Help test the NOVA tutorials for Eterna

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  • Updated 6 years ago
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The NOVA puzzle tutorials we have long been waiting for, has just gone active. You can test them out at the NOVA lab site. They will be integrated in our side of the game later too.

Nando found the link: NOVA Labs - RNA VirtuaLab

He also pointed out that the account option is for US only. But if you are not in the US, like me, you can pick the option Guest.

Feel free to try out the tutorials and help expose if there are any bugs left. Please report here if you find any.

Update: If you are playing on a guest pass, it won't save your progress when you log out and log back on again. You can make an account with an artificial zip code. 10001 for New York works for me.
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Eli Fisker

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Posted 6 years ago

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RedSpah

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I found a bug: Mousewheel, which can be used to zoom in/zoom out in normal EteRNA, apparently doesn't work in NOVALabs.
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murraythedts

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We're looking into this, thanks!
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RedSpah

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In this level: http://prntscr.com/3abswn (Trial 1, Level 4/6)

You can get stuck if you change U to A, since you have only 'swap' to use, and you can change U to A because the level starts you with 'A' selected.
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machinelves

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good catch!
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murraythedts

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That's a good point. We're looking to see if there's a way to prevent painting there. The puzzle does currently instruct people to use the undo button if they accidentally paint that base, but that's far from ideal.
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murraythedts

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Thanks so much, Eli and Red-- this is really helpful.

When you catch a bug, please include your OS and browser-- that will help us iron out problems across systems.

Red-- what browser were you on when the mousewheel didn't work?
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machinelves

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Congratulations to the team, this is really solid and beautiful work! Nice job! :D

I went through the tutorial as a Guest, on Mavericks OSX, Safari 7.0.3

Highlights:

hahahaha, great writing / sense of humor:
http://prntscr.com/3acga8
http://prntscr.com/3aclqq

helpful to have a boost constraint to confirm practice:
http://prntscr.com/3aceot

nice animations show what we are doing and why:
http://prntscr.com/3ac9y9
http://prntscr.com/3acp4n

nice translucent overlay frames giving additional info:
http://prntscr.com/3ac84v

energy description helpful:
http://prntscr.com/3achc6

Questions / Bugs:

when you solve this one there are no rays of light or bubbles / solve animation:
http://prntscr.com/3ac98z

can't click on hints button, have to click on words to toggle:
http://prntscr.com/3ac4jr

can't click on switch button, have to click on numbers to toggle:
http://prntscr.com/3acmtv
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murraythedts

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Thanks for all of your kind comments!

As for the bugs:

1) That is just the intro to the puzzle, so it's not meant to be rewarded with rays and lights, but I see why it would be odd.

2) Good point-- we're looking into making the hitbox larger.

3) Same as 2.

This is so helpful-- thanks for playing through!
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machinelves

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Happy to help, thanks for all the team's hard work!

=> One thing I forgot to do was launch all links. I'm sure you did this during QA, but for anyone else just starting the tutorial, that might be something to double check, that the links all load correctly. I did try a few, and they worked for me.

1) Thanks for the clarification on the intro puzzle!

2) & 3) Awesome!

FYI, not exactly a bug, but I'll say wow, what a provocative opening line, about enslaving humanity. I like the joking and sense of humor a lot throughout the tutorial, which keeps the reader engaged. However, some people are afraid of science, and this first line might set a certain tone that you didn't intend. But that's not really a bug, and I'm sure most people just think it is funny. So take my opinion with a grain of salt! :D

Really great work, and the cell animations were my favorite part. Thanks again!
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firedrake969

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For me, mousewheel works to zoom in/out but also scrolls the whole page. Win8.1 Chrome (latest version). Additionally, I either can barely fit or can't fit the whole game area into my screen (Chrome, regular zoom, 15.6")

Is there any way for me to get points on my EteRNA account from the labs? :P
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murraythedts

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Thanks for the information on the scrolling.

We're discussing with the Eterna team whether we can give Eterna players points instead of just carrying them over into a new account. Good to know that you want them!
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LFP6, Player Developer

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Heh, and perhaps some integration for those with current Eterna Accounts? Or am I thinking too much? :P
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Meechl

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On the first puzzle of trial 2, Self-Copying RNA, it has you boost the loops. This is great, except it forces you to try to boost the multiloops.

http://prntscr.com/3ajst7

Boosting multiloops is different than normal loops, right? So, we shouldn't teach people to do that?
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hoglahoo

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"Boosting multiloops is different than normal loops, right?" < -- this is why it doesn't fit in that particular tutorial. Turn the adjacent pair and suddenly the boost is not boosting, or is even raising the energy, depending on surrounding shapes. To teach it requires its own lesson
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murraythedts

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I actually had exactly that in an early version of the game-- a puzzle dedicated to teaching multiloops. Play-testers were confused by it though, and it resulted in them being more confused about boosts in general (it was just too much information too quickly, so it didn't make the final cut).

It sounds like the consensus is that the mutliloops in this puzzle should be locked down/not pointed to as a boost point, is that right? The confusing I'm trying to avoid is players then assuming that multiloops can't be boosted at all. To RedSpah's point, maybe that's a better thing than them trying to boost incorrectly.

Thanks for all of the discussion on this point!
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machinelves

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I see your point about not wanting players to assume they can't boost multi loops at all. But I think meechl, hogla, & Red raise a good point about the complexities. I agree it would be better to omit multiloops from the tutorial rather than teach them in a way that could lead to more confusion.

One screenshot I wanted for the highlights is that you reduce opacity on all but the boostable nucleotides at one point, such that only the nts requiring boosting are highlighted, like a stencil overlay. This helped a lot to clarify visually where the boosts belong, and I'd like to see this in future boost tutorials.

I've been playing a while and still don't understand most of the boosts. Players will sometimes make puzzles dedicated to one kind of boost, and this helps to learn about it in a focused manner. So perhaps for the future, have just one type of multiloop boost per tutorial, and then there will be room to explore the complexities of the one boost within that same tutorial.

Thanks a lot!
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murraythedts

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Ok, I'm convinced! I've edited that puzzle accordingly-- please let me know if that addresses your concerns: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/labs/lab...
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Meechl

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I think that's much better, Thanks!

The only potential problem I see with that puzzle is that people may wonder why they can't add boosts to those loops. This could be a problem when they try to solve future puzzles. Speaking of which...

http://prntscr.com/3azbcs

The next puzzle counts multiloops as being boosted, which could again teach people bad puzzle solving habits.
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RedSpah

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I share Meechl sentiment. Multiloop-Boosting is marginally useful, and it has an absurdly big chance of producing additional misfolds.

OS: Win 7 / Firefox

Additionally, I think that mentioning blocking would be useful.
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murraythedts

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Agreed that blocking would have been useful, but it's one of those things I just wasn't able to fit in, unfortunately. If we ever make a sequel maybe I can get that in there :)

Just to put this out there- the NOVA game is not by any means meant to replace all of the excellent guides that players have written over the last few years. My hope is that those will continue to be a great resource as players get further immersed in Eterna.
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RedSpah

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Another thing: Lags.

I've tested few things, and got these results:

I've compared (Trial 2 2/6)(200 bases) to one of ~200 base puzzles on Eterna in terms of lag.

The one thing is painfully clear: NOVA Puzzles lag MUCH more than EteRNA puzzles of comparable size.

The lag is 2-fold, it occurs when moving the puzzle around, which doesn't happen on eterna with exception of the biggest puzzles.

It also occurs in more usual way, when changing bases. 200 base NOVA puzzle had similar lag to 400-500 base EteRNA puzzle.

OS: Win 7 / Firefox

Programs in the BG: Steam, one movie on YT, one EteRNA puzzle open, one NOVA puzzle open.
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machinelves

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I didn't notice lag, but may have missed it being distracted by the tutorial itself. However, I frequently have lag in Eterna main site, so I wouldn't be surprised if there's lag in the NOVA implementation.

good example Red uses in base length, 200 NOVA :: 400 Main site. Longer puzzles on main site pretty reliably cause lag, so this is a good way to gauge a measured comparison between sites.

good luck!
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RedSpah

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I just got 300-base eterna lag on 60 BASE puzzle.
What. The. Fork.
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RedSpah

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I think I figured it out.

Lag is independent from puzzle size, it always lags, no matter how small the puzzle is.
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murraythedts

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Ah, ok. Good to know. Sorry about that lag-- we'll look into it!
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machinelves

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Hey, I don't know if this is lag related or due to server load. But I just tried to load the tutorial url, and the browser just hangs there in both firefox & safari, while I was able to ping other sites just fine.

Just a blank window, no error, and eventually it pushed thru and loaded. But it was almost a full minute load time. Since of course server load will be much greater next week, I figured I should mention it.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/labs/lab...

Thanks, & good luck!

:)
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LFP6, Player Developer

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Very nice!! Once I have some time, I'll look into it and ring out bugs for ya. ;) This has been a long time in coming, and looks great. We might want to integrate a couple things into Eterna proper. :)
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RedSpah

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Re-completed NOVA Tutorials, didn't get points :C
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murraythedts

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We're talking to the Eterna team to see whether they can implement something so that it's possible to transfer your points to your Eterna account. Stay tuned!
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LFP6, Player Developer

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IE 10, Win 64, FIOS and 2 year old desktop awesomeness

I'm not seeing lag, but I got a "not responding" at one point. :P

I don't subscribe to the "paint everything GC first, then substitute" theory. Eli's guide here is what I use to start off all puzzles: https://getsatisfaction.com/eternagam...

http://prntscr.com/3axvjg Or, you could just tell where the boosts go, ex in a hairpin they go on the right of the loop.

I usually boost where the circles are here, across from each other: http://prntscr.com/3axygb Or generally as described in this guide: http://goo.gl/w828aP

However, aside from that, there are some great explanations and UI/UX stuff I would love to see in Eterna!
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murraythedts

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Thanks for your feedback!

When did you get "not responding"? Did it go away on its own, or did you have to reload?

I also like the AU first strategy, and often use it myself when solving puzzles. However, GC first fit our needs better-- it breaks down well into chunks that can be spread across multiple puzzles, and is simple to follow. I never mean to imply in the lab that it is the only or best strategy-- just one that new players can use to tackle the puzzles when they first get started.

I actually worked closely with Eli through this whole process-- his input and advice were immensely helpful, and he deserves a ton of credit. Thank you, Eli!

The way boosts are presented is similar-- it's not meant to be a comprehensive guide to boosts (far from it!) but rather a gentle, generalized introduction so that new players can understand the big picture. When they transition over to Eterna they'll have a wealth of fantastic guides, such as the ones you linked to, so that they can learn the intricacies.
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LFP6, Player Developer

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I just reloaded.

Ah, I thought terms sounded familiar. :) Kudos for that.
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LFP6, Player Developer

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Is cell supposed to be locked even when I'm done with everything? :P
http://prntscr.com/3ayhwy
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murraythedts

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Did you ever jump ahead by changing the URL? That won't be possible to do in a few days, which should address that problem.

Otherwise...I'm not sure how that happened, and we'll need to get that fixed!
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LFP6, Player Developer

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No, never did.
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murraythedts

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Got it, we'll investigate. Thanks!

Just to check-- at any point was that button unlocked?
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LFP6, Player Developer

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Can't remember, sorry.
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murraythedts

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No problem!
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LFP6, Player Developer

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Just out of curiosity, is there anything else we can do aside from pointing out issues? We're all bored waiting for player development to start on the main site. :P
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murraythedts

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You can help spread the word/encourage people to play through the NOVA Lab! Our main focuses at this point are fixing any bugs and starting to publicize (which will begin in earnest next week). Thank you for asking!
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firedrake969

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Heheh, I noticed this puzzle in the NOVA Lab: http://eterna.cmu.edu/game/puzzle/242...