Bookworm Buddy

Bookworm Buddy is intended to be used alongside the popular game Bookworm Adventures as a way to build the best possible words with the letters provided to you by the game.

Feel free to use your browser's "Save" feature to save a local copy of this document for yourself if you need it. Updates over the previous version in red

Documentation: 2011-12-30

What is Bookworm Adventures?

It's an english based anagram game that wraps an RPG type video game. See Popcap Games for a better sales pitch. Bookworm Buddy is not authorized, licensed, approved, or supported by Popcap Games.


The game presents a collection of 16 tiles each consisting of a letter or "Qu". To progress in the game, it is advantageous to produce words from those letters with the highest scores possible so they can deal the maximum damage to the opponents.

What is required?

To work, you need to have the Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 installed. It is available at this link or through Windows Update.

What's the current version and where can I get this?

This is the current version: Bookworm Buddy 1.10

BEWARE: Some unscrupulous individuals have decided to mirror and redistribute this application. They've gone so far as replace the signature on the executable with their own name to effectively steal credit. Unsanctioned mirrors may contain viruses or adware and I cannot provide support for those counterfeited files.

If you have version 1.01 or prior, please uninstall it before installing this new version. If you do this you will save on some disk space.

Release history is below, but is somewhat incomplete for version 1.01 versus 1.00.

Why don't any of the online operations work?

You may have accidentally downloaded your copy of Bookworm Buddy from an unauthorized mirror. I recommend you scan your computer for viruses and perform a deep analysis to make sure your system has not been compromised by a rootkit.

There are lots of anagram solvers, why use this?

Bookworm Buddy is unique in that it will provide in-game scoring and take into account treasures that can increase the scores. With the right combination of treasures, you could wind up with a far superior word that doesn't ordinarily place so high within the game itself.

In addition, it bundles Qu instead of treating them as a separate Q and U, which prevents other solvers from realizing there is not an extra U available.

Release history is below, but is somewhat incomplete for version 1.01 versus 1.00.

Does this work with Bookworm Adventures 2?

Yes and no. Yes, the anagram search will produce words with similar results to how it works in Bookworm Adventures. No, the new Bookworm Adventures 2 treasures are not implemented, nor is the wildcard tile.

Why is internet support being dropped?

Internet support is not being dropped, however, all existing 1.0x installations must upgrade to 1.10 in order to continue using all connectivity. This is a result of server load issues: community results are now returned in about 5% of the processing time as before on the count of some rudimentary optimization. It should be quite noticeable. The 1.0x infrastructure will remain until September 1st, 2010 after which time it will only provide notifications that an upgrade is available.

Those who do not wish to upgrade can still choose to work offline and are under no obligation to upgrade.

Why are you begging for money?

I have added a Donation mechanism as a way to encourage updates to the software. More information is available on that page, but, in short, the donation mechanism is engineered to be inobtrusive. No one is under any obligation to donate or buy anything: not now, not previously, and, fate willing, not ever.

There are many more improvements with the 1.10 release beyond simply the link for donations.

How do I use this?

After starting up and checking the box that you have read the contents of the window, you will have a form open on the right side of your screen. You may select "score modifying enchancements" in the top three drop down lists. After then, you can type 16 characters, in succession, into the 16 boxes provided.

You do not need to press tab or click the mouse after each one of those characters. Your cursor position will automatically advance. Typing "q" will automatically expand out to "Qu" since the game does not ever give you a lone Q to work with.

If you wish to preserve a tile and not use it for whatever reason, you can press the space bar instead of typing that character.

To use this program side by side with Bookworm Adventures, disable Fullscreen mode and arrange the windows appropriately on your desktop. Single display suggested resolution is at least 1024x768.

After entering the 16 letters, you can press enter to click on "Calculate". After some computation, you will be presented a list of words, their scores, and -- if you opted in to enabling internet reference -- a ranking. The ranking should indicate the relative success a word will have in use within Bookworm Adventures since entering a word is a time consuming process and the dictionaries are dissimilar. If you do not wish to have the program access the central server, you can click "No" and you will not get rankings.

Then you can enter the best word into the game. If it does not work, please right click on that word and use the "Report" option to downgrade its rating for the benefit of other users and yourself if that word ever appears again. If it does, please take the time to use the "Raise" option and upgrade its rating. Note that these features are disabled if you did not allow internet connectivity.

Before using Report or Raise, please make sure that you're spelling the word correctly.

The treasure names don't match!

No, they don't. While legal precident has not been established, the names of the treasures within the context of the game are copyright Popcap games. Look at the descriptions of the treasures and with that explanation you can figure out which is which.

It's running slow!

The word search function is a work in progress. I expect to rewrite it a number of times. The application was developed on an AMD Athlon 3000+. The program is quite fast IF it can fit itself into memory and doesn't need to swap. Consider closing some other applications or upgrading the memory on your computer.

I can't use this, the letters keep disappearing in Bookworm Adventures!

Some timed situations can have the difficulty eliminated by the ability to pause and stare at the letters until something comes into focus. By hiding letters, they essentially prevent cheating. You may want to take a screenshot and view them in another window on the screen alongside Bookworm Buddies.

Can I get through the game without dying?

It is unlikely you could be bested if you use this tool for all your words. Note that in my testing you can't pass the Hydra without using a potion at least once, and the Sphynx will deal massive damage if you destroy it without solving the riddles.

A complete tool-reliant run of Bookworm Adventures 2 has not yet been attempted. If you tried it and have any thoughts to share, please email me at the address below.

Are the scores accurate?

In the documentation for Bookworm Adventures, the scoring system is revealed. It is accurate insofar as that document is. Note that as you progress through the game you level up and the damage dealt will increase for the same score. Also there are opponents with damage reducing abilities. While the score may not be a direct indicator of damage dealt, a score of 14 will always be better than a lower score regardless of your level, barring differences from category bonuses and gems.

Are category bonuses calculated?

No. In the future I may add functionality to start collecting word categories from users, but at the current time the system does not know what words are, say, metal words or bone words or any other category. Use sense if you wish to use those bonuses. If you have a word with a score of 12 that fits in the bonus category alongside a word with a score of 14 that is not part of the bonus category, obviously the 12 is going to be your better pick.

Are gem bonuses calculated?

No. This is mostly an input oriented thing since it's very easy to type 16 letters and hit enter, but adding an interface to select which letter has which gem is likely going to be slow. I'm thinking of ways to get around slowing it down too much. If you let your application access online data, it will also check for updates so it's possible I can address this in the future.

Note that gem bonuses are applied to the word as a whole. If your top 10 words have "m" in them and the only "m" you have in your collection has a Ruby, then all those word scores could be multiplied. The net result is that the highest base score will still be the highest adjusted score. Recall:

iff M > N then B x M > B x N where B is positive.

How about broken and plauged tiles?

Nope. This is hampered by the same UI restrictions that influence gems. Unfortunately, these can impact scores enough to alter the order of the scores. Please be aware of this issue. Note that the main character of Bookworm Adventures will verbally provide (rough) clues regarding the value of a word and those clues do consider any zero-score tiles.

How do I keep it from generating words using locked tiles?

Instead of typing the character that is locked, press space. This will prohibit the Bookworm Buddy from considering that letter in its calculations. This can also be used to avoid using any particular tile you wish for whatever reason.

I need help for these bonus games!

Bookworm Buddy is intended for the regular adventure mode only. While building a list of words from letters can help you in some ways, longer words tend to gravitate to the top of the list making it harder to do the bonus games quickly. Future versions may have different modes.

What information is sent when internet connectivity is selected?

Each request consists of the version number and unique code (see below). In addition:

Update Check
No other information
The word and a positive or negative vote
Top 20 highest scoring words client application found from the dictionary, plus ranking for debugging

Each copy of Bookworm Buddy contains a unique code that identifies it. This code is generated at random and reveals no information about your computer, and is used to prevent "stuffing" the word votes. For instance, a malicious user with no life could downvote legitimate words and upvote words not accepted by Bookworm Adventures. Once a malicious user is identified, his key could be revoked without notice to them. They can still waste their time voting, but the votes will no longer count and it will undo whatever damage they have done in the past.

Reasonable steps are taken to ensure a malicious user cannot poison the word listing, for your protection, even after uninstall/reinstall. This technology does NOT reside on the client computer and is not dependent on any settings on the client machine.

Because no permanent modification to your computer happens, and the code is not derived from identifiable information of you or your machine, this unique code can be altered. However, I feel respect for the computers my code runs on is more important than what someone with no life or girlfriend living in his parent's garage covered is mucus and cheetos can potentially do. If you do not trust the code, please opt out of internet connectivity or run the application as an unprivileged user or both. Thank you for understanding.

Release History

> Community results now much faster, pre 1.10 internet support will be dropped on or shortly after 2010-09-01
> Easier to control internet options
> Decoupled upgrade checking from results
> Disallow non-alphabetic characters in boxes
> Added clear button
> Monospaced font for easier to read results with fractional score
> Less ugly icon
> Added a way to show your appreciation. ;)
> Switch to new server ( and Andrew Page robbed me)
> Switch away from Princeton dictionary to YAWL
> Update window is now larger to show more update points
> Initial public release

And that's it. Have fun.