Player Picker: An Easy Way to Select the Start Player

November 14th, 2021

Visit Player Picker for a easy way to pick the starting player. Just put your finger on the app and then it’ll randomly select a person.

The biggest issue with board games is that picking the first player can be a tough. By nature, humans are political creatures with all forms of alliances, but in a simple and fun board game session, you don’t want to show overt favoritism. However, subconsciously, this can come out. In addition, there’s only so many ways you can decide who goes first, whether it’s by age, birth dates, heights and more. Overtime, it’ll be the same person starting, thus you’d need to constantly come up with new ideas just to pick the first person to start!

 This is where Player picker comes in. All you need to do is place your finger on the app and it’ll randomly decide who starts. It’s designed for up to 8 players, although, in theory, the limit is how many touch inputs Chrome supports. By designed for 8 players, I mean I only added 8 unique colours.

Now, if you’ve already played some board games, you already know these apps exist and they’re quite good, so what’s the difference between mine and all the others? Basically nothing. I just made this because some apps only support 6 players, whilst mine supports 8. Besides that, there’s no real difference. You could even say it’s worse in terms of visual features and animations. The main reason I made this was because I wanted to.

 Instead of installing another app, Player Picker is a web app that can install to your homepage, a Progressive Web App (PWA) as the lingo goes. It was surprisingly difficult to find libraries with multi-touch capabilities I wanted. It doesn’t seem to be that fleshed out. One that I found, Interactjs, hasn’t been updated in months so I don’t know whether the library is still being maintained. In fact, the hard bit was trying to search for and use multi-touch libraries because I didn’t want the hassle of native touch fuckery. In the end, I had to use native touch fuckery anyway because existing libraries didn’t have what I wanted. That was the most frustrating developer experience I ever had.

Why would I create an app that already exists and its done better? What value does that have? My question is if it always NEEDS to be valuable to others to have value. For me, the app has infinte value for it was an amusing and worthwhile development experience. Messing around with multi-touch and Progressive Web Apps taught me a lot. Now, it’s not going to be an app many people use, for most people, whether it’s a PWA or something downloaded from the app stores doesn’t matter. But, for me, not needing to install an overly bloated app, having everything run as the web is great. An app is extremely unnecessary for such a simple application. All it needs is touch capabilities and animation, something that existed for years in the web. In the future, it’ll be completely offline and hosted statically, meaning I won’t pay a cent for it, thus will remain online for as long as the CDN exists.

 On a side note, isn’t it amusing how overly philosophical I needed to get to justify creating an app for fun?

Starting Player Picker