Things I learned making Random Bookmark From Folder 2.0

I released an extremely polished browser extension, Random Bookmark From Folder 2.0 (Firefox, Chrome, source code). It’s basically an entirely new product, as nothing except the icon could be ported from the legacy Firefox version. As a Web developer, I think it’s a wonderful piece of frontend engineering, and I learned a lot that I’d like to share.

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Iron Pixie Adventure Party

This is a post about Steel-Fairy Pokémon, because it’s my blog and no one can make me not dedicate a post to Steel-Fairy Pokémon. It’s a fantastic defensive typing with 10 resistances, 2 immunities, and only 2 weaknesses, but what I really want to talk about are some amusing coincidences concerning Pokémon with such typing.

There are exactly three species of Steel-Fairies – Mawile, Klefki, and Magearna. It so happens that each one specializes in a different category of move:

  • Mawile is a Physical specialist, having a movepool that’s well-suited to physical attacking, and a good Attack stat that goes sky-high if it Mega Evolves
  • Magearna is a Special specialist, having excellent Sp. Attack and the exclusive Fleur Cannon move
  • Klefki is a Status specialist, having the Prankster ability and learning many status moves, including the exclusive Fairy Lock and the rare Crafty Shield

This may bring to mind the RPG character archetypes of Fighter, Mage, Thief. In fact, according to Pokemon Sun’s Pokédex, Klefki is literally a thief (source).

If a fanartist would do me a favor and draw Mawile, Magearna, & Klefki as a Fighter, Mage, & Thief adventuring party, I’d love that~

2018 Web Wonders Goals

I’ve posted about specific improvements I want to make to my Web apps before, but I have some overall goals for all my Web Wonders that I’d like to write down now and get down throughout 2018.

  • Release a new game! This will be partially or entirely a paid game, as per my previous post on monetization.
  • Every app should be mobile-friendly, so that users can enjoy them no matter how they browse. (Depending on which idea for my new game I work on, it may require the controller fidelity of a keyboard or gamepad, so for now it is exempt.)
  • Every app should be a Progressive Web App, working even without an Internet connection. (This doesn’t make sense for Cookie Hunt, so it is exempt.)
  • My apps will have FAIRIES, and fairies will be a part of my signature style. Because fairies are cute and lovable and endearing❤️ (Non-game apps other than Logo Creator will be exempt.)

Here’s all the above in table form, because I’m nerdy like that. Items marked with ◐ are planned for completion by the end of June.

Released Mobile
friendly
Progressive
Web App
Fairies❤️
Signs of Life ✔️
Wackyland ✔️ ✔️
Zapster Solitaire ✔️ ✔️
Wacky Bingo ✔️
Cookie Hunt ✔️ N/A
Logo Creator ✔️
Magic Puddle ✔️ N/A
Reverse Metronome ✔️ N/A
[New game!] N/A

Big, beautiful buttons for everyone~

These days, user interfaces will often need to accommodate not just precise pointing devices like mice, but also touchscreens, which means larger, less compact target areas. It’s another constraint on design, but something interesting I learned recently is that interfaces designed to better for touchscreens can also be aesthetically better as well.

This is the UI I made for accessing a given DeviantArt user’s profile, gallery, or faves in Deviant Love 2.x:

It was designed to take the minimum amount of vertical space needed to look good, and it certainly fits that goal. But since a goal of Deviant Love 3.0 is to support touchscreen users, I wrote 3.0 Alpha 1 so that mouse users continued to get the same compact look, while touchscreen users got this (with additional UI for Deviant Love’s subaccounts feature):

And I found I liked the UI I had created for touchscreens quite a lot. It needs better vertical rhythm and possibly other tweaks, but overall it strikes me as prettier and friendlier, to the point where I want Deviant Love looking like this regardless of the input device. For Deviant Love 3.0 Alpha 2, I’m going to change it to work as such, and see how well it’s received.

Happy 10th birthday, Hatsune Miku!

Art by CamiIIe from DeviantArt

10 years ago today was the release of Hatsune Miku. I find it incredibly heartwarming seeing so many celebratory tweets getting retweeted on her English Twitter that are full of pure love and adoration for this girl. She’s lent her voice to so many songs and stories, and brought together a creative community like few characters have. I hope to one day create a character of my own who can inspire love & beauty like Miku can.

Obligatory list of favorite Miku songs.

Miraian Fashion

This time, I’d like to show you some outfits I’ve put together in Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX! It’s a bit more limited compared to other dress-up systems I’ve played with – you choose 1 head and 1 outfit (with outfits from other same-gender characters allowed), with some pieces allowing you to freely change 1 color. On the plus side, it’s all in Nendoroid style, which means it’s all very cute. 😀

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Reflections on Zapster Solitaire’s Game Design

With the release of Zapster Solitaire last week (and the bugfix release today), a game I first dreamt up somewhere around age 10 is finally available for the public to enjoy. While it had potential that I think is now being realized, it’s a relic from when I was much less experienced in game design, so it took some tweaking to get there. Modern-me did a lot of playtesting and made some adjustments:

  • The first thing I did was remove cards of rank 10. This nerfed queens a bit and makes it easier to make matches, and also ensured I could fit the draw pile, current draw, trash, and the maximum number of cells into a 4×3 grid.
  • Next came increasing the number of starting cells from 5 to 6. This made the early game less frustrating.
  • Extensive playtesting in Quick mode made me feel overpowered having 3 zaps. 1 zap felt too weak, so I adjusted it to 2.
  • After the above change, further playtesting in Marathon mode made me realize that kid-me had a point when it came to 2-deck play, so I implemented allowing the starting zaps to vary between modes, and brought Marathon back up to 3 zaps.

While I’m largely proud of what the game evolved into, the combination of the first 2 changes above resulted in a new flaw: If you fill all your cells without getting any matches at the start of the game, intuition tells you the next card has a 50% chance of matching. In fact, due to each of your cards having 1 less match in the deck, it’s only 43% in Quick and 47% in Marathon. I’ve been thinking of how I might eliminate that tempting false coin flip – perhaps I’ll increase the starting cells to 7, or remove Aces. I’ll have to do more playtesting and see what works…

A feature I have planned for version 2.0 will let you try out your own adjustments to the game and share them across the Internet, as I have. I look forward to seeing how players change the game further.