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Mirror Blocks Event/Regulations Opinions

wowitsbryce

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So recently, my friend and I have decided that we want to try to make mirror blocks into an official event in the near future. I've been working on making a copy of the current regulations and modifying it to include everything for mirror blocks like it was an official event.

So far, I've only shown Sebastian Häfner (TheSeppomania), who is the unofficial world record holder for mirror blocks single and average of 5 and 12 (probably 100 and 1000 too but they aren't recorded on the unofficial world records page). He said that it looks all good; however, I would like to get opinions from other people as well, so that's why I'm making this post.

Here is the link to those regulations that I modified:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/15Pv6TkYmX9n8MsoARbZn5WYqOCyM6KurIxfzZcmN78E/edit#

Make sure to give me feedback if you find anything that you think needs changing. :)
 

Kit Clement

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  • Layers, lengths, and widths are all undefined in terms of puzzles within the context of the regulations, which makes checking for their unevenness difficult to interpret. From what I understood, length and width seem to be the same thing, making one redundant and confusing to other readers.
  • How uneven is enough? Can one make a puzzle with drastically uneven (or fairly similar) layers to potentially gain an advantage? One might make very distinguishable sizes of pieces to make it easier to identify their location, while one also might make very close sizes of pieces to make it easier to turn and grip.
  • In 10h2, what distinguishes a "cube" from a "perfect cube"?
  • As 10h2 is written, it seems this regulation prevent any possible misalignments, even as small as 5 degrees.
  • By using the term "coloured parts" in Article I, you are meaning parts that determine the solved state of the cube (10e), as defined in Article 3. This contradicts 10h2.
  • Wording on 10h2 is inconsistent with 10e and 10h1.
  • I4 is unnecessary if defined already in 10h2. Other specialty puzzles' articles do not define the solved state.

The points in the first two bullets are major hurdles for making this event WCA official, and in my opinion, is likely the reason why this will never become an official WCA event. (that, and the difficulty in making a proper scrambling program that will allow scramblers to check for correct scrambles on a puzzle with any level of skewed pieces)
 

One Wheel

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Kit's concerns are certainly more significant than my opinion, but I don't believe that a sighted mirror block speedsolve really adds much, if anything. I think a no-inspection blind solve would be interesting, but not a normal speedsolve.
 

TheSeppomania

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but I don't believe that a sighted mirror block speedsolve really adds much, if anything. I think a no-inspection blind solve would be interesting, but not a normal speedsolve.
I have to say that it would actually add much more than the addition of skewb. since the main difficulties of shape-shifting puzzles are recognizing and visualizing the pieces and not just the solving itself.

The points in the first two bullets are major hurdles for making this event WCA official, and in my opinion, is likely the reason why this will never become an official WCA event. (that, and the difficulty in making a proper scrambling program that will allow scramblers to check for correct scrambles on a puzzle with any level of skewed pieces)
about the scrambling: sorry I really can't take that so seriously since a couple of world records of the near past were misscrambles. I know it's not so easy to check a correct scrambling, but since solves count when they took over the defined number of moves, even if the puzzle was misscrambled, and there are apps on which you can actually solve puzzles like mirror blocks, a scrambling program shouldn't be big problem.

  • Layers, lengths, and widths are all undefined in terms of puzzles within the context of the regulations, which makes checking for their unevenness difficult to interpret. From what I understood, length and width seem to be the same thing, making one redundant and confusing to other readers.
  • How uneven is enough? Can one make a puzzle with drastically uneven (or fairly similar) layers to potentially gain an advantage? One might make very distinguishable sizes of pieces to make it easier to identify their location, while one also might make very close sizes of pieces to make it easier to turn and grip.
If there are problems with different sizes, just make one size the standard. it shouldn't be a problem to prohibit different ones.

this was writting from an objective point of view, since I'm thinking about this topic a couple of years now.
 

One Wheel

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I have to say that it would actually add much more than the addition of skewb. since the main difficulties of shape-shifting puzzles are recognizing and visualizing the pieces and not just the solving itself.
The shape shifting does add a slightly different aspect, but conceptually mirror blocks are still a 3-layer face-turning cube. Skewb is a deep-cut corner-turning puzzle, and conceptionally entirely different. That's not to say I enjoy skewb: I actually find it rather boring, but it does add something different in a way that mirror blocks does not.
 

TheSeppomania

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The shape shifting does add a slightly different aspect, but conceptually mirror blocks are still a 3-layer face-turning cube. Skewb is a deep-cut corner-turning puzzle, and conceptionally entirely different. That's not to say I enjoy skewb: I actually find it rather boring, but it does add something different in a way that mirror blocks does not.
I see it in a more practically way. skewb was in my opinion just another puzzle you solve by arranging colors and that in a way similar to 2x2 and pyraminx. Just because you need a couple of different algorithms because of a different mechanism made it not that special to me.
I want to see a puzzle added that is solved completly by size and not colors. Your suggestion with the blind solve is something I would take immediately.
 

Kit Clement

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about the scrambling: sorry I really can't take that so seriously since a couple of world records of the near past were misscrambles. I know it's not so easy to check a correct scrambling, but since solves count when they took over the defined number of moves, even if the puzzle was misscrambled, and there are apps on which you can actually solve puzzles like mirror blocks, a scrambling program shouldn't be big problem.

If there are problems with different sizes, just make one size the standard. it shouldn't be a problem to prohibit different ones.
I don't doubt that a scrambling program within Tnoodle would be easy to make, it would just be significantly harder to check for correctness on a non-standard puzzle, even harder than a non-standard color scheme on other events. But the issue with checking for scrambles would be solved with a way to regulate a standard size, of course. But how should this be done? Do we hard code into the regulations the appropriate dimensions and acceptable differences for each layer? Do delegates that hold mirror blocks need a caliper to check that a puzzle is within an acceptable threshold?
 

TheSeppomania

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Do we hard code into the regulations the appropriate dimensions and acceptable differences for each layer? Do delegates that hold mirror blocks need a caliper to check that a puzzle is within an acceptable threshold?
the easiest way would be to just allow massproduced puzzles. since ALL of them have already the same sizes since the first puzzle came out 2006.
 

One Wheel

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the easiest way would be to just allow massproduced puzzles. since ALL of them have already the same sizes since the first puzzle came out 2006.
Are you going to specify which mass produced models? Does Calvin's Irregular Cube count? what about the MFJS Mirror S? What about modding? Can the sides be filed down or extended?

On the other hand, there are several things that are simply left to the disgression of the delegates, such as sticker condition and color, or the legality of a certain blindfold. There could be guidelines published as to what ratios are acceptable, and the authority for deciding whether a cube is legal be left up to the delegate.
 

mDiPalma

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Do we hard code into the regulations the appropriate dimensions and acceptable differences for each layer? Do delegates that hold mirror blocks need a caliper to check that a puzzle is within an acceptable threshold?
how have delegates been applying the "no elevated pieces" part of 3j for years? Are you suggesting that every solve since that regulation was introduced is invalid because no technical means have been implemented to guarantee that regulation was maintained?

more inconsistencies...
 

Kit Clement

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the easiest way would be to just allow massproduced puzzles. since ALL of them have already the same sizes since the first puzzle came out 2006.
This would mean that we are trusting manufacturers to make puzzles to the proper specification in the future too, and the WCA has no control over this. Puzzle manufacturers generally care more about their own profits than the WCA regulations or the spirit of those regulations. As official events generally get more mass-produced versions than unofficial ones, it's incredibly unlikely that all mirror blocks puzzles created would be made with the exact same sizes.

Another possible solution that has been floated (for all WCA events) is a puzzle whitelist, which the WRC would evaluate each time a new puzzle comes out. Most WRC members are against such an idea for any puzzle, due to many logistical issues:
  • The need to upkeep this list every time a new puzzle comes out
  • Keeping the list current and posting updates in a timely manner to not prevent puzzles from being used in competition for a significant amount of time
  • Potential for mistakenly allowing new puzzles that have not been whitelisted yet
  • Requiring delegates to have a vast knowledge of hardware across many different events

how have delegates been applying the "no elevated pieces" part of 3j for years? Are you suggesting that every solve since that regulation was introduced is invalid because no technical means have been implemented to guarantee that regulation was maintained?

more inconsistencies...
Always appreciate the chuckle.
 

TheSeppomania

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Are you going to specify which mass produced models? Does Calvin's Irregular Cube count? what about the MFJS Mirror S?
these are by name not even regular Mirror Blocks, so no.

What about modding? Can the sides be filed down or extended?
This would mean ...
that's what we have to clarify.
-if we only allow massproduced puzzles, then no. (whitelist needed)
-if we go with a specific length, yes, but this wouldn't be possible to check (whitelist not needed)
-if we go with a system like: side one has to be the longest, side two has to be the second longest, etc., without any specific lenghts, just the specification that it has to be a perfect cube at solved position, with every side to be clearly to distinguish in their length, then yes, but the delegates can prohibit a bad modded puzzle at te end. (whitelist not needed)

I would go with the last option, because of the not needed whitelist and the easy checking of the puzzles.

On the other hand, there are several things that are simply left to the disgression of the delegates, such as sticker condition and color, or the legality of a certain blindfold.
the sticker condition has to be the same as on regular 3x3s, I can say by experience that there are no advantages if a sticker is a bit outworn.
if you solve the puzzle blindfolded the condition has to be the same as on regular blind solves.[/QUOTE]
 

One Wheel

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as on regular 3x3s, I can say by experience that there are no advantages if a sticker is a bit outworn.
if you solve the puzzle blindfolded the condition has to be the same as on regular blind solves.
I was talking about how delegates have to decide whether stickers on puzzles are in good enough condition, or if a blindfold is good enough for blind events, as examples of regulations that are enforced more or less subjectively at the discretion of the delegate.
 

Kit Clement

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-if we only allow massproduced puzzles, then no. (whitelist needed)
-if we go with a specific length, yes, but this wouldn't be possible to check (whitelist not needed)
-if we go with a system like: side one has to be the longest, side two has to be the second longest, etc., without any specific lenghts, just the specification that it has to be a perfect cube at solved position, with every side to be clearly to distinguish in their length, then yes, but the delegates can prohibit a bad modded puzzle at te end. (whitelist not needed)

I would go with the last option, because of the not needed whitelist and the easy checking of the puzzles.
I agree -- the last option is really the only reasonable compromise if Mirror Blocks were to ever be an official event. The regulations would have to be worded much more carefully than the ones proposed here, however. That's why I'm generally a skeptic about this event becoming official, but that doesn't mean I oppose it becoming one, I just oppose it becoming an event without the implementation being fully thought out. For better or worse, it's not my job to make that happen or make any decision about events anyway.
 
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