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Puzzlemix on phones and iPads etc

19 comments (Add new comment)
Posted 18th May 2011 at 09:13
I enjoy the games on your website when I'm at a computer but would love to be able to continue the games on keyboard-less consoles, such as my touchscreen phone and iPad.
Does this already exist? I need a way to toggle and to select numbers.
Posted 31st May 2011 at 12:16
gareth Administrator Daily subscriber
Sorry for the slow reply. Currently the players don't cooperate with touch screens because they don't have any way of triggering a simulated keyboard input. Only the Hanjie, Hitori and Slitherlink players will work with touch screens, but at least on my iPhone the "drag to fill" functionality doesn't seem to work so they're not ideal in any case. What I would need to do is detect that they are being played on a touch device and then pop up an on-screen ring of numbers to choose from. I don't think this is incredibly hard on a modern browser but I suspect that getting it working in a usable way would be quite fiddly, and to date I've always been careful to maintain compatibility back to Internet Explorer 5.5 (some people play from work on old office computers). Maybe it's time to abandon that last constraint however!

So this is probably something I should already have done - I'll add it to my list of "things to do"... :)

Posted 20th May 2012 at 20:18
Any progress or update on making it possible to play the games on iPads? Because I need more distractions than I already have, right? :)
Posted 20th May 2012 at 20:25
gareth Administrator Daily subscriber
Hi swatch_girl21,
Yes, I actually commented on a recent reply elsewhere that I'd started work on this. It means changing a lot of the behaviour of the players, however, so it won't be for at least a couple of months (I have a book due in a month which I need to focus on in the short-term).

You can at least play the new Nurikabe puzzles okay, so long as you don't need to mark in the white squares. :)

Gareth, puzzlemix

Posted 8th Jun 2012 at 05:31
Posted 19th Jul 2012 at 19:20
mocky Daily subscriber

I was working on a solution by creating a html page (personal file, not for publish into one web) with buttons similar to those of color help from some puzzles, pressed the button to send to the function that detects keystrokes into a corresponding code to one page loaded into a <IFRAME> of the corresponding game puzzle. Uff now I can rest, forget the idea and wait until your solution is come.
It was a very bad solution. For me the easiest solution is to create a column of 17 squares whit a number from 1 to 9, A to F and 0 to "erase". Then use the javascript "onclick" to send the "keyPressed (code)" (which is used by the puzzle page) the key.

Hehe hungry to play puzzles when I go on vacation without a computer ...

Good luck with the job!

Sorry for my english (the google translator help only a bit)

Posted 26th Sep 2012 at 19:58
Last edited by gareth 26th Sep 2012 at 19:59
gareth Administrator Daily subscriber
Well I'm very pleased to say that my development version of puzzlemix now supports iPhone and iPad play for all of the number-entry puzzles, and indeed it should support any touch screen at all. Drawing on the updates I've made the past few days, it adapts automatically to fill the screen and size the puzzle appropriately. The new zoom features work too, and on the iPad/iPhone you can smoothly scroll the puzzle around with your finger while the on-screen keypad stays nicely put.

I have a lot of tidying and other stuff to do before this is fully finished - refining the button layout, setting some device-specific options, and a dedicated game options panel designed for touchscreen use, for example - but I wanted to share this news right away!

Gareth, puzzlemix

Posted 26th Sep 2012 at 23:40
gareth Administrator Daily subscriber
And it's now live - see the announcement on the main page.
Posted 28th Sep 2012 at 18:13
gareth Administrator Daily subscriber
In testing I've worked around the slow response on Apple iOS devices (iPhone, iPad etc) so I'll be uploading a version of the player that is much more responsive on these at some point soon. I need to complete some other modernisation work on the player internals first so that I can switch event handlers (click versus touch) dynamically as devices are detected.
Posted 29th Sep 2012 at 00:33
gareth Administrator Daily subscriber
The latest version is now live. The player will dynamically adapt to a touch screen device and replace all of the click events with touch events - what this means is that it will respond instantly to touch. Now you can play on the iPad and iPhone almost as fast as on a desktop!
Posted 3rd Oct 2012 at 16:04
Last edited by gareth 3rd Oct 2012 at 16:17
gareth Administrator Daily subscriber
Anyone reading this, if you have an iPad (or other Apple device) can you open any one of the puzzle players from the menu (i.e. not the demos on the front page) and try pressing the "Give up" button. On my iPad this actually crashes Safari and it won't respond to any touches on any page (including any other pages you have open). You then need to double-tap the home button and hold and quit Safari (which has no negative effect - it doesn't forget the pages you had open; it just clears the bug state).

It's bizarre. I've spent a long time trying to profile it but all I have worked out is it happens precisely when it tries to pop open the 'rate this puzzle' window, and yet that works fine when you complete the puzzle normally. I've tried all sorts of variations but even just'','','') causes it to crash at that particular point.

If you try this and it works or doesn't work for you, please let me know. What I see is that once the new 'give up' window has opened, all links in Safari in every window stop working.

It crashes every time for me on iOS6 on iPad, yet iOS6 on iPhone 4 works fine for me. It also works on an old iOS3 iPod Touch.

Gareth, puzzlemix

Posted 4th Oct 2012 at 00:16
Last edited by gareth 4th Oct 2012 at 00:17
gareth Administrator Daily subscriber
I've disabled the crashing by making Safari on iPad pop up a box saying it isn't popping up a window...

Anyway, the latest version of the players is now live - now there is full iPad and iPhone (and Android) support for ALL of the players, including Slitherlink, Hanjie, Nurikabe and Hitori. These play really smoothly - you can drag to shade multiple cells and so forth.

The iPhone version behaves differently on iOS6 to on earlier versions due to the new 'full screen' mode in Safari. On iOS6 you should press the icon at the bottom-right of the screen in landscape view to activate full screen (if it doesn't do it automatically). On older devices you don't need to press anything - just turn the device on its side and it will flip up the browser decorations at the top of the screen to maximise the space available. It's not quite full-screen, but nearly. [Annoyingly iOS is not consistent in how it handles this - the old 'mostly maximised' mode does not re-report its screen height as a percentage when it resizes (the new screen is over 100% high in terms of CSS settings), so I can't support both modes at once with the new player code which lets the browser handle the play area resizing (ironically my old code would have handled this anomaly, but it was far less reliable in general cross-browser so I'm sticking with the new method!)].

Gareth, puzzlemix

Posted 4th Oct 2012 at 00:49
gareth Administrator Daily subscriber
Hmm... it occurs to me that if you have a touchscreen laptop or monitor you now probably actually have to use the touchscreen for the shading-based players, since I no longer register the mouse events if it detects touch support. I'll restore the mouse drivers to these tomorrow - I don't want to do it in a hurry without testing it!
Posted 5th Oct 2012 at 12:39
mocky Daily subscriber
Thanks Gareth for your effort with the Universal Touch support on all platforms.

Congrats. I think your community is very happy with this announcement.

Posted 9th Oct 2012 at 15:47
gareth Administrator Daily subscriber
I've made another update today so I hope it now works properly again on the number-entry puzzles if you are using both a touch device and a mouse! :)
Posted 9th Oct 2012 at 15:49
gareth Administrator Daily subscriber
Thanks mocky. I have to say since I added touch support I now regular use my iPad to play the puzzles when just sitting and relaxing, rather than having to be at my desk on my computer. :)

The number entry ones work well on the train using the iPhone too - some of the shading ones are a little fiddly on the tiny screen, although for their size about as good as they can possibly get I think. The last thing I plan to add at some point is 'app mode' support for iPhone, which would mean if you bookmarked to the home screen it could stay in full-screen mode all the time. For that I need to change the way every link on the website works, however, so it's a longer-term project. And currently I don't believe many people really are using PuzzleMix on iPhone.

Posted 9th Oct 2012 at 19:44
gareth Administrator Daily subscriber
Also see here for more touch discussion.
Posted 7th Sep 2013 at 01:46
gareth Administrator Daily subscriber
I haven't looked at the touch interface for a while, but I recently bought a touch screen for my PC so I can directly test PC touch interaction.

Therefore today I fixed an outstanding issue where on a PC with a touchscreen you would incorrectly get the touchscreen-only interface, not the regular PC interface (except in Internet Explorer). Now you will see the option to switch to the touchscreen ("Keypad" in the number players, "Touch on" in the shading players), but it won't force you to use the touch interface.

There is one problem with the touch implementation on PCs, which is that while it works fine on the number players you'll find that on the shading puzzles you are currently unable to clear cells in Firefox or Internet Explorer - you must use Chrome. And in Chrome, touch will only work in these shading puzzles when you press the 'Touch on' button. Press 'Touch off' before moving the mouse over the puzzle - you'll see why if you try it!

Fixing touch play on a PC is on my to-do list, but since I'm not sure anyone really uses it it isn't my priority. I need to rewrite the way it behaves since currently it doesn't like having both touch and click events mixed together.

Touch continues to work fine on iPad, iPhone and iPod, except that 'undo' needs lots of hits if you drag to shade in the shading puzzles. There are some issues in some Android browsers, which are a bit temperamental - they are updated a lot more frequently than iOS browsers so it is harder to keep up with changes. In particular there were some critical touch bugs in Android Chrome (itself, not puzzlemix) to do with reading browser coordinates (it returned the wrong offsets) which have resulted in some messy code that can cause compatibility problems. I will look at this again when I have time.

Please do post here if you have any particular issues, including the above - it would be interesting to know if anyone cares about fixing these things.

Gareth, puzzlemix

Posted 7th Sep 2013 at 13:10
gareth Administrator Daily subscriber
A couple of slight updates:

1) the 'touch on' button will only show on the shading players on a PC if touch screen capability is detected.

2) on a PC if scrollbars appear on the right-hand side player window controls in the shading players this will no longer cause the 'fix colour' buttons to break onto the next line in touch mode.

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