Message #838

From: Roice Nelson <>
Subject: Re: [MC4D] Introducing "MagicTile"
Date: Tue, 02 Feb 2010 19:26:28 -0600

Hi Melinda,

Thanks for all the great feedback as usual! These suggestions will all
really help the polish, and most should be easy to knock out (though I was
thinking to take at least a couple weeks rest from coding first). It’s
funny, the solve beep was definitely annoying me, yet I never considered to
do anything about it.

I’ve responded offline to some, but a public thanks to the others who have
been giving feedback and support as well! I always appreciate the positive
responses :)

I’m a bit bummed about how impossible the hyperbolic panning feels at this
point. I had significant drawing performance issues on the infinite
tilings, and the way I got around it was with OpenGL rendering caching
(display lists). When a twist happens, that caching is invalidated for only
the affected stickers. This is why performance on the puzzles with fewer
colors is poorer, since a twist invalidates more and requires more to be
drawn without the cache. Perhaps what could be done is to only show cell
outlines during a pan. Another thought I had was to try to use texture maps
(create needed textures of the current state on the fly to then use for the
panning), though that sounds quite involved. The hyperbolic panning and
drawing for the hyperbolic games at are ultra smooth, and
I can tell they are using textures. Anyway, I’m worried I’ve gone too far
down the wrong path to handle this fundamental feature well, which is
disappointing. There’s another hurdle as well I won’t bother going into,
but maybe some good solutions will present themselves.

On the plus side, it seems the {3,7} and other puzzles without simplex
vertex figures likely won’t require a great deal of work. After Alexander’s
suggestion of the {4,4} and {3,6}, I made a one line change to quickly look
at the possibility of those, and while there were plenty of problems, I was
surprised how well it went without any real effort… only a partial
explosion :)

Also, I’m not sure, but I wonder if the "Klein’s Quartic" puzzle is the dual
{7,3} you are looking for? As far as I know, the only way to fit together a
repeating set of heptagons is with 1 or 24 in the set, and Klein’s Quartic
does have 56 vertices (corresponding to the number of triangles at the link
you sent). Or maybe you are looking for a Euclidean {7,3} "infinite regular
polyhedron", though I have no idea if such a thing is even possible. (?)

Lastly, I’m curious more about your twisting problems on the complex
puzzles. It is only the clicked face that matters (and faces are currently
demarked by yellow lines, though I’d like to make that configurable). The
particular stickers clicked don’t matter, and slices are controlled with
number keys. Sorry I didn’t follow that particular comment better.

Hope all is well!

On 2/1/10, Melinda Green wrote:
> Wow, Roice does it again!!!
> What a gem this is. It’s amazing how these things look infinite but they’re
> not.
> * Hyperbolic panning is the most obvious missing control, but you noted
> that in Help > Mouse Commands. It’s not strictly needed since there are no
> hidden sides, but it feels incomplete without it. Don’t sweat it if it’s
> hard. I’m sure it’s easy to get used to without it though in the meantime I
> would suggest disabling panning.
> * There seem to be some twists on the more complex puzzles that I can’t
> seem to get to. That could be because I’m not sure where to click. A mode to
> highlight all of the pieces that will move if clicked would be great. Just
> highlighting the circle border would be plenty helpful.
> * I recommend supporting resizing via the mouse wheel, even if it’s
> available via other gestures.
> * The alert sound on all solved states gets annoying. I suggest only doing
> that for true solutions even if only partial scrambles, but not when a
> pristine puzzle is given one twist and then immediately the inverse twist.
> Alert on Help > About seems unneeded.
> * I suggest defaulting the window to a square main panel. Doesn’t seem to
> be a reason for a landscape layout unless you add the preferences panel
> there.
> * Hotkeys for all of the Options menu items would be nice.
> * Is there a reason that the Properties editor is modal? If it can be made
> modeless that would make it easier to experiment with the settings.
> * Line thickness of zero doesn’t seem to work. BTW, this is the only actual
> bug that I’ve seen so far which means that it’s *really* solid.
> * Please put the puzzle name & size in the title bar.
> * Save & Open log files. Useful for difficult puzzles and needed if you
> plan to support records for first & shortests.
> * Number One on my wishlist? The {7,3} duel of the physically possible
> {3,7} <>. this {3,7}
> is by far my favorite infinite polyhedron.
> Great work, Roice!
> -Melinda
> p.s. No problem discussing this on the 4D list. Even tangentially related
> subjects are fine so really anything regarding twisty puzzles is perfectly
> appropriate here.
> Roice Nelson wrote:
> Thanks to everyone for the thoughtful feedback on my question this week. I
> appreciate it, and it was good to get your perspectives.
> I think I’m ready enough to share a first pass of the new Rubik analogue I
> started playing with before the MC4D 4.0 fun, which I mentioned the
> possibility of here<>some time ago. While you might observe it doesn’t quite fall into the
> category of hyperpuzzles, it does in at least once sense mentioned below :D
> Here is the page with the download, pictures, and a video<>.
> To describe the analogue idea, I’ll just quote the beginning of the
> explanation on that page:
>> This program aims to support twisty puzzles based on regular polygonal
>> tilings <> having Schlafli
>> symbols <> of the form {p,3}
>> for any p>=2. That is, all regular tilings of polygons with two or more
>> sides, where three tiles (puzzle faces) meet at a vertex. The Rubik’s cube
>> is the special case where faces are squares (p=4). The other familiar
>> special cases are the Megaminx (p=5) and the Pyraminx (p=3), although you’ll
>> discover the last takes a slightly different form under this abstraction
>> (akin to Jing’s Pyraminx <>).
>> All the other puzzles are new as far as I know, and some may be surprising,
>> e.g. the puzzles based on digons <>
>> (p=2).
>> Each 2D tiling admits a particular constant curvature (homogenous)
>> geometry. The geometry is Spherical for p=2 to p=5, Euclidean (flat) for
>> p=6, and Hyperbolic for p>=7. Since you can’t "isometrically embed" the
>> entire hyperbolic plane in 3-space<>,
>> I have a connection to hyperpuzzling<> even
>> though I’m talking about 2D tilings!
> …
> I’ve actually only solved the 3x3x3 on it so far, and I wonder if it may be
> more fun to watch than play! I’ve been calling it MagicTile, though perhaps
> there could be something better? As with everything, it is a known work in
> progress (the length of the task list has grown to scary proportions). I
> have no plans for further development at the moment, though I’ll happily fix
> any glaring bugs.
> Enjoy!
> Roice
> P.S. This is the only "twisty puzzle" group I’m active in, so if any of you
> are also members of other groups and think they would be interested to hear
> about these new puzzles, I’ll appreciate the exposure :)
> __._,_.__