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Are highly intelligent or very talented people better able to hide their misery from loved ones, thus making it all the harder to “read” them and help them?

Vote! (56,878 votes) 1,190 comments
62,321 Deviants Online

Interview with Matt (Fractorium dev)

Fri Aug 29, 2014, 11:16 AM by tatasz:icontatasz:


First of all , please introduce yourself to the community.

My name is Matt. I’m 35 and I live in San Diego, California, United States with my wife. I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in computer science in 2001 and have been working ever since writing software. This project was done outside of my full-time job as a senior software developer.

And, of course, tell us about your software.

My project has several pieces and can be found…

Before I give the details, I’d like to preface it by saying this is beta software, so you might find bugs or things that you don’t like. Rather than reject it, I would really appreciate feedback so I can incorporate good ideas into future releases.

With that out of the way, here it is:

  • Ember - A rewrite and redesign of the original flam3 code in C++. In addition to the rewrite, several bug fixes, optimizations and new features were included.
  • EmberCL - A library that uses Ember, but does the rendering on the GPU using OpenCL. Currently, AMD and nVidia cards are supported.
  • EmberRender, EmberAnimate, EmberGenome - Command line programs that use Ember and EmberCL to render still images, animations, and perform operations on parameter files. These are the equivalent of flam3-render, flam3-animate and flam3-genome. In addition to the rewrite and GPU support, these include the ability to pass command line arguments, whereas the original only used environment variables.
  • Fractorium - A graphical desktop application that uses Ember and EmberCL which allows the user to edit fractal flames using either the CPU or GPU. It aims to be a competitor/replacement for Apophysis. It more easily exposes some features that allow the user to fine tune parameters.

All of these are only available for 64-bit Windows OS at the moment.

There is extensive documentation on the project page and I would encourage all users to read it.

Screenshot 2014-08-03 14.50.51 by tatasz

What is its standout feature or quality?

From a user perspective, the main feature is that while you can get reasonable realtime editing feedback with a CPU, you can get phenomenal feedback when using the GPU. There currently exists no other Windows program which implements every aspect of the flam3 algorithm, and supports the number of variations/plugins that my project does.

User interface is a subjective thing, but I find Apophysis nearly impossible to use. In my opinion, I believe Fractorium is far more intuitive and easier to use. But that is all opinion, different users will have different preferences. As time goes on, I will do my best to incorporate users’ suggestions.

Regarding the GPU algorithm, I borrowed the core of the rendering loop from a project named cuburn whose focus was extreme GPU speed. This results in performance that exceeds any other editor around at the moment. Unfortunately, the fastest implementation only applies when not using xaos, but xaos is still reasonably fast.

Both CPU and GPU rendering can be done in either single or double precision math. Single is less precise, but faster and is good for preview editing. Double is very precise, but slower, especially on the GPU. Some flames are more sensitive to precision, so using double is appropriate there. Fractorium allows the user to choose, which no other implementation currently allows.

In addition to being more efficient, it’s also more intelligent when doing interactive rendering. Adjusting fields like brightness, gamma and vibrancy only affect the final stages of rendering. So Fractorium will only do the minimum amount of processing needed for each parameter that is adjusted. This allows a user to perform fine tweaks to the final output without having to restart the entire render process.

This type of intelligence is also used with the quality field. If an interactive render completes, and the user does nothing but increase the quality, the iterations pick up where they left off.

From a coding perspective, this is a complete restructuring of the design of the codebase from the bottom up. Substantial time was spent on the design to break it into logically structured pieces that are easy to follow. It uses modern coding practices, clean threading design, many optimizations and is well documented. It also seamlessly integrates the GPU portion into the design without being clumsy. Compared to the original flam3 codebase, Ember and Fractorium are a world apart.

For plugins/variations, I borrowed a technique seen in some of Xyrus02’s plugins to allow for the easy creation of pre and post variations. So most variations in Fractorium have all three; pre, regular and post. Also, a number of Apophysis plugins have math bugs in them, they are fixed in Fractorium.

In addition to algorithm performance and design, I have documentation on the project page that explains in detail what the algorithm is actually doing. When initially researching this, I had such a hard time understanding Scott Draves’ flam3 paper. So once I finally understood what was going on, I wrote a lengthy description of what the algorithm was doing in plain English, rather than using cryptic theoretical math notation. The idea was that nobody should have to suffer through what I did just to know what is going on, so I encourage all users to read it.

If thats ok to share, what are the future plans?

My list of ideas is never ending. I’ll probably be on my death bed murmuring “but… one… more… feature”. Here are some that I have on the back burner.

  • I’ve implemented most of the popular Apophysis plugins, but still have a few more to do.
  • While Fractorium exposes most options for rendering, there are still some that the user cannot change. I’d like to experiment with allowing the user to change iteration and fuse depths, which can impact the look of the final image.
  • Present xaos to the user as a matrix, rather than a single column for each xform. This will allow them to see all xaos values for all xforms at once.
  • Implement some of the final functionality from Apophysis that I’m missing, such as color curves and loading user gradients/palettes.
  • A supersampling method that does not require more memory.
  • An animation editor. I’ve always intended to do this, but needed to get the still image rendering and editing solid first, so it has taken a back seat.
  • A standalone real-time GPU visualizer that cycles through parameter files, similar to Milkdrop for Winamp. I’m unsure if such a thing is even possible, but I’d really like to investigate it.
  • An advanced randomizer. The current one just does what flam3 did and is sorely lacking. I’d like to create one that gives the user fine control over which random flames to create.
  • Further investigation of 3D rendering. I’ve got some ideas that I’ve not fully pursued, but look very promising.
  • Alternative rendering methods. These have been proposed in various papers, I’d like to at least see if they are doable or not.
  • A benchmarking suite. This algorithm really stresses the CPU and GPU. I’d like to create a way for users to test the performance of their system with regard to fractal flame rendering.
  • Produce writeups detailing the performance and quality effects from using various optimization techniques. Much discussion has been had on this subject, but no formal papers/pages have been released. I’d like to work with others on this.
  • Some threading optimization techniques to make the UI be more responsive. Multi-threaded UI programming when using the GPU is extremely hard, if not impossible. I have it in a state that is usable for the time being, but not ideal.
  • The current builds are for Windows only. I’d like to release versions for Mac and Linux.
  • The current GPU hardware is for modern Nvidia and AMD cards only. I’d like to add support for AMD and Intel APUs as well.
  • A legitimate website, I currently only have the project page. I have preliminary help from someone on this at the moment.
  • A YouTube tutorial.

Screenshot 2014-08-03 14.56.28 by tatasz

You have any other projects you are willing to share with the community?

I have no other projects. This has consumed almost 100% of my free time on nights and weekends over the last 2 years.

Do you create any fractal art yourself?

Not much. I always had hopes of going through the numerous tutorials on DA and really learning how to properly use this algorithm. I’ve just never had the time. I am always impressed by what the artists are able to produce, I absolutely love it. I can only dream of making such art myself some day. If anyone wants to teach me, I’d love to listen. In the meantime, I’ll stick with what I know, which is programming.

Why did you start working on fractal software?

It’s an interesting story. I was watching a documentary about DMT on Netflix in early 2012 and it had incredibly stunning graphics. I’d been a long time user of the Winamp visualization plugin, Milkdrop, but had never seen anything as stunning as the animations in that documentary. So I was determined to find out how they were made.

I looked on the credits, and it mentioned Electric Sheep. I began reading about flam3 and eventually Apophysis. I was fascinated by what could be done, although I was kicking myself for not finding out about it earlier. Here I was coming upon a community 10 years too late.

I had a hard time understanding much of Scott Draves’ flam3 paper, so I decided to dig into the code to see what I could find. After spending a few months analyzing it in depth, I thought that I could rewrite it to be faster and more readable.

Given the slow performance of fractal algorithms in general, I thought it might be time to give the GPU a try. I had never done GPU programming, so I figured this would be a good way to learn.

I spent months researching what had already been done on the GPU and realized that while there were several attempts, none were a complete solution. Once I noticed these holes in the marketplace, I knew what my project would be. I had never started or contributed to an open source project before, so this was a perfect place to start.

The next two years were spent investigating flam3, Apophysis, and various GPU implementations in extreme detail. This included reading the code as well as exchanging numerous lengthy emails with the authors. Then implementing the required functionality first on the CPU, learning GPU programming via OpenCL, then implementing portions of the algorithm on the GPU. Next it was all tied together in both the command line programs and the Fractorium editor. For Fractorium, I had to learn Qt, and for the installer, it was Wix. Finally, a project page was created and full documentation was added.

It’s been a long road that has completely consumed my mind and I’m very happy with where it is, but must hang up development for several months. I need to rest as well as focus on some other things. I hope to return to this effort in 2015.

In the meantime, I welcome any and all feedback from both users and developers:

A little render test

Matt nicely provided some render stats =)

CrystalCavern q5000 f64 ss2 gpu by tatasz

CrystalCavern by StuKarver.
Resolution: 1920x1080
Quality: 5000
Devices: GPU - R9 280x and CPU - AMD 955 4-Core

CPU to GPU improvement:
For single precision, the GPU render is about 96 times faster, while for double precision, GPU render is 34 times faster than CPU.
Render time GPU (double precision): 26sec
Render time CPU (double precision): 13min 40sec

Those values, of course, depend of your hardware and also of your parameters. For example, the CPU to GPU improvement for double precision ranged from 9x to 84x

And, of course, users oppinion

NightmareTF nicely shared his experience with Fractorium.

Core of the Forest by NightmareTF Into The Chasm by NightmareTF

I've been using Fractorium since the beginning of this year basically. I remember finding Fractorium on Google while looking for other fractal software besides the usual Apophysis and such. The thing that struck me as most interesting was the ability to use the GPU for rendering. Though when I thought I could only use the amount of memory my videocard had, I contacted the developer (Matt) to ask if there was a way around this. Matt kindly explained to me that I could use the commandline to split the image in parts, so I could produce larger images. He also plans to add this feature to the GUI in the near future.
Since then I have been using Fractorium a lot for the great renderspeed it offers, which is specially useful while tweaking fractals. Combined with the clear and intuitive interface it offers, Fractorium has passed Apophysis for me.
Matt is really dedicated about Fractorium, and it really shows in the software. He has also implemented a huge amount of extra variations (popular Apophysis plugins and pre/post/dc versions of other variations, just to name a few) in one of the previous updates, making Fractorium even more interesting to use. I personally hope that this dedication doesn't fade with time, because the features he has in mind would be well worth the wait!
Fractorium is definitely one to watch, and absolutely deserves a lot more attention than it currently gets!



Community Groups

:iconcommunityrelations: :icondigitalists:

A couple of years back, I did a series of posts on Wordpress and its value as a CMS (content management system) for artists wishing to create their own websites.  I am still using Wordpress to manage my site to this day and thought I'd share a few of my favorite plugins and themes!


All In One SEO Pack - Lets you add custom tags and meta info to your pages very easily to make it more easily found by search engines.

Duplicator - Lets you copy your site and database so you can move your entire site from one location to another.  Handy if you've been building in a private test folder before moving it onto your main domain.  This plugin can also create a snapshot of your site at any time for backup purposes.

MailChimp by MailChimp and Crowd Favorite - Lets you add a widget with a customizable MailChimp sign up form into your site's Sidebar.

NextGen Gallery by Photocrati - A wonderful gallery management tool that lets you create taggable images with sleek layouts.  The pro version nets you extra layouts and social sharing links bundled in.

You can also integrate the Social Gallery plugin with NextGen to create a Facebook-esque lightbox and viewing experience with even more social sharing links.  Buying the pro version of NextGen lets you use the plugin on all sites you own and is more mobile phone friendly than the free layouts.

The Events Calendar
- Great for adding your upcoming appearances into a calendar on your Sidebar.

WooCommerce - I'm still testing this one, but I've seen a lot of other artists using this one to create an onsite store instead of hosting one offsite.  You have fine control over images for your products and can even sell digital items.  Will probably post a more in-depth review of WooCommerce as a shop setup after I've had time to play with it more.


All of the themes mentioned here are mobile phone friendly.

Make - What I'm currently using on my latest site.  Make comes with a free version you can use as-is.  I love the integrated social icons bar (I was hard coding them all before into a Sidebar widget) and it's very sleek looking.  The packaged Builder templates for creating Pages on your site allows you to do Pages with columns, image sliders, galleries, etc. very easily without requiring a lot of coding knowledge. It is e-commerce ready with WooCommerce integration in mind.

The Pro version lets you get rid of the template tag on the bottom as well as opens up extra Page layouts and pre-made templates where you can toggle Sidebars on and off and auto-populate Pages based on their intended use for quick Page building.  You also get access to more type kits that let you change the font style of your whole website at once.

The free and pro versions both have a ton of customizable Widget areas such as multiple Footers and Menu locations.  Buying the Pro version also lets me use this theme on all of the sites I own.

Virtue - Has a free and pro version.  The free version lets you create grids using Portfolio items.  I almost went with this one for my site, but I found the Portfolio setup a little confusing.  If you can manage it though, it seems like a pretty versatile theme.  Just like Make, you get tons of customizable Widget areas, such as multiple Footers and Menu locations.  It is also e-commerce ready with WooCommerce integration in mind.

Wave - I never got to test this one out on my own, but the demo site looks good and it's also e-commerce ready.  I'm including it here as an option because it was reviewed highly, is a decent price, and might be an option others might want to try.

So what are some of your favorite plugins and themes?  Share in comments!

Blue'Moon is an new 3D Warrior Cats MMORPG in the makings. You'll be able to create your own cat in our feline creator with numerous options and markings for you to customize your own cat. You'll be able to hunt live prey, battle other players and enemy Clans, get a mate, have kits, and much much more! Realism is what we're aiming for.

The Clans and Maps

There will be a total of  5 maps, along with a StarClan, The Dark Forest, as well as a few other surprise maps. The is a total of groups in which you can choose from.

  The Forest
The forest will be a large area with a large variety of plants and areas. DrizzleClan, MothClan, SnakeClan and ShadeClan resides here.
The Lake
The same lake thats from the books. The original 4 Clans, ThunderClan, ShadowClan, RiverClan and WindClan lives here.
The Gorge
The gorge is home to the two Clans, StoneClan and MossClan. There is a dense woodland northeast of the gorge as well as a small Twolegplace.
The Mountains
The mountains are surround by thick forests and is well know for all its waterfalls and rivers. The three tribes; Tribe of Painted Feathers, Tribe of Hawk's Flight and the Tribe of Rising Sun stay here. They differ from the Clans with their own customs and lifestyle.  
Lastly the city is where the notorious gang The Malevant rules the streets. Another group, The Rebellion also lives here. Their goal is to overthrow The Malevant and restore peace to the city once more.

Making Your Cat

You will be able to make your own cat in the cat creator. There will be 50+ markings for you to choose from and you will be able to add up to 3 types or markings to your cat. You'll be able to customize your cat's eyes, muzzle, ear body type and size, weight, height, length, tail length and type, claw size, fur length, paw size etc. You can also have disabilities (Missing eye, limb, ear etc.) There isn't a decided number limit of character's you can have but it'll most likely be 10.)

Aging and Time cycle

Your cat will get bigger after every in-game moon. Here is the time cycle:
Every 12 hours=1 day
Every week= 1 Moon
Every 2 weeks= One Moon
Every 6 weeks= One season
so if you're a kit then you'll have to wait 12 weeks to be an apprentice.
(This may change later)


You will be able to hunt live animals in the game. There will be a large variety of different prey you can hunt depending on which biome you're in. 


Other cats as well as other animals will be able to attack you. Your cat could earn scars from battle, lose an eye or limb or even die.


You will be able to have mates and can get pregnant. Since cats in real life can get pregnant at the age of 6 months apprentices will be able to get pregnant though you might be looked down upon by your Clanmates. When you and your mate want to have kits there will be an option in your mates information box when you click on them and there will be a scene where your cats will rubs pelts and nuzzle each other and then the screen will go black and then boom your preggers.
As far as progress goes there is little to none done aside from a few concept pieces and half the texture for the cat model, which you can see here:

The website isn't 100% done but I don't exactly have much to add to it so here's the link if any of you would like to join:

Leader positions as well as Staff and Game Designers are Open. You'll be able to apply once I make the applications. Thank you for taking the time to read this c:

I am so frustrated now I tried my best to be a good user on miiverse and those stupid admins kept spamming me letters that I have violated the code of conduct for nothing there rules are too fucking strict you can get banned for the most stupid reason they abuse there users even if they actually done nothing wrong why isn't miiverse a fun save place like they want it forget those random trolls on miiverse those admins are the problem they need to stop being so pushy dumb and annoying I am so annoyed Nintendo is a failure.    
  • Mood: Frustrated
  • Listening to: wolfs rain angel of darkness
  • Reading: miiverse code of conduct
  • Watching: youtube videos
  • Playing: pokemion y
  • Eating: chocolate
  • Drinking: tea
Requested By vanillaanais723
Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald (GameBoyAdvance)
Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire is the 3rd Generation of the Pokemon series for the GBA. So the game starts out as your typical Pokemon game: You first choose your gender. You warp into the game into a moving van, so as you may have guessed, you're moving into a new home. After a lot of talking and meaningless tasks you see Professor Birch, the professor of the Hoenn region, getting chased by a Poochyena. He tells you to grab a Pokemon out of his parcel and help. So your starters are Torchic, Mudkip, and Treeko. After you save him he allows you to keep the starter you chose. So now that you have a Pokemon, you venture out into the world to *spoiler* beat all 8 Pokemon Gyms with type themes, TAKE DOWN (get it? Take down... it's a Pokemon move... it was a pun...) Team Magma and Team Aqua, and beat the Elite Four and Champion. So that's the story, it's pretty repetitive but it is somewhat different. One thing I noticed was that this is the first and only(thus far) Pokemon game that shows you have a father. Now Emerald has the same story, just slightly different, so I won't explain it in great detail. Next is the Graphic Design of this game. This game is made out of sprites, so for it's time and detail, it's done pretty well. Next is the Replay Value. Pokemon games(thus far) all have replay value, after you beat the Elite Four you can catch the legendaries *spoiler* Regice, Regirock, Registeel, Kyogre, Groudon, Rayquazza, Latios, Latias, Jirachi and Deoxys. You can also build a base, beat the Battle Tower and Fill your National Pokedex. Now for the Gameplay, it's pretty simple and easy to get used to. The game is an RPG style game so you don't need to have too much skill, just strategy. And Finally, the Advertising. This game was advertised to be a new adventure, more Pokemon, more fun. It was also advertised for you to be able to trade between Pokemon LeafGreen and FireRed using a Link Cable. Not bad advertising, but a bit repetitive. And now... FINAL RESULTS (1 From 10)

Storyline: 8.5
Graphic Design: 9.5
Replay Value: 10
Gameplay: 10
Advertising: 7.5

If you love this game then you'll love Pokemon Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby! Coming out in November! Give your opinions and your own versions of the Final Results of this game in the comments! Thank You for reading!
Well, my all-time favorite show is Regular Show. Today, I'm going to tell you how I got into Regular Show.

How I got into Regular Show

I discovered Regular Show in Mid November 2012, shortly before my 13th birthday. I thought it was okay at first when I watched it, but in Mid January 2013, I took the show easier, and started to like it. I wasn't a big fan of the show, but it was still good for about 8 months. In September 2013, I took the show EVEN MORE EASIER, and BAM! I started to love it. As of September 2013, I've been watching the show every day and still watch it every single day. My favorite character of the show is Benson. I also love Mordecai, Rigby, Pops, Skips and others aswell. That's fine if you hate Regular Show, as long as you don't say "fuk u loucher regyouler choe sux cus t frr loushers'', or should I say, disrespect my opinion.

That's all I need to say. Peace out, friends!
  • Mood: Satisfied
  • Listening to: Eye Of The Tiger by Survivor
  • Reading: Comic strips
  • Watching: Regular Show
  • Playing: Happy Wheels
  • Eating: Well done chicken legs
  • Drinking: Sprite
Hola everybody.
I'm searching for a good Drawing tablet and maybe you guys can tell me which one you use :]

I maybe buy a
"Wacom CTL-480S Intuos Pen Small"
"10 "Kunst-Grafik Diagramm Tablet drahtlose Digital-Feder"

But i really don't know so i hope you guys can really help me ^^ Sharing the experience with me. : )
  • Mood: Suggestive
  • Listening to: Gronkh! XD
  • Watching: Gronkh LP's
  • Drinking: Orange Juice *u*
Sonic The Hedgehog 2 (SegaGenesis, PS2- SonicMegaCollection, etc)
The second installment in the Sonic series. So without any hold up, I'll start with the story. Dr. Robotnik has returned to get his revenge on Sonic by capturing the animals again, and building something called the "Death Egg" (Parody of the Death Star from Star Wars). So Sonic needs to stop Robotnik, with the help of his new sidekick Miles (Dats my name :D). So simple story, but new and Sega added a new main character! Next up is the Gameplay. Same as before, all you have to do is make sure you have a ring(s) so if you get hurt by a Badnik you won't die. Also if you are stuck/stay in a level for too long, 10 minutes to be exact, you'll die and lose a life. But as most games do, the difficultly raised as you progressed. But they added a new technique! The spin dash! That's the only difference. Also, if you have a second controller you can play as Miles in two player mode or the main game! They also added a new form of Sonic, Super Sonic! Have a look:
As you can see, he changes from blue to yellow, but he's also invincible. In order to transform into him you need to collect all 7 Chaos Emeralds, collect 50 or more rings, then jump and you're Super Sonic! Next up is the Graphic Design. It's the exact same as before, just more colorful. So next is the Replay Value. Once again, it's the same as before, if you haven'y done so, you can collect all 7 Chaos Emeralds to get a different ending. Finally, the Advertising:

As you can see, it described all of the new editions to game, just like an advert is supposed to do, but if you never played the game before it you might not understand as much. AND NOW, FINAL RESULTS:

Storyline: 8
"So simple story, but new and Sega added a new main character"
Gameplay: 7.5
"Same as before, but they added a new technique! The spin dash! That's the only difference. Also, if you have a second controller you can play as Miles in two player mode or the main game! They also added a new form of Sonic, Super Sonic!"
Graphic Design: 6
"It's the exact same as before, just more colorful"
Replay Value: 2
"Once again, it's the same as before, if you haven'y done so, you can collect all 7 Chaos Emeralds to get a different ending"
Advertising: 7.5
"As you can see, it described all of the new editions to game, just like an advert is supposed to do, but if you never played the game before it you might not understand as much"

Leave your opinions, feedback and personal versions of the final results in the comments! Thank You for reading!
Sonic The Hedgehog (SegaGenesis, PS2- SonicMegaCollection, Xbox360/PSP-Sonic's Classic Collection, etc)
This is the first game in the Sonic the Hedgehog game series. Being one of my favorite games, I'll be very in detail with it! So the story first, Sonic is super-sonic blue hedgehog that can run really fast. He one day noticed that the animals were getting kidnapped by none other than the Dr. Ivo Robotnik! He was using them to power his robot minions, Badniks. So Sonic had to put a stop to this and free all the animals! Not much of a story but it's very memorable and simple to understand. But trust me, the gameplay was the main attraction to the game! Speaking of Gameplay, the gameplay was unique, the first to do this in videogame history, but some compare it to Super Mario Bros (NES), I LOVED and still love the gameplay, this game has a soft spot in my heart, it was the first game I ever finished and completed. All you have to do is make sure you have a ring(s) so if you get hurt by a Badnik you won't die. Also if you are stuck/stay in a level for too long, 10 minutes to be exact, you'll die and lose a life. But as most games do, the difficultly raised as you progressed. The game is challenging, fun and unique! Next is the Graphic Design. Pretty basic and plain, but it works. I mean, look at it:

I think Sega did a pretty good job! Coming up is the Replay Value, now this is gonna be really short. The only replay value you have is that is you haven't collected all of the Chaos Emeralds by the end of the game, do so and you'll get a different ending. Finally, the advertising:

As you can see, Sonic the Hedgehog was advertised to compete with Nintendo's Mario and sell more copies. Like I've said, it's unique and new. So believe it or not, I think this advert works! I mean, lower price than competing system, better graphics and simple gameplay, Shut Up And Take My Money!


Storyline: 8
"Not much of a story but it's very memorable and simple to understand"
Gameplay: 10
"The game is challenging, fun and unique!"
Graphic Design: 7.5
"Pretty basic and plain, but it works"
Replay Value: 2
"The only replay value you have is that is you haven't collected all of the Chaos Emeralds by the end of the game"
Advertising: 8.5
"I think this advert works! I mean, lower price than competing system, better graphics and simple gameplay, Shut Up And Take My Money!"

Leave your opinions, feedback and personal versions of the final results in the comments! Thank You for reading!
Here's a link to my self made 2048: Colossal Edition game...…