Words and music by you

Today we return to our series of potential game variation mockups, this time featuring a little music with your words. This mode is called Spellonious, after jazz pianist Thelonious Monk, who notably purposely played adjacent keys in a distinctive on-the-edge style. The images here are just conceptualizations, with readability taking a back seat to showing the general idea. For one thing, though we purposely included the piano maker’s name here to emphasize that the upper part is a reflection on the black fallboard, a final version would avoid overlapping red letters on the name. We’ve always envisaged being able to play the sound of the notes of your words as you drag-highlight them, though we haven’t tried building that into this visual demo yet. A musical word game, if not word jazz. Yeah, that link is the rich, dark voice of Taster’s Choice ads. Had to be a coffee connection.

Look for the borderline

So, which keys and reflections are considered connected to which? You’ll be able to toggle the green lines to show, but here’s a verbal explanation. Looking at the bottom right of the first screenshot, I-T-S, P-I-T, and E-P-T are connected because you can see those keys actually touch one another. E-I-S doesn’t work because those keys don’t touch. Moving to the upper area (reflections), O-P-E and T-A-T are connected, but T-O-E is no good, because we don’t actually see where those white keys are touching beyond the fallboard hinge. So the top has fewer connections than the bottom. Finally, every key is connected to its own reflection vertically, so the whole thing gets quite snaky. As always, purely diagonal juxtapostions don’t count as connections. Spellonious differs from other variations in that we’d probably always have the same arrangement of places to put letters. Only the letters themselves would be random.

A little squirming is good

The first screenshot shows our results in this sample game, while the second, with the blue top bar, shows Blu Yonder’s, your built-in opponent’s, with the same setup. From the peanut gallery, we’ll elevate a handful of non-words to faux-cabulary status. That means we give them decent-sounding definitions, scoring be darned. They’re just fun to find and define for totally unregulated style-points. We’ll do the same for the second pair of games, which are of our planned next standard-equipment mode for all users, 8-Spot. Not a prototype of an in-app-purchase option, but a preview of a part-and-parcel addition to the game manager we hope to furnish all users with soon. Bonus-scoring grayed letters there are randomly pre-placed, making us squirm a little to accommodate unconventional placements. Depending on the card suit, there are from 5 to 8 spotted letters each game, and average letter usability is greater.

Musical word game Spellonius User screenshot, 338 points
Hard to read? Absolutely. Few demos capture the final look and feel.

A word to the wise: look it up first

Popite: Any substance or thing that gives one strength, especially suddenly in adverse circumstances; the opposite of kryptonite.
Butate: A colorless, odorless, tasteless substance: We actually thought this was a real word until we placed the final E and, true to faux-form, nothing showed up in the word list. So also, in this game, pointless, except for possibly 15 seconds of faux-fame.
Postate: In the process of being delivered; in the mail.
Tatubine: In an unchanging state; in limbo: Millie’s postate postcard to her niece would remain inexplicably tatubine for nearly a century, outliving both sender and recipient.

Musical word game Spellonius Blu Yonder screenshot, 198 points

Warm and fuzzy doohickies

Doobidap: An object whose function is known by few, but speculated upon by many: Whaddya suppose they used to doobidap? Yep, that’s Rod Serling in a tatubine post-Twilight, pre-Night zone doing a yeoman job in the link. Along with Norm Crosby, who certainly coined his fair share of malaprops. Allen Ludden was a later host. A double dose of his wife, word game whiz Betty White there, too. That game was faux-cabulary for the real world.
Captent: A rope supporting the roof of a tent.
Wisset: A switch mechanism for diverting the flow of pneumatic tube messages.
Padobic: Warm, fuzzy and huggable, as a satillo or stuffed tedhog.

8-Spot Hearts User screenshot, 157 points
Randomly pre-placed grayed letters create an additional challenge.

Spenk: Small change; an insignificant amount of money.
Crattew: Pollen or particulates causing hay fever or other allergies, or the sound of a sneeze caused by them.
Knepse: Pickled radish, used as a condiment or side dish.
Marope: A basket made from coiled rope, or the rope it is made from.

8-Spot Hearts Blu Yonder screenshot, 99 points

Machet: A thin mustache.
Sawch: 1) Sawdust used as mulch. 2) A compound for filling cracks in wood or imperfect carpentry joints.
Ketaw: A native Indonesian stringed instrument.
Notern: A lectern with cleverly placed notes for speech-giving; an early TelePrompTer predecessor.


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