Here is some of the comments I received in 1999.
Here is some of the suggestions of how the game could be improved, and the developers can also explore the pages of my web site to research the kind of clients they are marketing to. What could be easier?
From "David Rich" <email@example.com>
Well, first of all, I think the clock for the play time was set to the processor speed, way back when the fastest PC was only a 386 33 MHz computer. You can imagine how this may be a problem now. The ten spot races through like it were the second digit on my P6 200Mhz. I would hate to see what it does on a 450 MHz machine. I got my high score several years ago when I had a 133Mhz computer. I have felt like I can not properly play the game any more, compared to how it was back then. I think it would be nice to have the clock fixed to reflect regular seconds. I could be wrong, as I do not know how the actual code is written, but That is my best guess.
Secondly, the most common complaint from Jezz-freaks is that they are unable to save their game in progress. To get the high scores into the tens of millions, it requires you to play for as much as a month or more, off and on, with out being able to shut off the computer, or even rebooting it. This poses a bigger problem than the difficulty of the game it's self. This is another reason that I have been unable to return to playing this game and getting myself back onto the high score list myself. I was knocked off my own high score list over a year and a half ago. I have had to reboot this computer at least once every other day. I have spent thousands of dollars and years trying to figure out what is my problem, to no avail. This would be a great help.
Thirdly, this game seems to top out at level 49. I take it that the original programmers never expected users to get to this level, but the people on my high score list have gotten past it and have had to repeat it hundreds of times over. It does let you continue to add points to your score, but it does not add more atoms to the field, to make it more challenging. And of course it does not increase the bonus points you can earn per level. I do not know how difficult this would be to resolve, but that would help a lot.
Fourthly, the graphics are not too bad, but as you know, they could be improved. A higher resolution would be nice. Also it the user were able to customize the color settings of the game board, or even the grid pattern. Even changing the color of the atoms would be cool.
And filthily, the game board seems to be fixed at a certain pixel size. You are not able to truly maximize the screen, to get a better look. It will blacken the rest of your desk top, but it will not enlarge the game board it's self.
Sixthly, Some people have figured out that you can press "Ctrl-Shift-F12" and skip to higher levels to keep from wasting time with the lower, less profitable levels. This should be removed, or it should be listed in the help file to allow everyone this option. It should also be made a function in the "Options" section.
Seventhly, It seems that you can place the cursor right before an approaching atom, and hit the primary button just before it passes, and get the atom to bounce off, and not take a life, and give you a one direction line to the nearest wall, for the sake of a trap. The Jezz-freaks have been able to go through a level without loosing a single life.I know that they love this feature, but I see it as a flaw in the game program.
The demo for the game is very good. I don't know if it needs any changes, but you would need to have a look into it. It does give people a great basis for the
game strategy, without telling all.
From Hugh Fraser Allen <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>Here's what I came up with
Way Cool !!!!!!!!
> - it doesn't credit you with clearing 100% of the board - the most it
>says is about 98%. This could be explained if it counts the balls as
>uncleared area, in which case it shouldn't.
I have screen shots on my web site that show it at 99%. I do not see this as being a problem. That would be my assumption also.
> - Even balls which are trapped and stationary can kill a wall which
>passes them. This seems unfair.
It seems that the white side is the hot side if I remember right. If you wait for it to rotate a little before closing it off tighter it will never make you lose a life. So I do not see this as a problem.
> - maybe the space could be 'de-quantized', ie. allow lines and balls to
>occupy any pixel, not just the coarse grid currently. This may or may not
>be an improvement.
I do not see that as a major concern.
> - maybe different rules could be used for calculating bonus points - even
>setting the rules from a choice of a few and telling the user at the
>beginning of each level, so they have to adapt their playing strategy.
That is very interesting. I don't know enough about psychology to know if people would like this feature or not. Are there any games you know of that implement this feature? Are they successful? You have hit upon one of the flaws in the game. It seems that you can put it into slow play mode, which normally would not gift you with a very high score per level, but then you can switch it back into fast mode at the end of each level, and rack up the higher score as though you were in fast mode all that time. It could be set that you can not switch out of your chosen mode after you start the game session.
> - the game could be made more forgiving - losing all lives could take you
>back a couple of levels and subtract some points.
That sounds good to me. I think the user would like that a lot.
From "David Trahan" <email@example.com>
Here' s my opinion. The first thing that you didn't mention that comes to mind is that nowhere on the gameboard does it show the user which level he/she is on...nowhere. I know that some may say that you can subtract "1" from the number of men before a level starts, but what if you want to know halfway through the game after you've lost 15-20 lives?
That's a good one.
1 - If it is set to the processor speed, your right, it must be changed.
2 - YES...YES, YES & YES.....It would be great to save an in progress game.
I take it you like that.
3 - I somewhat agree with you on this one. Although I think that adding atoms after level 49 would be the most logical, since that is how it was done on every previous level, screen space may become a problem when one approaches extremely high levels...200 or so, even if you could maximize the grid to the entire screen height/width. I think that the best solution would be to continue increasing atoms until it "would not be prudent to add any more." This would have to be determined by both the programmer and someone skilled at the game (such as yourself) - during the design of the game.
Once it has been agreed upon that adding more atoms would not be beneficial to the enjoyment and challenge of the game, an increase in the atom speed would suffice thereafter.
I think you have made some very good comments here. I don't know if some of these ideas will be too difficult to implement, but it would be neat to see what he could do. I am certainly all jezzed up about it. Sharron was asking about the copyright, but Hugh is for Australia, and is not subject to USA copyright, if I did not miss my mark. He could even set up a simple web page of his own that I could link to, but I am not too worried about that, as Microsoft has not shown much of an interest in this old game. I doubt it would even raise their eye brow if we called it Jezzball 2.0
4 - As for color, it would great to be able to change the color of the "chamber walls" (as microsoft calls them) as well, instead of having to look at red and blue all the time.
5 - Game board size is another critical issue. This sort of coincides with suggestion #3. Microsoft probably affixed one grid size so as to not have to hassle with the whole screen size factor, which would not affect points, but would affect difficulty. Maybe there should be a gradual increase in grid size for a specified number of levels passed...let's say 10. Every 10 or so levels, the grid size would increase by a certain amount (both horizontally and vertically of course).
Sounds good to me. I was just referring to a zoom in, to see a little better detail for accuracy sake. It would be interesting to see a small field in the first ten levels, like a fourth the size, and grow with each 10 levels to accommodate. Way cool.
6 - What's this "Cntl-Shift-F12" business, no-one ever told me about this (
I decided not to publish this feature on my web site, as I felt it would give some people an unfair advantage. I hate to show off any thing that may be thought of as a cheat. I suppose it is a moot point now.
. If a save function is implemented, then I see no reason for this option. Or maybe a password function could be used.
Every 5 levels or so a password could be given to return to the respective level, except that if you start from that level, your score would start from "0" again, otherwise it would be the same as a save function....which I think would be the best resolution.
Uh, I don't get it?
7 - Oh, no. Please don't take away that handy little trick!!!
That's about it for now. I'll let you know if I get any more ideas or opinions.
I would love to hear them. You are great to invest so much time to this issue. It was great to hear from you. I will keep you abreast of all the latest news about this.
At 0103 PM 3/9/99 -0800, you wrote
>Hi David,Hi Heather,
>Can you please remove my email address from your site? I am getting
>bombarded with requests for the product, most of them are illegal requests
>for me to send it to them in email!
I know, I know. I did as you requested, and in a timely manner as you may note. I removed your e-mail address link from the two pages they were on. You had asked me to remove your name off my web site awhile back, and I did do that right away also. I hope you do not feel I was being too negligent in not interpreting your true wishes the first time. I try not to speculate too much, and of course I had an agenda to pursue. I would still love to acquire a valid e-mail address for a person there at Microsoft, who will be responsive to the needs of my fellow Jezz-freaks. I need to have an appropriate direction to send those who wish to address these issues. Microsoft is the company who sold this game, and has a responsibility to stand by their products. I need not preach to you. Creating a new version of Jezzball is only going to happen if it is profitable to do so. The marketing could be cheap at least. All you would need to do is let me be one of your retailers, and primary marketing.
>That said, I have heard what you are saying--there are a ton of people who
>still play and want even more. I will look into the possibilities of an
>updated version, but I really don't want anymore email about it!
Then give me an e-mail address they can use for a contact, OK?
Also see my thoughts on personal Web Etiquette and You.