After slightly less than two years, I am happy to announce that I have released Version 1.2 of Shades.

In this update, I have added:
-A pause feature ([mode]) and a restart feature.
-A "ghost" line of color beneath each tile that is dropping.
-Instantaenous tile dropping (when you press the down key).
-The [2nd] key now acts as another enter/selection button.

Hope you all enjoy.
Michael2_3B wrote:
In this update, I have added a pause feature ([mode]) and a restart feature.
Yay! This is a great long-awaited feature! Very Happy
Now if I could edit my review, I could tell people about this.
/me nudges admins

Michael2_3B wrote:
In addition, I have added a "ghost" line of color beneath each tile that is dropping.
Wow, I didn't even think about adding this. It'll definitely be useful when trying to see the different shades!

Michael2_3B wrote:
Hope you all enjoy.

Will do! Laughing
Shades has just reached 1500 downloads! Thank you so much guys!

If you haven't downloaded v1.2 yet, be sure you do. Also, be sure to leave a rating/review!
I really like the new update, especially the ghost line. It makes it a little bit easier though, but I like it, since it was rather hard to determine the right greyscale.
It has recently come to my attention that there are 2 minor bugs in the program. These don't occur very often, but they are still there.

1. I haven't been able to pinpoint exactly when and why this happens, but some time when the tiles are all stacked to the top, the game will crash and prevent you from keeping your high score, if you made one. Since becoming aware of this, I have not been able to replicate it, so I can't say what type of error it is.

2. Let's say you have a black tile on top of a medium gray tile, and on top of the black tile is another medium gray tile (see picture below). If you create an entire row of black tiles, and that row gets cleared, then you end up with 2 of the same color tile stacked on top of each other. What needs to happen is that once the black row gets cleared, the medium gray tile falls down and merges with its twin.

Anyways, I hope to get these bugs resolved as soon as possible. I believe PT_ was also willing to look into it if he has the time.
I have been working a little bit on a Shades CE bot, which would allow you to watch the calculator play Shades on it's own for a while. Currently, on average, it gets up to 30,000-35,000 points before losing, which is due to unfortunate circumstances that force it to place multiple darker blocks on top of lighter blocks.

The algorithm may need a bit of revising, but here it is:


Use a desired row to go to, and simulate a keypress to go there

...(program code)...

Generate a desired row:
    DARKGRAY tile on first row takes priority
    Least difference in color takes second
    If neither of those work out, put tile on first row

    If there isn't a spot on the first row open, tile is forced to be put on a lighter color

It may not be much, but let me know if you're interested in this! And also your thoughts on what a perfect algorithm might be. I might have to incorporate placing blocks as low as possible, but saving the spot for a darker tile would still have to take priority.

You may get the current program here:
(Note: you still need the ZSHADES subprogram from the main project)
So I've been in a bit of a programming mood again lately. Recently I decided I wanted to remake this program from scratch, this time with smaller tiles, that could fill up the entire graph screen if wanted. More importantly, I needed to figure out an algorithm for something that I didn't even write code for in the original game- this being that whenever a row is cleared, and all the tiles above it fall down 1 row, any new matching tiles should combine, potentially causing a chain reaction of other tiles combining in that same column as well.

Obviously, this is an edge case, but arguably a very important one that should not have taken me this long to fix. With that said, the following image shows an example of this in my new Mini Tile game (which I will likely release soon):

What's important to note here is that the tiles always prioritize merging downwards first- then when they can no longer merge downwards, a tile from above drops down from where it was, attempts to merge, and so on and so forth until everything in that column has dropped. For the curious, here are those same tiles (after the row clear, and then after the merging/condensing) as they appear in the list.

Also, here is a game using a full screen of tiles (makes the game kind of boring though):

In creating this new mini version of the game, I've come up with some ideas on how to make the original Shades CE even better; this includes fixing the bug / adding the code that I mentioned to the main game, as well as some minor graphical things to fix and update, and potentially a new difficulty setting.

You'll also probably see that I used hollow Red, Orange, and Green tiles in the screenshot to aid in knowing where you want to drop a tile; red means DON'T DROP, because the current falling tile is darker than the tile sitting below. Orange means OK, because the current falling tile is lighter than the one below. And of course, green means your tile is a perfect MATCH with the one below. I will likely be implementing something similar as a new option in the main game, to make telling the shades apart even easier.

Keep your eyes peeled for more posts here, as I will be releasing another official update very soon!
I've now updated my code to handle repeated row clears, and as far as I can tell, I've now taken care of all the edge cases that can happen.

The following gif shows a longest-case scenario. In such a situation, the idea is that you will see the tiles merging downwards instead of it skipping right to the final result. This obviously takes a little while until the player can actually do anything again, but it's important to note that any chain reaction like this is unlikely, or will rarely happen in a real game.

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