Dimensions of the Boxy Hop-Dog

Scroungin_4_Catsup's picture

A blocky creature hops around on screen, and you use the mouse to measure its various body parts (in pixels). Sometimes it's facing you, other times it's facing away, and other times it's looking to the left or right. You'll have to be patient if you want to document all of the dimensions... of the Boxy Hop-Dog.

Inspired by that classic question "The Pokédex lists the height of each Pokémon. How do they measure the Pokémon?"

The dimensions are randomized each time you play.

There are a few quirks (listed in the readme) but overall I'm very pleased with how this turned out. I was originally going to make 'better' looking art but I got so used to my placeholder art that I just ran with it. I did tweak the colors a bit to make each body part easier to tell apart for colorblind people and I hope I was successful in doing so. There is togglable text-to-speech just in case the X and Y values are too hard to read - I tried to make the color of the text easy to read against the background/Boxy Hop-Dog.

Made in Multimedia Fusion 2 with music made in Bosca Ceoil.

A cool 6 second .gif of the game is provided below

NOTE NOVEMBER 3RD 2021: I've added in a way to make the game mostly playable with just the mouse, as long as yours has a scroll wheel - you can use either the left or right mouse button to measure, clicking the middle button will bring up the entry screen and you can use the mouse wheel to scroll up or down to add/subtract values to the currently selected entry field. The latter method takes a little while longer than using the number keys but it's definitely doable.

Made For: 
An event
boxy.gif96.26 KB


bpseudopod's picture

The World's First Measure-em-up?

This game's an exciting mixture of the boring and frantic. There's no time limit or anything, no real pressure at all, but any given measurement can only be taken for a second or so at a time before the boxy hop-dog does its thing. That means there's a lot of scrambling to get your mouse in position and dragging it out too far, then trying to reel it in only for it to hop away before you can get a precise measurement. A pro strat is to anticipate the next hop by getting your mouse into position, then using that to make a quick measurement. It's fun!

If patience and observation is supposed to be a theme for this, which I think the description implies, I'm not sure if those themes come through. The boxy hop-dog turned around often enough that, through a couple of playthroughs, I never had to wait for the right shot or angle. Mostly, I measured whatever was available to me at the moment that I hadn't already filled out until I found myself having filled out the entire form.

I had a little difficulty using the measuring tools. The first time I played, I found that I was uniformly ~20 px off from the actual value--that's because I hadn't realized you were supposed to measure with the edges of the markers rather than their centers. After a little thinking, and a look at the gif that comes with the game, I figured out what I was doing wrong, but still found myself with an error of 1-2 pixels that I couldn't quite to account for, even when I reduced the hop-dog's speed to see how precise measurements I could take. Oh well, that's probably just user error.

The idea behind giving the Pokemon measurements, I think, is that it helps draw players into the fantasy. Pokemon are already very colorful, complex creatures, but giving them concrete heights and weights lets a player picture themselves alongside their pokemon. (Did you know that Charizard is only 5'7" tall? You might be that tall someday, or even taller!) Now, that pokemon measurements are universally considered to be contrived and arbitrary calls into question just how successful that is, but it's still clear that they're a means to facilitate an escapist fantasy.

What does measuring the boxy hop-dog do for it, though, and for us? In my experience as an insect enthusiast, which comprises most of my exposure to biology, measurements most prominently come up in taxonomy: often times, the size of an insect is one of the key aspects used to distinguish its species. Measurement objectifies something, and quantizes it as an object of study--we are, here, not just observing an animal, but laying down the groundwork for its further observation. How close can one be to something one is observing? In this game, we exist at a fixed camera distance, measuring the boxy hop-dog in the arbitrary metrics of screenspace, twice removed from its presence by physical distance and by the highlighted constraints of the medium. In this game, learning the dimensions of the boxy hop-dog puts us about as far away as we can be from it, short of not knowing of its existence at all. As a side note: we're measuring the boxy hop-dog, but if it changes every playthrough (sometimes drastically), what makes this the boxy hop-dog, as opposed to any other one?

This game makes me want to play another game, too. One where you get to know the boxy hop-dog a little better, rather than viewing it at a distance. What does it eat? How does it get along with other critters? Can you bond with it? (Maybe I'll make that game at some point. I've always wanted to make a virtual pet, but never got around to doing it.)

I really liked this game. It made me think a lot. Thank you for sharing it.

Scroungin_4_Catsup's picture

I never expected to receive

I never expected to receive such a detailed review for this game!

The comment about being patient was more of a joke because in my many tests of the game I would have just ONE more measurement to complete, but the Boxy Hop-Dog would end up jumping in every direction but that one until finally, finally I could make the measurement I needed. I anticipated this might be the case for others as well. I'm also an anxious person so these periods of waiting for the right direction may feel longer to me than to most people who play the game. I considered adding in an option to change the direction of the Boxy Hop-Dog at will, similar to changing the jump time, but ultimately decided against it.

Your strategy of measuring whatever was visible at the time is easily the best way to play the game. It's certainly how I play it. It kind of adds to the frantic-ness of it, too, since when you're on the entry screen the Boxy-Hop dog is still jumping around and you don't really know where it will be or what direction it will be facing, so there's a rush to find the right value field, enter it (and hope you don't make typos), and get back to the game. Being 1 or 2 pixels off is very common even for me, and it's just part of the rush to complete - unless you're double or triple checking (or you've upped the time between jumps to 10 seconds), you don't have TIME to always get a 100% accurate measurement.

I figured in time players will understand that the mouse measurements are for the edges of the cursors, but I'll update the readme to make this more explicit.

I like that this has caused someone to ponder questions I never intended (or at least considered). Perhaps I'll revisit the concept at some point and come up with a reason WHY you're measuring the Boxy Hop-Dog beyond just that being the main game mechanic. It's given me something to think about...

Thank you for such a great review!

Kate B's picture

This is the best title a

This is the best title a game's ever had.

I liked measuring it at speed- did it pretty fast cause I'm pretty good with the ol' cursor.