Monday, October 10, 2011

SpaceChem: Are you a component miser or speed merchant.

At the end of every level in SpaceChem the game taunts you with histograms showing how well your design fares against the rest of the community. Having just arrived at an inspired solution to a tricky problem it is always somewhat sobering to realise that your  "brilliant" solution is solidly stuck in the Average section of the graphs. Some herculean corner cutting efforts later later and you can maybe shift your design to the lower slopes of the main sequence but there are always better solutions to the left of yours and indeed there is often a whole new peak far to the left (left being fewer cycles or fewer components). No amount of tweaking will shift your creation to this new lower peak so clearly an entirely new and better concept is required.

Anyway having endured this process multiple times I am firmly convinced that a given solution can be fast or it can be thrifty but it is very difficult to be fast and thrifty at the same time. Speed seems a more laudable goal to me than miserliness so I  am firmly in the speed merchant camp (or would like to be). I will happily throw parts at a solution with joyful abandon in the hope of shaving off a few extra cycles.

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3 comments:

Tesh said...

Sounds like a good game for the brain. I was happy to see it added to the 'bundle, and I'll dig into it one of these days. I've been a bit busy of late.

Anonymous said...

I had a shot at this a while back and got as far as the third planet. Really chewed away my time!

I usually tried getting a balance of both speed and efficiency but would lean toward speed in the final tweaks. I built one or two levels in both configs as separate attempts.

I spent a lot of time on "Nothing Works". Got a score of 465 cycles 63 symbols. T'was quite chuffed.


Solbright

mbp said...

Wow Solbright that is really good for Nothing works. My solution for has 92 parts and still took 807 cycles.

I finished the fourth planet and I am half way through the fifth but I have taken a break. I do expect to get back to it though. It strikes me as a game that won't grow old.