We really need a "normal" puzzle running at all times

Case number:699969-990279
Opened by:auntdeen
Opened on:Monday, August 29, 2011 - 15:47
Last modified:Thursday, September 1, 2011 - 02:37

Foldit has gotten much more complex in the past few months. Exploration puzzles, rigid design puzzles, electron density puzzles - and the currently running monster.

I have no problem with the direction that you seem to be taking, other than the simple fact that the software is not quite keeping up with the demands of some of these puzzles. Until you have fixed the memory leakage, for example, it is very difficult to play the monster (I had to reboot my computer this morning after running a script with all possible minimization done, on that - even closing foldit did not release the memory that it consumed). The cookbook, considering that we have hundreds of recipes available to us now, is unwieldy because we cannot organize it in a manner that makes sense to us.

But the main point of this feedback is that while it's difficult enough to keep up if you play frequently, it is becoming more & more difficult for a new or returning folder to play.

Last night for hours, the only playing choices (unless you were in beta) were the monster, which of course responds like watching paint dry - or the beginner guided puzzle.

We've had 3 veteran folders return recently after a few months of hiatus. All three were in the top ten when they were folding frequently. One stuck around last week for a few days, but seems to have given up, having little success (he was #1 when he left for real life concerns a few months back).

I had a long conversation with another last night - he's been in & out over a couple of weeks - and he's disgusted, and may not return. His complaints were that he did not "get" the exploration play (understandable - it takes a few of these to "get" it), didn't even want to download recipes because his cookbook was impossible to find anything in, and most important - that there he was - a few hours to relax and fold - but the monster was too much for his laptop (running very hot and non-responsive), and he did not want to play a beginner puzzle.

These are all valid complaints. When there was conversation about how many puzzles at a given time, and how many at once, the range and choice of puzzle play improved considerably. It may be time to rethink now to have a "normal" puzzle (like the current 451) running at all times, to attract returning and novice folders. The guided puzzles are something that you either like or don't like - if you don't, then there are many times that there are no good choices for those folders.

(Mon, 08/29/2011 - 15:47  |  13 comments)

beta_helix's picture
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Thank you very much for your feedback.

We will make sure to consider ridiculously tough (monster) puzzles as basically the opposite of a Beginner Puzzle, and therefore make sure there is at least 1 other puzzle running.

The plan yesterday was actually to immediately post Round 2 of the Exploration Puzzle as soon as Round 1 closed, but I think that was delayed to double-check the results from Round 1 first.
My apologies for having to choose between a boring Beginner Puzzle or a monster yesterday afternoon!

We will keep in mind that Exploration puzzles, rigid design puzzles, and electron density puzzles are "complex" in some way and therefore a "normal" puzzle should at least be available as an alternative. We will try very hard to make sure there is always one available.

I would like to add that we have a new type of puzzle that is coming out soon which we all think you will enjoy since you will have all the freedom you want for those ones!

As to the complaints on the cookbook, perhaps I have missed the feedbacks about this, but if you could either point us out to the feedback or start a new one explaining what needs to be fixed.
The recent recipe rating feedback was set to "Done" by the player who opened it:

Joined: 06/17/2010

All cookbook bugs and suggestions are in http://fold.it/portal/node/990217 :)

beta_helix's picture
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Thanks Rav3n_pl... I wanted to know which items on your list auntdeen was referring to. Is it #2 on your list? or is #6 the main problem?

I want to know what our priority should be (since you all know that we don't have the resources to fix all 7.5 items on your list right away) if it is different than the order you have.

Joined: 06/17/2010

If we can organize book by ourselves (#2), wrong recipe order (#6) will be automagicly outdated :)
We just need place them as we want/need. Shared/unshared/read only should be just a mark ie different colors:
- yellow: read only (loaded, not own)
- red: shared (do not modify or it be gone from site)
- green: own, used;
- white: own, never used;

Joined: 04/19/2009

Excellent suggestion for the color coding, rav3n!

Joined: 04/19/2009

Sorry - I had to run out for a bit, but

The feedbacks that I was referring to are at #2 on rav's list.

Our cookbooks are unable to be managed by us - and with hundreds of available recipes, really need to be organized better - preferably by the individual. The current system of alphabetical is insufficient, especially when the organization as it stands separates capital letters and then starts again with small letters. When you have group recipes and recipes that you've shared... you are now looking at 5 alphabetical lists to find what you want!

We need a means by which we can organize them ourselves, preferably into headings or folders. Failing that - at least a method of dragging them on the list to where we would like them (so that we can separate banders, rebuilders, walkers, etc).

This is pertinent to the returning folders, especially - they may not have in their memory banks whether a recipe they want is capital letter, small letter - or even what the name is.

Joined: 01/19/2011

Agreed. We should (almost) always have something like 451, a refinement puzzle, up in case we get bored or discouraged by proteins like exploration puzzles, design puzzles, or "the beast."

beta_helix's picture
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moved from http://fold.it/portal/node/990280#comment-12743

All good comments, auntdeen. I'm a returning folder and I can tell you from firsthand experience that the hurdle to re-entry is huge. Exploration puzzles took much hand-holding by teammates. I had to go through many of the tutorials again. Alignment tool didn't make sense to me and wiki was totally inadequate to explain to novice how all of this holds together. I left Fold.it at a time when recipes were just being introduced but not well used. I returned at a time when recipes were just being refined enough that they did specific jobs well enough to be used as tools. They are now as varied and different as are a hammer and screwdriver. I didn't learn all this, however, until I had spent many and evening chatting with teammates.

Having more and simple puzzles would certainly help.


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Can I suggest that one possibility might be to make a library of old puzzles available.
I'm sure that the puzzles we were playing two years ago were a lot easier than the current ones.
Players can go back and look at puzzles they played in the past but they are inaccessible to newcomers.

Obviously they couldn't be run as competitions but it might be good to give a bonus of 1pt if you can get over a certain score, maybe more if you can beat the original top score.

This might help to alieviate the culture shock when moving up from the tutorials to the science puzzles and provide a practice ground for new skills

Joined: 06/17/2010
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I think Mimis suggestion is an excellent one.

Yes!!! to being able to organise our cookbook ourselves

beta_helix's picture
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mi10 will start implementing cookbook organization next week.

As for the old puzzles, could we possible kill 2 birds with one stone by using Old Puzzles as the current Normal Puzzle (that this thread has requested)?

From a scientific standpoint it would be very interesting to see how the new tools that have been added to the game in the past year improve the results.

(and obviously we wouldn't post the nasty old super-constrained design puzzles that everyone loved)

Joined: 04/19/2009

Thank you about the cookbook!

That's a great idea - to use old puzzles - and I think would have value all around. A very small "but" though - again, this would be a situation where it might be good to disable "load to guide", or use some means to insure that if you had done a puzzle (and if it was still in your files), that you couldn't just load your old solution. That would take much of the competitive edge off, and may not be the right answer for returning or newer folders.


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