Tag Archives: mac

Games of 2012: Triple Town

I’ve spent a lot of time in 2012 playing games, but not a lot of time writing about them. As I did last year, I’d like to tell some stories or share some thoughts about the ones that meant the most to me this year. I’ll be posting one a day until Christmas. See all Games of 2012 posts.

Triple Town

I generally try to avoid hyperbole, but not tonight: Triple Town is one of the best puzzle games I’ve ever played. I’m putting it on the level of Tetris or Bejeweled or Picross.

One sign of a great puzzle game is being able to explain it simply. I can reduce Triple Town down to three points:

  • You’re given a tile, and you place it on the 6×6 play field.
  • If three tiles of the same type are touching each other, they combine onto the last placed tile and upgrade to the next type.
  • Repeat until the play field is full, at which point the game ends.

Simple and unique. It was so unique, it was effectively stolen from the developers by a trusted partner and cloned, which forced Spry Fox to file a lawsuit.

The path of the tiles follows the natural construction of a town. Grass turns into bushes, bushes into trees, trees into small houses, and then larger and larger houses into castles. The game’s internal geometry clicks quickly, as you’ll quickly devise ways to block off areas to farm lower tier tiles into higher ones.

If that was all there is, Triple Town would be fairly mundane and straightforward. But then come those damned Giant Bears (or as they’re referred to around my house, “Chocobears”) and Ninja Bears. Occasionally appearing in your tile pile, they will get in the way of your attempts to put tiles down. Giant Bears will keep shuffling around until they have no path to follow – at which point they turn into a tombstone. Ninja Bears have to be killed off with a robot.

Like Tetris and Bejeweled, Triple Town balances on the fine line between executing your plan and dealing with curveballs. I have lost track of the number of times I’ve gotten into a flow of my build before an inconvenient tile pops up, forcing me to re-plan. The play field is relatively small, keeping you from having too much breathing room. For a puzzle game with no timer, it can get frustratingly stressful.

It’s been fun to watch Triple Town keep evolving on its own since its launch. When I first played the game, there was just a single map generator, but later updates introduced variations on the theme, like Peaceful Valleys (no bears, but lakes permanently block off some tiles). The recent Mac/PC release added a meta-town; successful upgrades in your meta-town yields items for use in regular towns, and vice versa.

If you’ve ever found yourself deeply addicted to a puzzle game, stay far away from Triple Town. It is crack for puzzle enthusiasts.

Triple Town is available on iOS, Android, Facebook, and Mac/Windows. My experiences were largely with the iOS version, but if you have a choice, get the Mac/Windows one, as it is the “ultimate hardcore version”.

Steam OS X Release Coming?

Yesterday, Valve unveiled the first major overhaul to Steam‘s UI since the service launched. It’s gorgeous, even as a beta.

Within the release notes was a note of particular joy to me:

> Now using a WebKit based rendering engine for the client and in-game overlay web browsing components (replacing Internet Explorer)

As people have been digging around through the data files for the new version, they’ve noticed OS X window graphics, OS X menu files, dock icons, and strings about platform availability.

Moving to a cross-platform web rendering engine certainly doesn’t hurt this argument, either.

While a Steam port to OS X (or Linux) doesn’t mean that every game on the service becomes available to OS X gamers, it could mean that those games that are already cross-platform (Popcap’s stuff, some of EA’s recent titles, and plenty of indie games among others) would be.

I look forward to finding out what this all means.

(via Brad Shoemaker)

A Love Letter To Freeverse

Touch Arcade and Techcrunch have details on ngmoco:)‘s acquisition of Freeverse Software. This has a lot of implications for the iPhone software market, but I’ll let the business wonks talk about that.

Freeverse is entwined in the last 15 years of my life in ways that few things can compare. Their games and software toys helped keep me sane during high school. When my life went into a slight free-fall during college, I became anchored with an internship with them.

Continue reading A Love Letter To Freeverse

The Solution to “A Mac Puzzler” + Thoughts On Losing Everything

When we last spoke, I asked you WHAT CAUSED MY IMAC TO FAIL?

For the sake of compiling the responses (as some came in via other channels), they included:

Brett Slatkin:

>Guesses: 1. Unseated memory (though they would have replaced that?) 2. Bad power supply 12V rail

Richard “PkerUNO” Whittaker:

I’m not replying until you specify how many Picarats this is worth.
And the fact that you didn’t mention matchsteeks is highly suspicious!

“R”:

>Hmm… I’m going to go with… SATA cable?

Adam “rampage” Meltzer:

So, multiple hard drives, multiple different media from multiple different sources. So, it’s not the CD drive, and not the hard drive.
We already have 12V rail and SATA cable as possibilities. What about the power cable for the HDD?
Sometimes it’s the simple things. I remember when I worked at Sun in the mid 1990s, the SPARC Stations of that vintage wouldn’t boot if there was no keyboard connected. Made for a troubleshooting nightmare when trying to figure out why the damn machine wouldn’t power on.

Ryan “Lee” Short:

>I think Major Nelson snuck into your iMac through the combined power of Live Anywhere and magic…that, or something entirely too simple like a loose jumper or something…

Continue reading The Solution to “A Mac Puzzler” + Thoughts On Losing Everything

A Mac Puzzler

My Sunday afternoons used to have a twisted chain of logic:

My family would pile into the back of the car and my parents would drive wherever they felt like around the Finger Lakes. This was done in the name of getting out of the house and exploring, I suppose.

As it was the only consistent programming across that region of New York – because there were multiple stations all airing the same program – NPR’s lineup would be the soundtrack of the day. This would mean Car Talk, followed by Prairie Home Companion, followed by Thistle & Shamrock. (These are generally not shows that pre-teens and teenagers enjoy.)

With this in mind, the only part of the radio I would not tune out was a short section of Car Talk entitled The Puzzler, where a riddle having nothing (or little) to do with cars would be thrown at the listeners. Being the sort of kid who thrived on logic puzzles and riddles (I purchased a copy of Raymond Smullyan’s WHAT IS THE NAME OF THIS BOOK? when I was 14), I enjoyed the chance to stretch my brain a little shortly before Garrison Keillor’s dulcet tones would shut it down.

As my mom has pointed out to me that it’s been over a month since my last blog post, I figured I would turn the major reason why I’ve been away from writing into a computer nerd version of The Puzzler. Feel free to take a stab at this in the comments or via email – I’ll reveal the answer once someone gets it correct. (If I’ve already told you the answer, don’t spoil it for everyone else.)

Continue reading A Mac Puzzler

Mac IT Loses One Of Its Greats

[RIP, Michael Bartosh](http://www.afp548.com/article.php?story=20060611204217263):

>It is with the heaviest of hearts that I write these words, but this weekend we lost Michael Bartosh to a tragic accident in Tokyo, Japan at the far too young age of 28.

>Early on Sunday morning Michael fell to his death from a friend’s balcony. Police have ruled the death an accident.

>To many people Michael was a source of endless information that he provided about Mac OS X Server. He was an author, a trainer, a consultant, and, to many, a good friend. All of us here at AFP548.com are still in a state of shock over the loss. We are sure that many in the community feel the same way.

>He is survived by his wife, Amber. Please keep his family in your thoughts during these difficult times. We know he will never be far from ours.

I never personally knew Michael, but I knew *of* Michael – and to be in any way involved in the Mac Enterprise IT community meant he was unavoidable. He was literally everywhere, always ready to chip in to help out. At WWDC, he was either giving or attending every session I was at.

He will definitely be missed.

[John C. Welch has more.](http://www.bynkii.com/archives/2006/06/ah_crap.html)