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Current Projects: Americana Engine (Game Engine Development)

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Candy Lei Problem

The board under varying degrees of Candy Lei. Players will never see balls roll out in the way shown on the third screen.

This week's board (previously called Summer Solstice) faces a few problems due to the board design, most notably regarding Candy Lei (and any other food that creates bigger clusters.) The fanpage hints that this is a tough board this week and mentions that the Candy Lei appears to be working, but many people disagree. So what's the real problem here?

Difficulty Adjustment: There are several ways that difficulty can be raised aside from the curve design. As boards in Blitz use the same curve file structure as in Zuma's Revenge, the difficulty can be raised by either increasing the max number of singles that pop up in a row (offset 0x15), the number of colors the curve will produce (offset 0x19, max 6), or other features like max cluster size and speed of balls (offset unknown). The balls generated are not completely random, instead the color of the ball is based on whether or not it meets various criteria in the previous sentence.

Note the difficulty applies for a single curve only, and there are two curves that are loaded in Blitz, so the difficulty for each curve can be adjusted independently.

Problem: The Candy Lei makes clusters bigger by reducing the number of single balls that can appear in a row (it also increases the chance that clusters are bigger, but only marginally). Under normal circumstances after a ball has rolled out, if the next ball isn't the same color as the previous ball then the ball after that must be the same color. The Candy Lei ensures that no single balls roll out at all. However this board allows up to two singles to roll out in a row, so a Candy Lei would set the board to the difficulty found in past boards without the use of Candy Lei. The noticeable change is minor when multiple single balls are allowed to come out in a row, but is major when they cause singles to be non-existent. The huge difference is causing people to believe that the Lei is not working.

How to resolve: The Candy Lei effect either needs to be made stronger, or change the difficulty that fewer singles roll out.

Strategy: I would normally suggest using a Spirit Turtle since you can chain hot frogs together and can clear balls / reach fruit no matter how jumbled up they are, but they banned it and 99% of the players do not have access to a turtle. Unless you are an expert with making gaps, I don't have good tips otherwise, so all I can say is good luck.