April 3, 2009 11:15 PM   Subscribe

Deepleap is a word game. Make words and fight against the clock. (via). There's another hit from 2000 about, but it has nothing to do with the word game.
posted by boo_radley (70 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
I especially like when the letters start coming way too fast and making me lose a bunch of points. :(

But, uh, this is actually a really cool game. Free-form text-twist with growing multiplier. I like it!
posted by cthuljew at 11:29 PM on April 3, 2009

I'm trying to figure out if it ends after a scrabble bag's worth of letters, it's hard to tell.
posted by boo_radley at 11:36 PM on April 3, 2009

Aw, crap.

(Awesome game! Thanks for the link.)
posted by archagon at 11:48 PM on April 3, 2009

Uh, so I think there's a bug in the program whereby the time you have to guess a word becomes zero... then it's basically impossible to play.

But on the games where it doesn't freak out, it is awesome. I think this would work well if ported to Flash, so that you can at least guarantee some basic uniform functionality across browsers and platforms.
posted by spiderskull at 11:49 PM on April 3, 2009

425, but I can't tell of that is good or not. fun game though.
posted by Rumple at 11:51 PM on April 3, 2009

503 but yeah, is that good? He's using jQuery and AJAX, it would be easy enough to keep a high-score list, or even a game history.
posted by nicwolff at 12:01 AM on April 4, 2009

YAMFGTMYTYAR, fun, but I wish a few more vowels were in the mix, and/or the word not in dictionary penalty was higher. Making up fake words to clear the consonant glut feels like a cheap trick (and not the good kind of cheap).
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:31 AM on April 4, 2009

524 but yeah fun but kind of frustrating for the reasons cited above.
posted by trip and a half at 2:00 AM on April 4, 2009

Points: 537 - Multiplier: 1.0x - Game #58

Gets a little weird if I have to click on the Save button for some reason.

And it can't be a full Scrabble bag, waaay too many d's in my batch.
posted by Sphinx at 2:03 AM on April 4, 2009

BrotherCaine: "[...] I wish a few more vowels were in the mix, and/or the word not in dictionary penalty was higher. "

Then the dictionary should definitely be bigger.
# -13: blog. Word not in dictionary.
# -7: sig. Word not in dictionary.
# -5: loa. Word not in dictionary.

Nice game, although it gets a bit stressful if the randomness of the draw works against you ("aeleuoioaoa"? My Hawaiian is not that good!).
posted by PontifexPrimus at 3:49 AM on April 4, 2009


Isn't that that Leonard Cohen song everybody covers?
posted by Trochanter at 5:37 AM on April 4, 2009 [5 favorites]

Not enough vowels. I lose.
posted by IvoShandor at 5:56 AM on April 4, 2009

643, but that was on my third try, where the letters were somewhat nicer (four clean slates!).

Awesome concept, but I agree the dictionary needs to be much much better.
posted by Dysk at 6:41 AM on April 4, 2009

awe, the bubble - and they were so far ahead of their times. Didn't mathowie himself have a hand in it? My memory of those times is fuzzy. So many crushed dreams...
posted by Jeremy at 7:14 AM on April 4, 2009

I definitely reached a point where I had no vowels, and the game, apparently pissed off that I could do nothing with no vowels, leaped to warp speed, at which point I couldn't play.

This will be a good game once the bugs are worked out.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:36 AM on April 4, 2009

In 2000 I was an office manager for a web development company in Austin. One night me and some coworkers went to the launch party of something called There were a bunch of young, happy, techy people, and they had made a commercial and a logo. The logo was everywhere, and they projected the commercial on a wall. It showed a fat kid jumping into a pool.

Nobody could tell me what their actual product was or would be.
posted by swift at 7:38 AM on April 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

Of course it's the same deepleap that navelgazer links to.
posted by swift at 7:59 AM on April 4, 2009

I mean Jeremy.
posted by swift at 8:00 AM on April 4, 2009

528 - clean slate.
Every once in a while the game just stops giving out vowels and then whoa...runs away with everything on your screen. needs to iron out some errors. and yes needs a better dictionary. I found 'aa'/'ugh' to be valid words, whereas some other genuine words missing in there.
posted by forwebsites at 8:28 AM on April 4, 2009 [2 favorites]

Good game!

But I also noticed the game going to "warp speed", and I can do nothing about it. Except start a new game. :)
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 8:42 AM on April 4, 2009

Aa is a type of slow moving lava. It's a Hawaiian word.
posted by RussHy at 8:43 AM on April 4, 2009

678. This is great -- now they just need the facebook app.
posted by rottytooth at 8:45 AM on April 4, 2009

# -13: blog. Word not in dictionary.
# -7: sig. Word not in dictionary.
# -5: loa. Word not in dictionary.

uzi. word not in dictionary. -37!!

still, i see this game pleasantly undermining my productivity for the foreseeable future.
posted by 1-2punch at 8:53 AM on April 4, 2009

ok, anybody 700 yet? 692! my weekend here is done.
btw, 'satan' - not in dictionary, yet 'fave' is a valid word. wtf!
btw, did anyone figure out the point system? why is 'axed' in my 692 worth 114? (or rather, why the base word is worth 38?)
posted by forwebsites at 9:14 AM on April 4, 2009

Still buggy (the "warp speed after the first letter burns" bug), so still not fun. Also, I still remember when deepleap was this crazy new web application that was going to change everything thanks to, um, bookmarks or something. I AM OLD.
posted by chrominance at 9:16 AM on April 4, 2009

What is with game developers and their love affair with time limits? So many games would be perfectly interesting, challenging and enjoyable without having to beat a clock.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:27 AM on April 4, 2009

You can stop the letters from running across the screen by just putting in three letters that you know you'l lose points on but at least that will stop the runaway marquee.
posted by xetere at 9:47 AM on April 4, 2009

618 on second try, woo hoo.

Highly, highly addicting.

One more time!
posted by Miko at 10:25 AM on April 4, 2009

This is buggy.

Also, the constant row of consonants (d, d, d, d, y, l, n, d) isn't really helping my creativity.
posted by flippant at 10:26 AM on April 4, 2009

Who. I got a tile called "undefined" and couldn't for the life of me figure out how to tell it what letter to deem it.

Yeah, the game needs some supporting material.
posted by Miko at 10:27 AM on April 4, 2009

641, but mostly because it gave me 114 points for jam. So yes, the scoring puzzles me. This was for game 483, by the way. It looks like it lets you pick which game to play and you can play the same one again. I wonder if jam will always make me that many points. Anyway, this is the kind of time I like to waste.

+114: jam. 71 Points +1.6x Multiplier.
posted by diamondsky at 10:30 AM on April 4, 2009

Hey everyone - So I'm the creator of this game - and it's not ready by any stretch, but I'm glad you're enjoying it! I'm chatting with a designer and I'm the process of flushing it out into a complete game - this is nothing more than a tech demo, if you will (actually, I wrote it on Christmas day this past year).

There were two major bugs:
- If you got a screen of nothing but constants it would go into "self-destruct" mode and keep deleting everything until the game ends (this is only supposed to happen at the end of the game, not during it). I've disabled this.
- The letter 'q' turned up as undefined, which causes all sorts of fun (since I haven't built in the 'qu' logic yet).

I'm pulling the dictionary from OpenOffice, it seems to work fairly well, but I agree that it needs more non-dictionary words (e.g. 'blog'). Any good sources for these would be appreciated.

I plan on having a mode in the game that's "play until you drop a chip" (thus, if you play it right, it'll last forever).

As far as the name/domain goes - I was a user of Deepleap way back in the day. was their dev site. They let their domain lapse so I picked it up. I tossed the game up here simply so that I could have a place for it, but it wasn't the final name - I guess it might be now!

If you're interested in being contacted when the game is ready, drop me an email at:
posted by jeresig at 10:44 AM on April 4, 2009 [14 favorites]

hey john, just wanted to thank you. Nice little addictive game there.

Thorzdad, in this case the clock is there to stop you from taking too long to make a 'better' word. So what happens is that as the list keeps growing, and you are mentally waiting for that 'u' to appear to complete 'touch' but the 'u' never comes, and that first char in that list starts flashing red, which hurries you up and you end up just going with a meagre 'cot'. If you don't then you lose points for not using a letter, and most importantly, once you lose a character due to not being able to make a word in that time limit, your points multiplier resets to zero.

So in general your point may be valid for some other games, but for this one, yeah the clock ensures the balance between small(panic) and long thought out words.

I think the key to high scores is never get a penalty because that resets your point multiplier. So if this happens midway through the game, no matter how long the word you make the gains are not that much.
posted by forwebsites at 11:13 AM on April 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

Awesome game jeresig, thanks for this.

765 on game #58, haters. "Hexes" and "jugs" put me over the top.
posted by saladin at 12:05 PM on April 4, 2009

ok, anybody 700 yet?

727, although it gave me 236 points for "jays". Okay, I'm really stopping now...
posted by rottytooth at 1:09 PM on April 4, 2009

712 on game 502 after obsessivley playing until I broke 700.

There are some profoundly irritiating sequences: iiuruii...

Reminds me of the Simpsons episode where Homer looks at his rack and says "Ahhh, I got nothin." (his letters are O-X-I-D-I-Z-E)
posted by Miko at 1:23 PM on April 4, 2009

If I might make some suggestions....

1. Maybe this is just me, but I think the game should begin with an empty rack or a single tile, instead of half-filled and much closer to dropping tiles. It's not much of an advantage since without tiles the player can't make a move, gives beginning players a better change of starting with a single good play, and helps him to acclimate to the speed (which I think is just slightly too fast).

2. I've noticed that, when I lose a tile, I immediately go into panic mode, and usually lose several more in a row. But it's not just panicing; when a letter drops off, the player has to take stock of what he's got available, and before he can do that another letter drops off, compounding the problem. When a letter drops off, the main damage has been done: combos end. Giving the player a bit of timing leeway towards starting a new combo seems justified. (If this is done, mind, then the player would also probably need a manual drop button.)

3. This game could be absolutely ruined if it's "zazzed up" too much. What do I mean? I watched a relative play a game on a flash site a few days ago. In principle it was like Weboggle, but with added cartoon sound effects, and little animated moles that would get whacked when words were entered, and signs saying things like "X2!!" in gold lettering in a cartoon font, and on and on.... It was a cool game, but the flash stuff they built around it made me sick to my stomach. On the other hand, I go back and play Weboggle* obsessively about once a year, and it doesn't really have much more of an interface than you have now.

4. Endless mode sounds great. I'd suggest a sort of halfway mode as well, giving the player limited drops that are added to after every so many words. (That is to say, an "arcade" mode.)

5. The dictionary really needs to be improved. This is a universal problem, I've found, in nearly all web-based word games, but most of them don't penalize the player for entering a word that's not present.

6. The problem with all consonant racks or too many vowels is definitely present, but on the other hand it also rewards players for strategy, dumping rare letters when he can and leaving a good mix of letters on the rack. (Pardon me for using Scrabble terms. They just seem to fit here.) But as it stands the game will sometimes strings of many consonants with no vowels, which is obviously wrong.

I think you might be aided by the two Randomizer pages on Random Generator and TGM randomizer, as examples of ways a random sequence can be adjusted to make play fairer without locking down into overt patterns.

* I notice now that Weboggle is gone, but it's been updated into a new form. I hope it works out for them.
posted by JHarris at 2:55 PM on April 4, 2009

Further: I've been working on a minor crossword puzzle builder lately, and I've found that the 12dicts package (Google it) is useful, especially the list consisting of words that only appear on two or more other lists, which seems to be a general approximation of common English words. (It'll need some editing though to remove profanity, slurs and some obscure things.)
posted by JHarris at 2:59 PM on April 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

@JHarris: Thanks for your feedback.

1) I agree that the initial tileset is rather daunting - I'm just afraid of the alternative, which is that the user has to sit and watch the first 5 tiles drop over the course of 15 seconds. Maybe the better alternative would be to have the first 5 tiles drop semi-quickly (1s each) and then slow down to the normal 1 tile every 2.5s pace. I'm also not sure about the current pace. I could slow it down a bit, but, again, I'm just worried about it becoming 'boring'.

2) That's a good point - I've found myself in similar situations when playing - you described it perfectly (the sort of cognitive overload that hits). Maybe the drop could be slowed down a little bit once the tray is full (it's 5s right now, but maybe 7.5s might be better).

3) Good point. At least for right now I just want to make sure that it looks good. I suspect that the type of person who'd be interested in a game like this would be more interested in smooth gameplay over flashy graphics.

4) I like that idea - I think this game has legs!

5) I've done some more poking around, looking for more dictionaries, and I wonder if the dictionary that I have now could be combined with the one from Wikitionary (which has all sorts of non-dictionary words, like the aforementioned 'uzi' and 'blog').

6) I like those Tetris-random-generation links, thanks. It seems like it would be an easy tweak to make sure that there's at least one consonant every 5 tiles, or so, and vice-versa with vowels.

Thanks for your suggestions!
posted by jeresig at 3:22 PM on April 4, 2009

# +15: sith. 10 Points +1.5x Word Length.
# -71: jedi. Word not in dictionary.

posted by CitrusFreak12 at 3:39 PM on April 4, 2009

huh, I got 227 for "dizzy" alone, then failed in stunned smugness
posted by Rumple at 4:10 PM on April 4, 2009

5. Since a big part of your audience is likely Scrabble players, you might consider adding the SOWPODS word list.
posted by box at 4:53 PM on April 4, 2009 [2 favorites]

most of them don't penalize the player for entering a word that's not present.

I think you need some sort of penalty, otherwise people would constantly play a gobbledy-gook mess of letters just to clear them off the rack.

At least I would.
posted by Lucinda at 5:00 PM on April 4, 2009

yeah, but not scoring on any of them might be enough of a penalty.
posted by Miko at 5:58 PM on April 4, 2009

Yeah, I like how at the very start of the game, it gave me no vowels, and then when I let the first letter turn red and disappear, it just wrapped up the other letters, too, and ended the game.

Some rounds are fun, though. Just needs a bit of fixing up.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 6:08 PM on April 4, 2009

CF12, Sith.
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:09 PM on April 4, 2009

iPhone app, please!
posted by underthehat at 7:08 PM on April 4, 2009

I think you need some sort of penalty, otherwise people would constantly play a gobbledy-gook mess of letters just to clear them off the rack.

What those other games would do is just ignore words that aren't in the dictionary, not remove them or score them at all.
posted by JHarris at 7:14 PM on April 4, 2009

One more thing....

I read somewhere (possibly in GAMES Magazine) that the creator of Scrabble, Alfred Butts, spent months working on his letter frequency tables, but the results are nearly universally appreciated for their mix of playability and strategy.

If you were to partner with Hasbro on this (assuming they were open to such things) it might help expand your audience greatly, although I must say that I have no great love of Hasbro.
posted by JHarris at 7:19 PM on April 4, 2009

Ok, about 8 of my last 10 games ended with the all-consonant steamroll. Very annoying.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:00 PM on April 4, 2009

Yeah, the unusable strings of all consonant or all-vowel are game-killers. To keep the player interested you have to give 'em at least some kind of shot by making sure there is always a mix on the board. Having only one [consonant/vowel] is a fine challenge. Having absolutely none not even y or z!, and watching perfectly good letters drop off the screen costing you points, is a bummer.
posted by Miko at 8:13 PM on April 4, 2009

@box: I'd imagine that the Scrabble dictionary would be a subset of the dictionary provided by OpenOffice - although I'm not 100% certain, so I'll merge it in to be sure - along with the dictionary from Wiktionary

@Durn Bronzefist: That bug should be fixed now (the tiles rapidly disappearing) - definitely let me know if that's not the case.

@underthehat: I do plan on making the graphics work/look better on the iPhone, but actually the game works on there right now. Just load the site in your browser, focus your cursor on the input field, zoom back out, and you can play just fine! I definitely think this game is prime for the iPhone and Facebook (in addition to normal browser play).

@JHarris: Yeah, I'm not sure how much point scaling to do right now (at this point I haven't tweaked any of the points and that gives some crazy scores, for example 'j' is something like 65 points - meaning that the most common letter, e, is 65x more likely to be in a word than the letter 'j'). I'm cautious of duplicating the exact scoring that's used by Scrabble with the company's litigious nature. Additionally, I plan on releasing this game in multiple languages (since I can use the same techniques that I used to construct the English version as I did to build other versions - such as Spanish, Italian, and French).
posted by jeresig at 8:16 PM on April 4, 2009

jeresig: have you considered making the tile "Qu" rather than just "Q"?
posted by boo_radley at 8:22 PM on April 4, 2009

One nice thing about the Scrabble lists is that they include words like 'ch,' 'st,' 'nth,' 'cwm' and 'pfft,' which might take some of the edge off that rack-of-consonants thing.
posted by box at 8:23 PM on April 4, 2009

'Qu'? Then how will anyone spell 'tranq' and 'qanat' and 'faqir'?
posted by box at 8:24 PM on April 4, 2009

I'd imagine that the Scrabble dictionary would be a subset of the dictionary provided by OpenOffice

No, not at all. It's more inclusive, not less.
posted by Miko at 8:26 PM on April 4, 2009

box: just because scrabble sold out (abbreviations, foreign words) doesn't mean every word game has to.
posted by boo_radley at 8:33 PM on April 4, 2009

I am liberal in real life, weirdly parochial in Scrabble.
posted by boo_radley at 8:33 PM on April 4, 2009

Abbreviations? 'St' is onomatopoetic, I believe, and 'tranq' is slang. In the eyes of Scrabble lexicographers, anyway.

You're right about the foreign words, though. Death to infidels! Wait, is 'infidels' foreign?

(My favorite no-vowel word, though, is 'nth.' It should be the official no-vowel word of Metafilter. Or AskMe, anyway.)
posted by box at 8:40 PM on April 4, 2009

@boo_radley: Yeah, I had considered making the tile 'Qu', it gets tricky implementation-wise, and the concept doesn't scale well to other languages (I don't know the Qu equivalent in Italian, for example). I almost wonder: Would the game really be so bad if it just didn't include the letter q? Heh.)

@box, Miko: Ok, I'm convinced - I'll definitely work to integrate those extra dictionaries! It seems like if the game is going to penalize players for spelling words wrong it'll need to be as inclusive as possible - if there was no penalty then I could be quite exclusive, since the user could always try and re-try.
posted by jeresig at 8:52 PM on April 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

Inclusiveness is good anyway, I think--it's no fun to put in a word, only to have the game tell you it isn't one.
posted by box at 9:00 PM on April 4, 2009

Incidentally, I think this game is great. Thanks, jeresig and boo_radley.
posted by box at 9:03 PM on April 4, 2009

It is great. Of course you see people kvetching but that is because, at least on my part, I've been playing it all day!
posted by Miko at 9:13 PM on April 4, 2009

I'm waiting for some scrabble word to pop up where its definition is e.g. "a two tile word scoring six points in scrabble."
posted by boo_radley at 9:24 PM on April 4, 2009

Very cool game! I just got 797, entirely because I got "jeer" as my next-to-last word, thus scoring 243 for it. I'd've had 800 even if not for the "u" I had left at the end.
posted by cerebus19 at 9:41 PM on April 4, 2009

(It was game 459 in case anyone wants to give it a shot.)
posted by cerebus19 at 9:45 PM on April 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

2nd game 646 but -37 for 'pez' not being a word? ok, pez isn't a word. :-)

great scrabble trainer!
posted by facetious at 9:59 PM on April 4, 2009

Yeah, "j" is a big prize in this scoring system.
posted by Miko at 10:21 PM on April 4, 2009

hola people! *** 946 ***, game 463.
jeresig: awesome game, thanks again for hours of fun. Totally maddictive.
"I'm also not sure about the current pace. I could slow it down a bit, but, again, I'm just worried about it becoming 'boring'."
yep, to me after the changes it feels like a tad slow. maybe you can tune up the speed just a bit. Or maybe that after playing for hours, I am unable to differentiate the speed I experienced yesterday and today and that's just my coughcompetencecough kicking in. Please consider adding a scoreboard as well.
posted by forwebsites at 6:32 AM on April 5, 2009

Game if fantastic!!

The highest word score I've got is 507 points - Squeals on game 641 = 65 points x3.0 for word length x 1.3 multiplier x 2.0 clean slate
posted by riseleyguy at 12:35 PM on April 19, 2009

« Older Safeguarding Albania's Vulnerable Bull   |   “…If you stand up straight, people can’t ride your... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments