Saturday, February 28, 2009

Taking Sudokool to next level

Taking Sudokool to next level

Story till now
Sudokool 1 was just a sudoku solver. It had 100 puzzles in 3 difficulty levels. I doubted if anybody would ever play more than 300 sudoku puzzles. I thought that people would generally get bored of sudoku puzzles after mastering the solving techniques. However, I was wrong. Sudoku puzzles are addictive. Once you know all the tricks of the trade, you start playing against time. The question is not that whether you can solve a sudoku puzzle, but in how much time !
Nevertheless Sudokool 1 had a complete framework necessary for upcoming later versions.
Sudokool 2 was a sudoku generator/solver. It has all the ingredients of commercial sudoku games. Sudokool 2 gave unlimited puzzles to the addicted.
Sudokool 2.5 was focused on gameplay. UI was improved and also couple of other features were added. Sudokool now has all everything present in commercial sudoku games.
Next version will be focused on making Sudokool GUI customizable.

What next ?
I have started working on themes for Sudokool.Sudokool will have pluggable themes. Some themes will be shipped with Sudokool and user can download additional themes from Sudokool site.

These are some themes I have tried initially.



More are on the way ..

Sound events : Sudokool will give preference to user to turn Sound ON/OFF. Also, will make sound events customizable. User can select different combinations for different events.

Icons : user will have option to use different icons sets. There icon-sets will be pluggable.

Next release will include an installer for Windows. This will make Sudokool run like any other native windows software. For other OS, it will be like previous releases.

This is just an initial plan for the next release . I still need feedbacks and suggestions from you guys !

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Sudokool V 2.5 Released


Here I am with the new version of Sudokool :)


This new version makes game-play fast and easy. Now Sudokool can be fully controlled through keyboard, along with mouse.
I have also added a cool statistics window under Records. This will keep a track of user statistics like how many puzzles generated, completed and in how much time under different categories.
To summarize the new features in Sudokool :
- Fully controllable through keyboard
- Auto Submit instead of manual
- Fastest timings stored with username
- Warning made dynamic and stored as a preference
- Storing user statistics

Download Sudokool V 2.5 now

Get it from CNET Download.com!

I have added new features to this version based on feedbacks I got after releasing V2.
If you would like any new features in next releases, please comment on this blog, or send me email, or atleast vote on the poll in this blog.

Thanks for your time !!
Keep playing Sudokool .. Njoy

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Next Version

V 2.0
Sudokool v 2.0 seems to be stable now. There were some issues discovered after the initial release - thanks to Faiz. Those were fixed then only. Now there is no blocking issue. I know there are some issues which might come up, but only under regression testing.
So, its time to do a code freeze on v 2.0

What Next ?
3 years back when I made Sudokool, my focus was just on implementation. There was no proper designing. Code was written as requirements were discovered on by one. This improper design has come up a major obstacle in Sudokool upgradation. I will have to redesign all the classes. But this is a big headache :(
Well, I will try to add as much features as the current code allows. Will take up this redesign later on while releasing a major update.

So here I start my journey on the next release.I am planning to introduce some very nice features to improve the usability of Sudokool. If time permits, I will also try to add some more EYE CANDY into Sudokool.

Please keep voting on the Sudokool poll. It will be the source of inspiration and motivation for the next version.

Wish me Good Luck :)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Sudokool v 2.0 Released


Sudokool v 1.0 was released 3 years back on 25th Sep 2005. It had been in my mind all through past three years to work upon and improve Sudokool. But unfortunately due to lack of motivation and professional commitments, I could not take out time to work on it.

This upgradation took me around 20 days, and I had to go through and modify each piece of code to make sure that everything works correctly. Many changes have to be accomodated in the older code to make the new functionality in sync with the existing one.


Features :
Following are the features of Sudokool v 2.0 :
1. Play unlimited puzzles in 4 difficulty levels : Simple, Easy, Medium and Hard.
2. Option to play with Hints : view all the possibilities on the puzzle grid.
3. Option to play with warnings in case of wrong entries.
4. User can input puzzle (from newspapers) directly on the grid. Then puzzle is validated and if solution is unique, it can be played.
5. User can save and load Games.
6. 3 lowest timings in each difficulty level are recorded and updated on each puzzle submission.
7. Game can be paused and resumed during gameplay.
8. Platform independent : Based on Java, Sudokool works flawlessly on all the platforms (personally I have tested on Ubuntu 8.04 and Windows Vista)
9. Puzzle window can be resized and the window is loaded to this size next time automatically.
10. Cool looks to provide the best GUI experience.
11. Last but not the least : It is absolutely FREE !!!

Future Roadmap
Following are some features which I would personally like to include include in future releases of Sudokool. I will prioritize the features on the basis of user feedbacks:
1. Import puzzle from csv file
2. Undo/Redo moves
3. Provide hint for the next move
4. Customisable look and feel
5. Customisable icons
6. File Menu
7. Take PrintOut of generated puzzle
8. Convert generated puzzle to file format e.g. excel,pdf,csv etc.
9. Web Browser support : generate puzzles on web applets
10. Take user input from keyboard
11. Option to hide time until the puzzle is solved
12. Log and show activities like number of puzzles generated,solved,average timings etc.
13. Adding user name in the records
14. Turn ON/OFF all the sound events
15. Automatic submission along with manual submission

Sudokool v 2.0 download has been disabled due to the availability of the new version. Check the updated link in the latest blog.

After some initial testing there were some issues, and I have updated this download link with the latest package.
If you don't have Java Runtime Environment (jre 5 or higher), download it here

Running Instructions
1. On MS Windows, just double click on run.bat file to launch Sudokool.
Alternately, the following command can be used on command line in both windows and linux:
java -jar Sudokool.jar
2. It is possible that on the first run no digits appear on the grid or dots appear in place of digits on the puzzle grid. This is due to difference of default font on differenct operating systems. This can be resolved by simpling resizing and increasing the Sudokool window size. On next run Sudokool will automatically use the last window size.
3. Please take time to first go through the help menu to understand the functionality of Sudokool.

I would like to thank all Sudokool fans who took time to send me their feedbacks. I will really appreciate any comments, suggestions, feedbacks, bug reports and criticism.
Please write back to me and do mention the features which you would like in future Sudokool releases. My email id is shirazakhan@gmail.com

All the future releases of Sudokool will be updated in this blog. So, keep visiting.

Thanks for your precious time !