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The Brain Bats of Venus


Have you seen the film The Departed, directed by Martin Scorsese? It's about a man in the Special Investigations department of the Boston Police, who is actually a spy from a powerful South Boston crime gang. Meanwhile the police have their own spy in the crime gang. Some cat and mouse going on there. The plot actually comes from a Hong Kong film known as Infernal Affairs from 2002.

How would you like to be the first person to design a game based on string rather than a board? I've been wondering how to make a game based on three-way intersections of string, plus pieces. This would not have the usual grid pattern, so it shakes things up. There are two separate problems. One is the game itself, what type of game it is and the rules. The other problem is the physical implementation, or representation on a screen.

The new Loonie game is now on the Handmade page. I love the simplicity of it - a couple of coins - and it wraps up working on this concept years ago. It's still untested.


I've had a number of game leads, possible approaches to game design that could be invented, tested and tinkered. This can take many years until something comes up, like the string game, or loonie faceoffs, or blockade. One lead is the secret pieces type of game.

What if you had two sides with a few pieces each on a board. Half the pieces have circles on the underside, and the other half are plain. You can capture your opponent's pieces (using SAME and DIFFERENT rules, but that's not what's important here). You don't know what's under your own pieces until somebody attempts a capture. You can use a turn to move or capture or look under one of your opponent's pieces. So you can see your opponent's piece type, while you have to deduce your own.

This is appealing. It has a whiff of originality, I'm attracted to the simplicity, and people like circles.
But it makes no sense.

One option is to have the pieces face up before the game, then turn them over when the game starts. After that you can only see underneath during an attempted capture. Memory is important. A game like this hurts the head, which people might not want.

I had a game called Fog with six pieces per side and turning them over at the start, but using rock/paper/scissors. The app had admirable theme, showing almost nothing. The background is grey, and the plan for the pieces was black and white pixels. I made a handmade version with spools and a tight little board all painted the same grey. Cute, but the colours were an extra layer of confusing.

Let's finally get the Diamond and Ruby app completed, with a deadline of end of March. Images are a pain.

name check done

Images are a pain. But everything else depends on that.

penny image

diamond image

ruby image


loading image

help file well, doable

adjust for different screen sizes (done properly this time) 3 possible approaches, none chosen

fix bug where it slows down No clue, giving up.

user acceptance testing

prepare for submission, including signing done, app store text and images

submit to app store

accepted by Apple