In this post:
- Opus Magnum Opus Magnum (Exapunks) Opus Magnum.
- Some puzzles I made that I didn't like.
- Ideas for stuff I want to try doing differently.
A couple weeks ago, I got back into Zachtronics games, and got Opus Magnum, then beat the main campaign, one of the post-game puzzles, and some of the side puzzles. (SpaceChem and Opus Magnum have weird menus. I don't remember the other Zachtronics games having so many nooks and crannies.) Anyway, after enough of that, I eventually started messing around with coming up with my own puzzles. (I'd try out other people's puzzles, but I don't feel like launching Steam and I can't figure out how else to get them from the workshop, which is kind of annoying given how little it takes to specify an Opus Magnum puzzle.)
(... Like, come on, these things should fit into little badge image things or something, easy. The informational content is about, like, less than a kilobyte, I'm pretty sure.)
Anyway, I've come up with and solved two puzzles so far, and my intent is to design some better puzzles by the time the week is out.
Here's what I have so far:
- Given three fire atoms in a row, one bond normal, one bond triplex, create the following three products: two normal bonds of an equilateral triangle of three fire atoms, two triplex binds of an equilateral triangle of fire atoms, and an equilateral triangle of six fire atoms, bonded only on the perimeter, with alternating normal and triplex bonds.
- Given a equilateral triangle of fire atoms all bonded normally, create the following product: a hexagon of fire atoms with alternating normal and triplex bonds, with a salt atom bonded to each, straight out.
The first puzzle was interesting because I noticed a blind spot in my first solution to it, and was able to switch things around to be more efficient. It was annoying because it was hard for me to reason about the bond arrangement in the big triangle, and there's no way to interconvert that product with its mirror image, so I had to rearrange things a lot just to make virtually the same thing.
Inspired by the mirror image bond thing, and benzene, I came up with the second puzzle's product, which can interconvert with its mirror image just by rotating. That puzzle proved annoying because:
- I gave myself a three-atom reagent, but the solution I decided on ends up operating on atoms in groups of four, so the timing was really obnoxious.
- There's no center atom, so it's confusing and time-consuming to rotate the radially symmetric product.
I'd like to take things in a few different directions:
- Step away from triplex bonds for now; those things are fiddly.
- Figure out something based on metal transmutation.
- Possibly work with repeating products. I found that you can have multiple such products in one puzzle, so I've got this idea of having one such product with vitae atoms, and the other with mors atoms, using the glyph of animismus.
- Try to draw the reagents from existing puzzles. I'd be interested in something along the lines of "make something with water, alcohol, and some kind of lead crystal"
- I'm trying to figure out how to represent mundane substances like smoke, ash, wood, sugar, coal, bone, non-elemental salt. I guess that's leaning towards an aesthetic of "If someone were stuck in the wilderness with a transmutation engine, what would they have to work with, and what would they think to make?"
- I need to separate "what capabilities the transmutation engine is supposed to have" from "things a player or puzzle designer can specify".
Next time, I'll try to come up with and solve something that feels different.