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Letterpress 1.2 Brings HTML5 Replay Feature

Letterpress 1.2 Brings HTML5 Replay Feature

Loren Brichter’s Letterpress is my favorite iOS game. It’s no surprise that the game has been adopted so quickly and listed by Apple as a runner-up for Game of the Year on the “Best of App Store” list for 2012. Letterpress is fun, clever, and incredibly addictive. As I detailed in my original review (and as Loren himself explained in our interview), Letterpress has also a strong strategic component that, again unsurprisingly, has already been largely discussed.

Today’s Letterpress update brings a new feature that may appear as “minor” at first sight. While Letterpress got a quick “rematch” functionality in version 1.1, the 1.2 update released today brings “replay” – a way to literally replay a match word-by-word in an HTML5-powered webpage you can share with friends.

I asked Brichter about the technical details of Replay, because – try it for yourself here from a Mac or iOS device – I had to know how he managed to archive a match’s list of words and play it back with an interactive slider. In version 1.2, the app creates a JSON version of the history of the game, which is then “replayed” via JavaScript and HTML in the browser. The Replay webpages support touch controls (you can move the slider with a mouse on a computer) and the letter tiles “wiggle” just like they do in the app if you touch a word in the list. You can also simply tap the board (click on a computer) to advance one step at a time. It’s a simple feature that’s been executed extremely well.

There are two aspects to consider about Replay. From a strategic standpoint, it can be useful to analyze an opponent’s previously shared links for possible patterns and/or past mistakes. But I also wanted to ask Brichter about the technological component of Replay; he told me that, with this technology in place, he could now consider other neat visualizations for Letterpress games: for instance, he mentioned charts for scores and word lengths as possible implementations of the Replay webpage, which simply requires server-side updates. Brichter is also thinking about documenting the data format to allow other developers to build analysis tools for Letterpress. It may be “just a game”, but Brichter has several ideas to turn Letterpress into more than just a Game Center-enabled game.

Letterpress 1.2 is available on the App Store. It also brings an updated dictionary and funny release notes.