Think about PopCap, Pogo, Yahoo Games, and MSN Games. Every single one of the games on these sites could be done without requiring a single plugin. I thought about it, and I decided to set about demonstrating it. (It was only after this game was mostly completed that I noticed SSCrabble. While it uses similar client-side scripting techniques, it lacks the multiplayer functionality entirely, which is too bad.)
All WEBoggle requires is either Internet Explorer 5 or newer, or a Mozilla-based browser like Mozilla, Firebird or Galeon. (Internet Explorer 4 should work, but I’ve never tried it.). There are a few caveats, and good reasons why other common browsers like Opera do not work, but those are all listed in the Bugs section below. Also, your browser must accept cookies. Sorry.
A much easier way to cheat, however, is to write a script to give you all of the words that can be found on the board. I could have made it more difficult to do this, but as long as the letters are legible to the player, you could simply type them into a command line script that would then give you a list of words to type back into the game. There was simply no way to prevent this. (I wrote such a script in about 60 seconds, so if you’re considering it, your effort won’t make you “the first”. I was able to get more than 50 points consistantly.)
I just hope that everyone who plays this game remembers that cheating is no fun, not for you, and not for anyone with whom you’re playing..
Once WEBoggle started generating several thousand player-games per day, it started interfering with the operation of the sites on my webhost. I took it down until I could make it more efficient, and a guy named Evan Simpson came forward with an offer to mirror it for the time being.
As anyone who’s seen my Projects listing will agree, I have a short attention span. Updating WEBoggle kind of fell off my radar, and I told Evan that he was in charge. He’s done far more than I ever planned or expected: “missing words” submissions, two simultaneous games (one of which is Big Boggle), the ability to rotate the board, and a list of “words that nobody found” with each round.
- 2004-02-18: MetaFilter
- 2004-08-13: MetaFilter
- 2004-08-*: Delicious
- 2004-08-17: Waxy links
I’d like to thank everyone who helped me test WEBoggle and suggested stupid improvements: BrainiACK, Nomad, Splatta, Kazy, and especially M. Also, all the people who donated money through Paypal and posted links to WEBoggle on their blogs. At its height, more than 6000 person-games were being played every day. And a thousand thanks to Evan Simpson for mirroring and then improving the game.