Design Notes for macOS Game Show Programs
I am only a novice Macintosh programmer, but I would like to see more
TV-style games for macOS or iOS. Here are some suggestions for adapting game
shows for macOS; I have begun developing concept images for specific game
- Where appropriate, macOS and iOS game shows should (1) have a source of
downloadable update files, (2) get questions and puzzles from a
frequently updated online database or (3) allow users to create and
import their own questions or puzzles. Games that use knowledge
questions and categories should be designed for compatibility with
category files and question files created with Kevin DeVizia’s
TicTacTrivia! Editor or Vinco.
The games should resemble the actual shows and take full advantage of
Macintosh graphic capabilities.
- Male and female characters, if they appear on the screen, should be
256×256 pixels and roughly equal in number. Hosts, contestants and
panelists may be either cartoon figures, customizable as in Lexi-Cross,
or realistic figures rendered with Poser
or DAZ Studio. Celebrity
sprites should be in two sizes: 64×64 pixels for panel games, such
as All-Star Blitz, Battlestars, the Tom
Kennedy version of Break the Bank, The Hollywood
Squares and Match Game, and 256×256 pixels
for games like Chain Reaction and Super Password.
Naturally, the use of fictitious “celebrity guests” is
preferred, to maximize repeat play value and to respect the privacy of
- Given the mouse-driven Mac interface, game show applications should be
less dependent on the keyboard (except for typing answers) than their
MS-DOS equivalents. Because some questions have variant answers that are
equally valid (e.g., for “Which U.S. president was fifth cousin to
Teddy?” do you accept Franklin Roosevelt but reject FDR?), only
two methods are viable for knowledge quizzes: Make all questions
multiple choice, especially in a game for one player against the
computer, or require that the quizmaster use questions printed in books
or on cards. An auto-complete function for text input may be too
difficult to program in Stencyl. In the interest of
fairness, knowledge questions should be carefully researched.
- Most of my games would be cash-only formats, simply because
merchandise prizes do not have constant retail prices or easily
determined fair market prices. For macOS and iOS versions of specific
- Bullseye: To speed up the game, when a player
completes a contract, the money in the pot is automatically moved to
the player’s bank. Control is then given to the other player.
- Chain Reaction: Play according to the USA Network
format, with two solo contestants.
- High Rollers: Assign a random four-digit cash value
to each of the three columns in the main game.
- The Hollywood Squares: Play according to the Peter
Marshall daytime format, and allow nine remote iOS users to act as
- Press Your Luck: Instead of a question round, start
each player with a random number of spins (at least one, but no more
than 12). If a question round must be included, make all questions
multiple choice. Award three spins for a correct answer and only one
spin for a wrong answer. Yes, I know about Ludia’s
implementation of Press Your Luck for iPad, but
(assuming that it is like the Wii version) it has many faults: See this
TV Tropes page, under “The Problem with Licensed
- Related to the previous item: Game show ports to iOS could award
in-game virtual coins, as in What’s the Pic? and
similar games. The player would save the virtual coins and spend them on
packs of new questions or puzzles, or redeem them for coupon codes from
online retailers. Once awarded, virtual coins would be accessible from a
special “wallet” app on the player’s Mac or iDevice.
- John Ricci Jr.’s MS-DOS
implementation of High Rollers, which I used to play using
the Blue Label Power Emulator by Lismore
Software Systems, gives players a choice between using questions
included with the game and playing in MC Mode, in which one player is
the host and two other players are contestants. MC Mode requires that
the host have printed questions and an actual pair of dice.
- The Ricci versions of Bullseye and The
Joker’s Wild do not include trivia questions. Instead,
these games have category changer utilities so players can choose
categories for which they have question books. Hence, three people (host
and two contestants) are needed for a game. The Joker’s
Wild provides 18 category icons, but some useful category icons
are absent: For instance, a television set would be suitable for
categories relating to television programs. Also, because it is an
MS-DOS game, the category changer in The Joker’s Wild
does not let you see all of the icons at once.
- The GameTek version of Press Your Luck had six
contestant characters, three male and three female. Players could
control some and select others as computer opponents.
At present I have made my own concept images for macOS and iOS
versions of these game shows. My assumption is that players would choose
from a pool of in-game contestant characters as in the GameTek games, but
Facebook avatars may also be used. My current
software includes Poser 10, Stencyl, Inkscape
I can provide contestant characters and other graphics (not necessarily
identical to the actual game show sets), as well as questions and puzzles,
to any Macintosh programmer willing to help me program the actual games.
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