What have NOKIA phones and BLOCKS in common?

My newest project is the port of a game, known all over the world. Most people will be familiar with the version shipped with NOKIA phones. I’ll give you a hint: You’re slithering across the screen… Yes it’s the infamous game SNAKE!

A few years went by since it was really popular and with the new capabilities of smartphones, we use our freetime to play more graphically advanced games. While Snake might not be the most popular game on smartphones anymore, there is a version for nearly each smartphone OS out there. And now there is even a version for the most innovative smartwatch out there (in my humble opinion), which is named BLOCKS.

From a proof of concept to an actual game

The first version of Snake for BLOCKS was mostly a proof of concept. It featured a rectangular playground and you could change directions by tapping the areas between the borders of the playground and the screen. As you can see on the picture, you could play it well enough, but it was an eyesore to tell the truth. Looking back, it was the worst idea, to make a rectangular playground for a watch that has a circular screen. It does not only look akward but is also wasting lots of space, which – to tell the truth – is very limited on a smartwatch. Therefore the next version fixed exactly that.

Using the full screen ensured a larger playground and more fun directing the snake along the uneven edges of the it. One desicion that had to be made, was whether to keep the rectangular grid, the snake moves on or to exchange it with a circular grid. While the circular grid would have fit better into the screen, it would have disturbed the feeling of the original Snake. Additionally it would have created further problems, I have not yet found solutions to. But keep looking for a version featuring the circular grid, I haven’t dumped this idea just yet.

Do snakes see colors?

Seems like a good question, and I have absolutely no idea whether they can or not. Leave a comment if you have the answer – but back to topic. The whole game looked a bit outdated, with the monochromatic design. While some people like it better that way, it is just not very inviting. Since the game had no major bugs and all features I wanted to implement at this point of time, the work on the design could start. Since there are about tens of thousands of different tastes out there, it is impossible to please everybody with just one design. Therefore I created a manager for different themes, you can choose from. Sounds great? It does actually look great too.

Modern versions of Snake used some cirular dots for food and insects for bonus points, but I decided to use somewhat different rules (see the german Wikipedia article for the reasons). They feature only two different kinds of objects that can be in the playground. It might not be what snakes really eat, but at least within the game, the snake has a strict diet on apples. Therefore eating a plum is quite dangerous to the snake, because it might smother on the stone.

Check your scores

Want to brag a little bit in front of your friends? No problem with this game, since it keeps a watch on your scores. You can measure with your friends and see who is best in slithering around the garden. While it is already nice to be able to brag about your scores, it would be even better to directly measure yourself with your friends or even people on the other side of the world. But that’s for future versions…

Post thumbnail: © REX SHUTTERSTOCK FIONA GRAHAM

Ulrich Huber

Ulrich Huber

I'm studying computer science as major and mechanical engineering as minor at the TUM. While acquiring theoretical knowledge in university, I work on various projects in my spare time, to further my practical skills.

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