Your SlideShare is downloading. ×
0
Mechanical puzzle design
Mechanical puzzle design
Mechanical puzzle design
Mechanical puzzle design
Mechanical puzzle design
Mechanical puzzle design
Mechanical puzzle design
Mechanical puzzle design
Mechanical puzzle design
Mechanical puzzle design
Mechanical puzzle design
Mechanical puzzle design
Mechanical puzzle design
Mechanical puzzle design
Mechanical puzzle design
Mechanical puzzle design
Mechanical puzzle design
Mechanical puzzle design
Mechanical puzzle design
Mechanical puzzle design
Mechanical puzzle design
Mechanical puzzle design
Mechanical puzzle design
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×

Thanks for flagging this SlideShare!

Oops! An error has occurred.

×
Saving this for later? Get the SlideShare app to save on your phone or tablet. Read anywhere, anytime – even offline.
Text the download link to your phone
Standard text messaging rates apply

Mechanical puzzle design

492

Published on

Published in: Entertainment & Humor
0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total Views
492
On Slideshare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
1
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
2
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

Report content
Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
No notes for slide

Transcript

  • 1. Mechanical Puzzle Design as a Man-Machine Collaboration Pavel Curtis Pavel’s Puzzles http://www.pavelspuzzles.com
  • 2. Overview • Explore development of my puzzle design process • How I did (or would) design three specific puzzles • Lessons I’ve learned along the way
  • 3. On the Problem of Spoilers • How to describe my process without spoiling puzzles? • Approach #1: Some designs are hard to spoil! • #2: Spoil somebody else’s puzzles!  • #3: Spoil a puzzle that’s currently unavailable! • And hope you’ll have forgotten by the time it is available…
  • 4. Birth of a Puzzle Design • Summer 2000: International Puzzle Party • To be held in Tokyo, Japan • The Japanese flag is very simple, elegant: dissect it? • Break it up into 12 ‘domino’ shapes • A 4×6 tray yields 12 pieces: that’s a good number • Feels way too easy… • Make the pieces double-sided? • It should have a unique solution, right?
  • 5. Hinomaru: The Japanese Flag Puzzle
  • 6. Good Idea! Now What? • Is it possible to design pieces with a unique solution? • Time for software! • Compute all possible ways to dissect a 4×6 rectangle into twelve 1×2 domino shapes • Answer: something like 261 distinct dissections • Manually select the one that looks most ‘random’ • Assign faces to the backs such that solution is unique • Lots and lots of assignments work: how to choose? • Try to use each face design the same number of times?
  • 7. Design Complete! On to Test Solving… • I abuse my friends. • A lot. • The prototype: • First tester (a genius): 2 hours and 30 minutes! • Second tester (super-genius): 45 minutes! • Making it hard enough was not the problem… • Can it be solved without exhaustive, brute-force search?
  • 8. Lessons Learned I: Pavel’s Three Laws • It’s easy to design a hard puzzle. • It’s hard to design a good puzzle. • It’s good to design an easy puzzle. (At least sometimes)
  • 9. Lessons Learned II: One Useful Design Process • Imagine an interesting puzzle ‘story’ • Use software to search for puzzles that tell that story • Almost always, only two possible outcomes • No such puzzles? ‘Open up’ the story • Too many puzzles? Add more detail to the story
  • 10. Example #2: ‘Four Sleazy Pieces’ • Designed by Stewart Coffin • American ‘elder statesman’ of puzzle design • Let’s pretend that I designed this puzzle • A non-spoiling analogue for my ‘Sleazier’ puzzle • It was inspired by my (failing at) solving Stewart’s puzzle!
  • 11. First, the Story • Pack a square tray with polyominoes • Polyominoes = shapes made of multiple squares
  • 12. Make the Tray a Weird Size • Not an integral side-length: ~5.8 units • Experienced puzzlers know what this means • Anything weird is that way for a reason
  • 13. Then Double-Cross Them! • Pieces do go in at an angle, but not that one! • (It is called ‘Four Sleazy Pieces’…)
  • 14. Time for Software! • Find all ways to dissect the goal shape • Reusable module #1: shape partitioning algorithm • For each possible dissection, perform solving tests • Reusable module #2: shape solving algorithm • Must solve goal shape in exactly one way • Must solve these shapes in no ways:
  • 15. Drowning in an Ocean of Puzzles! • Thousands or even millions of dissections work! • Add more constraints to the story: • No straight pieces • No duplicate pieces • All pieces about the same size • Still too many? Talk to my wife! • a.k.a, my ‘sadism consultant’ • “Can you make it almost solve 5×5?” • Pieces must solve these shapes:
  • 16. Puzzles that are Stories • A ‘story puzzle’ is solved in ‘chapters’ • Goal of first chapter is (fairly) obvious • Solving that chapter leads to a new puzzle • Welcome to Chapter Two! • Final chapter yields a satisfying conclusion • Typically an appropriate word or phrase • Story puzzles usually have 3 to 5 chapters
  • 17. Example #3: Holiday Discount Puzzle 2012 • Genesis: Can this shape make a puzzle? • Eight square pieces, each with or without certain corners • Need solution to be unique • Ensures a consistent ‘next chapter’ • Answer: create some kind of picture • Pieces must have ambiguous placements
  • 18. Chapter One • Eight pieces: • Goal: make a solid diamond: • Each piece could fit at two corners and two edges
  • 19. Chapter Two • Somehow read a message off the assembly • Thus, need letters on the pieces: A R P L I E S S E S E R T H R A N O E T R E E D W T A C E • Solver must infer: read clockwise around the diamond, ignoring other letters
  • 20. Chapter Three • Message suggests reading the other letters • But doesn’t explain exactly how • Solver must infer: read left to right, top to bottom • Result: “ANSWER IS _______” • Only three chapters here • Want the discount puzzle to be on the easy side
  • 21. When Software Can’t Help • Many puzzle searches can’t be automated: • Disentanglement / topological puzzles • Trick-opening boxes • My “Get a Clue!” puzzle • This category is growing for me • Still lots of design lessons to learn!
  • 22. Story-First Design • Craft a pleasing solving story • Use whatever tools work to search for puzzles that tell that story • Revise or refine the story as indicated • Treat test-solvers as story critics
  • 23. What Story Would You Like to Solve Today? Thank you. Pavel’s Puzzles http://www.pavelspuzzles.com High-quality mechanical puzzles, direct from the designer!

×