Message #709

From: Klaus <>
Subject: [MC4D] Re: 3^4 parity problems
Date: Mon, 19 Oct 2009 13:07:26 -0000

I am happy that my solution seems to be considered as a possible way to work around different styles of macro usage. However I don’t understand why you think everyone has to be in the same place. Well, if you want to account for illegal "teamwork" this might be true. But
there will be almost always a way of cheating, even if it just consists of hacking the programme. Well, at least until someone builds a working model of a 4D cube.

If you think, using macros could still be an advantage with the use of a macro timer, you could just add some penalty time whenever a macro is executed. This could be some fixed amount like 10 seconds or just generally a certain percentage of the macro time, for example 5%. If you want to be really exact, you could even vary this percentage with the size of the puzzle. However, I admit there will likely never be a truely fair solution to this problem, despite just making two separate categories for macro and non-macro solves.

Another problem dealing with this issue is, that one could cheat by klicking on "define macro" and then work out a way of getting the next steps fast and then never execute this macro. By this one could gain an infinite amount of thinking time without the stopwatch running. There are different ways of working around this problem.

One of the easier ones could be to just let the cubers always define their macros on a solved cube. This could, however, not prevent that someone makes a screenshot of the cube and then clicks on "define macro".
Another way could be, that the penalty time (10 sec./5%) is not only added when the macro is executed, but also when it is defined. This, however, would not be strong enough to prevent this way of cheating and to just raise the penalty percentage would prevent serious macro usage at all.
If all of this does not help, you could even say that each macro has to be executed at least twice in every solve or otherwise the solve will not be accepted. I said "twice" on purpose because if you only need the macro once you could just do it by hand this one time. However, there will be a problem if you are not able to predict, whether you need it multiple times. Therefore you could also set this limitation to "at least on execution".

To get really safe you could of course combine these methods arbitraryly.

About the new grip based twisting system I can’t judge yet, because I didn’t have the chance to try it out, but you will have to correct all of the old records. And does the grip based system also support half turns around 2c-pieces?

Have a nice twist,

— In, Melinda Green <melinda@…> wrote:
> I also think it is a clever solution. I’ve added it to our feature wish
> list along with the idea of a solution timer which will be rather easy
> to add. Of course to guard against cheating it seems like we’d need to
> have everyone in the same place whereas speed solving without such an
> equalizer can be done by distributing a shared scramble and seeing who
> can post the first solution.
> One thing that worries me a little is that either way we might be
> forcing people to use macros in order to stay competitive. This may be
> true even with Klaus’ macro timer because the solver only needs to
> concentrate really hard at the beginning in order to perform the
> algorithm as fast as possible once and then take advantage of that speed
> every time they apply it, whereas a person solving without macros will
> be penalized whenever they make a mistake or simply perform it more
> slowly when they start getting tired. This might not apply to the 2^4
> where the solutions might become so fast that the advantage will go to
> the non macro users. At the minimum I will plan to add a solution timer
> while we think some more about Klaus’ fascinating refinement.
> And speaking of the 2^4, I should probably give you a heads-up regarding
> the new version which may affect the shortest records. Twists in the new
> versions are "grip" based rather than sticker based. One nice
> side-effect of this change is that it allows macros created for a puzzle
> of one size to be used on other sizes as well. That will provide one way
> in which you will be able to apply your 3^4 macros to the 2^4 that
> include twists that the UI currently does not offer directly on the 2^4.
> There’s even another more subtle way this affects you which I hesitate
> to say but I aught to disclose because some people will figure it out
> anyway. The fact is that you could perform your shortest solution to
> just the corners of the 3^4 (with or without macros) and then change
> your log file to declare the puzzle to be a complete solution to the
> 2^4. I would not consider this to be cheating because I see it as more
> of a problem that the UI does not currently give you a way to get at all
> the grips of that puzzle. For this and other reasons, I don’t like the
> 2^4 very much but obviously lots of you do and you therefore deserve to
> know about these things so that you can discuss and decide what you
> think is fair and how the various records and competitions should be
> handled.
> -Melinda