Our latest word app is more a game than a literacy tool. The idea is simple – players are given a grid of letter tiles. The tiles need to be re-arranged so that the entire grid spells words in every row and column. The game has three grid sizes: 3×3, 4×4 and 5×5.
The actual gameplay and UI was fairly easy to create. We tried to give it a unique look and feel to help flush out the otherwise fairly simple game mechanic. The main difficulty with this project was creating the puzzles themselves. The first step was building a library of 3 letter, 4 letter, and 5 letter words that most people have in their vocabulary. The app itself checks for player solutions against the Scrabble dictionary, but we didn’t want those types of words to be mandatory for players to know. After we built up a database of about 30,000 words, we started creating the puzzles. It took our little computer program an entire weekend to finish finding puzzles. We didn’t want any repeated words in any solutions, and we didn’t want puzzles that had the same exact letter pool as another puzzle.
Once we had our puzzle database, it’s a simple matter of curating new and unique packs of 25 puzzles at a time for each update we put out. The app is free, with a pack of 25 puzzles available from the start. After that, you can unlock all packs of a certain grid size for 99 cents, or you can unlock the entire app for $1.99.