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M11k4

May 2016 Time Trial

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Time Trial Time! This time I believe we have a couple cool levels for you.

 

And I know it's not quite May yet, but I have this ready so I thought I'd share them already!

 

The first level, Off the Humble Shelf, is more of a puzzle of how to get all these blocks moved, but works also for competing on the quickest time. My inspiration for this come from Lessinath's use of blocks on popup walls in a couple levels.

 

The second level, Time Trial Mix II, is a continuation of a concept from last year, where I took some old Time Trial levels and built a new one using pieces from the old ones. This one is quite a bit more linear to solve than the first one, as that's how many of these old levels also worked. I wonder what you will think about this mix of old and new?

 

 

As a twist to this month's competition, I thought we could try a bonus category of solving the levels in Lynx. The players are still ranked by their MS times, but a one-and-done bonus of five Chip Cup points will be awarded to the person with the quickest solution in Lynx (no award for second place). Who's interested in going for that?

 

Standard technicalities apply:

1) The person with the highest combined remaining time on the two levels wins! Players will be ranked according to how fast they solve the levels. Scores for each level will be ranked separately and then combined in some overly clever way. There may be a tie in overall score.
2) You may enter in either MS or Lynx. The players will be ranked by their MS times if they have one, and if not their Lynx time will count as their MS time, with the caveat that if it exceeds the best reported MS time, then it is considered equal to that time.
3) Please send your solutions (either the tws file or avis) to my own email valeosote at hotmail dot com. It would be good to include at least your username from here, perhaps even in the subject line, like 'May TT - pieguy'. I will strive to respond to your message by a confirmation that your score has been recorded.
4)Do not post your solutions or solution times or share them with others before the competition results are announced. All times will be published at the same time, and the quickest solutions will eventually be released.
5) The levels aren't overly complicated to solve. Don't be afraid to send in your solutions even if you sense they aren't perfect, and simple casual solutions are also appreciated. You may enter if you solve at least one of the levels, but solving both will obviously place higher.
6) This is part of the 2016 season of the Chip Cup. Winner will be awarded 15 points, second place 12, third 10 points, and so on. If you win a competition here for the first time, you receive the "You're Winner!" award. All participants who haven't participated in a Time Trial earlier receive the "Run, Chip, Run" award. As explained above, an additional 5 points will be awarded for the person or persons who submit the quickest Lynx solution. A randomly chosen entrant will receive a super prize!
7) Submission deadline is May 31st, 2016 where you live. I will judge the submissions without warning the during the following days but will accept submissions until I do. If you need a more specific time, you can always ask. To avoid losing on time (it is a time trial after all), get your solutions in early rather than later! You can send in improvements while the competition is running, so there is no downside to sending in something you know might not be your best effort if you had forever to work on it.
8) The designer of the levels, may enter the competition, as long as he feels to not have gained any significant advantage as a result of having some advanced knowledge of the levels or of seeing someone else's submissions.
9) The levels may receive an update within the first week of their release. This will only be done if there is some significant problem with the first versions of the levels. Please contact me if you suspect something is off.
10) A participant may 'freeze' their scores at some point after submitting their own solutions. They will not be able to send in any more updates after this, but they may talk about the levels and their times with other people who have frozen their entry. I may update a public list of people who have frozen their score.

 

Enjoy!

 

-Miika

 

UPDATE, 2h after first release: first level updated a bit, but if you didn't see the first version, don't worry about it ;)

 

UPDATE: Some scoring changes and an extra prize announced; details below!

Edited by M11k4

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I spent a bit of time looking at the first level just now, and the two RFFs in the corners are definitely a pain, allowing or blocking optimized routes whenever they feel like it. Combining that with just how much boosting there is on the ice, and this is definitely a grindy level for a TT.

 

The second level is...complex. I see in a general sense what the route needs to be but the specifics seem...well, beyond the usual TT. Either the first half (pre teleport) or the second half (post teleport) would be suitable candidates on their own, I think...

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Thanks for the impressions! I think these two levels combined make for the most difficult Time Trial that I have hosted. Is this is bad thing?

 

In the first level, are you having trouble with the eastern random force floor? I could see there being some approaches where you push a block on the slide and need it to 'hang' in the corner for some time for it to not hit you. I thought people would either choose a different route (waiting  :P ) or grind it out eventually if the odds were around 1% chance of success. I also hadn't realized just how much boosting is required in this until I tried to execute my own route after posting the levels, so I can see how that adds to the difficulty. In design, the level didn't first have the ice, but I added it to not force everyone to play it in Lynx and to give it a bit more zing.

 

For the second level, I think I know what you mean. It would be more manageable to have the parts separate. I was thinking that the way it is now makes it feel more like the levels I was taking inspiration from. Working on the halves separately and being able to combine the route into one is also a skill I think we could all practice if we really want to go for a super time on this. Would it be more fun if I watered it down a bit? One way to find out is to wait and see what the submissions look like.

 

Basically the issues with both levels come down to this: is someone not entering the competition because of what the levels are right now? If so, please speak up.  :spy:

 

-Miika

 

P.S. for the unaware, and to keep everyone on equal footing, below is a video that shows one way to do the bomb area in the original level, which you may take inspiration from. (the relevant part starts around 5:15)

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I don't think having more difficult TTs is a bad thing, I just think that this is quite a large step up from all previous ones I've seen hosted and that might be. We'll see how it goes with the results: I think I've got a solid route skeleton plotted out for the second level, but it'll take a while to flesh out and execute due to the length...

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Alright I've had more time to look at the two levels in depth now and my initial testing for the first level was...well, I was right about the execution difficulty but I was both being tremendously unlucky with the RFFs, and dumb with my route so that I needed very good luck in order to proceed.

 

The second level...is also about as crazy as I expected but at least it's linear in structure, at least. I'm pretty happy with the route I've worked out, though it's definitely the longest modern TT to date. Not necessarily a bad thing, just as I said a week ago, quite the step up.

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Yep, thanks for sharing your thoughts and playing the levels! Anyone else doing that???
 

Well, I did and am ready to freeze my scores as soon as someone else sends in their solutions. (Freezing them before that is pointless, as I have nobody to share my times with and thus nobody that makes sure I didn't improve my score after I said I wouldn't.)

 

On the first level, the route was more challenging to execute than I originally thought, but at least coming up with a plan seemed to be easier than with some sokobans. For the second one, I took my own advice and worked on the halves of the level separately, though I had to backtrack quite a bit after I noticed I was doing the middle part totally wrong when I tried to combine the two. Overall I am not sure my times are the best possible, but I am happy with the route compared to the time I spent on it and can't wait to see what other people come up with. Hopefully someone will come and blow my times out of the water! I still might look at also solving the levels in Lynx, because that seems like it would be fun and even a bit different than the MS solutions.

 

Other than that, I have two important announcements about this competition. One is pretty exciting and the other is not really. Which would you like first? You can pick the reading order:

 

Mundane news:

 

I'm slightly adjusting the way the rankings for this competition will be calculated. Instead of adding the seconds remaining, I will consider the relative placements of entrants for each individual level. If you care for the details, read this:

 

Usually the winner of a Time Trial is determined by the combined seconds left on the levels in the competition. This time though, I will rather use the method used for the April 2013 Time Trial (or at least something very similar). It's a little bit like giving out points for each level separately and seeing who gets the most points. I want to do this because sometimes saving a second or two on one level does not always match the difficulty or work needed to save the same amount on another level. I forgot to consider this when announcing the competition, and now think that for these two levels, that just might be the case because they are so different in nature. (I also considered using a method that combined the rankings on both levels together a little bit like we did for the March 2015 Create, but that way is more prone to ties. Another way would be to look at the average rank on both levels, but I don't like that as much either.) In practice this means you can place high in the competition as long as one of your scores is very good even if the other is not, and of course your chances are even better if you have a good score on both.

 

 

 

Exciting news:

 

Are you sure you are ready for this one? If you didn't read the other news first, you still have time to change your mind. If you've read both, go ahead an spoil yourself here:

There is a super exciting extra prize for this competition! One of the participants will receive instructions on how to score (and hopefully confirm) the bold on the CCLP3 level Divide and Conquer! Instead of just handing it out to the winner, I will instead give this extra prize to a randomly chosen participant so everyone will have a chance. Will you be the one to engrave your name in history by getting your name on the CCLP3 score board on row #128? :chipwin: 

 

 

 

Wow, that was way more exciting than I thought it would be :) This is going to be fun!

 

-Miika

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RESULTS TIME!! For me, that's the most awesome time there is :)

 

I haven't uploaded the solutions for you to enjoy just yet, but wanted to post the results without delay. Despite the difficulty of the levels, we had ten participants!

 

For the first level, we had some interesting routes. I had added the ice to the level so that boosting would help it be quicker there, as block slapping was sure to otherwise encourage a lot of Lynx solutions. (Though cool, this was unwanted because it just increases the amount of ties, as they would all be likely converted to the same MS time. If you aren't familiar with the logic of the rules in this case, don't worry and just read ahead.) Still, the Lynx method allowed for such nice short-cuts that it remained quicker than MS!

 

The quickest MS score was provided by James at 274 seconds! Nice work! Ihavenoname and myself both had 272 MS, but Lynx scores of 275 LX and 276 LX, which would count at tied with James. Other scores included 273 LX by random 8, 272 LX by rubenspaans, and then sub 270 in MS by others (highest being 266 by both Mike L and Bacorn). We'll get to the exact ranking after the second level. Some players were only able to solve this first level, as the second one was even tougher!

 

For the second one...

 

(Oh come on! How is this taking me so long to type up?? Need to go but will come back as soon as I can, but it might be another 12h! Sorry! :) )

 

I guess I'll fill in the details a bit later, and here are just the raw results if you can make sense of them:

 

 bolds/Melinda 276 MS + 341 MS -> 617
______________ 276 LX + 320 LX
 James________ 274 MS + 341 MS -> 615
 IHNN_________ 272 MS + 338 MS -> 612
______________ 275 LX +(311 LX)
 Miika________ 276 LX + 334 MS -> 608
______________ 272 MS + 317 LX
 random 8_____ 273 LX + 315 MS -> 598
______________ 260 MS + 307 LX
 Mike L_______ 266 MS + 317 MS -> 583
 Ruben________ 272 LX + 298 LX -> 570
 Bacorn_______ 266 MS + 240 MS -> 506
 chipster1059_ 243 LX + 241 MS -> 484
______________ 232 MS + 223 LX
 Lessinath____ 255 MS + 0      -> 255
 BabyPowder___ 244 LX + 0      -> 244
 
Congrats to James for the WIN!!! You totally crushed the rest of us!  :glider:
 

-Miika

Edited by M11k4
corrections, explained below, with more info
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Three things:

 

1. Not sure if you remember but I sent a Lynx TWS that had a 311 on the second level.

2. My score should be 612 total: 275 (274)+338. Doesn't change the rankings, though :P

3. I think I know what I missed on the second level- it literally just hit me now what I probably could have managed to do with the fireball section. Oh well, well done to James!

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Three things:

 

1. Not sure if you remember but I sent a Lynx TWS that had a 311 on the second level.

2. My score should be 612 total: 275 (274)+338. Doesn't change the rankings, though :P

3. I think I know what I missed on the second level- it literally just hit me now what I probably could have managed to do with the fireball section. Oh well, well done to James!

 

1) I do not remember and can't find such a solution. No doubt you have it. Sorry it didn't (yet!) make it into the video I just posted.

2) Yes, this was a mistake made in a hurry, and I realized it too after posting but not at the screen.

3) Unfortunately your route was missing a full two seconds at the start due to losing [2] five times (though I believe [2] would have been equalized at the gliders). And at the end the method James used was superior too. Check out all the differences in the video!

 

And with those quick replies, we return to our regularly scheduled programming...

 

So as I was saying about the second level, this was a tough one.

Side note on making the level, before getting to commenting on the routes:

 

When building it from the parts from the old time trial levels, I knew "CCzone TT Challenge #6" had some pretty tough areas and I still wanted to use some of it. So I picked the start, thinking that if it's really tough, at least it's not at the end. I remember pieguy winning that competition and saying he lost about 15 seconds due to boosting, so at least I didn't pick that part. Man, I wish I could still see that avi some day! However, I didn't think this area might require a dozen half-move waits from players, though I did see that four might be useful. Anyway, I picked the block pushing part at the start, which lead to a problem. Later in the level when I would be using part of "CCzone TT Challenge #5B" the whole level would have a lot of block pushing. Hmm, to combat this inconvenience, I happily allowed for the use of fireballs from "CCzone TT Challenge #4A" to get to those chips quicker. To help discover this trick, I added some chips in row 19 in the east to force the player to go there and maybe consider how that trip could be spent more efficiently. I am glad I didn't go with my original version which had the bombs in the west and the chips in the east, as the fireballs were more difficult to direct where you wanted them, and the chip area was not as interesting. The middle part of the level then just came together from the remaining levels from the time frame I was interested in using. I was hopeful that I had created something that was reminiscent of the levels from that era, while at the same time not feeling like "Time Trial Mix I" from last year and also being able to deliver an interesting level to play in its own right. It did turn out a bit harder than I had hoped, both to solve casually and to optimize, so I will watch out for that in the future.

 

 

 

My own route lost time at the gliders simply because I didn't take that area seriously and practice it. I assumed just playing it through a couple of times would give a decent result, as there were equalizers right after. Of course I was wrong. Both Jeffrey and James had got through much quicker than I did. My second major shortcoming was at the bombs, where I lazily used the method I had tested most while making the level, of sending the fireballs into the bombs from one place, then going to gather the chips in the west and come back, when in fact there were better ways to direct them and not go back and forth across the level either.

 

In Lynx, my route translated to 317 but after seeing some other methods I was able to improve this to 320 (with the last second coming from a surprising extra clearance of the dirt at (19,12)). The other routes submitted for this level (that I actually have seen so far!) missed some small things or were not honed as much as the ones submitted for the first level.

 

Speaking of which, here are solutions to Off the Humble Shelf:

 

That one too had a lot going on, and you could probably study this video for an hour or two while continuously noticing something new. (Like I did, and was able to spot a few more moves to be saved in Lynx but not enough for 277.)

Sorry James that I actually hid your winning route in the middle of the video. :) (If others are wondering, James actually submitted a poorer quality video of his route being played in MSCC, but I uploaded the Tile World solution he provided, which was a TAS, or Tool Assisted Solution. As I write this, I realize I also used your TWS for the second level, when I could have used your great avi captured in actual MSCC. Well, I did forget my wallet home while going to the store today, so it's just one of those days.)

 

Ok, let's take another short break and be back with the videos for the second level!

 

-Miika

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And here are the solutions to the second level, first in MS:

 

Then in Lynx:

 

Who is crazy enough to spend half an hour watching all of those? Well, in my mind and in my dreams, our community will grow to be hundreds of people, and a good portion of those will come back and admire all the effort (and beauty!) that has gone into creating all this content around this game of ours. They will watch everything and analyze every frame! Even though all the interesting parts are hidden deep within those videos, someone will come and admire our work. We all will be immortalized through what we did in this competition!

 

Speaking of immortality, there are still some matters of prizes to deal with. James obviously won, and everyone else also gets come Chip Cup points for their efforts. I also magnanimously award myself the extra 5 Chip Cup Points for solving the levels quickest in Lynx, thank you very much. (What did you think of that bonus; was it worth trying again some other time?) As for the super prize given to a random entrant, I will devise a method to fairly pick the lucky person and make a separate post about it later on.

 

Did I thank all the participants yet, because without you these things wouldn't happen! Till next time,

 

-Miika

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As for the super prize given to a random entrant, I will devise a method to fairly pick the lucky person and make a separate post about it later on.

List of entrants...

 

 

James

IHNN

Miika

random 8

Mike L.

Ruben

Bacorn

chipster

Lessinath

BabyPowder

 

 

Putting that into random.org and having the 'top' of the list be the randomly chosen recipient is probably the fairest way.

 

One thing I haven't mentioned about this particular competition yet: the second level was very involved and small changes in one part would have wild variations in how the rest would need to be handled. At least for me, once I had a reasonably solid approach for one part I moved onto the next part and didn't look back just because it was so involved, and the ending was so dependent on exactly which cycle you got there. I didn't have too much time to look back and what time I did have, I didn't want to spend overhauling everything for a smaller change early on...though in hindsight I should have looked at the start again since that's the section I looked at the least!

 

At least the next TT won't have room for ridiculous collisions...

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But using random.org is simply too boring! And I would have to make it a live event or something to show that I didn't run it more than once. (Though I'm sure you guys would trust me if I said I didn't, but still.) I have something a bit more fancy planned...

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Is the Divide and Conquer route still going to be shared with someone?

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