Author Topic: The Level Solving Contest #7  (Read 1300 times)

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Offline Minim

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The Level Solving Contest #7
« on: December 06, 2019, 12:37:34 pm »
Hello everyone, and welcome to the final Level Solving Contest of 2019. (Sorry, Nessy. I just remembered you hadn't had a chance to comment on that previous LSC. Hope that's okay.)

We have been playing NeoLemmix for a little too long now. So instead I have gone ahead and created a custom built Lix level for you to play with.

Here's the order of criteria below. If anyone is not happy with this order please let me know, and I can create a separate ordering just like Crane did for his most recent LSC:

1. Most Lix saved
2. Fewest number of skills used
3. Fewest skills given to busiest Lix

One of the tiebreaking criteria I've chosen for this challenge is unusual and complicated. Basically, the player that selects the fewest skills with the "busiest" lix will win the tiebreak. The "busiest" meaning the Lix given more skills than any other lix. The link to the retrospective challenge that I got it from is here. I haven't done this sort of challenge for a while, but it's out there because my belief is that if you can assign skills to multiple lix you are a good multitasker, and multitasking is one of the key attributes to being good at multiplayer. Initially I put it at first priority, but after extensive testing decided to put it third instead.

The rules are similar to before: The players will play individually for this contest. Solve the level, and then upload a replay of your submission to my Personal Messages box by 23:00 UTC on December 31, 2019. This I hope should allow enough time for anyone who may be taking time off for Christmas but still wish to take part. You can submit more than one replay if you want to if you think you've made an improvement, but only the best replay will be selected as the final result.

Key
SU: Skills used
Lix: Lix saved
SAOBL: Skills assigned on busiest Lix.

The winner of LSC #7 will not only be allowed to choose a level for the next contest, but also be given a MIDI copy of one of the tracks I've remixed from another game similar to Lemmings. (Not this level sadly, a mystery one! Also, apologies that I'm unable to convert MIDI to ogg, but that's a matter that should be discussed elsewhere)

Now here's a basic description of the level posted in the attachment below: It has four entrances, three inside the arena and one outside. While not an exact replica, some players may remember this level template from that other game, but I've tweaked it slightly to add a feature not yet seen in LSC: Infinite fallers! Don't worry, they're not all gonna be spread out. The Spawn rate was cleverly calculated so that they all fall in one place. You might also be wondering why that block on the right is out there in the open.

With 30 Lix - 7 of them being infinite fallers - and 100 skills provided, you must rescue at least one infinite faller for your result to count. Hopefully with this many skills you will also get a chance to practice assigning Lix in more areas than one so you can get to grips with multiplayer. I wish you good luck and have fun! Oh, and Merry Christmas.
Level Solving Contest creator. Anybody bored and looking for a different challenge? Try these levels!

Neolemmix: #1 #4 #5 #6
Lix: #2  #7
Both Engines: #3

Offline Simon

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Re: The Level Solving Contest #7
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2019, 07:11:54 am »
Busy before Christmas, but I'll still submit this year.

-- Simon

Offline Minim

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Re: The Level Solving Contest #7
« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2019, 09:41:10 pm »
So, around a week left before the contest ends. I only have two entries so far: Proxima and Simon. If anybody wants me to extend the deadline beyond New Year's Eve please let me know. I'll take anything reasonable. ;)
Level Solving Contest creator. Anybody bored and looking for a different challenge? Try these levels!

Neolemmix: #1 #4 #5 #6
Lix: #2  #7
Both Engines: #3

Offline Minim

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Re: The Level Solving Contest #7
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2019, 11:25:21 pm »
The Level Solving Contest #7 deadline has been reached! Here are the final results:

1. Simon: 30 Lix, 10 SU, 5 SAOBL
1. geoo: 30 Lix, 10 SU, 5 SAOBL
1. ccexplore: 30 Lix, 10 SU, 5 SAOBL
4. Minim: 30 Lix, 13 SU, 10 SAOBL
5. Proxima: 30 Lix, 19 SU, 6 SAOBL

First of all I must say happy 2020 to all readers, and thanks to everyone who took part in the contest!

For the first time we have joint winners! I thought I might try an easier level with a simple concept for this contest as an attempt to attract more attention, but with that came a risk of joint winners. Anyway, congratulations to the three winners of the final contest of 2019. They deserve a wonderful serenade of the vibraphone to start the new year. They can also discuss amongst themselves about who wants to host the next contest.

Out of the non-relevant criteria, Simon was the first entrant to get the winning solution, and was also slightly faster than ccx and geoo. Geoo's txt file I found harder to read than the others probably because he was using a considerably older version of Lix, but writing the results on his PM was helpful.

If you've missed out on the deadline then don't worry. You can still upload your replays any time you want. :) Those that didn't get the top prize just won't be eligible for it; and also, the (Post Deadline) caption will appear next to your name on the leaderboard for any late submissions.

I've compressed the replays in a zip file. Here, I used Geoo's replay format. The file names should look similar enough to the results thread. Enjoy the gallery!
Level Solving Contest creator. Anybody bored and looking for a different challenge? Try these levels!

Neolemmix: #1 #4 #5 #6
Lix: #2  #7
Both Engines: #3

Offline ccexplore

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Re: The Level Solving Contest #7
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2020, 02:07:59 am »
Good job to everyone! :thumbsup:

Simon and geoo's solutions are basically identical and was certainly the more obvious thing to try, however I kind of gave up early on that route, so to speak, because I wasn't too sure the timing can work out for the platformer to finish and turn around fast enough in time without using additional skills.  On the other hand, I only ended up with my route because early on, I actually misremembered the order of the criteria and thought it was fewest skills first before number saved, so I had initially explored some solutions using exploders, and thus was able to observe its effect for the right entrance group inside the arena, and from there I was able to (just barely) tweak things so it works with a miner instead.

It's fortunate (for me) that Simon and geoo's solutions had to use 2 skills rather than 1 before starting to platform.  Had the steel block been positioned more favorably, their solution would've used 1 less skill than mine.

SAOBL is an interesting idea but was, IMHO, ultimately not very effective for this contest, because trying to optimize SAOBL tends to work against the other criteria.  Perhaps it should've been made second instead of third?

I've been too far removed from custom levels to competently choose an existing one nor create a new one for next contest, and I also anticipate I'd be too busy to participate the next one.  But if Simon and/or geoo decides to actually choose the next level (rather than open the role to others) and wants opinion/advice on things like a choice amongst several candidate levels, or which criteria and ordering to use, I'm happy to chime in.  Though they are very smart people and probably won't need my meager help on such matters.  :P

Offline Simon

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Re: The Level Solving Contest #7
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2020, 04:23:49 pm »
Thanks for hosting!

Only today, I find time to adequately reply. I'm about to watch the solutions in Lix.

Quote
Geoo's txt file I found harder to read than the others probably because he was using a considerably older version of Lix

geoo directionally forced some assignments. For example, the middle two lines here are directionally forced assignments; the first and last lines here are unforced:

! 969 0 ASSIGN=BATTER 8
! 1056 0 ASSIGN_RIGHT=BASHER 21
! 1062 0 ASSIGN_LEFT=MINER 10
! 1305 0 ASSIGN=DIGGER 10


In singleplayer with heavy framestepping, it has become less common to force direction.

I made directional force part of the replay format for networking games about 5 years ago. This was to combat latency between several players on the same team. E.g., you have a lix walking towards an abyss, and want to assign walker to turn her. If your teammate also assigns walker to turn her away, and both of you directionally force your walker assignments, the lix will only turn once, away from the abyss, and the second assignment becomes illegal as desired.

I've even considered to write every single assignment into the replay with directional force, not merely those where the player actively forces. I.e., for an unforced assignment, I would look at the highlighted lix's direction, and write the assignment forced with that direction. I don't know if that would be helpful or a hindrance, in any of the three interesting scenarios: a level's terrain changes, the physics change, and networking lag.

Anyway, that's rambling and getting technical; if anybody has strong feelings on this, we can happily make a thread from this idea. On to watching replays.

-- Simon
« Last Edit: January 04, 2020, 05:03:26 pm by Simon »

Offline Simon

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Re: The Level Solving Contest #7
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2020, 05:32:44 pm »
Highly interesting that ccexplore's route finishes with the exact same stats than geoo's/mine. Merely from watching, I guessed that ccexplore's stats had to be higher, and I looked at the text replay to confirm that it's the same. Nice find!

ccexplore uses that the basher (that makes an 18-pixel-high tunnel) has 2 pixels of steel lenience at the top (basher will not cancel if steel falls within these 2 pixels). This is pixel-precise, but allows the basher to continue towards the outer wall. This avoids the brick that minim places.

My and geoo's solution is extremely fiddly and requires lots of framestepping. The tweaker (filmstrip button) to timeshift assignments was helpful. There is a leftover bug that the tweaker always covers the right-hand side of the screen/map, the map doesn't know whether the tweaker covers the map, and the hacky action happens near the right. Inclines me to fix this. :lix-winktongue:

Batting the infinite fallers on this map is fiddly unless the brick-layer is coincidentally well timed. Floating everybody would have been easier, but the floating nukes the total skills score that takes precedence over SAOBL.

I'll have busy weeks ahead -- moving out of my student's flat -- and can't run an immediate follow-up contest. But I've already gotten first ideas for when it's time. I'm contemplating to add/multiply/take-maximum-of the different scores instead of deciding on a lexicographical order.

-- Simon
« Last Edit: January 04, 2020, 05:49:04 pm by Simon »