Hi all. I held off posting because it’s a very subjective thing, and apparently a lot of people like this direction, but I don’t want to do CoC anymore, so why not put it out there. Maybe others feel the same.
I moved up to around #8650 doing mostly CoC, exclusively with C++. I passed 500 clashes several months ago. It’s exhilarating sometimes.
Lately, maybe this is just a coincidence, but I see more and more:
1 shortest mode on a puzzle that requires deep string parsing and rigid output formatting;
2 very complex puzzles. Some I could solve in 30 minutes, some not.
3 Just endless, endless, endless string parsing and reformatting. Of course, I know, string parsing and formatting are things a programmer needs to know. But at some point, it defeats the purpose of gamifying this whole process - it becomes unbearably boring. You know exactly what you need to calculate, but you have to slodge through these deliberately arbitrary rules of which character goes where. Honestly, I don’t believe anyone on this planet took up programming in order to do that.
Rows of space-separated integers - this is not challenging; it is simply boring. If I encounter this while programming, I will include a bit of Python in my program to deal with it, or I will COPY AND PASTE my own code from the last 900 times I did it.
So I think I see a pattern: These kinds of puzzles are easy to make. Instead of giving your mind something to chew on, I give you a graph, input line by line, that you have to sift through without any external libraries or copy-and-paste. That will make my simple, boring puzzle more difficult.
A challenging puzzle that makes you think about how to calculate something, without being impossible but without being trivial, a puzzle that gets right to that sweet spot is hard to invent. I’ve encountered plenty of these on Clash, but they seem to have disappeared.
I hope no one takes offense. I’m not one to “storm off” in any situation, but the quality of these Clash puzzles has dropped, and it’s pushed me to that threshold where the addictive behavior of clicking “Play Again” no longer overrides the extreme boredom and mild frustration of the bad puzzles. For me, that’s saying something.