Er, perhaps the lack of need for speed… I just played the game while bumping up the speed by several factors. It becomes very challenging very quickly. Currently, the speed of the rising blocks is clocked at 3.6px/sec. This translates to about 2.5 minutes before the screen becomes saturated with blocks and you get killed. It is a pretty good pace, but anything above it becomes very challenging. This is sort of a problem because it doesn’t leave a lot of opportunity to make the game harder. It becomes a frantic make-words game where you start spelling “TIN” and “TAN” all the time. Not that much fun.
So how do I go about making it harder if the speed of the game shouldn’t increase too much? The solution may lie in the random letter generation. In easier difficulties, I could randomly generate the same way I currently am – use a true English letter frequency table. This creates opportunities to make words that align well with the common language.
So for harder difficulties, I was thinking about skewing the random letter probability table. This would in essence steal away from frequent letters to make less frequent letters more frequent (I hope that makes sense). For example, less E’s would be made and more K’s for example. For the hardest difficulties, X’s, Z’s, and Q’s would be increased. This of course will lead to players being required to spell harder words and thusly gain more points (leading to more magic and more experience).
The “skewing” I’m talking about wouldn’t necessarily be a lot. Just adding one more Z to the probability table would increase its chance of appearing by 50%.
On a related note, I was also thinking of increasing the probability of specific letters when other letters are generated. For example, Q’s are almost always followed by U’s. If you have no U, you can’t make a word involving Q. This is sort of a problem because U also happens to be less frequent (the least frequent of all the vowels). I’ll be thinking more about this one.