Pure Planar Evil

You knew it was only a matter of time before Flash was used for pure evil. John Tantalo, who could be using his talents to cure cancer or something, has written the Planarity Flash Game. The game generates random planar graphs and draws them to hide the fact that they are planar. You the player (or rather victim) must move the vertices around to show that it really is planar. The game is hard, but moving the little dots around is incredibly hypnotizing.

Via Eszter at Crooked Timber.

8 thoughts on “Pure Planar Evil

  1. Evil? This is the best game ever! My productivity took a rapid nose dive after visiting this site.

    I am gurgling with happiness.

  2. I like it. Seems a bit easy though, since you already know the graph is planar, you know what moves you need to make.

  3. What I like is that one can get an intuitive sense of what moves need to be made without really learning the rules. I was having fun developing rules (although I have to admit to losing patience around level 6 or so).

  4. Two comments:

    1) Eszter has an Erdös number of 3??!! Grrrr.

    2) Never mind. I was going to post my methodology, but I would hate to ruin anything for anyone. Some of the commentors on Crooked Timber seem to be having a hard time though.

  5. Off topic
    Walt! I have been looking for you. Send me an email if you get the chance. analog999 near hotmail.com

  6. After playing for a while, I found some of the quirks in how the puzzle is generated lead to strategies for solving it (e.g. no nodes have more than 4 edges — though this one isn’t particularly helpful).

    Also, it IS evil. After level 11 it reported to me a time of around 12 minutes. I managed to convince myself that this must be the cumulative time I’d spent playing the game. It wasn’t until after I completed the next level (and compared the time on the wall clock), that I realised that it was the time for a single level. I’m still not sure how my perception of time could have been off by so much.

  7. That’s slightly different to what I was doing … I noticed that using all the nodes with two and three edges and a few nodes with four edges, it is possible to make a perimeter. That leaves nodes with four edges on the inside, which you can move towards their centre of gravity (with a slight bias towards nodes on the perimeter).

    Given the limited size of the board, this gives you more room to play with than starting with a triangle.

    A post by John Tantalo on Crooked Timber, explains how he generates the graphs (which can explain why a perimeter like this can be found).

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