Huewords - A word game, looking for playtesters

Hey,

I’m looking for playtesters for a browser-based word game I’ve been posting about in one of the gamedev threads for the past few weeks.

I’m being intentionally vague about the details on the game in this post, since what I’m most interested in is the new player experience for people with no context outside of the game. Here’s a link:

If anyone here is willing to give the game a go, here’s what I’m most interested in finding out:

  • Does the game teach the rules sufficiently well?
  • Do you understand the UI, and does it work the way you’d expect?
  • Is the difficulty curve acceptable, too slow and you’re getting bored, or too steep and you’re getting frustrated?

But bug reports, feature requests or in general any kind of feedback on other subjects than the above would be highly appreciated too :)

Just getting started, but the way the “cursor” moves around the board is a bit confusing. I was here:

I had just clicked “E” to fill in the yellow “E” (in “leads”) and then I clicked the next E, figuring it would fill in the remaining yellow E, but instead it did this:

Luckily, undo fixes this. But pushing reset gives me this:

And then I have to reload the page!

The tutorial is pretty good, but it might be nice to have the three rules on the page while you’re doing it. Maybe that’s an issue on mobile (I’m doing this on Firefox on desktop).

Seems like an interesting puzzle, I’ll keep going.

Difficulty curve seems fine, but I have just done the small puzzle.

I think that I would prefer if it was just drag/drop for letters only, as I found myself mis-typing in stuff as it would do a single click instead of a click/drag.

I am enjoying the concept a lot!

Puzzle solved in 01:26 with no hints! Huewords

It’s a little distracting that keyboard keys like “del” and “backspace” work, but arrow keys don’t (it would be kind of nice if you could move around the grid with them). It might also be nice if you could just type letters to put them in the grid, but that probably won’t work since you’d have to know which letter group to take them from.

Oh, man. I did a round of testing on Firefox last thing, found a bug with blurry text that had to be worked around, and then that workaround broke the reset button that I’d already tested :)

Thanks for reporting this, it would have taken me a while to notice it was broken otherwise. Should be fixed now.

Yeah, I’ve tried to keep feature parity between desktop and mobile, which restricts the design space quite a lot especially for anything needing screen space. But I’ll add this to the list, some kind of slide in/out help panel might be an option.

Yeah, ok, I think this is a good puzzle. I’ve done a few smalls and one medium. The navigation is a bit tricky. Maybe the “cursor” (where a letter will go when you click it) shouldn’t automatically move between color regions. Also maybe it should automatically fill in the last letter of a color region for you.

I’ll just give my two cents: the only reason wordle was as popular as it was is not because it is a good puzzle, but because it had that cool sharable thing that could be easily pasted into other things, making it easy to compare your scores with your friends.

I’m not sure exactly how you’d do that with this, but it’s worth thinking about.

You’re totally right. You can even see that NYT is designing their new games with that in mind. I was hoping that the share link with the solve time + number of hints used + link to the puzzle would kind of do the same job.

But this isn’t the first time I’ve heard that the share message isn’t cool and visual enough, and that’s the kind of feedback one kind of has to believe :)

Indeed. It’s tricky here, since the obvious visual element of the grid itself is static and the same for every player. (It can also be kind of large). So it doesn’t tell your story of playing through the puzzle the same way Wordle etc do.

The only ideas I’ve had so for something visually interesting and unique per playthrough are:

  • Some kind of a mini bargraph showing how large a percentage of the puzzle you had solved in 30s, 60s, 90s, etc. (I got stuck halfway through the puzzle for so long! ▄▅▅▅▅▅💡▆▇█)
  • Showing which order you filled the grid in (like, no way, how can you possibly solve it :green_square: :red_square: :yellow_square: :blue_square:? It’s Blue is obviously the place to start and I totally needed a hint to get the last corner :blue_square: :red_square: :yellow_square: :bulb::green_square: )

Puzzle solved in 20:47 with 1 hint! Huewords

20 goddam minutes? Am I supposed to be this guy?

Yeah I think the problem is that in a game like wordle, you make a guess, and then you check to see if your guess is right. In this game you never really submit a guess. You do (or at least I did) fill stuff in, see if it looks right, backtrack, try something else, etc. Undo, reset, try again.

I don’t love the idea of doing it by time, but that’s just personal preference. I’ll work on a puzzle for a while, wander off, come back and finish it later. Or I get interrupted. That happens a lot!

Maybe you could do something with how many times you put the wrong letter in a square? My main problem with that idea is that it encourages you not to experiment, trying to do the whole thing in your head, which makes it less fun.

This is hard!

Another issue might be word choice. I just got a puzzle with the word “shogi”. Which, I mean, I eventually got it, it’s technically a word… I don’t know where you got your word list from, but you might need to curate it a bit :)

I’ll second the word choice advice. “Bokeh”?? I like the concept but it feels a little fiddly having to click then relocate the cursor with more clicking.

I’m tired and have a cold, so from the perspective of someone who’s not engaging well with puzzles, I think the tutorial should be a little harder. Maybe make it two stages with the second stage showing the player how to fix it when they’ve gotten the starting letters wrong, or reason through placement. That will make the first small puzzle easier to engage.

I dig the look of it.

I had fun with this, solving a few small puzzles and a couple mediums!

I think my favorite part is deducing where the starter word might go. That feels very different than doing the rest of the filling in.

A few observations:

  1. I expect the cursor to stay within the same color block when it can’t move further directly or horizontally. I’m usually filling in the last square or two by clicking on all the letters in the set, and frequently it plops the last letter in a new color block and that resets both blocks.

  2. Overall, the way the game worked was well explained by the tutorial. And a lot of things I wasn’t taught but tried intuitively were supported: Right click to erase, and dragging a letter already on the board to another space. Nice job!

  3. I was stymied by a few pretty obscure words. I think one of the keys to games like Wordle and the words games on Puzzmo is that they are very careful to only use words that are familiar in everyday usage. You might need to groom your word list.

Puzzle solved in 03:46 with 1 hint! Huewords

/flex

I got a puzzle early on with “yetis” which threw me for a loop for a while. There have been some words that I didn’t think that would be in a puzzle game like “nudes”, just because the online word puzzles have conditioned me to not think of any rude or even borderline rude words.

I also find myself fighting the controls every time I play. I don’t like that it auto moves on to the next letter going top to bottom or left to right. it should just auto move to fill out the hue that you are looking at. Often, because I want to toss words in there to see what they look like just temporarily.

Anyway, I think if the controls got figured out, this is a really cool puzzler.

Also, did the daily Huewords Daily #16 solved in 05:35 with 3 hints! This was really tricky because of how many 3 letter combos had s and a in them, which meant I went through all 3 to get it right.

Anyway, this is really fun.

:smiley:

Given how consistent the feedback from y’all is on this, clearly I need to recalibrate the dictionary. Thanks so much, this is exactly the kind of thing I need to hear.

I hope what I’m writing below isn’t sounding defensive, because that’s not the intent. It’s just that I love nerding out about these kinds of decisions and what goes into making them, and imagine that some people on these forums probably like that stuff too :)

The word list is actually hand-curated by me; as in going through a list of 13k supposed English words multiple times and weeding it down to 4k, by excluding non-words, archaic words, alternate spellings, slurs, obscenities and obscure specialist scientific terms.

It’s a pretty interesting problem, both in what you accept on technical grounds (like, I know currencies aren’t proper nouns, but to me they have the properties of proper nouns so I filtered them out), and in what level of obscurity is ok. I know what a Pilum and an Estoc are and why you don’t want either in the Iliac, but they don’t feel like words that would be used today, so they’re out.

Bokeh, funnily enough, wasn’t at all on that list of 13k candidate words and is one of a dozen that I added in manually after the fact because I thought it obviously must be somewhat common if I as a non-photography nerd could define it!

And then there’s the problem of words that are actually common, but I didn’t recognize at all, or did a data entry error on, or have multiple meanings and I only thought of the invalid meanings rather than the valid ones. What I actually did was also have a bunch of LLMs classify the words by how common they are. Any words where my manual rating was substantially different from the ensemble ratings from the LLMs, I put into a “review yet another time very carefully” queue.

I never did clear that queue entirely, there’s still 50 words there I couldn’t make up my mind on :)

Ah, yeah, I bet that’s a really interesting and sometimes vexing exercise!

But really… Bokeh??? :)

Read the rules, skipped the tutorial as the concept seemed easy enough.

Played a medium, completed in 04:21 with no hints.

A pleasant puzzle though not something I’d go back to because it feels like too much trial and error to get started for my tastes. Agreed with the comments above about cursor movement and Bokeh. :slight_smile:

I also thought that the term for “blurriness effect in the background of a photo” was a widely known one.

Guess the puzzle is going to run into the fact that not everyone can know all words related to a hobby, even if they seem obvious to other players. Hard to build a list that doesn’t contain only vanilla common words then.

Really nice game. I’m not completely new to the idea, as I’ve been following the progress in the game jam thread with interest, but on first time playing a small puzzle:

  • At first glance it looked like I had 3 groups of 7ish letters to choose from, before I realised different rows were different groups
  • I was surprised you couldn’t type the letters, but a second’s thought made me realise why…!
  • Knotwords (iOS) has a navigation option where if a letter has already been filled in mid-word, the cursor will skip that square as you enter letters - I like that, but purely a personal preference
  • The best part was working out where to start, given the hint - working out the constraints and consequences of the options

Anyway, great stuff!

One other thing Wordle does with its dictionary is that it never has words that are plural or past tense. “Yetis” isn’t possible, nor is “baked”. Something to consider :blush: