I mentioned an Android app in my welcome post, and thought I might make a follow-up post talking about it. So here it is.
Stems is my first Android app. I'm making it using C# and Xamarin. It's pretty cool. But what does it do, exactly?
As I mentioned in my welcome post, I like to play Scrabble. In Scrabble, you have to make words. Words give you points. Another pretty cool rule is if you make a word with seven or more letters, you get 50 bonus points. So, just do that a lot and you'll win!
...but how? Where do I start? What letters do I try to get? I DON"T EVEN KNOW ANY SEVEN LETTER WORDS! WHAT EVEN ARE WORDS?? HELP!!!
Worry not - this is where stems (not the app; the noun) come in. There are certain six-letter combinations that, when almost any letter is added, form at least one seven-letter word. Pretty cool, eh?
Take, for example, the word
tisane, meaning a tea of herbs or barley. If you add any letter to it, with the exception of Q or Y, and rearrange the letters, you'll get at least one seven-letter word - two or more in most cases. Adding A will give you
entasia, spasmodic contraction of a muscle, and
taenias, a tapeworm. B will give you
basinet, a medieval helmet, and
banties, a small fowl. Even J will give you
tajines, and Z will give you
We're working in Merriam-Webster's The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary, Fifth Edition, by the way. Just to make that clear.
And the cool thing is, these letters are pretty easy to come by, so if you find yourself with any of these combinations, you know what to look for!
...but how do you know what words there are? I didn't even know any of those words you listed!! JE NE PARLE PAS ANGLAIS!!!
Well, that's why I'm making Stems (notice the capital S; this time it's the app, not the plural noun :P). Stems is an app to help you memorize seven-letter words from these stems. The app is not very finished, and doesn't look that great at the moment, but here are a few screenshots of how it is right now:
This is the screen that appears when you start up the app. It lets you choose a stem to study. Not very exciting, plus there are only four. I have some plans to make this better.
This is what happens when you tap one of the items. You have seven letters on the bottom of the screen: the stem you picked, plus one randomly selected letter, arranged alphabetically. (TODO: let the user arrange these themselves.)
You can type in a word with the letters at the bottom of the screen. The word appears in the centre. Once the word is seven letters long, it checks if the word is correct, and if it is, it adds it to the list at the top of the screen. When you've found all the anagrams, it will automatically move on to the next letter.
If you're stuck, you can press the SKIP button, which shows you all the possible words at the top of the screen. Press SKIP again to move to the next letter. The app will re-add the skipped letter to your queue so you can try again.
Also, the button to the left of the skip button is a backspace button. Pretty important.
So, that's pretty much what I have so far. If you have any feedback, feel free to leave a comment below!
Here's what I have on my to-do list right now:
- Let the user rearrange the tiles - sometimes it's easier to think of a word that way.
- Add a cool logo and splash screen!
- Add a tutorial screen that tells you what this app is all about. It may not be immediately obvious to everyone :P
- Add more information to the top bar in the quiz view - it might be nice to see how many letters you've done and how many you have left, for example.