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Settling in and exploring new avenues: Gram Games on moving from a small studio to a mid-size company – Pocket Gamer.Biz

2017 has been a big year for Gram Games so far.

The developer expanded out from Istanbul with a new headquarters in London, which got straight to work and launched its first game, Merge Dragons!, in June 2017.

It wasn’t just a new game, however it was also the first time that Gram had experimented with IAP, having previously developed casual games that were entirely supported by ads.

It’s an exciting time for the developer, and Culture Developer Erin O’Brien is definitely pleased with how the year has turned out thus far.

On top of new studios and new games, “the year’s allowed us to explore a lot of new talent, a lot of new people as we’ve expanded into this IAP space,” she explains.

“The rest of the year promises a lot of releases exciting releases, in my opinion.”

In-App Potential

Gram is keeping tight-lipped on what form these games might take for now. But one thing is clear – it is very excited about the potential of IAPs.

“IAP is a really exciting space to be in it allows you a lot more creativity and freedom with regards to what you can explore in terms of gameplay,” explains O’Brien.

“We’re a company that wants to be making games for the players, we want to be a company that’s making fun and entertainment for people, and IAP gives you the opportunity to be very responsive to that.

“And also, we had our three hit puzzle games, and while those are really exciting and really great, we wanted to see what else our team can do.”

The decision to try something new is paying off O’Brien states that Merge Dragons! is performing well, particularly in terms of its community and fanbase.

And it seems to be a shrewd business move too. While Gram is still exploring different areas of monetisation, IAP is definitely something it is interesting in pushing further into.

“It’s a very interesting realm to venture into, and see how you can use the data and player response to build involved, engaging gameplay that allows the game to stay alive without the distraction of ads,” says O’Brien.

Merge Dragons! is Gram Game’s first exploration into an IAP-led game, but it won’t be its last

“Merge Dragons! has been an incredible experience with regards to that, and the titles that we have to come have also allowed us to further explore mechanics, meta, different forms of integrating IAP.”

Diversity is good

But that doesn’t mean it won’t be making ad-based games anymore. “Diversity is always a smart move,” says O’Brien.

“We still have one ad-based title still out there, and it’s not like we’re not going to be making ad-based titles anymore. We’re diversifying what we’re doing, diversifying offices, diversifying the team.”

But Gram is only diversifying so far. A core title is off the cards for now as it focuses on its “mobile social” realm.

While a core game may not be on the table, the company is exploring implementing metagame elements in all its games including casual releases like Bounzy!.

“We’re interested in adding more and more it depends on the demographic, it depends on what people want and what they respond to,” says O’Brien.

“But the way we work as a company, we very much give the freedom to our team to explore the things that the data says will work, but also that they’re interested in creating.

“As our team has delved into these games, they’ve become very interested in the idea of building another narrative on top of these puzzle games, and keeping it simple and casual while also allowing people to semi-engage in the way that you would in a mid-core game.”

Cooling off

That team isn’t looking to grow anytime soon either. After a rapid expansion at the start of 2017, with a new studio opening, Gram is slowing down to let the new people settle in a bit more.

Gram opened its new studio in London earlier in 2017

“We are a company that puts a really, really high premium on the culture that we create and encourage within the organisation, and it’s something we’re very diligent about every time we bring someone new onto the team,” explains O’Brien.

“Our interview process is like, six steps long. Expanding and growing the team is not something we take lightly.”

“We want to make sure everyone in London is settled in, we want to make sure everyone in Istanbul is settled in, and make sure our company culture and the way that we produce things is still working in two studios before we look to expand further.”

The company is particularly wary of growing too quickly and losing sight of the culture that led to its initial success, as can be the case when developers expand rapidly.

“At the end of the day, we view our culture as just as integral to our success as our products,” says O’Brien.

“There’s a symbiotic relationship you can’t have the products without the culture, you can’t have the culture without the products.”

Settling in

So as much as Gram Games is gearing up for a busy period for releases through the rest of 2017, its settling down to give its team some time to relax, settle in, and try new things before it looks to expand anymore.

“We’re moving from a small studio to a mid-size studio we have two small studios, and we never really want to be more than a several small studios, but right now as a larger company we’re moving towards mid-size,” explains O’Brien.

“We’re exploring different ventures, like what we can do with the games we’ve created we want to be a scalable entertainment company, we don’t just want to be the company that makes puzzle games.”

“I think we are becoming that, and I think that it’s a really exciting time for the company, and it’s a really exciting time to watch out for what Gram is doing.”

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Settling in and exploring new avenues: Gram Games on moving from a small studio to a mid-size company – Pocket Gamer.Biz

CNN | All Free Brain Games

powered by Arkadium logout x This content was personally selected for you by Arkadium, the leading provider of fun, engaging, and brand safe digital content including quizzes, games, videos, puzzles, and more! This content is 100% free.Are you a Publisher? If youre a publisher looking to drive new revenue from day one and keep your users engaged and on your site, our free widget is for you! Getting started is easy: find out how! About Arkadium Our Privacy Policy All Games Word Card Arcade Puzzles Strategy Quizzes More xYou have logged out Login again Tweet Outspell xContact UsPlease fill out the form below to contact us Your full name * Email * Subject GamesGeneral InquiriesOther* Message * Please leave a detailed description about the issue you are seeing. Include things like game name, how often you can reproduce it, the flash player you are using, and uploading a screenshot to help us resolve your issue quicker.You can upload your screen image here* submit Contact Us x Ok

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Why the world’s toughest maths problems are much harder than a chess puzzle, and well worth US$1m – The Conversation UK

The above picture shows a chessboard with two queens placed on it. As the queens do not share the same row, column or diagonal of the chessboard they are not attacking each other. Can you place another six queens on the board so that none of the eight queens are attacking each other? And if its possible, how many ways are there to do it?

This illustrated puzzle using a typical chessboard, an example of what is called the 8-queens completion problem, is from 1850. Yet only now, in a paper written by Chris Jefferson, Peter Nightingale and me published in the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research, have we confirmed the depth of complexity hidden within the puzzle when scaled up to allow for boards of any size, with any number of queens pre-placed in any arrangement on the board a much harder version of the puzzle known as n-queens completion.

Unfortunately, due to misunderstandings when our paper was reported by the media (here for example, or here with correction) many people now think I am going to pay them US$1m. I am sorry to disappoint them, and hope here to put the record straight.

The n-queens completion puzzle is a form of mathematical problem common in computer science and described as NP-complete. These are interesting problems because if an efficient solution can be found for one NP-complete problem, it can be used to solve all NP-complete problems.

Some of these puzzles may seem unimportant identifying the largest number of Facebook friends that dont know each other, for example. But a fast and efficient solution to this problem could also be used to solve other problems with a more practical purpose for example, calculating the password used to encrypt data sent between a web browser and a bank. While it may seem odd that the placement of queens on a chessboard can in some way be translated to password encryption, that is indeed the case. That is the nature of all NP-complete problems.

Thousands of problems have been proved to be NP-complete. What I like about n-queens completion is that it is one of the simplest NP-complete problems to explain, especially to people who know the rules of chess. It is also a simple variant of one of the most widely studied problems in artificial intelligence: n-queens, which is the same puzzle but starting with an empty board rather than one with pre-placed queens. Following our paper, we now understand that the reason why the n-queens completion problem is so much harder than the version with an empty board is that it is an example of an NP-complete problem.

Nobody knows, even very roughly, how hard NP-complete problems are. They could be as easy as sorting a list of names into alphabetical order, or they could be exponentially harder. Finding out which they are is called the P vs NP problem, and it is one of the great unsolved mathematical problems so much so that the Clay Mathematics Institute (not me) is offering a prize of US$1m for the solution of P vs NP.

Since our paper shows that the n-queens completion problem is NP-complete, anyone able to show whether its an easy or difficult problem could win a million dollars. This seemed an obvious hook to publicise our paper, and while we were delighted to take part with Peter and I posing with giant chess pieces we only wish that the reporting hadnt given people the impression they could win the money for solving the n-queens problem, rather than the P vs NP problem that is far harder and potentially unsolveable.

Its possible the reason people misunderstood what was required to win the Clay Institutes prize is how many layers removed the prize requirements is from solving chess puzzles.

First, they needed to be tackling the right problem, since n-queens is easy and n-queens completion is hard.

Second, it is not enough to solve instances on a standard 8-by-8 chessboard. For example, we already know that the 8-queens completion problem from 1850 has two possible answers. People have to solve the problem for any sized chessboard.

The third layer is to solve the puzzle not just for a particular layout of queens, but for any possible layout of any possible number of queens on a board of any possible size. Even finding algorithms for this level of n-queens completion is not enough.

The fourth layer is to not just solve the puzzle, but to mathematically prove the properties of the algorithms that have given you the answer. This is where the prize money is: to solve the wider P vs NP question, one must either mathematically prove that an algorithm exists that can solve n-queens completion efficiently (technically, in polynomial time) or alternatively to mathematically prove that this is impossible. And, in either case, to have published this work in journals for the worlds mathematicians to pore over for two years.

Its possible that we hadnt made clear the sheer complexity of the task required to win the prize money. It might be said that we failed to explain these layers very well. If I may help those still aiming for the prize, however, I would advise the following:

Get a PhD in computational complexity

Be brilliant

Be very, very, lucky

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Why the world’s toughest maths problems are much harder than a chess puzzle, and well worth US$1m – The Conversation UK

‘Octopuz’ Is a Memory Puzzle Game Made by a 13-Year-Old – Touch Arcade

Developing games for iOS is becoming increasingly easy (as Apple likes to remind us all the time), and it’s always interesting seeing who can develop a game or an app. Octopuz is a great example of how accessible game developing is becoming. This upcoming game is being developed by a 13-year-old solo developer using Swift, and it looks like a fun memory puzzle. The game is all about memorizing a pattern and then trying to reproduce it as quickly as possible. While it might sound simple, it can be very challenging to get your brain to visualize a pattern in mere seconds. The faster you can input the pattern, the more stars you get. The game will have 75 levels, with a special Halloween event planned down the road. I hope I get to memorize patterns that look like a gory Rorschach test.

Back when I was 13, you needed to learn a ton of complicated coding on DOS if you wanted to develop anything resembling a game. I’m glad to see how it’s becoming easier (although you still need talent and good ideas), and I’m hoping we get to see even more young developers having a go at it. Octopuz will release October 2nd, and if you want to talk to the developer about it (assuming he’s not at school), head over to our forum thread.

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‘Octopuz’ Is a Memory Puzzle Game Made by a 13-Year-Old – Touch Arcade

Death Squared Review Drop In, Drop Out – DualShockers

Whenever I see a puzzle game, I always get concerned. While they can be incredibly fun and offer some of the best gaming experiences out there, they are usually done poorly. And not in terms of gameplay, but in the difficulty curve (or lack thereof). Make it too hard, and players wont want to keep the controller in their hands or out of their television screens. Make it too easy, and players will be saying to themselves well, whats the point of this? Its incredibly hard to make something that fits right in that sweet spot of not too hard, but not too difficult. The good news is,Death Squaredis certainly not a failure in that respect, by any stretch of the imagination.

Death Squaredwas certainly able to keep my attention with its challenging, yet simple level design. The fact that it supports seamless drop-in/drop-out local co-op makes for a great time if your friends come over and you dont want to stop playing. While that all sounds terrific, there is one small point:Death Squaredends up beingincredibly unrewarding.

InDeath Squaredyour objective is simple: make sure that each of the two blocks you control are on the circular plate that matches their respective colors. Getting those cubes to where they need to be is where the challenge comes in; its never going to be a clear shot to the plates. Whats even more challenging is the fact that, in certain levels, your movement on a block will create other objects in the level to move, meaning youll have to manipulate those objects in order to reach your goal. This can, obviously, be incredibly frustrating at times, for obvious reasons.

The controls inDeath Squaredare one of its high points. On the Nintendo Switch version of the game, each Joy-Con will control one cube. This means that the game is playable in a variety of ways: if you want to play by yourself, youll control both cubes; if a friend comes over, and wants to join in on the fun, all you have to do is detach the Joy-Cons, and hand it over. Its literally that simple. These seamless transitions from two player to one player are something that more developers need to look into, and at least consider when making a game with drop-in/drop-out co-op.

Whats even more challenging is the fact that, in certain levels your movement of a block will cause other objects in the level to move, meaning youll have to manipulate those objects in order to reach your goal.

In terms of story, like most puzzle games nowadays, youre not going to get much. The two cubes youre controlling are test subjects for the company Omnicore, which is pretty similar to every other cliche science-based corporation you see in video games likePortalorChromaGun.That being said, the lines of dialogue that play at the start of every level (and once in a while during gameplay) were pretty funny if Im being honest.

Both the music and sound design are equally unsubstantial. A faint techno beat will play in the background while you play through each level, while small noises will be made when activating plates or panels. Besides that, its going to be pretty quiet while youre solving those puzzles.

Another thing I absolutely love aboutDeath Squaredis its content size. There are 80 different levels that can be played just by yourself or with another person. Thats not even mentioning the 40 additional levels that can be played in the games party mode. For those math-impaired, that meansDeath Squared as awhole contains a grand total of 120 different puzzles, each of which can take anywhere between fifteen minutes to an hour to figure out if youre not using any help or hints (depending on your proficiency, of course).

That being said, after you eventually get done with each and every level in the game, youre left with nothing. Since its a puzzle game, and you know all of the solutions, theres really no point in replaying any of the levels. Theres also no level creator, which I believe should almost be a requirement in most puzzle games nowadays. It would not only give creators a chance to build something, but also introduces almost unlimited replayability to the title. Im hoping that SMG Studios considers adding this in Death Squaredsfuture.

That all being said, after you eventually get done with each an every level in the game, youre left with nothing.

My main issue with the game is what happens when you finish a level; nothing. There is no reward, there doesnt seem to be any overall ranking with other players. All you get is a grade on how well you did, which ultimately is only determined by how fast you completed the level. In the end, I didnt feel like it was worth it to play for long periods of time there was no incentivization or notable progression through the game. For other people, this may make them not want to continue after playing through just the first few levels.

In short,Death Squaredis an incredibly fun puzzle game for Nintendo Switch. While it may be unrewarding for second playthroughs and in-game progression, the fact that there are over a 100 levels means that players who love puzzle games will love this too. Not only that, but the seamless drop-in/drop-out co-op means that whether you want to play by yourself, or with a friend, or three other friends, youll be able to with the just a push of the Joy-Con release. If you have a love of puzzle games and a Nintendo Switch, or if youre having a get together with your friends soon,Death Squaredshould be on your short-list.

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Death Squared Review Drop In, Drop Out – DualShockers

The Guides Axiom Review: Bewilderingly Delightful – Gamezebo

The Guides was a tough puzzle game. Mostly because it was full of riddles and codes that took some time to truly decipher. At its heart it was relatively simplistic, but it did a great job of hiding that amongst screens of intrigue, attempting to keep you uncertain at all times. The Guides Axiom takes that principle and runs with it, adding a few valuable features to make it a more well rounded experience. It still wont be for everyone, but fans of having their brains teased to a significant degree will appreciate whats here.

Itd be hard to explain exactly whats going on in The Guides Axiom. Consider it a series of puzzles and clues, leading you to hopefully unravelling the enigma within. That sounds pretentious and maybe it is, a little. The Guides Axiom doesnt offer a regular interface to negotiate. Starting out, youre forced to follow a couple of set paths before things take a non-linear turn, allowing you to leap around between different levels.

In each case, a level is typically a screen or two forming the puzzle. You may have to decode what something might mean, translate some binary, or simply deduce what patterns are relevant on screen. Its a tricky one to fully explain without spoiling too much. The Guides Axioms greatest strength is in your inability to immediately know whats going on.

I found it the kind of game that Id dip into. Some puzzles immediately made sense and I felt a big wave of satisfaction kick in as Id effortlessly overcome a conundrum. Then another would stump me and Id leave the game for a bit, returning later, usually with a fresh mind. Its unusual how The Guides Axiom simultaneously combines a lot of satisfaction and a lot of frustration all at once.

On the plus side, the more you play it, the more you understand its way of thinking. You find yourself squinting awkwardly at a series of dots trying to figure out what they spell. Another time, youre experimenting with what you can tap and seeing what happens next. At its heart, everything is so simple but it doesnt seem like it until youve got past it.

Its all reasonably well designed with the inclusion of various decoding tools built in the game, along with the ability to take screenshots and record notes as you go along. Although, I did find it easier to just open up a browser on my laptop and use a binary conversion tool there. Such built-in tools are handy when youre out and about, rather than sitting at your desk.

Because of its very nature, those used to these kind of puzzle games may find their mileage varies significantly to those who struggle. Theres 50 puzzles in all, meaning when The Guides Axiom finishes, its done. At least for now, as there are promises regarding more puzzles coming soon.

Much like its predecessor, The Guides Axiom is a fascinating process. In an App Store full of games that guide us each step of the way, ensuring we can hardly put a foot wrong, its refreshing to have this title throw you in and leave you figuring out what youre meant to be doing. You can buy hints in the form of Hacks, but its really not essential. The Guides Axiom doesnt push you into it, and there are no ads to distract you from the experience. Instead, it can be as free as you want it to be. Its worth throwing a few pennies the games way though. After all, how much in life can you say genuinely confuses you sometimes? Being able to overcome such obstacles is part of human nature and The Guides Axiom does a fine job of making you feel good. After bashing you down with logic and riddles, of course.

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The Guides Axiom Review: Bewilderingly Delightful – Gamezebo

CAPCOM announces Puzzle Fighter, a new puzzle game with … – Android Community

So how do you spice up a regular connect-three puzzle game? Put in some of your popular game characters and give them special powers in game. Thats exactly what CAPCOM is doing with the new Puzzle Fighter for mobile its a puzzle game, but get ready to play with some of the companys more popular characters within it.

If you want to get an idea about what Puzzle Fighter is, think Bejeweled your well-loved connect-3 puzzle games but with a twist. CAPCOM is inviting their popular characters like Ryu, Ken and Chun-Li from Street Fighter, X from the Mega Man series, Morrigan of Darkstalkers fame, and Frank West and Chuck Greene from the Dead Rising series of games to help you within the game. These classic characters will have voiceovers and cinematic special moves when you use them in Puzzle Fighter.

Heres how CAPCOM describes the game: As a player youll pick one main character to step into the ring, with two assist characters that enhance the abilities of your main. Weve aimed for simple yet highly addictive puzzle action where you will strategically build up gems and destroy them to unleash epic combos that can knock out their opponent. Were especially excited that weve been able to create real-time player-versus-player gameplay on mobile devices, bringing all the action of head-to-head Puzzle Fighter on the go.

The game is in soft launch right now in unannounced territories, so the rest of us will just have to wait for the games global launch. Hopefully, this will be free to play.

SOURCE: Capcom

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CAPCOM announces Puzzle Fighter, a new puzzle game with … – Android Community

Join The Knight Watch, a frenetic puzzle game for iPhone… and Apple Watch ! – Develop

Developer:

Seele Games

Based in Montpellier, France

Release date:

5th September 2017

Platforms:

iPhone / iPad / Apple watch

Website:

knightwatch.seelegames.com

Regular Price:

Chess have never been this fun with Knight Watch, a puzzle gamecombining chess mechanics with arcade gameplay. As a lone knightonly able to move in L-Shape (like in chess), player’s goal is toclear levels by capturing all enemies. During his journey, playerswill meet units inspired by chess pieces(rook, bishop,queen) and tricky obstacles to overcome through 200 levelsand 3 games modes. The Knight Watch also has a skin system allowingto change characters and background visuals at will, with more than20 themes available !

The Knight Watch goal is to be a great game on both Apple Watchand iPhone ! We also want to appeal to chess players and new gamersalike. In order to do this, we decided to create a game thatsupports all playing behaviors : You can enjoy the game andcomplete a level in few seconds or take several minutes to plan theperfect path. Focus on getting the fastest time possible or unlocknew skins. Compete alone, in leaderboards with friends or againstthe whole world. We also believe Apple Watch has a great potentialfor interesting games ! That’s why the wearable version of TheKnight Watch has unique levels, mechanics and gamemodes.

Games Press is the leading online resource for games journalists. Used daily by magazines, newspapers, TV, radio, online media and retailers worldwide, it offers a vast, constantly updated archive of press releases and assets, and is the simplest and most cost-effective way for PR professionals to reach the widest possible audience. Registration for the site and the Games Press email digest is available, to the trade only, at http://www.gamespress.com

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Join The Knight Watch, a frenetic puzzle game for iPhone… and Apple Watch ! – Develop

Gamers Offered a Treasure Trove of Classic, Puzzle, and Strategy Free Games: MyRealGames Announces Latest … – Canada NewsWire (press release)

LONDON, Sept. 5, 2017 /CNW/ – As autumn approaches, MyRealGames is making sure that gamers have plenty of entertainment options at their disposal with an exciting line-up of brand new games unveiled, promising to deliver even as the nights draw in. The latest batch of games from the provider of premier free download games offers something for every gamer, from intriguing hidden object games to fast paced action.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20141208/720121 )

Leading the charge for MyRealGames this month is exciting action, strategy combo Vikings: War of the Clans. Taking players into the harsh world of the Vikings, they’ll have to build up their town and clan to take on other ferocious players. The massive online community and ability to form strategic alliances guarantees hours of fun for gamers seeking to gain an advantage over their enemies to become the fearsome Konung of the Kingdom.

For gamers eager for mystery and intrigue, the release of dark hidden objects game Inspector Magnusson: Murder of the Titanic is a must play. Working to solve a gripping murder after a body is discovered on the iconic Titanic, players will be taken through 27 incredible locations, from the depths of the sinister engine room to the luxurious suites and lounges, as they piece together the crucial clues before the doomed ship meets its tragic destiny.

For fans of hidden object games looking for something with unique gameplay, MyRealGames has the solution with Farmington Tales. The fun, immersive hybrid game combines the best elements of two genres, allowing avid players to scour their farm for hidden treasures and grow fruits and vegetables in real time. In a bid to win over 45 unique trophies, players will have to hang out with the quirky cast of characters, upgrade their faming equipment, and harvest the perfect crop before selling at their very own farmer’s market.

Nikolai Veselov from MyRealGames.com said, “We’re thrilled with this latest line-up of downloadable and no wifi games. We’re always striving to bring exciting titles to enthusiastic gamers, and this month we’ve got a real selection of new games to choose from.”

Embracing the retro trend, puzzle game Bubble Shooter Classic is also sure to delight. The easy to play style and endless gameplay option gives gamers an opportunity to compete against their own score. Completing the latest MyRealGames expansion is Jewel Match, a classic match 3 puzzle with an incredible 150 levels combined with mesmerising gameplay.

No registration is required to start playing the selection of free online games from MyRealGames, via mobile or PC download: myrealgames.com/.

About

MyRealGames is one of the USA’s premier free online gaming sites. All games are fully licensed for PCs, have unlimited gameplay time and are 100% free with no registration required.

SOURCE MyRealGames.com

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Gamers Offered a Treasure Trove of Classic, Puzzle, and Strategy Free Games: MyRealGames Announces Latest … – Canada NewsWire (press release)


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