Importing Puzzle Solution Data from Completed Lower Levels

Hi All,

In conversations with my Team-mate mat747, the idea came up to allow players to import puzzle solutions from already completed lower levels (where there is already a solid foundation), to begin the next level, so we would then not have to either re-solve the same solution, or have to copy it in from a screen shot (very tedious) - to carry the solution forward on the next level.

I thought this over, and am now envisioning an implementation using a button and a-drop-down menu. The button could say “Import,” and upon a click, would produce a drop-down menu containing the list of lower levels - so if you were beginning level 4 for instance, the “Import” drop-down would show:

Level 3
Level 2
Level 1
Level 0

The button could be located at the top of the screen, just to the left of the navigation links, out of the way, and taking up very little space when not in use.

If the lower level solutions were significantly different, this would also allow quick and easy switching from one alternative start (which may prove to be difficult to carry further), to another, (which may hold more promise for progress at the higher level).

This would be a terrific boon for players, especially on larger puzzles, as it would save a very large amount of repetitious re-solving and re-clicking, and would turn out to be, we think, a great new player-convenience feature.

Thanks, and Best Regards,

-d9 (with mat747)


I do really like the idea of being able to start where you left off in a previous level of a puzzle. I’m going to put this on our list of potential features. It’s #318


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I wonder if this might limit creativity a little. I don’t always solve the same puzzle in similar ways. But then, I guess with so many people playing, there is probably plenty of variety in how the puzzles are being solved.

I am torn here because it would be a nice feature, but I think that it would limit creativity and it also kind of goes against the spirit of the game which is building a library of compounds.

I agree with Matt and Allison. Current functionality not only allow players to clear the puzzle, but also learn different strategies by doing experiments on every puzzle. However, if players start copying a design from the lower level, then there is less scope for learning new strategies through challenges.

I respectfully disagree entirely with all three, Allison, Matt, & Sneh. Merely having past solutions available to paste in is not a creativity stifler at all. It is simply a time-saving convenience, another tool in the tool-box. If anything stifles creativity, it is having to repeatedly re-invent the wheel to move forward with each new level, when your mind is already yearning and racing ahead to get to the new horizons.

I will grant that repetition is a great learning technique - BUT we must allow people to judge and decide for themselves when they need to repeat something to learn it better, or to exercise their creativity more - NOT force that repetition upon them.

Maybe someone’s best creative flash occurred in Level 2, and now they find themselves in Level 4 or 5 with a totally different layout that is just not working, and they cannot remember what the heck they did on Level 2 that made every thing work so well. Currently, it is either Tough Luck, or go through the lengthy time-consuming hassle of re-opening Level 2 in another browser or tab, and then painstakingly comparing differences looking for that “Key.” How much better to simply be able to select Level 2 from the drop-down menu, and be able to immediately retrieve your best, most creative start!

The people who are quick-studies will make the best use of this new feature if it is implemented. Those who want to explore and find alternative solutions, and those who aim to foster their creativity to the utmost by trying vastly different routes to the solution - will not have to use this tool - but it should still be there. It only provides the option to not HAVE to repeat; it does not demand that it be used by everyone, every time, but currently, without it, everyone IS forced to repeat - every time - from beginners to masters of the game.

Most players are adults, and can make their own decisions based on their own styles, strengths, and self-knowledge of their own weaknesses. The game should not slow down the speedy, brilliant players, in order to foist a perhaps ill-fitting creativity upon the average user.



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I agree with d9. I think this would be an amazing tool in the toolbox.

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As I’ve played more the last couple days, I’m finding that already, when a low level challenge seems too easy to me to be enjoyable, I skip ahead to the hardest challenge, solve it, take a screenshot, and then go back to the easier challenges and copy my design on the lower level challenges in order to get the points for them. So it is obvious that people will find workarounds for this feature anyway, and having the tool available would probably increase the retention of your game participants by removing tedium and frustration.

Even at the cost of losing potential variety, it seems to me that keeping participants longterm would be worth that cost, given that there currently seem to be a sufficient number of people interested in this game that you are likely to be developing a fairly broad library anyway.

The longer you can keep people interested, the more intuitively solving these issues will become.

I will likely be staying around fairly long term more because I want to see how you adjust the rules and rewards of the game to shape the responses you get from participants in light of any new information you acquire from the real life syntheses.

Normally I clear the lowest level of a puzzle, stay, optimize it, take a screenshot and copy my solution into the higher levels since the conditions are already met.

If you want players to try different approaches then you have to vary the conditions more than just less G-C and more G-U.

As a compromise you could allow copying only from higher to lower levels or only when the conditions of the uncleared puzzle are already met by the older solution.

Madde makes a good point here; I currently avoid all the lower levels of all the puzzles and simply do the hardest level. I guess if the points mattered, I would go through and copy/paste my findings into the lower level puzzles.

Luckily the points don’t really matter right now, so I can just be happy working on what’s interesting to me.

I completely agree that there needs to be a tool to copy from both harder and easier levels that have been completed. The suggestion that automatic copying stifles creativity is not a good one. What stifles creativity is tedium and boredom. Those are the same things that discourage people from playing a game. I really, really do not want to resolve the same puzzle four times, especially if I have already solved it at a harder difficulty, but I do want the points.

I vote to allow the copy (or something like it, see below) because I find myself taking screen shots of lower levels and doing them manually - when I get stuck on a higher.

I have jumped ahead and done some big ones, it did not occur to me to copy them down to simpler! If people are motivated to do that, well, there’s no stopping them is there?

I find it educational and pleasing to take them in order, kudos to whoever laid them out like this. But when stuck on a higher level, I do start to wonder hey how did I do this before - maybe a popup compare is better than an import?

Final thought, if you want to encourage creativity and/or discourage copying, give bonus points if your higher level solution differs by more than X from the lower level (although this may penalize optimized lower level solutions!). I suppose you could also check timestamps on lowers over highers, but hey, I’ve done some of those myself just randomly, and it still won’t stop someone who puts real effort into acquiring and copying solutions.

Just thinking out loud, thanks for such an interesting “game”!

Since so many people have “liked” this idea we are looking into developing it! It would be in the form of copy/paste so you can move your solutions from one level of difficulty to another.

It is feature # 382 on our feature tracker.

I can’t wait to have this feature myself!

Great! I was thinking along these lines myself. As opposed to those who solve the most difficult first, I tend the solve the easiest first then directly proceed to the more challenging version of the same puzzle (i.e. alpha sort). I find it really encourages internal hypothesis testing when I think about how I have to improve on a previous design to make it withstand more GUs and less GCs, for example, but it’s hard to replicate an entire 400+ nucleotide design just to test a few ideas. I will also point out that this is good training for the lab designs, where many people are trying to modify previously high scoring templates to make them even better.

I did want to caution that I think result loading should only be allowed between different difficulties within an individual’s profile and not as some sort of external save file, which I do fear would limit creativity (as the devs point out above). There also has been alot of student activity lately indicating that some courageous secondary school teacher is using this game as a class assignment, which is great and we wouldn’t want to facilitate anyone from cheating on their homework, would we :slight_smile:

You could only make this feature activate when a player has acquired enough points. Presumably also having acquired a basic knowledge of pairing and the foresight to know if importing previous puzzles is a help for their strategy. You could offer it as a reward at a certain point threshold - everyone likes rewards.

Any progress on this feature?

I agree too :slight_smile:

Thank you very much for this great topic :slight_smile:

I would like to request the feature to paste sequences into any puzzle. That is, player puzzles included. I know that the Puzzle Maker has been recently (?) upgraded to allow for copying not just pasting, but the reverse has not been done for the game itself. I haven’t played challenge puzzles for a long time so it might be available there but there is no pasting in player puzzles.

I am one of those players who likes to remake puzzles with more difficult restrictions. This has been made even easier now that the same shape can be submitted more than once (I still remember when this was not the case). A paste feature would be a big help for any player of my puzzles.

Another reason I would like to ask this is that there are puzzles that I (and probably many other players) just can’t solve without Puzzle Maker assistance. Adding a paste option in the player puzzle games would remove the need to constantly go back and forth between the puzzle and the PM. The player could just solve the puzzle in PM and then copy/paste the solution.

Now, I see that a reply has been removed from this topic, and I also checked out that spreadsheet that says the copy/paste function (feature 382) has been completed already. Yet I still can’t paste solutions into player puzzles. Am I missing something or am I right in assuming that this topic did not yet extend to player puzzles?

If so, is it enough to post here or should I open a new topic for this request?

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I would actually prefer to copy between any levels of a puzzle - I like to solve the hardest level in a set first and then move backwards to the easier ones.