To ramp up to Eterna-medicine, we're building a puzzle progression to take players from zero to switches. So when players finish a puzzle, the next puzzle will be a new challenge that builds on what they already know and teaches them something new. Think Portal, if you have experience with that. I'll be drawing from the Nova tutorials and the many wonderful player guides and tutorials. I could really use player help and feedback.
First: I've tried to collect the things that players should know to tackle the Eterna-medicine switches here. If you have things to add, please comment in the document or reply here in the forums and I will add them. The idea here is to give players the foundational tools they need to be successful switch puzzle solvers.
Second: I've been working from Eli's tutorial puzzle guide to find tutorial puzzles that players have designed. If you have puzzles that demonstrated a particular strategy or concept well, please send them my way. You can either reply in this thread or PM me here.
Once we put a progression together, we will need to beta-test, both with veteran and with novice players. I'll update this thread as the project proceeds.
If you have any other thoughts or suggestions, please get in touch. So many of you have already been a huge help by making tutorial puzzles and strategy guides.
1) Most of the points will come from challenge puzzles when starting out as a new player (it's the most efficient), and the game encourages you to play those before anything else, so this is where new players will spend the majority of the time up front (and it takes quite a while to get through the challenges, even to the point where a player may very well get bored/frustrated and leave without ever doing anything else).
2) The point was to help learn, but not only will we have the progression now, but after you play enough (or read a generic puzzle solving guide) all of them can be solved ALMOST THE EXACT SAME WAY. This is an issue because...
3) The solution data from challenge puzzles are not used.
Soooo, players will spend most of their time on puzzles that are meaningless (in both result and helpfulness for the player). This is, personally, an extremely broken model that encourages players to never get to the 'real stuff'.
Also, I am open to helping with building the tutorials in the tutorial creator once I finish up with the stuff I'm currently working on in the forums (I actually started to make one tutorial for the various parts of an RNA, but that got put off to the side).
Re: puzzle progression. It's going to take me a while to get things sorted, but I would welcome your help. Feel free to drop me a line when you're running out of stuff to do in the forums. : )
To clarify by 'more explanation' I don't mean any less or more simply termed, what I do mean is while with that method of explanation I now understand blue is attracted to red but prefers yellow but I still don't understand why.
I believe that if the why and the how puzzles are solved (how you use steps/strategy to solve it and why you decided to use them then) were explained so that the player had a base set of principles to build off.
This is a huge undertaking and I would love to help with it if I could! I can't help with switches in anyway because I have never been able to solve those sadly but if you guys need testers or anything just time consuming I’m totally up to help, I have tons of time even during the school session so if its ever needed I'm up for it.
For switch tutorials, jnicol's switch tutorials could be implemented at some point in the game flow. Although they get difficult as you advance in the lessons, the knowledge learned through completing the puzzle can be invaluable in solving harder switches. Thanks for all your work in the new puzzle progression! I hope this helps! :)
First of all, thanks everyone for their feedback and contributions. I’ve now grouped learning goals together in this document. There’s a key at the top. I divided them into units and have them in a rough order from basic to advanced, while giving the player some variety along the way. There will also be educational interludes between groups of puzzles that will try to fill in some of the essential knowledge base. I hope it’s sensible – it’s not perfect.
I’d like to link these learning goals to specific puzzles. So over the next couple weeks I’ll be regrouping and editing things and adding links to puzzles that address specific goals. I’d love your feedback with that. If you have a puzzle that addresses a goal, add it to the document. If you have other feedback or comments about the progression, please let me know.
Here are some principles I’m working from:
Each puzzle should present something new. In other words, the player won’t be able to do exactly what she did in the last puzzle to solve the current puzzle.
Blend learning when possible (link RNA knowledge to puzzle tactics to effective use of UI).
Introduce UI elements when they are relevant. In other words, introduce pair swapping in a puzzle where pair swapping is useful (where, say, swapping the right pair(s) will solve the puzzle); zooming in and out might be introduced in a larger than average puzzle.
Use contrasting cases. The idea is to use puzzles that look similar, but differ in some critical respect so that players can notice what’s different. A number of player-created tutorial series already do this to great effect.
Show before telling. Some amount of text will be inevitable, but if we can demonstrate something elegantly, through a puzzle, that’s the better option.
The use of scaffolding. The idea here is to enable players to solve puzzles they otherwise wouldn’t by giving a little bit of help. Players have employed a variety of interesting methods of doing this: locked bases, hints in the description, limits in the number of mutations necessary to solve the problem (see the Fun with John series), starting players off with a bad design that they need to fix, etc.
I hope to have a working puzzle progression by the end of August to early September. Then we can iterate and beta-test.
This is the latest document I'm working from: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1hMiQcwQ3isGTzufex4Ir7JrKsrFbYtVZLPC0Pe8ChiU/edit?usp=sharing. Still very much a work in progress. The general outline is something like the following:
Basics - bases, bonds, folding, target/native modes,
GC - closing pairs, direction, structure energy, GC orientation, more loop varieties
AU - bulges, sliding, blocking, AU zipper
GU - using GU in stacks, as closing pairs, in bulges.
Non-canonical - advanced boosting/mismatches, catalyzing, energy profiles
Switches - ligand/aptamer, 2-state, 3-state switches
Labs - Eternabot constraint, FMN/MS2 model, RNA in/out model
I like the idea of moving from the strongest base pairs to the weakest (or, perhaps, least subtle to most subtle), which is how the first half of it goes. Very interested in hearing your thoughts.
Thanks for your patience while we put together an early version of the puzzle progression. This is, basically, the first half of what we have planned (only single-state puzzles). Think of this as an incomplete alpha version.
You can start the walkthrough here: http://nova.eternadev.org/game/puzzle/3389880/?autoload=0
You can see the puzzles in the progression here (might not be in order): http://nova.eternadev.org/web/progression/
Right now, we have a handful of placeholder puzzles (spacebars currently, should be updated this week) and some empty message screens. We don't have many of the accompanying graphics yet, so you will also see text like "You unlocked the swap tool!" and "(pic needed)".
We would LOVE feedback from you guys about it. Technical glitches, puzzle suggestions, phrasing suggestions, concepts that you think should be added, suggestions about "flow", etc.
I am demoing it with a few people who have never played Eterna as well, so we can get add new players' perspectives to the mix.
Thanks, as always, for your help.
So far, we've been thinking in terms of getting players ready for full participation in EteRNA Medicine means getting them ready to create new lab designs. This is quite a high bar, as I think we are just beginning to really appreciate.
What if the entry level lab player didn't get to create totally new lab designs? Instead, their initial capabilities would be limited to making some number of mutations to one or more "model" designs that had either scored relatively well in a prior round or, in the case of the first round for a puzzle, had been constructed by seasoned players based on their best guess of what will work for the new lab. The ability to create completely new designs would come with some combination of experience and/or success in creating design modifications.
I imagine a number of advantages.
- It is a much easier task to make small modifications to a switch than to construct one from scratch, raising player participation.
- The new player is much, much more likely to get a rewarding score than if they submit a de nova design, raising player satisfaction.
- The tutorials could focus on things like interpreting the lab data (i.e. what do the KD values actually mean, and how can a player use that data to guide one's modifications), raising player understanding of the science.
We're moving forward on the tuberculosis challenge and a piece of that is the new puzzle progression which will help us all prepare to develop molecules for tuberculosis diagnosis. We're still working on a few things, but we'd really love your feedback on the latest iteration.
You can see the new site here: medicine.eternadev.org
Let us know:
- What you think of the newer, simplified look
- If there are any hints to puzzles that don't make sense
- If there are puzzles that seem to difficult to solve (I'm particularly interested in the last dozen or so puzzles)
- If there is content that you would like to see on some of the mission accomplished screens
- If there is mission accomplished screen content that doesn't make sense in context
- If there are any technical issues (loading times, broken links, other problems)
- Some of the earlier puzzles don't have hints but we haven't gotten rid of the hint functionality for those puzzles yet
- Hints for switch puzzles haven't been implemented yet
- The last dozen or so puzzles are awaiting some mission accomplished screen updates
- We'll be crediting individual players for the puzzles and design templates that we use in the progression
A whole lot of credit goes to Caleb and Nando. If you experience technical problems with the puzzle or with the site you can contact Caleb directly at calebgeniesse [at] gmail [dot] com. For bug reports, but as specific as possible (browser information and screenshots are helpful). For other issues contact me.
Caleb: do you have thoughts as to why Rocketdog42 is getting bounced back to the beginning after Liquid Robotics?
Thanks for taking a look!
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