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What Gaming Should Be

As an avid lifelong gamer, I try to describe what has worked well and poorly in games I've played, and in any given gaming scenario, to define how it could best be handled as a result.

Author: reillan

The Gloamwood Shield Wall Puzzle

Posted by reillan Monday February 21 2011 at 11:44AM
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(I have now added a more complex example here)

The Gloamwood puzzle - the wall upon which are hung 9 shields and your objective is to get them in to a particular order by clicking on buttons that move all the shields at once - seems ostensibly hard.  The problem is complicated by people posting things about it (such as referring to it as a one-sided Rubik's Cube) that makes it seem much more difficult than it is. 

I hope that I'll be able to simplify the game for you.

The game is arranged of 9 spaces, like so:

I have assigned letters to the buttons along the edges so that I can more easily explain what is going on here.

If I click on any button, the row or column of shields directly associated with that button moves one space toward the button clicked, while the other two rows or columns move in the opposite direction.  As a result, clicking on button J would cause the giant shield at the top left to move down one space (along with the other shields in that column), while the other two columns move up one space.  When a shield moves off the grid at any edge, it wraps back around to the other side, staying within the same column or row.

At first glance, it seems like solving this would be an impossibility, because everything moves when any button is pressed, and you can't hold 9 shields in place simultaneously.  This is true, but there is a trick that can make life much simpler.

First, I want you to look at this grid in terms of only the individual rows and columns that you need to move at the moment.  So, for instance, I need to make several movements from my most recent picture - I need to move the large shield on the left one space to the right.  I need to move the shields in the bottom row one space to the left (that would wrap them around), and I need to keep my top row in place. That means I need to make two moves (conceptually). 

If I try to click on Button C (the one on the bottom of the left-hand side), two of those moves are made for me - the large shield moves to the center, while the shields on the bottom row move one to the left.  Unfortunately, the top row also moves one to the right:

I can make, however, the top row scroll around using a little trick.  If I press Button B now, after I've pressed Button C, you'll notice that the top row continues to move, but the bottom two rows go back to their initial configuration:

So, by toggling between pressing Button C and Button B, I can make the top row slide - each press of a button slides the top row one to the right - but, and here's the biggest thing you can do for yourself conceptually to help make solving this puzzle easier - because I need to press both button B and C, I'll be moving the top row a total of two spaces to the right as I go through an entire cycle (one cycle being one press each of C and B), and a move of two spaces to the right is the same thing as a move of one space to the left.

Thus, the easiest way to solve this puzzle is to see it as a need to move individual rows or columns by one space at a time, and to move them one space at a time, you can alternate between clicks on the OTHER buttons on the same side of the puzzle.  So, if I want to move row A-G one space to the left, I click on both button B and button C, once each.  If I want to move row B-H one space to the right, I click on buttons G and I once each.  If I want to move column E-K one space up, I click on buttons D and F once each.

So, in my example, I need to get the large shield and the lower row back into the center, so I click on Button C again:

And now I need to make Row A-G move one space to the left, so I click on buttons B and C once each:

 

Hope that helps!

MMORPG.com writes:
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