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 Post subject: A word of warning
PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 5:42 pm 
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A lot of puzzle fans these days seem obsessed with speedcubing. Nothing wrong with that as long as things are kept within perspective. Almost every puzzle though is expected to stand up to fast solves and corner cutting. Please remember though that speedsolving is a small subset of puzzles in general. Puzzles of course are meant to be a personal solving challenge and as long as the puzzle is fit for that then it is a good puzzle. If it's also fit for speedsolving then that is a bonus but not an expectation unless it is clearly marked as a "speed puzzle".
I felt this post was needed because of regular condemnations of great puzzles such as original Rubik's Cubes, Eastsheen puzzles etc and some of the small scale mass productions.

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 Post subject: Re: A word of warning
PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 7:36 pm 
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I agree completely. It reminds me of how much everyone complains about the Meffert's 3x4x5, yet mine works amazingly well. It's easy enough to turn with one finger on every layer, stable, and even corner cuts, although as you stated above it's not necessary on a puzzle like that.


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 Post subject: Re: A word of warning
PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 7:49 pm 
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Meffert's made a 3x4x5? I thought mf8 did that.

And Tony, I agree with this. It seems as if we expect "The perfect puzzle" in speed solving now. Sure, each puzzle performs differently, but I find it disappointing when some say they don't like the clicking, speed, smooth/roughness of a vintage puzzle. I have my mother's 3x3 from when she grew up, and although turning isn't great, it sure was great as I used it for a few years. When compared to multiple 3x3 cubes from this time, it shocks some competitors at how it used to be. It's almost like speed is the most at organized competitions.

Then there comes the puzzles that aren't meant for speed, like Dogics for example. They are fragile and aren't meant to be turned fast. (And Tony, I bet you could make a Dogic that is modified for speed if you tried)

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 Post subject: Re: A word of warning
PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 8:35 pm 
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Yes some of this comes from my own experiences. When I presented my early puzzles many years ago at Dutch Cube Days the attitude was, "wow, is it ok if I try it? I will be careful". In recent years people just pick things up and rapidly make moves without a second thought.

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 Post subject: Re: A word of warning
PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 10:45 pm 
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Rubik's cubes take the biggest bashing, AFAICT, and I think its because people WANT a good speed cube from Rubik. It is always a disappointment to open a rubik cube and find that they aren't very good speed cubes, and in fact are difficult to turn.

I am truly amazed at how many puzzles still use the basic rubic core, and I wonder if Erno Rubik never came up with that x/y/z axis structure how many of the newer cubes would be available today.

Rubik probably never envisioned his cube being solved in six seconds. So the company focused on quality instead of speed. I think that is still their primary. Goal, however most people now associate quality with speed.

Rubik products are woefully behind a number of cheaper, faster cubes. But I love my originl rubik cube, even with stiff turning, and no corner cutting abilities.

Maybe all 3x3x3 speed solves should be on an original rubik cube


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 Post subject: Re: A word of warning
PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 11:40 pm 
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@Tony (Still haven't learned to quote yet) I can assure you that I had an experience like that once... It was at a competition with a custom puzzles table. (Some may know where this is headed) I tried to turn a red Dino Star, but in the midst of my excitement, I turned it too fast and 2 pieces fell out. I thought I had actually broken a piece of rare puzzles. (I believe it was TBTTyler's Dino Star) And every competition I go to now, I be as careful as possible, even if the owner tells me that I can be rough with turning.

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 Post subject: Re: A word of warning
PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 7:10 am 
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Tony Fisher wrote:
...I felt this post was needed because of regular condemnations of great puzzles such as original Rubik's Cubes, Eastsheen puzzles etc and some of the small scale mass productions.
I completely agree with Tony statements. I have felt sad very often for the designers / manufacturers of puzzles when they got very harsh comments, where I just saw a wonderful achievement.

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 Post subject: Re: A word of warning
PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 9:29 am 
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It's all about managing expectations, and this post certainly helps.

Perhaps we should introduce a warning label, like this:

Attachment:
NoClock.jpg
NoClock.jpg [ 26.98 KiB | Viewed 2440 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: A word of warning
PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 10:00 am 
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Indeed, speed-solving puzzles are just a tiny fraction of the entire amazing world of puzzles.
I couldn't put it better Tony.

;)


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 Post subject: Re: A word of warning
PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 12:23 pm 
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NXTgen wrote:
Meffert's made a 3x4x5? I thought mf8 did that.



Whoops, it was 3 in the morning and I might or might not have been slightly inebriated. You are correct. :oops:


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 Post subject: Re: A word of warning
PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 5:50 pm 
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I totally agree Tony. I've been guilty of feeling dissapointed with quite a lot of puzzles just because I can't turn them fast and properly do finger tricks with them.

Before I tried speedcubing and was spoilt by speedcubes, I would be very happy with a puzzle that couldn't cut corners and which couldn't be solved quickly, all it needed to do was turn.

I've noticed plenty of times that while the Eastsheen 4x4 doesn't feel good to use as a speed cube, if I just solve it at a more slower pace and not use finger tricks, like how most people solve cubes and like how I used to myself back in the day, then it feels like a really nice cube and has really nice turning.

I need to remind myself that not every cube is ment to be a speed cube, and to just enjoy these cubes at a slower pace.

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 Post subject: Re: A word of warning
PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 6:13 pm 
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In any case, fewest moves is a much more intelligent, interesting and meaningful challenge than fastest time.

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 Post subject: Re: A word of warning
PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 10:42 pm 
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KelvinS wrote:
In any case, fewest moves is a much more intelligent, interesting and meaningful challenge than fastest time.


I would say this is your opinion (at least for interesting and meaningful) However I do agree with you. But I do consider it quite amazing watching speed solvers.

I'm trying to think of a good analogy here and I'm drawing a blank. Okay, how about this. Watching a guy shoot free throws in basketball getting 60 in a minute with 80% accuracy vs. another guy getting 60 in 30 minutes with 100% accuracy. Both are amazing feats but kind of for different reasons.

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 Post subject: Re: A word of warning
PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 4:04 am 
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rubikrelic wrote:
Maybe all 3x3x3 speed solves should be on an original rubik cube
Back in 2007 at my first competition I brought my original cube that was older than half the competitors I would guess. It wasn't great.

But there was someone selling new Rubik's and it was a good batch, so it worked well out of the box. Which is to point out there is a large range of quality you can get from a Rubik's. Sure, it won't compete at the top end of competition but that cube remained my dependable cube for some time, and was quite capable in the hands of someone faster than me.

Dave

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 Post subject: Re: A word of warning
PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 4:08 am 
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The world record for the most consecutive free throws made is 5221 :shock:

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 Post subject: Re: A word of warning
PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 4:43 am 
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I have to play devil's advocate and disagree a tad. Of course it's unreasonable to expect every puzzle to be super smooth and finger trickable or easily solvable with one hand, but there has to be a lower bound on quality. It's too easy for puzzle designers to hide this excuse when poor craftsmanship/design is to blame.

NXTgen wrote:
Then there comes the puzzles that aren't meant for speed, like Dogics for example. They are fragile and aren't meant to be turned fast.
This is a perfect example of a horrible puzzle. To say that this puzzle doesn't turn well is an understatement. My first few attempts to scramble (much less solve) resulted in internal pieces catching, twisting, and locking up the puzzle or poping pieces. And I was in no means trying to rush the moves. The puzzle sat on a shelf untouched for years before I made my final attempt that luckily didn't explode and I managed to solve it.

If it takes a minute to make a turn, or you have to make a 270 degree turn instead of a 90 degree turn because of catching, surely the puzzle designer has on some level failed. Not everything should be speed solvable, but that's no reason to be sloppy in designing/building a puzzle.

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 Post subject: Re: A word of warning
PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 5:34 am 
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GuiltyBystander wrote:
If it takes a minute to make a turn, or you have to make a 270 degree turn instead of a 90 degree turn because of catching, surely the puzzle designer has on some level failed. Not everything should be speed solvable, but that's no reason to be sloppy in designing/building a puzzle.

I would certainly agree that the Dogics are not great puzzles. However it deeply annoys me when people see puzzles like Oskar's 17x17x17 and all they can say is "movement looks awful". Was that sloppy workmanship? Often there IS a very good reason for "sloppy" workmanship. Pushing boundaries, Technology and materials available, making it affordable etc etc. Plus some puzzles by their very shape are going to be prone to popping, lock ups, breakages etc.

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 Post subject: Re: A word of warning
PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 7:02 am 
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I came into this community as nothing more than a speedsolver. Hell for the first year I owned nothing but WCA puzzles and focused mostly on gathering as many 3x3 speedcubes as I could.

About 16 months after I started cubing I went to one of my favorite annual event; The Congress of Jugglers at the University of Maryland. There was a man there with a, when compared to mine, huge collection of twisty puzzles. Mostly massed produced things, but products that I'd never seen or even imagined existed at the time. He was letting everyone look at and scramble/attempt to solve them while he sat back and solved.

I picked up a Pyraminx Crystal, I'd never seen a dodecahedron puzzle other than a megaminx up until this point. As most of you know the edges on the Crystal tend to be wobbly and pop. I did not know this at the time. I started to do my first turn of the right side and three of the edges popped. The group around the table went silent and I could feel all eyes on me. I felt horrible. I thought for sure it was some rare puzzle and I'd not just popped but broken it. The tension was broken fairly quickly when the man running the table sarcastically said, "Oh sure, anyone can solve it that way!". We laughed it off as he reassembled his Pyraminx Crystal. It was that moment that I decided to learn a lot more about the world of twisty puzzles, as clearly there was more to it than I'd ever imagined.

My collection has grown to about 40 puzzles and while speedsolving is still a lot of fun, collecting and learning is more fun. I just added a dogic and an Alexander's star; both puzzles not known for turning well. A little diff oil and some patience and I've made both fairly easy to use. Sure the dogic locks a little and is prone to popping but it's still an incredible puzzle. Just the amount of planning and forethought used to design something like that amazes me!

Tony, I could not agree more! Speed puzzles are fantastic because of how they're intended to be used. Dogic's, Alexander's Star's, Original Tuttminx's, and so many other puzzles are also incredible! But only if you take the time to look at them for the purpose they were created. These puzzles weren't made for sub 20 averages of 12. They were made to test your brain. To force you to look into your mind and use the puzzle solving logic you've already gained and adapt it to a new concept.

I will forever enjoy the amazing range of twisty puzzles both new and old that are available. I cannot wait to expand my collection. However, no matter how big my collection gets sitting down and spending an hour slowly solving my dogic or Alexander's star (two of my favorite puzzles in case you hadn't noticed) will always be worthwhile and enjoyable.

The speedsolving community is full of young slightly immature people. So many of them have yet to realize how vast the puzzle world is, many of them never will. Being focused on speed is great, but being disappointed by puzzles that are true works of art or craftsmanship is a very sad thing.


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 Post subject: Re: A word of warning
PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 7:28 am 
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unirox13 wrote:
I went to one of my favorite annual event; The Congress of Jugglers at the University of Maryland. There was a man there with a, when compared to mine, huge collection of twisty puzzles...

I'd be surprised if that man isn't a member here.

PS. Great post!

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 Post subject: Re: A word of warning
PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 7:45 am 
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Whilst I do agree for the most part with what you say Tony, I do have a couple of things to add. Whilst most puzzles aren't meant to be speed solved - I have many that are like that and enjoy them immensely, The smoother a puzzle does turn, the more satisfying I find it to play with. It's not that I don't like the ones that can't be finger tricked etc, it just gives a slightly more fun experience with those that can.

As for corner cutting, I don't expect my puzzles to have much - I often remark to myself and others when youtube unboxing/review videos focus on corner cutting that it is completely unnecessary and I don't care. However I do have some, particularly cheap 3x3 shape mods, (which I am a big fan of) that have pretty much zero corner cutting ability, not even so much as 1mm or so. The effect of this is that they can be rather difficult to line up and turn. In the middle of a particular algorithm, the puzzle locks up, you spend 20 seconds trying to line everything up, in the process forgetting where you were in the algorithm and having to re-solve part of the puzzle that you already did.

So whilst I do agree for the most part, i do feel some corner cutting is necessary too, only small amounts, i don't want half or even quarter of a cubie, but just a millimetre or three is very helpful to avoid unnecessarily extensive lining up of layers.

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 Post subject: Re: A word of warning
PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 3:27 am 
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GuiltyBystander wrote:
(The Dogic) is a perfect example of a horrible puzzle. To say that this puzzle doesn't turn well is an understatement. My first few attempts to scramble (much less solve) resulted in internal pieces catching, twisting, and locking up the puzzle or poping pieces. And I was in no means trying to rush the moves. The puzzle sat on a shelf untouched for years before I made my final attempt that luckily didn't explode and I managed to solve it.

If it takes a minute to make a turn, or you have to make a 270 degree turn instead of a 90 degree turn because of catching, surely the puzzle designer has on some level failed. Not everything should be speed solvable, but that's no reason to be sloppy in designing/building a puzzle.
I don't think this is solely a design problem. My original Dogic works very well. Not fingertrickable, but robust and has never popped nor threatened to.
The Meffert's reproduction is of notably poorer quality. I've heard this is due to flash or other minor defects, perhaps it has to do with the quality of the plastic (I find the colors not nearly as appealing) or perhaps from-the-factory tensioning.

So while the design isn't inherently rock-solid stable, some models work just fine. Others do not, and there is no denying that.

Dave

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 Post subject: Re: A word of warning
PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 12:45 pm 
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DLitwin wrote:
GuiltyBystander wrote:
(The Dogic) is a perfect example of a horrible puzzle. To say that this puzzle doesn't turn well is an understatement. My first few attempts to scramble (much less solve) resulted in internal pieces catching, twisting, and locking up the puzzle or poping pieces.[...]
I don't think this is solely a design problem. My original Dogic works very well. Not fingertrickable, but robust and has never popped nor threatened to.
The Meffert's reproduction is of notably poorer quality. I've heard this is due to flash or other minor defects, perhaps it has to do with the quality of the plastic (I find the colors not nearly as appealing) or perhaps from-the-factory tensioning.

There is a lot of variation even within Meffert's. My first Dogic is by far the worst turning of the bunch. It popped so many times while trying to solve that I thought I'd never solve it. I finally solved it after more than an hour of very painstakingly careful turns. I also have a few Meffert's Dogics that turn just as well as the original (I can only tell them apart by looking at the colors).

The internal black wedge/edge pieces can have a lot of plastic flash and sometimes the seam down the center is raised. I'm sure careful cleanup with a scalpel or lots of puzzle use would smooth out and fix a lot of the issues.

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 Post subject: Re: A word of warning
PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:39 am 
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Aren't they from the same molds.. I was under the impression that Mefferts bought the original molds?

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 Post subject: Re: A word of warning
PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2013 5:27 am 
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Burgo wrote:
Aren't they from the same molds.. I was under the impression that Mefferts bought the original molds?
That was my information too!
TP Museum wrote:
The Dogic molds were purchased by Uwe Meffert who did another prodution run creating 2, 5, 10, 12 and 20 color versions. Mefferts version of Dogic I uses similar colors to the original, but not as saturated and with white replacing maroon.
I have got two from Meffert's. Both turn reasonably well. While I wouldn't call the turning great, I haven't got a single pop. I bought them when Uwe made them available first. I do not remember the year, but I guess it was around 10 years ago.

Can it be that the molds got worse over the production period?
Do I recollect correctly, that Uwe didn't plan another production run, because it would have meant making new molds?

I'm surprised that the Dogic was picked as an outstanding bad puzzle.
Maybe the difference between individual puzzles are bigger than the difference between original and Meffert's versions?

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 Post subject: Re: A word of warning
PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2013 5:44 am 
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We've gone a little OT, but it's interesting (I don't think Tony would mind)..

I have an original version, but I don't have a Mefferts version to compare it to. Mine turns brilliantly. If they're the same molds (provided the molds don't deteriorate over time?).. I don't see why, if you have a bad one, dismantling it and cleaning it up manually wouldn't make it turn really well?

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