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tcarr

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Logical Crafting: Mackerel contestant feedback thread Reply to this Post
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This thread is for feedback on Mackerel for those entering the Logical Crafting event. The logic puzzle part will be posted on August 10th; see the thread in Events for details. One lucky winner will get a sloop named either "Logical Mackerel", "Puzzled Mackerel" or "Crafty Mackerel", on any ocean. Runners-up (if any) will get a small prize as well (in round one it was chocolate chip cookies). This will be the final round of Logical Crafting.

Go here to start.

After you are familiar with Mackerel, you can start posting your feedback to this thread. Please do not spam the thread, but you are definitely encouraged to post multiple times, as you think of new things to say. Tcarr will read every single post carefully, and respond to some of them.

Please note that Mackerel is a Game Gardens prototype. You will need the latest Java plug-in for it to work, and will have to log in to the Game Gardens server. Your YPP username and password will work, or you can create a new account.

Easy questions (one or two points each):
  • Was the quickstart helpful in learning how to play?
  • How easy was it to learn to play?
  • What is the addiction factor? Do you have to force yourself to play it a few more times in order to give decent feedback, or does it tempt you to keep playing when you have other things to do? (or somewhere in the middle)
  • Separate from the addiction, is playing the game fun?
  • Does the analogy work for weaving?
  • Approximately how long does it take you to play a typical game on a given level, using the default lobby parameters? Does this time feel too long, too short, or about right?
  • Which level did you find to be the most fun?
  • What is your favorite part of the game?
More challenging questions (points awarded based on usefulness of answer):
  • If you tried playing using just three colors, did you notice any significant difference in difficulty as compared to the default four colors?
  • If you experimented with the max length slider, did you notice any significant difference in difficulty or enjoyment of the game, compared to the default number of 12?
  • How often do you get a bead? Does this feel like the right amount, or do you get far too many of them? Would you like an option to destroy a bead that you don't want?
  • How often do you change the width of the loom? Do you like having this option?
  • Playing on the level that you enjoy the most, what strategy or technique did you use? For example, on level one a rather mindless strategy would be to leave the loom at the starting width, pick the color that you have the most of, drop spools of that color on the loom until you have at least 4 completed rows, then drop the pattern on them to get a Zebra bonus. Repeat, using the scissors to clear the loom if you need room.
  • If you played enough to be able to make fairly consistent Incredibles on level 3 or 4, is the strategy that you used to do this something that could be easily coded? Board farming is allowed; boards only count if you have placed a spool on the loom.
  • Mackerel is a variation of Pickerel, from round one. If you are familiar with Pickerel, which of the two games do you prefer? Why?
  • If you spot any bugs, please report them. If you can tell how to reproduce the bug, it is worth more points.
  • If there is something that you think would significantly help the game, please post about it as well. What would make the game more fun?
New questions added late:
  • Suggest a better word than "Zebra" for the "well you matched the pattern but got the colors wrong" bonus.
  • In YPP puzzles when you advance to a slightly harder level, a panel is displayed giving you a tip on how to play the game better. Suggest one or more tips to be used for Mackerel
Deadline for entries to this thread is noon Pacific, Sunday August 12th.
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LordKalvan of Otherwhen, all oceans but mostly Midnight
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[Edit 1 times, last edit by tcarr at Aug 3, 2007 7:26:14 AM]
[Jul 30, 2007 6:46:38 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
kattish713

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* Was the quickstart helpful in learning how to play?
-It was helpful in getting the basics down, but it could use a little more detail perhaps. I didn't understand the beads at all until tcarr turned up and I asked a few questions.

* How easy was it to learn to play?
-The basics can be picked up almost immediately. Some of the finer points (beads, getting perfect rows, the zebra thing) take a few games to pick up.

* What is the addiction factor?
-I certainly didn't mind playing, it was fun. If 1 is "forcing myself to play" and 10 is "I know the oven's on fire but ONE MORE ROW!" then this game is about a 6. I'm not sure why it's compelling to play though.

* Separate from the addiction, is playing the game fun?
-Relatively. There's not a huge amount of challenge at the lower levels, but at the higher levels it's a bit more fun.


* Does the analogy work for weaving?
-Absolutely. Some puzzles work better than others at representing what they're meant to, and I think this would turn out to be one of the better ones. You're working in a weavery, and actually weaving.


* Approximately how long does it take you to play a typical game on a given level, using the default lobby parameters? Does this time feel too long, too short, or about right?
-Five minutes, give or take. That seems a little too short.

* Which level did you find to be the most fun?
-They were all about even.

* What is your favorite part of the game?
-Trying to make "perfect" numbers with the beads.

More challenging questions (points awarded based on usefulness of answer):

* If you tried playing using just three colors, did you notice any significant difference in difficulty as compared to the default four colors?
-The game is slightly more difficult, but not so's you'd really notice, it's pretty difficult to get the spools you want anyway, this doesn't affect it much.


* How often do you get a bead? Does this feel like the right amount, or do you get far too many of them? Would you like an option to destroy a bead that you don't want?
-I quite like how many beads you get, because usually you can't do much useful with them anyway, except clear spots for more spools. If you get an extra bead, but your counter is full, you should be able to choose which bead you want to trash, instead of having three green beads because the new one knocked out the wild I was saving.

* How often do you change the width of the loom? Do you like having this option?
It's a good option, it does make a difference. It makes it a little more challenging to find perfect rows because you have to hold different numbers in your head.


* Playing on the level that you enjoy the most, what strategy or technique did you use?
-I tried to use the beads as much as possible to stock up on spools which would give me perfect rows, whether or not it fit the pattern perfectly.
[Jul 31, 2007 7:56:04 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message    kattish_angel    Maas Kitten [Link]  Go to top 
tcarr

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* Was the quickstart helpful in learning how to play?
-It was helpful in getting the basics down, but it could use a little more detail perhaps. I didn't understand the beads at all until tcarr turned up and I asked a few questions.

I just updated the Quickstart to include a blurb about beads. It doesn't give detailed instructions on them, but I think there's enough there now that players can either look it up in the "How to Play" tab or else experiment with the beads and spools to figure it out.

 
* Approximately how long does it take you to play a typical game on a given level, using the default lobby parameters? Does this time feel too long, too short, or about right?
-Five minutes, give or take. That seems a little too short.

It is simple for me to tweak the code so that there are more stars to fill. If enough testers say it's too short, I'll do that for the next version.

The next version (not the contest version) will have a "New Game" button on the side panel, so that you don't have to return to the lobby to start a new game.
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LordKalvan of Otherwhen, all oceans but mostly Midnight
[Aug 1, 2007 1:16:13 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
actreal

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My feedback on Mackerel:

1. The quickstart wasn't particularly helpful. It has a lot of bubbles which explain the basic buttons but none really explain how to score points. I learnt better by watching what happened to my score when I did various activities.
The quickstart could be improved by mentioning when the game ends.

2. With the scoring and comments visible it was easy to learn to play - I was scoring decently after 2 or 3 games.

3. It's in the middle on addiction factor. Once I got the hang of it, I wanted to have a few consecutive goes at it, but after that I could pull myself away to write up some comments. :)

The proposed new version where you can play more than one board before going back to the menu will assist the addiction factor.

4. The game is quite fun, and holds my attention as well as any of the current crafting puzzles.

5. The analogy is quite good for weaving (see additional comments for suggested improvement).

6. It took me about 5 minutes to play a game, shorter on the lower levels where fewer patterns/rows are required to finish. The higher levels were about the ideal length for a game.
I would like to see a standard length of game for all levels, like in Shipwrightery, probably at the length of the higher levels. It's important for strategy to know how many moves you have left.

7. My favourite difficulty settings were Level 3 or 4, using 4 colors and maximum length 12.

8. My favourite part of the game is planning the size of loom and splices to get bigger combos.

9. Three colors didn't make it noticeably easier while I was playing, but I scored much better at the end, thanks to patterns being easier to make, due to more spools of the pattern colours to choose from.

10. Greater length of threads made it more difficult, particularly on higher levels where you constantly had to cut down long threads to gain alternating colours.
I found maximum thread length of 17 very frustrating as you got many spools at the maximum 17 and very few at more convenient lengths like 12, 15 or 16.
Perhaps a normal (or similar shaped) distribution of spool length would be good, where you get many at relatively useful middle lengths and fewer at the maximum lengths, but this might sacrifice too much difficulty.

11. On the default settings, I found I often had more beads than I had spools that I wanted to join, although not always in the right colours. Perfect rows were not hard at the default settings, although changing the maximum thread length can make them very difficult.
I found the terminology "bead" quite confusing until I read the instructions several times to work out what they were for. Perhaps "splicer" would be a more clear descriptor.

12. I changed the length of the loom at the start of each game, depending on the first pattern and my initial spool selection. Many games I didn't change it as multiples of 5 are easier to calculate in my head.
It was rare for me to change it mid-game.
I liked this option as it gave me a chance to use skill to compensate for the random spool lengths.
I never used the maximum size loom as on the default setting you don't get 14 length spools, and adding to 14 in my head is harder than adding to 12 or 10. :)

13. My strategy was to complete the patterns with the correct colours, while aiming for perfect row combos. I initially aimed for a few perfect rows for beads, which make filling patterns with perfect rows easier. If I didn't have the right colours for even a zebra, I would make perfect rows of the wrong colours and clear with the scissors until I had enough spools of the right colours.
Good strategy on the lower levels involves at the end of the game, setting up an additional pattern above the current pattern to maximise scoring, much like setting up a Bingo+ for the last move of Shipwrightery.

14. I don't think my strategy for Incredibles on levels 3 and 4 could be coded - it's fairly haphazard. I'm not a coder though.
I would say the difficulty of an Incredible needs to increase to be consistent with a YPP distribution of duty reports. This would increase the necessity for board farming for an Incredible, which may not be ideal for a prototype.
If I board farmed, I would be looking for a group of spools that corresponded to the same loom width (i.e. multiples of 5, 6 or 7).

15 & 16. I didn't play Pickerel and I didn't find any bugs, although the lag on mouse clicking was frustrating.

17. Additional Comments:

I found the scissors very difficult to aim. I was constantly not cutting any threads or worse, cutting too many.

There are too many different mechanics in this game for my liking, but each mechanic is separate and there is no time limit so I didn't have the confusion that I had switching mechanics in Loosejaw and Guppy.

The analogy is very good, but perhaps the scissors can be replaced by something that pushes the completed threads downwards off screen. This would make the analogy better and if it recognised the completed pattern contained in the threads to be pushed down as well, then you?d be able to get rid of the scissors and the dragging the pattern across the loom. I am always in favour of reducing the different types of clicking and dragging required in a single game.
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Donall of Hunter

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[Edit 1 times, last edit by actreal at Aug 2, 2007 6:31:37 AM]
[Aug 2, 2007 6:29:20 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
tcarr

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About the scissors: when you are holding them, focus on the row that your mouse is pointing to rather than the scissors. That row should vanish, with any rows above it.

Thanks for the other suggestions.

edit: Any puzzle that is added to YPP will use the automatically adjusting to how well the ocean is doing bit for recognizing Incredibles, etc. The current crafting report at the end is using numbers I pulled out of a hat.
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LordKalvan of Otherwhen, all oceans but mostly Midnight
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[Edit 1 times, last edit by tcarr at Aug 2, 2007 7:00:39 AM]
[Aug 2, 2007 6:58:55 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
actreal

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I'll try ignoring the scissors and using the mouse pointer. That sounds like it will work too.

I realise that YPP will readjust the scoring of puzzles as they see fit.

I meant that if you were using "Incredibles" as a measure of performance in testing then perhaps they should be harder, because I have only missed Incredible once on level 3 or 4, and that was an Excellent. But it's obviously shouldn't be a priority as YPP will adjust the scoring if they accept it. :)
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Donall of Hunter

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[Aug 2, 2007 2:09:35 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
tcarr

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I just added two additional questions to the original post in this thread:
  • Suggest a better word than "Zebra" for the "well you matched the pattern but got the colors wrong" bonus.
  • In YPP puzzles when you advance to a slightly harder level, a panel is displayed giving you a tip on how to play the game better. Suggest one or more tips to be used for Mackerel

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LordKalvan of Otherwhen, all oceans but mostly Midnight
[Aug 3, 2007 7:27:34 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
actreal

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I just added two additional questions to the original post in this thread:
  • Suggest a better word than "Zebra" for the "well you matched the pattern but got the colors wrong" bonus.
  • In YPP puzzles when you advance to a slightly harder level, a panel is displayed giving you a tip on how to play the game better. Suggest one or more tips to be used for Mackerel


This might be the geek in me but I like "Congruous!" as a substitute for Zebra.

Suggested tips:

* Plan your attack - before putting your first spool down, assess which loom size will be best given your choice of spools. A loom of size 4 requires spools of length 5, 10 or 15 for perfect rows.

* Use beads wisely - splice together threads that will provide one or more perfect rows by themselves, preferably rows required to build the current pattern.

* Be efficient - you only have a certain number of rows before the game finishes. Build Tapestries and Zebras as often as you can to maximise your score.

* Bigger isn't better - you don't have to build to the top of the loom before clearing patterns or cutting completed rows with your scissors

* Don't despair if you can't make a pattern with the spools you have. Chained perfect rows - Double, Triple, Bingo, etc. - are a good way to score while using up spools that aren't useful for your current pattern.
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Donall of Hunter

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[Aug 4, 2007 8:04:21 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
marie61

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my feedback, part 1
* Was the quickstart helpful in learning how to play?
* How easy was it to learn to play?
i didn't need it since i had already played pickerel

* What is the addiction factor? Do you have to force yourself to play it a few more times in order to give decent feedback, or does it tempt you to keep playing when you have other things to do? (or somewhere in the middle)
* Separate from the addiction, is playing the game fun?
it is fun to play and tempting enough to keep playing a few more games than i had intended
* Does the analogy work for weaving?
yes, as it did for pickerel
* Mackerel is a variation of Pickerel, from round one. If you are familiar with Pickerel, which of the two games do you prefer? Why?
the choice between matching patterns and just making perfect rows make mackerel much more interesting

* Approximately how long does it take you to play a typical game on a given level, using the default lobby parameters? Does this time feel too long, too short, or about right?
level 4, about 10 minutes but it seemed like less
* Which level did you find to be the most fun?
level 4 (i liked the more complicated patterns)
* What is your favorite part of the game?
matching the patterns
* If you tried playing using just three colors, did you notice any significant difference in difficulty as compared to the default four colors?
it didn't seem much different, although i expected it to be easier to make tapestries, and my highest score so far was with 3 colors
* If you experimented with the max length slider, did you notice any significant difference in difficulty or enjoyment of the game, compared to the default number of 12?
longer threads make it a little more difficult to make perfect rows
* How often do you get a bead? Does this feel like the right amount, or do you get far too many of them? Would you like an option to destroy a bead that you don't want?
i think maybe this was suggested for pickerel but i usually had too many beads at the end and could have used one early in the game if it started with 1 already in the tray
* How often do you change the width of the loom? Do you like having this option?
a lot, and yes

* Playing on the level that you enjoy the most, what strategy or technique did you use?
i look at the pattern and see what length threads i have in those colors. if i can't make a tapestry ot zebra with what i have, i try for a large piece using the color(s) i don't want and use the beads to try to get a new thread of the "right" color to appear. i also try to not cut any more than necessary since the "leftover" rows from a tapestry or zebra sometimes fit the next pattern

* If you played enough to be able to make fairly consistent Incredibles on level 3 or 4, is the strategy that you used to do this something that could be easily coded? Board farming is allowed; boards only count if you have placed a spool on the loom. sorry, this is waaaay past my level of expertise (maybe equal to a bright 7th grader)
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Armillaria on all oceans
SO Moose of Doom, Cerulean


Yes, I am an agent of Satan, but my duties are largely ceremonial.
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marie61

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part 2
*Suggest a better word than "Zebra" for the "well you matched the pattern but got the colors wrong" bonus.
i think the 2 words should be related somehow and jacquard is another complex type of weaving. i also like arabesque. since tapestry is weft-faced weaving, in which all the warp threads are hidden in the completed work [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tapestry] , the obvious opposite is warpfaced.
* What would make the game more fun?
-since i am easily confused, the one thing i would use most would be an "undo last move" button. you could make it more realistic by not allowing cuts to be undone.
-maybe the option of combining 2 beads to make a different bead which would A)allow you to twist 2 threads together resulting in a "heather" type thread or perhaps B) create a silver or gold thread which would be needed in patterns on the most difficult level.
-increase the penalty for wasted thread? not sure if it would be more fun or not but i tried a few games in which i tried to get a tapestry every time, whether i had enough of the right colors or not. i made as much of the pattern as possible and then made perfect rows with the 3rd color. when a spool or the right color appeared, i cut off the rows that didn't fit and continued to complete the tapestry. i used the loom width that fit best and wasted a fair amount of thread. a penalty of a few points (usually 10 or less) is far outweighed by the bonus of over 200 and i still got incredible.
*Suggest one or more tips to be used for Mackerel
-use the widest loom size possible since row size is used to calculate score
-since 4 rows fill each star, try have 1 row left and then end game with a tapestry or zebra

:( next time don't run off so quickly! i am confused about this: Perfect row bonus = (current loom size) * (number of consecutive perfect rows + difficulty level) shouldn't the score be 4* (4+1)=20 and not 8? (or no wonder i do better at higher levels......)

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Armillaria on all oceans
SO Moose of Doom, Cerulean


Yes, I am an agent of Satan, but my duties are largely ceremonial.
[Aug 10, 2007 2:49:55 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
tcarr

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The way number of consecutive perfect rows is determined in Mackerel is different than the way it is in Pickerel. In Pickerel, if your empty loom is width 4 and you play a 20, that counts as 4 consecutive perfect rows from a single spool. In Mackerel, playing one spool can only get you one perfect row. This gives a strong incentive to use short perfect rows rather than the really long ones, if there are short perfect rows available.
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LordKalvan of Otherwhen, all oceans but mostly Midnight
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tcarr

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Mackerel logic puzzle is now available. See this post for the link.

If you have questions, either email me or send me a PM. Don't post anything that might give a hint to other players!
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LordKalvan of Otherwhen, all oceans but mostly Midnight
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marie61

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"Perfect rows give a bonus. Consecutive perfect rows give even nicer bonuses."
 
The way number of consecutive perfect rows is determined in Mackerel is different than the way it is in Pickerel. In Pickerel, if your empty loom is width 4 and you play a 20, that counts as 4 consecutive perfect rows from a single spool. In Mackerel, playing one spool can only get you one perfect row. This gives a strong incentive to use short perfect rows rather than the really long ones, if there are short perfect rows available.

ok, perhaps you could make that clearer in the directions. and one other minor correction to the level 2 storyboard:"Taking the Tapestry fills the last star completely, and all the spools vanish. The new target pattern doesn't match the rows on the loom, so Cantra uses the scissors to remove the rows, and the game ends. Incredible!" but what actually happens is the game ends when the last star is filled whether there are rows remaining on the loom or not.
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Armillaria on all oceans
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Yes, I am an agent of Satan, but my duties are largely ceremonial.
[Aug 11, 2007 1:11:33 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
tcarr

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If there are enough rows left on the loom that it is theoretically possible to make an extra Zebra or Tapestry, then the game doesn't end automatically. I figured that it was silly to make players use the scissors or click done if there were less than 4 rows on the loom. I'll update the storyboard. I looked at the storyboard, and since there are at least four rows left and it's level 2, Cantra did need to use either scissors or the Done button to end the game.

Can you suggest a better explanation of the perfect rows? My thoughts were that the various feedback messages (Perfect row!, Double!, etc) would give players enough information that they would understand it.
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LordKalvan of Otherwhen, all oceans but mostly Midnight
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[Edit 1 times, last edit by tcarr at Aug 11, 2007 2:33:28 AM]
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tcarr

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This one must be tough - only two entries so far!

I'm extending the deadline until 5pm Pacific today (Sunday).
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LordKalvan of Otherwhen, all oceans but mostly Midnight
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If there are enough rows left on the loom that it is theoretically possible to make an extra Zebra or Tapestry, then the game doesn't end automatically. I figured that it was silly to make players use the scissors or click done if there were less than 4 rows on the loom. I'll update the storyboard. I looked at the storyboard, and since there are at least four rows left and it's level 2, Cantra did need to use either scissors or the Done button to end the game.

ok, i wasn't looking at the tiny pictures, just reading the text.
 
Can you suggest a better explanation of the perfect rows? My thoughts were that the various feedback messages (Perfect row!, Double!, etc) would give players enough information that they would understand it.

well, when learning the game, it is sometimes hard to pay attention to the messages that last just a second or 2.

my confusion came from the multiple definitions of the word row. a 4 row pattern made with a single thread is scored as 1 perfect row. maybe you need to just call them single, double, etc as in other games.
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Armillaria on all oceans
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[Aug 12, 2007 4:55:53 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
tcarr

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Perhaps "Perfect Thread" would work?

I'll think about the wording.

Mackerel round is now officially over. There is one winner, and one runner-up. It will take some time for me to make a decision on which of these two gets the sloop. Winners will be announced no later than Tuesday. Solution should be posted later tonight, and likely version 1.2 of Mackerel as well.

edit:
Solution is posted here .
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LordKalvan of Otherwhen, all oceans but mostly Midnight
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[Edit 1 times, last edit by tcarr at Aug 12, 2007 5:37:18 PM]
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Solution is now posted

Congratulations to the winners of the Mackerel round! We had two players who submitted correct solutions, good explanations, and also gave significant feedback on Mackerel.

The winner of the sloop "Logical Mackerel" is Armillaria of Midnight. It was an extremely difficult judgment to make. Because of the closeness of the tie, Donall of Hunter gets "pie or cake" level of runner-up points added to his previous points.

This page will remain online indefinitely, however it will link to the latest version of Mackerel on GameGardens. I tried to design the logic puzzle so that it will still work correctly with any new version of Mackerel.

Cumulative Runner-Up Prizes

The following contestants have accumulated runner-up points.
  • Magrat of Viridian - 3 points
  • Tanonev of Sage - 3 points
  • Donall of Hunter - 3 points
  • Malach of Cobalt - 2 points
  • Armillaria of Midnight - 2 points
  • Shooshy of Sage - 1 point
  • Dellabelle of Viridian - 1 point
  • Sagefire of Viridian - 1 point
  • Zaybex of Sage - 1 point
1 point: Your choice of cookies, chocolate chip cookies, or a pirate greeting card

2 points: Your choice of pie, exotic coffee, scroll, or any medal costing 5K + 5 dubs

3 points: Your choice of cake, any medal costing 10K + 10 dubs, any cat, or any dog

Each runner-up should contact me via PM or email, providing several possible days and times that would be convenient for collecting your prize. I'll get back to you on which one suits my own schedule. Prizes must be collected by September 1st.

In addition, each of the winners of sloops and most of the runner-up winners will be nominated for an award for GCPP Round 2, at a level similar to the one that resulted in the "Unchiseled Potential" trophy ffor GCPP Round 1 participants. Please note that all I can do is nominate; I'm not judging the participation awards for GCPP.
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LordKalvan of Otherwhen, all oceans but mostly Midnight
[Aug 13, 2007 9:06:23 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
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