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tcarr

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Puzzle Codename: Pickerel (play on GameGardens!) Reply to this Post
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weaving, math-type puzzle

http://yppedia.puzzlepirates.com/GCPP:Proposal-Pickerel

This proposed game is specifically for a weavery, and I feel is a very strong idea. I am eager to code this, but want to get a lot of feedback first, and there are some parts that I know can be coded but I'm not sure yet how to do it (but am confident that I can figure it out).

Images needed:
I would appreciate an artist providing images, but I'm still thinking about layout and that will effect the size of the tiles.
thread tiles
The threads could be just drawn lines, but then color-blind players will have trouble, so the ideal would be to have small square tiles where each color has a different hatching.
background
I would like a loom background, allowing for a maximum width of 12 columns, and at least 13 rows. We don't need extra images for the different sizes of looms, just a separate image for each of the woof threads. When the player chooses the width at the start of the game, the correct number of woof threads will be strung on the loom. Alternative to a woof image would be for me to just have Java draw a line for each woof thread.
trays
The jumble bin could be part of the background image, but making it separate will allow me to play with the layout or request a different size. One image for a sorting tray will be needed. The tray will need a "ruler" that marks 12 inches across the top, and room for three rows of threads, a bit wider than the 12 inches (so that there can be a space between threads on the same row)
beads
Several different images will be needed for the beads. They should be just a bit larger than the thread tiles, and different shapes. For each of the different colors of thread used, I would like corresponding beads in each of the various shapes, plus one bead in each shape that is a different color or rainbow or something.
scissors
One pair of scissors perhaps? Having scissors to snip the dangling threads and/or cutting a finished square off the loom would be cool. We might even make it some kind of reward for completing a square: a pair of scissors that can cut one thread inside your tray (no loss of points or inches of thread).

Feedback, please!!!!!

edit: Machine-solvability issue: This is a variation of the 0-1 Knapsack problem. A machine could generate a decent solution without the beads that would have dangling threads, but going for the best possible solution is an NP-Complete problem, particularly with those beads in the way.
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LordKalvan of Otherwhen, all oceans but mostly Midnight
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[Edit 6 times, last edit by CraftingProj at Dec 21, 2006 8:08:30 AM]
[Aug 24, 2006 4:40:07 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
nifboy



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I kinda like it; it's very much a mathy puzzle, and makes you "aim" for given lengths/combinations of thread.

Sooo, what happens if you pull a thread you can't put in a tray?
[Aug 24, 2006 8:48:27 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
tcarr

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I kinda like it; it's very much a mathy puzzle, and makes you "aim" for given lengths/combinations of thread.

Sooo, what happens if you pull a thread you can't put in a tray?


Hmm.... good point. /e ponders a moment...... If it won't go in a tray, then you either put it on the loom or it's a booch and the whole thread counts as "wasted". (or you can keep it in your fist while you click the "finished" button) So smart players would only pick up a thread from the jumble bin if there if enough room left in one tray for the longest possible thread.
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LordKalvan of Otherwhen, all oceans but mostly Midnight
[Aug 25, 2006 1:34:46 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
Nalanthi



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So is it possible to continue to pull threads out of the jumble bin after you have started weaving, or is this a two stage puzzle?
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Nalanthi - A Blatant PvPer, War Monger and Officer of the Falcon's Fury.
-Midnight (Retired)
Tamman - Head of a Merchant Empire, and Strategist of Black Plague
-Viridian (Retired)
Nalanthi - Mercenary and scalawag.
-Malachite
[Aug 25, 2006 5:48:20 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
tcarr

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you keep pulling threads out of the jumble bin, as long as you have some place to put them. There's a limit to total "inches" of thread in the jumble bin at the start; eventually the jumble bin is empty.
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LordKalvan of Otherwhen, all oceans but mostly Midnight
[Aug 25, 2006 6:10:39 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
tcarr

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Storyboard (currently missing images that I don't have time to do yet - will edit later)

Rylla's first Pickerel game

Rylla had read the brief instructions, but not really grasped them and had no idea of what would be a good strategy. In the lobby, she set the number of colors to 3 and "use beads?" to false (because the explanation of beads confused her) and made a table.

When the game started, she rapidly filled two of the trays with threads from the jumble bin, then decided that maybe she should leave the third tray empty for a while. She looked at the threads in the first two trays, and noticed more white than either red or blue, so she decided to use white first. She moved all the red threads to the empty third tray, and then rearranged so that all the blue threads were in the second tray, but there were too many white threads to all fit in the first tray. She minimized the third tray to get it out of the way.

Next Rylla needed to decide the size of the loom. She thought about carefully examining the lengths of all the white threads, but the very idea gave her a headache - she wanted to have some fun, not do math problems! She did notice that two of the white threads were 6 units long, and she liked the number 6, so she picked 6. Rylla clicked the top of the loom 6 times, and each time a very thin vertical woof thread was added to the loom. There! The loom was strung and ready for weaving.

Rylla clicked one of the size 6 white threads and then clicked the middle of the loom. The thread dropped to the bottom. She did the same for the second size 6 thread. Now what to do??? Rylla picked up one of the other white threads at random and added it to the loom. It was size 3, and it settled at the bottom on the far left, leaving 3 empty spaces to the right in that row.

"Cool! there's another size 3 thread - I'll use that one next!"

Rylla added the second size 3 thread, then watched in dismay as a knot appeared so there was still a one unit empty space on that row. A small animation indicated that she had lost one point (due to the knot). There weren't any size 1 threads, so she grabbed one at random which happened to be size 10.

[insert image of before placing the size 10 thread]
[insert image of placing the size 10 thread, with the extra dangling]

What was she supposed to do with the dangling thread? Rylla decided to ignore it, and just picked another white thread at random and added it to the board. Awesome! The dangling thread wrapped up to the next row, then knotted itself to the new thread. A small animation indicated that she had lost 2 points (one for the knot, one for wrapping from one row to the next).

Rylla continued to place white threads mostly at random, slowly gaining insights into strategies for avoiding dangling threads. When she ran low on white threads, she picked more threads from the jumble bin. When she finished the sixth row she had 3 units of thread dangling and was just picking up another white thread when a large animation praised her for completing a square, and scissors came by cutting the square of cloth off the loom. (scoring: +20 for completing a square, +36 for the area, -24 for the perimeter, -3 for the dangling thread, for total of +29. She had already been at -11 due to knots and dangling threads, so her current score is 18. not bad!)

Rylla wisely decides to switch to a different color, because she has hardly any white threads left in the trays. She can't change the size of the loom. The red and blue threads look about the same so she just picks red randomly. She returns the white thread she had been holding to the tray, then picks up a red thread and continues playing. This time she makes an even better score, because she understands more of the strategy involved.

Middle of the game moment:
(Note: Since at the start of the game, the jumble bin had a total of 200 units of thread, and Rylla was using a loom of size 6, the maximum possible number of full squares Rylla could make is 5.)

Rylla has 2 rows of red completed, but the jumble bin keeps giving her white and blue threads. Gambling, she adds all the red threads she has and tries the jumble bin again, but still no luck. She decides to try adding a different color to see what happens. The unfinished row unravels, and booch animation appears. She loses points for each of unit that had to be unraveled, plus 10 points for booching. Scissors appear to cut the 2 finished red rows off, and a score animation indicates that she gets some points for the rectangle. (+12 for area, -16 for perimeter).

End of the game moment:
The jumble bin has no more threads in it. Rylla has 4 completed rows of blue, but not enough blue left to finish another row. There is enough red to do two rows but by now Rylla realizes that doing just two rows loses points. Rylla clicks the scissors to remove the 4 rows of blue, then clicks the finish button.

Some kind of duty report appears, and she is asked whether she wants to play again. Clicking Yes would give Rylla the same type of game (3 colors, no beads). Going back to the looby would allow Rylla to try playing with beads.
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LordKalvan of Otherwhen, all oceans but mostly Midnight
[Aug 25, 2006 6:12:54 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
nifboy



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tcarr wrote: 
Storyboard


I love you. And I mean that in an entirely "I wish this was mandatory for all design proposals" way.
[Aug 25, 2006 8:13:36 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
tcarr

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tcarr wrote: 
Storyboard


I love you. And I mean that in an entirely "I wish this was mandatory for all design proposals" way.


whew! the first part had me flashing back to Sailerboylee's recent tutorial, where in the middle of it when he mentions my Whirly Math applet he says he wants to date Lordkalvan...
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LordKalvan of Otherwhen, all oceans but mostly Midnight
[Aug 25, 2006 8:30:51 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
tcarr

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The storyboard has been added to my Wiki proposal, with images, in the Gameplay section. I don't have time to edit the version in this thread right now, sorry.
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LordKalvan of Otherwhen, all oceans but mostly Midnight
[Aug 25, 2006 10:43:58 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
nifboy



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The storyboard has been added to my Wiki proposal, with images, in the Gameplay section. I don't have time to edit the version in this thread right now, sorry.


S'what the wiki is for.
[Aug 25, 2006 10:47:49 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
tcarr

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Feedback needed I think.....

I had arbitrarily chosen trays that could hold three rows of threads, and a total of 36 units of thread. My reasoning was that I didn't want players to empty the jumble box too fast (or drown in too many choices!). The total number of units of thread in the jumble box at the start was also rather arbitrarily chosen, so that a reasonable number of squares could be made.

If we stick to 200 units total but increase the number of colors as the difficulty level increases, without increasing the number of trays, then even somebody who understands the puzzle strategy very well (better than me by a long shot i think) would have trouble making even a single square.

Perhaps there should be more trays, or larger capacity trays in the higher difficulty levels? One more tray than number of colors feels intuitively better to me. That would give Rylla's storyboard a fourth tray, and a few more choices.

I think I need to do a storyboard for single-color, and one for multiple color that uses beads.
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LordKalvan of Otherwhen, all oceans but mostly Midnight
[Aug 25, 2006 1:16:40 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
tcarr

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I've made some tweaks to the wiki page. The bin will hold 100 units of thread of each color. This allows the higher level players to continue playing longer and so score more points.

I redid the scoring, and marked it as tentative. I also added a storyboard for a single color and a player trying to produce Able labor.
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LordKalvan of Otherwhen, all oceans but mostly Midnight
[Aug 25, 2006 3:01:57 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
tcarr

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Perhaps the jumble bin isn't needed, at least visibly? It would be easier to code to just have the trays fill automatically when there is room for the next thread that would come from the bin. That would make things harder to sort, but players wouldn't have to remember to check the bin to see if there were more threads.

Since I got Mummichog going already, perhaps this coming weekend I'll slap together a quick and dirty NetLogo applet for Pickerel so that we can get some of the design issues tweaked before attempting to code on GameGardens. NetLogo is *fast* to code in (well, for me anyway).
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LordKalvan of Otherwhen, all oceans but mostly Midnight
[Aug 28, 2006 5:32:40 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
tcarr

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In planning the NetLogo version of this, I have noticed the following:

1. It's easier to code to just have the trays autofill.
2. It's easier to just have a single tray, with no sorting allowed.
3. It's easier to fill the tray with X number of spools of thread, than to lay the images out as different lengths of thread, and then check that the sum of the lengths is less than 36. Much easier to just have 8 (or whatever) spools.

Feedback please.

1. Would it be "more fun" to not have to bother tapping the bin from time to time, or more fun to get to decide when to dive in for more threads?
2. Does the option of sorting the threads appeal? And being able to minimize a tray of threads that you are not working on at the moment?
3. Would it be "more fun" to have to hold a thread up to a ruler to find the size (or just hover it over the loom I suppose), or easier to just have numbers spools telling the size?
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LordKalvan of Otherwhen, all oceans but mostly Midnight
[Aug 29, 2006 3:57:46 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
deathprog23

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1. Would it be "more fun" to not have to bother tapping the bin from time to time, or more fun to get to decide when to dive in for more threads?
2. Does the option of sorting the threads appeal? And being able to minimize a tray of threads that you are not working on at the moment?
3. Would it be "more fun" to have to hold a thread up to a ruler to find the size (or just hover it over the loom I suppose), or easier to just have numbers spools telling the size?


Feedback:
1. Is it not optimal to refill the trays each time anyway? Autofill sounds good, up to a point where the next thread out of the bin doesn't fit into its tray. This doesn't make sense if you can still sort the threads, in which case just autofill.

2. Similar point: what does sorting the threads achieve, other than clarity? Unless it's penalised point-wise, this might as well be automatic, and the computer may as well put all the threads, ordered by colour, in one tray. Being able to minimize one colour is a nice option though, but it might be easy to forget it contained threads of other colours if that option is still allowed.

3. The idea of having to hold up the thread is nice, but one needs to be able to see all the available lengths at a glance I think. Threads should have some marking so their length is obvious.


Otherwise I think this is a pretty neat concept, though I'm not quite sure whether the variation/depth is enough to maintain long-term fun - though it's so hard to tell without a demo. I suppose that's going to be a problem with most proposals though.
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"I wanna be like the ocean, no talkin' an' all action." Jane's Addiction, Ocean Size
[Aug 29, 2006 5:01:24 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message    http://www.last.fm/user/deathprog23/ [Link]  Go to top 
tcarr

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it is *extremely* difficult to judge the fun value of a proposal without actually playing it - and the more original the idea, the harder that is.

perhaps twould be good to have a lobby option (assuming this is ever coded on GameGardens) to autosort the threads? then the testers can try it both ways and see whether it's more fun to rummage in the tray or not.
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LordKalvan of Otherwhen, all oceans but mostly Midnight
[Aug 29, 2006 5:11:09 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
tcarr

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I've started to code the quick-and-dirty NetLogo prototype of this, and doing so is raising even more design issues.

Question:
What is more realistic when weaving and the thread runs out so you have to change threads?
1. Just add another thread that starts exactly where the last one runs out
2. Make a knot (which uses at least one inch of thread)
3. Overlap for a while (which uses at least one inch of thread)

2 & 3 make no difference in gameplay, but would effect the images used.

Also, when weaving and you reach the edge with thread left over, which is more realistic?
1. Snip the extra off and return to the tray (does this waste any thread?)
2. Wrap the thread to the next row and continue (using at least one inch of thread in the wrapping)
3. Snip the extra off and continue weaving (no wasting of thread)
4. Snip the extra off and throw it away (always wasteful)

Currently my NetLogo program is using "snip the extra off and return to tray" simply because it was easier to code. One inch is being wasted when I do this, but I could put that inch back again.

But what would be *more fun* or at least *more realistic*? It's been decades since I spent my summers working for the park district teaching summer camp kids arts and crafts..... I *used* to know how to do several fancy kinds of weaving using handlooms, cardlooms, etc.
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LordKalvan of Otherwhen, all oceans but mostly Midnight
[Aug 30, 2006 8:55:22 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
tcarr

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I have an ugly "quick and dirty" NetLogo applet of Pickerel ready for testers. Please note that this is not the full proposed Pickerel; it does not include beads, which will make the higher levels much more interesting (and challenging).

In this version, when a row is completed, the thread is snipped (with no lost inches of thread) and placed on a spool for later use. When a thread stops in the midst of a row instead of at the end, the next thread has to overlap it by the number of inches that the overlap slider is set to (0, 1, 2). Using overlap of zero makes the game easier, but you then get zero points for perfect rows (the spool is exactly the same length as the width of the loom). The larger the overlap, the larger the perfect row bonus.

The point scoring gives a bonus for squares, but *at this time* does not determine combos. This is just to get a feel for the game while it is still in the design stage. Is it fun? What is a good set of settings for "easy" or for "medium"? Just *how* hard is 6 colors anyway? etc.

Feedback from testers would be most appreciated. You can find the applet here:
http://www.watersleeps.org/pickerel/PickerelTile.html
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LordKalvan of Otherwhen, all oceans but mostly Midnight
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Fiddler

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What is more realistic when weaving and the thread runs out so you have to change threads?

2. Make a knot (which uses at least one inch of thread)

From watching my wife knit and crochet, this makes the most sense to me.

 
Also, when weaving and you reach the edge with thread left over, which is more realistic?

2. Wrap the thread to the next row and continue (using at least one inch of thread in the wrapping)


One thing I've noticed in playing the rough game is that my decisions are very immediate. While I may be looking a few moves ahead to plan out weaving a block, I really only have one choice on any particular move. Once I start in weaving a color my best course of action is to try making as large a block of that color as possible, until I create a square or I run out of that color thread, at which point I re-evaluate which color I want to weave. There is no "I can do this OR I can do this" decision making. In that way, it is very much like distilling. If the beads remain fixed, like spice in the distilling column, it resembles that puzzle even more.


One possibility to fix this problem (If you see it as a problem) is having the beads react to the creation of blocks. Not just in how and when they appear on the board, but in having them move around the board or even disappearing before they are used.
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tcarr

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thanks for testing!

I had started doing things like using a long thread to finish a row, then using a newly popped up perfect thread to do a full row. If we do automatic wrapping, then players will have to think harder... which is *good*. The overlap makes people think harder too.

I'll spend some time this weekend deciding what makes sense, and adding knots, perhaps beads as well.
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LordKalvan of Otherwhen, all oceans but mostly Midnight
[Sep 1, 2006 4:55:41 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
tcarr

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the Pickerel prototype has been updated:
1. leftover thread continues on the next row automatically. this means that players can either think harder to attempt to finish squares on perfect rows or at least with very little leftover at the end of a square, OR players can just guess and take the penalty if there is leftover thread at the end of a square, OR players can choose to not finish a square at all (particularly if they just finished a perfect row).

2. Every time a new thread is added to the loom, it needs a knot. The knot takes "overlap" number of inches of thread. If overlap is set to zero (easiest) then you won't see any knots. Wrapping from one row to the next also shows a knot, although a Java version would likely have some other graphic showing that overlap inches were used along the side.

I'm halfway decent at playing this game, but [1] i like math, and [2] i've had a lot of practice, testing the game. I foresee Able labor as being easy to get by anybody who realizes that the point is to make squares (and only 2 colors on loom, no overlap). Middle-range playing would be 3 colors on loom, overlap of 1. Using 4+ colors on the loom, overlap of 2, would be require a lot of effort to get a good score (so Legendaries and Ultimates have something challenging).

I still haven't implemented beads. If I'm the only one who thinks this game is interesting, then I might just table work on Pickerel until after GCPP finishes.
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LordKalvan of Otherwhen, all oceans but mostly Midnight
[Sep 2, 2006 6:18:09 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
deathprog23

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As it stands, the 'perfect row' bonus is massively outweighing anything else. I end up seeing what combinations of threads make perfect rows (the math doesn't seem too tricky) and making lots of perfect rows. 4 colours, 5 threads and 2 overlap seems a reasonable challenge. Anything more and pieces are too rare to ever finish much.

I'm not seeing a significant risk/reward game here though. I can attempt to finish a square by hoping for the right colour instead of making other coloured rows, but the square bonus needs to be bigger to warrant that. Perhaps beads will add something, but I think the player needs more control over the game for there to be a high-end version.

In fact, I think going back to your original idea of having separate trays for the different colours, and a lot more of each colour out at any one time might make for some more long term planning in the game.
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"I wanna be like the ocean, no talkin' an' all action." Jane's Addiction, Ocean Size
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tcarr

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With zero overlap, the perfect row bonus is zero. Most of my testing has been done with overlap of one. It would be easy to up the square bonus. When the loom width is large, making squares is *hard*. When the width is narrower, squares are easy.

Another bonus for making two or more consecutive perfect rows would also make it more interesting methinks.

My original concept with the three trays had about as much thread out at once actually. Experienced players will figure out that there are 100 inches of each color, total.

we can play with the points for rows and squares. is the game *interesting* without the points?

edit: thanks for testing it!

edit 2: Checking the current scoring, I can see where using overlap of 2 makes perfect rows more important than squares - when the loom size is small.

perfect row: 10 * overlap (so overlap of zero gives zero, overlap of 1 gives 10, overlap of 2 gives 20)

square: bonus is 2 * loom-size * loom-size. When loom-size is 4, that means 32 points, when it is 5, that's 50 points, for 6 it would be 72 points.

rectangle bonus (non-square) is the area of the rectangle. So two rows at loom-size of 5 would be 10 points.

If a player has 4 rows finished using loom-size of 5, and is debating using the last spool of that color in hopes that another pops up to finish the square, the possible reward is 30 points more than stopping (neglecting any "perfect row" bonuses) versus a loss of however many inches are on the unfinished row (one point each inch wasted). There is a hidden penalty in that any inch wasted means less thread later in the game, so there's another row that you are less likely to finish.

Quite a bit of the strategy appears to be in setting the loom-size as well, with this version. If we do not give the player the ability to set the loom size, then that's an easy way to change the difficulty - with larger loom size, the reward for a square increases over the perfect rows. This might be a better game than increasing the number of colors. If we did this, we might set the end goal as a certain number of (perfect rows + squares completed) and generate unlimited thread.

I'm considering making the penalty for wasting thread one more than the overlap, per inch. Clearly, the overlap will vary with difficulty; easy gets zero overlap, hard overlap of two (and we can easily put in overlap of 3 if it appears to be needed).
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LordKalvan of Otherwhen, all oceans but mostly Midnight
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[Edit 3 times, last edit by tcarr at Sep 4, 2006 5:23:02 AM]
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tcarr

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Re: Puzzle Codename: Pickerel Reply to this Post
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I've been thinking about the scoring, and the difficulty levels. I think that keeping the number of colors to three (possibly two for the easiest level) and having the difficulty level set the size of the loom will work well. I don't think that we need to have overlap varying, although having it at zero for the easiest level, and then one for the rest works.

If we make combo bonuses by having consecutive perfect rows *in the same color* then the larger loom size will allow for bigger possible combos. Players might decide to avoid using any of one particular color, so that later they have a chance of getting a max combo. Squares are removed from the loom, and the combo counter starts over again; in this way the easier levels get more bonuses for squares but can't get more than a few consecutive perfect rows.

Beads would also come with large bonuses attached, when used correctly.
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LordKalvan of Otherwhen, all oceans but mostly Midnight
[Sep 4, 2006 11:06:05 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
tcarr

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Re: Puzzle Codename: Pickerel Reply to this Post
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I've updated the Pickerel NetLogo applet, changing the scoring, and having a single difficulty setting that determines the number of colors, overlap, and the loom width.

No beads implemented yet, but bonuses for consecutive perfect rows are. So far I haven't managed to get better than a double on this version.

If we increase the number of "spools" that show, then it will be easier to make combos. I find myself thinking harder on this new version of the scoring, but partly that is because I can't just choose my favorite loom width; the width of the loom is now determined by the difficulty.
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LordKalvan of Otherwhen, all oceans but mostly Midnight
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deathprog23

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Re: Puzzle Codename: Pickerel Reply to this Post
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I'm quite liking this balance. I'm finding what you said to be true: sometimes it's worth using colours you don't have much of in the hope of getting a better collection of another colour to make big combos later.

Here are the results of some quick testing of the difficulties I did just now:

Level 3: 546 points
Level 4: 559 points
Level 5: 654 points
444 points
484 points
Level 6: 532 points
531 points
701 points (I got a donkey for 70!)
Level 7: 397 points
340 points
518 points
Level 8: 558 points
500 points

So the peak in difficulty to reward is about level 5/6. With practice perhaps 700 points will become more common. I presume the higher score for level 8 is because there are 100 extra inches in there to score with? 3 colours feels good though.
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"I wanna be like the ocean, no talkin' an' all action." Jane's Addiction, Ocean Size
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[Edit 1 times, last edit by deathprog23 at Sep 4, 2006 5:44:48 PM]
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tcarr

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when I was testing with whatever colors I liked, 3 colors felt best. we don't *need* a level 8 methinks.

if there's not enough reward on the higher levels, I can tweak the scoring formulas to include the difficulty level. (or just add extra thread based on the difficulty - that might be the best solution; larger loom sizes need more thread!)

I expect that when beads are added this will do wonders for scoring points at the harder levels. If you don't understand the beads, your scores will drop of course, but if you do there will be nice bonuses for using the beads correctly.

I'm not sure it's worth adding beads to the NetLogo applet. i'll see if I'm bored tomorrow after work (or exhausted instead). The NetLogo applet was just a way to help me firm up my game design and get feedback from testers.
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LordKalvan of Otherwhen, all oceans but mostly Midnight
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[Edit 1 times, last edit by tcarr at Sep 4, 2006 6:37:13 PM]
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erdferkel

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Impression after testing: too simple Reply to this Post
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First up, I'll admit I haven't yet read the proposal for this puzzle. This is my first impression after reading LK's first several posts in this thread and then playing the applet a couple of times at various difficulty levels.

Perhaps the addition of beads (whatever they do...) would make a significant difference, but in its current form this puzzle didn't hold my interest for very long. There were only two things I ever had to think about: which available thread (if any) would fill the row with no excess; and, on the higher difficulty levels, whether to start a new row and risk having to switch colors with a partial row left, or to swith after a perfect row to a more-abundant color. Basically, it required counting and an occasional toss of the dice.

If the beads are going to make the puzzle more complex by an order of magnitude, great, but they should be a part of the puzzle at every level, except maybe the first time a player sees the puzzle.

I hope this cricism doesn't seem to harsh, and I hope it's useful. Again, I've just started digging into the CPP forum and I haven't done my homework on this puzzle, but I hope I can contribute to the project, particularly in the coding phase.
[Sep 4, 2006 10:17:38 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
tcarr

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Re: Impression after testing: too simple Reply to this Post
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Perhaps the addition of beads (whatever they do...) would make a significant difference, but in its current form this puzzle didn't hold my interest for very long. There were only two things I ever had to think about: which available thread (if any) would fill the row with no excess; and, on the higher difficulty levels, whether to start a new row and risk having to switch colors with a partial row left, or to swith after a perfect row to a more-abundant color. Basically, it required counting and an occasional toss of the dice.


I'll see about adding the beads to the NetLogo prototype. NetLogo is enough different from Java that getting that code working in NetLogo isn't going to help very much with the GameGardens version if this project is chosen for coding.

We don't have benchmarks on scores yet, but I have been assuming that a player who never scores a double won't be able to make better than Poor unless he is *very* good at making squares or lots of single perfect rows. The game is extremely easy if all you are after is using up all the threads, making squares and not minding the wasted threads. When you start planning how to increase your chances of getting a triple (huzzah! I finally got one!) or bigger combo, then you have to plan ahead.

The next time I update the applet, the total amount of thread will be increased a bit for each increase in loom size. If and when this is coded on GameGardens, we can discuss increasing the number of "spools" visible in the tray. The applet just doesn't have enough room for more than 8.
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LordKalvan of Otherwhen, all oceans but mostly Midnight
[Sep 5, 2006 7:21:19 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
deathprog23

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I'll see about adding the beads to the NetLogo prototype. NetLogo is enough different from Java that getting that code working in NetLogo isn't going to help very much with the GameGardens version if this project is chosen for coding.


The next time I update the applet, the total amount of thread will be increased a bit for each increase in loom size. If and when this is coded on GameGardens, we can discuss increasing the number of "spools" visible in the tray. The applet just doesn't have enough room for more than 8.


I'd like to see how beads might work, but I don't think it's necessary at this stage. The puzzle mechanic is clear and I think players should be able to tell if this stands out from other puzzles as worthy of advancing. Side note: will people be subconsciously biased to preferring this and/or other NetLogo prototyped games?

Increasing the total amount of thread will help larger scoring, but to make higher difficulties harder, more long pieces could be included. They're trickiest to use (well except that more short threads means more knotting waste). This would be especially appropriate for games with more than 8 spools!

As regards gameplay, I enjoy this, but agree that it doesn't seem very deep at present (this has been slowly improving with each NetLogo version though). There isn't really a 'wow' factor where I set up and complete a really tricky combo (cc^12 in distilling, big combos in alchemistry; this is also something I think is lacking from shipwrightery, big combos there feel about as planned as my donkey here was). Does this matter? What makes a game fun for more people? I like playing at the high end, so I'm biased if there isn't enough tricky/complex stuff in a puzzle. Most people presumably have different criteria. How are we going to judge this?

I think there needs to be more discussion of what makes a puzzle 'fun', but obviously here isn't the place for it, and I'm not going to be in a position to write something decent about it for at least another month (damn real life).
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"I wanna be like the ocean, no talkin' an' all action." Jane's Addiction, Ocean Size
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