Let's talk about the numbering system (spoilers)

Warning: Posts here may contain spoilers.

Let's talk about the numbering system (spoilers)

Postby joaopedro » Fri Aug 26, 2016 8:29 am

I know this is supposed to be a "no spoiler" area, but there doesn't seem to be any open boards for spoiler discussion, and I really need to talk about this, lol. I guess the title of the thread is OK, it's not a spoiler to state that there is a number system, right?

So everyone be warned that I'll discuss some puzzle specifics, so those who haven't made it far into the game might want to avoid this.

OK, so I've finished the game a few hours ago, and am really curious to know how everyone else handled the Villein panels.

At first I was actually trying to learn the system; it seemed close enough to the D'ni numbers: different signs for 0-1-2-3, and from that point forward they start combining. However, as I was experimenting with the learning device in the garage, there was a point at which everything started to get reaaaly confusing; when all the blobs start to overlap and merge, I could no longer identify the individual number-elements, or understand if there was any rule to determine the way the elements should connect.

I let the device aside, and later came to realize that I could refer back to it whenever necessary; so I gave up trying to understand the numbers fully.

Right at the end of Maray, however, there's that moment when...
[Reveal] Spoiler:
... you need to retrieve the Mayor's pod by drawing its number. At that point of the game, though, you're stuck there until you get it right; as far as I assessed, it's impossible to take the "gondola" ride back to the previous building, and you can't leave the vault area until you find the right pod. For me it was easy getting to the correct level, but I could only get the specific pod number by trial and error. Even after guessing the solution, I still cannot see how one could have predicted the right shape to draw


Any thoughts? I still a bit up on the fence regarding the design of the system. Aside from the puzzle element, I don't think it would be practical as an actual numbering system - how do you represent fractions, for instance? Of course, this could be made up for if there are any interesting properties to this way of representation, like doing math visually by combining the shapes. I couldn't tell it though, cause like I said, I never made it far into understing it... any thoughts?
joaopedro
Obduction Backer
 
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2006 1:52 pm

Re: Let's talk about the numbering system (spoilers)

Postby korovev » Fri Aug 26, 2016 8:39 am

The Hints & Tips section clearly states: “Warning: Posts here may contain spoilers.” ;)

A common method of announcing spoilers (see Reddit for examples) is beginning the title with “[Spoilers]”.
KI #46116. Donate to help the Cavern stay open!
Want to know what’s going on in the Cavern? Visit the GoMe site.

MacOS wrappers, D’ni Lessons, DniTools, goodies.
korovev
Obduction Backer
 
Posts: 131
Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:07 am
Location: Central Europe

Re: Let's talk about the numbering system (spoilers)

Postby joaopedro » Fri Aug 26, 2016 8:48 am

korovev wrote:The Hints & Tips section clearly states: “Warning: Posts here may contain spoilers.” ;)

A common method of announcing spoilers (see Reddit for examples) is beginning the title with “[Spoilers]”.


But "Hints and Tips" sounds like a board for people needing help with the puzzles. I have finished the game, I want to share experiences and discuss the aesthetic and philosophical implications of the design...
joaopedro
Obduction Backer
 
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2006 1:52 pm

Re: Let's talk about the numbering system (spoilers)

Postby korovev » Fri Aug 26, 2016 8:59 am

I guess Cyan didn’t anticipated some people would’ve completed the game in a day or two :lol: .

Anyway, regardless of where you post I think the [Spoilers] tag is enough.
KI #46116. Donate to help the Cavern stay open!
Want to know what’s going on in the Cavern? Visit the GoMe site.

MacOS wrappers, D’ni Lessons, DniTools, goodies.
korovev
Obduction Backer
 
Posts: 131
Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:07 am
Location: Central Europe

Re: Let's talk about the numbering system (spoilers)

Postby Altairien » Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:41 am

Edit: It's been moved. Thanks!
Altairien
Obduction Backer
 
Posts: 240
Joined: Wed Sep 27, 2006 12:30 pm

Re: Let's talk about the numbering system (spoilers)

Postby Bhunkii » Tue Aug 30, 2016 4:08 pm

For me, when I ran across the panel in the garage, along with the basic instructions, I made sure to learn the system then and there. As a result, at the point some have mentioned that really requires understanding the panels, I had no issue, and didn't even realize there was a potential design issue there. While those who more or less had brute forced their way through them up to that point were stuck without a way of getting back to the panel training area. Arguably, the puzzle design in that area has some issues to have allowed the player to get into that situation.

In any case, it seemed like a very Cyan thing to introduce another numbering system, and thinking back to D'ni numerals, it seemed like understanding the function would be important. I was actually a little disappointed that the note flat out told us that it was a base 4 system, as that made it very easy. It was a simple matter to enter 0 through 3 on the base 10 input to get the simple digits. It took a little longer to notice that the counterclockwise digit order on the panel (compounded by my own mistake noting down my probe numbers).

I will say that, having learned the system, I was then a little confused when I was soon thereafter presented with an "invalid" number. But that's a different topic.

As for the practicality of the numbering system, it's really no more or less practical than our base 10 system. It has the same degree of representation. You could still write fractions as a ratio of a numerator and a denominator. In base 10, we can write the ratio of 3 to 4 in several ways. 3/4 or 3:4. You could just as easily write it in their base as 3/10 or 3:10. Of course, in base 10, we can also write this as .75, while in base 4 it would be .3 since base 4 use 1/4, 1/16, 1/64... for positions to the right of the point. Programmers often use binary (base 2), hexadecimal (base 16), and more rarely (these days) octal (base 8), and they are all equally expressive, but can be more or less convenient for thinking about different tasks.

When looking at the panels, I interpret them more like our digital segmented number displays, like a digital clock face. Ours usually aren't interactive, but hey, alien technology. :) While we tend to lay our displays out along a linear horizontal axis with the place values growing right to left (e.g. 00000), they used a radial layout going center, top left, top right, bottom right, bottom left, with the place values growing from the center out. So our one's (10^0) place is on the right, and the 10000's (10^4) place is towards the left. While their one's (4^0) place is in the center, and the 256's (4^4) place is at the bottom left. And while this may seem limiting, that would be like trying to judge the utility of our decimal system just from looking at how the numbers are arranged on a digital clock face or segmented calculator display.

Note that on the panels, the digits never overlap. They all start at a central dot and radiate out only one line segment length from that center point. So while they may share an end point with a nearby digit, the digits may still always be read off individually.

If we take the pure numerals that we learn from the panel (or the closest I can approximate on a keyboard), say 0=*, 1=-, 2=L, and 3=T, then my previous examples can be written as T/-*, t:-*, or *.T. Note that we don't see an example of 0, since the panels just let us leave a spot blank due to the fixed layout, so I just used *. And the digit for 3 is a T shape, but rotated 90 deg.

I think the main thing to take away from the panels is that they just happen to be a control interface. The numbers can be used more organically if required.
Bhunkii
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Aug 28, 2016 2:29 pm

Re: Let's talk about the numbering system (spoilers)

Postby Altairien » Tue Aug 30, 2016 5:08 pm

Bhunkii wrote:For me, when I ran across the panel in the garage, along with the basic instructions, I made sure to learn the system then and there.

This was me as well. After I had learned it, I tested about a dozen larger random numbers, drawing them out on paper before entering the base10 number and seeing the result just to make sure I fully understood it.

When it came time to enter numbers later on, bridges, doors, etc., I didn't need to consult a thing. I just entered them and moved on. Loved it. :)

Bhunkii wrote:I was actually a little disappointed that the note flat out told us that it was a base 4 system, as that made it very easy.

I was kind of lucky in a way with this. I actually missed that note until after I had learned with the machine. I truly enjoyed learning the entire system from scratch.
Altairien
Obduction Backer
 
Posts: 240
Joined: Wed Sep 27, 2006 12:30 pm

Re: Let's talk about the numbering system (spoilers)

Postby Twitch » Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:08 pm

The panel in the cryo center only has four significant digits available. If you want row 10 pod 13, you'd enter 2/2 / 3/1 (10 converted to base 4) + (13 converted to base 4).

It's basically the equivalent of the base 10 number 4142 (four thousand one hundred forty two) pointing to row 41 pod 42, even though that makes no sense in other bases.

The numbers beside each person inside the roster is what you get when you convert the row/number into a single base 10 number.
Twitch
 
Posts: 201
Joined: Mon Jun 02, 2014 3:11 am
Location: The east path

Re: Let's talk about the numbering system (spoilers)

Postby Bhunkii » Wed Aug 31, 2016 1:40 am

Twitch, I hadn't noticed the mapping from pod number to coordinates at the time, but looking back at my notes it should have been obvious, though I think maybe you have row number and pod number reversed in your description?

In my notes, I have Josef at 222d=3132=13,14, then the books and crates at 206d=3032=12,14, 238d=3232=14,14, 190d=2332=11,14, and 254d=3332=15,14. All of them wind up being in row 14, from positions 11 through 15.

Maybe that indicates something interesting about the Villein that the more sequential part of the number for them is in the high order part of the number, while I would have expected adjacent cells in the same row to have adjacent values (i.e. 3223 to 3233). Maybe their writing system is vertical? Maybe they tend to describe things from most specific to most general?

Regardless, I'm a bit bothered that they used 0-based indexing for one axis, but 1-based indexing for the other.
Bhunkii
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Aug 28, 2016 2:29 pm

Re: Let's talk about the numbering system (spoilers)

Postby dsimcott » Wed Aug 31, 2016 2:01 pm

I could not do it. My head is not made for mathematics. Anyway, I solved the entire game on my own, no cheats, except for puzzle "222". Which is a shame really. And I still can't get my head around this numbering system.
[Reveal] Spoiler:
Also, considering just how hard that particular puzzle was, all you got to see was a frozen mayor?!


Otherwise it's a great game! :D
dsimcott
Obduction Backer
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed May 17, 2006 7:34 pm
Location: London, England, UK

Re: Let's talk about the numbering system (spoilers)

Postby Tahgtahv » Wed Aug 31, 2016 4:16 pm

The puzzle's actually really easy if you know how it works. You simply enter the Villein equivalent for 222 in the control panel, and you're done.
Bhunkii: I'm not sure what you mean. Their number system is clearly 0 based, each digit goes from 0-3. The pod storage system is *also* 0 based. The floors go from 0 to 15 (0 being the surface, so there's no pods there but it's still a floor), and each ring also goes from 0 to 15. Not sure where you're getting a 1 from.
Tahgtahv
Obduction Backer
 
Posts: 79
Joined: Mon May 08, 2006 4:56 pm

Re: Let's talk about the numbering system (spoilers)

Postby Bhunkii » Wed Aug 31, 2016 7:22 pm

Tahgtahv wrote:Bhunkii: I'm not sure what you mean. Their number system is clearly 0 based, each digit goes from 0-3. The pod storage system is *also* 0 based. The floors go from 0 to 15 (0 being the surface, so there's no pods there but it's still a floor), and each ring also goes from 0 to 15. Not sure where you're getting a 1 from.


Clearly the numbering system is 0 based (note my long initial response in this thread), but while my save games don't have access back to the pod area, from the pod inventory mentioned over in another thread http://forums.cyan.com/viewtopic.php?f=130&t=1239, it shows the pod positions starting from 0, and the floor positions starting from 1. My pod calculation numbers from when I went through agreed with those so it seemed accurate.

Is that not the case? Did they just leave floor 0 out of that inventory since it was all empty (though floor 1 is as well)? It does seem strange that they skip 0, 16, 32, ...

Kind of annoying that the pod area becomes closed off shortly after leaving. :(
Bhunkii
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Aug 28, 2016 2:29 pm

Re: Let's talk about the numbering system (spoilers)

Postby BeigeAlert » Fri Sep 02, 2016 1:07 pm

I actually had to learn the number system based on a photo of that partially completed worksheet. I didn't have the patience to learn the number system in the garage since I assumed I'd always have access to it... however circuitous that route would be.
BeigeAlert
 
Posts: 31
Joined: Wed Aug 19, 2015 7:31 pm

Re: Let's talk about the numbering system (spoilers)

Postby Mowog » Fri Sep 02, 2016 5:59 pm

Well, I've finally figured out the numbering system, to the extent that I can enter numbers on the Villein device and convert them to Base 10 to verify I've gotten the symbology right. It all sort of blew me away at first, but now that I understand it, it's really sort of cool. 8-)

The puzzling thing is that the now well-known "15" diagram in Farley's place isn't a legitimately-formatted Villein number. If I enter that into the Villein grid and hit the button on the device, it adds some segments, deletes others, and converts it into a different number. The only way I can enable all the segments indicated in Farley's diagram is to include additional segments as well, ending up with the number below. Try it yourself and see:

[Reveal] Spoiler:
990


And if I'm to understand that it's the code for the elevator, then something isn't working.

Subtle advice is welcome. I really thought I had it this time.

Mowog
Last edited by Mowog on Fri Sep 02, 2016 6:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
MOUL KI: 174162

Image
Mowog
Obduction Backer
 
Posts: 62
Joined: Mon May 08, 2006 6:18 pm

Re: Let's talk about the numbering system (spoilers)

Postby belford » Fri Sep 02, 2016 6:00 pm

If I enter that into the Villein grid and hit the button on the device, it adds some segments, deletes others, and converts it into a different number.


The subtle advice is: that was it. Don't overthink. :)
Andrew Plotkin -- Seltani founding member
belford
Obduction Backer
 
Posts: 219
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 11:01 am

Next

Return to HINTS, TIPS, & SPOILERS

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest