Another year, another Christmas game to enjoy. For 2019 it’s “Xmas Matchup“, a Match Three Blast style game.
Click on groups of matching symbols to clear them and to collect the stars shining overhead. Collect enough stars to reveal the hidden image and unlock the next level.
The trick is that there aren’t enough stars on the screen to win the level. You have to collect large groups of stars in a single click so you get bonus stars. As the levels get harder, you’ll need to select symbols carefully to create large areas of stars. Good luck with all 9 levels!
So, I’ve made a thing, and am very proud of that thing and am going to shout about it a bit! Actually, I’ve made two things.
The first thing I’ve made is a skybox of the celestial sphere. Skyboxes are 360 degree panoramic images used in computer games to easily create a distant background. Usually they’re pictures of pretty skies and distant mountains. I’ve made a 360 degree panorama of (almost) all the visible stars in the sky using real astronomical data.
I took a giant star catalogue, found the 5000 brightest, and used my favourite 3D modelling program (POV-Ray) to simulate their positions, colours, and brightness. With a lot of tweaking, I tried balance realism with the beauty of the stars. Finally, I added names to some of the stars and drew outlines of the constellations to help find your way around.
The game will be familiar to any Minesweeper players, but with one key difference: you’re trying to locate and uncover presents hidden under the snow, while avoiding the dirty lumps of coal. Double click (or double tap) to uncover a patch of snow. Single click to mark a suspected piece of coal. Good luck! » Read more
A tricky little picture puzzle to test your decryption skills and a simple question: name the city.
Click on the picture for a larger version.
If that isn’t enough fun, this post includes some of the code used to generate the picture. If you understand the code, it will give you a big hint for solving the puzzle.
The image was created using the free POV-Ray raytracer. Generating raytraced images involves creating a virtual 3D world with objects and light sources and a camera. POV-Ray then calculates how light travels around the virtual world, bouncing off the objects, and creates the view that would be seen by the camera. The usual aim of raytacing calculations is to mimic real-world physics as much as possible to try to create a photo-realistic image.
A final present from me for Christmas! This time it’s a Picross puzzle.
A picross is a logic puzzle. They’re also called Nonograms, Hanjie, Griddlers or “Paint-By-Numbers”.
The goal is to blacken squares in a grid to create a picture.
Numbers around the grid are clues. From these clues you can deduce exactly where all the black squares go using logic and deduction. There is only one solution where the clues in the columns and the clues in the rows are consistent.
Each clue number signifies an unbroken line of black squares. These lines appear in the same order as the numbers, running left to right for the rows and top to bottom for the columns. Every line of black squares is separated by one or more un-blackened squares. You can mark these in with light Xs. A zero means the entire row or column is unblackened.
Cryptic crosswords are one of those things you either love or hate, that you either understand or can’t stand. Part of the problem is that there is a huge set of rules for solving them which you are simply supposed to know. If you don’t know the rules, you’ve got no chance.
This post is a Chritmas present to readers. It includes a short introduction on how to solve cryptic crosswords and a special Christmas themed crossword to try your hand at. It is not like some of the devious cryptic crosswords in the broadsheets. Most of the clues should be fairly easy and fun.
I believe that puzzles are a great activity for families stuck together for extended periods trying to think up topics of conversation! So print a few of the crosswords off and work together over the holiday period to find the answers.
This crossword and the primer below were written by myself and my partner in crime at inkflamingos.com. Please visit her art blog!