Web Paint-by-Number Forum
Topic #139: Other Paint-by-Number Sites
By Jan Wolter (jan)

#1: Jan Wolter (jan) on Jan 14, 2009

I thought I already had a topic like this, but I thought it would be useful to people to enter some links to other sites that do paint-by-number puzzles.
#2: Jan Wolter (jan) on Jan 14, 2009
http://gridlers.net

I think this is similar to webpbn - people create and solve each other's puzzles. But it has lots more puzzles and better graphical design. They also have triddlers and some other variations.
#3: Jan Wolter (jan) on Jan 14, 2009
http://nonogramsonline.com/

This is a bit weird. They have lots of puzzles, but they seem to be randomly generated by a computer. Solution times are saved and top times are posted. Puzzle generation doesn't seem very smart. Second one I tried had multiple solutions.

I think timing the puzzles encourages guessing. If you get it right, you have a chance at a top score. If not...on to the next. Of course, since the puzzles don't look like anything, guessing is a bit hard.
#4: Jan Wolter (jan) on Jan 14, 2009
http://conceptispuzzles.com/

Conceptis sells logic puzzles to many publications. They release a few puzzles to their website and have done so for a long time. The puzzles on the site seem to be of very high quality, though there aren't an awful lot of them.

They seem to have recently completely redesigned their website. Their press release was entitled "World's most advanced puzzle website launched by Conceptis", which naturally made me want to look. I couldn't get the world's most advanced puzzle website to work on from my linux system, so I tried on my Mac, and that didn't work either. It seems to be flash-based, so I installed the newest flash and restarted the computer (as recommended in their forums) and it still didn't work. Neither Safari nor Firefox worked.

So I gave up and went to the kid's Windows computer, and tried it from IE. That got it working. I thought their puzzle solving program was OK, but in no way outstanding. I think they may have cribbed the idea of showing counts off to the left/bottom of the puzzle from me - they didn't used to do that.

One of the official advantages of using Flash over Javascript is portability. Flash is the same on every computer, but Javascript is plagued with portability problems. But my Javascript program works on pretty much every browser made, and their Flash program seems to be darned finicky. Oh well.
#5: Jan Wolter (jan) on Jan 14, 2009
I gave griddlers.net a bit more of a try. Their program is done in Java, which wouldn't work on my Linux machine, but was just fine on my Mac.

I noticed several things I don't remember from my previous visits to that site: An equivalent to red-ball error marking when you mess up on a row, a discussion forum where people can enter comments about each puzzle, and a rating system for how much you like the puzzle. Probably these weren't copied from me, as they are all pretty obvious ideas.

I played with the puzzle creation tool a bit. You need to "validate" puzzles before they can be published. This got me curious, so I entered puzzle 23 from this site (the non-representational test puzzle that I use as an example of edge logic). It failed to validate. In other words, you can only publish puzzles if they can be solved by line logic alone!

So, yes, they've guaranteed that every puzzle on the site is logically solvable and has a unique solution, but they have also eliminated all of the most interesting ones to solve, the ones that require fancier logic. Wow.

They also ban flags, text puzzles, hearts, simple pictures of houses, and smiley faces. I have some sympathy for those restrictions. They ban puzzles with obscene images, even if it is just a small part of a puzzle that accidentally looks like something obscene. After you submit a puzzle, it takes a week or so before it appears on line. I guess they have people who review puzzles.

The one thing I see there that I'd like to emulate is triddlers. Those are cool. At least I think so. When I try to solve them all I get is a blank blue screen.

#6: Arduinna (arduinna) on Jan 14, 2009
Are you trying to get us to move away from home, Jan?

Here's the one I started on

http://www.yavsoft.com/japanolle/

As I remember, it generates random puzzles, and even gets them started for you with the most obvious clues. Eventually, I started doing the same puzzles over and over and found this site (yeah!). Unless I become unexpectedly bedridden for several months, I see no way that I will ever do all the puzzles on this site, so I don't plan to go anywhere!
#7: Jan Wolter (jan) on Jan 14, 2009
I haven't actually seen a site that I think is better than this one, but it's no miracle that this site works pretty much exactly the way I like it. But different people have different tastes. I like looking at the competition (except that I'm pretty non-competitive).
#8: Jan Wolter (jan) on Jan 14, 2009
http://playtsunami.com/

Similar to this site, but seems to be pretty moribund. Too bad.
#9: Twillis (twillis) on Jan 15, 2009
I visit this site sometimes.

http://tonakai.aki.gs/picturelogic/index_e.html

You can't save puzzles, so you have to solve them in one go. I don't think users can upload their own puzzles, either. The sound effects are fun. They are all two-color puzzles, and they reverse the button conventions (first click is fill rather than dot) so it always takes me awhile to get used to it.

Webpbn has a better community feel, so I'll always be true to you in my fashion.
#10: Jan Wolter (jan) on Jan 16, 2009
There was a previous version of this item. It was item 26, but it had degenerated into a discussion of the demise of pbn.homelinux.com. I've gone ahead and archived that item and am copying over the one interesting link that was in there that I hadn't mentioned here yet:

http://www.cherylasmith.com/puzzles.html

This woman designs her own puzzles and sells them as cafe press books. Nicely produced. There is one sample puzzle in PDF form on the site.
#11: Minnie Fuerstnau (m.fuerstnau) on Jan 20, 2009
Jan, I used to work on the Griddlers site a lot before we changed to our Mac. The Triddler puzzles are so cool as you are working in three directions giving you lots of possibilities for solving and for the folks to create puzzles. Unfortunately I can no longer access this site on my Mac. That's too bad, not because I lack for enough puzzles from Web PBN but because the triangle puzzle seemed to be unique and had a broader spectrum of colors to work with. (Not a criticism, just an observation.)

As always, thank you so much for all you do with your site. Minnie
#12: Jan Wolter (jan) on Jan 20, 2009
If I ever do triddlers here, it'll be after I get a working SVG client, which may be after browsers get better SVG support. (SVG is vector graphics - it allows me to draw arbitrary lines on shapes on the screen instead of just loading images and drawing rectangles. Most browsers do it to some degree now, but not quite well enough.)
#13: Robert Kummerfeldt (rmkummerfeldt) on Mar 2, 2009
One of the first online PBN sites I ever found is http://www.blindchicken.com/~ali/pbn/index.html. Two different interfaces with different sets of puzzles. I don't think the site has been updated for years.
#14: Deana L (ffswife) on Mar 3, 2009
Robert!!! Welcome back!
#15: Nancy Snyder (naneki) on Mar 3, 2009
HEY!! missed you so much!
#16: Gator (Gator) on Apr 27, 2009
I play mostly at http://www.heroglyphix.com. It's limited to 2 colors and grid sizes of 20x20.
#17: Jan Wolter (jan) on Apr 27, 2009
Interesting site. I hadn't seen that. Seems like lots of activity there. Javascript programming isn't quite as sophisticated, or cross-browser compatible. Graphic design is a lot better looking, but kind of video-game-ish rather that paper-puzzle-ish, which totally makes sense. Good forums.
#18: Jan Wolter (jan) on Apr 28, 2009
So I got curious and tried webpbn from the wii. Somewhat to my surprise, it mostly works. Biggest problem is that everything is too small, even when puzzles are maximally zoomed. I guess this explains the graphic design on wiipicross.com and their 20x20 size limit.

This is the most I've ever typed on a wii. Or ever hope to.
#19: Jan Wolter (jan) on Apr 28, 2009
The wii browser, called "Internet Channel" is actually a version of Opera, which explains why it is fairly capable. It turns out you can zoom the browser using the +/- buttons on the wii remote, which gets smaller puzzles up to a decent size to read the clues and click on cells. The B button then turns into a nice scroll tool. For some reason, ratings don't save, but everything else works OK.

I don't think I'm going to optimize webpbn for the wii, but it's interesting to see what can be done.
#20: Gator (Gator) on Apr 28, 2009
I tried a wiipicross.com puzzle from a DSi the other day. It uses a version of Opera also I believe. 8x8s worked ok, but larger puzzles were hard to work with. But it only has a 3.5" screen...
#21: Jan Wolter (jan) on Apr 28, 2009
I tried wiipicross from a wii, and wasn't that impressed with it. The large puzzles were too small for anyone without the steadiest hand and sharpest eye to solve. Maybe it'd be better on an HDTV.

When had the wii browser zoom in and scrolled it to center the puzzle on the screen, things went weird. When you clicked a cell, the cell two or three to the left changed instead of the cell under the mouse pointer. More likely a browser bug than wiipicross's fault.

It would be very cool to be able to do decent sized pbn puzzles on a small and/or low-resolution screen, especially those with low resolution pointing devices (eg, wii and iphone). I haven't really seen a satisfactory way to do this though.
#22: Jan Wolter (jan) on Apr 29, 2009
I actually spent quite a lot of time solving puzzles on http://wiipicross.com. Because it only allows small, two-color puzzles, there are tons of small two-color puzzles, most very easy, many so easy that I don't need to bother filling in the white squares, I can just remember what has to be white and fill in the blacks. It's kind of fun blasting through dozens of easy puzzles, like popping candy compared to the 40x40 and larger puzzles that dominate this site.

I even entered on puzzle there, a slight variation of my puzzle #531 from this site. Last I looked it was something like the fifth highest rated puzzle on the site. It only rates three stars here. If Marz or Teresa posted some of their small two-colors there, they'd probably get solid 5.0 ratings.
#23: Teresa K (fasstar) on Apr 29, 2009
I'll go check it out. Thanks for the idea, Jan.
#24: Gator (Gator) on Apr 29, 2009
If you sort by rating, you will find some puzzles that will be a bit harder. I think I will post some of my harder puzzles here and see how they rate. :)
#25: Jan Wolter (jan) on Apr 29, 2009
Yup, as on this site, the biggest puzzles garner the highest ratings, but there "biggest" means 20x20.
#26: Jan Wolter (jan) on Aug 11, 2009
This is not exactly a PBN site, but it's an interesting collection of pre-computer era pixel art:

http://wildammo.com/2009/08/01/incredible-pictures-formed-by-thousands-of-us-soldiers/

It's nice to know that the artistic possibilities presented by having thousands of obedient men in uniforms have been so thoroughly explored.
#27: Robyn Broyles (ginkgo100) on Aug 11, 2009
Jan, it's good to know that the U.S. military was as careful to avoid wasting resources then as it is now.
#28: Jan Wolter (jan) on Aug 12, 2009
Well, there are few people more pleasant to see idle than soldiers. It's fine to have a large force of well trained soldiers, but it's finer still for them to have nothing much to do. I'll always be happy to have my tax dollars wasted on idle soldiers.
#29: Jan Wolter (jan) on Mar 25, 2010
I wanted to mention that the wiipicross site is moving to a new URL; http://www.heroglyphix.com/

I have mixed feelings about the renaming. Losing the "Wii" makes total sense since the site really has nothing to do with the Wii. But they are proposing "glyphix" as yet another new name for nonogram/ paint-by-number/ griddler/ pixel art/ hanji/ picross/ tsunami/ japanolle/ starpic/ picturelogic/ illustlogic/ figurepic/ crosspix/ oekaki-logic puzzles. Like we needed another name for the same danged thing.

Anyway, they seem to be planning a major redesign of their site sometime soon. I'll be interested to see where they go with that.
#30: Jan Wolter (jan) on May 31, 2013
Here's an interesting site:

http://onlinenonograms.com/

It's generally similar to this site. You can create and solve puzzles, and post comments to discussion threads attached to the puzzles. There are color puzzles. Also, it seems Sudoku.

There seems to be a considerable predilection toward huge puzzles.

If you want to participate in the discussions, fluency in Russian will be a plus. http://japonskie.ru/ Gets you to the Russian version of the same website.

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