Fishy SudokuMar 29 2010 | 10:05:23 | No Comments

Fishy Sudoku

Fishy Sudoku: Challenging puzzles. Great Interface.

Well, it’s about time I came clean.  I am a Sudoku addict.  I do two fairly difficult puzzles a day, at a site that offers free daily puzzles.  I’m getting a little tired of the puzzles on that site because they tend to block forward progress until you find one or two X-Wing sets and then you’re done.  A bit predictable after a while, and once you get good at spotting X-Wing it gets kinda boring.

So about a year ago I started making my own puzzles.  I wrote a java program that generates random puzzles, and another java program that solves the puzzles by applying various techniques in a loop, in order of difficulty.  The second program rates the puzzles made by the first program.  I wrote a third program that lets the first two programs fight it out until they come up with a tough puzzle.

Hard puzzles should have one or two X-Wing sets.  Really hard puzzles, in my opinion, need an XY-Wing or a swordfish or even a jellyfish.  Thus the name of my new daily puzzle website,

I put together a nice little sudoku puzzle interface in Flash.  It addresses all the things I found really annoying about other online sudoku sites.  First of all, the pencilmarks come up automatically.  My wife insists that Sudoku is a big waste of time, and she’s right, to an extent.  The interesting parts of solving a sudoku puzzle tend to just punctuate long stretches of tedium. God forbid you make a mistake during the pencil-mark tedium.  Anyone who has tried Sudoku has made a mistake at some point that went undiscovered for the better part of an hour.  This is not a rewarding feeling.

So in my interface, autohelp is on by default.  Glaring mistakes are immediately circled until they are fixed.  Obvious pencilmarks are done for you.  But most interfaces that do this prevent additional edits to the pre-determined marks.  So in my interface, you can grey out any pencilmarks that you know to be impossible.

I have plenty of features still to add — puzzle archive, access to the solver for hints & more — but I figured it was time to do an alpha launch.

To reach a broader audience, I also boxed it up as a facebook app. Add it to your facebook apps! I need at least five people to add it before I can get listed in the app directory.

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