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WordStorm

WordStorm is a single-player word game in which you complete words with missing letters.

version 2.1.1 build 6 (install package for Win32; 700KB)

Also available: C++ source archive (680KB)

WordStorm 2.1.1 requires at least an 800x600 display; aside from that it should run on any Windows 98SE or later system. I’m not certain about NT, 95 or pre-SE-98. Preliminary results suggest that WordStorm 2.1.1 runs on Windows Vista (32-bit) without incident.

Changelog

version 2.1.1 build 6

  • On some displays (e.g., 1280 x 1024 small fonts) WordStorm 2.1 used too large a font for the score and status text, causing portions of the text to overlap. The algorithm for determining font size was changed to take widths and not just heights into account.

version 2.1 build 5

  • This release is functionally identical to build 4; the only differences are some changes to the “About WordStorm” text and the install packaging. If you have already installed build 4, there is no reason to download build 5.

Screenshots and Help Text

WordStorm untimed WordStorm timed

About WordStorm

WordStorm is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version. The word lists used in WordStorm were derived from some of the lists contained in SCOWL (revision 5) and 12dicts (release 4.0).

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be enjoyable, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

How to Play WordStorm

GamesThe Options DialogWordStorm/untimedWordStorm/timedAfter a gameDuring or after a game

Games

There are two separate games in this version of WordStorm. In WordStorm/untimed you are shown a series of words with all but the first letter of each missing, and you attempt to fill in as many of the blanks as you can in 24 turns. In WordStorm/timed you are shown 24 words with one, two or three letters missing, and you attempt to complete as many words as you can in 90 seconds.

The Options Dialog

  • The first time you start WordStorm a dialog displays some settings which are retained from session to session. You can recall this dialog at any time by clicking the Options button or by pressing the Home key.
  • The Games section
    • The WordStorm/untimed option tells WordStorm to begin a new untimed game each time you begin a new game by starting the program, by clicking the Begin button, or by clicking the Play again button after finishing an untimed game.
    • The WordStorm/timed option tells WordStorm to begin a new timed game each time you begin a new game by starting the program, by clicking the Begin button, or by clicking the Play again button after finishing a timed game.
    • The alternate option tells WordStorm to alternate between the untimed game and the timed game each time you begin a new game by starting the program, by clicking the Begin button, or by clicking the Play again button after you finish a game.
    • When ask at startup is checked WordStorm shows the Options dialog first each time you run the program; when it is unchecked a new game begins as soon as WordStorm is launched.
  • The Untimed section
    • Click the Play button in this section to save any changes in settings you’ve made and begin a new untimed game.
    • The shorter words – longer words slider determines whether the untimed game generates:
      1. 5-letter words only
      2. a mix of 5- and 6-letter words
      3. a mix of 5-, 6- and 7-letter words
      4. a mix of 6- and 7-letter words
      5. 7-letter words only.
      Since you score more for longer words, it’s not necessarily easiest to let the game generate only 5-letter words. Choose whichever setting produces the most comfortable play for you.
    • The more common words – less common words slider determines the maximum vocabulary level of the words the untimed game will generate. The leftmost setting selects words from the first vocabulary level only; the second setting selects words from the first two vocabulary levels; and so on. Here are some examples of words from each vocabulary level:
      1. ADULT, CRIME, EVERY, MOUSE, OFFER, PAPER, SILLY, TEETH, VALUE
      2. ABBOT, BRINE, EBONY, GRUEL, MOLAR, OLIVE, RABBI, TEMPO, VOGUE
      3. ANODE, CAPON, DRUID, FJORD, HAIKU, LICIT, REBUS, TIBIA, WENCH
      4. BURSA, CORGI, DEIST, ERGOT, FATWA, GUNKY, PLEBE, PORKY, VELUM
      5. ALKYL, BATER, CERTS, DONGS, MAXED, MUZAK, REFRY, TUPLE, WONKY
      Since you score more for words from higher vocabulary levels, it’s not necessarily easiest to let the game generate only the most common words. Choose whichever setting produces the most comfortable play for you.
    • Check the box in this section labeled lower case letters if you prefer to see lower-case letters in the untimed game; leave it unchecked if you prefer capital letters.
    • When the box labeled type all letters is checked you must type each letter in each guess, including those which are already known (shown with a white background). When this box is not checked you type only the unknown letters (represented by blank tiles). Checking this box gives you more flexibility when you can’t think of a word that fits the known letters (since you can try a word that doesn’t contain all the known letters in the correct positions to gain information), but it requires more typing.
    • When the box labeled continue after invalid words is not checked, if you type a guess that is not recognized as an English word WordStorm shows you the correct word and gives you a new word. If you check this box you still lose a turn (and get no points or additional information) if you type a guess that is not recognized as an English word, but you continue to guess at the same word. The game is slightly easier with this box checked.
  • The Timed section
    • Click the Play button in this section to save any changes in settings you’ve made and begin a new timed game.
    • Check the box in this section labeled lower case letters if you prefer to see lower-case letters in the timed game; leave it unchecked if you prefer capital letters.
  • The Unfinished games section
    • When the box in this section labeled save unfinished games is checked, WordStorm will save, or prompt you to save, unfinished games if you exit while a game is in progress. If it is not checked WordStorm will not save unfinished games unless you exit by pressing Ctrl+S or by holding down the Shift key when you click the Exit button.
    • Check the prompt before saving box if you want WordStorm to ask you before saving a game.
    • Check the prompt before resuming box if you want WordStorm to ask you before resuming a game that was saved.
  • The Begin button (shown in the Options dialog displayed when WordStorm first starts) saves any changes in settings you’ve made and begins a game according to the selection in the Games section.
  • The Exit button (shown in the Options dialog displayed when WordStorm first starts) ignores any changes in settings you’ve made and closes WordStorm without playing any games.
  • The OK button (shown when you use the Options button to display the dialog) saves any changes in settings you’ve made and resumes normal game play.
  • The Cancel button (shown when you use the Options button to display the dialog) discards any changes in settings you’ve made and resumes normal game play.
  • The Help button shows the text you’re reading now.

WordStorm/untimed

  • Each time you’re presented with a new word you’re given the first letter of the word. Type the letters you think are missing (or, if you’ve checked the type all letters setting in the Options dialog, type what you think the word might be).
  • You can use the Backspace key to change letters any time before you type the last letter in a turn.
  • The program searches all the words it knows (not just the selected vocabulary levels) to determine whether what you entered completes an English word. If it doesn’t, and the continue after invalid words setting is not checked, the next line is filled in with the correct word and then (if any turns remain) you’re given a new word. If that setting is checked, the next line is filled in with dashes and then (if any turns remain) you continue with the same word.
  • A white background appears behind each letter that is in the word and in the right place. (If the type all letters option is not checked, those letters are also filled in for your next try, and you can’t change them.) If you get all the missing letters right and you haven’t used up all 24 turns, you are presented with a new word.
  • A mottled rose background appears behind each letter that is in the word, but not in the position you typed it. (When a letter is repeated in your guess, it will only be shown with a rose background up to as many times as the letter appears in positions other than those in which you typed it. For example, if the word is sneers and you guess seeker, your first e will get a rose background, your second e will get a white background and the background of your third e will not change.)
  • The row of smaller tiles below the main playing area shows you which letters are known to be among those remaining in the word (left side, light tiles), which may be among the remaining letters (center section, medium-color tiles), and which are known not to be among the remaining letters (right side, dark red tiles). On the left side, each letter is repeated as many times as it is known to be among the remaining letters in the word; the tiles are shown with a white background if the letter must appear exactly as many times as indicated, or with a blonde wood background if it must appear at least as many times as indicated.
  • You can click the Skip button or press the Tab key at any time to skip a word and be given a new word on your next turn.
  • You can click the Hint button or press the ? key to get a hint if there are at least two unknown letters left and at least one more turn remains. This takes a turn and shows one of the remaining letters in the word.
  • Scoring
    • On each turn, the first correct letter you type is worth 2 points. The second correct letter in a single turn is worth 3 points, the third 4 points, and so on. (However, you get no points for a turn that does not form an English word, even if some of the letters happen to be correctly placed.)
    • If you complete a word correctly, you also score the amount shown as the Word points at the top right. When a new word is presented, this value is calculated as twice the number of letters in the word plus three times one less than the vocabulary level from which the word was drawn.
    • The Word points value is reduced by two each time you take a hint.

WordStorm/timed

  • The game generates 24 5-, 6- and 7-letter words from the first two vocabulary levels. One letter is removed from each of the first eight words, two letters from each of the second eight words and three letters from each of the remaining eight words. A 90-second timer begins counting down as soon as the game begins.
  • As each word is presented, type the missing letters to form an English word.
  • You can use the Backspace key to change letters any time before you fill in the last unknown letter in a word.
  • If the letters you enter complete an English word you get credit for the word, regardless of whether it was the same word the program generated.
  • If the letters you enter do not complete an English word, or if you click the Skip button or press the Tab key, the next word is presented in place of the word you missed or skipped.
  • If there is time remaining after all 24 words have been presented, the game cycles through the list again showing any words you missed. This continues until the timer runs out or you get all 24 words.
  • You can click the Pause button, or press the space bar or the Pause key, to pause the timed game.
  • Scoring
    • If you complete a word when the word is first presented, the first missing letter in the word is worth 3 points, the second 4 points and the third 5 points. (That is, one-missing-letter words are worth 3 points, two-missing-letter words 7 points and three-missing-letter words 12 points.)
    • If you complete a word after missing or skipping it at least once, the first missing letter in the word is worth 2 points, the second 3 points and the third 4 points. (That is, one-missing-letter words are worth 2 points, two-missing-letter words 5 points and three-missing-letter words 9 points.)
    • If you complete all 24 words before the time runs out, you score a bonus of 5 points for each second remaining on the clock; if you complete all 24 words without skipping or missing any, you score 8 points for each second remaining.

After a game

  • When you finish a game, WordStorm adds your score for the game to the statistics it maintains for you, which include how many games you’ve played, how many games you’ve won, your three best scores for each type of game and the scores of your last three games of each type. WordStorm also computes your Rating, which takes all the games you’ve played into account but gives more weight to more recent games. (Specifically, the rating for each type of game is a weighted arithmetic average which gives the score of each game but the last 93% of the weight of the score of the following game, and the overall rating is a simple average of the ratings for the untimed and timed games.)
  • Click the Play again button to play another game. If alternate is selected in the Games section of the Options dialog the new game will be timed if you were playing an untimed game or untimed if you were playing a timed game; otherwise the new game will be the same type of game you just finished. You can also press the space bar to begin another game of the same type you just played or the Enter key to begin a new game of the opposite type. (WordStorm ordinarily displays the message “Press the space bar to begin” before a timed game so you can be ready before starting the timer; but when you press the space bar after finishing a timed game the new timed game starts immediately.)

During or after a game

  • To exit WordStorm click the Exit button or press Alt+F4 or the Esc key.
  • To exit WordStorm during a game and save the game in progress (without prompting and regardless of the settings in the Unfinished games section of the Options dialog) hold down the Shift key when you click the Exit button, or press Ctrl+S; to exit without saving the game in progress hold down the Ctrl key when you click the Exit button, or press Ctrl+N.
  • To show the Options dialog, click the Options button or press the Home key.
  • To show this help file, click the Help button or press the F1 key.
  • To abandon the game in progress (if any) and begin a new Timed game, press Ctrl+T.
  • To abandon the game in progress (if any) and begin a new Untimed game, press Ctrl+U.