Have you scored over 500? Here’s how:

Here at Swamp Talk, we’re always excited to hear of scores topping 500 (in 100 Letters mode). When we first started test-playing the multi-player version in teams, one team scored 501 and everybody cheered – few of us had ever scored above 500 on our own.

Except Chris. He’s the founder, so it makes sense that he’s routinely able to score 500; his best score is 510. Imagine our collective admiration when his wife, Pat, scored 524!

One of the interesting things about this game is that there are no giant words, just a steady stream of 7- and 8-letter words (and one 9). Chris remarks that some of his best scores happen this way, too.  Each word scores the square of the number of letters in it – so a few 7-letter words at 49 points each plus a couple of 8-letter words (at 64 points) and a 9-letter word at 81 points…and you’ll top 500 before you know it.

We have no record of anyone scoring higher than 524 with the published version. If you’ve scored higher, send us a screenshot and we’ll include it in a future blog post!

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To Shrink your App, Rearrange your Frogs

We know we’ve got to reduce the Swamp Talk app size to under the magic 20Meg mark, so that people will be able to download it over phone networks. One angle is to optimize the visual assets. We factored the lilypad out of all our frog frames, which reduced each individual frame by 35%. Imagine our surprise when we built the sprite sheet file (a single file that combines all the frames in a sequence) and got almost no reduction in file size. Uh-oh: we were really counting on saving some substantial file size here! Eventually we figured out that file size is surprisingly dependent on frog layout. We got our 35% by arranging the frogs wide instead of narrow, using Zwoptex’s “shelf” algorithm.

Naïvely, I would have expected .png compression to reduce essentially the same pixel data to the same size. But apparently it’s quite orientation-sensitive.

Swamp Talk – 4 1/2 stars on AppAdvice.com!

The single-player version of Swamp Talk has been on the App Store for about six weeks, and it’s getting great reviews. We just got four and a half stars on App Advice! Read the entire review here. AppAdvice.com calls it a “must-have” word app for iPhone – and we agree!

A multiplayer version that connects to GameCenter is in the works now. Subscribe to this blog, friend Swamp Talk on Facebook or follow on Twitter to be the first to know when you can play Swamp Talk with your friends.