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Joined: 01/12/2009

Hi peoples.
I click on the game i want to play and it takes me to the top players page. HELP!!!!!!!!!!

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Hi z. Just download the game

Hi z. Just download the game to play.

Joined: 01/14/2009
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What do you mean ?

I just joined and where do we download the game

Joined: 05/30/2008
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Where to download

The links are in the top right corner of the home page.

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Wat do u mean? I tried that but it just takes me to the Top Players page.

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Try these links
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Hey--I just joined.  Foldit sounds intriguing.

But this website is confusing as hell.  I downloaded, and even "won" an easy puzzle, and earned points on a second puzzle. 

But I don't know what I'm doing!!!!  I read all about amino acids and protein folding.  Fine.  I took chemistry in college.  But what are the rules of this game? What are the goals?  Where can I read up on all this? 

I Don't want more propaganda about why this is important.  I don't want to have to figure out the rules of the game by chance.  i Don't want to read about fancy proteins and challenges.

I just want to play the game--and there doesn't seem to be any place, any page, any website, any forum--NOTHING--that tells me what's going on.
What's going on?

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"But what are the rules of

"But what are the rules of this game? What are the goals?  Where can I read up on all this?"

Good questions. The lack of answers here, on the site and in the game, is a big problem that's easy to forget about for those of us who've been involved in Foldit for a while. I'm sure a lot of it has to do with the fact that the team developing Foldit is made up of Biochemists and Computer Scientists, and not game designers or people who have a lot of experience delivering a new "product" to a mass audience.

I'll see if I can come up with some quick answers to your questions. But in the meantime, one place to ask would be in the in-game chat. There are always several expert players online who can probably tell you a lot about what the game is exactly.

Maybe I'll write up a description of the rules and goals of the game and what the game is for, and see if it can be put up on the website on the About page or something. Would that help? What part of it should be in the game itself?

Joined: 11/20/2008
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As far as I know, there is

As far as I know, there is only one rule to foldit....get the most points!!

The rest of it can be read in the wiki, including strategy tips from a couple of top players.
I recommend reading those, as you've nailed the basics already, eh?

And as Axcho said, you can ask in in-game as well...you will need to wear your happy dress when you do though...

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Some quick answers

Disclaimer: the following statements are not officially endorsed by Foldit.

The Rules of Foldit:

Here are the basic principles of how you want to fold the protein. Your score on each protein is based on how well you do with these three things.

1. Pack the protein

The smaller the protein, the better. More precisely, you want to avoid empty spaces (voids) in the structure of the protein where water molecules can get inside. So you want the atoms in the protein to be as close together as possible. Certain structures, such as sheets, will even connect together with hydrogen bonds if you line them up right and get them close together. This is also good. Key word: Compact.

2. Hide the hydrophobics

Hydrophobics are the sidechains that don't want to be touching water, just like oil or wax. Since most proteins float around in water, you want to keep the hydrophobics (orange sidechains) surrounded by as many atoms as possible so the water won't get to them. The other side of this rule is that hydrophilics (blue sidechains) do want to be touching water, so they should be exposed as much as possible. Key word: Buried.

3. Clear the clashes

Two atoms can't occupy the same space at the same time. If you've folded a protein so two sidechains are too close together, your score will go down a lot. This is represented by a red spiky ball (clash) where the two sidechains are intersecting. If there are clashes, you know something is wrong with your protein. So make sure everything is far enough apart. Key word: Apart.

The Goals of Foldit

Here are the high-level goals of this project, as I understand them. Disclaimer: I am not a biochemist, nor am I a founding member of the Foldit team.

Goals of the Intro Puzzles

The Intro Puzzles are meant to familiarize new players with the basic concepts and tools they'll need to start folding proteins in Foldit's Science Puzzles.

Goals of the Grand Challenge Puzzles

The current series of Science Puzzles, the Grand Challenges, are meant to generate the evidence needed to prove that human protein folders can be more effective than computers at certain aspects of protein structure prediction. That's what all the puzzles in Foldit are about right now: predicting the structure of a protein based on its amino acid sequence. The three rules mentioned above describe the characteristics of correct protein structures.

Goals of Foldit

For protein structure prediction, the eventual goal is to have human folders work on proteins that do not have a known structure. This would require first attracting the attention of scientists and biotech companies and convincing them that the process is effective. Another goal is to take folding strategies that  human players have come up with while playing the game, and automate these strategies to make protein-prediction software more effective. These two goals are more or less independent and either or both may happen.

The more interesting goal for Foldit, perhaps, is not in protein prediction but protein design. Designing new proteins may be more directly practical than protein prediction, as the problem you must solve as a protein designer is basically an engineering problem (protein engineering), whether you are trying to disable a virus or scrub carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. It's also a relatively new field compared to protein prediction. There aren't a lot of automated approaches to protein design, so Foldit's human folders will have less competition from the machines.

Does that help? Let me know what questions you have.

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I've gotten permission to

I've gotten permission to post my above explanations on the official FAQ! :)

There they are.

Joined: 11/20/2008
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Way to go, Axcho!!!

Way to go, Axcho!!! :)

Joined: 03/21/2009
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how to reenter a game i

how to reenter a game i made?

axcho's picture
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I'm not sure what you're

I'm not sure what you're asking. Could you explain?

Are you talking about Foldit, or another game you've made?

Joined: 03/21/2009
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getting back to preview / practice games

I downloaded Fold It for MAC yesterday and went through a couple levels of the practice/preview games. THe "achidevements" I accomplished show up in my profile, but I can't get back to the preview/practice games or even find out how to start actually playing. The FAQ doesn't help either. It tells me to control click on the app and go to some file somewhere. Where isn't there just an easy way for people to get back to where they left off. I am very frustrated. I would really like to learn this game and play it, but just getting into the game itself shouldn't be this hard. Or is that a test too?? Can someone please help with very very precise instructions? Thanks.

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Precise Instructions

Double-click on the Foldit icon on your Desktop.

It will start up, saying "Contacting Server to Check for Updates..."


You will be presented with a splash screen with the game credits. Click the green start button.

It will say "Getting News..."


Click OK to go past the news if there is any.

You will be presented with a login screen saying "Please enter your username and password."

Enter your username and password, then click "Play Online"

It will say "Logging in..."


You will be presented with a main menu screen, with buttons for "Intro Puzzles", "Science Puzzles", "Duels", and "Achievements"

Foldit Main Menu

Click on "Intro Puzzles"

You will be presented with a puzzle selection screen, with a colored icon for each intro puzzle.

Foldit Intro Puzzle Menu

Double-click the icon of a puzzle you'd like to play. Or single-click and then click "Play"

You will be presented with the intro puzzle you've chosen to play.


Let me know if that works for you.

Joined: 03/22/2009
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restarting a game

I had the precise experience that dafna613 had after downloading to my MAC and playing some practice games. I tried yr suggestions axcho, but double-clicking on the foldit icon on my desktop brings nothing on my screen. It does change the menubar at the top to show foldit. I don't seem to be able to quit the application at all. I guess I will reboot and see what happens.

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Hmm, that is strange. Let me

Hmm, that is strange. Let me know if rebooting helps. Thanks.

Joined: 05/30/2008
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This is what happens if I

This is what happens if I don't quit foldit, but just close the window.  There is no way to reopen the closed window without quitting foldit, which can be done from the menu bar or by right-clicking the icon.

Joined: 05/04/2020
Plz help me download the game

Plz help me download the game on my iPad

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old old thread

Wow, this thread dates back to 2009!

I'm not the Apple expert, but you need a laptop or desktop to run the game, as far as I know.

Foldit uses a lot of CPU, so it probably wouldn't run very well on a tablet or a phone.

Also, the Foldit development team is very small and doesn't have the resources to tackle new platforms. I suspect a lot of changes would be needed to make Foldit playable in a touchscreen environment.

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I do not know how to play!!!

Hi. I have just joined & downloaded but i still can't figure out how to play!!!!
Can u please help me?

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Learning to play Foldit

is helpful for new players.

Basically, new players should start
with the Intro/Tutorial Puzzles:


then do as many Beginner Puzzles as you can:


If you need help with these things, post questions
in Global Chat. Usually someone is there who can
answer your questions.


Developed by: UW Center for Game Science, UW Institute for Protein Design, Northeastern University, Vanderbilt University Meiler Lab, UC Davis
Supported by: DARPA, NSF, NIH, HHMI, Amazon, Microsoft, Adobe, RosettaCommons