Slye's Lost Words

Slye’s lost words was a work for hire I produced with “Shakespeare’s Globe” as part of their Globe Playground site. I produced an educational word search that used a list of 200 Shakespearean words to generate a new grid each time and showed the meaning of each word when found.

The game was required to work with all browsers plus Android and iOS tablets so I made the game in GameMaker Studio and built it in HTML5.  The game not only randomly generates a new grid each play but also scans the grid for inadvertent swear words and also has a printing functionality so that users can print out the grid plus all of the definitions.

I chose 3 different difficulty for the game and this dictated the size of the grid and the number of words to find. I was somewhat limited by the need for the game to be available on touch devices, after some iteration I found that a 12×12 grid would be the maximum I could manage. The game is generateds using a random selection of words that would fit in the selected grid size, each randomly placed in the grid, avoiding existing words, and then the rest of the grid is filled in with random letters.

One concern that I foresaw is that this game is for children and, since we were filling in the gaps with random letters, there was a risk of inappropriate words appearing in the grid. As such I created a system to scan through the finalised grid to search for occurrences of banned words.

5 lives were chosen to allow a lot of leeway for failure and mistakes. There will be a wide variety of children playing this game and I didn’t want to frustrate them by triggering a lose condition prematurely.

The project can be found on the Shakespeare’s Globe website: and clicking on “Find the Lost Words”