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Thaumaturge

How difficult is this instance of this puzzle?

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There is now an interactive version of the puzzle, which I believe better represents how the puzzle plays than does the image in this post. It should be a Win32 program; just unzip to the location of your choice and run "wordpuzzle.exe".

 

(The interactive version also incorporates some of the advice given in this thread, such as the option to include a few letters as a hint to each puzzle.)

 

 

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Original post, for archival purposes:

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My current game includes, amongst other things, a substitution-cypher puzzle. I have a specific instance that I want to determine the difficulty of, so that I can gauge how appropriate it is for the level in which it's encountered. I'm thus asking for feedback: how difficult is the attached puzzle?

 

[attachment=32083:puz.png]

Edited by Thaumaturge

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Oh wow, I didn't realise that it was that tough! ^^;;;

 

A key shouldn't be required for this puzzle, I believe. If this particular instance of the puzzle is insoluble without one, then it's far too hard, I daresay. (That said, an instance like this could work later in the game, when the player is more familiar with the cypher-glyphs.)

 

Um... Perhaps I should look for a phrase with more duplicate letters... :/

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I got it, but I definitely agree it needs some more context or duplicate letters. (Like the first four letters have no external checks and a common English word shape; you have to get them by process of elimination. It's better if two adjacent unchecked letters aren't allowed, like in Ximenean crossword grids.)

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I got the small words almost immediately by hand (frequency analysis; got every letter used 3 or more times on the first guess), but had to use an online solver to get the large ones. The online solver got the whole thing instantly. I can't brute force dictionary words in my head like it can. Edited by Nypyren

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@valrus and Nypyren: Hmm, interesting, and thank you.

 

Valrus, what do you mean by "checks"? Do you mean that those first four letters don't appear elsewhere?

 

Otherwise, fair enough--this puzzle won't work for the level in which I intend it, it seems. I think that I'll either remove this instance, introducing the puzzle later (this one's a bonus puzzle anyway) or find a better phrasing, one that produces more duplicate letters...

 

Thank you all for your help! ^_^

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Hmm... How about this version? I've changed only the first word, but I'm hoping that it might make things a little easier:

[attachment=32088:puzz_2.png]

 

[edit] I do also wonder: The in-game version highlights not only the selected slot, but all others that have matching glyphs, and fills them in automatically when a letter is entered. To what degree--if at all--would that make the puzzle easier, do you think? Am I likely to be significantly biasing the results of these test-puzzles by not providing an interactive version?

Edited by Thaumaturge

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Pretty sure I got it. I think it took me about 15 minutes or so. Got impatient for the 5th word so I did a regular expression search on a bunch of 6 letter words. The word that came up made sense that it'd be something that the player might already have awareness of in the game so the 5th, 6th, and last words I'm thinking might come easier to the player. Also the context of the message seems to indicate what the player is in the middle of doing when the message is encountered. If you want to make it easier still, maybe put a 1 letter word in there.

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My current game includes, amongst other things, a substitution-cypher puzzle. I have a specific instance that I want to determine the difficulty of, so that I can gauge how appropriate it is for the level in which it's encountered. I'm thus asking for feedback: how difficult is the attached puzzle?

 

attachicon.gifpuz.png

 

Riven (sequel to Myst) used a similar puzzle in one of its Islands. However, clues around the islands allowed to narrow down the permutations. For example, you would know that one character would be A, and another be X, so even if you didn't have all of the information, based on odds and deduction, it was much easier to get to the end result.

If you intend on using this, I recommend using another aspect of your game to "seed" these clues as rewards.

Edited by Orymus3

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Yeah, in a general sense a "check" is a second piece of evidence for what letter is in a square.  So in a crossword puzzle, it's that letter also being in the crossing word, in a substitution cipher it's the letter occurring in another word.

 

The new version works pretty well, I think.

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