Message #1276

From: Melinda Green <>
Subject: Re: [MC4D] Re: Announcing MC4D for Android
Date: Sun, 28 Nov 2010 11:50:15 -0800

>> I like your basic idea but remember that this would ideally be
>> discoverable without instructions. I’d provide instructions but I have
>> to assume that most people will not read them and simply decide whether
>> to delete the app based on whether they can figure it out quickly on
>> their own or not.
>> For this suggestion, I suppose it might be made to work if there were a
>> button with some sort of text that implies "For 4D rotation, hold while
>> dragging" but that’s probably not worth the screen space. I guess it
>> could be implemented exactly as you describe so long as it’s not
>> required to successfully use the app. Those few who do read the
>> instructions will find a treat. Similar to right-click options that we
>> can’t assume most users will even try.
> Yes, it was just an idea… Actually, for 3^4 you don’t need more that recentering. I guess that nobody likes to play with distorted cubes, and the only puzzles where I found 4D dragging useful were {3}x{3}, {3,3}x{} and simplex, with their small number of faces. So double-click for recentering should be enough.

I find the arbitrary 4D rotation feature to be most valuable when
demoing the puzzle and explaining its concepts. This is the main reason
I’m fooling around with this port, but of course the more useful I can
make it the better.

>> We’ve fantasized about this sort of "snap-to closest twist" idea before.
>> Ideally this would include a stereo display and a data-glove or haptic
>> feedback input device to more physically express your intent. Smartphone
>> screens may be large enough for such a two-fingered approach. It could
>> certainly be worth a try. The biggest problem appears to me that it
>> could confuse many users who expect pinch-zooming to be the only
>> two-fingered gesture. I think that a Z rotate could be added to
>> pinch-zoom without violating user’s expectations, but it seems that your
>> two-fingered gesture would need to violate user expectations. They may
>> generally forgive the unexpected behavior but it is a risk.
> In pinch-zooming you’ll expect that both fingers are moving. If one finger is fixed, it will be different command. Not a big problem for users.

Well I doubt that I will ever get sent events that show movement in more
than one finger, so it will never look like a pinch gesture that way. Of
course I could make some fuzzy estimates of intent based on timestamps
and move speeds but that would make a messy situation even messier.

>> Wild thoughts aside, you
>> could avoid adding a mode by instead pressing a control key to establish
>> a center-of-rotation at the middle of whichever face center is closest
>> to the mouse and then dragging that face with that key held down. Let go
>> of the mouse or control key to "snap-to twist".
> In tablet mode there is no ctrl-key… In desktop it may work better, but you will have to use keyboard all the time. Not the best choise.

You could still use the existing clicking gestures we currently have.
The continuous twisting would be an addition similar to how the 4D
rotation dragging augments the control-clicks.

>> Yes but solving a layer that you can’t see would be a new challenge. You
>> could attempt the 3D analog by solving one layer while keeping that face
>> pointed away from you at all times. You get to look at the side faces
>> but not the furthest one. Would the added challenge be fun or just
>> annoying? It seems like this would be a close cousin of blindfold
>> competitions which some people enjoy.
> I’ve tried it with 3^3 just now. Easy, and not a great challenge at all. For 3^4 it’ll be good exercise, but no more. Unrestricted 2^4 will be better :)
> But if you hide all stickers from the external layer, not only the invisible face, than yes, it’s an interesting idea.

That is a new thought to hide entire cubies. I just realized that none
of this might add much challenge because I think a user could move all
of the hidden stickers into view using center-swapping sequences, solve
that layer in the open, and then swap them all back onto the outer face,
right? Hiding both the outer and inner faces would at least make it so
that at least some parts of any outer layer are always hidden. You may
be right that the standard 2^4 may be the best puzzle for this platform.