Adapting Stones for PGMJ?
How much work would it take to adapt Stones for PGMJ? For the record, I'm not referring to the game also known as Ishido, which is already fully implemented and adapted with variations in PGMJ, but the MSEP game, which is apparently adapted from Ishido itself.
The thing that makes Stones unique is that its tiles have three attributes compared to Ishido's two, and there are wildcard stones. This might necessitate the use of mahjong tiles instead of abstract tiles, as they can have the attributes of symbol and suit, and the third attribute would be color. The wildcard tiles would be Dragon tiles as with Pyramid of Wild Dragons.
I suppose, given the above, it might be better to base the adaptation on Pyramid of Wild Dragons directly, but with fewer tiles - Stones has 84 tiles in all - though it would be quite a different adaptation. That ought to sidestep legal issues, but then any adaptation would since it wouldn't be exactly the same.
Any further thoughts on this, especially from Gregg?
>How much work would it take to adapt Stones for PGMJ?
Informally, it is difficult to give a specific answer, but generally... it is not too difficult to implement technically. The bigger issue would be design, specifically, figuring out the precise rules, determining where the game "lives" (ideally, it would be a 'Stones type' game but if it requires matches on suit and rank, as noted, then that category is problematic because it allows "abstract" tilesets that have no suits or ranks), and then balancing the game. At a higher level, it needs to be determined whether the effort is worthwhile, compared against, say, adding more games to Pretty Good Solitaire Mac Edition.
Do you actually still play the Stones game (or long to)? Is there a community of players that might actually be interested in having it implemented? These are the questions that need answering. Pretty Good MahJongg is going to be celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, which provides an opportunity, but also emphasizes how long it has been since we originally designed most of these games. (I am sure I would have looked at that version of Stones, but I cannot remember exactly.) The ultimate idea was that PGMJ would include every common game that could be played with the tiles (point in favor), but I have not seen very much inclination for players to play the 'Solitaire' games over tile matching (although, perhaps ironically, I play them almost exclusively).
The bottom line is that, from a purely enjoyment perspective, I would love to implement a 3-attribute version of Stones, but Thomas is the one who determines where I spend my finite development time for Goodsol. 😉
Have a look at this, Gregg: https://archive.org/details/STONE_Win
It's a 16-bit game, so it is not playable on a modern Windows without the use of a virtual machine; I have one for running this and other very old games. It should be playable in the browser - it loads a Windows 3.1 virtual machine for that purpose.
Anyone who had installed MSEP in the old days should have come across the game. It says it is based on mahjong, and indeed its Chinese tile set has the four winds. It too has "abstract" tiles, but again, they're all based on three attributes, which is the challenge to implement in PGMJ, unlike Ishido, which is perfectly adaptable with just color added.
I had actually learned about this adaptation of Stones first before I saw the adaptation of Ishido in PGMJ. If it can be included in PGMJ, then it could become the reverse story for other people.
Yeah, I had already seen the running version in the Internet Archive, although the interface makes it fairly unpleasant to play; whether that is the fault of the original game or the browser emulation is yet to be determined. You will also notice that the design goes against the philosophy of Goodsol games, in that it penalizes the player for a wrong choice (instead of providing optional hints of which spaces are available).
>It too has "abstract" tiles, but again, they're all based on three attributes, which is the challenge to implement in PGMJ, unlike Ishido, which is perfectly adaptable with just color added.
It can be done with color shading and using suits and ranks, or it can be done fairly simply by adding a thick colored border around each tile (allowing abstract tilesets); that is not too much trouble, nor is implementing the matching rules.
The question (for Thomas) is whether it would be a good use of my limited time. If I could implement, say, 10 new solitaire games for PGSME in the same amount of time as implementing this new tile solitaire game, which provides more value? If we could point to a group of enthusiasts clamoring for a modern implementation of this Stones version, that would tip the scale one direction, while the fact that nobody has made a newer version in 30 years tends to signal there is not much market (i.e., tips it the other direction). If we spent time and effort implementing the game and it only gets played by a dozen people who already own PGMJ, that would be a real disappointment.
To be honest, Stones is one of the PGMJ game types that I, personally, only play in testing, although I really appreciate that they exist for players who find them more compelling than I do. As I said, I would enjoy the challenge of adding this game to the PGMJ repertoire, but, you know, I can't afford to volunteer that work. 😉
Interestingly, this thread has mentioned the Internet Archive, where my first retail game is playable, and the Microsoft Entertainment Pack, which morphed into Microsoft Plus!, where I had a game that led (indirectly) to the creation of Pretty Good MahJongg in the first place. Do you believe in omens? 🙂
I just realized that, because I answered in a bit of depth, I assumed the knowledge, yet failed to explicitly post, that I appreciate the suggestion and have added it to the PGMJ documentation so it can be considered now and, if not implemented soon, in the future as well.
Although I own it, I have not played PGMJ for years. Card games are infinitely more popular, so, as you mentioned above, your valuable time could very well be better spent. Glad it's not my decision. 😊
Gregg, likewise I would also like to say thank you so much for your response. Similarly, I feel that the MSEP game has a few flaws, one of them being the penalizing aspect as you noted. The first few tiles that are placed on the board also add a luck factor; if they're all the same kind of tiles and/or none of them are wild tiles, it becomes very easy to be unable to place more tiles (after a few) on the board, which has happened. Additional "loose" and "free" adaptations as with the ones for Ishido might help.
That's of course provided that the game does get adapted in the first place. It is simply a suggestion by me and not a total desire, though all the more excellent if it can be done.
>Although I own it, I have not played PGMJ for years. Card games are infinitely more popular, so, as you mentioned above, your valuable time could very well be better spent. Glad it's not my decision. 😊
I suggest that you give some of the original tile solitaire games that we implemented for PGMJ another try. In particular, I think Free Klondike is almost perfectly balanced (nearly every deal is winnable, but most are far from easy, and some are downright nasty), and both the Crazy Quilt and Gaps types are, in my opinion, better than their playing card counterparts.
Goodsol just released version 2.80 (for both Windows and Mac) about a week ago, and anybody who already owns it can upgrade for free.
My dirty secret: I tend to play the tile solitaire games with the 'Simple Tiles' (or occasionally 'Playing Card Tiles' for a change); don't tell anybody. 😉