# Brainstorming for methods/substeps (for speedsolving)

#### Robert-Y

##### Member
What things do you think about when you are brainstorming for a new method or substep?

I'll try to list some of my own things:

1. Number of cases and algorithm quality

It's important to consider the number of cases for a particular step. A step with over 300-500 algs is what I would say is a lot and I might abandon an idea if this is the case. Before I throw out an idea to people, I like to see how the algorithms are so I would generate algorithms for a small portion of the set of cases. (Unless the set is fairly small, then I would just generate algorithms for all of the cases). After generating algorithms, I test them out myself or I would ask others to help me with this. I tend to consider what I'm trying to achieve with the algorithm and the amount of time taken to execute the algorithms. For example, I believe that PLL is very decent step. I think most of the top cubers can execute all PLLs in about 1.5 seconds or less. So I think it was/is a good idea to consider steps which lead into PLL. Is the same possible with another step like OLL last? I think Ben Whitmore has successfully generated and learnt algorithms for OLL last but I don't think he can sub 1.5 most cases to my knowledge. I would just abandon this idea. I believe that ZBLL is also worth considering but some cases are difficult to recognise which costs time. I'm still not really sure if ZBLL-AS/S is better than OCLL into PLL. Perhaps Jabari can give his opinion on this

Is it easy to look ahead for the next step? I think CFOP makes a lot of sense when you think about it enough. You slowly solve pieces in places and then you never need to look for your next pieces in those positions. After solving the cross, I've eliminated the need to look at the D layer for edges, making it easier for me to find edges for the next step. It's basically the same thing for other popular methods like Roux or Yau on 4x4x4. For another example: With Roux, after solving the left and right blocks, almost all of the remaining pieces to solve are in front of you with the except of the DB edge, but it's only a small portion of the cube that is "hidden" and shouldn't disrupt looking ahead that much.

3. Comparing your ideas to other methods

I tend to compare the ideas I have with the methods that have the most success. Sometimes I just compare partial solves. For example, maybe I want to see if Yau on 4x4x4 is better than traditional reduction. I don't need to consider the entire solve, I can compare my times by reducing to 3x3x3 + cross solved because the steps after this are the same. You can even ignore the first two centres with this reasoning. Usually when I try to come up with something new, it is because I have a problem with existing methods and would like to improve upon them. With traditional reduction on 4x4x4, I found it annoying to look for edges on the D layer during edge pairing; it "ruins" my flow. I was inspired by a video from Erik Akkersdijk (I believe this video was taken down unfortunately) which lead to the idea of solving the cross as soon as possible to eradicate the need to look at the D layer for edges. This helped with the birth of some popular method.

EDIT: Another thing I want to mention is that it is important to be open minded. Never just brainstorm a method and fix yourself on the idea that it is superior to other methods. You really have to consider both the advantages and disadvantages of your ideas with an open mind.

There's probably a bit more to consider but in any case, I think about an idea long enough and test out my ideas before I actually put it forward. I would like to hear some more thoughts on this.

#### StachuK1992

##### statue
These thoughts are related, but slightly tangential in some respect:

I believe most methods are on a spectrum of [abstract] at one end and [mindless] at the other end.
Where a method lies on this spectrum is very important to me, epsecially in conjunction with the other factors you have listed (particularly look-ahead and ease of alg execution.)

A few methods, listed by mindless, ascending.
Heise, Petrus, Roux/ZZ, CFOP, L2Lk

Heise has very few algorithms, whereas L2Lk is pretty much just algs after the first layer.
That is, while the first step is very abstract and CPU-intensive, there is almost no room for creativity after that.

For a method like L2Lk to work well, the algs have to be excellent and have a reasonable movecount
For a method like Heise or Petrus to work well, movecounts hvae to be extremely low to compensate for the full-solve CPU-intensive thinking these methods necessitate.

I think Roux, ZZ, and CFOP work very well because they're all at a reasonable point within this spectrum.

For methods at the left end to work, we need someone with a fast brain and good eyes. (not necesarrily fast hands or a 'smart' brain).
For methods on the right to work, we need someone with high TPS, and very good algs generated.

So:
When I look for a method, I avoid the left side entirely. Most people don't have brains quick enough to deal with the full-solve abstractness.
I look for methods at the middle or more to the right.
Methods or steps in the middle are pretty much always 'decent' if they have good algs and lookahead is acceptable.
Methods on the far right would be the ideal, I think, if algs were amazing.

#### mDiPalma

##### Member
is 15 seconds of inspection enough?

can steps be combined/broken down, or must steps be solved completely?

is there a beginner version?

are the movegroups nice?

are shortcuts possible?

how long are the algs?

do the cases look visibly different?

how do you organize the cases?

how can you learn the cases?

can the steps be reordered?

will the speedsolving forum rip me up for another Belt variant?

can I get to Step N with a different Step N-1 and N-2?

are there a lot of substeps? substeps === aufs.

how many lucky cases are there?

is there a way to be lucky more often?

is there a certain group of cases that is more efficient than the rest?

what do they have in common^?

can you force them^?

how many cube rotations will there be?

does this method/substep work on other cubes?

is anything intuitive?

can you swap out algs for commutators?

if you leave some pieces unsolved from the beginning, can you solve them later during another step?

how much freedom do you have during steps?

are there many optimal ways to solve each case?

are the algs easily mirrorable?

can you affect the later steps positively during previous steps?

is it worth it^?

will orienting edges in the first step help?

will permuting corners in step N help?

do people already know most of the algs/cases?

can cases be decomposed into easy recognition patterns?

can it be done from another orientation?

will color neutrality be hard or easy?

is the movecount good?

does it require a lot of mental processing?

can you cancel moves between steps a lot of the time?

is there a cool acronym for it?

##### Member
is there a cool acronym for it?
Lol I spent half the time coming up with name for some of my methods.
Also, you have a good point when it comes to beginner variants as I think this is why SSC will not really take off as it has no beginner and starts off quite advanced in the first place so you would probably need to learn ZZ, Roux/PCMS and some LS to understand it and by the time most cubers know that they will already have chosen another method to stick with.

But I think we need to add:

Does it look cool?

Is it useful for a wider range of events (OH, big cubes, Mega etc)?-similar to above but I wanted to point out other 3x3x3 events as well.

Is it similar enough to something else that it should only be a variant?

Where's the cool factor for using it (m-slices, Fastest cubers use it etc)?

Is there room for improvement and if so, state what it is even if you can't do it?

Also, could we sticky this thread, maybe as a "read before posting" for this sub-sub-forum?

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#### elrog

##### Member
Generally, whenever looking for a speedsolving method, "Does it look cool?" would never cross my mind and "How easy is it to learn?", crosses my mind, but has no impact on my evaluation of the method.

Ease of learning doesn't impact the mathematical promise of the method, it just deters the lazy masses from learning it.

##### Member
Generally, whenever looking for a speedsolving method, "Does it look cool?" would never cross my mind and "How easy is it to learn?", crosses my mind, but has no impact on my evaluation of the method.

Ease of learning doesn't impact the mathematical promise of the method, it just deters the lazy masses from learning it.
TBH, I was half joking when I said "does it look cool?"

Regarding your comment on how complexity does not withdraw from the mathematical potential of a method, I would completely agree with that.

However, I do also hold the view of "what good is a method that no one uses?" I see it like this as any seemingly simple methods (for example CFOP) can have many complexities of improvements that the creator never even conceptualized. For example, with no disrespect to the inventor of the cross, I doubt he had realised or even had a vague notion of LS techniques or multislotting. In this way, a method can only ever reach the full potential if there have been many people reviewing it and trying to come up with improvements (Petrus is also another good example of this). Even Roux, which was fairly similar to the current form had some improvements made to it over the years (such as the BU recognition method).

On the other hand, a method that is not really used, either due to the sheer number of algorithms (such as ZB) or the intricate complexities that are needed for efficient use of the method (such as Heise) will not be explored as much so the tricks and tips for it are not as developed (such as some of ZBLS algs leaving a lot to be desired or the tips for building heise blocks efficiently or ways to reduce movecount or force good cases in SSC) and therefore leave the method with potential but no real results.

Thus, I would say you can make a method as complex as you like, but be sure to have a progression for a beginner to follow if you want your method to be well developed or make sure that it has a huge advantage over other methods that will quickly catch someone's eye (or in the case of Alex Lau and Roux, simply seem indie enough and look cool enough) so that that one person may find it to be very good, convince someone else to try it and so on and so on or just inspire others by getting really good with the method

#### molarmanful

##### Member
Would Feliks be able to sub-10 with it?

On a more serious note, I don't care much for efficiency in a speedsolving method, as long as it's comfortable to solve with and the move count (in STM) is within CFOP's normal move count of around 60-70-ish moves. Ergonomic turning (2-gen, 3-gen) are really great, and any perceived benefits over other methods (esp. the Big 4) are helpful for me to consider.

Oh yeah, and flexibility of possible subsets to use is nice.

#### elrog

##### Member
"What good is a method that no one uses?" Knowledge.

#### Robert-Y

##### Member
My answer would be: It might be worth exploring why it isn't good, to help with method development.

#### Petro Leum

##### Member
There's usually a tradeoff within a method, for example Movecount for ergonomics, number of algs for number of steps or similar.

I find it important to see the tradeoffs and compare them to those of other methods, so you can create a strengths/weaknesses profile for it.

PS: flexibility. A huge reason why cfop is so good, is because it's so easy to use on bigger cubes, and use the concept on other puzzles like megaminx for example megaminx