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 Post subject: What is an Assassin?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2009 4:55 pm 
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What is the difference between a Killer and an Assassin? The difficulty?

tarek wrote:
3x3::k:5382:2835:7188:5121:5121:5121:5383:5896:4869:5382:2835:7188:7188:5121:5383:5383:5896:4869:5382:2835:2835:7188:2562:5383:5896:5896:4869:5382:7698:7698:2562:2562:2562:4362:4362:4869:7698:7698:5137:5137:21:4105:4105:4362:4362:5392:5392:5137:5137:6404:4105:4105:4619:4619:5134:5392:5392:6404:6404:6404:4619:4619:5900:5134:3599:3599:4611:4611:4611:5901:5901:5900:5134:5134:3599:3599:4611:5901:5901:5900:5900:
LBSK<<LNJ^^^<^>^^^^^<^A^>^^^U<>^<H<^>^K<0G<^<L<^^P^^I<K^<>^<>^N^E<I<<N<^^<^<^>^>^
Where can I find a general description of these two formats?

EDIT: Description of the killer PS code (3x3::k: etc)

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Last edited by Børge on Sun Oct 25, 2009 10:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Tetris Killer
PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2009 8:54 pm 
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the 81 character representation was introduced in this thread http://www.sudoku.com/boards/viewtopic.php?t=6119... It is implented in JSudoku

the longer version is the more universal , I'm not sure where it is described (I do not use it) ....

The assassin is a killer but the a killer is not an assassin :idea:

An Assassin is a high difficulty Killer.

tarek


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 Post subject: Re: Tetris Killer
PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2009 9:34 pm 
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Børge wrote:
What is the difference between a Killer and an Assassin? The difficulty?
Thanks for a great question! The only real difference between an Assassin and a plain killer is .....history. This is my take.

1. You are correct that the difficulty level is crucial. Ruud aimed his weekly killer (Assassin) to be at least a notch harder than any of the main killer sites, especially Sudoku Online and Perfect Sudoku (including the forum members' puzzles). However, he still wanted it to be solvable for most advanced players so at times he would say about Assassin variants/versions, "too hard for the intended audience". In the rating system the forum developed (which the SudokuSolver Score was later based on), a 1.0 or 1.25 puzzle was the usual level of difficulty for an Assassin in contrast to 0.5 or 0.75 difficulty on the other sites. A 2.0 rating puzzle was "too hard for the intended audience" and would never make it as an Assassin.

2. It is handmade. However, this can mean different things to different puzzles makers. The most common meaning is that the cage pattern is handmade, not computer generated. I think Tarek is about to make a computer generated pattern which is a first for an Assassin as far as I recall. I'm OK with that since the next bit is the most important bit.

The most important meaning is that the maker has solved it step-by-step, either by a software solver (Ruud used an unreleased version of Sumocue & Jsudoku) or entirely by hand solving. Generally nowadays, by hand solving. For me, "handmaking" means I don't use any software hints when solving the potential Assassin yet do first check the SSscore (but not the log). Others vet the log or solver steps. Ruud, for example, often made it clear that although software had done the step-by-step solving, he was happy with the human difficulty level of each step. Mike (mhparker) does this (notice the use of present tense - please give us another one Mike!!).

I think we all use software to check for a unique solution up front with the possible exception of Nasenbaer and Para (more present tense :) ). Nowadays, I usually use JSudoku to generate a unique puzzle, in the SudokuSolver score range of 1.0-1.50, using the cage pattern I made on Sumocue. I still consider the final Assassin "handmade".

3. BUT what makes a good Assassin, and this is the part that is most intimidating, is it MUST be interesting. Usually, this means at least one advanced killer (or vanilla) technique required, for example, "Killer Pairs" or 3-4 cell "hidden cages". It must not be tedious with just needing cage cleanups or many, many innies/outies that nibble away at the solution. You'll probably get hammered by the forum if you make one of these!

It is NOT difficult-just-for-the-sake-of-it. For example, a few Assassins have ended up with a "1.75" rating by the forum which is very rare since most advanced players can't solve them satisfactorily. But, they have been posted anyway because of their interest value. Assassin 50, one which Ruud (presumably) saved up for the milestone 50, was extremely difficult, but it featured the first Killer UR in the series. If it didn't have this very interesting move available I'm sure it would not be an Assassin.

4. Last, it has the personality of the maker stamped on it. For me, an introduction is essential to my full enjoyment of their puzzle. I want to know something of how the maker went about it. Did they have a particular solving concept when making the cage pattern? Is there an alternate solution that may be particularly interesting? How much difficultly did they have while hand-solving it? What rating do they give it (in contrast!) to the SSscore?

Even though Ruud hasn't made any Assassins for over a year, he set the standards that we still maintain. Thankyou Ruud!

Can't answer your other question.

Cheers
Ed


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 Post subject: Re: Tetris Killer
PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2009 9:52 pm 
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Thanks for all the puzzles, folks! I've now got quite a buffer stock.

Leaving aside general usage, I understood that in this forum "The Assassin" (with definite article) means the regular Friday original killer puzzle, of difficulty 1.0 to around 1.5. Ensuring that this is reliably provided, keeping to Ruud's pattern, is our priority.

I needn't add more on that, given Ed's note above.

Finding volunteers has ceased to be a concern for now, but some participants may feel a bit harassed if puzzles come too fast to do them justice. Especially if they like not just to solve them, but to find the optimal solution path. I bet no-one wants to discourage setters of good puzzles, just help to guide the traffic a bit: any suggestions?

cheers

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 Post subject: Re: Tetris Killer
PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 8:08 am 
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Joe-Casey wrote:
Finding volunteers has ceased to be a concern for now, but some participants may feel a bit harassed if puzzles come too fast to do them justice. Especially if they like not just to solve them, but to find the optimal solution path. I bet no-one wants to discourage setters of good puzzles, just help to guide the traffic a bit: any suggestions?


Hi,

I have been participating to this forum for a short time, but I suggest we might focus on Assassins since these puzzles are chosen with the aim at being the most interesting as possible : no more than 2 versions (I have posted 3 versions for my first Assassins, but I have realized it might be too much).
It is would be a good thing if several wts are posted and all the aspects of the puzzle are studied. One week is sufficiently long to enable this. But on the other hand, I don't see any problem if extra killers are posted with the aim at only providing a puzzle to solve : hard killers are difficult to find on other sites (except maybe http://members.shaw.ca/fdkr2/ or http://www.ndorward.com/blog/?page_id=71), so our forum could be a good place for providing such puzzles. JFFK puzzles I have started to post are made with that previous idea : no matter if few wts (or no wt) are posted if others have had fun to solve them.
So, we could have two categories of puzzles : Assassins and extra killers (as boredom killers, Trek killers, etc...). What do the others think about that ?

manu


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 10:55 am 
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I think extra puzzles can be posted if there is no intention to post a different version of the current Assassin (it's not always the creator of V1 who can do this) or if there are "enough" walkthroughs for the current Killers (and of course the next Assassin has to be claimed).

In my opinion, 3 Killers a week is more than enough and if one feels the need to solve more Killers then there are other websites or he/she can make his/her own Killers. The main thing I want to avoid is having several "dead" (no replies or only one) threads posted per week in this forum.


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 Post subject: Re: Tetris Killer
PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 12:18 pm 
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Børge wrote:
What is the difference between a Killer and an Assassin? The difficulty?
Ed, thanks for a great and extensive answer, and for writing:
Ed wrote:
Thanks for a great question!
I have wanted to ask this question for quite some time, but was a bit concerned I was asking the absolute obvious.


Ed wrote:
I think Tarek is about to make a computer generated pattern which is a first for an Assassin as far as I recall.
Sure looks like that. All sudoku puzzle generators I know about start by generating a random solution and then use one ore more algorithms for removing clues until a puzzle of the desired difficulty is reached.

Assuming tarek's generator also starts by generating a random solution, I guess that the next step his generator does is generating a random cage pattern and then sums up the clues in each cage. Generating a random cage pattern is probably not too difficult, but generating one that results in an interesting and not too easy or difficult puzzle seems like a formidable challenge and probably requires an extremely excellent solver.

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 Post subject: Re: Tetris Killer
PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2009 11:38 pm 
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Børge wrote:
Ed wrote:
I think Tarek is about to make a computer generated pattern which is a first for an Assassin as far as I recall.
Sure looks like that. All sudoku puzzle generators I know about start by generating a random solution and then use one ore more algorithms for removing clues until a puzzle of the desired difficulty is reached.

Assuming tarek's generator also starts by generating a random solution, I guess that the next step his generator does is generating a random cage pattern and then sums up the clues in each cage. Generating a random cage pattern is probably not too difficult, but generating one that results in an interesting and not too easy or difficult puzzle seems like a formidable challenge and probably requires an extremely excellent solver.
It actually works the other way round ... cage then grid.

The puzzle then is solved using a defined technique heirarchy ... The aim for an assassin is to be difficult with some skimmed boring inferior techniques ....

At the moment I have to settle with checking with SSS until I master Killer puzzle design.

tarek


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 Post subject: Re: Tetris Killer
PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 11:24 am 
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tarek wrote:
It actually works the other way round ... cage then grid.
Interesting
Intuitively I would assume that the two processes (cage and grid) are pretty interchangeable, or does the [randomly ?] generated cage pattern have any influence over the [randomly ?] generated solution?

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 Post subject: Re: Tetris Killer
PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 10:04 am 
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tarek wrote:
The puzzle then is solved using a defined technique heirarchy ... The aim for an assassin is to be difficult with some skimmed boring inferior techniques ....
This is like the Holy Grail of killer puzzle generation! All the best with this. It will be very interesting to see what you count as "boring inferior techniques"!

Here are some sample puzzles/techniques you might like to test your generator (solver?) against. These are the hardest techniques used by SS to solve a number of Assassins or variants from 1.0-1.75 ratings. The forum ratings for most of these puzzles are at the end of the Archive Part C thread. A summary of all the human ratings from A100 is in process....soon....

Code:
A02X    Hidden Killer Mutual, Cage Placement Extended,
        45 Rule Extended Single House Innies&Outies,
        45 Rule Extended Multiple Houses Innies&Outies
A17v2   Implied Cage Blockers - Extended
A57     Dependent Cage Sums
A61x    Common Peer Elimination Extended, Forced Cage Candidates - Complex
A64     Implied Cage Blockers - Extended
A66V1.5 Cage Combinations Complex, 45 Rule Extended Single House
A68v2   Locked Candidates (House/Cage) - Extended, 45 Rule Extended Single House
A70v2   Cage Combinations Complex, Locked Candidates (House/Cage) - Extended,
        Cage Placement Extended, Common Peer Elimination Extended
A70v3   Cage Placement Extended, 45 Rule Extended Single House,
        45 Rule Extended Single House Innies&Outies
A71     Cage Placement Complex, Cage Placement Insane, Cage Blockers Complex,
        Cage Blockers Insane, Forced Cage Candidates - Complex, 45 Rule Extended,
        45 Rule Extended Innies&Outies
A71V1.5 Cage Sums Extended
A71v2   Forced Cage Candidates - Complex, 45 Rule Extended Single House
A73V1.5 Implied Cage Blockers - Extended
A82v2   Cage Placement Extended, 45 Rule Extended Single House Innies&Outies
A84     Implied Cage Blockers - Extended
A85     Implied Cage Blockers - Extended, Locked Candidates (House/Cage) - Extended,
        Common Peer Elimination Extended
A86     Locked Cages Extended, Common Peer Elimination Extended
uA100   Common Peer Elimination Extended, 45 Rule Extended Single House Innies&Outies
A104    Cage Placement Extended, 45 Rule Extended Single House
A105    Cage Placement Extended, Common Peer Elimination Extended,
        45 Rule Extended Single House Innies&Outies
A106    Dependent Cage Sums
A107    45 Rule Extended Single House, 45 Rule Extended Single House Innies&Outies
A107v2  Hidden Killer Mutual, 45 Rule Extended Single House,
        45 Rule Extended Single House Innies&Outies
A111    Hidden Killer Mutual
A115    Cage Combinations Complex, Cage Placement Extended, Forced Cage Candidates - Complex
A116    45 Rule Extended Single House
A117    Common Peer Elimination Extended, 45 Rule Extended Single House
A121v2  Locked Cages Extended
A126    45 Rule Extended Single House
A132    Empty Rectangle
VortexX Cage Blockers Complex, Common Peer Elimination Extended,
        45 Rule Extended Single House Innies&Outies
VortLite Cage Sums Extended
Radial  45 Rule Extended Single House


From the look of that list, I have attached a suggested routine order that eliminates "too hard" techniques. Unfortunately, this order will solve almost all killers ever posted! If you can find a way to differentiate Assassin level (solvable and interesting!) from Ruudiculous level with your generator, that will absolutely fantastic!

The trick for this range of Assassins seems to be finding puzzles that just use a very limited number (1-3) of these advanced techniques a very limited number of times. A71 is the exception - it uses 7 of them. Interestingly, this is one of the few Assassins that got negative reactions from the forum. Too tedious.

Hope this adds something to your ideas. I'm really excited you are trying this.
Ed


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