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Puzzle difficulty ratings

 
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Puzzle difficulty ratings - 6/21/2015 4:58:53 PM   
chaosmanor

 

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I really do wish that I could impress upon TPtB that difficulty ratings are not as simple to apply as those Powers seem to think that they are.

An example from this week: Classic Hashi 16x12, ID: 11090103143. This is rated "Easy"; I believe that it was so rated due to it having a single island with an '8' on it. Folks, an '8' does not an Easy make, at least not in and of itself. This puzzle is a Medium, which is fine. I enjoyed it, despite having gotten myself tangled up for a couple of minutes. But it is by no means the first time that a Hashi with an '8' island has been rated Easy when it was, in fact, more difficult than that. There have been many examples of other puzzle with similar issues.

It might not seem to be that big of a deal, but I tend to use the ratings as a guide to approximately how much time a puzzle might take me. If I only have a few minutes, starting and Easy which turns out to be a Medium (or harder), is upsetting. I don't know if you ever have people Beta test puzzles, but if not, perhaps you should.

Thank you for your consideration.
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RE: Puzzle difficulty ratings - 7/10/2015 1:08:27 AM   
Ahlyis

 

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I just assumed that difficulty ratings were assigned according to the types of logic expected to be needed while solving.

For example, http://www.sudokuwiki.org/sudoku.htm uses a series of increasingly difficult processes to attempt to solve any puzzle given to it. The difficulty rating of a particular Sudoku could be assigned according to the "highest" strategy needed by that site in order to solve it.

Other puzzle types use different strategies, but there will be some strategies more simple/basic than others. Puzzle difficulty ratings "should" be assigned based on the complexity/difficulty of the strategies needed to solve them.

That's been my assumption anyway. And yes, I know what they say about assuming things.

It would be nice if someone at Conceptis were to give us a little info about how they assign difficulty ratings.

(in reply to chaosmanor)
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RE: Puzzle difficulty ratings - 7/10/2015 7:14:36 PM   
Ahlyis

 

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Well, one of this week's puzzles has shown me the error of my ways.

http://www.conceptispuzzles.com/index.aspx?uri=puzzleinfo/01/1/90100547

That puzzle is rated "Very Easy". It is only a 15x15 color sym-a-pix. It took me over 35 minutes to solve!

Either I am a LOT worse at advanced logic sym-a-pix than I thought I was, or they rated it based on it's size rather than it's actual difficulty.

(in reply to Ahlyis)
Post #: 3
RE: Puzzle difficulty ratings - 7/14/2015 7:47:47 AM   
BrainyBroad

 

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I just came to the forum to see what other people thought of the rating system. Glad to see I'm not the only one who thinks the ratings are ridiculous and are assigned by someone who is clueless about solving the actual puzzle. Either that, or the raters do not understand the correct meaning of the English word "easy."

(in reply to Ahlyis)
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RE: Puzzle difficulty ratings - 9/2/2015 10:30:44 PM   
dave

 

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The puzzle difficulties are determined using a computer algorithm, and are relative. Therefore a 15x15 Very Easy Sym-a-Pix might not be easy to solve, but it is still much, much easier than a 60x40. The difficulty ratings do take into account which techniques are required to solve the puzzle, so puzzles rated as medium require harder techniques compared to puzzles rated as easy and so on.

All this being said, puzzle difficulty ratings is a very subjective issue. You might be surprised, but we are getting more complaints about our puzzles being too easy rather than being to hard...

Thanks, Dave

(in reply to BrainyBroad)
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RE: Puzzle difficulty ratings - 9/2/2015 11:16:10 PM   
Ahlyis

 

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I don't doubt anything you've said Dave. It does make me wonder though. Consider the following two examples and tell me which you think would be harder to solve...

1) A large sized puzzle that requires no advanced logic at all to solve. Every value can be entered using only the most basic of logic. But out of the thousands of individual locations, only a very small handful can be solved and they chain into all of the others. Once you find those key points, the puzzle is "very easy" to solve.

2) A large sized puzzle that requires some advanced logic to solve, but has many many points to attack with very few chains of significant length. You can find many points of entry, but need some advanced logic on some of them to solve the puzzle.

Personally, I think the first puzzle is much MUCH harder to solve, or at least far more frustrating. You can spend hours looking without finding anything. True, you might get lucky and find that needle in a haystack right away, but if you don't... Whereas the second puzzle requires more advanced thinking, and doesn't deserve an easy rating, you can at least see continual progress without hours of searching just to find anything at all.

I suppose that's just the subjective nature you are speaking of though.

(in reply to dave)
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RE: Puzzle difficulty ratings - 9/3/2015 10:04:47 AM   
MarthaSimons

 

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I like this puzzle

(in reply to Ahlyis)
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RE: Puzzle difficulty ratings - 9/5/2015 11:05:58 PM   
dave

 

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Right, this is one way of describing the "subjectivity" of puzzle difficulties. We got complaints from some users saying that even the easiest Advanced Logic puzzles are too hard. They just didn't grasp the concept. We also got complaints from other users saying the harder Basic Logic are not hard at all. So I guess logic puzzles have very different effect of different people. On one hand this is frustrating (at least for me, when a user complains about a too-easy puzzle which for me is too hard to solve), while on the other hand it is rewarding (also for me) to see how diversified and rich is the world we live in.

BTW, in Fill-a-Pix the difficulty levels of Basic Logic and Advanced Logic are rated independently. In other words, an easy Advanced Logic is easier than a medium Advanced Logic and an easy Basic Logic is easier than a medium Basic Logic. However, it's possible that a medium Basic Logic will be much easier than an easy Advanced Logic.

Thanks, Dave

(in reply to Ahlyis)
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RE: Puzzle difficulty ratings - 11/6/2015 2:29:59 PM   
KathKat449

 

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Oh the appeal of a Mega puzzle regardless of rating! I just assume that the rating of a Mega is going to be higher based on
sheer size. And sometimes that effects/affects whether I will do a puzzle or go buy more.

When I have printed a puzzle, I will mark it with my own rating of 'hunt' when it was particularly frustrating. Sometimes,
having the 'hunt' rating challenges me to do the puzzle again - in about 6 months.

What a snob I am to choose a puzzle solely on a rating!

And a great big hug to MarthaSimons - thx for the smile.

(in reply to dave)
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RE: Puzzle difficulty ratings - 5/10/2016 12:57:30 AM   
hashier

 

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There's clearly a difference between puzzles that are truly "hard" and puzzles that simply take a longer time to solve. It has mainly to do with the number of actions that are available to move the puzzle forward.

The new Block-a-Pix (great puzzle by the way) is a good example of a type of puzzle where larger puzzles take more time but are not more difficult. The larger the puzzle, the more actions that are available. If you get stuck in one area of the puzzle, just start working on a different area. Puzzles like Sym-a-Pix and Slitherlink fall into that category.

At the other extreme we have Cross-a-Pix. No matter the size of the puzzle, there's often just one action you can take to move the puzzle forward. And this keeps happening continuously. Obviously, the larger the puzzle, the harder it is to find that one action. Skyscrapers falls into that category too. That's what makes those puzzles "hard" in my mind.

And then in the middle of the range we have something like Tic-Tac-Logic. Things go fine until you get to a point where there's only one action available, like Cross-a-Pix. But, once you've found it, it starts getting easier again.

(in reply to KathKat449)
Post #: 10
RE: Puzzle difficulty ratings - 2/28/2019 7:35:10 PM   
Ahlyis

 

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I originally posted these comments to another thread, but I thought I should also post it to this thread...

I have completed both the 40x30 medium plus as well as the 65x40 very hard cross-a-pix from this week.

The 40x30 medium plus took me 2 hours 34 minutes and the average is currently listed as 2 hours 51 minutes. The 65x40 very hard took me 1 hour 16 minutes and the average is currently listed as 1 hour 27 minutes.

The 65x40 is more than double the size of the 40x30, is rated as a much harder puzzle, yet takes the average solver less than half the time to solve.

I really think you guys need to re-examine how you rate the difficulty of some of these puzzles!

(in reply to hashier)
Post #: 11
RE: Puzzle difficulty ratings - 4/13/2019 7:22:44 PM   
Razorflame

 

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The only thing that I have noticed in regards to puzzle difficulty ratings is that there are some Mega Fill-A-Pix Basic Logic puzzles that I am able to breeze through and solve very quickly due to the fact that there are very few points which requires a SINGLE clue that chains into the ability to solve the rest of the puzzle, and yet, there are some Mega FAP BL puzzles that I have not been able to solve because of the fact that at multiple points during the solving process, there is only a single clue that leads to a chain of clues that leads to another single clue that leads to another chain.

These kinds of puzzles, not only are much more challenging that other FAP Mega BL puzzles, but they also take me 3x or 4x longer than my average Mega FAP BL puzzle solve time of ~40 minutes.

I definitely think that there are some puzzles that should definitely be rated higher than they have been. There are even a few FAP Mega BL puzzles that I have been working on for over a YEAR that I haven't finished yet due to these factors.

(in reply to Ahlyis)
Post #: 12
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