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Unique solutions for puzzles - programmer needed

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Orangery
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Joined: 06/06/2012

I wasn't sure which category this subject should come under but here goes...

Is there anyone out there that can write a small computer program to find unique solutions to a puzzle type game, similar to 'Camouflage'. It is played on a different sized grid and uses different pieces. I can make up the challenges easy enough but they may have more than one solution.

Thanks.

SLiV
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Joined: 10/21/2011
Which Camouflage

I'm not familiar with a game called Camouflage. Are you by chance referring to this game?
http://smartgamesandpuzzles.com/inventor/Camouflage.html

In that case, I think I might be able to whip something up.

Orangery
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Joined: 06/06/2012
Camourflage - the transparent game.

Yes, that's the one. I have this game as well as Airport Traffic Control... http://www.smartgames.eu/en/smartgames/airport-traffic-control

I was thinking of learning Python, as I read somewhere that it great for finding solutions to puzzles. I would much prefer to set up the challenges rather than type out lines of code, so I really appreciate your offer.

To give you some idea of what you might be letting yourself in for, I can send you a mock up of how the game might look and function.

By the way, what is the Hex board picture you have on the site?

Many thanks,

Dave.

SLiV
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Sounds good

I can see how something like those games would make for some interesting puzzles.

Yeah, a mock up would be useful. I can't promise anything, but it might be a nice little problem to chew on.

The hex board is an early gameboard prototype for a game I've been developping, called Heaven and Earth. It's come a bit to a standstill lately, but I'm hoping to continue work on it sometime soon.

Sebastian
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Joined: 07/27/2008
Unique solutions for puzzles - programmer needed

Orangery wrote:
Is there anyone out there that can write a small computer program to find unique solutions to a puzzle type game, similar to 'Camouflage'. It is played on a different sized grid and uses different pieces. I can make up the challenges easy enough but they may have more than one solution

My experience[1] of doing uniqueness checking on such puzzles is that
* the programming to prove uniqueness is a good half of the work that you need to do to generate the puzzles
* creating the puzzles is best done by someone able to run the program, because you need a lot of iterations to create interesting puzzles which are nonetheless unique.
* this means that either the programmer has to put in extra time to allow the puzzle author to be able to run the program (i.e. putting on a suitable user interface), or the programmer needs to create the puzzles too. I've generally done the initial puzzle creation.
* it's usually worthwhile doing deducability testing while doing the uniqueness testing - it speeds up the code running speed and indicates how hard the puzzle is likely to be (although you will still need to playtest them)

My other experience is that there's a certain time commitment in doing the programming and puzzle generation - somewhere between an two and three days depending on the project split roughly evenly between the two. Consequently, if you were asking me to do the work, I would expect to either become a coauthor of the puzzle (and get a share of any royalties), or get paid for the time put in. Others may have different expectations.

[1] I've done uniqueness proving for Penta (Schmidt), Clue investigator (Productief), various Knobelspass and Gehirn-Jogging games (Kosmos), and the Think games and City Skyline (Huch).

Orangery
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Joined: 06/06/2012
... programming/royalties

Thanks for your input.

Someone else has taken it on, just for the challenge. However, I can understand that from a programming aspect it can take time to set up.

I wouldn't pay someone to do it but if the game miraculously made it into the shops, I'd be more than happy to share the money from sales. What percentage is reasonable though?

I can create the challenges quite easily myself, but needed someone to write a program, that could check whether the solutions are unique or not.

SLiV
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Joined: 10/21/2011
Experience

Well, I've already done most of the coding in less than a day, so I see no reason not to add a simple UI and finish it.

I did take it on for the challenge, so yes, that does mean that if for some reason I feel reluctant to work on it, I might stop. Not planning to, though.

I can fully understand why others would expect some sort of payment, but I'm just glad I can get some 'field experience', so to speak.

Sebastian
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Joined: 07/27/2008
Unique solutions for puzzles

Orangery wrote:
Someone else has taken it on, just for the challenge. However, I can understand that from a programming aspect it can take time to set up.

I'd spotted that someone was taking it on - it that was one reason that I made my post. It's easy for people who lack the experience with these sorts of things to underestimate the amount of effort it takes, and correspondingly undervalue it.

Orangery wrote:
I wouldn't pay someone to do it but if the game miraculously made it into the shops, I'd be more than happy to share the money from sales. What percentage is reasonable though?

That seems like a reasonable sort of approach. I haven't a clue what a sensible arrangement would be, though - that'd be between you and SLiV.

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