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Spider's ThreadThere is plenty of remarkable work being done over at Dofi-Blog with both the Java and Processing languages. Although the blog is written predominantly in Japanese, there are at least a couple of engaging interactive games and toys that should not be missed regardless of your language of choice.

The first is a Java-based applet called War of the Hell. And while I am not sure why the author chose that title, I am almost certain the game was loosely inspired by a short story of famous Japanese writer Akutagawa Ryûnosuke. In The Spider's Thread, Buddah rescues an evil man from Hell—a man who had performed a single good deed in his lifetime—by using the thread of a spider's web. A spider's thread was used because the man had once spared a spider its life by choosing not to step on it.

In the game, you control a highly elastic string and attempt to fling the souls that cling to the string up towards Heaven. There is no time limit, just a counter that keeps track of how many you save, and the maximum number of souls you save in a single chain. Very impressive.

Play War of the Hell

Sand LickingThis next fascinating interactive toy was created with the Processing multimedia language. It involves playing with sand, water, salt, and oil as molecules of each fall from above. Use the mouse to draw walls for the materials to flow over and around. Ignite the play field with fire or a devastating(???) explosion. After allowing it to run for a while I noticed that the ball of sand grew bigger as it collected the materials that poured over it.

There is no point to it really (and why should there be?), and yet there is plenty to do and to discover with it. The ball of sand seems to be affected differently by each of the falling materials. There is more here than I can discern on just a casual glance.

The name of the piece is World of Sand (with thanks to Sariko for the translation =) The babelfish translation of the title is "The Licking World" ...or something of the sort, which had me rather confused. All I can say is try it. You will be, at the very least, intrigued by its interactivity.

Play World of Sand

Try these also... (thanks to masaki for the translations! =)
Erase the slug with salt
Playing with sand
Extinguish the fire with sand

Thanks to Lee for the link. =)

Looking for more sandbox fun? Try Hell of Sand, or Sand, Sand, Sand, both are newer updates to the ones posted here.

58 Comments

*dance*
Anyhoo, nice game.
The japanese gets on my nerves though.
:D

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salt-destroys the ball of stuff
water-makes it expand

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The name, which by itself means 'to lick', is in this case just a shortened form of 'suname', so the title is ACTUALLY World of Sand.

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More of my discoveries:

oil and plant burns easily
water makes plant expand

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Cheers, Sariko! =)
I've updated the review accordingly.

Those observations seem logical, wouldn't you say, Nick? It's amazing to watch.

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It's pretty interesting to watch the war in hell game. Just hang the string a bit above all the people, and they'll start helping each other up, throwing each other, and so forth to get the string. Put the string a little lower and the people will suddenly start throwing the others away to try and get on the string. Pretty fun games.

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yes it is fun to watch.
And it is fun to experiment

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Been playing with the sand game, this is what i've found out.

Plants grow in water
Plants can block explosions
Plants set fire easily (unless it explodes!)
Oil sets fire easily
Cera burns slowly
Wall burns but then extinguishs
water puts out fire
Sand destroys spout

Salt makes the ball smaller
Water makes the ball bigger

Oil should float above water, but it doesnt :(
salt should disolve in water but doesnt :(
sand should absorb water but doesnt :(

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Very awesome.. the spout is probably my favorite bit..

How do I move the sand ball?

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I can't figure out what to click to get to the games/toys?

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Processing (aka proce55ing) is a free/open source IDE that is essentially a front-end for Java, that makes it easier to create applets by automating a lot of the library calls and other common functions.

The upside is that a program that might take 300 lines of code in regular Java may take only 30 when using processing.

The downside is that the final applications often are a bit bloated since they include library functions that the app doesn't need.

More info here: http://processing.org/

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Thanks for the info, Matt. I have been unable to spend time with Processing development, so my knowledge of it is limited. Much of what I do know about it came from a talk that Casey Reas gave when he came to RIT earlier this year.

There are indeed some amazing things being done with it. I especially like the work of Jared Tarbell who has also done some things in Flash as well.

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i am VERY impressed

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aww...the ??? thing destroyed most of my lovely creation ;_;

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Jarod - the pieces are actually embedded in pages of the dofi-blog, so you'll need to scroll down to find them. Use either image link above, or the corresponding HTML link of each title -- "War of the Hell" and "World of Sand".

You will need a good Java install to view them both.

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On the heaven game, my best chain is 7. On the sand game, I experiment. Thanks for the games Jay!

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I found a pretty nifty experiment. It looks MUCH more interesting than it sounds, and you might want to do this when you have some spare time.

First, make the ball vanish. Then cover the screen in cera. Light a ??? explosion in the middle. Cera burns slow in regular fire but quick in the explosion. However, the explosion moves too quickly to burn the entire block of cera and flecks and chunks are suspended in the air.

Next, put a double layer of spout at the top of the screen and poke little holes into them using the eraser. The water usually isn't that thick but when you do this it's a little more plentiful.

Then, place a line of plant at the bottom. It will grow up and around the cera. Let it do this until it reaches the top. It doesn't matter if the plant grows equally, it just matters that it reaches the top and stops the spout from going. Usually most of the screen is covered in plant by this point.

Take some fire and burn at the top-center of the plant. It'll burn the plant AND the specks of cera left inside the plant, but it looks interesting because the cera is left suspended and burning. The spouts should start again, but it's unable to put out the fire on the plant. It saves tiny dots of cera, but that's it.

Now that the plant is mostly gone, is it done? Not exactly. The fire seems to miss some of the plant, particularly a bit just above the bottom and a bit inside the spouts. The bit at the bottom will regrow up in an upside down v-shape. The forest is saved, hoorah.

When you're done, you have what looks to be an upside-down malformed christmas tree with falling snow.

How cute.

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haha wow oak, i have got to try that

ive found that when you put sand on the ball it gains more traction and climbs the wall better, and oil makes it slipperier so it cant move as well. im not 100% sure if thats whats happening or if it just decides to go up the wall differantly each time but i think thats how it works

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New chain of 8 people! BEAT THAT!

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The translation is as follows:
(of the 5 games showcased on the blog, 1 being "war of the hell").

The 2nd game title is actually a combination of 3 and 4. 3 is na-me-ke-shi-shi-o (each syllable represents a "letter"), which is actually a kind of combination of 3 words, slug (na-me-ku-ji), to erase (ke-shi), and salt (shi-o). Thus, 3 is a game where you try to erase the slug with salt. 4 is su-na-a-so-bi which translates to playing (a-so-bi) with sand (su-na). 2 is su-na-me-se-ka-i, a kind of word-play using su-na (sand) combined with na-me (the first half of slug) and se-ka-i (world). So the title roughly translates to sand-slug world.

That ball thing is supposed to be the slug.

In case you were wondering, the fifth one roughly translates to extinguish the fire with sand.

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Wonderful, thank you kindly, masaki! =D

I will add links to the other games in the review with the titles you indicated. Cheers!

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Using Oak's ideas I found a way to make a self-sustaining (not the right word...) fire. The longest fire I had burned for 40 minutes.

1. Set the Namekuji to vanish.

2. Cover the entire screen with Sprout.

3. Start a ??? explosion at the very top of the screen. When the ??? explosion is finished burning, there should be a lot of tiny specks of Spout on the screen.

4. Make a line of Spout going completely across the bottom of the screen.

5. Make Plants and wait until they cover all of the screen. Embedded in the Plant will be the specks of Spout.

6. Start a Fire in the middle of the Plant.

You have yourself a self-sustaining fire!
As the initial fire burns the Plant that covers the screen, some bits of the Plant will not be burned and will grow from the Spouts surrounding it. These will grow from bits and eventually catch fire, and the cycle continues. If your Fire ends, just start at Step 5.
Hope this makes sense and you can get your fire.

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This sand thing is ridiculously useless and just as ridiculously addictive. I play with this thing forever and find myself doing the same things over and over again just to see it in action. It reminds me of a sand thing my mom used to have...it was a flat glass box with sand and water in it and you just turned it around and flipped it upside-down, whatever, and watched the sand move around (not the wave machine thing, this one was all manual baby). That, like this game is mind-numbing and extremely fun!!!! Great little toy!!!

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I found out a couple of interesting things. Again, I'm going to take too long to say them.

I zigzagged spout walls over the screen, so it was filled with water and spout walls, in little cavern-like seperations.

If you look very closely at the outer ridge of the game (only on World of Sand and Playing with Sand settings), there are little colored pixels that represent the last thing that you used right next to it. In the regular World of Sand setting, this line is only at the bottom. But for Playing with sand, it's on all sides. For instance, after using the ??? explosion, almost the entire outer ridge is a magenta color in this setting.

By chance, as I was trying to experiment with what I had done, the outer walls were red, representing fire. I put some plant within a few of the caverns and they went from one side to the other. I had long blocks of plant seperated by spouts.

To my suprise, the plants spontaneously combusted from the sides. I don't know when it happens, not exactly, because it seems to be random, but it's the fact that it happens.

I replanted the area, because the spout pipes were filling the cavern back up with water, and the plant was returned, but it spontaneously combusted once more from the side.

I noticed the red on the wall and used plant next to it to change it green, and the fire stopped eating the plant.

In that same scenario, I figured out that sand dissolves Spout pipes. Only when I figured it out, the sand had no way to fall beyond the spout pipe and this created a perfect replica of the spout pipe, snaking along it's length and sandwich in between the water pockets.

Also, the ??? explosion works in a certain way. It's free-fire that seeks out open oxygen. The reason it leaves flecks and chunks is because the magenta particles seek out oxygen over any other type of object, so it sweeps past the object, only half destroying it. You can tell that it seeks oxygen because if you hold down the left button, it sends out a single wave of magenta particles, and only sends out a second wave after the open area has been moderately cleared of the first wave's trails.

Another way to proove the ???'s tie to open air is to make a spiral with plant. Make sure the space in between the plant spirals are wide enough otherwise the explosion won't go. If you do it right, the explosion follows around the spiral, pushing forward every time the opportunity for unignited air is present. If you make the space in which the explosion must travel narrow enough, it can't reach the oxygen and dies off.

Yay for looking too much into things.

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I believe cera is latin for "wax".

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check out what I made

http://img354.imageshack.us/img354/719/beachsand9fk.png

check out how I made it...

http://img354.imageshack.us/img354/4695/beachsandh27jc.png

after the fire finished, I just drew the docks/lamps and lit the lamps

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Max chain- 10!!! :) Don't really know how I did it considering it took me about two minutes to even get one into heaven. But somehow I finally got it! :)

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I can't see the game, I get to the page, find where it is supossed to be, but instead get an empty square with the little red cross on the box, can't really describe that weel. What do I need?
By the way, I love your page, been visiting for months, maybe a year, this is my first message.

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Sebastian - you will need Java installed to be able to see the applets. This is from the Processing website...

"Java 1.4 â€" this is required for running the Processing environment itself, and the one that receives the most testing from us."

You can download version 1.4 of the Java runtime environment at Java.com. Although version 1.5 is also available, it is not recommended for use with Processing.

Cheers! =)

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This is really funny. ^_^

I found out, that if you make all tiny dots of Sprout, you'll get much more water then when you make one big dot.

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Neat.. messing around with Oak's spiral plant + explosion expiriment, I found another one..

create a line of explosion near the top of the screen, then get a max-size eraser and start erasing. The explosion will keep going into whatever empty space you have created.

This would be cool as a sort of engine to build multiple random games upon..
Some I've thought of would be seeing how long you could create a self-susstaining fire for. You have like 2:00 to build it and then let it lose.
Or maybe a lemmings-esque game where multiple lemming types can create different elements to do random stuff..

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Wehay, i finaly got a chain of 10! Woohoo. Excelent game!

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You did it again Jay. World of Sand one of the most fun things you have ever posted, thanks.

I have been working with plant and fire to find a scenario where it is always changing and random, but nonetheless stable. One thing I found is that if you put the oil to five and light it, the fire will never go out on the top. I have several sucessful scenarios based on that where it will run forever without ever stablizing, like this one

But even more interesting is to fill the whole screen up with spout, and then carve plants into it with a 2 or 4 brush, and light it. It will also seen to run forever, with neither plant nor fire ever winning completely. Like this Christmas message. Have a good one Jay.

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Someone on Fark.com posted a link to a bigger version. Makes the oak-inspired never ending ??? explosion trick even cooler.

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To Alex H.:

I made a scenario in which spout plant won over fire using what you said, so it's not too definite that it's balanced.

I did find a nifty way to make a message, though. Draw a small line of plant at the bottom of the screen and fill the screen with oil using the x5 dropper and the pen tool at size 32. It should only take a couple of seconds.

Then, with cera at size 2 or 4, depending on how long you want the message to remain, write whatever you want within the oil.

When you've finished, ignite a fire towards the center of the screen. I recommend actually lighting more than one because it will help to clear the screen of oil and the line of plant quicker.

In a few seconds all that will remain will be what you wrote in cera slowly burning away. It looks neat.

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Actually, just covering the screen in plant works too, but I think burning the oil is much more fun.

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BoB is asian December 24, 2005 11:45 PM

I liked the slug one but only managed to kill 11.....:'( oh well.

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max chain 12, tho i have no clue how i managed that...

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The big version doesn't load.

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lol oak i tried it but it didnt work.. ;_; when i put fire on it, the fire burned EVERYTHING except for the spout.. but anyways... this game is really addicting!! I love it!! Keep up the good work jay!

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wow, the world of sand thing is absolutely amazing. i'd love to see something like that full screen with a lightpen working directly on the screen with synchornized/dynamic audio. it would be even more mesmerizing..

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Thingy Master December 26, 2005 4:34 AM

I found a way to make some pretty cool art

1. Fill the screen with Cera
2. Make a line of wall at the very bottom
3. Use the earaser to make a empty line abouve the wall
4. Put Sand and Salt to lvl 5 and water and oil to 0
5. Put time to 0 (if you havent already dont this)
6. Make a small salt line line from the salt "box" to the bottom.
7. Do the same with the sand (using sand of course)
8. Light all the bottom cera on fire
9. Turn time to 5 and wait
10. When everthing is done burning remove the wall from the bottam and let everthing drain.

The result should be some pretty cool art.
Dont realy know how to explane it, but it reminds me of a paintstroke.

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Oak:

Yeah, it does take a bit of work, but the first example I posted has been running for 3 days now, and a variant of the second has been running for more than 24 hours now.

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Hi there!

First of all i want to tell you that ur website is AWESOME, its the best game selection ive found on internet so far and ive seen lots of them...

Well, i was playing "War of Hell" when it came to my my mind a site i used to visit long time ago called:

http://www.sodaplay.com/

...although i wouldnt be surprised if you already knew about it...

Anyway, i searched for it on your website and i didnt find it.. so i guess you didnt visited it yet because you would reccommend it for sure...(or may be i didnt do a correct search...)

Bye! and thanx for having such an awesome website!!

^_^ fer.

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Jay, my favorite is "The Spider's Thread". If you get enough guys on the thread by dragging it above them, you can fling them against the left wall, which slopes upward (to heaven)and lets guys just standing there fly to heaven, as well as the guys hanging on the thread. It's very relaxing to play, no time limits. I wish there were incentives tho, like 'longer', 'stronger', 'wider thread', etc., after reaching 50, 100,... I've tried the other games in this site, too. Jay, you have done it again!

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An interesting variable in The Spider's Thread is this: the 'topography' of the ground itself changes for every game. It's easier to get more guys on a thread when the ground is smoother, obviously!

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Cheers, Barb. =)

Honestly, I could sit here all day playing with these. The sand is one of my favorites. Absolutely mesmerizing.

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My 6 year old loves the sand games! He is always trying new experiments and tells me about his discoveries. Thank you, we look forward to lots more fun at Jay is Games.

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theres a link on the sand one to "hell of sand" its like a combination of both games, but with added hand tool, plus 'cena' is called 'wax' instead

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For a fun little fireworks show on the World Of Sand, turn of the namekuji, put a line of wall or wax along the bottom, then fill the screen with salt. Then turn the namekuji back to MOVE and watch it blow up repeatedly.

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new game. not great but new. i am trying to figure out what the seed does.http://ishi.blog2.fc2.com/blog-entry-180.html

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great game!

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Thanks for putting up the link to the Java download Jay! :D These are simply superb!! Cheers!!

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Notes on the "World of Sand" game:

The word "NAMEKUJI" (the rolling ball of sand) is the Japanese word for "slug." So it makes sense that salt would shrink it and water would expand it.

Oh, and "Cera" is Latin for "wax," so it burns slowly.

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i maid somthing called: wet plant drawing

1. make the slug disapear
2. turn off all 4 falling things
3. when those things are all gone, draw a line at the bottom with wall
4. put a dot of plant somewear
5. put water next to plant to draw
6. repeat 4-5

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Polaris-1 July 9, 2007 8:16 AM

I made a discovery: If you fill the screen with spout and put sand in the middle it expands like the plant.

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If you click on the link above the game world of sand, I like to drown the zombies. And they use their heads a shovel. Really great!

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cloudedguardian Author Profile Page September 29, 2011 11:40 AM

I love making really elaborate fountains with the sand games.
its a shame you can't save your designs. :(
After all, after spending two hours balancing all the pipes, its kinda disappointing for it all to go POOF! as your internet dies. DX

@OAK i am SO gonna try that. :)
After I show my friends my new epic design. XD

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