All posts by mdiehr

A game programmer/designer residing in Orlando, Florida.

Perlenspiel: Mow Problems

Here’s my latest hit Perlenspiel game, Mow Problems. In this game, you play a lawnmower that shoots clippings out of the right side of your mechanisms when you mow over a patch of grass. You have to mow all of the green squares, but don’t let too many clippings land on one square, or else it will become impassable.

Your task is made more easier or more difficult by the things that people like to put in their lawns. Trees block your path, but you can put as many clippings on them as you’d like. Pools aren’t allowed to have clippings in them at all. Can you mow all 10 lawns without going crazy?

The below area is an iframe, so you can play the game right here! Click on the L1-L10 buttons to play the levels.

Some action shots:


ExSphere for Windows Phone

Here’s an early build: Link to download .xap file

Controls: Tap and hold to guide the ball to a particular horizontal position. The ball travels vertically on its own – you can’t control that axis of motion.

Goal: Break all of the bricks on the level, other than walls, skulls, and “key” blocks. You need to have the specific “key”  block activated in order to destroy most block types.

White blocks: You start out each level with the ability to break these, but there’s no key block for them, so you have to get them all first before attempting any other block types.

Ice blocks: You can always destroy these, regardless of which key block you’ve hit.

Red Bricks, Stone Blocks, Grey Bricks, Wood Boxes: These are the “Normal” types of blocks with key blocks available whenever they are present on a level.

Gold bricks: These have a key block, but with a restriction that you can’t switch back to another key block after hitting one. Because of this, you should attempt these bricks last, after clearing every other brick type (with the exception of ice blocks).

Skull blocks: You lose a life and restart at the spawn point. Your key block is reset to white.

Here are some brief instructions from the old PC version, in case the above is confusing:

Since the Windows Phone version is still fresh, there isn’t a HUD to show your current key block, so you have to remember it. Thankfully, the levels are pretty small!

Let me know in the comments what you think.

Perlenspiel: Checkers

I spent part of today recreating the game of Checkers in Perlenspiel. The biggest challenge was to implement the forced moves and multi-jumps. The source code is 396 lines of code, although I’ve removed the unused Perlenspiel functions by moving them into a wrapper .js file. If you want to use this source code in the downloadable Perlenspiel, you’ll have to add those empty functions back in. Don’t mind the garish colors I chose!

Play here:


Checkers game in progress.




It’s hard to post when it isn’t a habit

I’ve been busy playing things like Minecraft and Terraria, which are both sandbox adventure games where you dig in the ground to find valuables, which you then use to build better stuff for digging in the ground with.

They both also have multiplayer support, and let me tell you, it’s amazing to build and explore with your friends.

Both games cost less than $20 apiece – it’s worth getting one of them and checking it out. Minecraft has the advantage of being 3D, while Terraria has a better adventure progression built into the game.

Game Idea: Building Controller

A planning failure has left a nearby construction project almost complete, but the company that will be leasing it has very strong efficiency, water, energy, and security concerns that must be addressed.

As a building automation controls engineer, your job is to make this building smart enough to improve all of the above categories, which will save the leasing company money in the long run.

At your disposal are various kinds of sensors that can be used almost anywhere, and they can be used to control different aspects of the building to keep things running smoothly. You’ll have to design a robust system that can handle all 7 days of the week, including any special events or circumstances that may drastically raise or lower the amount of people present.

Gameplay items:

  • Monitor usage to increase or decrease the temperature of a particular floor or area
  • Lock or unlock particular doors on a time cycle
  • Set up elevator park locations and other behaviors
  • Dim or shut off lights in areas that aren’t being used, or have enough natural light