Message #3168

Subject: Various issues with MC4D
Date: Mon, 17 Aug 2015 03:20:33 -0700

MC4D Freezes when scrambling 1^4:
Program freeze up when I ask it to scramble a 1^4 trivial puzzle ({4,3,3} 1). It hogs up CPU and won’t exit. I have to kill the process. Presumably this might happen with other trivial single-layer/length puzzles.

The "Twist Speed" slider does not seem to scale with the puzzle type. I had to drag it WAY to the right to view things at similar speed as a 5^4 comparatively. Also 2^4 treats all turns as face-turns, clicking a corner should do a corner-turn, and then perhaps have a clickable placeholder in the middle of centers and middle of edges to do the face-turns and edge-turns (2c-moves and 3c-moves), respectively.

Twist Speed doesn’t scale particularly well within the *same* puzzle. To see what I mean, try the 100-Duoprism (3 layer, not the trivial 1). Place the slider in the middle, and the cube-side turns are very slow while the prism-side turns are very fast. Taking the slider to the very right, and cube-side turns are painfully slow. The thing to do would be to scale turn speed based on how far the pieces have to travel, in such a way that each turn takes the same amount of time across all turn-types and puzzle-types/puzzle-sizes.

As an aside, this particular puzzle (the 100-Duoprism) has 104 sides, which means the need to discern 104 distinct colors. It is not practical for the human eye, no matter what facecolors.txt settings you override with. It is probably best to remove this puzzle from the menu selection all together.

The puzzle type is not indicated anywhere. It might make sense to put a check-mark or bullet-point in the menu for puzzle selection as to which one is currently chosen.

The hotkey to Solve is ctrl-T which is next to ctrl-Y for Redo. This spells danger! I recommend removing that hotkey all together, or having a pop up message asking "Are you sure?".

For "{3,3,3} 5" clicking on face-stickers which itself has a vertex touching (kissing) the edge of a side, trigger an (order-2) edge-turn instead of an (order-3) face-turn. This is not intuitive and deviates from what is expected from the flagship 3^4 puzzle controls – but then again so does the 2^4.

Mover Counter: Performing an order-N turn N times consecutively increments the move count by N instead of by 0. For N>2, performing an order-N turn N-1 times consecutively increments the move count by N-1 instead of by 1. In laymen’s terms, doing a 270-degree turn is equivalent to doing a 90-degree turn but one is counted as 3 while the other is counted as 1.

I like to set the Sticker Shrink slider to around 70% where the stickers just touch. In various puzzles, non-cube sides appear messed up – display artifacts or just bad display Z-ordering (can see *through* some of the surfaces of stickers and even highlight stickers underneath it). This may be due to rounding-errors in the engine.

When I try the Hyper-Megaminx ({5,3,3} 3) I discovered that the Twist Speed is correlated more with the puzzle complexity than the distance stickers have to travel. Even at fairly low/left settings the animation takes a long time. At the rightmost setting, an edge-turn takes around 18 seconds to animate.

In "Invent my own!" option, it can’t seem to do Octahedral Prism, which I believe is denoted "{3,4}x{}". Nor can I do an Icosahedral Prism, "{3,5}x{}". The Tetrahedral Prisms work well enough it could be added to the selection menu (at lengths 3 and up). At layers/length 3, it’d be nice if face-stickers at the ends of the prism would be clickable to re-orientate the whole puzzle – like holding down 1+2+3 on a 3^4 and clicking an adjacent side. Trying to scramble a "{3,3}x{} 2" freezes up the program. If all the legal turns are allowed, that puzzle is nearly trivial as it takes at most 1 turn to solve – but I think there should be a way to flip the prism sides leading to more combinations.

It’d be nice to hide certain pieces like in the MC5D program. For example, when grouping the core pieces on a 5x5x5x5. I would want to hide (or lower the opacity of) face, edge, and corner stickers.

A "piece finder" feature would be great. A way to highlight only pieces having color A and color B (which would be 2c, 3c, 4c – or none if non-adjacent sides), and also a way to filter by the piece type, like only 2c and 4c pieces but not 3c. Or even to find a specific piece.

A way to customize the colors of each side from within the GUI, instead of trying to blindly fiddle with a facecolors.txt file – which by the way doesn’t load if there is no logfile in use (a known bug).

It would be nice to shift of scale the colors given in the facecolors.txt such that a mouse-over highlighting will actually show up in a different color. For example #FFFFFF (white) can’t get any brighter when trying to highlight it so I had to manually make it slightly gray. Also, highlighting orange stickers makes them appear identical to yellow stickers (in my settings and with my eyes at least).

The way the lighting works, the ‘upper’ side of a Hyper Cube puzzle tends appears very dim, making it hard to discern colors on that side. This was an issue for me while solving the 5x5x5x5.

It would be nice to support things like Rhombic-Dodecahedral Prisms or Cuboctahedron Prisms. In general, allowing Schläfli extensions like ‘truncated’, ‘snub’, ‘rectified’, and ‘cantellated’ in addition to the usual ‘regular’. Notionally, it accepts ‘x’ but not ‘+’ – Having bipyramids and duopyramids would be nice.

It would be nice to have a ‘play button’ instead of holding down ctrl-Y. I thought there was one in a previous version of the program. A way to instantly go back to move 0 would be good. Or even better the use inputs the move number to jump to.