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Who likes Crosswords?!
15th February 2009  
My mum likes crosswords!!!

And, heck. I like crosswords, too!

Except, the trouble is, there's not really a decent crossword game on the DS.
Don't get me wrong, there's a fair few games, and The Times (released this week) in particular, has a cracking selection of clues/answers, and some really nice layouts.
In fact, it's really quite nice, and would be fantastic if the actual game UI wasn't so mind bogglingly bad.
And, I'm not saying it's "A little bit bad.." I'm saying "WTF? Who made this? A two year old!?" bad!

The absolute worse thing about it, is that this exact engine has been doing the rounds for a while now.
The Sun, The Times, and the USA Today crossword games, all use the exact same engine.

The general idea is this..
You hold the DS in standard mode (#1), and since the handwriting recognition sucks (#2) must open up the keyboard which takes up 1/2 the viewing area (#3) doesn't have an erase button (#4) and then have to type in your answers whilst listening to really cheesy music (#5) and annoying clunkity clicks and plonks that accompany every possible thing you can do (#6)


At this point, my own crossword game has solved quite a few of these issues.

#1, Turn the DS sideways, ala Brain Training, and the whole "Writing on the DS as if it's a pen and paper" experience becomes a heck of a lot better.
#3, Tiny keyboard, and since it's sideways it takes up less overall screen space! (48 pixels height, out of 256 pixel screen height = about 1/5 of the screen)
#4, Added erase button on the keyboard, so you don't have to keep switching between pen and eraser all the time.
#5 and #6, it's silent.. Just as pen and paper would be.

#2's getting worked on.
It's not quite there yet, (handwriting's even more complex when the screen's round the other way!!) but hopefully it'll be sorted in a few days time.

Now comes the "slightly dodgy" bit..

It's kinda tricky to find decent crossword puzzles online, and I'm about 99% sure you don't want me to be making my own.. They'd all be made up of confusing programming terms, and other such nonsense!
So, to pad out the game, I have indeed nicked the data from The Times, and The Sun DS Games.
That's kinda dodgy stuff, and it's probably the most dodgy thing I've ever attempted to do.

But sod it.
If the makers of the DS games can't even be bothered to encrypt valued data IN THE SLIGHTEST (Open up the rom in a hex editor, it all starts at about $42000, and is in plain ASCII, with 0 encryption at all), then I figure the data's fair game! (They did bother to scramble the USA Today data, so you do have to wonder why they couldn't be arsed doing the other two.. hmm..)

I've also got my PC working on mixing things up a bit, so there'll also be a super-random pack, with all the q/a's jumbled up into a whole new bunch of Xwords..
Oughta keep things going for a while!

Jay's DS XWords (currently titled JXW) should be here on Tuesday morning, bright and early, unless the original developers come after me in the meantime!

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