# A chat with the creator of Number Drop

Number Drop is a mobile app maths game we came across recently, and have taken the opportunity to have a chat with its creator, Ben. NumberDrop is available for on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

Firstly, Ben – tell us about yourself and what you do for a living.

I’m a software consultant from the UK. I graduated university with a physics degree three years ago. In my spare time I work on my mobile games and spend time with friends and family.

Is it true you created Number Drop in your spare time? What inspired you to do this?

That’s right! It took me about 6 months to create the first version.

I was looking for a new concept for a game. My Dad was addicted to WordBrain at the time and he suggested I should make a game like that.

I realised there was a gap in the market for a mathematical puzzle game that will challenge adults. There were so many word games but not many maths equivalents. And I created the concept from that thought.

How does the game work?

A NumberDrop puzzle consists of a grid of numbers and some target values. The player must perform arithmetic operations on the grid of numbers in order to to match the target values, with no numbers left over.

This is really challenging for the player’s mental maths skills as they must perform multiple countdown style calculations with one set of numbers. There is also a logical component to the game as the numbers have gravity and fall in to spaces left by the performed operations. The order of the numbers that fall to the bottom of the grid must also match the order of the target values; that can be difficult.

The puzzles in the main game mode start easy and steadily increase in difficulty. We also have “Puzzles of the Week” and puzzles can be randomly generated.

Do you code in the numbers you’ll get on each level, or are the puzzles generated using an algorithm? How are the numbers chosen?

The puzzles and numbers were originally generated using an algorithm. My Dad and I chose the more interesting and difficult puzzles to go in to the level packs.

You can randomly generate your own puzzles in “Random” mode and share any of the puzzles you discover with friends so they can play them too. If a user finds an interesting puzzle we would love to see it!

I have been working on an algorithm to automatically find more difficult puzzles. I have used the algorithm to help create some of the “Weekly” puzzles. The algorithm looks at the number of different operations used in the solution, as well as the nature of the target numbers, to decide whether a puzzle is “difficult”.

Did you test the game before release? Who did you get to help you test it?

My friends and family very kindly helped me test the game. Testing is so important; there are always a couple of problems that need fixing before release. This really increases the quality of my games.

Who do you imagine will play Number Drop?

The game is more suited to adults than children as the puzzles get quite challenging. But anyone who wants to improve their arithmetic and logical thinking should play Number Drop. I don’t want to limit the game to a certain type of person. Anyone can play it but those with a better grip of their times tables will likely move faster through the game.

We’ve had a go at playing the game – it starts off easy and gets much harder. What’s your personal best?

I regularly delete my progress in the game for testing purposes so I don’t have a high score. A user who wants to get to the top of the leaderboards should try to complete the puzzles in one attempt, you get more XP for doing so.

Is this the first time you’ve made a game app?

NumberDrop is my second mobile game. My first mobile game RandomNation was a small project to practice my coding before starting work. It’s a game where you run a country and try to stay in power.

Do you have any other projects planned for the future?

I’m currently concentrating my efforts on getting NumberDrop exposure. I believe the game can really help and entertain people and it is rated highly amongst the small user base. So no plans as yet.

Where can we download Number Drop?

NumberDrop is available for on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

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## About the author

• #### Katie Steckles

Publicly engaging mathematician, Manchester MathsJam organiser, hairdo.

### 10 Responses to “A chat with the creator of Number Drop”

• Ben

Hi Linda,

Sorry to hear your IPad isn’t currently compatible with our maths puzzle game NumberDrop. You should be able to get it on a iPhone or Android phone, which covers most smartphones.

We will look in to making the game compatible with iPads in the future.

Thanks,

Ben

Reply
• Linda

It won’t load to my ancient iPod touch either. I am a dinosaur with out-of-date technology. My phone isn’t even smart.

Reply
1. NotACat

Will this be available for Kindle? I feel that devs are assuming that Kindle users will do something clever with the Google Store but in my case they are sorely mistaken…

Reply
2. Sally

Hi Ben, I’ve been stuck on billiard level 2 for weeks. I had built up 14 hints am down to 9 now and even the computer seems stuck. I can’t move on! Help!
Thanks,
Sally

Reply