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M11k4

October 2014 Survival Competition - Perpetual Motion

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Itching to get that Left 4 Chip award?? Now's your chance to enter this survival competition and make that happen!

Itching to get your name on the official score boards? Now's your chance to enter this survival competition and make that happen!

 

Wait, what? Yes, the winner of this competition will receive an avi to a record that has not been confirmed yet, and they will have a chance to do just that, provided they can perform the route. I can't reveal the exact level in case it needs to be changed along the way, but J.B. has promised to make one of his routes available for this. There is some boosting involved, but it should be doable for most chipsters. (If J.B. happens to win, I guess the rest of us owe it to him to try and come up with something too.)

 

Now that you know the stakes, download the level from http://cczone.invisionzone.com/index.php?/files/download/422-cczone-october-2014-survival-competition-level/ and have at it

Here is the objective: Survive for as long as you can on this level and still make it to the exit! The level is untimed and there is nothing stopping you from pausing during your attempt. Record your solution as an avi or send your tws file to either CCZoneNextLevel at gmail dot com or valeosote at hotmail dot com. The deadline for the competition is at the end of October where you live, and before I judge the competition as soon as I can in November. Please don't mess up your life because of this, so keep your attempts to a reasonable length. Other normal competition things apply as I see fit (like don't share your achievements with others). All comments and questions are welcome.

 

Enjoy!

 

-Miika

 

EDIT:

-For extremely long solutions (which I already discouraged above), I have set a limit (which I will not reveal yet, though I might give a hint later in the month) and any solutions above this time will be considered equal. In case of a tie, the avi prize will be given to only one of the winners by some method I deem appropriate.

-You may enter in either MS or Lynx. Note that the final time displayed on the timer is different for the rule sets, and this will be taken into account as best as I can to assure that the actual time spent on the solution is compared.

Edited by M11k4
addition/clarification to rules

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A note for TW players:

 

You can run out of time on an untimed level (though in most cases you will run out of sanity first).  This happens after approximately 4 days, 20 hours, 30 minutes, and 30 seconds.

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Looking forward to seeing the results of the competition- I wonder what strategies people used? Personally, I set aside a couple hours and just went for it all in one session. It would be interesting to see if pausing and playing a few minutes over the course of the month was more effective.

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Results time. We had five people participate, as you may have already noticed from the Chip Cup thread summary. Only one person entered in Lynx, and his time was far apart from the rest that I am not going to to do any adjusting calculations on the score to match actual real time spent playing since it wouldn't change the order. Some of the solutions are pretty long, so I haven't uploaded any of the solutions yet for others to view, nor have I actually watched most of the solutions through completely. Thank goodness for Tile World 2's rewind feature which allowed for a quick examination of the strategies used. I think one could argue that each participant had a separate approach, so I'll break them down individually from the quickest to the longest solution. 

 

 

Syzygy - 5th place, time of 981 MS

This short solution clearly just wants to earn some Chip Cup points, and it manages to do just that. Chip releases one walker, waits for a glider to almost kill him, waits again for a fireball to almost kill him, and exits. Well done!

 

 

 

geodave - 4th place, time of 245 LX

In this solution shows exactly how the level was meant to be played: move back and forth releasing walkers that in turn allow Chip to pass through the toggle walls in the center of the corridor. Chip manages to keep this pattern going for almost a hundred rounds before overstepping three tiles when a walker was in the first trap on the East side, so he has to hurry to the exit before a fireball would come and deny this. I regret not finding the time to truly try the level myself to see if I would have managed to stay alive this long, but it's very likely I would have messed up around the same time as this. Well done!

 

 

 

Chipster1059 - 3rd place, time of -2583 MS

Now we are getting into the realm of long solutions. Not many levels have ever had times reported in the one hour range. The approach here was similar to 4th place, except in MS and a bit longer. The mistake that ended the run happened on the same trap too, except instead of overstepping here Chip turned around too quickly (then going back to free the walker to allow for one more pass through the center and exiting on the west side). The level was built with a bit of leeway, so Chip could actually have kept on going, but after a long run like this it was better to play it safe and exit. Well done!

 

 

 

Ihavenoname248 - 2nd place, time of -6162 MS

When I started this competition, I wasn't sure how long the submitted solutions might be. Here the strategy was to minimize the times Chip passed through the center by understanding the mechanism a bit more and waiting a couple of moves each time, instead of immediately releasing the trapped walker. Here's some insight into what ended the run: "My goal was to reach 2:15 real time, since that would comfortably go over 2 hours game time.  Unfortunately I got impatient approaching the end of that time period and lured the teeth back. Since I didn't look into what that would do with the devices, I simply finished the level at [-6162], or 2:11:17ish real time." Looking at the solution, the mistake was similar to Chipster1059 except on the west side of the corridor. Two hours is a long time to be hitting arrow keys, so any human is bound to make a mistake sooner or later. Well done!

 

 

 

Really? Do you not really already know who won? I feel that deep down inside we all know, and I'm just typing stuff that really doesn't even need to be said. Save yourself some time and don't click below.

[spoile]Really? You're still here? Why? You know it was pieguy - 1st place. He exceeded the time I had set as a barrier for earning a tie. (Which, by the way, I have not revealed yet.) There's really no reason to say anything more than that. Or would it help starving people? Or starving giraffes? Are there any starving giraffes? See, I'm just blabbering now. There is nothing new to see here anymore.

 

Really? I guess I can't shake you how many nested spoilers I post. Well, if you are here, I might as well tell you his solution time... but let me tell the story from my perspective since you obviously have nowhere else to be...

 

My idea for this level was to make it a bit different from the previous Survival levels we have had. They've all been great ideas, but I wanted to make something simpler. What if, Chip just had to complete some easy task over and over and over again? I wanted to include some randomness in the mechanism to make it a bit less monotonous and partially also to discourage any automated solutions. I didn't want to make the mechanism too strict to not allow small mistakes, so I didn't feel the need to force every movement. For example, the timing mechanism that forces Chip to eventually free the walker does not adjust for how far the walker is from Chip, so if it's in the first trap there is more free time than if it is in the last one. (In other words, after freeing the walker, the opening of the toggle walls is adjusted to the distance, but not the other way around.) After working out a mechanism that seemed to work, I still needed to decide the method by which the level becomes unsolvable if Chip messes up the forced rhythm. This part was a bit more complicated than I had anticipated, because the cook needed to be delayed to allow Chip enough time to exit, as well as reset itself when it wasn't needed. I did not feel overly comfortable with it, but didn't see any reason it shouldn't work. (I was a bit disappointed with the inelegance of having two trap buttons release a single trap, but on the other hand it was more elegant than other methods of accomplishing the same thing.)

 

I let the level set for a fortnight before announcing the competition, but did not have time to reconsider some of the design decisions that went into making it. As I posted the level, I asked in the chat for other (smarter) people to take a look at it and nobody reported anything odd. In the announcement for the competition, I took the easy (and clearer) way and did not post specifics of all the rules I had in mind, including a possible update for the level. Considering the track record for broken Survival levels, this might not have seemed wise, but I was not afraid of a bust.

 

I struggled more with the time limit of the level. I didn't want to set it at 999 seconds, as I was sure several players could tie the competition this way. I felt we had a prize that was worth more than 15 minutes of work. Similarly, I didn't want to use 30min, or 60min, or even 120min. I seriously considered 9999 seconds (=2h 46min), but wasn't entirely sure I wanted to force anyone to play that long. I decided on leaving the level untimed and discouraging players to submit unreasonably long solutions. I added the rule of essentially having a tie be possible in the competition without the need to add a time limit. I chose about three hours as an appropriate time, as this was close to 9999 seconds and also the longest I personally had previously spent on a solution to a level without any waits. Anything longer than that could be argued to be a bit unreasonable. It was then also pointed out that Tile World's untimed solutions also have a limit that is under 5 days. I was really hoping nobody would get even close to that.

 

A month passed and I checked for submissions. I was happy to see all were played in Tile World. It saves the solutions in a file (tws) that records the key presses, allowing for small file sizes even for long solutions. Of course, the more you press keys, the larger the file will be, but still much smaller than an avi for example. Syzygy's tws was 1 KB. Dave's tws was 4 KB. Chipster1059's tws was 6 KB. IHNN's tws was 12 KB. pieguy's tws was 1KB. I knew something fishy was going on.

 

I opened the other files first. All was in order. I didn't open pieguy's. What should I do? Clearly, if his time was the longest, there was some sort of bust possible in the level. Was I forced to award the win and give the prize of the level to someone who clearly went against the spirit and intent of the competition? I came to my senses. I couldn't punish someone for being more clever than the rest, for being more clever than me. I opened the file, and indeed it displays a method to for Chip to overcome the mechanism and not keep travelling through the center and releasing walkers to their doom. If I understand it correctly, by cloning two fireballs, one of them can be jammed in place on a teleport. This allows for the possibility that the next fireball in that corridor may be trapped behind it, never endangering Chip. Discovering this requires a thorough understanding of the game mechanics, a keen eye, and a drive to continually be better. Well done.

 

 

time of -353756 MS (about 4 days and 3 hours)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There you have it. Congratulations to the winner, who is now awarded his eponymous award! However, in his submission email he stated "No reward necessary", which I interpret to mean the avi solution to an unconfirmed record. I feel it's fair to pass this reward to the next person, so dear Mr. 2nd place you may start pestering JB about getting an avi :) Other participants also get the Left 4 Chip award. Thank you all for participating!

 

-Miika

(PS. Ihavenoname248 also is the sixth person to receive the unofficial Golden Apple-pie-award for placing second in a competition where pieguy participated!)

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"If I understand it correctly, by cloning two fireballs, one of them can be jammed in place on a teleport. This allows for the possibility that the next fireball in that corridor may be trapped behind it, never endangering Chip."

 

While testing various approaches I actually had a fireball get stuck on a teleport, but didn't think that doing it again would kill the fireball without needing to clone another >.<

 

I still think my method was more fun, though :P

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I originally thought he wrote a computer program to play the level and let it run for a few days.

 

 

I considered throwing together a macro that would do it based on pixel colors, but decided against it since it'd be pretty cheap to do so. Overall, though, programming a bot to play this level indefinitely is a pretty trivial task.

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I originally thought he wrote a computer program to play the level and let it run for a few days.

When he posted about running out of time on an untimed level in Tile World, I assumed he knew this from studying the source code and understanding some memory related issue. (At least the tws-documentation leads me to believe that the restriction does not come from the tws format, which should be able to handle waiting in place for over a trillion years.) Having seen his submission, I smile at the prospect that he might have discovered it in practice by leaving the level running for a few days. :)

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