

New in Wordament: More time for results

One of the pieces of feedback we’ve been hearing is that you’d like more time to look at results between games. Boy… this is a tough one. Part of the addictiveness of the game is that it’s so painless to just be a few seconds from “OK, one more game…” So we gave this change a ton of thought. Ultimately, we made the following changes: We’ve added a total of 11 seconds more between games. 6 seconds more for “Individual Results” and 5 seconds more for “You vs. the Internet” results. We think that even with the additional number of people playing, this is the right balance of additional time vs. the pace of the game.

How “Goldilocks” is it for you? Is it too short, too long, or just right? Smile

– Black Snapper

New in Wordament: Better “Common Words”

First, in case you didn’t know: Wordament’s update is out! So, if you haven’t tried it, please! Go get it!

Today’s topic is in response to all of the feedback we’ve heard about our dictionary. No, we haven’t changed our dictionary… but we have sorted it a lot better, and focused our Individual Results screen on common words first:

06-IndividualResults

In the screenshot above, notice that the Words not found list now contains a pivot control that is split between “Common words” and “Obscure words.” During game play, you can still find and enter words like TAE and QAT, but these will NOT appear in the Common list, because they aren’t common words.

We believe that every word in our dictionary is a real word—if you think you know of one that’s not… let us know! But, know that each word in the Common list has been “human verified” now, in addition to used commonly in multiple e-books.

We hope you find that our new design offers a better assortment of words that you recognize and missed. We still require that puzzles offer dozens of common words in each and every board. We don’t believe it is possible to find all of the common words in a given board in the 2:00 duration of a game.

We stand behind the Obscure words being in our games, because we have many wordies in here that know them, find them, and expect them. We tried a morning of purely common word puzzles a little while back to see the difference and took some hard feedback for having eliminated so many words from the possible list. Our dictionary is all-inclusive and our only rule is that to be in our dictionary… the word must be a real English word.

Let us know what you think!

– Black Snapper

New in Wordament: Phone Leaderboards

As I mentioned in my last post, yesterday, our new update to Wordament is nearly here (it is in the Marketplace certification process). One of the top features that we’ve added is the ability to see how you stack up against your competition over a longer time period than just “one game.” Our solution, of course, is leaderboards. We’ve had web-based leaderboards up for a while now, but we think having them on the phone is going to make them way more accessible. From our new Start screen, you will find a Leaderboards link that will jump you off to a page showing you one of four leaderboards:

  • Best of right now
  • Best of this hour
  • Best of today (the last 24 hours)
  • Best of all time

Leaderboard-01           Leaderboard-02

Each page will highlight your position, if you appear in the list (as shown highlighted for “scruff” in the second image). Also, notice that we are showing the country you are playing from—bringing a little more global competition into the fray.

Let us know what you think, when you get a chance to play with the build. We think the leaderboards are really great, and will encourage even more fun word battles to come!

– Black Snapper