Generating puzzles for a Four-by-Four Word Game

A few years ago, I made a crossword-like game wherein users fill out a 4×4 grid of letters to spell 8 words (4 across and 4 down):

Four by Four word puzzle game

However, over the course of several days, I was able to develop only 20 puzzles by hand. Trying all the various combinations is clearly a task better suited to computers than humans. Such a grid has 16 slots, each of which can contain one of 26 letters–so there are 2616 total permutations to check. That’s about 43,000,000,000,000,000,000,000–which could take a very long time, even for a computer. One key to speeding things up is to ignore permutations that don’t contain words.
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Creating a Javascript Game (LetterLock)

LetterLock - A Word Game

I recently created a simple word game using Javascript, which presented certain challenges. The game displays 3 random letters to the player, who must then attempt to create a dictionary word in as few moves as possible by shifting the letters up or down in the alphabet.

There were several programming decisions or challenges that came up during the game’s creation, for which I was able to apply some of the things I learned in my recent computer science classes.

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Hunt the Wumpus

I am taking a course in discrete mathematics this semester, and the professor suggested we take a look at a game called Hunt the Wumpus.

Hunt the Wumpus was originally created in the 1970s, and unfortunately, most of the versions you can find on the web today are easier and less interesting that the original. The original eschewed a square grid for the game board and instead used a “squashed” dodecahedron, where each game space was one of the vertices.

It is also noteworthy for introducing the superbat, a feature of other games (including Zork) that followed Hunt the Wumpus, and for the humorous feedback (e.g. “ZAP–Superbat Snatch! Elsewhereville for you!”) that many of my favorite games adopted.

At any rate, I decided to recreate a version of the easier and less interesting grid-based game in Javascript:
Hunt the Wumpus