My OLPC Journey Mar 2011
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Mar 1 Mancala is finished and is really fun to play. Here's a game in progress:

Mar 3 Martin has encouraged me to "think tablet" as have the NZ Testing Team. The main advantage of tablet mode is that mouse pad usage is minimised. Some of you may not be aware that the original XO suffered from a very flakey mouse pad which is very irritating to use.

Here's a picture of my new version of Mancala. The left hand buttons have the 4 arrows while on the right hand side there is a circle, a square, a tick and a cross. The latter two immediately suggested a revisit to Eleusis - it will soon be re-released featuring "tablet mode"

Activity No 17 - Ominoes

Mar 5 The picture shows Level 3 completely solved. The shapes are made from 5 squares and are called pentominoes. Level 4 requires the player to find the 35 hexominoes but I resisted the temptation to require the 108 heptominoes. Interestingly no-one has found a formula for predicting how many in each group!

Mar 6 I realised that Ominoes is another Tablet Mode candidate - consider it done

Activity No 18 - Shapes

And this is my take on the old game of "Battleships". The pictures show the start & finish of a game. The four shapes have been "hidden" on the board. Players left click on a square if they think it contains a piece, right click if they think it is empty.

And ... yes ... you've guessed correctly ... this one can be played in tablet mode!

Mar 12 The backlog has been cleared - all the public activities (13 in all) have been updated to fully implement the sugar cursor. Now we move on to six new activities awaiting testing and tweaking - first up is "Jumble".

Activity No 19 - PMJ

Hopefully you know what the P and the J stand for ... the M stands for Moving. Just 12 pictures on offer here - select one and the second screenshot shows what you will see.

And here's what's happening behind the scenes. A quarter size image is "kaleidoscoped" as shown. The resulting image is broken into rectangles which are shuffled. As the quarter size rectangle moves, the image changes.

The player solves the puzzle by swapping pieces. And ... yes ... this one works in Tablet Mode too!

Mar 21 Martin and I have been busy refining our user interface in the light of trying to design for tablet mode where possible. The main thrust has been assigning a consistent meaning to the gamepad keys - cross, circle, square and tick. This is the plan:

  • cross - left click
  • circle - right click (where right click is not used may be used for a button)
  • square - new round (think of it as representing a clear screen)
  • tick - change level

In addition, the tablet arrow keys may be used to move the mouse where appropriate.

Activity No 20 - Triples

Mar 26 A variation on the old Pairs game where you have to turn over 2 matching cards. As you've probably guessed Triples requires 3 matches.