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PUZZLERS Challenge. Copyright (c) 1991, by Dennis J. Yelton. All Rights Reserved. ============================================================================== Ok, so you've finally solved a 7x7 Quilt puzzle and you think you're pretty smart, right? Well, let's not be so hasty. The REAL challenge isn't just to solve the puzzle, but to solve it in as few moves as possible. It turns out that any 7x7 Quilt, no matter how thoroughly it's scrambled, can always be solved well within the "Genius" range. So how close did you come, Sherlock? Think you can do better? Well, that's what the Challenge Puzzle is all about. This is the 7x7 Quilt puzzle obtained when loading the file CHALLENG.PZL from the FILES menu. You are hereby challenged to solve the Challenge Puzzle in WELL under the 171 moves required by the "Genius" version of SOLVE. Yes, it CAN be done. In fact, it can be done with a vengence! But you may require a little help, so the following Clue Poem is provided for your assistance. Within the poem are all the clues needed to conquer the Challenge Puzzle with embarassing ease. Of course, you first have to unlock the mysteries of the poem. But once you do, you'll be astonished at the result! ============================================================================== CLUE POEM: ---------- CAN IT BE DONE? by D. J. Yelton They say it can not be done, Though fools are bound to try, Adrift in rudderless ships On endless seas so dry. They say it's like the ether, A hole that will not fill, A torrent without limit, Transcending human skill. But some could not ignore it, Like feathered shaft it came, Pointing forever upwards, To heights of greatest fame. The learned among them knew A skeptic's often right, But reckoned like their fellows There'd been an oversight. From Alpha to Omega, From Hercules to Zeus, They boldly tried to scorch it, But only cooked their goose. Much later came the Great Ones, Courageously they fought. But they each succumbed in turn, Till all t'was left was naught. Now we KNOW -- it CAN'T be done, The rules are much too strict. But if they're too restrictive, Perhaps they should be fixed. So if you have the patience, Look closely and you'll see A number and procedure To solve the mystery.
Disk No: 2739 Disk Title: Puzzlers PC-SIG Version: S1 Program Title: Puzzlers Author Version: 1.00 Author Registration: $15.00 Special Requirements: 512K RAM, EGA or VGA monitor. PUZZLERS is a puzzle game that has been described as a two-dimensional Rubik's Cube. PUZZLERS has a variety of numbered grids, each containing a colorful pattern, which the computer or another player can scramble by shifting individual rows and columns. Individual moves are shown on the screen as the pattern is scrambled. The object of the game is to unscramble the grid in the least number of moves. PUZZLERS has two main patterns: checkered boards containing letters of the alphabet and quilt designs. The size of the grid square can range from 3 X 3 to 7 X 7. PC-SIG 1030D East Duane Avenue Sunnyvale Ca. 94086 (408) 730-9291 (c) Copyright 1991 PC-SIG, Inc.
Copyright (c) 1991, by Dennis J. Yelton. All Rights Reserved. ============================================================================== ORDER INFORMATION (Offer for Version 1.00 expires Jan. 1, 1995) ----------------- To order a registered copy of "PUZZLERS," complete the form below. The cost is $12.50 for the software, plus a $2.50 charge for shipping and handling. (Texas residents must add sales tax -- see order form.) All payments must be in U.S. dollars, and payable to Dennis J. Yelton. (Checks or money orders must be drawn on a U.S. bank.) Return the completed form, with the payment, to: Puzzlers Purchase Order c/o Dennis J. Yelton 2901 Barton Skyway #1404 Austin, Tx. 78746. Orders may take about a week to process. Allowing for postal lag time, you should receive your order about two weeks after sending the form. The only exception is if you send your order during my annual two-week vacation. So to be safe, if you're ordering this for a friend's birthday present or something, you should allow four weeks total processing time. PUZZLERS requires an IBM PC or compatible type computer, at least 512K of RAM, EGA or VGA color graphics, and DOS 2.0 or greater. Also, a processor speed of at least 8 MHz is recommended, but not required. Here's what you get for your money: 1. The most recent registered update of PUZZLERS.EXE. This includes the "Expert and "Genius" versions of SOLVE, the DESIGN feature, and the twenty-six demo puzzle files. (See PUZZLERS.DOC.) 2. The program documentation file (PUZZLERS.DOC). 3. A collection of PUZZLERS hints, tips, suggestions, and general information (PZLHINTS.DOC). This fifty-seven page file contains thorough, detailed information on: a. How to solve an Alphabet Soup puzzle -- a simple procedure which will make you an instant "Expert." b. How to solve a Quilt puzzle -- guidelines on how to deduce the position of any quilt tile, even if you've never seen the unscrambled solution! c. How SOLVE works -- see what's behind the "Genius" of SOLVE. d. A description of several of the PUZZLERS puzzles' basic mathematical properties -- clear and thorough explanations; no complicated mathematical mumbo-jumbo. e. Thirty hints for unraveling the mysteries of the Clue Poem! (Including a complete solution.) 4. A ninety day limited warranty on the program diskette. 5. Free support for six months. 6. A 50% discount on all future version upgrades. =============================================================================== ORDER FORM (#000019) (Version 1.00 -- offer expires on Jan. 1, 1995.) ---------- Complete all items and return with a full payment of $15.00, in U.S. dollars, payable to Dennis J. Yelton. (Texas residents, add $1.09 sales tax. Austin MTA residents, add an additional $0.11.) I. PURCHASER INFORMATION Name:_________________________________________ COMPLETE mailing address:_________________________________________ _________________________________________ _________________________________________ II. PACKAGING INFORMATION: Which type of diskette? (Check only one) 5.25" diskette ___ 3.5" diskette ___ III. REGISTERED USER The registered user's name will appear on the title page, where it reads "Unregistered User" in the unregistered version of the program. Please print the registered user's name in the blanks below EXACTLY as you wish it to appear on the title page. (Use capital letters only where you wish them, etc.). You are limited to a maximum of twenty-six characters, including spaces and punctuation. The name you give must be that of a private individual, and not that of a group, club, organization, etc. If you are obtaining this program for a friend, be sure to use your FRIEND's name and not your own. REGISTERED USER: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ IV. COMMENTS (Optional, but greatly appreciated.) Where did you learn about PUZZLERS? _____________________________ _________________________________________________________________ General Comments & Suggestions: _________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________
PUZZLERS Documentation. Copyright (c) 1991, by Dennis J. Yelton. All Rights Reserved. CONTENTS: --------- 1. Title Page .................................. page 1 2. Contents .................................... page 2 3. Files You Should Have ....................... page 3 4. License ..................................... page 4 5. Registration ................................ page 4 6. Hardware Requirements ....................... page 5 7. Getting Started ............................. page 5 8. Printing the Documentation Files ............ page 7 9. Obtaining Help .............................. page 8 10. Selecting a Puzzle .......................... page 8 11. Alphabet Soup Puzzles ....................... page 8 12. Quilt Puzzles ............................... page 9 13. Demo Puzzles ................................ page 10 14. The Challenge Puzzle ........................ page 10 15. Designing Your Own Puzzle ................... page 11 16. Puzzle Manipulation ......................... page 11 17. File Management ............................. page 12 18. Scrambling a Puzzle ......................... page 12 19. The SOLVE Feature ........................... page 13 20. Sound Adjustment ............................ page 14 21. Speed Adjustment ............................ page 14 22. Color Adjustment ............................ page 15 23. Rating Your Performance ..................... page 15 24. Obtaining Maximum Enjoyment from PUZZLERS ... page 17 25. Hints, Tips, and Suggestions ................ page 18 26. Error Messages .............................. page 19 27. Warranty Disclaimer ......................... page 21 -- 2 -- FILES YOU SHOULD HAVE: ---------------------- This unregistered version of PUZZLERS includes the following: 1. The program: PUZZLERS.EXE 2. The program documentation file: PUZZLERS.DOC 3. PUZZLERS order / registration information: ORDRINFO.TXT 4. PUZZLERS Challenge information: CHALLENG.TXT 5. PUZZLERS demo puzzle files: a. The PUZZLERS Challenge Puzzle: CHALLENG.PZL b. Alphabet Soup demo puzzles: A3_DEMO.PZL, A4_DEMO1.PZL, A4_DEMO2.PZL, A4_DEMO3.PZL, A5_DEMO1.PZL, A6_DEMO1.PZL, A6_DEMO2.PZL, A7_DEMO.PZL c. Quilt demo puzzles: Q3_DEMO.PZL, Q4_DEMO1.PZL, Q4_DEMO2.PZL, Q4_DEMO3.PZL, Q4_DEMO4.PZL, Q5_DEMO1.PZL, Q5_DEMO2.PZL, Q5_DEMO3.PZL, Q6_DEMO1.PZL, Q6_DEMO2.PZL, Q6_DEMO3.PZL, Q6_DEMO4.PZL, Q7_DEMO1.PZL, Q7_DEMO2.PZL, Q7_DEMO3.PZL, Q7_DEMO4.PZL. These files are provided "as is," without any warranties, expressed or implied. (See WARRANTY DISCLAIMER, page 21.) They allow you to completely enjoy all ten of the PUZZLERS' puzzle categories. None of the features provided by these files differ in any way from the corresponding features of the registered version of PUZZLERS. However, registered users do receive two program enhancements allowing them to design their own Quilt puzzle patterns, and examine computer generated solutions to any puzzle position. Additional registration benefits are listed on the next page, under REGISTRATION. If for some reason you did not receive all of these files, you may order either registered or unregistered copies of PUZZLERS. (Offer for Version 1.00 expires on Jan. 1, 1995.) For information on ordering the registered version, see the file ORDRINFO.TXT. For an UNregistered version of the program, send $2.50 shipping and handling charges (payable to Dennis J. Yelton) to Puzzlers Unregistered Order c/o Dennis J. Yelton 2901 Barton Skyway #1404 Austin, Tx. 78746. (Texas residents add $0.18 sales tax. Austin MTA residents add an additional $0.02.) Payments must be in U.S. dollars, and any check or money order must be drawn on a U.S. bank. Specify the diskette size (5.25'' or 3.5'') and your complete mailing address. -- 3 -- LICENSE: -------- PUZZLERS is not free software, but Shareware. Please register if you enjoy the program and plan to keep it for more than 30 days. Consult the file ORDRINFO.TXT for registration details. This unregistered version of PUZZLERS may be freely distributed without profit, provided none of the files are altered in any way (except archiving), and all of the files listed on page 3 are kept together as a package. Other rights may be granted, but only by explicit written consent of the copyright owner, Dennis J. Yelton. REGISTRATION: (Offer for Version 1.00 expires on Jan. 1, 1995.) ------------- Anyone who enjoys PUZZLERS is encouraged to become a registered user. Consult the file ORDRINFO.TXT for registration and ordering details. Registered users receive the following benefits: 1. A personalized copy of the most recent PUZZLERS update. 2. Two special program enhancements: a. The SOLVE feature (both "Expert" and "Genius" versions), which will efficiently solve any puzzle position in an instructive manner. (See page 13 for more details on the SOLVE feature.) b. The DESIGN feature, for designing your own Quilt puzzles. (See page 11 for more details.) 3. A PUZZLERS general information file (PZLHINTS.DOC) filled with helpful hints, tips, and suggestions. This fifty-seven page file contains thorough, detailed information on: a. How to solve an Alphabet Soup puzzle -- a simple procedure which will make you an instant "Expert." b. How to solve a Quilt puzzle -- guidelines on how to deduce the position of any quilt tile, even if you've never seen the unscrambled solution! c. How SOLVE works -- see what's behind the "Genius" of SOLVE. d. A description of several of the PUZZLERS puzzles' basic mathematical properties -- clear and thorough explanations; no complicated mathematical mumbo-jumbo. -- 4 -- e. Thirty hints for unraveling the mysteries of the Clue Poem! (Including a complete solution.) 5. A limited warranty. If your program diskette has any defects, it may be replaced free of charge for ninety days after the date of purchase. 6. Free support for six months (postal mail & CompuServe email). All problems or questions will receive a prompt and courteous response. 7. A 50% discount on all future version upgrades of PUZZLERS. 8. Registration provides positive feedback, and motivates further development of high quality / low cost products. HARDWARE REQUIREMENTS: ---------------------- The hardware requirements for running PUZZLERS are: an IBM PC compatible computer with at least 512 KB of RAM, and an EGA or VGA color graphics system. Although not required, a processor speed of at least 8 MHz is strongly recommended. The graphics based menu system may be a bit sluggish for slower speeds. PUZZLERS does not require, nor does it support, a mouse. GETTING STARTED: ---------------- Before doing anything else, please make a backup copy of your program diskette! Your copy of DOS came with a utility program, called DISKCOPY, explicitly for this purpose. If you are uncertain of how to use DISKCOPY, refer to your DOS manual and/or the instructions that came with your computer. The registered version of the PUZZLERS program can be executed directly from the diskette on which it was received. (This may also be true for unregistered users, depending on how the program was obtained.) Once the computer has been turned on (and DOS has been loaded), simply set the default drive of the computer to that containing the PUZZLERS diskette, and type: PUZZLERS (all commands must be followed by pressing the ENTER, or RETURN, key). -- 5 -- For example, if the diskette is in drive A, type A: to set the default directory to drive A. (If the diskette is in another drive, substitute the appropriate letter for "A.") Then type PUZZLERS to start the program. You can also install PUZZLERS onto a hard disk, if available. If you do not know how to do this, then follow the example below. (Again, this procedure may vary for unregistered users, depending on the form in which the program was received.) The example assumes the program diskette is in drive A, and the hard drive is drive C. If these are different for your computer, then substitute the appropriate letters for "A" and "C." Once DOS is loaded, begin by typing C: to set the default drive to the hard disk. Then type CD\ to "Change Directory" to the root directory of the hard drive. Next, type MD PUZZLERS to "Make Directory" called PUZZLERS. And follow this by typing CD\PUZZLERS to "Change Directory" to the new PUZZLERS directory. Then, with the program diskette in drive A, type COPY A:*.* to copy all the files from the program diskette to the PUZZLERS directory. This completes the installation. The program can now be run at any time by first typing C: to set the default drive to hard disk, and then CD\PUZZLERS to "Change Directory" to the PUZZLERS directory, and finally PUZZLERS to start the program. -- 6 -- PUZZLERS was designed to be user friendly. You shouldn't even need to read this file to enjoy the program. Basically, all you have to remember is that if you ever get stuck, and don't know what to do, just take a look at the "Active Keys" bar at the bottom of the screen. The "Active Keys" bar always indicates the ONLY keyboard keys that the program will accept at any given time. These keys are "lit" on the bar. When more than one key is lit, each represents acceptable input. If you're not sure which of the lit keys to use, then EXPERIMENT -- you aren't going to break anything! Within a few minutes you'll probably never even need the "Active Keys" bar again. The only other thing you need to know about is the PUZZLERS HELP system. The main menu displays a HELP item, which contains detailed information on every aspect of the program. To learn more about a particular program feature, just examine the corresponding item under HELP. Right now you know everything you NEED to know to enjoy PUZZLERS. If you're in a hurry to check out the program, then quit this file and get to it! The rest of this stuff can wait for a rainy day. PRINTING THE DOCUMENTATION FILES: --------------------------------- The registered version of PUZZLERS is accompanied by four text files: PUZZLERS.DOC, PZLHINTS.DOC, CHALLENG.TXT, and ORDRINFO.TXT. (The unregistered version does not include PZLHINTS.DOC.) These can all be printed out using the DOS PRINT utility. Before printing a file, first check to see that your printer is turned on, loaded with an ample supply of paper, and set to begin printing at the start of a new page. To use the DOS PRINT utility, load DOS and type PRINT followed by the name of the file to be printed. Preface the filename by the letter designating the drive in which it is located. For example, if ORDRINFO.TXT is in drive A, you can print it by typing PRINT A:ORDRINFO.TXT (followed by ENTER, or RETURN). Each text file has been preset at 66 lines per page, which is the standard for dot matrix printers. Users with laser printers may wish to use the editor of their choice to edit COPIES of these files to 60 lines per page. (You have permission to do this ONLY under the condition that all edited copies are erased IMMEDIATELY after printing.) For PUZZLERS.DOC (and PZLHINTS.DOC), this is easily done by simply deleting lines 1, 2, 3, 62, 65, and 66 from each page. -- 7 -- OBTAINING HELP: --------------- Virtually all the help you need can be obtained while running the program. Just select HELP from the main menu. For more explicit details on a given feature, see the corresponding topic within this file. SELECTING A PUZZLE: ------------------- Choose a puzzle by selecting the PUZZLES menu item. Two types of puzzles are available, "Alphabet Soup" and "Quilt." Each is available in several different sizes. Registered users also have the option of designing their own Quilt puzzles. (For more details, see ALPHABET SOUP PUZZLES, QUILT PUZZLES, and DESIGNING YOUR OWN PUZZLE, below.) ALPHABET SOUP PUZZLES: ---------------------- The Alphabet Soup puzzles are composed of a square grid of tiles, each displaying an alphanumeric character. Each of the grid rows can be moved horizontally left and right, and each of the columns can be moved vertically up and down. The rows and columns all "wrap around" on themselves, so that a tile which would otherwise leave the grid actually reappears on the other side. If you think about it, you'll see that this makes the square grid sort of like a donut. Effectively, the top edge of the grid is connected to the bottom edge, and the left edge is connected to the right. Imagine taking a piece of ordinary writing paper, folding the bottom edge up to the top edge (this forms a tube), and then folding the left edge of the tube over to meet the right edge. Presto! A donut! (Mathematicians call this shape a "torus." When a torus is represented as a square, as in the puzzle, they say the square has "periodic boundary conditions." This is just a fancy way of saying it "wraps around.") In a puzzle's original state, all alphanumeric characters of the grid are "in order." Beginning with the capital letters of the alphabet, the letters appear in alphabetical order from left to right and from top to bottom (like the words in a book). In the larger puzzles the capital letters are followed by the numerals 0 - 9, and these numerals are then followed by the lower case letters of the alphabet. We will say that a puzzle in this well-defined order is "unscrambled," or "solved." -- 8 -- This nice, pristine order can be destroyed by randomly moving the rows and columns to and fro ("scrambling"). The object of the puzzle is to restore such a scrambled grid to its original, unscrambled position. Once you've mastered this feat, an additional challenge is to minimize the number of moves you require to unscramble the puzzle. (See RATING YOUR PERFORMANCE, page 15.) If you're familiar with puzzles at all, the PUZZLERS grid probably reminds you a lot of the old "15 Puzzle" that used to be so popular. You know which one; it was the puzzle with the 15 numbered tiles and one "hole" in a frame. You could move the numbered tiles around in the frame by sliding them into the "hole." Yes, THAT "15 Puzzle." (This puzzle was invented about a century ago by the King of Puzzledom, Sam Lloyd.) Well, the two puzzles may LOOK similar, but looks can be deceiving. In fact, the Alphabet Soup puzzles are considerably more subtle and difficult than the "15 Puzzle." The primary reason is that the PUZZLERS grid doesn't have a "hole." Without the "hole," several tiles must be moved together as a unit. You don't have the luxury of moving ONE tile over a space, and then TWO tiles up a space, etc. With PUZZLERS, you HAVE to move the same number of tiles every time. As an example of the terrible dilemma this can pose, try solving the demo puzzle A4_DEMO3.PZL. You can load this from the FILES menu when running PUZZLERS. QUILT PUZZLES: -------------- The Quilt puzzles are really no different from the Alphabet Soup puzzles, except for the design on the tiles. But since the Quilt tiles aren't clearly "numbered," it is not obvious where they are supposed to go. There IS a pattern, however, since the unscrambled solution must look like a quilt. Moreover, for the predesigned quilts, this pattern is unique; there's only one way each one can be unscrambled into a pristine Quilt. By matching colors and stitches on adjacent tiles you should be able to reconstruct this unique solution. Sound simple enough? If it does, then you're probably in for quite a shock. The predesigned quilt patterns weren't just chosen at random, the larger ones were very carefully designed to provide maximum frustration. So don't be so surprised if you think you're well on your way to a solution when suddenly nothing else fits! (Take a look at some of the Quilt demo files, and you'll see a few of the ghastly problems that can arise.) If you're serious about solving the larger Quilts, you'd better look for more than the obvious "matching colors and stitches on adjacent tiles." There are other, more subtle clues available. If followed carefully, they will lead you directly to the solution. No "tricks" are required -- just sound, solid reasoning. (NOTE: Registered users, consult the file PZLHINTS.DOC for detailed descriptions of many of these additional clues.) -- 9 -- DEMO PUZZLES: ------------- PUZZLERS is accompanied by several demo puzzles for your general amusement. You may load these demos from the FILES menu. These puzzles are simply certain scrambled positions of the Alphabet Soup and Quilt puzzles, and were designed primarily for educational purposes. Most of them are "almost solved," with only a few tiles out of position. Since the PUZZLERS puzzles become more difficult as you near the solution, these demos provide you with the opportunity to develop your skills in those areas where they really count. If you can design a procedure that allows you to efficiently solve all the demos, you'll be well on your way to "Genius" status. (See RATING YOUR PERFORMANCE, page 15.) But be warned, just because a particular procedure works well for for a certain size puzzle doesn't mean it'll work well for another size puzzle. In fact, it may not work at all. As a case in point, develop your own technique for solving Q4_DEMO1.PZL and then try using a similar technique for solving its larger "twin," Q7_DEMO3.PZL. Go ahead, see what happens. Didn't work, did it? (Yes, it CAN be done.) Something very subtle is going on here. Do you see what it is? Be patient; see if you can discover the "secret" on your own. If you're really stumped, and are a registered user, the "secret" is revealed in the file PZLHINTS.DOC. Also, IF you're a registered user, you can use the SOLVE feature to learn a simple and efficient technique for solving any puzzle position (including all the demos.) If you're not a registered user, consult the file ORDRINFO.TXT to see how to become one. THE CHALLENGE PUZZLE: --------------------- So, you think you've got it all figured out, huh? Then you should be about ready for a REAL challenge. That's what the Challenge Puzzle is all about. To view this puzzle, load the file CHALLENG.PZL from the FILES menu. Go ahead, take a look. Still think you've got what it takes? Well, even if you don't think so, you probably do. The Challenge Puzzle is, in fact, MUCH easier than it appears. But chances are you'll still require a little help if you want to beat SOLVE's score for this puzzle (171 moves). Fortunately, this help is provided in the form of a Clue Poem, located in the file CHALLENG.TXT. The poem contains all the clues needed to find a dazzlingly brief solution! (Registered users: 30 additional hints to the Clue Poem, and a complete solution, are provided in PZLHINTS.DOC.) -- 10 -- DESIGNING YOUR OWN PUZZLE: (Program enhancement for registered users.) -------------------------- The DESIGN feature allows you to create your own imaginative Quilt puzzles. More than a trillion trillion trillion different designs are possible! Using this option, you can create puzzles with levels of difficulty ranging from the trivially simple to real brain-wrenching monstrosities. Here's how it works. From the PUZZLES menu, select the DESIGN option for the quilt size you desire, and a randomly generated Quilt puzzle of that size will appear. A white, circular cursor will also appear on one of the quilt "patches." This cursor can be moved to any of the quilt patches using the cursor (arrow) keys. The color of the patch containing the cursor can be changed using the SPACE bar. Repeatedly pressing the SPACE bar will cycle through all fourteen color choices. After changing the color of one patch, move the cursor to another and change its color, etc. Continue this procedure until the quilt pattern you desire is achieved. At that point, you can exit the DESIGN mode by pressing ESC. (If you like, you can use the original randomly generated design by immediately pressing ESC.) (NOTE: When solving a user-designed Quilt puzzle, the computer will recognize the puzzle as solved only when it is restored EXACTLY to its original position. You may wish to design patterns having many solutions, in which case the computer will recognize only one of these. This course was purposely chosen, because the ratings performance chart, displayed when a puzzle is solved, is valid only for puzzles having a single solution. Puzzles with many solutions are, of course, easier to solve, so displaying the same chart for each solution would simply be furnishing inaccurate information. Naturally, this shouldn't prevent you from choosing any design you please. If it's your design, you can consider it solved whenever you like. After all, you're not going to let a computer push you around, now are you?) PUZZLE MANIPULATION: -------------------- Each move consists of sliding an entire row one space to the left or right, or an entire column one space up or down. The direction of movement is selected with the cursor keys (you know, the ones with the little arrows on them). Once a direction is selected, all subsequent movements will be in that same direction until another cursor key is pressed. The row or column to be moved is chosen by the corresponding numeral key. For an explicit example, run the program and see the HELP / DIRECTIONS menu. -- 11 -- FILE MANAGEMENT: ---------------- PUZZLERS has the ability to store, retrieve, and delete files containing any puzzle position. These puzzle files are saved to the default directory (usually the same drive and directory containing PUZZLERS.EXE). You may save up to 128 files in this directory. If you wish to work with more files, you may do so by running PUZZLERS from a diskette drive and inserting a blank, formatted diskette when you exceed the 128 file limit. When running PUZZLERS from a diskette drive, you can only save puzzle files if the diskette is NOT write-protected (see the instructions that came with your diskette). To save the current puzzle position, select SAVE from the FILES menu. You will be prompted to enter a name for that position. Enter the name by typing any sequence of up to eight alphanumeric characters (letters and numerals). (You may also use any other character which the keyboard will accept.) The name you choose should be distinct from that of all the other puzzle files; if it isn't, the old file with the same name will be lost. (Don't worry, you'll be warned before the old file is overwritten.) If you don't remember the names of your old puzzle files, you can display them using the LOAD option. Please note that SAVE automatically appends the extension ".PZL" to all puzzle filenames. To retrieve a puzzle position, select LOAD from the FILES menu. Another menu will appear, showing all available puzzle files. If there are too many files to fit on this menu, select the last item ("More...") to view the remaining filenames. Please note that when you load a puzzle position that the former position, shown on the the screen, is lost. If you want, you may prevent this by first storing the former position using the SAVE option. To delete a puzzle file, select ERASE from the FILES menu. You will be prompted to enter the filename of the file you wish to delete. (If you don't remember to name of this file, you can display all available filenames using the LOAD option.) You are NOT required to enter the ".PZL" extension, since ERASE automatically appends this to all filenames. When needed, you may use DOS wildcards to delete multiple files. (Refer to your DOS manual if you are unfamiliar with wildcards.) SCRAMBLING A PUZZLE: -------------------- The easiest way to scramble a puzzle is to use the SCRAMBLE menu option. When SCRAMBLE is used, the computer randomly moves the rows and columns until the ESC key is pressed. To ensure a thorough scrambling, the number of moves made by SCRAMBLE should be at least three times the total number of tiles in the puzzle. The "Move" -- 12 -- counter is always reset to zero after using SCRAMBLE, allowing you to better track your performance. (See RATING YOUR PERFORMANCE, p. 15.) THE SOLVE FEATURE: (Program enhancement for registered users.) ------------------ The SOLVE feature was designed to serve both as an educational tool and as a strong opponent. (For ideas on how to compete against SOLVE, see OBTAINING MAXIMUM ENJOYMENT FROM PUZZLERS, page 17.) The whole idea is that SOLVE is smart, but not too smart. That is, it's smart enough to make a formidable opponent but simple enough that anyone can comprehend what it does. Further, when used in conjunction with the demo puzzles, SOLVE can actually teach you everything you need to come within an arm's reach of "Genius" status. SOLVE is very easy to use. You can call on SOLVE's help from any puzzle position by simply selecting SOLVE from the main menu. When you do, you'll have a choice between two versions of SOLVE, "Expert" and "Genius." These names refer to the rated performance of each version. (See RATING YOUR PERFORMANCE, page 15.) On selecting one of the two, a "Thinking" message will briefly appear, informing you that SOLVE is studying the current position. Below the message will be an indicator gauging the remaining "think time." Also, when the message appears, all of the incorrectly placed puzzle tiles will begin to blink (or flash). This gives you immediate feedback on whether any particular tile is in its correct position (very useful, if you're stumped on a Quilt). When the "Thinking" message is removed, it is replaced by a "Ready" message -- SOLVE is ready for action! This message indicates that SOLVE has decided on a move or, more likely, a sequence of moves that will advance the puzzle one stage closer to the final solution. This move sequence will usually place one or more of the incorrectly placed tiles into their correct positions without (permanently) altering the positions of the other correctly placed tiles. To reveal the move sequence, first press ENTER (or RETURN) to remove the "Ready" message. When the message is removed, the incorrectly placed tiles will cease to blink, and a new set of tiles will begin to flash (blink). These newly flashing tiles are the ones whose positions will be different AFTER the move sequence is performed. One or more of these may flash more brightly than the others, indicating that they will be moved to their correct positions. You can have SOLVE perform its move sequence, slowly, a few moves at a time, by repeatedly pressing the SPACE bar. The same tiles will continue to flash, so you can easily track them as they are moved to different positions. The non-flashing tiles will have the same positions before and after the move sequence. When the move sequence is completed another "Thinking" message will appear, and the entire procedure can be repeated until a complete solution is obtained. -- 13 -- Alternatively, you can exit the SOLVE mode at any time by pressing ESC. (NOTE: Occasionally, you may find it useful to temporarily suspend the blinking of the tiles. You can do this at any time by pressing the PAUSE key. With a little judicious timing, you can freeze the screen in either the "blink on" or "blink off" state. This is particularly useful when only a few tiles are in their correct positions. In this case it is often easier to recognize these tiles by pausing in the "blink on" state. Blinking can be resumed by pressing any other key. Please note that if you pause while SOLVE is thinking that the thinking will cease until another key is pressed.) If you find you're having difficulty developing your own solution strategy, SOLVE can actually teach you how it solves a puzzle! This is best done by watching SOLVE tackle the demo puzzles. Most of the demos have only a few misplaced tiles, so you can easily follow SOLVE's approach. Careful observation of how SOLVE handles just a few of the demos will teach you all you need to know to solve any of the Alphabet Soup puzzles. For a more thorough discussion of how to solve both the Alphabet Soup and Quilt puzzles, see the file PZLHINTS.DOC (available only to registered users). This file also contains details on how SOLVE works, why some "nearly solved" positions seem so difficult, and other puzzle properties. SOUND ADJUSTMENT: ----------------- The SOUND menu option is used to toggle the sound on and off. SPEED ADJUSTMENT: ----------------- The speed of all puzzle movements can be adjusted using the SPEED menu item. This affects ONLY the speed of movement, and not that of any other program feature. For a given speed, the larger puzzles will move more slowly than the smaller puzzles. You can neutralize this effect by choosing a fast speed for the larger puzzles and a slow speed for the smaller puzzles. -- 14 -- COLOR ADJUSTMENT: ----------------- With the Quilt puzzles, it is particularly important that you are able to distinguish the colors of the different quilt "patches." The larger Quilts use 14 colors, other than black and white. If you have difficulty distinguishing these colors, select COLOR ADJUST from the HELP menu. A color pattern with all 14 colors will appear. You should adjust the brightness, contrast, and color controls of your video monitor until you can clearly discriminate all 14 colors. RATING YOUR PERFORMANCE: ------------------------ Whenever you solve a puzzle a message of congratulations will appear, telling you how well you've performed based on the number of moves you required. The message will rank you into one of the categories "Novice," "Veteran," "Expert," "Genius," or "Super Genius." To obtain an accurate rating for a particular puzzle, you should thoroughly scramble and solve the same puzzle several times, keeping a record of your scores. Average the scores, and round this figure to the nearest whole number to calculate your rating. (This rating may not be valid for user-designed puzzles -- see DESIGNING YOUR OWN PUZZLE, page 11.) (NOTE: You can view the rating performance chart for any puzzle by loading the unscrambled position from the PUZZLES menu, making any single move to "scramble" the puzzle, and then reversing the move to "unscramble" the puzzle.) You should be aware that the category names are in no way intended as a reflection of your general intellegence. The categories could have easily been named "A," "B," "C," etc., but somehow terms like "Super Genius" seem more fun. Nevertheless, you may be curious as to how the scores separating the different categories were chosen. For the Alphabet Soup puzzles, the demarcations were determined by the average performances of four solution algorithms (computer programs) designed by the author. These algorithms represent solution strategies ranging from extremely simple and unsophisticated to comparatively complex. They were each used to solve several (see below) thoroughly scrambled positions for each puzzle size. The average scores were used as the boundaries between the categories. (NOTE: Actually, the simplest program was never written; the algorithm is so simple that the averages can be reliably calculated by hand. The other three were written and tested as stated. The "Expert" and "Genius" versions of SOLVE are two of these algorithms.) The first algorithm, used to determine the "Novice" / "Veteran" boundary, is incredibly naive. It completely ignores the "wrap around" -- 15 -- nature of the puzzle grid, always choosing the VISIBLY shortest route when placing a tile. Further, it makes no attempt to coordinate the movements of the tiles. It always positions the tiles one at a time (and in alphabetical order) with total disregard to how this procedure affects the positions of the other displaced tiles. Anyone who develops a reliable solution technique will easily outperform this algorithm. The "Veteran" / "Expert" algorithm (which is the "Expert" version of SOLVE) uses a considerably more sophisticated approach. It is fully aware of the "wrap around" boundaries, always choosing the true shortest route for positioning any tiles it decides to move. Moreover, it will usually correctly place at least two tiles per move sequence, and makes a modest attempt to coordinate the movements of those tiles that are not moved to their correct positions. This program was used to solve each size puzzle 100 times. The "Expert" / "Genius" algorithm ("Genius" SOLVE) is very similar to the last. The only difference is that this version devotes much more "think time" to coordinating the movements of several tiles. If only a few tiles are mispositioned, it will usually choose the same move sequence as the previous algorithm. But when most of the tiles are out of place, it rarely chooses the same move sequence. In fact, it frequently makes moves that appear nonsensical, but which actually "set up" several tiles for future move sequences. This program was also used to solve each size puzzle 100 times. The final algorithm was used to determine the "Genius" / "Super Genius" demarcation. Again, it uses the same basic approach, but devotes a WHOLE, WHOLE lot of time to coordinating the tile movements. (This algorithm is painfully slow for the 6x6 and 7x7 puzzles.) Due to the long run times, fewer puzzles were solved to determine the demarcation averages. Of course, this also reduces the statistical reliability of these averages. The number of solutions obtained for for each puzzle is as follows: 3x3 - 100, 4x4 - 50, 5x5 - 30, 6x6 - 15, 7x7 - 10. Although this procedure for selecting the Alphabet Soup categories is reasonably objective, the same is not true of that used to determine the Quilt categories. The reason is that, in principal, the Quilt puzzles should take no longer to solve than the Alphabet Soup puzzles. Ideally, one could work out all of the Quilt tile positions before making the first move. However this is not the intent of these puzzles, and it's certainly not how most people will approach them. The idea is that you should be able to determine the tile positions AS you solve the puzzle, working out the positions entirely in your head. If approached in this spirit, the Quilts will clearly require more moves. One reliable method of scaling the Quilt category demarcations would be to accumulate a large statistical data base of performance results over a broad, heterogeneous population. Unfortunately, your author doesn't have the time, patience, or resources to undertake such an endeavor. So instead, I accumulated a small nonstatistical data -- 16 -- base of performance results for a narrow, homogeneous population -- namely, just me. Of course, this is a pitifully inadequate substitute for the "real thing," but this is my game and I'll do as I please. Basically, here's what was done. First I rated myself on each of the Alphabet Soup puzzles, then I obtained my performance average for each of the Quilt puzzles. For each puzzle size, I calculated the percentage increase in my average score when going from the Alphabet Soup to the Quilt puzzles. I then increased all the category demarcation scores (for the same size puzzle) by the same percentage, rounding all results to the nearest whole number. These scaled scores were used for the Quilt puzzle demarcations. Now, before you even think of picking up that pencil and writing a scathing letter to point out all the implicit assumptions suggested by this procedure, many of which are obviously incorrect, let me assure you that I am well aware of this. I simply chose to ignore the problem. If you still feel compelled to write, then please do. Criticism or not, I will be glad to hear from you. OBTAINING MAXIMUM ENJOYMENT FROM PUZZLERS: ------------------------------------------ There are many ways to enjoy the challenge of PUZZLERS, alone or with a friend. Here are just a few ideas: 1. Compete with a friend. Save a scrambled position with the FILES / SAVE menu option; both you and your friend should try to solve the same puzzle position in the fewest number of moves. For an extra challenge, see who can design the most difficult Quilt puzzle. (You should agree in advance as to what does and does not constitute a valid solution to a user-designed puzzle -- see DESIGNING YOUR OWN PUZZLE, page 11.) 2. Compete against SOLVE. Save a scrambled position with the FILES / SAVE menu option, so both you and SOLVE can tackle the same position. Begin by competing with the "Expert" version of SOLVE. As your rating improves, see if you can take on the "Genius" version. 3. Compete against yourself. Keep a written record of your performance. Watch yourself go from "Novice" to "Genius," -- and if you're REALLY, REALLY smart, maybe even "Super Genius." 4. Accept the PUZZLERS challenge! Ordinarily you'd have to be a real pro to beat the "Genius" version of SOLVE on a 7x7 Quilt. Not so with the Challenge Puzzle, CHALLENG.PZL. If you can unlock the mysteries of the -- 17 -- Clue Poem (see CHALLENG.TXT), you can achieve a score that would make even the best "Super Genius" turn multicolored with envy. 5. Develop solution techniques for all the demo puzzles. How efficiently can you solve the demos? Can you expand the techniques you discover to formulate an efficient general solution strategy? 6. If you're a computer fiend, write your own SOLVE algorithm. Can you write a program that's more efficient than SOLVE? 7. Why stop with PUZZLERS? Invent your own puzzle. Write and distribute your own puzzle program. Come on in, the water's fine. HINTS, TIPS, AND SUGGESTIONS: ----------------------------- Would you like to know more about PUZZLERS? Perhaps you need a little help developing a reliable solution strategy. Or maybe you've noticed that some of the puzzles "behave" differently than others. It's not just that they're bigger and harder, but well .......... , "different." Possibly you've had difficulty with a few of the demo puzzles, like Q7_DEMO3.PZL or Q7_DEMO4.PZL, which seem SO CLOSE to a solution, but are maddeningly difficult. (In fact, both Q7_DEMO3.PZL and Q7_DEMO4.PZL can be solved in less than 25 moves.) Or perhaps you're still struggling with the Challenge Puzzle, and can use a few more hints. Then you should read the file PZLHINTS.DOC (available only to registered users.) Here, you'll find more information about PUZZLERS than you probably care to know. You'll learn how to tackle even the most challenging PUZZLERS puzzle. You'll learn why Q7_DEMO3.PZL and Q7_DEMO4.PZL seem so difficult, but are in fact dirt simple. You can examine thirty additional hints to the Clue Poem / Challenge Puzzle -- and if you can't resist, the complete solution is also available. You'll even learn how both the "Expert" and "Genius" versions of SOLVE work, and may be amazed at their pure simplicity. So, what are you waiting for? Dive into PZLHINTS.DOC! -- 18 -- ERROR MESSAGES: --------------- Here are a few error messages you may encounter, and what they mean. 1. Device driver not found. The program tried to load a non-EGA or non-VGA graphics driver, and failed. This program will only run with EGA or VGA color graphics. If you have such capability, then check to be sure your video mode is set for 16 colors with a screen resolution of 640x350 before retrying the program. 2. Error: Corrupt data file. Program must terminate. You have tried to load a puzzle file containing bad data, or the program made an error when reading the file. Try loading the file again; if the same problem occurs the puzzle file is no good. 3. Error: Insufficient memory for menu allocation. The program ran out of memory when trying to create a menu. It is recommended that you run PUZZLERS on a machine with at least 512 KB of RAM. Also, it is NOT recommended that you run the program from within a shell, or while a Terminate and Stay Resident (TSR) program is executing. 4. Error: Menu exceeds screen boundaries. You should never see this message. If you do, there is a bug in the program. 5. File not found. The program tried to erase a puzzle file it could not find. If the file exists, make certain it is in the default directory (probably the same directory containing PUZZLERS.EXE). 6. Puzzle files not found. The program was unable to locate any puzzle files when the FILES / LOAD menu option was selected. Make certain the files are located in the default directory (probably the same directory containing PUZZLERS.EXE). Also, if you rename any puzzle files they should always have a ".PZL" extension. -- 19 -- 7. Security error. Program terminated. The program has been altered, perhaps by a copying error. Use your backup copy of PUZZLERS to replace the file PUZZLERS.EXE. 8. Sorry, this program requires an EGA or VGA adaptor supporting 640x350x16colors. The program was unable to find the appropriate EGA or VGA adaptor setting. PUZZLERS will only run with EGA or VGA color graphics. If you have such capability, then check to be sure your video mode is set for 16 colors with a screen resolution of 640x350 before retrying the program. 9. Too many puzzle files. You have attempted to save more than 128 puzzle files, the maximum that PUZZLERS can accommodate. If you need to use more, see FILE MANAGEMENT on page 12. 10. Unable to create file. PUZZLERS was unable to create the puzzle file you tried to save. Try again; if the same problem occurs, your disk may be full or write-protected. 11. Unable to open the file PUZZLERS.EXE. File must be in the default directory. Do not rename this file. PUZZLERS.EXE will not run if renamed. Also, the program must be located in the default directory. (See GETTING STARTED, page 5.) -- 20 -- WARRANTY DISCLAIMER: ------------------- THE SOFTWARE, DOCUMENTATION, AND DATA FILES OF THIS UNREGISTERED VERSION OF "PUZZLERS" ARE PROVIDED "AS IS," WITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES, EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED. DENNIS J. YELTON DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES RELATING TO THIS SOFTWARE, WHETHER EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO ANY IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MECHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, AND ALL SUCH WARRANTIES ARE EXPRESSLY AND SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIMED. NEITHER DENNIS J. YELTON NOR ANYONE ELSE WHO HAS BEEN INVOLVED IN THE CREATION, PRODUCTION, OR DELIVERY OF THIS SOFTWARE SHALL BE LIABLE FOR ANY INDIRECT, CONSEQUENTIAL, OR INCIDENTAL DAMAGES ARISING OUT OF THE USE OR INABILITY TO USE SUCH SOFTWARE EVEN IF DENNIS J. YELTON HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES OR CLAIMS. IN NO EVENT SHALL DENNIS J. YELTON'S LIABILITY FOR ANY DAMAGES EVER EXCEED THE PRICE PAID FOR THE LICENSE TO USE THE SOFTWARE, REGARDLESS OF THE FORM OF CLAIM. THE PERSON USING THE SOFTWARE BEARS ALL RISK AS TO THE QUALITY AND PERFORMANCE OF THE SOFTWARE. Some states do not allow the exclusion of the limit of liability for consequential or incidental damages, so the above limitation may not apply to you. This agreement shall be governed by the laws of the State of Texas and shall inure to the benefit of Dennis J. Yelton, and any successors, administrators, heirs, and assigns. Any action or proceeding brought by either party against the other arising out of or relating to this agreement shall be brought only in a STATE or FEDERAL COURT of competent jurisdiction located in Travis County, Texas. The parties hereby consent to in personam jurisdiction of said courts. -- 21 --
Volume in drive A has no label Directory of A:\ PUZZLERS EXE 131173 3-17-91 1:42p PUZZLERS DOC 53430 3-02-91 11:20a ORDRINFO TXT 5542 3-17-91 1:42p CHALLENG TXT 3460 2-10-91 8:19p CHALLENG PZL 170 1-02-91 6:25p A3_DEMO PZL 170 1-02-91 6:19p A4_DEMO1 PZL 170 1-02-91 6:19p A4_DEMO2 PZL 170 1-02-91 6:19p A4_DEMO3 PZL 170 1-02-91 6:25p A5_DEMO PZL 170 1-02-91 6:20p A6_DEMO1 PZL 170 1-02-91 6:20p A6_DEMO2 PZL 170 1-02-91 6:20p A7_DEMO PZL 170 1-02-91 6:20p Q3_DEMO PZL 170 1-02-91 6:21p Q4_DEMO1 PZL 170 1-02-91 6:21p Q4_DEMO2 PZL 170 1-02-91 6:21p Q4_DEMO3 PZL 170 1-02-91 6:21p Q4_DEMO4 PZL 170 1-02-91 6:19p Q5_DEMO1 PZL 170 1-02-91 6:22p Q5_DEMO2 PZL 170 1-02-91 6:22p Q5_DEMO3 PZL 170 1-02-91 6:22p Q6_DEMO1 PZL 170 1-02-91 6:22p Q6_DEMO2 PZL 170 1-02-91 6:23p Q6_DEMO3 PZL 170 1-02-91 6:23p Q6_DEMO4 PZL 170 1-02-91 6:23p Q7_DEMO1 PZL 170 1-02-91 6:24p Q7_DEMO2 PZL 170 1-02-91 6:24p Q7_DEMO3 PZL 170 1-02-91 6:24p Q7_DEMO4 PZL 170 1-02-91 6:24p FILE2739 TXT 878 8-07-91 12:49a GO BAT 159 8-07-91 8:11a PREVIEW EXE 7347 4-18-91 1:15p 32 file(s) 206239 bytes 90112 bytes free