Web Paint-by-Number Forum
Topic #333: Blots
By Jan Wolter (jan)

#1: Jan Wolter (jan) on Jul 27, 2012

So, a new feature here. Blotted clue numbers. Puzzle number 19407 is test. A demonstration. Not a good one.

You may have noticed that sometimes, all those clue numbers? They get kind of repetitive. Redundant. There's too many.

So let's remove some. Blot them out. Take the old censor's marker to them. Make the puzzle a bit harder.

So the designer of the puzzle can blot out some clues. And the person solving them then doesn't know what number was there. So they know there's a block of size at least one, and they know what color it is, because the blots are the same color as the number that should of been there, but they don't know what the size of the puzzle is. Makes it harder to solve, see? Like a Sudoku with missing numbers, right?

I'm not sure this is really a brilliant addition to the site. I've only tried making a couple blotted puzzles, and I didn't think they were all that exciting. I think it might be more fun with color puzzles than with black & white puzzles. It might even be possible to make one of those trivial, no-white-space puzzles interesting by blotting some clues. Dunno. But I think it may be a cool thing for puzzle designers to explore, see what can be done with the idea. Possibly you could make puzzle designs that would otherwise be "too easy" turn into something challenging.

So consider it kind of experimental.

The thing is fully implemented, so the red-balls, the helper, and the checker now all understand blotted clues.

Let me know what you think.
#2: Kadou (Kadou) on Jul 27, 2012
It adds many possibilites to puzzle creation... and complexity in solving.
Could the Blot icon be before (to the left) the puzzle title in the puzzle list? That way they would easier to see instead of being at variable positions depending on a title's length.
Also like I already posted, it's imposible to see when a blot is highlighted.

I see you added an entry for finding puzzles with blots in "Find Puzzles", nice!
Would it be easy to add an entry for finding puzzles by a range of dates? (like puzzle #)
Also, I think there a bug when sorting puzzles found by "My difficulty".
#3: Jan Wolter (jan) on Jul 27, 2012
I agree that the blot icon needs to be changed.
#4: Kadou (Kadou) on Jul 27, 2012
How about a circle?
Could the blot icon appear in the found puzzle's list?
#5: Jan Wolter (jan) on Jul 27, 2012
Circle isn't good because red blots would look like red ball errors.

Currently I show a blot next to the puzzle names in the puzzle list (thought I had those for the find program too). If I use question marks in the puzzle, that might be fine, but I'd need a different icon to use in the puzzle list.

I've thought of diamonds. Or adding a white "X" on top of the current black squares. Neither idea really satisfies me though.
#6: Kadou (Kadou) on Jul 27, 2012
A simple black X ??? or a B :)
#7: Kadou (Kadou) on Jul 27, 2012
Not out of the box, but in...
What about: a white question mark in a filled square OR a colored question mark in a hollow square?
#8: Kadou (Kadou) on Jul 27, 2012
I think this may be the easiest solution: Simply make the highlight more visible by changing its color. The grey is too light. It could be darker or an unused color (i.e. yellow).

Have you ever played a Pic-a-Pix at Conceptis Puzzles? The hightlight works the other way: It's on (and also the color of the clue) when incomplete and off when complete. It makes it easier to see the clues' color and the focus is on the remaining highlighted clues.
#9: Kadou (Kadou) on Jul 28, 2012
How about a little smaller square?
#10: Jan Wolter (jan) on Jul 28, 2012
I'll probably not be able to work on this until Monday.
#11: Kadou (Kadou) on Jul 29, 2012
I think both a smaller square and more contrasting highlight would bring the best results.

P.S.: Did you change the way the hints key ("L") works? It only seems to work with my puzzles. It also used to work on other people's puzzles.
#12: Kristen Vognild (Kristen) on Jul 29, 2012
For me, the L key works once, but to use it a second time I have to save the puzzle and reload. Very tedious.
#13: Jan Wolter (jan) on Jul 30, 2012
There isn't supposed to be any change to the "L" key, except that it is supposed to understand puzzles with blots, and I haven't noticed any other change in behavior. Weird.
#14: Kadou (Kadou) on Jul 30, 2012
Did everything in #338 Flushing the Danged Browser Cache...
but still no hints show up using "L".
Was that for IE only? I'm using Chrome.
#15: Jan Wolter (jan) on Jul 30, 2012
Nope. That should work with any browser. And I'm getting hints in Crome.

Dang, this is annoying. Too many unreproducable bugs.

If you type the TAB key, with the mouse over a puzzle square in solving mode, what does it say?

When you hit the "L" key, does it do nothing or does it say "No hint available" even though there should be hints?

Shift-Ctrl-J in chrome might bring up a "Developer Console". If you select the "Developer" icon at the top of that window, it should show you any error messages that the current page has generated. I wonder if there is anything there.
#16: Kadou (Kadou) on Jul 30, 2012
TAB gives : Version 3.4; HTML 3.2; RE 3.3;
"L" gives: absolutely nothing (except on my puzzles where it works).
Shift-Ctrl-J gives when "L" is pressed: Uncaught TypeError: Cannot read property '0' of undefined /jsz/helper_reg.js:88
#17: Teresa K (fasstar) on Jul 30, 2012
I'm running Chrome also and have the same absence of any response with the L key. Same Tab key output as well.

I don't have any problem using IE, but I don't like using IE, it's too slow=frustrating.

#18: Kadou (Kadou) on Jul 30, 2012
Yes, IE works.
I have noticed that with Chrome the "L" key will work when the "Helper" button is visible.
#19: Jan Wolter (jan) on Jul 31, 2012
Thanks Kadou, that was very helpful. There was a bug, but it manifested only when, as you say, the helper was not enabled, which it always is for me. It should be fixed now - if you can get the new version to load. The tab command should say "RE 3.4" now instead of "RE 3.3".

For Chrome, I found you could flush the cache by doing (If I recall correctly):
- Wrench Icon
- Settings
- Advanced Settings
- Privacy
- Clear History Button
- Uncheck everything except "clear cached data"
- Clear

#20: Kadou (Kadou) on Jul 31, 2012
Tab says 3.4
emptied cache
reloaded javascript
Thanks Jan!:)
#21: Kadou (Kadou) on Jul 31, 2012
Blots are smaller!
Highlights are more visible!
Thanks Jan!
#22: Jan Wolter (jan) on Jul 31, 2012
Making some progress.
#23: Teresa K (fasstar) on Jul 31, 2012
Hurray, L is back! Thanks, Jan.
#24: Nadean Simmons (nadeans) on Aug 1, 2012
I loathe the blots even though i prefer to do puzzles with a difficulty level of 4 or up. Can we please make sure they don't take over the puzzles posted completely. Perhaps create a separate page/tab for them.
#25: Joe (infrapinklizzard) on Aug 2, 2012
Hey, Purple logic now works on Firefox!

Must not succumb to temptation....
#26: David Bouldin (dbouldin) on Aug 4, 2012
Kristen, I used to do the same thing (use-L-key-once-save-reload-repeat)...it's why i quit using IE for test solving my larger puzzles.
#27: Naomi Millar (sailormewtwo) on Aug 7, 2012
Well, it's been quite a while since I've posted, so I'll make my first one about how much I love the idea of the blots. Especially since so far it's only attracted the good puzzle makers. I was worried some of the newbies might get a bit carried away with their colouring in :)

There's a similar game in Picross DS (which, incidently, is what got me hooked on pbn puzzles again). That, however, is limited to 5x5, against the clock, so it's not quite the same.
#28: Brian Bellis (mootpoint) on Sep 2, 2012
Jan, If blots really take off you might want to include it in the find puzzles page so people can search for only blots or no blots.

I'm loving the blot feature. They work especially well for making a small puzzle more of a challenge.
#29: Jan Wolter (jan) on Sep 7, 2012
Well...OK. Abracadbra. The feature is there. Retroactively even.
#30: Craig Smilovitz (crs17) on Oct 13, 2012
So that's what blots are!! I've been convinced it was a bug and finally got frustrated enough to report it. But I did check these discussion topics. Can we have a way to turn it off for the puzzle we're working on? Ie, press "show all clues" button below the puzzle and all the blots change into the correct number.
#31: Joe (infrapinklizzard) on Oct 14, 2012
Craig, if that were implemented, it would have to be at the author's choice. (I hope.) The author made the puzzle to be played a certain way. A lot of good blot puzzle would be terrible puzzles without the blot. This would be like having a button to force a color puzzle into black & white*. The logic is very different, and not what the author intended.

Users always have the option to just *not do* any puzzle they don't like. The blotted puzzles are all marked with a square in the list, and so are easy to spot.

*(It is not an exact metaphor as an "un-blotted" puzzle would always solve if the original did, but a "de-colored" one won't necessarily. User shay yatim "de-colored" a lot of his own, making some of them unsolvable.)
#32: Brian Bellis (mootpoint) on Oct 14, 2012
I agree with Joe. As a creator I choose to blot my puzzles to make them challenging enough. Without the blots, some of my puzzles are way to easy. I just wish I'd had the option to blot sooner. I've actually gone back and blotted a few of my easier puzzles and published a blotted version, but that is my choice.

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