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App description: "Like, I want to play Gnomium right now because forming words and popping tiles looks like the equivalent of popping bubble wrap." - Carter Dotson, TouchArcade.com

Play the worlds first 'reactive' word puzzle, with hours of challenging game play (and a very cool flying pickax). This word-game that plays like an arcade game will have you mining and collect ore, coins and precious gems from a magical letter grid in the sky.

"It's like an up-beat mixture of Scrabble and Tetris with a cool matching element that keeps the pace going. It's all of my favorite genres in one!"

Become a master grid-manipulator by carefully (or brutally) amassing fortunes of copper, silver and gold through sequences of orderly word destruction.

Unlike most word games, Gnomium's core game play focuses on re-arranging words rather than finding them. In fact, the most efficient way to play is by not thinking of words at all, but rather sliding existing words to fill in empty spaces in order to create larger word combinations before you destroy them.

How to play:

With a limited number of tiles, use your skillful finger to slide words and swap tiles. Like hungry puzzle pieces, watch the grid find and link the most valuable words for you. Tap copper, silver and gold word-groups to mine precious ore and produce coins. Match 3 or more coins to produce more valuable coins and gems. Discover hidden strategies to prolong your game by acquiring higher level gems to open the 12 jeweled chests. This fast-paced action puzzler is fun and challenging for both young and old. Can you open the diamond treasure chest?

If you're playing Gnomium slowly, you're thinking too hard. ;)

* Discover secret and clever strategies for producing letter tiles, and opening jeweled chests to prolong your game.
* Play on randomly generated grids. No two games are the same.
* Find unique items such as hats that temporarily change up the game rules.
* Spend your hard-earned coins on a dozen booster items to improve your next game.
* Share funny gnome selfies with ad-libs generated from words found in your game.
* Challenge your friends to the highest score on Game Center leader boards.
* Enjoy artwork by award-winning artist Roland Vinh.
* Chill to 15 dynamically mixed mini-tracks by Pentameter, composed entirely in Propellerheads Figure for iOS.

Help improve Gnomium by sending feedback to retrodigio@gmail.com.

Watch a gameplay video: https://youtu.be/MQztgdq8ZkE

If you have time, please rate us and leave a review. I read all reviews and carefully consider your feedback for new updates.

Boardumb's comments:

Gnomium: Pocket Edition - Action Word Puzzler

Retrodigio LLC
Genres: Games Puzzle Word
GAME CENTER ENABLED
Free


Quote:
"Like, I want to play Gnomium right now because forming words and popping tiles looks like the equivalent of popping bubble wrap." - Carter Dotson, TouchArcade.com

An endless action word and match puzzler with hours of challenging game play. Use your flying pickax to mine and collect ore, coins and precious jewels from a magical letter grid in the sky!

Become a master grid manipulator by carefully (or brutally) amassing fortunes of copper, silver and gold through sequences of orderly word destruction.

Unlike most word games, Gnomium's core game play focuses on re-arranging words rather than finding them. In fact, the most efficient way to play is by not thinking of words at all, but rather sliding existing words to fill in empty spaces in order to create larger word combinations before you destroy them.

How to play:

With a limited number of tiles, use your skillful finger to slide words and swap tiles. Like hungry puzzle pieces, watch the grid find and link the most valuable words for you. Tap copper, silver and gold word-group to mine precious ore and produce coins. Match 3 or more coins to produce more valuable coins and gems. Discover hidden strategies to prolong your game by acquiring higher level gems to open the 12 jeweled chests. This fast-paced action puzzler is fun and challenging for both young and old. Can you open the diamond treasure chest?

If you're playing Gnomium slowly, you're thinking too hard.

* Discover secret and clever strategies for producing letter tiles, and opening jeweled chests to prolong your game.
* Play on randomly generated grids. No two games are the same.
* Find unique items such as hats that temporarily change up the game rules.
* Spend your hard-earned coins on a dozen booster items to improve your next game.
* Share funny gnome selfies with ad-libs generated from words found in your game.
* Challenge your friends to the highest score on Game Center leader boards.
* Enjoy artwork by award-winning artist Roland Vinh.
* Chill to 15 dynamically mixed mini-tracks by Pentameter, composed entirely in Propellerheads Figure for iOS.

Help improve Gnomium by sending feedback to retrodigio@gmail.com.












Supported Devices:
  • iPhone-3GS
  • iPhone4
  • iPodTouchFourthGen
  • iPad2Wifi
  • iPad23G
  • iPhone4S
  • iPadThirdGen
  • iPadThirdGen4G
  • iPhone5
  • iPodTouchFifthGen
  • iPadFourthGen
  • iPadFourthGen4G
  • iPadMini
  • iPadMini4G
  • iPhone5c
  • iPhone5s
  • iPhone6
  • iPhone6Plus
  • iPodTouchSixthGen

Minimum iOS Version: iOS 6.0

Download Size: 66.6MB

12-22-2015, 12:31 AM
#2
Regarding the soft launch.



Thanks Carter, for the TA article regarding the Gnomium: Pocket Edition soft launch into Canada and New Zealand.

TA Article

Why a soft launch?

My original goal was to launch the game in early December, before the break, at a time when the game had a potential to be featured with a world-wide release. However, due to a configuration in the iOS build, Apple rejected the submission, causing a delay while we waited for an additional review after the fix.

Because of the App Store hours at the end of every year, we decided to delay a world-wide launch until January, since Apple does not feature any new games during the last week in December. However, soft launching into a few territories gives me the opportunity to test the waters, get more feedback and fix any issues during these few weeks of holiday.

I'm very excited to get this into your hands, and if you are lucky enough to be a Canuck or live in Middle Earth, then I look forward to you enjoying the game a bit earlier than others. If you have any questions about the game, how to play, trick, tips, or if you experience anything unusual, let me know. I'm eager to help and make things just right.

The old thread in the 'Upcoming Games' section has a ton of information about the game for those of you who want to dig in deeper.

http://forums.toucharcade.com/showthread.php?t=267865

Have a Merry Chistmas and Happy New Year.

-Chris

- Chris

Last edited by Retrodigio; 01-11-2016 at 01:22 PM.

12-22-2015, 07:26 PM
#3
Here is our teaser trailer, used a the demo video in the App Store, meant to sure pure gameplay clips without any fluff.



I'm interested in any clever gnome-selfie-mad-libs you get at the end of your games. You can take up to 10 in-game snapshots that you can flip through after the game. Fun for sharing with friends (hint..hint) and we are friends right? It also has your score, so you can use these to brag of course.

Here are a couple:


Bars of soap that is.


Tolkien also thought that dimes with pies riding on the backs of giant hawks seemed too unreal. Hobbits made more sense.

-Chris

- Chris

Last edited by Retrodigio; 12-22-2015 at 07:43 PM. Reason: Fixing video link
12-23-2015, 01:07 PM
#4
Looks like there are quite a few people in Canada and New Zealand playing.

I would love to hear some feedback from any of you playing, or who have 'tried' to play.

The game mechanics are new and unfamiliar to most. Some catch on quickly but for others it can take a few games before it clicks.

I'm thinking of replacing the teaser trailer with a new video showing real people playing the game. Ive found that most people catch on when they see someone else play it.

Thanks everyone.

-Chris

- Chris
12-23-2015, 01:36 PM
#5
Joined: Aug 2010
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Posts: 2,759
Quote:
Originally Posted by Retrodigio View Post
I'm thinking of replacing the teaser trailer with a new video showing real people playing the game. Ive found that most people catch on when they see someone else play it.
Put both. Even after playing through the tutorial a few times, I'm still not exactly sure how things work.

I know you generally need to match 3s of coins to make bigger and better gems. When it comes to making words, I just randomly push letters around until a big match is made because I have no time to actually read and purposefully make words.

Social Games: Pocket Mine 2, Terra Battle, PAD
GameCenter: StriveMind
12-23-2015, 02:38 PM
#6
Thanks stivemind. This is good feedback.

You said "I have no time to read and purposefully make words." You nailed it. I think this is the #1 hurdle, especially for word-game players.

"But this is a word game, I should concentrate on finding words right?" Nope. It is a puzzle game based on words.

Your strategy of 'randomly pushing letters around until a big match is made' is not a bad strategy. In fact, the goal is grid manipulation. Distributing/re-arranging the grid contents using the 3 mechanics that matter most, namely 1) slide tiles and (more effectively) words, 2) swap letters by tapping them, 3) breaking word-groups to mine ore and produce coins and 4) match coins/gems and open chests.

Every change you make to the grid causes the grid to re-evaluate it's state and discover new horizontal or vertical words. The combination of overlapping word-values determines the value of a connected word-group with anything above 20 yielding copper ore and coins or greater.

Many have told me that the game plays more like an arcade game. This is true. Try playing it without thinking about words. Look at the pieces (words) in the grid and try to slide them into new places, you'll soon find the the gameplay will become quick and natural and that breaking words and matching coins becomes more and more efficient (and fun!).

Thanks again for the feedback.

- Chris
12-23-2015, 03:17 PM
#7
Joined: Aug 2010
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Posts: 2,759
Quote:
Originally Posted by Retrodigio View Post
2) swap letters by tapping them
I find that I almost never swap letters, mainly because that would require thinking about spelling out words, and it's faster to just slide things around and hope for the best. I'm not very good at word games, so I can't help
but feel that I'm missing out on the higher-level gameplay required to get better scores.

Social Games: Pocket Mine 2, Terra Battle, PAD
GameCenter: StriveMind
12-23-2015, 04:14 PM
#8
I rarely swap letters either, usually as a last resort to move tiles from the top of the grid into empty spaces below, or to move stone tiles around. But, like a good word-game player, yes if I have a word-group that is just below a value of 20 (copper), 55 (silver) or 125 (gold), I'll occasionally see if there is an obvious way to extend and increase the value of the group by swapping a tile into an obvious position (like making a word plural).

One useful tactic for tile swapping occurs with multiplier tiles (the tiles with stars). If you can swap multiplier tiles so that they become part of an existing silver or gold word-group, you can build some very high-valued word-groups and produce a lot of coins.

Also, another tip (just for fun).. You can use the multiplier mushrooms (the blue, purple or orange mushrooms that explode when you tap them, not the red mushrooms) to double, triple or quadruple the number of coins of any word-group if it is destroyed by a multiplier mushroom explosion. Also, you can strategically chain multiplier mushroom explosions which cause the multiplier values to increase with each explosion in the chain.

There are actually a ton of crazy strategies that can be used to produce high numbers of coins and extend the gameplay for a long time.

Thanks again for more feedback!

- Chris
12-30-2015, 03:42 PM
#9
Deep Dive into How Gnomium Works

I have had friends suggest posting a more detailed explanation behind the origins and mechanics that drive Gnomium and make it stand out from other word and puzzle games.

One thing is for sure, Gnomium is deep, and the multiple-layered mechanics that determine how the game flows build upon one another. This is my attempt to explain how the game works, from the ground up (there is actually a lot going on under that little grid).

The Grid (the foundation)

The entire game is driven by a NxM size grid of letters, each with a corresponding value ranging from 1-10, determined by the frequency of the letter as it appears in words found in the known English dictionary. Infrequent letters such as Q, X and J have a higher value (10) than say vowels (AEIOU) which occur very frequently and have a value of 1. This is very similar to the way letters are valued in Scrabble.

Now, imagine that you are playing Scrabble, but instead of starting the game with an empty board (grid), you shake up the bag of letter tiles and place random tiles from the bag into each available space on the board. At this point, you'll have something that looks more like a Word Search game than a Scrabble game.

Now you can imagine playing a word-search game against another player with this setup (and the initial prototypes for Gnomium were precisely this - a turn-based multi-player word search game with a twist). However, Gnomium is to be first released as a single-player game for mobile, new mechanics being added from this point in order to produce a dynamic, interactive game that could easily be picked up and played solo on the go, or for hours on leisure time.

So here you have your grid of randomly valued letters. Now imagine if the board was intelligent and were able to light up the tiles that formed English words on the Scrabble board. As per Scrabble rules, words flow horizontally left-to-right and vertically top-to-bottom, overlapping horizontal and vertical words connect like words in a cross-word puzzle. The one exception to Scrabble is that horizontal words can bend downward along the right side of the grid and vertical words can bend rightward along the bottom side of the grid.

Depending on the arrangement of the letters, you might get just a few words, or several. You might see places where swapping tiles would cause more words to appear, or even shifting a whole row or columns of tiles might cause the a few more words to appear in the grid.

Doing this with a physical set of tiles on a game board would be tedious and impractical, so this is where video games are so handy. No limits. So imagine that you could take that intelligent Scrabble board full of random letter tiles forming words and drop it into the screen of your phone and vuala! You have the core grid in Gnomium. A letter grid that is very easy to manipulate. You can tap 2 tiles to swap them, or slide a row or column of unused letter tiles and watch the tiles wrap from one side to the the other..and every time you make a change to the grid, it finds and connects new words for you.

So, this is our intelligent Gnomium grid. It's sole purpose is to find new words for you every time you move one or more letter tiles.

With this keen understanding under our belts, we can look into the next layer of game mechanics..word-groups and gravity.

Word-Groups and Gravity

A word-group can be defined as 1-word or 2-or-more-horizontal-or-vertical-words connected to each other because they share a common letter tile. Word groups can grow to be very large and contain many words. When words connect to form larger word-groups, they begin to resemble pieces in a puzzle, or often like deranged Tetrominos in a game of Tetris.

Word-groups, like shapes and puzzle pieces, can slide within the grid either horizontally or vertically, as long as there is sufficient space for the word-groups or groups of word-groups to move in the desired direction within the grid. Unused letter tiles (those tiles that are not part of a word-group) can slide out of the way and wrap to the other side of the grid, so they do not impede the movement word-groups.

With this mechanic in mind, the words and word-groups within the grid become like fluid pieces to a larger puzzle. Sliding word-groups around will often cause them to connect with neighboring word-groups and become larger (and more valuable, I'll talk about this below). You can now manipulate the grid en-masse, and with this we can introduce gravity.

By making word-groups subject to gravity, we introduce a new dimension to the Gnomium game play. Now, as new words are encountered in the grid, they fall naturally downward causing further manipulation to the grid, potentially causing more words to be found and so on. The grid suddenly becomes quite dynamic, wherein a single change can cause a cascade of new changes to occur. It begins to feel much more 'puzzle-y', more 'tetris-y' in a sense.

So now we have the auto-word-finding grid, the concept of word-groups and some gravity. Now what?

Breaking and Word-Group Values (aka the destruction of word-groups)

Recall that each letter tile has an associated value. Since a word or word-group is composed of letter-tiles, the value of a word or word-group is the sum of the letter tiles that compose each word. Tiles that are shared between two words therefore count double.

So, now that word-groups of varying values can and will appear in the grid, the player needs a way to collect or remove word-groups in order to potentially score points in the game. Tapping a word-group will destroy it, creating empty spaces in the grid and allowing other word-groups and unused tiles above to fall and fill in to empty spaces. Once gravity has finished it's work, any empty spaces in the top of the grid could be filled with new random letter tiles and the game continues.

Now, if scoring was based purely on the value of broken word-group, there would be little difference in the value of breaking many small word-groups verses a large word-group, the player could just break every word-group they see. To resolve this, Gnomium defines a new set of rules. The value of a word-group determines an amount of ore a broken word-group will produce.

Mining Ore and Scoring Points

In order to motivate the player to produce the highest value word-groups before breaking them, I decided to introduce the concept of scoring points through mining ore, in other words, at certain word-group value levels, word-groups produce copper, silver and gold ore. Points are then determined based on the amount and type of ore collected.

Word-groups with a value less than 20 produce no ore (and therefore no points). Word-groups with a value from 20-54 become copper. From 55-124 a word-group becomes silver and anything above that becomes gold.

The amount of ore produced when an ore-yielding word-group is mined (broken/destroyed) is determined by it's value. Now a player is motivated to score high by building and breaking high valued word-groups.

Grids are not only for Letters

One of the initial concepts for Gnomium was that breaking certain key-words would produce 'things', and that including these things in the grid could somehow effect or enhance the core game play. This concept actually opens up a very wide range of possibilities including items, creatures and events, allowing for multiple layers of distinct game play that can effect and enhance one another.

In the Pocket Edition, the most basic 'item' concept is implemented through coins and gems. Breaking a copper word-groups produce copper coins, silver produce silver coins and so forth. Matching three or more of the same type of coin produces one or more higher-level coins. This introduction of a match-3 mechanic fits very naturally into the grid and introduces a sort of dual-gameplay where one layer (word-mining) feeds or produces the resources (coins/items) for the next layer (match-3).

Building the proper play modes

Having an established means to produce content for the match-3 mechanic allows once more for a broad range of distinct game play possibilities and establishing goals or outcomes. Since matching items in Gnomium always produces something 'better', we can track progress by reaching certain outcomes. For example, the default play mode for Gnomium: PE is a survival play mode. The player begins with a fixed amount of resources- tiles, and can earn more tiles by achieving certain goals through effective use of those resources.

Gnomium PE follows a very simple and straightforward match sequence:

Copper Coins -> Silver Coins -> Gold Coins -> Tier-1 Gems -> Tier-2 Gems -> Tier-3 Gems -> Tier-4 Gems.

Each gem tier contains 3 gems. Matching gold coins or gems from a lower tier have the chance to produce any gem in the next tier.

Survival mode progress is tracked by opening jeweled chests, one chest corresponding to each of the 12 gems in sequential order, a chest being opened by matching it with a gem of the same type, the player being rewarded with in-game currency and more resources (tiles) in order to continue playing.

Part 2 continued in next post..

- Chris

Last edited by Retrodigio; 01-14-2016 at 01:05 AM.
12-30-2015, 03:48 PM
#10
Deep Dive into How Gnomium Works - Part 2

...Continued from previous post.

Enhancing and Balancing

Every item in Gnomium: PE has a purpose (well, except for explosive tiles..they're just fun).

Multiplier tiles allow you to more easily form high-valued word-groups in a smaller grid.

Stone tiles provide for more challenging gameplay if not managed well, but also provide a means to acquire more tiles.

Hammers and Chisels allow you to clear stone tiles and acquire more letter tiles.

Buckets capture falling ore and double it's value.

Mushrooms keep the grid from building up an abundance of infrequently used tiles that can slow down or frustrate the pace of the game.

These all keep the game in proper balance while having fun and interactive usefulness.

'One more feature' - Madlibs

This feature was literally put in the last week before soft-launch. An idea that my daughter and I had almost two years ago was to generate shareable mad-libs at the end of each game, using random words found by the player during the game. Unfortuantely, AlphaBear beat us to the punch, but only served to show that such a funny thing can help cause an app to go viral. The feature is a natural fit for Gnomium, where a player will often break hundreds of words during a game. This makes for some crazy and funny phrases attached to comical gnome selfies taken during the game.

The sky is the limit

Whew, that's a lot, and one would think that it might be confusing to play because it seems like a lot of rules to remember. Au contraire. Angry Birds is systematically a very complex game. The designing of the levels and building structures, the rules governing the physics of flying and colliding objects, order and strategy of using the various birds is all rather complicated when you look under the hood. But hand it to a 3-year-old and he'll figure it out and play for hours.

Gnomium is technically, a very complex game, but can easily be played by all ages despite its word-based structure. Words are a means to build structure for other ends and the building of words is through the simple manipulation of the grid. The funny thing is that children often 'get' Gnomium quicker than adults, due to our subsequent training that when we are presented with a letter grid, we must 'find words'. In the words of Obi-Wan.. "let go". Let your instincts guide you and you'll have a great time.

- Chris