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"revenge of the computers 1" by pieguy

added 19 May 2005 18:29
Shortest Solution
NameSpeed Record
Length409 moves
On09 Jul 2005 12:24

Comments (turn spoilers off)
8470 revenge of the computers 1 mm (690) Wed 05 Sep 2007 18:40  
  Thanks wowei, I know you've told me but I just couldn't believe it would ever be possible...Today I'm still kind of proud to finally have found the solution - and once more I'm asking myself why I've been so very stupid! (-; Now there's still revenge No 2 waiting for me...
8466 revenge of the computers 1 wowei (685) Wed 05 Sep 2007 17:21  
  Congrats, your highness! Didn't I tell you, you'll make it? :-)
8464 revenge of the computers 1 mm (690) Tue 04 Sep 2007 17:21  
  Tataaaaa: I got it! And now I think it's such a great level! No more frustration, finally... :-)
7391 revenge of the computers 1 bpotetz (144) Tue 09 Jan 2007 06:55  
  Yeah - some of my favorite levels are computer-aided. Typically, creating a good (fun, interesting) level is much harder than solving one, so I don't mind if designers get a helping hand to level the playing field. Also, levels that are difficult to solve but not very interesting are easy enough to write by hand (like "Riddle of Steel").
7390 revenge of the computers 1 wowei (685) Mon 08 Jan 2007 15:23 SPOILER
  Hi mm, I fully agree with you in the judging part

> judge for the moment

i dont in the 10 part ;-) and i dont know in the "not fair" part. :)

i think the challenge only is different in computer-generated levels. am not sure, if those are not fair somehow, they're only different somehow. now this one IS solvable without computer assistence, and i guess, i'm making progress in the level "revenge of the computers 2". problem is, as usual, that you get no feedback, whether you're on the right route.

maybe this general and very obvious sounding hint isn't a spoiler at all:

play with them blocks around a bit, to see what they can do and what they can't. you already know, what must be done and where the problem is in detail. following mr holmes' deductive methods, you'll see, what's possible and what is not. :)
if you respond: "I've done all this already a thousand times!", question now, where you badly want one single block to be especially - and bingo you'll hopefully see.

keep on keeping on!
7380 revenge of the computers 1 mm (690) Sat 06 Jan 2007 21:27  
  I did give this level a 10 without solving it. In my opinion, it's just not solvable without computer assistance.

But I guess we all "judge" just for the moment?

And after all: I've "re-jugded" some levels - of course - but this one: no way.

I think computer-assisted-levels are somehow not fair. After all.

7376 revenge of the computers 1 wowei (685) Fri 05 Jan 2007 17:07  
  Brain, i have to agree to you and didn't see it from that point of view before: wanting to "correct" an overall rating is like erasing others opinions. the optimal way to rate levels is to not know, how others have rated. So one should ignore that information best.

now I've been asking myself, if i should rerate this level 9 or 10 in difficulty. after a while i answered: "no!" :] it definetely isn't a 10 and compared to other 9s, i gave, it's not enough. considering after all i did "work" on it for months, but now i truely DO want to split hairs ;) and determine herewith: an 8 it is, basta! :D

only a little while ago i've been giving out a lot of 10s in the very first enthusiastic moments of having found a hard and long searched for solution. i suppose, all of you know this kind of satisfaction and enthusiasm, i'm talking about. later i saw a kind of a real inflation of rating-points in my user-file by having rated thirty or more 10s. i rethought the worth of them, and only two 10s remained here so far. tom's latest genius approach of newark airport is one of them, Henri's "too many alsers" the other, although the intended solution of the latter is a little, little bit easier, but i love the harder way, which i found!

rating a level always is a matter of taste only, of course. and taste can be discussed about for eternity. or can't ?-)
7375 revenge of the computers 1 Tom 7 (1) Fri 05 Jan 2007 13:41 SPOILER
  I do try to advertise for the game and I've submitted it to a lot of freeware directories, but maybe I am missing some major ones. If you guys know any places or venues I'm missing, I'd love help in that department. Particularly if you know people who are prone to spending lots of time and effort on puzzles...

What you say about the ratings is correct. I don't think there's much we can do about inaccuracies, because tastes do vary a lot. It is a little bothersome that very hard levels are only rated by a handful of people. Unfortunately I just think that most people are looking for a bit more casual of a game, and don't have the ability or desire to make it through the hardest levels, so without a lot more people playing the game that is unlikely to change. (But please, don't stop making levels for experts!)
7374 revenge of the computers 1 bpotetz (144) Thu 04 Jan 2007 23:29  
  > I'd rate higher than 8 also, but didn't, because i wanted to decrease the overall rating a bit.

Sometimes I am also tempted to "correct" the rating of a level by giving it a score that is higher or lower than I would have given it otherwise, just to bring the overall rating to where I think it belongs. But I try to resist this temptation - that is like erasing someone else's opinion just because you don't agree with them. I should not try to trump the group consensus by exaggerating my own opinions. Meanwhile, the fact that many of the best levels have only been solved by a handful of escapists is probably a big source of noise in the level ratings. Tom, do you ever think about more aggressive advertisement & recruiting, or is that our job? There are a lot of freeware directories out there, but Escape doesn't seem to get listed much.

Just for the record, I have to agree with Tom & mjn about the difficulty rating of this level versus the others mentioned. This is a great puzzle with a satisfyingly lengthy search space - very well done.
7373 revenge of the computers 1 mjn (118) Thu 04 Jan 2007 17:28 SPOILER
  Personally, I find these block-pushing kinds of levels to be harder than the others you mentioned, because of the sheer search depth required. For me that's usually more difficult than levels like Jumps or Halved Arena, where the emphasis is on figuring out the "trick". Probably this is because I have no Sokoban experience, I guess.
7371 revenge of the computers 1 Tom 7 (1) Wed 03 Jan 2007 14:28 SPOILER
  I'm not sure... I actually thought jcreed's #470 and the Jumps series weren't that hard. There are some levels, like Grand Prix and Quartered Arena, that I know are hard but I haven't solved them yet, so I haven't rated.

I did solve this one by computer, but only after trying by hand for several hours, and then writing the program specifically to solve it! After seeing the complexity of the minimal solution and how I wasn't even close to solving it by hand I decided to rate it at difficulty 9.
7370 revenge of the computers 1 wowei (685) Wed 03 Jan 2007 14:09 SPOILER
  a really hard one. building routes for the most right and afterwards for the most left block is the task, and three free blocks have to it. only he/she, who plays with them blocks a bit, - Okay, it's a looong "bit" - will discover the prettiness of the sequence.

I learned, that this level is solved with computer by some of you. and I began wondering, how some ratings in difficulty arise. Did you rate it that high, because you gave up solving?

I'd rate higher than 8 also, but didn't, because i wanted to decrease the overall rating a bit. But how comes that so many harder levels are rated lower? harder than finding a right route is in my opinion to do so with the right timing. the timing of things, like leading some bots or "jumping" over lasers and traps etc., is a much tougher job.

f.e. Henri's halved and quartered arenas (1027, 1058) are rated 7.0 and 6.8 only, Mjn's "Grand Prix" (L594) 8.1, Jcreed's L470 6.1, Max's "Jumps" and variations lower than 7. All these are not only damn fine but also very hard levels with really nice solutions. And there are many more of it rated much too low relative to this one.

How comes?
3408 revenge of the computers 1 noname (559) Sat 09 Jul 2005 12:24 SPOILER
  Added speedrun: 409 moves (old: 414).
2751 revenge of the computers 1 Tom 7 (1) Sat 28 May 2005 21:31 SPOILER
  After realizing this problem is substantially different than Ricochet Robot, it was pretty easy to solve with a special-purpose solver.

I sank several hours into trying to solve this one by hand, though. Definitely very, very hard. I want to experiment a bit of my own with autogenerated levels.
2725 revenge of the computers 1 Tom 7 (1) Fri 27 May 2005 10:45 SPOILER
  So does it make levels starting from the solved state and 'retracting' to find the most distant precursor?

I made some stuff for the escape level editor that does retractions for gold blocks and spheres (I don't think anyone uses it), but never thought to do *search*. Good idea.
2722 revenge of the computers 1 pieguy (511) Fri 27 May 2005 03:19 SPOILER
  it turns out that for the program i used to create this level, finding the best solution is no more than a side effect of creating the level itself, with one minor difference. my program assumes that when you push a block, you move into the square previously occupied by the block. this allows me to only consider levels with even parity. for this particular level, 15 minutes of computer time was required (on my 2800+ athlon), and about 300 MB of ram. my program places the blocks in such a way to ensure the longest possible shortest solution.
2720 revenge of the computers 1 Tom 7 (1) Thu 26 May 2005 23:22 SPOILER
  Thanks, mjn.

Yeah, my solver has hashing, but I had it turned off because it made things a lot slower for Ricochet Robot solving. But I guess I was expecting a much shallower solution! I'll try again..
2719 revenge of the computers 1 mjn (118) Thu 26 May 2005 22:02 SPOILER
  Whoops, I'm an idiot--of course the solver's only going to find one solution if duplicate positions are ignored; it won't be able to duplicate the ending position!

Never mind, I have no idea what the minimum complexity is. The minimum number of block pushes, though, should be 68.
2718 revenge of the computers 1 mjn (96) Thu 26 May 2005 20:52 SPOILER
  Heh heh, I gave up and wrote a solver as well. My solution has a complexity of something like 27, including the first move. (I got that number by watching the solution replay; I might be off by one or two.)

Also, unless there's a bug in my program, that's the *only* solution (except for a couple minor variations towards the end).

Does your solver check for duplicate positions? Mine was threatening to take a long long time, too, but fortunately, adding a hashtable to check for repeats cut it down to a few seconds.
2709 revenge of the computers 1 Tom 7 (1) Thu 26 May 2005 14:47 SPOILER
  Also, I am not counting the first move, which I believe is forced, so that's really a depth of 18.
2708 revenge of the computers 1 Tom 7 (1) Thu 26 May 2005 14:46 SPOILER
  Since this one was made by computer (and I am stumped) I tried to solve it by computer, using my Ricochet Robot solver (the game is very similar).

Can someone who has solved this level help me figure out if I have a bug in my program? Define the "complexity" of a solution to be the number of times that the player switches from pushing around one block to pushing around a different one. (All levels on 5 blocks then have a complexity of at least 4).

What is the minimum complexity of the solution for this level? For Ricochet Robot, I never see complexity higher than about 11, even for very hard levels. But I ran my program on this level up to complexity *17* and didn't find a solution (50 hours of computer time)! I find it a bit hard to believe that the complexity is really this high: The speedrun at 414 moves could correspond to a higher complexity, but only if the individual moves are pretty short (~24 each). However, I also think my program is correct. Anyway, if someone can tell me the complexity of his solution, that would help me know if it's hopeless to try to find a solution automatically, or hint that my program may have a bug.
2674 revenge of the computers 1 bpotetz (144) Tue 24 May 2005 17:36  
  I only *wish* this type of level was my style. But I certainly wouldn't mind seeing more of these.

Wow! Thanks for the cool new user ID, Tom!
2656 revenge of the computers 1 John Lewis (411) Sun 22 May 2005 21:03  
  Definitely computer-generated. Pieguy, who is also a Chip's Challenge player, released a set of computer-generated block-pushing CC levels a while ago. Most (in my opinion) were really easy compared to this. :-) He's also made a bunch of insanely hard levels for that game, so I wouldn't be surprised if several Potetz-style levels start popping up here. ;-)
2653 revenge of the computers 1 bpotetz (144) Sun 22 May 2005 07:50  
  Best gold block puzzle, ever.
Have to know, though - made by man or machine?
Not sure which is more impressive.
2645 revenge of the computers 1 John Lewis (411) Sat 21 May 2005 20:41  
  David, is this computer-generated? :-)
2614 revenge of the computers 1 Tom 7 (1) Fri 20 May 2005 18:18  
  Yoav: All levels in triage are solvable. I'm really close on this one, but it's quite tricky (and good!)...
2610 revenge of the computers 1 Yoav (500) Fri 20 May 2005 18:03  
2603 revenge of the computers 1 pieguy (511) Thu 19 May 2005 18:29  
  'revenge of the computers 1' uploaded by pieguy.